Search Engine Optimization

Stoney deGeyter

Yeah, But... I Already Rank For My Company Name

Every now and then we get a call from a prospect who seems to want to try to talk themselves out of buying SEO. We call them "Yeah, Butters." And if you've been following this series, you understand why.One of the common objections we hear is, "But we already rank for our company name, so why do I need SEO?"There are a couple dynamics at play here. One, you're probably seeing personalized results, not necessarily what the rest of the world sees. And two, because... and this is important here... UNLESS YOU'RE A WELL-KNOWN BRAND, NOBODY IS SEARCHING FOR YOUR COMPANY...

Jayson DeMers

Is Your Hosting Coasting? Here's How Site Speed Affects SEO

Search engines consider hundreds of factors to determine search engine rankings. Many of these factors are related to a website's content, such as its text and titles, or to the authenticity of the site itself. Several years ago, Google announced yet another consideration regarding ranking; the speed with which site visitors can view the pages....

Jayson DeMers

Increasing Site Speed: 8 Often-Overlooked Steps

How important is your website's speed? When it comes to internet traffic, it's critical - and that may be an understatement. Read on to learn more of its significance and what advanced - and often overlooked - steps you can take to increase website speed....

Mike Moran

How do you break into SEO?

If you are in this business long enough, someone will come up and ask the question. To some of them, it is the most important question in their lives: "How do I break into SEO?" I honestly get this question several times a month.  And each person that asks me is ready for my answer. Some seem ready to take notes. They expect that I am going to rattle off some kind of canned answer that will unlock the secret to their future career. But I don't, because it isn't that easy......

Jayson DeMers

10 Ways SEO Works for B2B Companies

When marketers think of SEO, they often misunderstand its relationship with B2B companies. Typically, SEO is associated with B2C organizations, since customer acquisition is focused on a positive brand user experience. It's easy to forget, though, that marketing to other businesses still involves marketing to people and building relationships....

Jayson DeMers

How Schema Helps Your SEO Campaign

Every business, regardless of where you stand, is interested in growing and upping customer leads; your website is the perfect conductor for this. Schema data can optimize your SEO, which in turn can cause an increase in targeted search traffic, which results in more customer leads. But what is Schema data anyway?...

Mike Moran

Does Internet Marketing need a business case?

Don't give me that look. Depending on where you work, that might sound like a silly question. Everything needs a business case in some places. And I understand that. I used to work for IBM, which is one of those places in love with justifications for how you spend money before you drop a dime. And you can put together business cases for Internet marketing projects, but there is another way, too. In fact, I actually started the IBM search marketing program without any business case at all. You might be able to follow my lead where you work, not...

Jayson DeMers

Have We Seen the Last of Guest Blogging?

This is an issue that has received a great deal of attention over the last month or so. Ever since Matt Cutts' article 'The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO', marketers and webmasters have been scrambling trying to figure out whether there's still a place for guest blogging in their marketing strategies....

Stoney deGeyter

Not Following Your SEO's Recommendations Is Like...

Several months ago, I reached a point where I needed to move out of my rental home and start looking for a new place to live. I had specific needs and the rental house just wasn't doing it for me. So I embarked on the all-exhausting new-home search!For months my agent took me to house after house, from the suburbs to BFE. I felt like Goldilocks! Some houses were too small, some too far away, and others too expensive. But unlike Goldilocks......

Brian Dean

How to Streamline Time-Consuming White Hat SEO Techniques

I don't need to tell you that white hat SEO is the only viable option for businesses that want long-term traffic from Google.In fact, Rand Fishkin said it best in his post: "White Hat SEO: It F@$#ing Works".The downside of white hat SEO -- and the reason that so many people turn to "the Dark Side" -- is that white hate SEO is also F@$#ing time consuming!That's why I've put together this guide to help you squeeze more high quality backlinks from your link building campaigns....

Mike Moran

Can search marketing lower my conversion rate?

I got that question from someone once, and it made me realize what a lousy job we marketing "gurus" are doing in explaining what is important to people. I wonder if we have so emphasized the tools of the trade that we have forgotten what we are actually making with those tools. So, if you already know the answer to this question, then you can skip this post. For the rest of you, read on--I hope that you'll soon understand what we marketing "experts" have failed to get across so far....

Stoney deGeyter

Yeah, But... We Don't Want You Changing Anything on Our Site

In all the years I've been doing SEO, this has been one of my favorite conversations from a "Yeah, Butter." A company came to us about our SEO services before they started designing their new site. We told them about the advantages of getting us on board right away to consult with the designers, but ultimately, they thought it would be better to bring us in after the site was completed. Several months later they came back and were ready for us to optimize......

Stoney deGeyter

Yeah, But... We Do Just Fine Without SEO

Not everyone needs SEO. Sorry, Kevin, it had to be said. There are some businesses that are in small, niche industries that get enough local business that SEO will just be a burden to them. All those calls and emails coming in from the website just get in the way of taking care of customers. The customer comes first, damn it!...

Chris Warden

Backlinks Aren't Dead - The Way You're Building Them Is

Chris Warden, of Spread Effect, is back to discuss your SEO and link bulding strategy. The death of the backlink has been greatly exaggerated. It often feels like SEOs from all over the world are running around with tinfoil hats while proclaiming that their backlinking efforts not only aren't working, but they're getting themselves, and their clients penalized....

Jayson DeMers

9 SEO Blogging Tactics to Maximize Your Online Visibility

Creating a blog for a business is part of an overall content marketing strategy that simultaneously builds credibility, increases exposure and traffic, and increases conversion rates. But for your efforts to pay off, your blog content has to reach your intended audience. Here are some proven ways to get the most out of each blog post and fully enjoy the benefits of blogging. ...

Jayson DeMers

How to Measure the Success of Your Content Marketing Campaign

According to the 2012 B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report by the Content Marketing Institute, "nine out of ten Business to Business marketers are using content marketing to grow their businesses." But ask them how they are measuring the success of their content marketing efforts, and most won't have a clear answer. Here's my attempt at answering this question....

Jayson DeMers

How to Use Business Intelligence to Optimize Your Online Marketing Initiative

Business intelligence is one of the best ways companies can visualize their data, understand it, and make intelligent, informed decisions based on it. In this article, I'll discuss how business intelligence and online marketing fit together, and how to combine them to optimize your online marketing initiative....

Mike Moran

Does an In-House SEO Have a Fool for a Client?

As a long-time in-house SEO, you'd probably expect that I did not consider myself a fool at the time I was doing that. But I have recently gotten that question from a lawyer who wonders if he should do his own SEO, which reminds me of the old joke that a lawyers who represents himself has a fool for a client. But is it a bad idea to do your SEO in-house? I think it depends on how you go about it. If you think you'll pick up everything you don't know without any help, you're probably looking at...

Mike Moran

In Search Marketing, Focus on What's Important

Search marketing seems like it changes every minute, and it's hard to blame anyone who is worried about falling behind. With big news such as Google Instant seemingly coming every instant, anyone might be concerned that their SEO knowledge is becoming outdated and that their search rankings will be the next thing to drop. I got a Facebook message from someone in just such a predicament and I decided to share my answer to him with you all....

Chris Warden

Your Guide to Local SEO 2013

"What is Local SEO? Why is it important? What can it do for my business?" This guide will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Jayson DeMers

How to Build an Online Community Around Your Business

Strong relationships and customer loyalty are essential for laying down a solid foundation for any business. One of the most effective ways to develop relationships and gain loyalty is to build an online community. Here are some of the primary advantages of this strategy and the steps to take to build an online community around your business. ...

Chris Warden

Local SEO - "Analytics and Tracking"

"What is Local SEO? How do register analytics? How do I track my traffic sources? What can it do for my business?" This series will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors.......

Chris Warden

Local SEO - "Citations & Linking"

"What is Local SEO? How do use "links" to my advantage? What can it do for my business?" This series will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Jayson DeMers

How to Recover from Penguin 2.0

Penguin 2.0 has just rolled out. Brace for impact. Here's what you need to do to recover your rankings....

Chris Warden

Local SEO - "Rank Factors: Review Sites"

"What is Local SEO? How do "reviews" influence my ranking? What can it do for my business?" This series will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Jayson DeMers

SEO Principles From Volkswagen: How They Made It Cool Again

Volkswagen has embarked on a new bid to capture an even larger piece of the pie in the American auto marketplace, and Internet marketing techniques are playing a big role in that campaign....

Chris Warden

Local SEO - "Rank Factors: Places Listing and Social Media"

"What is Local SEO? What factors influence my ranking? What can it do for my business?" This series will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Nick Stamoulis

What Kind of SEO Mess are you About to Inherit?

There are many reasons that someone might want to invest in a pre-existing domain. For instance, one of my former B2B SEO clients, a large software company, would occasionally buy up smaller companies and enfold that second company's products into their own software line. Eventually Company B's website would be "sunsetted" and redirected to the new product pages on my client's site, giving those new pages a valuable SEO boost. Other companies might have several microsites from past marketing efforts that they want to redirect to their main corporate website, pushing any visitors, links, and SEO value over. And other...

Chris Warden

Local SEO - "Why is it important?"

"What is Local SEO? Why is it important? What can it do for my business?" This series will provide you with steps and knowledge you can use to improve the visibility of your business with local traffic. Get yourself started in this fast-growing field and make yourself more recognizable than your competitors....

Stoney deGeyter

The Complete Guide to Mastering Your Meta Tags

If you were ever going to tell a "back in the day" story about SEO, it would have to include a discussion of meta tags. Long before links were built, before content was king and before social was sharable, meta tags were optimized. Meta tag optimization is the original SEO...

Jayson DeMers

5 Ways to Use Census Data to Improve Local SEO

When SEO goes local, there are a few new rules that savvy webmasters need to follow. The good news is that census data is readily available and can provide a lot of information to customize and tweak SEO. Along with big data that's available for a reasonable fee (or free), it's important to use the information that's available to maximize search engine results. Here are 5 easy ways to put census data to work....

Mike Moran

What are you optimizing your pages for?

SEO, as you know, stands for Search Engine Optimization, and you might rightly expect that SEO is about optimizing pages to appeal to search engines. And you'd be right. Increasingly, however, I am finding that clients believe so fervently in SEO that they aren't actually optimizing their pages for sales. If you are falling into the trap, you'll likely regret looking so narrowly at SEO....

Nick Stamoulis

Understanding and Celebrating the Little SEO Wins

Of course every site owner is looking for the big jump in organic traffic as a way to justify their SEO investment. If 1,500 organic visitors in January jumps to 3,500 organic visitors by June there is no denying that SEO is doing its job. But when the jump isn't that big does that automatically mean your SEO program has failed? Not necessarily. Sometimes, in order to gauge the real impact of your SEO program, you have to look at the little SEO wins and how they feed into your success overall....

Stoney deGeyter

The Complete Guide to Mastering Your Title Tags

When it comes to on-page optimization, the title tag of any given web page is the single most important piece of optimizable real estate there is. Think of it as beach front property off the Florida Keys. Unlike other areas of a website, the optimizable space in the title tag is extremely limited but has great search visibility, which means it can really pack a punch! In fact, aside from a site's total architecture, I can't think of any single area of a site that holds as much sway over search engine rankings as the title tag of your pages.

Stoney deGeyter

9 Irrefutable Reasons Why You Need SEO

SEO is much bigger than content or links. It's more than blogging, keyword research or fixing website problems. All of those are things that SEO does, but none of that explains why you need SEO. You may need all those services, but here's why you need SEO...

Jayson DeMers

The Definitive Guide to Google Analytics for SEO Professionals

Google Analytics makes it possible to track SEO efforts, and has been used by businesses the world over to track ROI on internet marketing. The new Google Analytics platform has been a steep learning curve for some SEO professionals, especially those who were accustomed to the classic layout. However, the "new" analytics comes with more than just a confusing layout. It also has additional features that make it easier than ever to track ROI from internet marketing and SEO efforts....

Stoney deGeyter

Hiring an SEO? Look Out For These 7 Red Flags (And Run Away If You Find Them)

Comparing SEOs is sometimes as difficult as comparing beef enchiladas made with a red sauce to chicken enchiladas with a cream sauce. I mean, they are both from the enchilada family and probably pretty tasty, but there can only be one winner!

Nick Stamoulis

Ramping Up Your Seasonal SEO

Summertime may not be just around the corner, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! If your peak business season is the summertime(businesses such as beach front hotels, ice cream parlors, landscaping companies, etc) then you need to make sure your seasonal SEO is in tip-top shape and ready to capitalize on the changing search behavior of your target audience. For businesses that are heavily impacted by seasonality, it's important to start thinking about your seasonal SEO efforts long before your busy season every actually arrives because by the time the season hits it's too late...

Stoney deGeyter

5 Steps to Organic Ranking Success

If you're looking for some new, profound or revolutionary "trick" to getting #1 rankings, you can just stop reading this post right now, because you won't find it. In fact, there is really nothing new here. Then again, there is really nothing new to good SEO. Sure, you might learn about some new avenues or a particular strategy, but not here. Not today. This post is for those looking for some good, solid, foundational SEO...

Stoney deGeyter

Think Your SEO Can Beat the Algorithms? Beat This...

I've long advocated a common-sense approach to algorithm chasing with SEO. What most people don't understand is that with today's algorithms, there is almost no such thing as a top search engine ranking. There is simply exposure. You either get more of it or less of it. Rankings play a role, but not in the way most people think...

Mike Moran

Hey, marketers: What if there was no Google?

I once attended a talk entitled, "What if there was no Google?"  The presenter worked through a number of different alternatives for how to cope with a marketing program where you could not put any of your spending in Google's pocket--you just drew a line through that Google row in your spreadsheet. The speaker made a lot of good points and really helped the audience. But I want to take the question that he asked and think about it a different way. What if there were no search engines?...

Mike Moran

Translators aren't search experts

I run across clients every day that want to expand internationally, and naturally, they expect to use search marketing to do it. So, they carefully choose the Web pages they need to translate into local languages, they throw open the doors to the country Web sites, and hear the sound of...crickets. What went wrong? They carefully optimized their original Web site for search and they hired capable translators to convert them to other languages. But they missed an important step....

Stoney deGeyter

Enterprise SEO for the Small-to-Medium Business

Every once in a while my company comes across a web marketing prospect looking for SEO, link building and social media services to get their uber-competitive keywords ranked #1 on Google. And then the bomb drops - their budget is a whopping $500! Whenever I come across these people who want so much for so little I want to wave my magic wand, click my heals together and rub the magic lamp sitting on my desk so that I can wish for an intravenous injection of whatever kool-aid they've been drinking.

Dave Cosper

Google+ Local: Competing for Visibility

Google's shift to Google+ Local has been indicative of a more democratized local algorithm. Further evidence is Google Map Maker being increasingly relied on as the back-end for Google+ Local. Looking ahead, edits/updates/reporting will likely be wholly integrated into Google+ Local dashboard with Map Maker serving as the back-end "mapper-driven" verification tool....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Optimize a Web Page in 7 Easy Steps

On-page optimization is the easiest, most learnable aspect of search engine optimization. But like all "easy" things, we sometimes forget that you can still do them wrong. Easy doesn't always mean simple. Yet, many complex tasks can be made easy with a good process...

Nick Stamoulis

Getting Your E-Commerce SEO Ready for the Holidays

While it pains me a little bit to be talking about the holidays before September is barely even half over, if you want to get your e-commerce SEO ready for the holiday shopping season it's better to start thinking about it and implementing tweaks now so your changes will have enough time to impact the SERPs. Remember, just because you make a change to your site, say you added a few new pages of content, and can see it instantly on your end that doesn't mean the search engines notice it right away. You have to give your site time...

Stoney deGeyter

What Does a Winning SEO Team Look Like? This...

Ever wonder what a winning SEO team looks like? Go online and you can see a lot of SEOs writing, commenting, tweeting and communicating in the public spheres like peacocks spreading their feathers in mating season. Conferences are full of SEOs looking for their next delicious nugget of information to turn around and implement on their next SEO project. But none of this really allows you to understand what a true SEO team does or should look like...

Mike Moran

Search Marketing Is Like Dating

From across the room, you see...THE ONE. Wow. Your heart goes pit-a-pat at the sight. Immediately, your thoughts start racing. You are ready to do anything, be anything to be attractive to that one person you are fixated on. Is that the right approach? You probably know that it's not the right approach in dating, but did you know that it fails in search marketing, too?...

Stoney deGeyter

SEO Doesn't Fit Into a Box, But Does Need To Be Contained

SEO - at least good SEO - doesn't fit nicely into a box. It can't come prepackaged, predetermined or wrapped nicely with a cute little bow. SEO can barely be predicted! It can't ever be guaranteed*, and it isn't a magical way to reach the next billion dollar IPO...

Nick Stamoulis

Getting SEO into the Rest of Your Marketing

In a perfect world, SEO would be seamlessly integrated into the rest of your marketing efforts. Everything you do to market your business, both online and offline, can be leveraged for SEO in some way. However, it can sometimes be tricky to "SEO-ify" your other marketing efforts when you aren't used to integrating SEO into everything you do. It's not nearly as complicated as you might think; it just takes a little refocusing....

Todd Bailey

Copywriting Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Client Calls

Writing SEO-friendly content can be a challenge when you do it for your own company. It's even more difficult when another company asks you to do it for them. Not only are you tasked with writing SEO-enhanced content, but you're doing so for a company--possibly an entire industry--that you're not familiar with. ...

Mike Moran

How many pages are on your Web site?

Now, those of you running small Web sites may be snickering at this point--you know how many pages you have, for Pete's sake. And if you forget, well, you know how to count. Many medium-to-large Web sites, however, can't pin down exactly how many pages they have. They need to use some method of estimating their total number of pages. Unless they know how many pages they have, they won't know how many they hope to see in search engine indexes....

Stoney deGeyter

Every Good Content Strategy Starts With Having an Actual Strategy

As an SEO, I talk a lot about developing great websites that earn top rankings, as opposed to manipulating search engine algorithms for temporary gains. There is a lot that goes into a good SEO campaign, one of the most important being your website's content...

Todd Bailey

5 Quick Tips for Writing a Successful Landing Page

Businesses start SEO campaigns to reach the top of the SERPs. But, let's be clear, the goal isn't just to achieve a number one ranking. The goal, as it is in all business ventures, is to make more money. This is why SEO is often supplemented with pay-per-click campaigns and other traffic-generating initiatives....

Stoney deGeyter

If Your Site Isn't Broken, Should It Still Be Fixed?

We've all heard the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." That's me. I'm not going to try to soup up my truck, build a storage shed or install a door. In my world, if something isn't broke, I leave well enough alone. If something is working, I don't touch it! While that may be good conventional wisdom for a lot of things, it's terrible wisdom for most aspects of online marketing.

Nick Stamoulis

Small Business SEO: Do it Right or Don't Do it at All

Investing in your website's SEO is critical to your long term business success, but you want to make sure you are investing in the right kind of small business SEO...

Stoney deGeyter

Is Serving Clients' Best Interest Really In Their Best Interest?

Those of us in the SEO industry operate by some pretty simple principles. We're in business to help clients succeed. Success can mean many things, but, to most businesses, every lost ranking position looks like lost business! As SEOs, SEMs, link builders and inbound marketers, it's important to be successful - not just for our own sake, but also for the companies we work for.

Todd Bailey

The Philosophy of the Penguin and its Sense of Smell

I haven't been in Google back-rooms.  I have never met the Penguin personally.  But I can make observations.  It seems the pursuit of truth and honesty is one of the underlying messages taken from the ordeal.And the Penguin update name doesn't just come from another cute black and white bird, but is more closely related to a penguins sense of smell.  Algorithmically, the filter uses its "sense of smell" to associate authority (or lack their of) related to the site much like penguins use their sense of smell to identify their partner or offspring.  As we know of the penguin, they set off into...

Stoney deGeyter

Those Who Don't Learn SEO are Doomed to Repeat It

Pete and Repete were walking on a bridge. Pete fell off. Who's left? Repete? Ok, Pete and Repete were walking on a bridge. Pete fell off. Who's left? Repete? How about we just move on...

Nick Stamoulis

Revisiting Your Onsite SEO

You should take a look under the hood of your site from time to time to make sure that all elements of your onsite SEO are working properly and make any small adjustments as needed....

Stoney deGeyter

How Your SEO Communication Affects a Client's Perception of Success

One of the complaints I hear most frequently from new and prospective clients is that they have no idea what their previous SEO was doing for them. As the owner of a Web marketing firm, I quickly realized that even if a client is getting results, communicating those successes to them is as important as the results themselves.

Stoney deGeyter

Where to Begin with SEO? Start Here!

Engaging in proper site SEO isn't about pulling out a checklist that you can run through in a month, check them all off and say all done! A good optimization strategy consists of a variety of moving parts. Check one issue off your task list today and two more problems show up on your radar. Good SEO is kind of like an engine: There are many working parts, any of which can (and should) be improved, repaired or replaced to boost your vehicle's performance. The more your engine is used, the more work there is to do to keep the engine in top shape...

Todd Bailey

How to Rebuild Yahoo

Years ago, the Yahoo brand was one of the most significant and recognized on the entire Web.  Offering search, email, instant messaging, news and a variety of other options; Yahoo was a company that in many ways, was ahead of its time.  Since debuting in early 1995, the company managed to remain relevant and profitable even after the "dot-com bubble" burst in 2000.  However, in the mid-2000s, Yahoo started on a gradual decline from which the company has not yet recovered.  In 2008, financial losses triggered a series of layoffs, upper management changes and perhaps most importantly, a lack...

Todd Bailey

The Demands of Brand Expansion

Running a business is tiring. There's a lot to consider.  Compression and expansion are two points.  We see it in search engine optimization.  Technology provides the tools for international expansion; international reach is only an investment in the necessary implementations away.  But ISEO does need to address something in-America services do not - cultural differences....

Todd Bailey

How Important is Online Visibility?

In 2012, it's hard to imagine a company without an Internet presence. From the world's most prominent brand names to small, local businesses; most companies have already made the transition to the Web and many more are expanding their websites, social networking profiles and online storefronts. The Internet serves as a massive, worldwide promotional tool and its scale and reach are simply far too great to be ignored in the digital age. While thousands of companies around the world are fortifying their online identities, some are still struggling to be noticed. Internet marketing companies adamantly insist that visibility take the...

Stoney deGeyter

SEO is Out! Inbound Marketing is in?

It seems to be getting more and more difficult to define what exactly SEO is. Is it on-page optimization? Link building? Conversion optimization? Or is just about rankings, and leave the rest of that stuff to someone else?

Todd Bailey

Why Google's Latest Updates Matter to SEOs

This February, Google made 40 changes to their search technology and in doing so, gave SEOs much to anticipate going forward.  Not only has the latest update to Panda made an impact on how content is filtered, but the other 39 updates to Google's algorithm are also expected to change the search engine optimization landscape.  These updates are actually intended to improve search results and create a better user experience, but as with any updates to Google Search, they can still affect SEO strategies....

Stoney deGeyter

What SEOs REALLY Do...

Mike Moran

Google is checking your conversions -- are you?

I've talked before about how Google might have cracked the code on qualified sales leads through search. Somehow, sites are seeing drops in traffic but not all of them are seeing commensurate drops in revenue, because Google is figuring out which keywords drive revenue for each site. So, the question is whether you know which keywords are driving your own revenue. How are you tracking the connection between marketing effort and spending and your actual sales? If you're an e-Commerce company, it's easy--just track the sales through to your shopping cart. But for most companies--the ones that sell offline--tracking sales...

Dave Cosper

Writing Google Places Reviews to Improve Rankings

A business owner recently asked me how to go about building positive reviews in a way that would "optimize" their Google Maps listing. This is about as provocative a topic as it gets in the Local Search community, I know, but it's also an unavoidable subject worth addressing. Search marketers ponder the same "How To" question, if for nothing else to try and understand every aspect of local search ranking factors and translate this to practical advice for SMB's....

Stoney deGeyter

The Difference between Good SEO and Great SEO

Some quick-witted wisdom about good vs. better when it comes to SEO.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Get the Most Value From Your SEO Investment

Getting the most value from your SEO investment isn't always easy. There are a lot of factors that go into every SEO campaign, and it's not always easy to cut something out without negatively affecting something else, or worse, the entire campaign.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO Kung-Fu or SEO F-U?

What makes a good SEO? Is it just about having knowledge of search engine algorithms, being able to tweak code for the biggest ranking impact, or inserting keywords into a page to give it a better keyword focus? Is SEO all about search engine rankings or is there more to this than meets the eye?

Stoney deGeyter

Want Conversions? Give a Little to Get a Little

Sometimes getting conversions is like trying to capture mist in a jar or water with your fingers. No matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to get a secure hold on them.

Stoney deGeyter

You Know Your SEO Provider Sucks When...

They claim to have a "special" relationship with Google.

Stoney deGeyter

The Value (or Lack Thereof) of Measuring Keyword Rankings

There are a lot of ways to measure the success of an SEO campaign and rankings can be a relevant factor, but that should not be the only factor. Heck, I'm not even sure it's one of the top 5 most important measures of success! But instead of just yelling, "ranking reports suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck" at the top of my lungs, let's look at how we can accurately measure the value of any particular keyword ranking. I think you'll find a lot more here than meets the eye.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO is Like [Insert Analogy Here]

SEO is like a cat. Just because you optimized your site to call traffic to you doesn't mean the search engines will comply. SEO is like food. Quick, cheap SEO and has little long-term value, while healthy SEO costs more but has a better long-term effect. SEO is like Anthony Weiner...

Mike Moran

How do you break into SEO?

If you are in this business long enough, someone will come up and ask the question. To some of them, it is the most important question in their lives: "How do I break into SEO?" I honestly get this question several times a month.  And each person that asks me is ready for my answer. Some seem ready to take notes. They expect that I am going to rattle off some kind of canned answer that will unlock the secret to their future career. But I don't, because it isn't that easy....

Stoney deGeyter

Seven (Non-SEO) Tips to Having a Successful SEO Campaign

Successful SEO can't be done in a vacuum of search engine algorithms, social media and on-page optimization strategies. There is something even more fundamental to being successful at your SEO efforts than the knowledge needed to carry it out. These are foundational issues that, when applied, will help you not only gain the knowledge you need, but the wherewithal to grow in your success, even through difficult and dry times.

Stoney deGeyter

An SEO's Bill of Rights

In an effort to provide clarity between SEOs and their clients, I created a bill of rights for SEO clients. This post covers the bill of rights for the SEOs.

Stoney deGeyter

An SEO Client's Bill of Rights

There can often be confusion between clients and their marketing team as to expectations, due dates, goal measures and even invoicing. While many of these things can be, should be and are handled in the service contract, not everyone reads the fine print. So here are some basic guidelines to help SEOs and their clients realize what they have a right to in their SEO campaign.

Stoney deGeyter

You're Not an SEO Unless You Read This Post

There are hundreds of "parts" that can play a role in an effective optimization campaign. Google looks at more than 200 "signals" alone, each with varying degrees of value and necessity. Most people who start out doing SEO soon realize there is a lot to keep up with, and it's better passed on to more capable hands.

Stoney deGeyter

Why Your PPC Campaigns are Like the Stock Market and Careful Management of Your 'Portfolio' Matters

In my experience, SEO often translates into better ROI than PPC! But the primary difference is that PPC is far more trackable than SEO. PPC analytics can give you amazing flexibility into your campaigns and insight into your conversions that just isn't available with SEO.

Stoney deGeyter

Making the Case For SEO in a Social Media World

In the last few years social media has jumped to the forefront of online marketing for many small businesses. Some business owners aren't even bothering to market (or in some cases even build) their websites anymore.

Stoney deGeyter

Content Optimization Tutorial: How to SEO your Content for Rankings

Getting keyword rankings isn't good enough. The page must generate profits! Any page can get traffic. An optimized page should draw traffic through rankings and be a critical part of the conversion/persuasion process.

Stoney deGeyter

Is SEO a Long-Term or a Quick Fix Issue?

There is an unfortunate mindset when it comes to SEO and SEM. Instead of looking at them as an investment that will grow their businesses, owners hope that both SEO and SEM can provide quick-fix solutions that will bring an influx of new customers and soaring profits. And somehow, magically, that influx is expected to stay strong, even without any ongoing marketing efforts.

Stoney deGeyter

How Much ROI Will SEO Bring? How Much You Got?

With SEO, and a good business model, a seemingly sizable cost will often multiply itself into a considerable profit in just a few years, if not sooner. Don't look at the costs involved; look at the return your investment will bring.

Mike Moran

Google's Panda ranking algorithm changes SEO forever

Every day, I run into people affected by the Panda update. "Affected" always means negatively affected, because when your rankings go up, it means that Google is finally recognizing the quality of your site. When your rankings go down, blame it on Panda. Now, none of this is to say that Google's Panda algorithm update, and its ongoing tweaking that has followed, is not a big deal. In fact, this might be the biggest search ranking algorithm change since Google inaugurated link analysis in the late '90s. Because the search ranking algorithm isn't really an algorithm any more, because people...

Stoney deGeyter

13 Quick and Easy Ways (Even You) Can Screw Up Your SEO Campaign

SEO is like a complex machine. When all the gears are greased and everything is in place, all is well with the world (and your search engine rankings). But sometimes all it takes is one little snafu to bring your entire SEO campaign crashing down around you. There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning to find that Google has forgotten who you are and kicked you to the curb like a drunken date the morning after.

Stoney deGeyter

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 5: Broadcasting Your Message

So far in this series, everything we have discussed has to do with the set-up and creation of your online PR. All of the online elements need to be taken care of before you can push your story out online. Pushing it out before it's ready will lead to a colossal failure. However, how and where you push your message out is just as critical for it's success.

Mike Moran

Schemas, microformats, rich snippets, and SEO

When I was a kid, sometimes my father called me a dirty little schema. (He's from Brooklyn.) OK, OK, he didn't spell it that way. It wasn't long ago when "schema" was a word only used by database geeks. Microformats and rich snippets are even more obscure terms, but they are becoming increasingly important. If you don't know what they are, remain ignorant at your own peril, because these arcane terms are making big changes in SEO--probably the biggest markup-related changes since search engines stopped looking at the keyword meta data field....

Stoney deGeyter

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 3: Background Research

The one thing PR professionals need to remember is that, when putting out online content, your target audience is not just journalists. Your online audience should be much bigger than a small group of people who may or may not be interested in writing about your PR.

Mike Moran

Do searchers like your content?

Perhaps you don't care whether searchers like your content. I mean, what you really care about is whether the search engines like your content, right? Or whether a searcher will choose your search result because it is relevant. Or whether they will buy from you. Your content doesn't really need to be likable, does it? If you can somehow get yourself into the rankings and sell it, it doesn't matter how you do it. At least that is what we always thought. But the game is changing.Suddenly, your content needs to be voted Miss Congeniality....

Stoney deGeyter

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 1: Print Vs. Web

There is a big difference between reading things online versus offline. We often want to think that reading is reading is reading. But reading here isn't the same as reading there. The mindset between on- and offline is vast.

Stoney deGeyter

Good SEO Starts with Smart Purchasing Decisions

When it comes to purchasing an SEO or SEM strategy for your online business, there are two things to consider: How many hours does it take to meet your expectations, and how much are you willing to pay for each hour that goes into meeting those expectations?

Stoney deGeyter

Hurry Up and Wait: SEO is About Quick Action and Patient Results

The process of search engine marketing can be defined as a strategic game of quickly implementing strategies that will increase your site's exposure and conversion rates, while also patiently waiting for the fruits of your efforts to bear out. Sometimes you're doing one or the other, but most often you're doing both at the same time.

Mike Moran

Search results drop? Blame it on Panda.

I'm noticing a disturbing pattern among some SEO marketers. Anytime their search rankings fluctuate, they blame it on "the Panda update" that Google made to its search ranking algorithm. Now, lots of pixels have been spilled on Panda, with most angles addressing the crackdown on content farming and other low-quality content that has been increasing populating the top results. And a lot of the changes in search results can be directly attributable this algorithm change. But not everything....

Stoney deGeyter

Delegating Your SEO Tasks Into a Successful SEO Campaign

Very few people are an island amongst themselves, and even fewer have succeeded solely on their own. I admire many of the sole practitioners in the SEO industry, but frankly, I don't understand how they do it. It is a very difficult role to be an expert in SEO, link building, copywriting, analytics, PPC, social media, conversion analysis and coding all at once. Not to mention the time spent blogging, reporting, reading, analyzing, testing, and keeping up with the latest industry changes.

Stoney deGeyter

Where SEO Stops, Persuasion Begins

SEO can only take you so far in achieving new business. In fact, it can really only get people in the door and help with the online persuasion process. But, you still have to do the heavy lifting, making sure your site meets visitor expectations, gives them the information they are looking for and walks them to the conversion goals.

Mike Fleming

Dynamic Keyword Research - Don't Optimize Campaigns on Sinking Sand

Marketing on the web is demand-driven.  Searchers are looking for answers.  The best way to dominate the game is to become the best answer to their questions. This is why it's important to do dynamic keyword research instead of static keyword research.  It's also why you don't copy and paste the same ads into all of your ad groups talking about yourself and what makes you great....

Stoney deGeyter

Why Time is a Big Factor in Big-Time SEO Success

Time management, regardless of your field, becomes one of the most important aspects of your professional and personal life. It affects what you can do and what your client feels you should do. Those that don't manage their time wisely are doomed to fail.

Stoney deGeyter

Using The Scotty Principle to Sell SEO Services

SEOs that have made pie in the sky claims in order to sell you their services know they can't deliver on the results. SEOs that go by The Scotty Principle sell their services based on historical results, while ensuring that expectations are in line with reality.

Stoney deGeyter

How Concatenation Schemas Can Make Large Site SEO a Small Task

I learned a new word recently. Not a new word, really, but a new phrase combined from two of those really big words that normal people rarely ever use. That phrase is "Concatenation Schema". In the plainest, most simplest terms I could come up with, Concatenation Schema is just another way of saying "default content that changes dynamically based on category, sub-category, and product related information."

Mike Fleming

Dynamic Keyword Research - Keeping Your Online Marketing Aligned With the Rest of the World

Last time, we talked about a revolutionary tool in keyword research called Google Insights for Search that allows you to gain competitive advantages by doing dynamic keyword research instead of static keyword research. Static keyword research is using a keyword tool to get volume "numbers" at one point in time and then using that data to perform long-term marketing campaigns. The problem? Things change. Therefore, we need to incorporate dynamic keyword research to keep our campaigns aligned with what's actually happening on the web....

Stoney deGeyter

The Dirty Little Secret of Conversions: It's About Relationships

There are a lot of things that go into operating a successful business. But, when it's all said and done, the thing that really matters most is building relationships. Sure, your customers are concerned about price, quality, service, etc., but the most successful businesses are those that work to create some kind of strong rapport with both their customers and potential customers alike.

Mike Fleming

Dynamic Keyword Research - Stay in Front of Your Competition

Google has this tool called Insights for Search.  At first glance, it looks like a pretty simple, fairly unsophisticated tool that just tells you if search volume is going up or down for a particular keyword or group of keywords.  Not many insights there, right?  I mean, all you really have to do for search engine marketing is keyword research with one of the many tools available to you out there and you can easily line up the keywords that you want to go after by search intent and volume, right?...

Stoney deGeyter

Why Expectations Factor Into SEO Success

SEO has gotten an ugly rep over the years. Some of it deserved, some not so much. Unfortunately, many good SEO's get lumped into the same category as the bad ones. Kinda like lawyers, I suspect.

Mike Moran

What if my competitor is cheating at SEO?

It's a question that comes up all the time, but there hasn't been a good answer to it. There are painstaking ways that you can analyze your competitor's Web site for signs of elementary cheating, such as hidden text, keyword stuffing, and other simple forms of search spam, but don't bother. The search engines do a reasonably good job of sniffing those out themselves nowadays. But what about the big-time search spammer? What about someone who has set up an elaborate network of linking sites all designed to rank his site higher and your site lower? How can you catch...

Stoney deGeyter

Dear Client: I Love You, But Will You PLEASE Stop Obsessing Over Your Search Engine Rankings?

I get it, you hired me to perform Search Engine Optimization on your website. Why do we optimize for search engines? For rankings, right? Well, no, not anymore. It's been almost a decade since the SEO industry began it's turn toward a fuller website marking experience, looking beyond search engine rankings as a metric of success, and instead looking at business growth, conversion rates, and return on investment.

Stoney deGeyter

Why Small Minded and Small Marketed SEO Doesn't Work

It's nearly impossible to analyze the quality of the results of an SEO campaign without factoring in the budget. That's not to say you can't analyze work that has been done, you can. But, you can't give an opinion as to how much SEO, Link Building, Social Media, etc. has been implemented unless you consider the monthly investment.

Stoney deGeyter

Who Needs Profits...When You've Got Good Rankings?!!

Search engine marketing is an intense game of strategy, analysis, and patience. But, it's also a game with multiple, sometimes even conflicting, goals. Depending on who you talk to you, some will tell you SEO is about rankings, while others will tell you it's about conversions. It's a classic political struggle trying to answer the question, "what will bring in the greatest profits?"

Mike Moran

Are you policing your domain from spammers?

It was not a pretty sight. I watched the look on his face as he was shown a page from his domain that should not have been there. Precisely how it got there, no one knows, but it was clearly placed on his site by search spammers, out to get an advantage for some of their Web sites. It was a lovely little page about prescription drugs chock full of links to other places. How could that page have gotten there? And what was it there for? Welcome to the seedy little world of black hat SEO. If you don't...

Stoney deGeyter

Why You Should Never Duplicate Your Competitor's SEO Strategies

It's not too difficult to be so inundated with info. that you get information overload or conflicting advice. That leads to decision paralysis. You don't know the right course of action to take, or you can wind up using good information to make bad judgment calls.

Mike Moran

Do I have a content farm?

I was at the Boston SEO Meetup last night talking about why white hat SEO is the way to go. The attendees were a mix of newbies (trying to find people to help them with SEO) and a number of us grizzled veterans. (I am not sure what it means to be grizzled, but it just sounded right.) But I was surprised that many (both veteran and newbie) wanted to talk about the same thing: content farming. Some wanted to know what content farming is, some wanted to know what Google's algorithm change is affecting, and others wanted assurance that...

Stoney deGeyter

15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever (Q's 11-15)

As much as the title is vastly overstated, these questions will at the very least help you ponder SEO in a way you hadn't pondered before. At least that's my theory.

Stoney deGeyter

15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever (Q's 6-10)

This is the second set of questions from an interview I had given late last year. If you started this series with the introduction, you already know that the answers here differ from the answers given in the interview. One of the reasons I like written interviews is that it gives you a better opportunity to provide a more thorough and thought-filled answer. While these may not be life-changing questions, I hope they are at least thought provoking for the small business owner who doesn't know a lot about SEO.

Stone Reuning

Dig a Little Deeper in your Keyword Research to Really Learn What Your Prospects Are Looking For

We all can get a little lazy sometimes - web writers are no different.When researching keywords, it's natural to just want to grab some keywords in high demand and put those into our copy. But you have to think about those who have no idea what you do or offer. With this in mind, web writers need to better study keywords and use others that may not look like they're in high demand but would be something a total novice might think of.Not digging deeper into your keyword research could hinder your website's potential and not attract the best leads....

Stoney deGeyter

15 Questions That Will Change The Way You Think About SEO Forever

There are a lot of factors that go into a successful SEO Campaign. There is content, keywords, titles, descriptions, usability, architecture, and link building. All of these play a significant role and cannot be ignored. But, to narrow this down into a single thing that is THE most important element to make a campaign successful is tough. We will start here with 5 of the 15 questions to help break it down.

Mike Moran

Google needs its own social network

I was talking to a veteran SEO consultant the other day about all the things I am seeing about how social media activity affects organic search. After listening for a few minutes, he abruptly stated, "SEO and social are separate. A lot of people say they do both, but it is too complicated to be good at both. I do SEO and that's all I need to do." I agree that it is complicated, maybe too complicated for any single person to do well. But maybe a few consultants need to work together to do the job right, because there...

Mike Moran

How is Google feeling about sentiment analysis?

You've probably heard of sentiment analysis, a technique that allows computers to determine whether a comment is positive or negative about a subject. You can probably imagine a few uses for this kind of technology, such as culling social media for mentions of your brand, but you might be surprised about how much effort Google is putting into this area, including recently purchasing a startup that specializes in sentiment analysis....

Stoney deGeyter

Don't Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead! (Part 3 of 3)

This series is pulled from a presentation given at SMX East. Part I of this series covered the problems duplicate content creates. Part II covered some of the causes of duplicate content. This post covers some of the solutions that will help you fix your duplicate content problems.

Stoney deGeyter

Don't Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead! (Part 2 of 3)

This series is pulled from a presentation given at SMX East. Part I of this serious covers the problems duplicate content creates. This post covers the causes of duplicate content, and Part III will look at the solutions you need to implement to fix your duplicate content problems.

Stoney deGeyter

Don't Let Duplicate Pages and Bad URLs Destroy Your SEO: Kill It Dead!

Duplicate content is like a virus. When a virus enters your system, it begins to replicate itself until it is ready to be released and cause all kinds of nasty havoc within your body. On the web, a little duplicate content isn't a huge problem, but the more it replicates itself, the bigger the problem you're going to have. Too much duplicate content and your website will come down with some serious health issues.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO First, Web Development Second

The success of a website's online marketing efforts can make or break many businesses. It no longer makes sense to hire your SEO only after a website has been developed. That's like doing demographic research after you have already chosen your store's location and invested thousands of dollars in setting up shop.

Stone Reuning

Building Web Content vs. Traditional Advertising - How to Explain to Your Boss or Prospective Client(s)

How can you convince skeptics of the value of building web content over traditional advertising? While the answer may seem obvious to you, many others still cling (...perhaps stubbornly) to advertising - whether it's PPC or traditional. See how you can convince your boss or prospective client of the long-term benefits web content provides....

Stoney deGeyter

Can't Afford SEO? Can't Afford NOT to SEO!

One of the questions that I keep hearing from small business owners every year is this: How can a small business like me afford SEO/SEM? It's a fair question coming from budget-conscious business owners. Not everybody can afford SEO. But, nobody can afford NOT to SEO.

Mike Moran

Facebook Doesn't Help Me Find Anything

Some of this is generational. I am more comfortable firing up a search query than polling my Twitter followers or Facebook friends. But as social media activity increasingly has an impact on Bing and Google search results, it makes me wonder whether it will become an annoyance for me rather than something truly helpful, which mostly has to do with how I have approached social networks as a quasi-public person in what's turning into a private networking world. The possibly logical assumption that Facebook friends are my actual friends is causing me to wonder whether I have missed the point...

Mike Moran

Does a CMS help your SEO?

If you just read that headline and felt like singing, "CMS and SEO, E-I-E-I-O," you're not alone. Sometimes digital marketing is an acronym factory that feels like you need a secret decoder ring just to understand what is going on. And even if you know that a "CMS" is a content management system and that "SEO" is search engine optimization, you might not know how they relate to each other. Many Web sites struggle with the question of whether a CMS is a step that they need to take, and many more wonder whether adopting a CMS would magically boost...

Stoney deGeyter

Where Your IA is, There You Will Be Also

Developing an IA plan on an existing site isn't much more than taking a bird's-eye view of all your site pages and arranging (or rearranging) them in a more user and search engine friendly format. Easy, in theory, but not always so easy in practice, depending on the size and disarray of the site.

Stone Reuning

Can I Use Frames on My Site and Still Have High Rankings?

Any experienced search engine marketer knows that Frames spell doom for your site in terms of search engine rankings. What's the point of all those pretty flash graphics if they can't be found? But don't remiss - there's a way you can safely use Flash and still get the content crawled and indexed by the search engines. Continue reading for more.......

Stoney deGeyter

Six Easy Ways to Eliminate Pesky Duplicate Content

Despite the all the intelligence Google can muster, it's still a good idea to fix your duplicate content problems. Because it will play a role in which pages the search engines spider and index, as well as how many they index. These are both critical to getting visitors to your site and presenting them to the best pages for their query.

Mike Moran

When is social search coming? What? It's here?

Not long ago, there was a lot of discussion about whether Facebook was taking over the hearts and minds of the next generation, where Google has owned the previous one. Much discussion ensued about whether using a search engine to find things would be easier than asking your friends. As usual, the future is more complex than we imagine, because we have all decided that the answer between text search and social networking is...both....

Mike Moran

Are You Ready for Auto SEO?

No, I don't mean that search engine optimization will happen automatically. I am asking if you have considered what the world will be like in the not-too-distant future, when a big chunk of searches will be executed from your customers' cars. Perhaps this strikes you as a bit too much Buck Rogers, but many people thought we wouldn't be searching for things from cell phones not too long ago. The technology is arriving and it's not too soon for marketers to start thinking about how it will change their businesses....

Mike Moran

Singular and Plural Keywords Are Not Always the Same for SEO

I received an interesting question the other day from a student in a class that I am teaching on SEO. He's on the process of optimizing a landing page for the keywords "waterproof jacket" (singular) and "waterproof jackets" (plural), he is noticing that each keyword produces different organic search results across multiple search engines. His question is whether he should optimize his landing page for both of these keywords or just one of them? As you might suspect, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question (even thought the actual waterproof jacket might come that way)....

Stoney deGeyter

Everything I Know About SEO I Learned in the 80's

There was no commercial internet in the 80's, but that doesn't mean that we can't reach into the recesses of our past to see that, everything we know now about SEO, we already knew back then. How? From the greatest, most magical music of all time: 80's hair band glam rock!

Mike Moran

What's the next shoe to drop from Google?

Last week, I asked the musical question, "Are you keeping up with Google?" In that post, I tried to stimulate some thinking around the idea that waiting for the ranking algorithm to change is not the best time to begin doing something new in response. If you work that way, you are constantly feeling under the gun, like you can't keep up, and that you are always falling behind. Instead, I tried to get you to think about doing what is best for searchers and then waiting for Google to catch up with you. So, the question of the moment...

Stone Reuning

5 Ways you Can Use Blog Comments to Obtain Organic Links

If you run a blog, you no doubt see many comments that have no use whatsoever. They're simply spammers out there fishing for links. While it may seem counter intuitive though, you can obtain strong organic links by commenting on other people's blogs. Continue reading for 5 ways you can get useful links through commenting on blogs. ...

Stoney deGeyter

Try a Little SEO Romance

Love at first site is very rare. In many cases even "like" at first sight is rare. Build a good site, and Google gets interested. But, you'll still have a lot of romancing to do to get them to really like you. And, you have to commit to get them to love you. If you're not willing to commit to the process, then maybe you're just not worthy of Google's love.

Mike Moran

Are you keeping up with Google?

It was only recently that a number of critics were talking about how Google is standing still and Bing is the real innovator in the search space. I think that Google Instant has quieted those critics, at least for now. Love it or hate it, Google Instant certainly is innovative and it is not the only thing going on at the Googleplex. We previewed it a few weeks ago, but it is happening for real now: Your page design matters for your SEO. But I am not sure that's even the biggest Google change of recent vintage....

Stoney deGeyter

How Not To Ruin Content With SEO

There are a lot of different ways to say the same thing. Anyone who has performed keyword research knows that people search for a lot of the same things using very different phrases and terminology. For example, if you're looking to build your online business, you could search for: internet marketing, website marketing, online marketing, website promotion, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, SEO, and a dozen other variations.

Stoney deGeyter

What Can Brick and Mortar Teach You About SEO?

Operating an online business has a lot of advantages over brick and mortar shops. But, contrary to what many believe, being online is not the holy grail of business success. Brick and mortar stores have been successful, to varying degrees, for millennia. Comparatively, the web is barely a twinkly in Al Gore's eye.

Mike Moran

How do you give Google what it wants?

No matter who you are, at some point it is natural to throw your arms up in frustration and ask, "What does Google want from me?" For most of us, no matter how much we know about SEO and no matter what we do, we eventually feel like we've hit a wall. We just can't seem to (pick one) raise our ranking for that keyword, get more search traffic, sell more to searchers, or fill in the blank here. And it is natural to start thinking about how that Google ranking algorithm does its magic. It's human nature to ask...

Stoney deGeyter

The 12-Step Program for Online Marketing

The 12-Step Program, developed by AA, has been used by countless individuals and copied by many organizations to help people get their lives on track. Here, we present the 12-Step Program for business owners when dealing with their online marketing campaigns.

Stoney deGeyter

Is Your SEO Chasing Algorithms or Chasing Analytics?

As an SEO, I understand the need to keep up with what's going on with the major search engines as a prerequisite to being able to perform solid optimization strategies. However, there is a point where you start getting diminishing returns from chasing every nuance in the search engine algorithms vs. building a solid, well-optimized website that performs well for both search engines and visitors coming through search.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Turn a Negative SEO Experience Into Success

Every industry, I believe, has it's Enrons and BPs. Sometimes they are good companies that make very bad mistakes. Other times they are bad companies out to make a quick buck at the expense of others. But, anybody who has been burned by an SEO and has decided not to go that route again must consider what else they would be giving up if they followed the same precedent.

Mike Moran

Will the visual design of your pages help your SEO?

Up until now, the appearance of your Web pages had nothing to do with your success in organic search, but that time might be coming to and end. Lots of stuff matters, of course, ranging from page titles to inbound links to dozens of other factors in each search engine's ranking algorithm. Also important is the title and the snippet that helps searchers decide which search result to click on. Once clicked, your visual design matters a great deal as to whether your new visitors decides to buy or not, but will it have any impact on your SEO?...

Stoney deGeyter

What Do You Expect Your SEO Expert to Know?

When you're looking for an SEO expert, what do you expect to find? Someone who is an expert at on-page optimization? Someone skilled at link building? Someone who knows usability, analytics, and testing? Do you want a social media guru or a copy writing artist? There is a lot to know about SEO and none of that knowledge comes easy.

Stoney deGeyter

You WANT Rankings, But What Do You Really NEED?

If you're in the market for a (quality) SEO, you're going to find providers that go well beyond services aimed at achieving top search engine rankings. In fact, if your SEO only knows how to throw keywords you want to rank for onto your site pages, I can tell you that you're NOT getting your money's worth (even if you are only paying a few hundred dollars a month).

Stone Reuning

Effectively Dealing with Google's New Instant Features

Google's newest feature, known as Instant, has many SEOs and web marketers scratching their heads. Some go as far to say the SEO craft is totally dead. Get the low-down on Instant, how it's affecting search traffic and how you can handle any changes you may see in your search engine rankings and referrals....

Stoney deGeyter

What Do You Want From Me?!! (Setting Proper Client Expectations)

Setting client expectations isn't easy. We live in a sales oriented world and people want to hear how you're going to bring them vast sums of wealth with the magical arts of SEO. Unfortunately, it's never that easy.

Stoney deGeyter

Why You Need To Invest More In Your SEO Campaign NOW.

Online marketing is no Little League game. This is the Big Leagues. Whether it's SEO, PPC, or Social Media, you can't play T-ball when you are trying to compete in the Majors. If you're lucky, holding back on your online marketing investments can prevent you from building up the momentum you need to overcome your competition. If you're not lucky, it's gonna cost you a lot more money to fix it later than to do it right to begin with... right NOW.

Stoney deGeyter

Silos, Architecture, and Linking...Oh My!

The optimal time to start consulting with the SEO on a new website is at the very beginning. And, I mean the VERY beginning... when the website is just a sparkle in it's dreamer's eye.

Stoney deGeyter

What's that SEO Worth to You?

Pricing out SEO services can be a challenge for any business looking to invest in their online marketing efforts. It's difficult because there is no one-size-fits-all pricing metric. It seems that, no matter where you turn, you're comparing apples to oranges when it comes to pricing and services offered between SEO companies.

Sage Lewis

Google Instant - Thanks for the Insane Laughs!

Have you seen Google Instant? It's the latest development from Google. I can't take the hilarity of it all....

Mike Fleming

Smart Web Business Decisions Made Easier

Here is an absolutely delightful new little (but really huge!) feature in Google Analytics that should make anyone interested in improving their web business results smile from ear to ear.  It's called Weighted Sort.The problem:You want to find out how your keywords are performing for a particular metric, say bounce rate, because you want to improve the relevance of the visitors to your site.  You jump into analytics to take a look at the Keyword Report, click on the bounce rate heading to sort bounce rates from worst to best, and you find this......

Stoney deGeyter

5 Clichés That Make You a Better SEO

Not all sites are easy to get results for, regardless of how much improvement is necessary. There is a lot of knowledge that is needed to be a good SEO, and that includes having street smarts. So, continuing on my theme of using traditional clichés to make SEO points, I hereby provide you with some common clichés that will help you be a better SEO.

Stone Reuning

Properly Formatting your Press Release for Maximum Impact - Part II

Aside from letting the world know about what's going on at your company, press releases also help your company's website build and maintain high search engine rankings....

Stoney deGeyter

6 Clichés That Help You Understand SEO

Clichés are a great way to make a point because the meaning of them is pretty much universally understood, even if not entirely true. Just because something is a cliché doesn't mean it can, or should be, disregarded. Here are some clichés that we can use to help us better understand SEO.

Sage Lewis

Do Keywords In Your Domain Matter?

This is a question I get asked all the time. Get the final answer right here....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Ensure Your Website Gets Some Action

When it comes to getting your visitors to take action, whether that be a sale, download, request, or call, it's your content that is going to either make it happen or leave people blowing in the wind like a sagebrush through a ghost town. If there is anything that all the years of marketing research has proven it's that people need to be told what to do if you expect them to do anything at all.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Train Your Content to Get Your Audience's Attention

Most people who visit websites scan them first, then skim the text. But, they only skim read if they get intrigued by their initial scan, and they read it only if they find something compelling and interesting that warrants their full attention. There are four easy ways to train your text to be scan-able.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Train Your Content Not to Overstay it's Welcome

The first thing to train your content to do is not to overstay it's welcome. Like a neighbor you enjoy having over occasionally, there comes a time when they must leave. In the same way, you can train your content to know when to stop talking and show the visitor the door to the next page or pages of your site.

Stoney deGeyter

They Got Dibs! Make Your Audience Your A-Girl

What you write, how you write, and the overall presentation you put together on your website shouldn't be based on the boss' opinions or what we think the search engines want. Those don't have to be totally disregarded, but your audience, your A-Girl, comes first. She's the one that matters.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Write Content That No One Else Has

One of the most important things business owners often fail to do is to make their website remarkable. It really doesn't matter what industry you're in or how many other websites you're competing against, making your site stand out from the pack is absolutely essential.

Stone Reuning

11 Ways you Can Maximize Keyword Exposure without Sacrificing your Content

Following these steps will go a long way toward maximizing the amount of keywords on your page without creating copy that's repetitive, boring and gets you penalized by the search engines....

Stoney deGeyter

Who Told You THAT Was a Good Keyword?

Choosing single-word terms is tempting due to the search volume those terms have. Clients often choose these words on that basis alone. They are tempting targets for business owners who see dollar signs in every potential visit. But, instead of creating dollars, these keywords steal profits away through efforts that are better invested in other places.

Stoney deGeyter

It Isn't "Old School SEO" If It's Just Nonsense SEO

In the SEO world there is "old school" and then there is "old school SEO nonsense". In my world, the "old school SEO nonsense" stars Will Farrell. In your world, it might star Colin Farrell, Lindsay Lohan, or the entire cast of Big Bang Theory--all viable alternatives.

Jennifer Laycock

How to Know When Your Site Needs Social Media Before SEO

Every now and then Search Engine Guide's Associate Editor Stoney deGeyter finds himself on the phone with a potential client trying to talk them into putting their conversation on hold and giving me a call. Why? Because they're in a position where they need to focus on both social media and search engine optimization to build a successful site, but they only have the budget to do one at a time...and at this time, they need to put search engine optimization on hold and focus on social media

Jennifer Laycock

How to Know When Your Site Needs SEO Before Social Media

Every now and then I find myself on the phone with a potential client trying to talk them into putting our conversation on hold and giving my Search Engine Guide's Associate Editor Stoney deGeyter a call. Why? Because they're in a position where they need to focus on both search engine optimization and social media to build a successful site, but they only have the budget to do one at a time...and at this time, they need to put social media on hold and focus on search engine optimization.

Mike Moran

How do you know what is search spam?

Last week, I asked the musical question, "Is Your SEO Strategy to Barely Avoid Spamming?" One of the commenters told me that he waited and waited in that article to find out what the line was between spamming and ethical behavior, but I didn't tell him. So, that's what we tackle this week....

Mike Moran

Is Your SEO Strategy to Barely Avoid Spamming?

I am increasingly getting a question from organic search marketers about where the "line" is between sharp SEO tactics and spam. Basically, it's the SEO equivalent of "how many miles per hour over the speed limit can I go without getting pulled over?" If this sounds like an interesting question to you, I'd like to humbly respond that you don't get it. You don't get search marketing in particular or Internet marketing as a whole. And it's holding you back more than you probably realize....

Garry Przyklenk

Mayday! Your long tail is going to get shorter, but maybe fatter

As a frequent writer on search marketing topics and web analytics with a vested interest in the popularity of my content, I have to say the recent Google Mayday algorithm discussion at SES Toronto had me somewhat worried.  Maile Ohye of Google Webmaster Tools keynoted day 2 in an open forum discussion with Mike Grehan and did a great job of dispelling several myths of Mayday, while reinforcing the sentiments Matt Cutts and others had made earlier this month. It got me thinking: would I prefer a shorter long tail, or a fatter one?...

Stone Reuning

The Need for Speed: What Does Google's Caffeine Mean to You?

Google's new system for indexing content on the Internet, Caffeine, went live June 8th. It used to be that Google updated its indexes every couple weeks. Now it's darn close to real time. This is good news if you update your content regularly. Since Google now refreshes its index much more frequently, it will be constantly looking for the most relevant results to display for any given search phrase....

Mike Moran

Why optimizing your pages for search doesn't work

I am constantly running into people who are frustrated with search engine optimization. "SEO doesn't work," I've heard them say. "I optimized my pages and I am not getting any more search traffic." Why does this happen? Perhaps it's because a critical step in search engine optimization has been skipped....

Stoney deGeyter

It Isn't Good Content Unless it's SEO'd Content

Good SEO content does more than just help a site get rankings. It lets visitors know their search was successful, provides them the information they need, and leads them through the conversion process to achieve leads and sales (or whatever else is a conversion to you.)

Stone Reuning

Mayday Update Confirmed by Google

A hot topic of late in the SEO forums centers on what's been dubbed Google's "Mayday" update...we explained in our blog previously that many site owners were experiencing dramatic drops in their long-tail keyword (phrases over 3 words) rankings. Now Google has confirmed the "Mayday" update with Matt Cutts saying at Google I/O that "this is an algorithmic change in Google, looking for higher quality sites to surface for long tail queries. It went through vigorous testing and isn't going to be rolled back."...

Manoj Jasra

Insight Into Webmaster Tools - A Chat with Google's Maile Ohye

Last week I caught up with Maile Ohye, Senior Developer Programs Engineer at Google (on the Webmaster Tools team). Maile will be keynoting SES Toronto in a couple of weeks with a presentation titled: Inside Google Webmaster Central. I was able to get a sneak peak on some of the topics from that upcoming session in my chat with Maile...

Stoney deGeyter

SEO With Google Webmaster Tools - Part 6: Labs

This final section of Google Webmaster tools provides some tools that Google calls "experimental". The tools in this section change frequently so those mentioned here are available at the time of this writing. More may be added or others removed in the future.

Stone Reuning

Choosing the web address for a new website

Our online marketing clients often ask us to help select domain names when setting up a new website. Indeed, there is an argument that the domain name may impact search engine rankings for the site. But we also think that this decision deserves a lot of attention to how it will impact the website's user experience, from the impression it creates when it's first noticed to how easily it's remembered. I'll share with you a few of the things we tell clients here....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO With Google Webmaster Tools - Part 5: Diagnostics

This post covers the Diagnostics section of Webmaster Tools which lets you assess common issues and problems with your website.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO With Google Webmaster Tools - Part 4: Your Site on the Web (Continued)

In Part 3 of the Google Webmaster Tools series we started looking at the Your Site on the Web stats. We covered top search queries. In this post we'll finish working our way through this section of Webmaster Tools.

Sage Lewis

Top Search Queries - Totally Changing the SEO Game

Google recently made changes to Webmaster Tools that, I believe, changes the entire way we think about search engine optimization. They are now featuring extensive information with the Top Search Queries report. I recently did an in-depth class explaining this new resource and what it means to the search engine optimization industry. This is a 40 minute video of that class....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO With Google Webmaster Tools - Part 3: Your Site on the Web

Google Webmaster Tools allows you to view some basic stats and data for your site. It's not nearly as robust as Google Analytics--not even close--but it does provide some quick and easy data that you can use to assess your site and correct problem areas.

Dave Cosper

New SEO Practices for a Google Caffeine World

It's not going to be easy to fool Google anymore. To rank well in the new Google algo, you need to think about how you can encourage other people to want link back to you within a meaningful context across a broad number of sources....

Stone Reuning

A Brief Intro to Link Building for Small Business Owners

Linking is the mechanism that connects all the pages on the Internet. You've got links throughout your web site to let people navigate their way around your own site. You may have links going out to other web sites that you think will be useful for your visitors. And hopefully you have links coming into your web site from independent sources.

Dave Cosper

Google Places Now Allows Custom Links to be Displayed in Profiles

Google has begun to allow custom links to be added to a business's profile in Google Places. Up until now, only a single website link was permitted. Google's initial stance was this single link provided should be the best online representation of that company....

Bill Hartzer

Search Engine Optimization Tip: Adding Content to your Web Site

This is only one seo tip out of many search engine optimization tips I have been providing over the years. All of my search engine optimization tips are meant to be specific, they should not take too much time to implement, and are meant to be directly to the point. This search engine optimization tip is about adding more content and adding content to your web site....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO With Google Webmaster Tools - Part 2: Site Configuration

In Part 1 of this series I introduced Google webmaster tools and walked you through adding websites. Now that you have your site(s) in the system, you'll need to configure your site so you get the most out of the data provided through the Webmaster Tools interface.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO With Google Webmaster Tools - Part 1: Setting Up a Site

Google Webmaster Tools is one of the tools which is helpful to site owners and webmasters to figure out what problems their site has, fix potential errors, and provide Google some feedback on how our sites should be treated. This post walks you through setting up your site....

Garry Przyklenk

Importance of Being "SEO Earnest"

After working for several years in online marketing, I have come to appreciate that many practitioners in the online space can be less than honest about the true goals of search engine optimization.  Although the practitioners, those of us in the business of creating content to be found by search engines do a great job of publicizing many best practices, the very nature of the beast is evolutionary.  Engines change their algorithms, search trends change based on user behavior, and competition can be fierce.  Regardless of your commitment or involvement in your SEO effort, you need only remember three things...

Mike Moran

Search Engine Optimization vs. Customer Connection

Last week in this space, I posed the musical question, "Are You Optimizing for Search Engines or for Customers?" Then, on Friday, I continued this theme in my talk at Search Insider Summit by focusing on the choice between search engine optimization vs. customer connection. One reporter summed it up as "search marketers need an attitude adjustment," which might be true, but I want to go a bit further....

Manoj Jasra

Optimize Your Page Load Time - 6 Tools

The Google Webmaster blog has officially stated that page load time is now a factor in Google's ranking algorithm. Even though they state that page load time only affects less than 1% of queries, this is still 1% of 100+ billion searches a month...

Mike Moran

Are You Optimizing for Search Engines or for Customers?

The very name "Search Engine Optimization" would seem to answer the question of who marketers are optimizing their site for. All the great advice you get about getting your pages indexed and finding which keywords are used in the search engines and optimizing your content to be found by the search engines—it's all search engines all the time. Or is it? At some point, you need to ask yourself why you are doing all of this....

Jennifer Laycock

Six Reasons SEOs Love Blogs

With so much social media focus on sites like Twitter, FourSquare and Facebook these days, it's easy for companies to neglect one of the single most powerful social media tools available: their blog. In fact, for companies who are looking to increase their search engine optimization efforts, a well-crafted blog can make a dramatic difference.

Stoney deGeyter

Do SEO Fast Before You Do It Best

I generally implement my optimization campaigns in two phases. The first phase is a quick run through to get as many of the site pages "search engine friendly" as possible. The second is a much more thorough process that provides a complete optimization for each page. Here's how it works...

Stoney deGeyter

How to Optimize a Single Web Page For Over 15 Keywords and Get Ranked On All of Them

We are often told you can't optimize a single web page for more than two or maybe three keywords at a time. Many say you can't truly be effective optimizing for more than one. But what if you could successfully optimize a single web page for 15 or more keyword phrases at a time and get rankings for all of them? You can, and here's how.

Dave Cosper

Optimizing Your Business Listing for Local Search Supremacy

SMB's have just two meaningful representations in the local search space: a website and a business listing. If there was a Layman's equation for Google's local search algorithm, it would perhaps look something like this: Ranking = Location + Information + Corroboration + Input + X....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 16: Everything You Need to Know About Building Links

There are a lot of different approaches to building links. Like most things, quick-fix solutions rarely ever provide excellent long-term value. That's not to say quick fix solutions aren't sometimes needed or warranted, but they rarely make a good long-term investment.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 15: Everything You Need to Know About Linking

Links come in all different shapes and sizes. Some good, some bad, some are just there. There are a lot of things to consider when looking at the value of the link. Here we'll look at how links between two sites are valued.

Mike Moran

Google wants you to speed up your servers

Nobody likes slow web sites, but did you know that it affects your search results? Google is on the record as saying that site performance is a key factor in both organic and paid search results. The other search engines might be doing the same thing. So, if your site has always been a little sluggish during peak times, or just a bit pokey all the time, it might be hurting you in ways that you don't realize....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 14: Everything You Need to Know About Link Anatomy

Over the years what gets analyzed as part of the link has changed in order to provide better search results to web users. Things have come a long way since then. Today's link analysis factors are far more complex.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 13: Everything You Need to Know About Links

At best, link building is time consuming and tedious. At worst it's the thing drives good SEOs to the dark side of black hat magic. It's the one thing that most SEOs don't to do and very few actually can do well.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 12: Everything You Need to Know About Page Content

A good heading tells people what they can expect from the content that follows. What information will they learn? What benefits will be presented? What solutions will you provide?

Sage Lewis

Best Keyword Ranking Tools for SEO by WordStream

Wordstream did a nice job showing us some of the free and paid search engine rank checking tools out there. If you haven't updated your rank checking tool recently (or in the past several years) you should check out what is out there now....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 11: Everything You Need to Know About SEO Copywriting

A website without good copywriting is a sports car with an engine that doesn't run. It doesn't matter how pretty it is, the content is what is needed to provide your visitors the information they need in order for you to make the sale (or conversion, or whatever else you want your visitors to do.)

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 10: Everything You Need to Know About Keyword Qualifiers

Optimizing your website for core terms is only part of the optimization process. The vast majority of searches are performed using longer, more specific phrases.

Sage Lewis

Fortune 500 Can't Do Search Engine Optimization

Marketing Pilgrim reported on a Conductor study that basically said that most Fortune 500 companies are not ranking in the natural search results. I talk about why that is and why this is a huge opportunity for you....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 9: Everything You Need To Know About Keyword Core Terms

Learn how to find, prioritize and organize your core terms. These will be the basis of all your future site-optimization efforts.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 8: Everything You Need to Know About Keywords

Keywords are the blue-prints from which all your marketing efforts are built upon. Keyword research tools provide valuable insight into what words people are searching on the major search engines. But research tools are just the first step in a thorough and well-planned keyword research process. Great tools like Keyword Discovery and Wordtracker or even Google's tools don't tell you the intent of each search, however that information can be deduced with a bit of analysis and keyword organization....

Scott Buresh

Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search: What Should Your Philosophy Be?

As a search engine marketing company, we are often asked by clients and prospects if there's a basic philosophy when it comes to organic search engine optimization and paid search advertising. Without a hard look at your company's goals and unique situation, there really isn't a concrete answer to these questions.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 7: Everything You Need to Know About Site Architecture and Internal Linking

There are some common problems that often stand in the way of good SEO. These problems can greatly effect the performance of that content in terms of how well it ranks in the search results.

Jennifer Laycock

The World Does Not Begin and End With SEO

Ever notice how when someone finds a solution to a problem they're having, it suddenly becomes the solution to everyone else's problem as well? People who love their chiropractor tell you how much seeing one would help your sore back/sinus problem/shin splints/etc. People who have lost and kept weight off with a specific diet suggest how well it will work for you. People who experience success trying a marketing tactic tell you what a difference it will make for your company if you do it too.

Sage Lewis

The Google Webmaster Quiz

These are the answers to the quiz that Google put out. Reviewing this is a handy way to see what Google suggests are the appropriate ways of handling the architecture of your site....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 6: Everything You Need to Know About Search Engine Friendly URLs & Broken Links

Here are a few things you can do to give yourself search engine friendly URLs:

Robert Clough

GTmetrix - A New Tool For Google's Speed Factor

GTmetrix is a free tool that provides in depth information on the speed of pages on your site and what you can do to improve load time....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 5: Everything You Need to Know Domain Names

Whether you're a business, a blogger, or something in between, selecting your domain name can be a trying process. Those of you who have searched for the "perfect" domain name know what I mean. You go through dozens, if not hundreds of different options looking for just the right one. When looking for domain names for your business or blog, here are a few guidelines:

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 4: Everything You Need to Know About Headings and Alt Attributes

Heading tags and Alt attributes are certainly no magic solution to building keyword relevance into your site. But balanced against the rest of the page, using proper headings and alt text is going to benefit your visitors, if not the search engines.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 3: Everything You Need to Know About Meta Description and Keyword Tags

Like the Title Tag, the Meta Description tag will often show up in the search results. Generally what you see in the SERPs is the clickable title link and then the description tag or page snippet just below it. If your description tag fails to properly or adequately tell your visitors whats on the page then it's likely the searcher will click a different result.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101 - Part 2: Everything You Need to Know About Title Tags

The title tag is the single most important piece of SEO real estate on your site. A title tag can be as long as you want, but you only have about 63 characters before the search engines cut it off. So use it wisely.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO 101: Everything You Need to Know About SEO (But Were Afraid to Ask)

The trick with going back to the basics is deciding what gets included and what doesn't. The SEO information in this series are those things which I consider essential. And perhaps that's a better way to look at this, not as SEO 101 but rather, SEO Essentials.

Stoney deGeyter

Forget SEO, You Need SPO: Search Person Optimization

But today's SEO goes so far beyond optimizing for the search engines. Rankings matter, but so does site performance, visitor engagement and conversions.

Mike Moran

Learn SEO from Your Spouse

Yes, you really can learn SEO from your spouse. If you're married, you know something about SEO that you might not be putting to use. Think about how you landed your mate. When you do, you'll be learning something about how to do search marketing the right way....

Charles Lumpkin

SEO: Be a Content Creation Beast

You're targeting the right keywords. You've got links pointing back to your site. All the SEO basics seem to be covered. Now what? How do you get that extra bit of traffic?...

Manoj Jasra

The Small Business Owner's Handbook to Search Engine Optimization

Last week I caught up with Stephen Woessner, the author of The Small Business Owner's Handbook to Search Engine Optimization.  In his book, Stephen outlines a 15-step process to help improve the performance of your website in organic search.  In our chat, Stephen gave me some insight into his latest SEO book....

Stoney deGeyter

Take Your SEO from Trash to Cash

A lot of businesses spend their energy on the "exterior" (search engine rankings) while ignoring the interior (building a great website.) One cannot survive without the other.

Charles Lumpkin

Basic SEO: Sitemaps. With an "S"

In this episode, Charles Lumpkin, talks about the importance of having not just one, but two sitemaps....

Mike Moran

Is your site ready for search marketing?

I realize that to some, this is a dumb question. I mean, if you have a Web site, why would you NOT optimize it for search? Organic search is the cheapest way to bring people to your site and paid search is the easiest, so it's a no-brainer for you to recommend that every blessed Web site on the Internet dive right into search marketing, right? Wrong....

Stoney deGeyter

Getting the Itch to Start from Scratch

Over the past few months I've been working on a personal hobby site. It's been a lot of work but I've learned some valuable insights.

Mike Moran

Are search metrics optional?

Trust me. I know the right way to do organic search marketing. I know that you start with metrics. I know that you must measure the traffic that comes to the site and see how many people convert. I've even written a couple of books that have a strong metrics focus to Internet marketing, organic search marketing in particular. But when I talk to small businesses, I am more and more wondering if search metrics are optional, at least at first....

Ross Dunn

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....

Stoney deGeyter

So You Know Your Stuff... But You Still Don't Know Jack!

Most clients think their audience is just like them. If they like technical details then that must be what the audience wants. If they like fluff then that's what you have to provide because nobody looks at the technical stuff. Right? Wrong.

Stoney deGeyter

Your SEO Kung-Fu is Strong!

Recently, working with a client, I was able to run some tests on the Title and description on a single product page. With a bit of testing I made my already strong SEO Kung-Fu even stronger. Before making global site-changes, make sure your SEO Kung-Fu is strong too, and then you will feel the power of SEO surround you!

Mike Moran

Making Pretty URLs for Search Engine Spiders

Most search marketing experts are full of advice for folks who are struggling with weird looking URLs that search engines really don't like. I should know, because I have always been loaded with that kind of advice, too....

Stoney deGeyter

5 Worries That Can Blow Your SEO Budget

Every small business owner wants to get the most value for the money they spend on their marketing efforts. Worrying about smart things is smart. Worrying about the other stuff, well, that just sets you up for failure.

Stoney deGeyter

5 Worries That Can Kill Your SEO Campaign

Spending nights worrying about your SEO campaign can eat up a lot of energy that is better applied to other, more important matters. Here are five things the business owner need to stop worry about.

Stoney deGeyter

The Set-It-But-Don't-Forget-It SEO Strategy

There are certain SEO strategies that are certainly goal oriented where you can get to a definitive end-point, but SEO as a whole is a constant ongoing process. Just like brushing your teeth, you do it ever day so you can keep yourself out from under the dentist's drill and not walk around with obvious stank breath.

Manoj Jasra

SEO Sessions from SES Chicago

SES Chicago is a little over a month away and will feature a very well respected online marketing veteran, Rand Fishkin. Rand is the CEO of SEO Moz and is a regular speaker in the international conference circuit. Earlier this week I caught up with Rand to get his insight on his sessions at Search Engine Strategies Chicago...

Miriam Ellis

Should You Hire An SEO Who Cold Calls You?

Matt McGee recently advised business owners not to hire SEOs who contact them and his stance has drawn some critical response. Let me tell you why I think Matt is absolutely right, you tell me whether you agree or not....

Stoney deGeyter

Affording SEO in Tough Economic Times

We are currently in a lean economy, and many businesses are feeling the crunch. But millions of people continue to flock to search engines every day to find, learn and purchase. The question then becomes, who will they find, what will they learn, and will they purchase from you or your competition?

Stoney deGeyter

An Open Letter to a Client in Search of an SEO Provider

If you have decided to hire a new SEO firm or consultant, permit me to suggest a simple way to go about it.

Stoney deGeyter

7 Worst Things (Bad) SEO Clients Do

Being the perfect client may not be attainable, but you can certainly avoid being the bad client nobody wants. Here are seven things bad SEO clients do:...

Stoney deGeyter

7 Worst Things (Bad) SEO's Do

How do you know that good SEOs from the bad ones? How can you tell those that know what they are doing from those that don't? It's not always easy, but there are some tell-tale signs. Here are seven things that bad SEOs do:...

Stoney deGeyter

7 Best Things (Good) SEO Clients Do

Having a successful business and/or marketing campaign doesn't happen passively. It happens with deliberation and intent. The client cannot completely pass off responsibility for her success onto the SEO, but must take actions to ensure the SEO can be successful for her. Here are seven things good SEO clients do:

Stoney deGeyter

7 Best Things (Good) SEO's Do

That relationship feeds into the long-term success of your business. How the SEO engages with you--the client--can make or break your success. Everybody wants a good skilled SEO. But you should also want one that's good at business as well. Here are seven things that good SEOs will do:

Stoney deGeyter

My Site is Optimized, My Competitor's Gain! WTH?

One of the things that concerns me most is when clients want to make sure that their competitors don't outpace them. They see competitors making headway but don't look deeply enough as to understand why. What is it that's allowing the competitors to gain so much ground? The first questions to ask is, what is the competitor doing beyond traditional SEO? How much time and money is being invested in their campaign?

Jennifer Laycock

Friday Fun - The SEO Song

Had an email this morning from Oliver Blake over at The Creare Group pointing me to a video on YouTube that stars Creare Group web designer Michael Angrave. Now normally, I wouldn't bother to click a link to a random video, but since Oliver claimed this video featured "The SEO Song," I thought I'd give it a try.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Engage Online Marketing in an Offline World

All it takes is a little creativity and out of the box thinking to turn your offline marketing into great online marketing.

Stoney deGeyter

Damn it Jim, SEO is an Investment, Not an Expense!

Most investments don't give you an immediate return. SEO is no different. Many small business owners fail to understand that in order to succeed online a significant investment must be made. Gone are the days when you could throw up a website and expect to become an overnight success. Most of today's overnight business success are back by investments in time, money, resources or any combination of those.

Aditya Mahesh

A Guide to Pitching Bloggers

From an SEO standpoint, the blogosphere is a goldmine. It provides the opportunity for marketers to build targeted natural "in-content" links which are not only great for increasing search engine rankings, but also can drive significant amounts of targeted traffic...

Manoj Jasra

New Free Keyword Research Tool

When conducting keyword research, it's important to look for both the deeper, mid- and long-tail variations of keywords - and also other adjacent ways of searching for similar things, such as related terms and synonyms. Last month, WordStream invited me to participate in a private beta of their Free Keyword Tool, which was released as a public beta this week. One of my favorite features is its ability to suggest related terms....

Stoney deGeyter

Perfect SEO Costs Extra

I'm not a proponent of rushing things through, but sometimes you just need to move things forward. When it comes to SEO, perfect may not cost you any more money, but it will cost you time, and time is a very valuable commodity.

Scott Buresh

Adding Search to Your Marketing Mix

Achieving internal buy-in, leveraging your existing assets, and understanding the unique challenges of outsourcing to a search engine optimization company....

Mike Moran

Best Practices in Search Are Where You Start

"Best practices" is one of those dry as dust phrases that conjures up a consultant orating at you and a dozen co-workers sitting in uncomfortable chairs, each one wishing you could go back to work. If you missed Adam Audette's interesting article entitled, "SEO 'Best Practices' Are Bunk," you should pull up a chair and follow the link to read it. (I'll wait right here.) Adam alluded to my Do It Wrong Quickly concept as a way to do things right (if that isn't an oxymoron in itself), and on the whole I think he is on the right track....

Stoney deGeyter

One Simple Step to Building Credibility

So many times I see businesses investing thousands of dollars building their websites, tinkering with SEO improvements, or increasing/improving their content, only to neglect one of the most basic problems that may be a significant contributing factor in reducing their conversion rates: broken links.

Stoney deGeyter

Rankings Change. (Here's How to) Deal With It! Part III

Everybody wants that coveted first page placement, and many are actively fighting for it. But in reality, there is only so much that you can control. If your rankings drop, it may not be you, it may be them.

Stoney deGeyter

Rankings Change. (Here's How to) Deal With It! Part II

Search engines are constantly changing. These changes are mostly compromised of small, subtle shifts in how certain on and off page "signals" are interpreted and scored, or by the addition and/or removal of other ranking factors all together. In some instances more extreme algorithm or structural changes are made which can cause more than the usual upheaval of search results.

Stoney deGeyter

Rankings Change. (Here's How to) Deal With It!

Understanding what causes typical loss of rankings can give us a better insight into sea of search engine ranking fluctuations. This insight can help you prevent serious long-term effects caused by a sudden drop in search engine rankings.

Stoney deGeyter

Putting SEO Frosting on a Website Dung Pile

In SEO there are situations where a site is so bad that you pretty much need to burn it to the ground before you can build it right. Otherwise you're just adding SEO frosting onto a website dung pile.

Stoney deGeyter

Quick Tip: Simple Breadcrumb Usage

Breadcrumbs are a nice little addition to a website that largely goes ignored but can be a significant help to those that like to use them. They make both usability and navigation easier. The primary purpose of breadcrumbs is to provide a visual indicator to your visitor where they are in the site and give them an easy link "back" to higher up categories.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO Is Not Always As Simple We Think

We often come to the SEO table thinking that it's going to be relatively easy. While SEO isn't inordinately difficult (neither is changing the car oil, building a fence or painting a house) it is often time consuming and rarely ever "simple." What appears to be a small task on the surface can often become a much larger task once properly researched and considered. Like an iceberg, the bulk of SEO is behind the scenes and requires hours upon hours of labor.

Stoney deGeyter

Don't Promote Your Website, Use Your Website to Promote YOU!

Most companies stop their website development once the site is developed, and then move into marketing mode. The website becomes another product they have to market, rather than building a website that is the marketing vehicle for their products and services. We talk about website promotion quite a bit, which we understand is the process of getting the site visibility on the search engines. But getting people to the website is not the end goal.

Stoney deGeyter

Choosing a Web Host Provider That Won't Jack Your Rankings, Part III

In this installment we'll look at FTP accounts, control panel access, tech support and both free and in-house hosting options.

Stoney deGeyter

Choosing a Web Host Provider That Won't Jack Your Rankings

You may not be concerned about your web hosting package today, but I guarantee you that you'll be thinking about it the minute your site goes down or you are unable to send or receive email.

Manoj Jasra

How SEO Can Help Save the Publishing Industry

Late last week I caught up with Alex Bennert who is an SEO Strategist at the Wall Street Journal. Alex is scheduled to speak at the upcoming Search Engine Strategies in San Jose on the topic of "How SEO Can Help Save the Publishing Industry" so I decided to get her insight on this topic....

Scott Buresh

Chasing Bing: The Truth behind the Hype

We have no idea where the market will settle and if the market share for Bing will continue to grow. Without this data, there's no way to say if tailoring a website specifically for Bing is worthwhile, especially if it negatively impacts existing Google and Yahoo! rankings....

Mike Moran

Searching for profits more than answers

Everyone is staring hard at Bing, Microsoft's new search engine, and I mostly like what I see, with one exception. I've written before about the search engine conflict of interest between highlighting their own properties and providing the truly best answer. In the quest for ever more cash, search engines are presenting results that point to their own pages. What does that mean to the searcher and to the search marketer?...

Manoj Jasra

Matt Cutts on Directory/Paid Links

Google's Webmaster Central team has started an excellent YouTube channel and in this week's video Matt Cutts Answers: "Will Google consider Yahoo! Directory and BOTW as source of paid links? If no, why is this different from another site that sell links....

Sage Lewis

PageRank Sculpting and What You Need To Know

PageRank Sculpting is now the hottest topic on the SEO landscape. Learn what it is and how the changes in this area will effect you....

Stoney deGeyter

Go Blog Yourself: Writing Your Blog Posts with Pen in Hand and SEO In Mind

Nobody writes blog posts with a pen as the title suggests, but I think you get the suggestive innuendo. I'll use that theme to further explore what it takes to put together a good blog, not just a good blog post. You'll learn to craft a blog that gets read, repeated, passed on, commented about, processed and put to good use. Oh, and we'll also make sure to cover some of the SEO basics in writing your post. If you've got a great body, no sense keeping it locked in a closet.

Mike Moran

How many search keywords can I target per page?

I'm sometimes asked this question, usually by someone savvy in search marketing. After all, it's expensive to create and optimize pages for search, so you'd want to amortize that investment over as many keywords as possible right? Actually, no. The number of organic search keywords I recommend you target per page is one....

Diane Aull

Go Link Yourself!

Why do webmasters and site owners spend so much time obsessing over external links, and so little time even thinking about their internal site navigation?...

Stoney deGeyter

Why You Can't Trust Keyword Research

I'm a big fan of keyword research but I know that the data provided from any keyword research tool has its limitations. For the most part, these tools can only provide you information on what is being searched. What they can't do is tell you which searches were relevant, which results were quickly discarded in favor of a different or more refined search, or which searches actually provided the visitor with exactly what they were looking for.

Stoney deGeyter

Investing Online is an Investment to Your Success

There is a reason that the cliche "you get what you pay for" is so often repeated. Because more times than not, it turns out to be true. So the next time you think you're going to save money by getting it for "free", weigh the long-term cost versus benefits. Are you certain that the job will be done right? Do you have the knowledge to ensure success? Are you really going to be saving any money, or will you end up losing more than you're saving?

Stoney deGeyter

Just Going Online? How to Budget for Web Success

If you run a business of any size and you still have not made the jump to the Web, why not? If you know your business can make money online, (i.e. you sell an in-demand product or service) then investing money to build your web presence is almost a no-brainer. The question then becomes, how to do it right so you can be profitable.

Stoney deGeyter

7 Quick Ways to Lose Business (Quickly)

Every now and then I look at a site and wonder if the owner is even trying to make money. Well, I guess I know they are because they do all the "right" things to make money, but they are doing all the wrong things to serve their customer's needs.

Stoney deGeyter

Q&A: A Little Something You Need to Know About Duplicate Content and CSS

My last three posts covered a variety of questions regarding keyword usage, links and website architecture. In this post I'll address the final question that has to do with the visual display of your pages, duplicate content and CSS.

Stoney deGeyter

Q&A: A Few Things You Need to Know About Site Architecture

Website architecture is one of the most important aspects of creating a search engine friendly website. Below are just a few questions I was asked recently on the topic of navigation, site structure, site maps and pages site.

Stoney deGeyter

Q&A: A Few Things You Need to Know About Keyword Usage

I recently received an email from someone looking for some advice and a variety of topics. I thought our readers here would benefit from my response. This is the first post of a series of questions and answers touching on keywords and how search engines interpret keyword usage.

Scott Buresh

Peeling Back the Onion: Metrics that Matter to a Good Search Engine Optimization Company

The first thing we hear in terms of search engine optimization - a company wants to be in that coveted top spot on Google, Yahoo!, Ask, and MSN. No matter the industry or specialty, when companies approach us with their desired goals for an SEO campaign, it's usually all about improving their rankings and positions ... and often nothing else.

Stoney deGeyter

61 Pre-SEO Campaign Questions You Need To Answer

This post is a list of all the questions that have been asked in the 8-Part Big Bad List of SEO Questions. Here you will find the full list of questions with links to each of them individually.

Stoney deGeyter

The Big, Bad List of Pre-SEO Questions You Need to Answer, Part VIII

In this final installment our questions will be centered on control and expected involvement of the business owner. The site owner, to some degree, will likely have to give up some control of their site if they want the SEO firm to implement anything themselves. At the same time, there is a reasonable expectation that the SEO cannot have 100% control over the site in order to ensure the client approves of the specific changes that the SEO is asking to be made. Somewhere in here is a balancing act from the business owner having to do everything themselves and handing over all decisions to the SEO completely.

Stoney deGeyter

The Big, Bad List of Pre-SEO Questions You Need to Answer, Part VII

In this installment we move into the realm of pricing and asking questions related to costs versus return on investment. When outsourcing your SEO to a firm or consultant it becomes a bit more difficult to control costs than it does when you hire-in house. But that's not to suggest that cost cannot be controlled and you cannot get a return on investment. It's all a matter of knowing how to manage the campaign, expectations and the budget that goes along with it.

Scott Allen

Search Engine Strategies New York - Small Business Case Studies

Live blogging coverage of SES NY session: "Small Business Case Studies".

Scott Allen

Search Engine Strategies New York - Search on a Dime

Live blogging coverage of the SES NY session: "Search on a Dime".

Stoney deGeyter

The Big, Bad List of Pre-SEO Questions You Need to Answer, Part VI

Today we'll look at the questions pertaining to hiring a multi-person SEO/M firm to manage your campaign. By asking and answering these questions you'll better understand the differences between a consultant and a firm and give you the ammunition you need to decide which, if any, is the better route for you to take.

Stoney deGeyter

The Big, Bad List of Pre-SEO Questions You Need to Answer, Part V

Before you go and and decide whether to do your SEO in-house or hire an outside firm, lets look at questions related to outsourcing your SEO campaigns. Being able to weigh the pros and cons will ensure you are seeing the bigger picture and understand the potential consequences before moving forward in either one direction or the other.

Manoj Jasra

Interview: Michel Leconte, CEO of SEO Samba

Last week I had the opportunity to catch up with Michel Leconte, CEO of SEO Samba. During our chat I was able to get Michel's insight into SEO Samba's Organic Search Management platform - click through to read more about our conversation:...

Stoney deGeyter

The Big, Bad List of Pre-SEO Questions You Need to Answer, Part IV

In this installment we'll look deeper at the concept of hiring someone to manage your campaign in-house, specifically answering questions about what it takes to hire someone who already has experience.

Stoney deGeyter

The Big, Bad List of Pre-SEO Questions You Need to Answer, Part III

This is a continuing series of questions that need to be asked before you engage in any kind of SEO strategies or services. We started in Part I with questions that need to be answered if you in-source your SEO campaigns, specifically addressed questions about doing it yourself. In Part II we continued the in-sourcing line of questioning but addressed issues of splitting the work between you and another party. In this installment we'll expand the in-sourcing line of questioning further, looking at the questions regarding hiring a dedicated SEO to bring into your company.

Stoney deGeyter

The Big, Bad List of Pre-SEO Questions You Need to Answer, Part II

This is a continuing series of questions that you need to ask yourself before you engage in SEO strategies or services. Part I started off with Questions that need to be answered if you in-source your SEO campaigns. We specifically addressed questions regarding attempting to perform SEO yourself. Here we'll discuss questions related to splitting the work between yourself, as the business owner, and another party, whether in-sourced or out-sourced.

Stoney deGeyter

The Big, Bad List of Pre-SEO Questions You Need to Answer, Part I

When contemplating an online marketing campaign there are dozens of questions that will start swirling through your head. Each question, in turn, creates more questions, and those questions create others that all will need to be answered before you are able to make a smart, sound business decision.

Stoney deGeyter

Is the Pay-for-Performance SEO Model Still Viable?

While I don't think the pay-for-performance pricing model is entirely unworkable, I think the cons far outweigh the pros. The desire for such an arrangement is certainly a valid one, but not always one that can be implemented as easily as it sounds....

Mike Moran

How do you get a specific Web page indexed?

I've often been asked why particular pages are not indexed. Honestly, you can never be sure until you fix the problem. If you think that you've isolated the problem, you never know if you've only corrected one of multiple problems. So, it's best to take it step-by-step....

Stoney deGeyter

Dy-No-Mite Solutions to Dynamic Content Problems

Years ago dynamic websites posed significant problems for search engines. While the engines have come a long way since the early days of dynamic website development, there are still some key problems that arise. When engaging in the battle of online visibility, you don't want to sit around while Google figures out how to plug the holes with their indexing spiders. You need to be proactive and fix the issues so you can be competitive today, not tomorrow.

Jennifer Laycock

Six Key Tactics for Organic Success

Every time I come home from a conference, I'm reminded of just how many new people are streaming into the industry every day. While many of us have been optimizing web sites for a decade or longer, the greatest majority of site owners are just now finding their way into the world of organic optimization.

Stoney deGeyter

Dominating Your SEO Competition Through Competitive Knowledge

Knowing who your competitors are and what kind of time and monetary investment they are making into their online marketing is nearly as essential as implementing your own marketing strategy. If you have a good idea of what you're up against can make better decisions about where and how to invest your own time and money. You will also have a decent indicator of how quickly you might be able to see results from your efforts.

Stoney deGeyter

Don't Over-Think It! Yes, You Too Can Do SEO

SEO doesn't all have to be done at once, it can be implemented a little at a time, as you have time.

Jennifer Laycock

SEO Bootcamp: Bring in the SEO Before You Build Your Site

Last week on the SEO 101 WebmasterRadio.FM show I host with Ross Dunn, we talked about some of the pet peeves we have about working with SEO clients. One of the things that came up in the discussion was companies that hire out their web development and THEN call an SEO once the new site is live. Ross and I talked about the frustration of having to tell a potential client the site they just paid oodles of dollars for doesn't have a shot in the engines, and how nice it would be if companies would call in an SEO consultant up front.

Manoj Jasra

5 Questions with Dave Naylor

Search Engine Strategies London is less than a month away and is host to a number of great speakers. This includes SEO Veteran Dave Naylor, Owner of Bronco Internet, a highly talented and successful web development and SEO agency. I had a chance to catch up with Dave Naylor to get insight on his sessions related to Blogging & SEO, Reputation Management and Affiliate Marketing...

Jennifer Laycock

What My Kids Taught Me About Search Engine Optimization

Yesterday I wrote about the Social Media lessons I've learned from watching my kids grow up. Today, I'm going to put the search engine optimization spin on it. After all, no matter how well we learn the basics of good search engine optimization, there's always something to be said for a reminder of why those basics are so important.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO Selection Via Google Webmaster Guidelines

Every now and then I find it useful to look and see what Google has to say to webmasters about their websites. I want to revisit Google's Guidelines for selecting an SEO provider.

Stoney deGeyter

Your Site is Keyword Optimized, But is it Search Engine Friendly? You Might Be Suprised!

There is a big difference between optimizing your site for keywords and making it search engine friendly. While one of the first steps in the optimization process should be focused on ensuring the site is search engine friendly, sometimes we tend to want to jump right into the keyword optimization because that's how we "see results" in the search engines, leaving the site incompatible with the engines while we wonder when we'll get the results we wanted.

Mike Moran

Is SEO no longer important?

Should you care about what kind of marketing is hot? I got a question recently from a small business owner on how important readable URLs are for a Web site. The reason he was asking is that his technical adviser told him that "SEO just isn't that important anymore." Is he right? Well, you probably wouldn't expect me to agree with that point of view, and I don't, but there is some truth in the idea that search engine optimization is not the be-all end-all of Internet success that it was a few years ago. And the question of readable...

Stoney deGeyter

Big Project/Small Budget: Where to Begin Your SEO Campaign

Many businesses owners focusing on SEO for the first time, especially those with limited budgets, can often find themselves caught like a deer in the headlights wondering just where and how to begin. SEO, even for smaller sites, can often be a big project, especially if you're trying to run the business at the same time. The question becomes, how many hours a week can you afford to invest (or pay for,) and what should you do first with the limited time on hand?

Stoney deGeyter

SEO Pricing: 5 Things to Consider When Shopping for a SEO

If you're a small business shopping around for the right SEO to help you out, there are a lot of things you need to consider before jumping in and hiring a SEO subcontractor or firm. Even if you're on a tighter-than-normal budget--and really, who isn't right about now--you can't shop for SEO simply on costs alone. That's like buying an economy car when you really need a mini-van. You just need to find the mini-van that offers the best features at the right price.

Jennifer Laycock

Six Lessons from a Wooden Boy: Part One: Search Engines Want to be Real Boys

It's been more than two and a half years since I first wrote about the "Pinocchio Effect" as a way to explain the ever changing nature of search engine algorithms. Earlier this month, while preparing for the new small business panel at SES Chicago, I read through that old article and realized just how many areas of the Pinocchio story can be applied to online marketing.

Mike Moran

Can a Broken Sitemap Hurt You?

I got an e-mail recently from someone very concerned that his product catalog does not have links to every page on his site from his sitemap, although he has a complete link structure emanating from his home page. Should he beat his programmer about the face and body until he creates a proper sitemap?...

Stoney deGeyter

Beginner's Guide to SEO: Quickie Dos and Don'ts

SEO is more of a set of guidelines that can be implemented in a way that allows for individual site customization. Most of it is fluid based on each site's needs for their audience. However within that there are also some basic dos and don'ts that need to be adhered to.

Diane Aull

XML Sitemaps Are Not All That

Oh, dear! According to an unsolicited email I recently received, the Google XML sitemap for one of my websites is "missing." Should I be concerned?...

Stoney deGeyter

5 Search Engine Ranking Killers You Want to Avoid at All Costs

For as many factors there are that you can manipulate to give you better ranking performance, there are other things that when not properly addressed will do a fantastic job of preventing your site from performing as well as it could and should. While this is not a conclusive list of search engine ranking killers, these five issues can, cause serious damage to your site. Fixing these five rank-killing issues will undoubtedly clear the way for better optimization performance.

Mike Moran

Why Small Businesses Need Search

I often talk to small business people who lament at how the marketing deck is stacked against them. The big guys have the connections, the money, and the brand name. "How can I compete," I hear them asking. I always have the same answer--Internet marketing, especially organic search marketing. But when I tell them this, often I get disbelief. These small business owners have painfully learned over the years that marketing is for big companies, not for them. They're wrong....

Stoney deGeyter

Traffic Is Cool and All, But How Do You Turn That Into Conversions?

Rankings are just one way to generate traffic. There are literally countless ways in which you can drive traffic to your website, via both on- and off-line marketing efforts. Unless you sell advertising by the impression, traffic isn't the end-all, be-all of website performance. For many sites there has to be a conversion.

Stoney deGeyter

Rankings Are Cool and All, But How Do You Turn Them Into Traffic?

Rankings, without traffic are pointless. In fact, while rankings can be a significant factor in growing your traffic numbers, traffic itself is not reliant on rankings. You can be in the number one spot and still get less traffic than your competitor in the number three spot. And even beyond that, you can often get better traffic (higher conversion percentages) not being in that top spot.

Manoj Jasra

Leveraging Blogs and Feeds for SEO

SES Chicago 2008, is happening this week and features a session on the topic of "SEO Through Blogging and Feeds." Lee Odden, CEO of TopRankMarketing.com, is an expert on this topic and is a panelist at this session at SES Chicago. I had a chance to catch up with Lee, to get his insight on SEO through blogging and feeds...

Stoney deGeyter

Typo SEO is a No Go Unless You Know the Flow

There are times when optimizing for typos is necessary. This is never more true if there are significant searches for your brand name spelled incorrectly. You want and need these people to find you. Using these strategies can help you target the typos that are truly important.

Paul Jahn

Managing by Objectives and Impressions - Redefining the Face of Amendment Campaigns

Last week, I had lunch with Mike Rynchek, President of Spyder Trap Online Marketing. We wound up talking quite a bit about social media and managing-per-objectives and impressions rather than the cost-per-conversions avenue many of us are used to. Mike was gracious enough to be interviewed on how to measure results of different objectives.

Stoney deGeyter

SEO Sales Spammers Make the Rest of Us Look Bad But We Should Keep Marketing Anyway

I'm not for blind cold calling or email spamming. Good marketing via direct mail is highly targeted, not just sent to random addresses. The same holds true for cold calling and email marketing. Good and proper marketing rules must be followed if you want your business to succeed long term.

Stoney deGeyter

Not Another SEO Checklist Post!

Recently my team and I (mostly my team) have been doing a lot of cool research with some of the free online tools that are available. We find we often use a tool on whatever site we are working on and then somehow forget about it as we move onto other tools and other sites. Eventually we remember and start working with it again but there is no consistency. So what's the solution? Another list.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Make Decisions That'll Rock Your SEO Campaign, Part II

Success is a path that must be paved by each person making wise decisions. Search engine optimization isn't an instant path to victory. There are still dozens of daily decisions that have to be carefully considered and thoroughly before action is taken. But once you have a history of making good SEO decisions, success becomes much easier.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Make Decisions That'll Rock Your SEO Campaign, Part I

I want to take a set of guidelines about making good decisions and apply them to the SEO and business success environment. Every day SEOs and business owners looking for ways to improve their online exposure are faced with dozens of decisions. Any one of these decisions can breath life into a dying SEO campaign, push a successful campaign to greater success, or cause a site to crash and burn in the search results. Here are the first five of ten decision-making guidelines that'll help you rock your SEO and SEM campaigns to success.

Stoney deGeyter

10 Questions that Guarantee SEO Success, Part II

This is part two of a two-part series outlining ten questions that must be asked by both SEOs and clients in order to ensure a successful SEO campaign. While these questions can be asked of just about any one in any area of life, sometimes it helps to make them applicable to specific situations. In this case the situation is SEO and running a successful online business.

Stoney deGeyter

10 Questions that Guarantee SEO Success, Part I

Businesses don't succeed on the basis of a product alone. Those products have to be developed, marketed and sold using sound business principles. Similarly, SEO doesn't succeed solely by what you do on the technical front, but what you do internally to build a platform that will allow SEO success to happen.

Manoj Jasra

Interview: Bruce Clay on SEO Tools

One of the presenters at this year's SES Chicago is Search Marketing Veteran, Bruce Clay. Bruce will be leading a session on the topic of SEO tools: "tools that will help you to accomplish your tasks including indexing, competitive analysis, site ranking, diagnosing and remedying problems, page level information, site level information, on-page optimization and much more." I had a chance to ask Bruce a few questions about his session and how he leverages SEO Tools for his own strategies....

Mike Moran

Do I need a shopping cart or a content management system?

Someone recently asked me how he knows whether to use shopping cart software or a full-blown content management system for a Web site. Does it depend on how large your site is? Does it depend on what kind of content you have? And, most importantly, which one is better for search marketing? These are good questions, so they deserve good answers....

Beth Harte

Blogs, Vlogs and SEO

Have you decided to take your blog to the next level by including video? Hooray! Video logs (vlogs) can help communicate in a lot of different ways and they also add a "real" voice to your blog posts....

Jennifer Laycock

Getting Your SEO Campaign Off to a Great Start

Whether you're getting ready to overhaul your site in-house to improve your organic search rankings, or you're planning on hiring the process out to a consultant or agency, you need to have a grasp on the fundamental steps of a search engine optimization campaign. Otherwise, you're bound to get most of the way through the process only to find you are missing vital information. Worse, you could end up with a projected that is completed, but severely lacking.

Manoj Jasra

5 Tips to Help Drive Search Marketing Strategies

Whether you are an in-house search marketing strategist or you work for an SEM agency, there is a common barrier that you will consistently come across: Establishing priority for search marketing in conjunction with getting buy-in from required stake holders. Below I have outlined 5 ways you can push search marketing strategies along more effectively...

Jennifer Laycock

Trio of Internet Marketers Launch New Video Portal

Everyone learns in different ways. Some of us embrace articles, some adore podcasts. Some prefer to learn by doing and some prefer to learn by watching. It's this last group of people that's been targeted by a new site called IMBroadcast.com. Launched by Search & Social's Dave Snyder, Jordan Kasteler and Search Engine Journal's Loren Baker, the site aims to pool internet videos put together by online marketers into an easy to access social community.

Jennifer Laycock

When is Hiring an SEO a Bad Idea?

I've been reading a lot of posts lately from small business owners and search engine optimization companies talking about the push toward organic search during a bad economy. After all, good organic search campaigns tend to deliver some of the most effective (and least expensive) traffic your site is likely to see. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. In fact, there are some instances in which you'd do best to focus your limited marketing dollars elsewhere.

Jennifer Laycock

Come Join Stoney, Matt, Mack and I in Washington Next Month

If you've been wanting to attend a conference to learn more about online marketing, you've got another great shot coming up next month out west. Matt McGee, Mack Collier, Stoney deGeyter and I will be joining several other speakers at the Tri-Cities Convention Center on November 7th for the one day "Learn About Web" conference. If you've balked at conferences recently because you're tightening your belt, you might be happy to hear the show costs just $129, making it an absolute steal!

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: When "Free" Actually Costs More

We've all heard the phrase "You get what you pay for" and deep down we all know it is true. But as small businesses operating on a low budget, it's easy for us to get into the habit of going for what's free when it comes to our websites. The problem is "free" or "cheap" for hosting and other foundational resources comes with major limitations that are costing you much more than you are saving....

Jennifer Laycock

A Little Primer on Latent Semantic Indexing

Ever heard of Latent Semantic Indexing? If you're a search marketer, the answer is probably yes. If you're a small business owner, there's a good chance the answer is no. That's ok...it's not a magic term that will turn your optimization efforts upside down, but it is a concept you need to know a little something about.

Stoney deGeyter

Do SEO Guarantees Protect the SEO or the Client?

If SEOs can't guarantee rankings, what can they guarantee? That's a tough question, especially if one is trying to be truly honest with their clients. The prospect of offering guarantees means that everybody must be in cahoots as to what that guarantee actually means, and who it really protects.

Jennifer Laycock

A Great Little Tutorial on How to Search

We spend a lot of time here on Search Engine Guide talking about how to reach your target audience via the web. We talk about search engine marketing, paid search advertising, social media, link building and everything else that's likely to help customers find their way to your web site. What we don't often do is give you a reminder of how to find information yourselves.

Jennifer Laycock

The Shortest, Simplest, Most Effective SEO Book You Can Buy for $25

There are a million and one books and ebooks out there claiming to teach you the secrets of search engine marketing these days. Some are excellent, some are passable and some are downright bad. The best of these books are the short and sweet ones. The books that help you get moving instead of trying to teach you each and every bit of information you could ever care to know about SEO. My friend Matt McGee just launched his ebook this week and at $25, it's an absolute steal.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Site Maps

Site maps provide a one-click path to any destination within the site and a way for the search engines to quickly find and index all site pages. Ensuring that your site maps function properly is an important part in ensuring your visitors can find what they want quickly and all site pages get properly indexed.

Scott Allen

Usability and Conversion Workshop - SBM Unleashed

Matt Bailey discusses the foundational elements of creating a user-friendly site that will encourage users to convert. If you weren't here you missed out! It was jam-packed with info on making an intelligent site that leads users down the right path.

Scott Allen

On-Page SEO WorkShop - SBM Unleashed

Stoney and the crew at Pole Position Marketing created a fictitious site called "Galaxy Quest Airlines". Instead of just going through a checklist of things to look for, he created an interactive audience participation experience where the audience members peruse the site and find on-page SEO problems.

Diane Aull

Site Architecture - SBM Unleashed

The foundation of any search marketing campaign is to have a user-friendly and search friendly site. If your site architecture isn't up to snuff, the search engines can't easily index your pages, which means you're basically dead in the water before you start. So what does it take to have a search friendly site? Stoney deGeyter covers the essentials of effective site architecture in this lively session....

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Forms and Processing Errors

Forms are a standard method of allowing visitors to communicate with you, including the placing orders. If forms don't work properly, frustrate your visitors or create additional roadblocks that the visitor must hurdle over, the contact/conversion rate on your site will drop drastically.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Help and FAQ Pages

If your customers are digging through your help and FAQ pages, chances are they are close to making a decision to purchase, they just need a little extra bump. These pages are essential to these visitors seek by providing answers to questions and other helps that will push them through the conversion process.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Login and My Account Pages

Ensuring visitors can easily login and find the information they need is essential to providing a good customer experience. Since this is your engaged audience you want to make sure that you can keep them engaged without additional frustrations.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Shopping Checkout Processes

If visitors only add products to the cart but abandon the cart or get confused in the checkout process conversions will be low as will profit. The more proper cues you can provide that give the shopper confidence and assurances about their purchase, the less likely they will be to dump the cart or lose interest before closing he deal.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklists for Mini Baskets

Since mini-baskets are ever-present through the shopping experience, the information here can be vital to the visitor, helping them keep track of items, total costs and links back to products already added.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Shopping Basket Pages

Visitors place items in their online shopping basket for many reasons, one of which is with the intent to buy. But they don't always complete the purchase, often abandoning the cart with products left in it. Being able to close holes in the checkout process can increase conversion rates, getting more sales and higher return on investment.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Product Pages

The product page has a very singular focus: one product. It's job is to provide the visitor with the information about that product they need to be convinced that it is exactly what they are looking for. If you're product pages cannot convince visitors to buy, then you're simply dead in the water.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for E-Commerce Considerations

Being able to convince the shopper to follow through on the purchase is essential to being profitable. The visitor looks for specific cues that help them assess the creditability of the site and the security of their information. Providing these cues will help you provide a better experience that leads to deeper customer satisfaction.

Scott Buresh

A Compatible E-Commerce Solution for Your SEO Campaign

The most ambitious Internet retailers, hoping to emulate the style and online influence of Amazon.com and other recognized brands, tend to aim for sprawling electronic retail websites that may look pretty but accomplish little else. If all the push is towards what appears on the front end instead of a concerted effort in choosing a reliable e-commerce solution from the get go, these decisions can ultimately impact the long-term success of any SEO campaign.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for the Contact Us Page

Those who land on this page are showing clear intent in wanting to to get in touch with you. Providing only a few ways to contact you can alienate visitors who have a particular preference. Providing robust contact options and information ensures that you capture as many would-be customers as possible.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for the About Us Page

Studies have shown that conversion rates for visitors who have visited the About Us page increase measurably. Those who visit here are looking for a few extra elements of trust that will help them decide whether to continue on or move on. What they find can mean the difference in a conversion or the visitor leaving your site for a competitor's.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for the Home Page

The home page is often the single largest entry-point. It is the page that gives the visitor the sense of who you are and what they can expect. Go wrong here and it can be all over before it begins.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Links and Buttons

Links and calls to action are a great way to allow visitors to navigate from page to page, finding the information they feel is important to helping them make the purchase decision. Without these calls to action many visitors will simply not know what they are expected to do next.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Website Navigation

A strong, user-friendly and search engine friendly navigation is essential in helping people and bots through your site. You visitors need to find information quickly with minimal hunting and the search engines need to be able to follow the navigation to reach all site pages with the fewest number of jumps (clicks) necessary. If the navigation is broken or doesn't get people (or search engines) where they need to go, the performance of a site will suffer.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Website Architectural Issues

Website architecture can make or break the performance of a website in the search engines. Poor architectural implementation can create numerous stumbling blocks, if not outright roadblocks, to the search engines as they attempt to crawl your website. On the other hand, a well-implemented foundation can assist both visitors and search engines as they navigate through your website, therefore increasing your site's overall performance.

Jennifer Laycock

Four Good Reasons to Use the Alt Attribute

The ALT attribute is one of those bits of code that's been abused since day one. People can't remember it's name, they stuff it full of keywords or they ignore it entirely. So with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, I thought it might be fun to create a graphic that tells you what you need to know about using the ALT attribute....

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Your Site Logo

The logo lends directly to brand identity and site identification. It also creates a certain element of appeal and professionalism in the mind of the visitor. It holds an important role in visitor assurance and navigation.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Browser Issues

The browser is (obviously) what we use to view websites. The goal is to give the visitor the best browsing experience possible, but we have to keep in mind that not all browsers are the same. We must make sure to accommodate different users, ensuring that they get the most value out of the site possible.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Domain Names and URLs

The domain name is part of the identity of your business. The URL chosen can have a significant impact on brand identity and in a lesser extent, keyword ranking performance. However, how your site domain name and page URLs function can have significant impact on the crawlability of the site as well as overall visitor and traffic performance.

Sage Lewis

Cartier Goes Slumming While Google Adds Insights

What do Google, SERPs and Cartier all have in common? They are all "In the News" this week. Sage encourages us to check out Google's new tool Google Insights as well as Cartier's My Space page. Google Insights allows you to search for what people are well, searching for and then see both a geographic breakdown and time line of of popularity by percentage. Cartier's appearance on My Space adds credibility to an online community that was previously viewed as the "slums." Sage also highlights several SERP-related studies and articles, discussing the importance of being in the top ten while...

Stoney deGeyter

Why I Don't Obsess About Google

So many people are obsessed with Google. And as far as that goes, there is good reason to be. Google is the largest search engine that gets the most searches and delivers far more traffic than any other engine. But I'm not one to watch Google on a hyper-obsessive level.

Debra Mastaler

I'll Take Links And 11 Gold Medals Please

Do you do any link building planning?  Planning as in mapping out locations you want to get links from and developing strategies around upcoming events? If you're not, you may want to take a look at what one company has done to capitalize on anticipation.  The goodwill, media attention and inbound links they generated from one small commercial is priceless and worth it's weight in gold....

Stoney deGeyter

Why I Still Won't SEO Flash Websites

Google indexes flash, but so what? There is still not much there that can be optimized with any kind of effectiveness.

Stoney deGeyter

An End To Ranking Reports Is An End to Analysis

Recently Google started blocking several of the big-name rank checking software used by many in the SEO industry. This, of course, sparked the debate on whether SEO firms should be bothering with providing ranking reports to their clients. I have to say, I'm conflicted on that issue.

Jennifer Laycock

One Pet Peeve Viral Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Have in Common

While my roots rest firmly in the camp of search engine optimization and search engine marketing, I've spent the last year or two leaning more heavily toward the blogging, social media, viral marketing side of things. I'm often struck at the similarities between these methods. For instance, knowing your audience and creating content that makes them happy is generally the key in all four areas. Yesterday, I also realized the similarities in terms of pet peeves.

Scott Buresh

Flash and SEO: Like Oil and Water

We often deal with clients that are planning to "revamp" their sites with Flash, with SEO having already generated tremendous gains in their sales. The thing that we most dread to hear is that they've hired an experienced "Flash designer" that will be taking their websites to the "next level." Unfortunately, that "next level" is often the basement - at least in terms of SEO results.

Stoney deGeyter

Why Destination Search Engine Marketing Is So Essential

Its important to answer the question "why?" Why go through the hassle of of building a Destination Website? Obviously, there are thousands of successful online businesses that don't operate anything that could be considered a "Destination". If they are successful, should you really go through the extra effort yourself?

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: No Good Web Design Idea is Original, So Use It!

Today we're taking a look at a stock photography website selling the rights to gorgeous photos in a niche topic. The website has a great product to sell, and a decent process for doing it. However, the site design and usability could use a little work prior to taking the next step in online marketing. When you are offering a niche product in a common area, IE stock photography, it's helpful to take some cues from other successful industry websites....

Stoney deGeyter

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #7 Trust and Credibility

While we cannot make a few tweaks here or there to our websites and suddenly expect to be deemed as credible, there are things that we an do to help build the perception of trust in the minds of our visitors.

Scott Allen

Conversion Optimization Part of Internet Marketing? If Not, It Should Be!

I'll be willing to bet that when you hear internet marketing related terms like SEO, SEM, PPC, etc, you don't think of conversion optimization. And vice versa, when you hear talk of e-commerce conversion improvements, you may not think of internet marketing. If you do, then bravo!...you're ahead of the pack. If not, that's ok, but you may want to read on for some reasons why you should be integrating them.

Diane Aull

Bad Advice and Leaky Pipes

Want a sure-fire way to get terrible advice? Ask the right question... to the wrong person....

Stoney deGeyter

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #5 Time and Presence

In non-competitive areas, achieving top rankings often doesn't take much effort. But when you're targeting keywords in more competitive fields you're going up against other websites that have already established themselves in that space. Many of those competitors are are, in fact, the authority for those keywords....

Manoj Jasra

Interview: Michael Gray on Link Building and SEO Intervention

Search Engine Strategies (SES) San Jose is less than a month away and is always one of the biggest and most popular search marketing conferences all year. One of the speakers that will be featured at SES San Jose includes Michael Gray, President of Atlas Web Service. I had a chance to catch up with Michael to chat with him about a few of the topics he will be speaking on at SES San Jose, link building and SEO Rehab & Intervention...

Stoney deGeyter

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #4 Unique Value Proposition

Your business is not just competing with businesses in your area, but quite possibly you're competing with businesses all over the world. And if you're not unique or remarkable in any way, if nothing that sets you apart, then you're just another one of a million other businesses doing the same thing.

Stoney deGeyter

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #3 Website Design

The design of a website is an important aspect of building a destination that people want to return to time and time again. But don't go out and spend all kinds of money for the most current, up-to-date website design with all the whistles and bells. Stop for a second to truly consider what kind of website design you really need.

Stoney deGeyter

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #2 Usability

Running SEO campaigns that don't address usability concerns is like running radio and TV promos to drive people to a store that is unfinished. The traffic being driven may not be a total loss, but you certainly aren't getting the full value out of each customer. Many won't find what they are looking for, others will be frustrated trying to check out, and some may turn around the moment they walk in the door. Usability addresses those issues to ensure each customer has a good experience on your website.

Stoney deGeyter

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #1b Seven Types of Expert Information

There are a number of different types of expert information that can be developed for your webiste as a means of providing your visitors with additional, quality content. Depending on your site, some types of types of expert information are more applicable than others and not all will be a good fit for you. Each site must be evaluated to determine what kind of expert information will best serve the audience's needs and expectations. By finding ways to add additional expert information to your site you'll begin to build a site that can stand up above the competition.

Stoney deGeyter

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #1 Expert Information

If you can't be considered as an expert on your subject, what reason is there for someone to make a purchase from you or subscribe to what you offer? For most people, they want to find people who they are confident know their information inside and out. If I'm not confident that you'll be able to answer my questions intelligently, I'll move on to someone who can.

Stoney deGeyter

Destination Search Engine Marketing, Part IV: It's Not Just Marketing as Usual

Most site's rely on marketing alone to increase traffic. Marketing drives traffic and traffic is really nothing more than more eyeballs on the site. The site still has to do it's job in selling the product or service you offer. And it has to do it effectively if you want to be profitable. Building a Destination Website rockets you beyond the competition in several key areas.

Stoney deGeyter

Destination Search Engine Marketing, Part III: Standing Out in a Sea of Thousands

One of the things many businesses struggle with is how to really make their site stand out. Many of us have dozens, hundreds, even thousands of online competitors. Some are serious competition, some not-so serious, and some not yet even on the radar, but will soon become major players for "our" space. The truth is, everybody wants to be #1 and there is only one #1 position. So, how do you stand out among them?

Stoney deGeyter

Destination Search Engine Marketing, Part II: What Would Sudden Exposure Get You

SEO isn't about "getting" top rankings. Getting rankings leaves open the implication that you're achieving a result that you don't necessarily deserve. Destination SEM focuses on building a website that is truly exceptional in meeting your audience's needs and actually earns top search engine positions.

Stoney deGeyter

Destination Search Engine Marketing, Part I: Do you Deserve Top Search Rankings?

Search engine optimization should be about how helping businesses succeed online with search engine exposure being a component to achieve success, but not the measure of success itself. But where SEO and other forms of offline advertising differ is that SEO cannot stand alone from the core business. It is intertwined. The "rankings at all cost" mentality needs to be thrown out like last month's leftovers that's made its way to the back of the fridge. It's a stale and moldy strategy that simply stinks up the web.

Jennifer Laycock

SEM Bootcamp: Five Steps to Organic Success

If you're just getting started with search engine optimization, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the information and all the details getting thrown around on blogs and discussion forums around the web. While good optimization skills take time to build, it's quite simple to get started.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: You've Got Great Usability, Now Start Optimizing.

Before search engine optimization can be successful in driving conversions, not just rankings, you first need to ensure that your site is usable and compelling. Dynamic-Living.com has done a great job of creating a clean, simple, well-organized website and their visitors will have no trouble finding the products they want and getting through the checkout process. With a website in good shape, their next step is to perform optimization so that they start ranking for relevant keywords....

Stoney deGeyter

SEO is an Orchestra, Not an Instrument

While back I wrote an article about how having a search engine friendly website does not make it search engine optimized. The article discussed how many web developers promise to "search engine optimize" the websites they develop. While I don't mean to discount the value of a good web developer (I rely on them heavily) many developers really know no more about SEO than than they do about pluming. Sure, they can plunge a blocked toilet, or write some decent titles and meta descriptions, but there is so much more to SEO (and plumbing) than that.

Stoney deGeyter

If a Ranking Falls on the First Page, But There is Nobody Around to See it, Does it Still Make Any Difference?

I think I stress too much about our clients' performance of their optimization campaigns. Or perhaps I just create too much work for myself. See, all these years I've been working 10-12 hour days to help my clients increase their exposure in the search engines for some pretty important phrases. But just recently I found out that I've been targeting all the wrong keywords!

Karri Flatla

SEO Bonus Night: Keyword Research Just Got a Little Bit Easier (and Cheaper)

Have you ever been walking down the street just sort of minding your own business, staring at the cracks in the sidewalk, when you suddenly spot a fiver just laying there on the pavement?  My fiver on the sidewalk of search engine marketing was NUMBERS. Yes, Google showed me numbers, glorious numbers. Not just the "1 through 4" types either. Big ones and little ones. Odd ones and even ones. It was neat. It wasn't Bob Barker calling my name or anything. But it was neat....

Jennifer Laycock

Why the Social Media World NEEDS to Understand SEO

As I find myself drifting further and further from my search engine optimization roots to focus more time and effort on exploring the worlds of social media, blogging and viral marketing, I'm sometimes astonished at the misunderstandings between these two worlds. Search engine marketers look to social media as a vast expanse of link opportunities, almost completely missing the true potential of social media. On the other hand, social media types tend to look at SEO as some type of dirty game of tricks and scams that would tarnish the pure image they hope to build in their social media utopia.

Stoney deGeyter

Is Your Website FUBAR in the "Other" Browser?

When making changes to my website I always take the time to view them live on the web before closing up my editing software and patting myself on the back in self-satisfaction of a job well done. Even with minor changes, I like to view them one last time to make sure my changes didn't cause any shifts in on-page display, or I didn't inadvertently create an error somewhere that inadvertently jacked everything up (believe me, it's happened more times than I can count!) But regardless of how careful I am to double check my work, there is one thing I almost always overlook; verifying that my site looks good in the "other" browser.

Stoney deGeyter

Does Your Company Name Really Belong In Your Title Tag?

When I only have about 65 characters to work with in a title tag (that which is visible on the search engine results pages), should I use any of that valuable real estate to display my company name?

Karri Flatla

Small Website? Small Budget? Why Not a Little SEO Lite?

Is it just me or are SEOs getting a little big for their britches? Specifically, why do so many of them tell business owners that they must optimize their website for hundreds of keywords?...

Stoney deGeyter

Stop Wasting Your ALT Attributes and Make them Work for You

When providing SEO advice on the topic of website design, we often warn against placing important content into images. This is because search engines can't read images like a person can. To them, an image with text is just an image. So we rely on ALT attributes to convey proper meaning. ALT text is an important aspect of both usability and SEO. Here's how to do them properly.

Manoj Jasra

4 Tips to Making Your Proprietary CMS Search Friendly

There are often cases where a business will choose to develop a custom content management system (CMS) rather than buying something off the shelf.  The key to a developing a good CMS is to first understand the purpose of your website (requirements) and secondly to design the framework (database, business logic, GUI) to support it. There are also some fundamental SEO related guidelines you should build into your proprietary CMS if you hope to rank well in the search engines....

Scott Buresh

Are You Ready to Outsource to a Search Engine Optimization Company?

So, you are the marketing manager of your firm, and you've finally decided to pull the trigger and hire the search engine optimization company that you've been talking to for months. The budget has been cleared, the SEO firm is ready to start, and it should be just a matter of time before you start seeing a huge uptick in business. Right?

Stoney deGeyter

How to Fix the Bloated (Tables and HTML) Code that is Jacking Up Your SEO

Yesterday I discussed code bloat by looking at how we can move style sheets and JavaScripts off the page in order to clean the coding up quite a bit. I this third post about cleaning up bloated code I wanted to address Tables and other typical causes of bloated HTML.

Sage Lewis

SEO Gone Schizo? Skitzzo Shouts Out

Sage gives credit to Skitzzo of SEO Refugee, who writes "An Open Letter to SEO Bloggers: Back up Your Statements!" In the letter, Skitzzo expresses his frustration with SEO bloggers for stating theories and opinions as facts without any supporting evidence....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Fix the Bloated (CSS and JavaScript) Code that is Jacking Up Your SEO

I started a conversation about how code bloat can effect your site's performance with the search engines. This post maps some specific types of code bloat and very briefly--and non-technically--show you how you can eliminate the bloat to improve your pages performance for both visitors and search engines.

Stoney deGeyter

Website Architecture Questions Answered, Part VIII

Here is another round of questions submitted to me during a Website Architecture webinar I gave  a couple months back. I wasn't able to answer most of these questions before or during the presentation so I've been answering them in this Q&A series. This post covers questions regarding session IDs, repetitive vs. duplicate content, robots.txt files, navigation text, and maintaining link juice after a site re-design. Let's get to it....

Manoj Jasra

Attend the Free Webinar from Google

Google is planning on offering a free webinar on July 8th covering 3 of its most useful products: Google Analytics, Google Website Optimizer and Google Webmaster Tools. This trio of tools is key to the success of any business. Analytics, Landing Page & A/B testing and website configuration for organic insight are an absolute must even if you don't use Google products....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Fix the Bloated Code that is Jacking Up Your SEO

There are a lot of little things that can junk up your code, but, for the most part, the search engines don't really care. It doesn't matter to them if your HTML validates or if you keep your code "clean" or not. When it comes to analyzing your pages for search engine rankings, none of that really matters a whole lot. But when it does matter, it matters a whole lot.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Move to a New Domain With Minimal Ranking Loss and Downtime

Moving your site to a new domain is remarkably similar to moving to a new physical address. In some cases it's much easier, you don't have to pack up, or load or unload a U-Haul truck, but there are other considerations that you have to take into account to make sure your visitors continue to find you after an online move. One of the primary areas of concern is making sure the search engines not only continue to deliver traffic to your new location, but you don't lose all your search engine rankings in the process.

Stoney deGeyter

Website Architecture Questions Answered, Part VII

I'm continuing to work my way through questions submitted during a webinar I gave on Website Architecture. This post covers questions on URLs, breadcrumb navigation, CMS, Database driven sites, 301 and 302 redirects, navigation, heading tags, broken links and HTML theft.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Create Effective Site Navigation that Leads Visitors to Your Most Important Content

Site navigation can come in many different flavors. There isn't just ONE way to do it correctly. If there were then every site would have navigation that looked exactly the same. So while navigation can vary greatly between sites and industries, there are certain navigational elements that should be implemented to ensure solid usability and effective website architecture.

Stoney deGeyter

Internal Linking, Nofollow and Link Blocking Strategies That Provide Maximum Impact On Your SEO Campaign

In-site link implementation can make a considerable difference in how effective your optimization campaign is. Or isn't. While your site's primary and secondary navigation is extremely important, you shouldn't make that the only way for visitors to get around your website. Here are some inter-site linking strategies that will help your visitors while also assist with your search engine optimization efforts.

Stoney deGeyter

The Glory of Absolute Linking (As Opposed to that Relative Linking Crap!)

There are advantages and disadvantages to using both absolute and relative links. Here I will explore the differences between the two, outline some pros and cons and also provide some additional information on how you can create hyperlinks in your site that will ensure that all links to your content remain in tact and properly functioning.

Stoney deGeyter

Website Architecture Questions Answered, Part VI

This is a continuation of the questions I was asked during a webinar presentation on website architecture. Before and during he presentation I was submitted over 70 question and each week I've been answering a handful of them. This article covers questions about Wordpress, password protected pages, iframes, multiple paths to content, and filenames.

Scott Allen

The Importance of Internal Linking, and How to Do it Right

One of the elements of site development and SEO that often gets overlooked is internal linking. When done right, you can kill two birds with one stone, and improve both search rankings and usability.

Stoney deGeyter

Everything You Need to Know About The Meta Keyword Tag

Yesterday I posted some thoughts on When, Why and How to Construct a Meta Description Tag. While it's relevance in terms of rankings is rather limited, there is still some intrinsic value to implementing a good description that will appear in the search results.

Sage Lewis

Yoast Should Boast It's WordPress SEO Guide

Joost de Valk of Yoast.com makes an indelible mark in the WordPress and SEO worlds with his article "WordPress SEO: The Definitive Guide To High Rankings For Your Blog." This all-encompassing resource talks about everything from basic technical optimization methods like Permalinks, title optimization and image optimization to advanced technical optimization techniques like disabling unnecessary archives, pagination and nofollowing unnecessary links....

Stoney deGeyter

When, Why and How to Construct a Meta Description Tag

Meta description tags get a bad rap. They are often either considered to be more valuable than they really are, or dismissed as near irrelevant. The truth is that the meta description can be useful but it's on the lower rung of importance when it comes to the on-page elements considered by the search engines. So while not a whole lot of time needs to be invested in creating workable description tags, I'll give you a few pointers on what you need to consider.

Stoney deGeyter

Search Friendly, Unfriendly and Meh-Friendly Links

Building a website gives you a lot of options when it comes to how to set up your internal linking structure. Different areas of your site or web pages may require different linking strategies, but regardless on what kind of internal linking strategy you implement, you want to make sure that it helps you achieve your search engine optimization goals. I'm going to break internal linking into three categories: The search friendly, search un-friendly and search meh-friendly link.

Stoney deGeyter

Website Architecture Questions Answered, Part V

Continuing my Q&A series on Website Architecture, these questions were presented to me before and during my webinar of the same topic. We have some more good questions and answers today that I'm sure you'll find valuable. This session is largely about keywords in domain and file names with an interesting question on nameservers.

Mike Moran

How Much of Your Site's Traffic Should Come from Search?

My sixteen-year-old son posed a riddle for me the other day: "How does a white beard work?" When I gave up, he revealed the answer: "A hobo." (Should I have mentioned that my son has Down Syndrome?) Anyway, if that riddle made sense to you, then you probably love to analyze the inscrutable world of search metrics....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Create a Directory Structure Search Engines Rock To

When a website goes into development most of the attention is usually paid to the design elements. But what often doesn't get enough attention is the site's directory structure, which plays an important part in your SEO campaign.

Jennifer Laycock

Google Clarifies Some Things...

Kudos to Matt Cutts and the team at Google for finally getting around to adding nofollow documentation (and a few other updates) to the Google Webmaster Help Center.

Stoney deGeyter

Website Architecture Questions Answered, Part IV

More Q&A regarding website architecture. Questions answered regarding books for beginners, SEO techniques and how they have changed, pro's and cons of CSS, different types of architecture and favicons.

Scott Allen

SEO is a Fusion of Relevance and Authority

With all the hot topics in SEO these days, it's easy for newcomers to miss out on the basics, or for those more experienced to forget about them. As long as there is a need for search engine optimization, the core elements will always be Relevance and Authority, and it's important for us to understand what these mean.

Manoj Jasra

5 Reasons to Leverage Google's Custom Search

More and more each day you probably see Google's custom search engine functionality appear on site's across the Internet. If you are looking for a simple way to enhance your users' engagement level on your site then I recommend you take a closer look at Google custom search engine. Below are few of the top reasons I like it so much...

Karri Flatla

Has the Internet Made a Believer Out of You? Maybe This Will Rock Your Religion

Let's get one thing straight: much as we like to play God, Internet marketers are not the omnipotent beings some people think we are. The Earthly truth is that we're just some really driven people with a lot of knowledge about working the web to your advantage. And most would agree that this knowledge, when put into action, is worth a few bucks. Of course, it's easier to continue believing in the omnipotent marketer. As in, if you pay someone enough money to market your business for you, then that person is accountable for your business' failure to turn a...

Matt Bailey

You Could Get Better Advice on a Plane...

Anyone who has worked for or run a small business knows how hard it can be to get good marketing advice. Everyone from the high priced consultant to the guy you buy your laptop from has advice on how to get ahead online. Most of them are wrong. It can leave a small business owner so desperate for advice, they'll take it from anyone. Even the guy sitting next to them on the plane...

Stoney deGeyter

Please Stop Abusing Your Hx Tags, It Doesn't Help Your SEO Efforts

I don't think that the Hx tags are near as important as many people think. But I do believe they play an important role in putting the page hierarchy into expression. Improper usage of HX tags can throw the site hierarchy out of alignment, as well as your search engine optimization efforts.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Use Your WWW. to Prevent Duplicate Content

In this installment I'll provide one of the best permanent fixes to inadvertent duplicate content that is common with business websites. The implications of this can be pretty significant depending on the size of your site.

Stoney deGeyter

Effective Internal Linking Strategies That Prevent Duplicate Content Nonsense

How you set up your internal linking structure plays a significant role in whether you set yourself up to appear if you have duplicate content on your site or not. Some things we do without thinking, setting ourselves up for problems ahead. With a little foresight and planning, you can prevent duplicate content issues that are a result of poor internal link development.

Jackie Baker

Site Clinic: Beat Competitors With Better SEO And Backlinks

This week we are taking a look at GolfAsian.com, an agency that plans golf vacations in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. With a well-organized website and great customer service, they are poised to become a leader in the golf vacation industry - with a few website tweaks and online marketing strategies....

Sage Lewis

Matt Cutts' Video Is Cream of the Anti-Spam Crop

Google engineer, Matt Cutts, steals the show with his Web 2.0 expo video "What Google Knows About Spam." Sage extols the virtues of watching the video if you're looking to avoid spam in your own site and also if you want to make sure you aren't accidentally becoming the spammer yourself! Cutts provides tips on how to prevent spam and encourages site owners to register their sites in Google's Webmaster Central area, which allows Google to notify you if something is wrong....

Sage Lewis

Shoemoney Spouts Off While Google Keeps Growing

This week, Sage addresses Shoemoney's article "SEO Has No Future," in which Shoemoney talks about Google-influenced search results and the pervasive problem of web spam in the industry. Sage proposes that the article is possibly nothing more than a link baiting ploy and that the industry maintain focus on optimizing for the visitor's experience. Google looks to increase visitor experiences by including landing page loading time as a quality score factor in Google AdWords by mid-June, and they are in preview release stages of a new, comprehensive, sophisticated, integrated social media tool called Google Friends Connect....

Stoney deGeyter

Website Architecture Questions Answered

I'm gearing up for a 1-hour webinar that I'll be doing for SEMpdx next week. I've got more information on that below, but the SEMpdx crew asked their members to submit some questions that they would like to get answered during the presentation. Instead of waiting, I thought I'd go ahead and answer the questions here:

Stoney deGeyter

What Does a Title Tag, Title Tag and Title Tag Have In Common?

Duplicate titles is something we often see on newly developed websites or content management systems that don't allow proper control of individual pages. While I get how when developing new websites the title tag can get overlooked, I'm amazed that people develop web software that still doesn't take title tag customization into account.

Debra Mastaler

Bee's Do It. NonProfits Do It. Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Link Love

There are parallels between traditional linking and social media promotion. While I agree the two entities are different animals and call for seperate strategies, the bottom line is the same for both... to increase traffic and inbound links. With some people holding SEO to the fire for exploiting social media, I thought it might be interesting to focus on those parallels and look for common ground....

Stoney deGeyter

Redirecting Alternate Domains to Prevent Duplicate Content

Registering multiple domain names is, and should be, common practice for businesses wishing to protect their brands. Once purchased, what you do with these domains can have a positive or negative impact on your main URL. Here are some tips on how to set up alternate domains to prevent the search engines from seeing duplicate content.

Jennifer Laycock

MarketMotive and Search Engine Strategies Pair up for Online Training

If you've been wanting to get to a Search Engine Strategies event, but haven't been able to escape from your office, you'll be glad to hear that Search Engine Strategies has teamed up with MarketMotive to offer in-depth online training seminars featuring members of the Market Motive staff and popular SES speakers. The sessions are designed to marketers a chance to receive high level training at a lower price and with a small time commitment than attending an entire show.

Jennifer Laycock

Targeting Conversions and Traffic with Long Tail Writing

As personalized search and universal search continue shaking up an industry that used to be dominated by "top ten results," more and more small businesses are learning the value of focusing on the keyword long tail. While there's no doubting the value of bringing in highly targeted traffic, many companies still don't quite get how to target the long tail in their copy. They also don't know that long tail friendly copy is also user friendly copy.

Stoney deGeyter

How Poor Product Categorization Creates Duplicate Content and Frustrates Your Shoppers

Product categorization can play a significant role in how both search engines and users are able to access your products. There are two important things to consider when determining how to categorize your products. 1) Is each product assigned to the most appropriate category or categories? and 2) is multiple categorization creating duplicate content? The first issue frustrates your users and the second the search engines.

Ross Dunn

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....

Scott Buresh

Ask.com Search Engine - A Brief History

As of this writing, there are five top Internet search engines: Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, and Ask.com, and while Google and Yahoo! get a lot of the press (particularly lately), the Ask.com search engine is a rather interesting engine that deserves a closer look. This article will cover some of the highlights in its 12-year history, from its start as Ask Jeeves to its innovations, as well as the most recent developments behind the scenes.

Stoney deGeyter

Theories in Duplicate Content Penalties

There are two kinds of duplicate content: content that is duplicated on multiple websites and content that is duplicated on multiple pages of a single site. I believe the search engines treat each differently and, of course, there may be different standards applied to duplicate content within each of these two main differentiations, depending on the cause and instance.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Use Hx Tags To Boost Page Performance

The value of the Hx tag is much the same as the value of your main points in an outline for a book or paper. Your outline shows your main topics and sub-topics. These are often then used as section headings in your final draft.

Debra Mastaler

Dull, Boring And Cheap Means No Links For You

Have you tried to hire an SEO professional or a link builder and been turned down repeatedly? Is your site not performing to your expectations? Do you like the color beige? If you answered yes to any of these questions read on....

Jennifer Laycock

Who's Robert Clough? Hint: He's Not a Cartoon Dog

If you're new around here, you've probably never heard of Robert Clough. If you've been around here for years, you've probably decided Robert Clough is my imaginary friend...someone I made up to pin the blame on when things go south. The truth is he's a real person. The folks who attended SBM Unleashed last week know this and thanks to Anita Campbell, the whole world now knows it.

Scott Allen

How 3 Lines of Code Can Improve Your Rankings

Many website owners have a small technical issue with their site(s) that they don't even realize, and when left uncorrected, can severely hurt search engine rankings....

Jennifer Laycock

Focus on Ranking Improvement, Not Domination

Last week at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference, small business owners (and a handful of marketers) came from around the world (literally) to learn more about marketing themselves online. We decided to open the show with a tag-team panel approach aimed at helping attendees go into the show sessions with the right perspective. Search engine marketing, blogging and social media are wonderful; but if you're a small business doing it all yourself, you need to approach things from a unique angle.

Stoney deGeyter

The 19-Hour Website Analysis, in 20 Minutes or Less

Performing a complete website review is rarely easy. I've found that you can start a site analysis intending to spend just a few minutes looking over it only to find that it quickly spirals into a multi-hour marathon of research. Complete website reviews can be time consuming and often produce many more hours of work beyond that. Many people want to rush into the marketing without realizing that the website itself is part of the marketing process. This is a shame....

Liana Evans

Unleashed: Site Architecture by Stoney deGeyter (Live Blogging)

This is a live blogging of Stoney deGeyter's Site Architecture session at Search Engine Guide's Unleashed Conference for Small Business Marketing.  Stoney covers Website Architecture, Page / Document Architecture and Site Linking Architecture in this great session....

Liana Evans

Unleashed Opening Session: A Common Sense Approach to Online Marketing (Live Blogging)

Search Engine Guide's first conference, Unleashed, kicks off with a great opening panel discussing the Common Sense Approach to Online Marketing.  Matt McGee, Matt Bailey & Wendy Piersall all present a great overview into why Online Marketing is very important and taking a very common sense approach to things will help your small business.This is a "live blogging" relation to you the audience of what happened in this opening session....

Sage Lewis

Video: You Use YouTube? Learn How to Maximize

Jiannis Sotiropoulos from the Pandemic Blog divulges his findings about how to maximize your YouTube results in his article, "Going Viral with YouTube."  Sotiropoulos studied four different videos, three of which were popular and one that wasn't.  Sage highlights five of his major findings, including results like the number of friends you have on YouTube does NOT play a role in promoting it nor does the quantity of videos, but the quality of your video and having lots of friends on other social networking sites does influence the popularity....

Manoj Jasra

3 Steps to a Stronger SEM Training Program

Recently I have been involved in creating a search marketing training program which some very clear objectives: help new search marketing strategists get up to speed quicker, allow them to work on billable client work sooner/more efficiently and get them prepared to participate in high-level brainstorming strategies. As much as I can teach the new strategists, I have learned it's as important to learn from them to continually tweak and improve the program. Below I have outlined 3 steps to creating a stronger search marketing training program....

Scott Buresh

Microsoft and Yahoo!, Search Engine Partners? How Mergers and Acquisitions May Change the Search Engine Playing Field - and Where Google Comes In

Until recently, there were five major players in the search engine world: Google, MSN, AOL, Ask.com, and the Yahoo! search engine. These top Internet search engines quickly could be narrowed down to four, however; AOL uses the Google algorithm and will yield nearly identical results. Further narrowing is rapidly occurring - Ask.com seems to be stepping out of the spotlight to focus on specific markets, and in early March 2008, Microsoft began attempting to purchase the Yahoo! search engine. If there are just two top search engines with which to be concerned, what does this mean for your business and for SEO as a whole?

Sage Lewis

Video: Debunking Google News Myths and Debating SEO Standardization

Google News bloggers debunk myths about how to get your article submitted to Google News; myths include examples such as having a picture next to your piece increases your rankings. Blogging continues to gain popularity, but according to MediaPost.com, only 23% of people who read blogs are more likely to go out and buy those bloggers suggested products. Also, the debate is heated on the Search Engine Watch forums about whether or not SEO should be standardized....

Jennifer Laycock

Search Engine Marketing Bootcamp: Make Sure the Search Engines Can Read Your Site

While search engines are pretty good at finding web sites and getting their content indexed, many site owners have no idea their web sites can be created in a way that looks good to people, but can't be read by search engines. If your site is built entirely in Flash, relies too heavily on Javascript or uses drop down boxes and forms to let people find your content, the search engines may be missing out on your content.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Prevent SEO Bloat from Overcrowding Your Marketing Campaign

Rarely does SEO bloat happen all at once, but it's usually an accumulation of edits and tweaks made over the course of several months or even years. This is what makes it particularly damaging to your marketing efforts.

Debra Mastaler

Use What's In Front Of You To Attract Links

If you have an offline store supporting an online presence or even if you exist only online, it makes sense to expose your URL's and special promotions at every opportunity. Doing so helps to build credibility and natural inbound links.

Manoj Jasra

8 Factors to Cover in a Competitive Analysis

The main purpose of a competitive analysis should be to gain awareness of the competitive factors analyzed and to leverage the client's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to their advantage. So what kind of factors should be included in an online competitive analysis...

Jennifer Laycock

Missed the Early Bird Price on Unleashed? No Worries!

No doubt some of you looked at your calendars last week and realized you'd missed the $850 early bird price for our upcoming Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Houston. Don't sweat it, we've got you covered. We've spent the last six months building the perfect conference for you. We know how busy you are. Do you think we'd let you miss out on this great show just because you forget to set an alert on your calendar?

Scott Buresh

Using a Search Engine Optimization Company vs. Hiring an In-House Expert: The True Dollar Cost

It's a common question that companies who are considering hiring a search engine optimization company often face - is this something that we can do in-house? More importantly, can we do this in-house and get the same results that an expert search engine optimization company would provide?

Matt Bailey

Three Recession Proof Tactics You Can't Afford to Miss

SEO, Usability, and Analytics are the best investment that you can make for your online business. In fact, dollar for dollar, these recession proof tactics should result in some of the best ROI you'll see from your web site. If you're still on the fence when it comes to investing in any of these three areas, you could be missing out on a wide-open opportunity to get the most out of your website.

David Wallace

Which Is Better - PPC or SEO? How One Company Increased Traffic 60% After Ditching PPC for SEO

The Dallas Business Journal recently ran a story on one of our clients, Wasp Barcode Technologies, describing how they went from spending enormous amounts of money on PPC to focusing more on traditional SEO and link building. The strategy paid off -- Wasp spent less and got better results. These are the kind of results every small to medium sized business would like to enjoy....

Diane Aull

Not Just More. Better!

Do you simply want more website traffic, or would you rather have better traffic? Did you know you can make more profit with the same (or even less) traffic? You can -- as long as you know how to get the right visitors and make the best use of the traffic you get....

Stoney deGeyter

Sometimes Fixing a Site Means Breaking It First

While it has taken many years for SEO to be considered a marketing function within the business community, I sometimes wonder if the pendulum has swung now too far away from SEO being a function of the IT department. SEO is very different from traditional marketing.

Sage Lewis

Video: A Pallet of Soda, 54 rolls of Toilet Paper, & Sam's Club SEO

Scott Buresh receives top honors this week with his article "Sam's Club Wants to Be Your Search Engine Optimization Company-Should You Let It?". He explains that Sam's Club is partnering with a company called Innuity to provide small businesses with access to a dashboard that submits their sites to local search engines, all for only $25! Scott's concern is that customers will feel they are getting the whole SEO package when really it's just a small piece of it, but he does acknowledge the possibility of the affiliation increasing validity for the SEO world....

Scott Buresh

Using Differentiators in Keyphrases: What Every Search Engine Optimization Company Needs to Know

As any good search engine optimization company knows, in search, more so than any other medium, you have a very short window of opportunity in which to engage your prospect. The only way to get a solid competitive advantage in this arena is to utilize various techniques in order to make sure that you are giving a prospect exactly what it is that he or she is looking for. Otherwise, your prospect will simply click the back button and visit one of your competitors - a process that only takes seconds.

Jennifer Laycock

Tis the Conference Season

I remember when there was this nice lull between December and April where I didn't have to book flights, write presentations or find someone to watch my kids. These days, it feels like one conference blends into the next. On the plus side, that means you have tons of options to choose from if you're looking to attend a search marketing or online marketing conference.

Diane Aull

Why Do The (Good) SEOs Cost So %&*# Much?

If SEO isn't exactly rocket science (and I don't believe it is), then why are people willing to pay so much for site optimization services?...

Sage Lewis

Video: Search Engine Guide Gets Props and SEO Stays Hot

Sage gives a thumbs up to Search Engine Guide for the site redesign! Search engine optimization continues to gain popularity according to Marketing Sherpa's latest survey; it's low cost and high return keep SEO as one of the best online tactics for budget plans. Danny Sullivan's site Search Engine Land confirms Yahoo's layoffs, and Google emails its customers so they know to link their AdWords account with their Analytics to ensure accurate results....

Stoney deGeyter

How to Uncover the Fundamental Information Necessary To Plan A Strategically Successful SEO Campaign, Part III

When putting the framework for a solid optimization campaign you have to spend some time evaluating various aspects of your site. This evaluation gives you an idea of any shortcomings the site has, what will be required to overcome the competition, and will then allow you to map out an effective strategy for success. But there is more to the evaluation than just looking at how the website currently performs in the on- and off-page analysis.

Stoney deGeyter

How to Uncover the Fundamental Information Necessary To Plan A Strategically Successful SEO Campaign, Part II

Whether you are putting together a proposal for a client or assessing your own needs, you need to be able to accurately predict how much time, energy and effort will be necessary to build a successful SEO campaign. Of course, in order to predict the time involvement you need to first know the strengths and weaknesses of the website which will then help you determine what will need to be done to accomplish your goals and make the site a viable competitor.

Stoney deGeyter

9 Tips for Creating a Site Map for Visitors and Spiders

Not every site needs a site map, they can certainly be a good idea. Site maps provide a dual purpose: They provide search engine spiders easy access to all of your site pages and they provide site visitors easy access to all of your site pages. The difference is that search engines and visitors access your site map differently and therefore there are different methods that need to be applied to creating site map(s) that are friendly for both engines and search spiders.

Jennifer Laycock

Search Marketing Bootcamp: What's a Keyword?

To some, it sounds incredibly simple. To others, it's somewhat mind boggling. Search marketers toss around lingo like "keywords" and "keyword phrases" as if they're part of everyone's vocabulary. While it's true the words are nothing special, the concept can be foreign to someone new to the industry. This article offers up a quick and simple primer on the concept of keywords and keyword phrases in regards to organic search engine optimization.

Sage Lewis

Video: And the Award Goes to. . . Analytics and Rand Fishkin

Analytics are everywhere this week with the release of Google's Urchin 6.0 and the entry of analytics player Crazy Egg. Urchin 6.0 is expensive for the average user at $2,995 after beta and geared more towards large companies that are protective of their analytics data; Crazy Egg offers some standard features but is trying to capitalize on their "visualize your visitors" approach, in which their Heat Map allows you to see where people are clicking on your site. Last but definitely not least, are the SEMMY Awards, where Rand Fishkin walks away with the big win for his SEO article, "Search Engine Rankings Factors 2.0."

Stoney deGeyter

How to Uncover the Fundamental Information Necessary To Plan A Strategically Successful SEO Campaign, Part I

Every SEO campaign has to start somewhere. Any good plan; whether you're building a home, preparing for a family vacation or looking to optimize your website for search rankings, starts with research. Before you are ready to optimize your first piece of code you need to understand the landscape around you, which means you need to know the condition of your site as it currently is, and the goals you wish to achieve over the course of your campaign.

Scott Buresh

Behavior-Based Internet Advertising: Who Is Watching You?

Have you ever been surfing the web and come upon Internet advertising that provides a direct solution for something that you've been researching lately? Did you think that it might be related to your computer cookies, or did you chalk it up to serendipity?

Manoj Jasra

An Additional 4 Tips for Video and Image

Image optimization and video optimization are not secondary organic strategies anymore, they are essential in creating a well-rounded online presence. There are numerous resources you can turn to help perfect your strategy but I wanted to take a look at some techniques you may never thought of as well as some additional questions to ask yourself before applying any tactics....

Stoney deGeyter

The SEO Fool's Errand for the SEO Fool

The other day I received an email from a client noting that some of his Yahoo rankings have slipped as of late. They are still ranking strong on Google as well as MSN and heck, many of their Yahoo rankings are still very strong. But there was, in fact, some slippage and the client was concerned. Well, first we know that there is more to web marketing than top rankings. In fact rankings are just a small piece of the bigger web marketing pie. I know that and you know that, but for whatever reason, we all still have to deal with clients that refuse to accept that. But that's a story for another post. So what do you do in this situation? I know for a fact that the client's business has seen 100-200% growth year over year since we started working with them oh-so long ago. They obviously see the big picture, but they still come back looking at rankings. And Yahoo rankings at that.

Jennifer Laycock

Three Key Points for SEM Success

Every now and then you have to get back to the basics. You may be learning the ropes and turning in some pretty good results with your search engine marketing efforts. You might be seeing higher rankings, more traffic and tons of links. Of course you might not be seeing an increase in sales. If that's the case, there's a good chance you've made one of three common mistakes with your search marketing campaign.

Jennifer Laycock

2008 SEMMY Nominees Announce

If the writer's strike has left you feeling like you're missing the best of awards season, Matt McGee is here to rescue you. He's announced the launch of the SEMMYs, a new award that aims to honor the best online marketing posts of the year in more than a dozen categories. The initial list of nominees was compiled by Matt, but more than two dozen industry types (myself included) will be working to narrow the field before Matt opens it up to votes.

Scott Buresh

All Search Engines Love Spiders: How Meta Commands Can Help You Love Them Too

Nearly all search engines utilize spiders (which are also known by their original name, robots) to go out and scour the web looking for web pages. These search engine spiders then bring the data back to be indexed by the engine.

Jennifer Laycock

Search Marketing Bootcamp: Robots.txt File

Robots.txt files are often mentioned as being an important foundation of a search friendly web site. To site owners and small businesses who are new to search marketing, the robots.txt file can sound daunting. In reality, it's one of the fastest, simplest ways to make your site just a little more search engine friendly.

Jennifer Laycock

The Building Blocks of SEM

Everyone knows that if you want to build something big, you have to have a strong foundation. That holds true whether you're putting up a skyscraper or creating an online marketing plan. While you may think it's all about links and keywords, solid search and online marketing encompasses so much more. That's why anyone looking to start marketing their business online should print out and study Matt McGee's new SEO Success Pyramid.

Jennifer Laycock

What if Search Engines Could Read Images?

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for many small business sites (well, any site, really) when it comes to search engine optimization is the lack of text on their web sites. After all, it's well known among SEO's that search engines cannot read the text in an image. Or can they? Bill Slawski walks us through a few new Google patent filings today that may point to a change in this long standing rule of SEO.

Jennifer Laycock

Discount Subscription to Search Marketing Standard

It's hard to believe it's been two years since Boris Mordkovich and his team launched the print Search Marketing Standard magazine to help educate folks about the search marketing industry. I remember back when I first posted about the magazine's launch. At the time, I was pretty skeptical. After all, the industry moves at a blogger's pace, not a publisher's pace. It just didn't seem like a print magazine had a chance. I'm happy to say I was wrong.

Stoney deGeyter

9 Paths of SEO Enlightenment, Part III

While search engines are important, keep in mind that your visitors are even more important. When making edits to your site always consider the implications on both your human visitors and the search engines as well. Every change you make will have either a positive, negative or neutral effect on your human visitors and the search engine spider. You need to know ahead of time the effect any particular change will have and use that as a basis for determining if its worthwhile or not.

Diane Aull

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

What can you do if your website-kid is getting beat up in the search engines by the online equivalent of a playground bully?...

Debra Mastaler

Here's Why I Won't Quit My Link Building Job

Are you thinking about outsourcing your link building work or do you prefer to keep everything in-house? There's been a lot of discussion on this issue lately, let's take a look at the pro's and con's of each.

Stoney deGeyter

9 Paths of SEO Enlightenment, Part II

A properly built web site will ensure that the search engine spiders are able to access all pages of your site with more importance placed on the more important pages. It will also insure that the human visitors are able to accomplish their goals, either finding the information they came for and/or purchasing your product or service.

Jill Whalen

Changing URLs

Another reason why people wrongly assume that keyword phrases in URLs are a factor in getting a page to show up in the search results is because the top results do indeed often use keyworded URLs! But (and this is a big but) websites that use keyword-rich URLs are using them because someone, somewhere is attempting to optimize the pages to show up in the search results — which means they are doing a lot more than simply putting keywords in URLs as part of their website optimization.

Jennifer Laycock

Search Engine Spam - What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

If you are a small business owner, you may have spent a fair amount of time learning about the generally accepted ways to improve your search rankings. What you probably glossed over or skipped all together was reading about the tactics used to game or "cheat" your way up the search engines. You may be thinking "but I'm not planning to spam the search engines!" That's great, but are you absolutely positive the SEM firm you're thinking about hiring feels the same way? If you know nothing about those tactics, how can you be certain your company or your SEM firm aren't using them.

Jennifer Laycock

Around the Industry in 50 Posts

The year is coming to a close and it's time for "best of 2007" lists to start popping up in your feed reader. While there are some great ones out there, I wanted to make sure to draw your attention to Evan Carmichael's "Top 50 SEO Posts of the Year." Evan has put together one of the most comprehensive lists of great posts you'll see this year. In fact, he's done it without any writer overlap. That means he's offering up fifty articles from fifty different writers.

Scott Buresh

A Slippery Slope: Google Owns a Search Engine Optimization Company

What many people failed to realize was that when Google purchased DoubleClick, it now was also the owner of a very large search engine optimization company called Performics, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of DoubleClick. This fact is of course raising some eyebrows in the industry.

Simon Heseltine

SMX London Coverage: Search Marketing for Financial Services

Last Friday I attended the Search Marketing for Financial Services session at SMX-London. This session was moderated by Danny Sullivan. The session was aimed at addressing the specific challenges facing businesses in the financial services sector, a niche not exactly known for attracting tons of incoming links.

Jennifer Laycock

Google Finally Spells Out Their Paid Link Policy Crystal Clear

I'm just returning from a well-earned, extra-long holiday weekend away from the computer, so I managed to miss Google's sneaky little update to their webmaster guidelines late last week. Thankfully, Search Rank's David Wallace was on the ball as usual and got a great post up noting the change. While the new guidelines did include mention of the nofollow tag if you went hunting for it, the new ones do a pretty good job of explaining exactly what Google expects from site owners who buy or sell links.

Jill Whalen

DMOZ Description Showing in Google

It appears the text Google is now showing [for a particular keyword phrase] is from our DMOZ directory listing. Until very recently (and while our listing position was as good as it is now) Google was showing the first few words of text from the body of our home page. Should we leave everything as is and enjoy the good listing position, but put up with the less than ideal text in the search results?

Stoney deGeyter

9 Paths of SEO Enlightenment, Part I

Can a proper balance between optimizing for spiders and humans be struck? Can you achieve the perfectly optimized web page for search rankings, while also maintain a perfectly optimized page for your audience? No, but since perfection is unattainable, what you can do is find the most effective balance between being both user friendly and search engine friendly.

Todd Mintz

SEO Spam Solicitation Stripped

I'm guessing that most everyone reading this article has received SEO spam and regular readers of Search Engine Guide know enough about the SEO process not to be suckered into believing the sorts of claims made in SEO service spam emails. However, as a public service to all, I am going to deconstruct the latest example to arrive in my inbox.

Simon Heseltine

Search Marketing for Retail - SMX-London

Last week I attended and presented at SMX-London. It was a great chance to meet with British search Marketers that don't get to make it out to the US conferences, and to hear a different perspective on familiar topics from mostly British presenters. Friday saw the "Search Marketing for Retail" seminar, which was moderated by Rob Kerry of Ayima.com.

Jennifer Laycock

The Accidental Lessons of Life in the Search Industry

I missed a great post last week by Matt McGee, so I'm blogging it now. Titled "Eight Things the Search Industry Can Teach Small Businesses," the post offers up several great examples of how to market yourself online from people in the industry who were simply going about their business. From networking to staying visible to finding your niche, it's a great little set of tips and examples worth reading through.

Jennifer Laycock

Designing the Perfect Small Business Marketing Conference (Houston, Texas 2008)

In the last five years, I've attended dozens of marketing conferences, events and seminars. During each of those shows, I've spent time talking to the small business owners who've come to try and learn a little more about how to market their business online. Time and time again, the message I hear is the same. "The information is incredible, but I have no idea where to start!" It was that line that caused Robert and I to sit down several months ago and brainstorm all the things we'd do if we were planning a marketing conference for small business owners. It was Stoney deGeyter who said "so why don't you do it?"

Jennifer Laycock

Does Registering Your Domain for Longer Periods Help You Rank Better?

There's a conversation going on in our Small Business Ideas forum about domain registration and the impact it has on search engine rankings. Generally, when I hear small business owners ask about this, they want to know if the age of a domain has any impact on their rankings. In the case of this thread, the original poster is asking if the length of domain registration has anything to do with rankings. I've heard this question pop up more often in the last few months, so I thought it might be worth throwing down a few thoughts on the issue.

Scott Buresh

Google's Paid Search vs. Organic Results - A Rickety Wall of Separation

The good people at Google have long maintained that there is a Chinese Wall between paid search results and organic results - that is, the department responsible for advertising is completely separate from the department responsible for organic search engine placement. The company insists that Google Adwords is a completely separate entity than the Google search engine, and never the twain shall meet. This all sounds very good, in theory.

Stoney deGeyter

Big Picture SEO vs Small Detail Obsessions

While looking at every last minute detail of SEO is advantageous, it is effective only to a point. One can't get mired into trying to get every last little detail right all of the time. To do so often comes at the expense other important things. Instead of focusing on the big picture, you're mired in the little things that don't provide the return you may have imagined.

Scott Buresh

Current and Future Search Trends: What the Top Internet Search Engines Are Doing

The future of search is unclear – what is clear is that change is rapidly happening for all of the top Internet search engines. Google as always is the front runner for many of these search trends, but even little guys like Ask.com are making waves. In this article, I will attempt to cover some of the more interesting search trends that are occurring today with the top Internet search engines – but I am by no means being comprehensive about the subject. Things are changing on a weekly, or sometimes even daily, basis, and future articles will cover additional developments in depth.

Stoney deGeyter

The Great SEO Lie Exposed

I had an alternate title for this post: "Ask not what Google can do for you, but what you can do for Google". We're moving into a new age where we have to pay closer attention what Google does -- despite what Google says.

Jennifer Laycock

Still Intimidated by Online Marketing?

Something I hear now and then from small business owners and small business in-house marketers is that they aren't afraid of marketing. They're just afraid of internet marketing. After all, most people have a general understanding of how things like the yellow pages and newspaper spots work. Even if they don't run good campaigns, they probably can't end up doing a lot of damage. To them, the internet moves at lightening speed and a bad campaign can turn into a true disaster. While these are valid concerns, they shouldn't be enough to scare you off.

Debra Mastaler

Ramblings of a Directory Groupie & Some Directory Freebies

Using directories in your link building efforts is still a viable option from several standpoints. Here's my thoughts on the subject plus a roster of the directories we use and a list of discount promotion codes. Get some links, save some money. Cool.

Jennifer Laycock

A Little Ditty on the Google Fiasco

No matter how hard I try, I couldn't get the first two lines of this song out of my head this past week. Figuring it was easier to give in than to fight it (how ironic) I had to sit down long enough to finish it off. Guess this will date me as a child of the eighties.

Simon Heseltine

Why You Need Custom 404 Pages

One time, when working with an in-house IT manager I was told that his site didn't need 404 error pages because no-one should reach them. I politely explained to him that 404 error pages are needed precisely because people and search engine spiders will reach them, regardless of how well he'd developed the site.

Jill Whalen

Google's Paid-link Smack in the Face

The SEO world is abuzz today with Google's smack in the face to a number of websites that are selling obviously paid-for, keyword-rich text links. The gist of it is that the toolbar PageRank number has been reduced by a couple of points (or more) for many websites.

Jennifer Laycock

Anyone Have Some Boots I Could Borrow?

I spent the morning gingerly picking my way through a minefield of guk. The mess was everywhere. It was unavoidable. It was gross. Then the family and I came home from the pumpkin patch and I logged on to find the exact same type of mess waiting for me online. I'll say one thing for Google...they sure manage to keep folks talking about them.

Jill Whalen

Unoptimized Site Ranks #1

A reader writes in asking about competing with a number one listing that doesn't appear to be optimized at all. Jill points out that good rankings aren't always about the "obvious" forms of search engine optimization and offers some suggestions on how to compete.

Kalena Jordan

Does Your Web Site Need a Workout?

I see it so often, regardless of company size. Web sites that could easily be bringing in loads of traffic and revenue simply wasting away because nobody can be bothered tracking visitor activity, analyzing trends or checking for search engine compatibility and usability.

Jennifer Laycock

14 Days to a Better Website Seminar in Cleveland

If you've been looking to attend an online marketing seminar and live within driving distance of Cleveland, Ohio, you might want to check out the 14 Days to a Better Website Seminar being put on by Site Logic Marketing's Matt Bailey next month. I'll be joining Matt for the seminar and we're looking forward to the chance to help some small businesses get their marketing plans off on the right foot.

Stoney deGeyter

Where Does the Responsibility of the SEO End and the Client's Begin?

Last week, as I recounted my story of a troubled client, I got to thinking about this question. In the world of SEO, where do the lines of responsibility fall? When is the SEO responsible for failure and when is it the client's fault? Or can lines be drawn between them so easily?...

Scott Buresh

Does Your Search Engine Optimization Company Understand Your Marketing Strategy?

So you have decided to hire a search engine optimization company as a part of your overall marketing strategy. The firm that you choose will have a tremendous impact on the success of your campaign, but you knew that already. However, what are your evaluation criteria? For too many companies, the answer is plain, simple, and singular: rankings.

Jennifer Laycock

Part Five - NoFollow is for Blog Spam...no Paid Text Links, wait...Paid Ads...Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings

After four pretty lengthy articles covering the history of nofollow and the issues at play in Google's paid link crusade, I'll be wrapping the series up today. In part five, I'll take a look at what's likely to happen if Google continues on their current course and why I believe it could make the Internet a worse place for small business owners.

Ross Dunn

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.

Stoney deGeyter

4 Strategic Lessons to Avoid an Ill-Advised SEO Campaign

I recently made a mistake. I took on a client without first having fully vetted them and their prospects for success. Several months later, with a more accurate picture of the situation, things are not looking so bright....

Jennifer Laycock

Part Three - NoFollow is for Blog Spam...no Paid Text Links, wait...Paid Ads...Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings

In the first article in this series I outlined the history of the nofollow tag. In the second article, I took a look at some of the complex issues in the "are paid links ok or are they evil?" argument. Today I'll explore the options Google has in dealing with this problem and will explain why I think they're taking the wrong route.

Jennifer Laycock

Google is the Most Popular Search Engine in the World

According to new numbers from a global search survey conducted by comScore, Google is the most popular search engine in the world. In fact, Google handles roughly 60% of world wide search. (37 billion) That number is even higher than the 50% of searches it handles here in the United States. The study looked at global numbers for other engines as well and listed Yahoo (8.5 billion), Baidu (3.3 billion), Microsoft (2.2 billion) and NHN (2 billion) as rounding out the top five.

Stoney deGeyter

20 Ways to NAVIGATE to Higher Conversions

A site's navigation structure is extremely important in providing a rich, friendly user experience. Well designed and implemented navigation assists in the process of helping visitors identify sections and pages of the website that interest them and then in moving them in that direction. If you're able to implement a solidly developed navigation system on your site you'll also be providing strong visual cues to the depth of content you have available. This alone can be an immediate first-impression indicator of trust.

Jennifer Laycock

Spend Your Money on Intent, Not Traffic

Anyone who has played around in the paid search realm for any length of time quickly learns that paying for traffic is a great way to go broke. It's a far better idea to focus on paying for targeted traffic by getting in front of the folks who not only have an interest in what you have to offer, but have actually gone looking for it. That's the point John Marshall makes today in a post called "Never, Ever Pay for Traffic" at Market Motive.

Jennifer Laycock

NoFollow is for Blog Spam...no Paid Text Links, wait...Paid Ads...Aww Heck, Just Stop Linking and Let Calacanis Decide the Rankings - Part One

My daughter has a shirt that read "it seemed like a good idea at the time." I sort of wish they made it in larger sizes. I can't help but think it'd be a nice Christmas gift for the team at Google. After all, I'm hard pressed to believe that phrase hasn't popped into the conversation at least once or twice in the last year as their engineers sit around debating their algorithm and the impact of paid links.

Stoney deGeyter

Reciprocal Links Are (Still) Not Dead

A while back there was quite a bit of scare mongering going around the SEO industry about how reciprocal links were dead. I had a potential client once tell me that so-and-so-big-name-in-the-SEO-industry told them that reciprocal links were dead. I've said this before and I'll say it here again. There is nothing wrong with reciprocal links.

Jill Whalen

Will Site Drop Out of Engines if Not Paying for SEO?

Should a small business in a non-competitive market pay a monthly SEO maintenance fee to their search marketing company? Jill Whalen answers a reader question about the need for a monthly SEO budget.

Sage Lewis

The Best Damn On-Page Optimization Process Checklist, Period

For the second week in a row author Stoney deGeyter makes the cut for Sage's pick of the week. If your optimization efforts are going to succeed you need focus and a process and Stoney's checklist gives you just that.

Stoney deGeyter

The Best Damn On-Page Optimization Process Checklist, Period

I like to create systems for everything that I do and SEO is no exception. While not every aspect of search engine marketing can be programmed, categorized or easily referenced, (I have a mighty team to handle that stuff!) the bulk of the work can at least be outlined into a handy check list.

Jennifer Laycock

Picking the Size of Your Pond

Whether you're talking about search marketing, blog marketing or any other form of online marketing, small businesses often find themselves competing as a little fish in a big pond. That can be frustrating when your time and your finances are limited. Sometimes those limitations mean you need to start looking for a pond that better fits the size of your marketing budget. I ran across a small business marketing column in the Roseville and Rocklin Today asking "How Big is Your Pond?"

Scott Buresh

Brand New Websites: A Search Engine Optimization Company Perspective

It's an unfortunate fact - no matter how good your search engine optimization company or in-house talent is, brand new websites have a more difficult time achieving search engine success for competitive phrases than their older counterparts, particularly on Google. However, the worst thing that a new site owner can possibly do is presume that they are "too late to the game" and decide not to pursue this marketing channel at all.

Ross Dunn

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.

Diane Aull

Designers versus Clients?

The question has been asked: should customers expect web designers to know about SEO as a matter of course, or should designers presume customers know and will ask about SEO if they're interested? Here's what I think......

Jennifer Laycock

A Great Primer on Using Images to Drive Traffic

While vertical search is still in its infancy, the integration of vertical results through Google Universal and Ask 3D are allowing sites to draw more and more visitors from specialty indexes. One of the vertical search indexed that is becoming more and more popular is image search. Unfortunately, many small businesses are overlooking traffic opportunities by not optimizing the images on their sites. Pat B. Doyle has a great post on using images to drive traffic at her blog.

Jennifer Laycock

5 Tips for Seasonal Search Marketing Success

The Yahoo Search Marketing team has a post up this week reminding site owners that online holiday shopping increases pretty much every year. In fact, more than 80% of shoppers bought at least one thing online last holiday season. With the holiday sales cycle already gearing up, it's a good idea to start fine tuning your site and campaigns to drive more business. While most of the five tips Yahoo has to offer are a recap of the fundamentals of good online marketing, they're still worth reading and putting into action.

Jill Whalen

Search Engines and PDFs

The search engines do indeed index and rank PDF documents these days. Basically, what they do is convert them into HTML and then index the information just like any other web page.

Todd Mintz

Ask SEMpdx: What is the SEO Value Proposition?

I've always believed the SEO value proposition to be so clear and obvious that if a person couldn't intuitively "get it" themselves, nothing I could tell them would help them understand. I asked my fellow SEMpdx members to successfully answer the question that I could never answer very well.

Jennifer Laycock

Is Universal Search a Small Business's Ticket to Google Success?

There's been a lot of talk lately about what the shift toward blended and universal search means for small business owners. On the one hand, those increased opportunities to snag listings allow one company to snag even more real estate on the first page. On the other hand, those increased opportunities to snag listings allow one company to snag even more real estate on the first page. It's all good if you're the company scoring more listings, it's not so good if your competitor does it and pushes you off the front page.

Jennifer Laycock

Boost Your Local Search Presence

With small brick and mortar businesses starting to see the value in shifting some of their massive yellow page budgets over to online marketing, local search has become a hot topic. Unfortunately, many small businesses find themselves confused in terms of how to target those local visitors when they move their searches online. Ironically, this often leads them right back to the yellow pages...the online yellow pages. While there's something to be said for maintaining a presence there, it's important that these businesses learn how to better target the growing usage of the local search tools on popular search engines.

Miriam Ellis

Blogs With Deep Roots - A Great Potential Use Of The Blogging Medium

The text-based Internet seems to confirm that we will never again attain the vast capacity for memory retention reputed to our ancestors. Taken to an extreme, the Internet can tell you what your own name is if you ever chance to forget it. Yet, there is the very positive side of the Internet acting as an unprecedented repository for the memories and knowledge of generations of mankind.

Jennifer Laycock

Search Engines are PEOPLE!

Most of you read that headline and either thought "I really don't want to hear about Mahalo again" or "No they're not! They're algorithms!!" Well I'm with you on the first one, but you couldn't be more wrong on the second. Algorithms are programmed by the people, for the people and umm...of the people. In other words, every day that passes us by, search engines do a better and better job of replicating human judgement about the quality and authority of web pages. So why do some companies still think you can automate the process?

Ross Dunn

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.

Jill Whalen

Revisited: The Art of SEO

As much as Google *pretends* to like SEOs by inviting us to parties at the Googleplex and posting on SEO forums, the bottom line is that they don't like us -- or rather, they don't like what we do. Google wants to find the best, most relevant sites for the search query at hand all by themselves. Perhaps someday they will actually be able to do that, but for now, they still need our help, whether they like it or not.

Jennifer Laycock

Did You Know You Could Optimize Your PDF Files for Search?

A long time ago in an office far away, I spent weeks and weeks optimizing nearly 2000 PDF files for the company where I worked. That was more than five years ago and I'm surprised to hear how many small business owners have no idea that you can optimize a PDF file for search. If you're one of the many, you'd be well served by reading Galen DeYoung's "Eleven Tips for Optimizing PDFs For Search Engines" at Search Engine Land today.

Ross Dunn

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.

Jennifer Laycock

Five Reasons to Aim Low When You're Just Learning SEO

One of the first bits of advice I give to those who are new to search engine optimization is to stop trying to rank for highly competitive phrases and to focus on the long tail of search. Hamlet Batista disagrees. In fact, he wrote a post yesterday explaining exactly why he feels the suggestion to aim for less competitive phrases is a bad one. I understand what he's trying to say, but he's missing the point.

Jennifer Laycock

Yahoo! Makes Using Site Explorer Even Easier

The team at Yahoo! announced yesterday that they've taken steps to make it even easier for small businesses to authenticate their site and setup full access with Yahoo!'s Site Explorer.

Jennifer Laycock

SEOs Hate Generalizations and Yet...We Genearalize

How many times have you seen a search engine marketer cringe at a business talking about how our industry is nothing but smoke and mirrors run by slimey practioners? I know I've seen it (and done the cringing) more than a few times in my life. What many in the industry seem to forget is that we often do the same type of generalizations and mud-slinging at other industries. That's exactly the line of thinking Miriam Ellis at SEO Igloo Blog explored yesterday.

Kimberly Krause Berg

Usability and SEO - Red Light, Green Light

by Kim Krause Berg - During the past ten years there's been a drastic improvement in the amount of companies who accept the need to work search engine marketing techniques into their web sites. User centered, persuasive design on the other hand, are still just whispers in the wind. Will it take another ten years for usability and accessibility to be as justified a expense as marketing is for a web site property?

Scott Buresh

Website Creation and the Eye of the Spider

by Scott Buresh - There is quite a difference in what is seen by humans on a website and what is seen by a search engine "spider" (a program that routinely combs the Internet indexing websites). There are an untold numbers of expensive websites out there that are beautiful to behold from a human perspective, yet all but invisible to search engine spiders (and thus searchers).

Manoj Jasra

SEO, Getting Through Barriers

One of the most interesting presentations at Search Engine Strategies was presented by Bill Macaitis, VP Online Marketing at Fox Interactive. Bill Macaitis provided a list of 20 ways to push SEO projects past existing in house/client related barriers. Below is Bill's list and I have also added descriptions as I saw fit....

Diane Aull

Part Two: White Hats, Black Hats and Thinking Caps

Continuing the discussion of the alleged reputation problem for SEOs. It's not just about what SEOs do. As long as clients insist on handing over their money to unscrupulous or incompetent consultants just because those consultants tell them what they want to hear, they have little room to complain when the results they get are less than satisfactory....

Diane Aull

White Hats, Black Hats and Thinking Caps (part one)

There's been talk lately about the supposed "reputation problem" for the SEO industry. So what do you think? Do site optimizers have a bad reputation? If so, where did it come from? And what can be done about it? In Part One, we look at it from the SEOs' perspective....

Diane Aull

Is Moving Worth the Hassle?

Are you considering changing your file names, or even registering a whole new domain, in an effort to get "keyword-rich" URLs? Before you migrate to these new web page addresses, let's take a quick look at some of the considerations you should keep in mind before making a move....

Manoj Jasra

Advantages of In-house SEO

The search marketing industry is currently going through a transition phase in which many companies are considering bringing SEO in-house rather than relying on the services of 3rd party search marketing firms. With training from organizations such as the SEMPO Institute as well as the need for companies to have tighter integrations with online marketing efforts, the transition to in-house becomes a much more obvious choice....

Stoney deGeyter

The Construction of a High-Performance SEO Campaign

Two years ago I put together a post about what I thought was the perfect SEO firm. I revisited that post this morning as I was looking at one of our white boards that had a list of positions that we have filled and positions that we want to fill in the coming months. My list of positions required for good SEO has not changed a whole lot in the last couple of years, although some minor modifications are needed....

Diane Aull

Yahoo's new robots-nocontent attribute

Yahoo! has introduced a new class you can use in your page code to mark sections that are not related to the main content, such as navigation, menus, boilerplate text and/or advertising. Good idea? Bad idea? Something you could/should consider using on your pages? Let's take a closer look!...

Stoney deGeyter

Google, Yahoo, MSN add SiteMap Auto-Discovery

Simply by adding the following line of code into your robots.txt file, the engines will know where your sitemap is located on the server and pick it up on their routine crawls....

Diane Aull

Are You Building a Business, or Just Chasing the Competition?

Sometimes people take the concept of keeping an eye on the competition to excess. When sound business decisions take a back seat to the thrill of feeling you're beating the competition, it may be time to step back and think about why you're in business in the first place....

Stoney deGeyter

An Argument for Website Validation

What does valid code have to do with SEO? Honestly, not a whole lot. But it can help you quickly and easily spot potential coding problems that can effect your SEO efforts....

Stoney deGeyter

Why Should You SEO?

As SEO enters the mainstream of business marketing strategies you would think that less time would have to be spent educating people on why SEO is so very important. But the fact of the matter is, many people still just don't understand SEO or the benefits it can bring. Worse, many companies haven't yet grasped the fact that SEO is crucial to long-term online success, especially for small companies without big brand names or budget....

Stoney deGeyter

When Good SEO's Go Elite

I think Rand had a bit too much of the secret SEO sauce. His post "What separates Search Marketing Novices from Experts" is, well, just downright ignorant. I think of Rand as a true SEO business man but I think this post shows a lack of understanding of SEO as a business....

Stoney deGeyter

(Some)Things You Wanted to Know About CSS (But Were Afraid To Ask)

Matthew Inman has just posted an excellent CSS resource over at SEOmoz. For those of us who are not designers but are found frequently editing HTML and CSS, Inman's 15 CSS Properties You Probably Never Use (but perhaps should) is a great resource to be printed and filed away for frequent reference....

Stoney deGeyter

Achieving “Outsider” Status

Have you tried to break into the SEO elite and found it somewhat cliquish? You're not the only one. Aaron Pratt talks about the circular linking patterns of the SEO elites....

Stoney deGeyter

The Googlebomb Conspiracy: The Truth is Out There (Somewhere)

It doesn't take much to get the SEO industry from driving straight to Kooksville with their conspiracy theories and predictions of doom and destruction. After Google blogged about their algorithm change to combat Googlebombing, some in the SEO community came up with the theory that this will allow people to Googlebomb other websites out of top positions. That's not going to happen....

Eric Lander

The Search Industry's Most Influential Events of 2006

It's common to look back upon the past year and reflect upon all that has changed through twelve short months. For an industry as dynamic as that of search engine marketing -- that's certainly true. While I'm a few weeks late on my own schedule, I still wanted to share what I saw as the five most influential changes of 2006 for those in the SEM game....

Stoney deGeyter

What's It Take to SEO Your Site?

Last Wednesday Eric Enge put together a great article called "An Introduction to SEO Best Practices" for Search Engine Watch's Search Day subscribers. In the article Eric boils SEO down to four crucial components....

David Wallace

SEO Compared To The Sales Process

Matt Bailey from SiteLogic has compared the process of making sales to SEO in a post entitled "10 Ways That SEO (Website Marketing) is Like Sales." He explains that his sales experience has shaped his philosophy of SEO and website marketing. It is definitely worth a read. read on for a few excerpts as well as link to entire post....

Stoney deGeyter

Building Trust in 2007

Matt McGee has a great post over on his Small Business SEM blog titled, The #1 SEO and Marketing Tactic for 2007: Trust. Keep reading to find out more......

Stoney deGeyter

Is SEO Rocket Science?

While SEO most certainly isn't rocket science in the most literal of senses it is to those that don't know much about it. SEO is a lot of work and requires a lot of time to do it and do it right. Those that don't respect that prove that they really know nothing about it at all....

Scott Buresh

Organic SEO or Pay-Per-Click Advertising - Which Should You Choose?

When people hear about online marketing, they often think of two of the more popular methods that a company can use to enhance its visibility on the Web: organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising. In an ideal world, you would use both strategically to maximize your site's profile. However, budgetary constraints often make this impossible, and trying to do both on a limited budget or with minimal resources can result in neither campaign producing ideal results....

David Wallace

How Much Information Should SEO's Reveal To Their Clients?

There are some of those in the field of SEO that refuse to disclose their methods and processes to clients. Should SEOs keep their procedures and strategies secret from clients? Should their clients sit patiently by, waiting for the end results and not be concerned about the process that gets them there?...

David Wallace

Ten Things To Consider When Going Through a Site Redesign

I have seen it happen time and time again. The decision is made to redesign the company web site. However, in the process regard for search engine visibility is not included in the overall plan. The new site is launched and everyone waits for the traffic to pour in but for some reason it doesn't. In fact, traffic declines. Sales drop. The CEO is demanding answers. What happened and who's fault is it?...

Robin Nobles

Walking in the Search Engine's Shoes

Suffice it to say that spam is a major issue with the search engines in terms of time, resources, and ultimately money. New filters are added by the engines to combat spam, and the Web community finds new ways to cheat their way to the top....

Garrett French

The Effects of Combining Paid and Organic Search

One thing that prospects have asked about recently is the effects of combining paid and organic search. Greg Jarboe gave a presentaion in 2003 in which he mentioned the "second opinion effect." He saw a 3 times conversion increase for a site with top rankings in paid and organic...

Jennifer Laycock

Search Engine Algorithms - Understanding the Pinocchio Effect

Originally, search engines focused on mathematical formulas. That often meant that you could meet all the criteria without having a very "good" site. Search engines realized this and they've been working ever since to find better ways to make these judgement calls....

David Wallace

Can't We All Just Get Along? - The Battle Between SEOs and Web Designers

I have been following an interesting thread over at Search Engine Watch Forums entitled "Do Designers Hate SEO?" where forum member "glengara" began with the question of whether all-Flash sites should be used in the commercial web space. It is certainly an interesting topic and one that has been hotly debated time and time again. The SEO argues for an "optimized" site that search engines can comprehend while the web designer argues for artistic liberty and creativity....

Jim Hedger

SEO 101 - Basic Optimization Techniques

Believe it or not, basic SEO is all about common sense and simplicity. The purpose of search engine optimization is to make a website as search engine friendly as possible. It's really not that difficult....

Matt Bailey

Keyword Strategies - The Long Tail

In most cases, the top 10 terms provide a lot of traffic, but not nearly as much as the total terms after the top 10 or 20 most popular. Add up the terms that refer 1-3 visits during the month, and chances are, they will add up to more total visitors than the top terms....

David Wallace

How To Play In Google's Sandbox

Now that we have come to the conclusion that this sandbox, aging filter or whatever you want to call it, actually seems to exist, what can one do that has been affected by it?...

David Wallace

Ingredients of a Search Engine Friendly Site

Many are under the impression that one has to sacrifice the end user if they are to please the search engine. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the end user that you want to attract and as a result, covert to a customer. Therefore you should always design and market your site with the end user in mind....

Jill Whalen

Black Hat/White Hat Search Engine Optimization

What those guys do as SEOs really has nothing to do with what I do as an SEO. Sure, we're all trying to bring targeted search engine visitors to our sites, but that's where the similarities end. I don't have to keep up with every tiny algorithm shift, or the latest technique that the engines haven't caught onto yet. It's completely irrelevant to what I do....

Gord Hotchkiss

Inside the Mind of the Searcher Part II: Search Behavior Explored

Search marketers have to step back from our obsession with tactics and look at the bigger strategic picture. We have to understand behaviors of our target customers. We have to fully explore the nature of their online experience. We have to understand the potential of this marketing channel fully. If we don't, how can we hope to pass along value to our clients?...

David Wallace

Doorway Pages or Advertising Pages, What Is The Difference?

So what is the difference between a doorway page and an advertising page? Only the way they are spelled. It is still a spam technique. It doesn't work. If by chance it does, it won't for the long term. The one thing this strategy is successful at is to keep engineers at search engines employed discovering ways they can combat them. It is also successful in that it makes for an easy sale to an unsuspecting victim because it sounds like Black Hat SEO has an advantage that others don't....

David Wallace

The Nightmares of a SEO

To your horror you discover that a client has completely redesigned their web site and in the process, removed all of the optimization you developed. All your work has been flushed right down the drain! Does this really happen? Will a company hire a SEO firm, spend thousands of dollars to optimize their site for better positioning and then sabotage themselves? You bet it does, unfortunately all the time....

David Wallace

Why Do I Need To Hire a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Company?

It is well worth the money you will spend as well as the peace of mind knowing that someone else is worrying about your rankings for you. A good SEO company will actually not cost you anything in the long run because it will amount to increased exposure and increased traffic which in turn will bring increase revenues.

Andy Beal

Search Engine Optimization Basics Part 4 - Submissions

So now that youve started to optimize your website, how do you make sure it reaches its target audience? No doubt, you can name the most important search engines and I would hazard a guess that you could name many of the smaller ones too. Which ones are important and how should you submit to them? Lets take a look....

Robert Clough

Work at Home Mom Is Acclaimed Search Engine Optimization Expert

I'm sure it looks like a huge accomplishment to those on the outside, I really believe that anyone who's fairly intelligent and who has the time to spend, can make themselves well known on the Internet. Even today, it's still doable if you work hard at it....

Andy Beal

Search Engine Optimization Basics Part 3 - Meta Tags

As part of the continued series 'Getting Back To Search Engine Optimization Basics', Andy Beal takes a closer look at Meta description and Meta keywords tags. Do you still need them and what benefits do they bring?...

Daria Goetsch

Search Engine Robots - How They Work, What They Do (Part II)

When it comes to search engine robots, think simply. Lots of good content and text, hyperlinks the robots can follow, optimization of your pages, topical links pointing back to your site and a sitemap will help insure the best results when the robots come visiting....

Daria Goetsch

Search Engine Robots - How They Work, What They Do (Part I)

Automated search engine robots, sometimes called spiders or crawlers, are the seekers of web pages. How do they work? What is it they really do? Why are they important?...

Andy Beal

Search Engine Optimization Basics Part 2 - Title Tags

Not only is the structure and content of the Title tag used by the search engines when calculating your webpage's relevance, but it is also displayed in most search engine results pages. It therefore needs to be carefully constructed in such a way that it influences your website's position in the SERP, but is also attractive enough to encourage a surfer to click on your link....

Andy Beal

Search Engine Optimization Basics - Keywords

In the same way traditional advertising agencies survey their demographic audience, search engine marketers must ensure that their SEO campaign targets the correct keywords or search phrases....

Andy Beal

Getting Back to Search Engine Optimization Basics (again)

While I will still endeavor to write articles that touch on complex issues, I want to make sure that those of you looking for the basic information are not overlooked....

Eric Lander

Search Engine Optimization Techniques: Playing Conservatively

When a webmaster or amateur SEO takes on a sites optimization and search engine marketing plan - they often does so without the proper knowledge of what works and what does not work. As a result, sites can become penalized, banned, or worse yet - the optimization itself simply never grows into the potential it once had....

Dale Goetsch

Optimizing Pages with JavaScript and Style Sheets for Search Engines

Optimizing pages with JavaScript and Style Sheets for search engines. Step by step tutorial on how to successfully offload Javascript and CSS (Style Sheets) to external text files for optimum indexing by the search engine spiders....

Jill Whalen

Search Engine Optimization Glossary

Right now, I feel like the kid in school, afraid to raise his/her hand and ask a 'dumb question'... but perhaps, like that kid, there are others afraid to ask too! Would it be possible to include a brief explanation and spelled out meaning of the abbreviations or terms?...

Jill Whalen

Rankings in AltaVista and Google

As far as AltaVista goes, you are correct: they don't seem to bring much traffic these days, even when you have many top-ten rankings. Of course, they just reinvented themselves a couple of weeks ago. Therefore, it's impossible to say what the future holds for them....

Andrew Gerhart

Spotting a Phony SEO Company

One of the easiest ways to spot a phony search engine optimization company is by their wild claims....

Jill Whalen

SEO Mailbag Bonanza

Playing SEO catch-up. How to separate keywords. Redoing a Web site. Using country-specific language TLDs. Keyword stuff. PageRank and its effect on rankings....

Jill Whalen

Multiple Domain Names Pointing to One Site

I have heard through the grapevine that if you buy many domain names and point them back to your home page, when the search engines find this out they will shut you off. Is that true at all?...

Andy Beal

Last Minute SEO Christmas List

If your company hasnt already made plans to make the most of this years predicted, recording breaking Internet growth, then it may be too late. Most of your competitors have already implemented some kind of search engine strategy and are one step ahead. So what can you do?...

Andrew Goodman

Understanding the New Role of SEO Consultants

The Search Engine Optimization service industry must now adapt itself to the recent developments in the web industry, namely the emergence of a relatively stable set of web standards and design conventions....

Eric Lander

SEO Strategies: Avoid Jumping the Gun

While optimization will help a web site no matter when it is introduced, the most beneficial approach is to keep it in mind throughout all stages of web site development, as well as to be aware of key points in site production....

Eric Lander

Search Engine Optimization As It Relates to Larger Web Sites

In order to secure a well-optimized status for any web site, large or small, you must first use your site's strengths as an advantage. Executing your optimization with these strengths in mind will bring great rewards in the form of traffic....

Andy Beal

The Doorway to Optimization Disaster

Using doorway pages to enhance the search engine ranking of your website, will not benefit your company in the long-term. While it is tempting to use doorways to gain quick results, inevitably the search engines discover the pages and ban them from their index....

Detlev Johnson

Cloaking: Search Engines Shift Gears

The sentiments expressed by many search engines are simple and to the point: Web sites that cloak will be permanently banned from their search engine databases....

Andrew Gerhart

Understanding and Building Google PageRank

For those who are not familiar with Google's Page Rank, which is commonly known as PR, it is Google's calculation or score of a web page based on external and internal linking of a site, as well as on-page criteria of the web page being linked to as well as the web page being linked from....