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Stoney deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

Do You Know Your Blog's Audience? Don't Be So Sure.

A blog without an audience isn't worth reading. Do you know who your target audience is? Most people don't. In fact, if you talk to many business owners, they'll tell you that their target audience is anyone who wants what they offer. Wrong!

Go the Blogging Distance: Planning for the Long Haul

Blogging isn't a one-and-done item on your web marketing checklist. It's a long-term endeavor. In fact, until blogs go the way of web directories, once you start blogging you really cannot stop. Not if you want to maintain the value of all the time and energy you've invested thus far. There are certain components to blogging that will hold their value over time. Great, evergreen content you've published will be universally valuable. However, if you don't keep producing blog content on an active basis, even great ranked evergreen content will lose it's value and appeal, both to search engines and readers alike. To create a valuable blog you have to plan to be in it for the long term.

Good Web Marketing Just Isn't Enough To Succeed Anymore

Nobody ever said running a business was easy. Being successful at it is harder! Ask and answer these web marketing questions to be effective at business.

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...

Not Every Piece of Web Content Is a Masterpiece--Nor Should It Be

There are two types of writers:Those who write and produce masterpiecesThose who write to produce masterpiecesThe difference between the two is that the first one is a better writer than the second....

SEO is a Partnership, Not a Solo Endeavor

At the end of the day, both the client and the SEO bear responsibility for the success of any campaign.

Assembling the Big SEO Puzzle One Small Piece at a Time

I've always said that SEO is really about baby steps. While there are almost always some easy big wins when dealing with a site's architecture, for the most part, successful SEO is a combination of hundreds of different things.On algorithmic signals alone, there are over 200 that factor into how a page ranks. That number may or may not include local and mobile signals. Then add on top of that usability and conversion optimization, you're easily looking at several hundred individual issues that can, and often do, effect how your site performs against your competitors.Can you optimize for all of...

We Don't Rank Websites. That's Google's Job.

The recent news of an SEO getting sued for lack of results got me thinking about the dynamic that SEOs and their clients need to have in order for any web marketing campaign to be successful. Unlike many other industries, the success of SEO relies heavily on the client themselves....

Yeah, But... [My Cousin / Mom / Webmaster / Company X] Does SEO a Lot Cheaper

Everyone likes to bargain shop. We don't like paying "full price" for anything. When we do, and find out later we could have gotten it cheaper somewhere else, it really burns us....

A Simple Overview of Meta Tags

It always amazes me at the number of people I come across who equate SEO with "adding keywords to meta tags." As if SEO is a bag of magic beans that when properly placed, grow your site to a #1 ranking--you know, where the goose that lays the golden eggs lives. I've seen that movie, and it's called a fairy tale for a reason. It's just not true!...

Yeah, But...I Can't Afford SEO!

In many ways I'm an extremely budget-conscious person. I don't like spending money when I can get the same thing cheaper and just as easily. But, over the years, I began to discover a timeless truth: You truly do get what you pay for!...

Dear Developer: Building a Website Isn't Good Enough, It Has To Be Marketable, Too

Dear Web Developer,Let me start off by saying that I am simply amazed at your skills and abilities. The fact that you can take what appears to be random strings of letters, numbers and other strange keyboard characters and turn them into a great looking website is, quite simply, an amazing feat. I can't do what you do, and I'm glad there are people like you who can....

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......

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......

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!...

5 Wordpress Settings Every New Blogger Should Know About

WordPress is a fantastic blogging platform that is pretty quick and easy to install. When you download the WordPress install, it comes with a five-minute install guide, which is pretty good for even for the less technically inclined.But what happens after that? WordPress has a host of setting options and a variety of features. To the uninitiated, these can seem overwhelming to just simply confusing as to what each of these options does. This tutorial is designed to take you through the settings that matter most....

Blogging Platform Options: Free vs. Hosted. Which Is Right For You?

When deciding which blogging platform you're going to use, one of the first questions you're faced with is whether to host it yourself or go with a "free" version that is hosted on another social blogging site. In an earlier post I outlined five important blogging platform questions  that you can use to determine what kind of platform functionality you need. Within those, there are often a range of free (or low-cost) and self-hosted blogging platforms to choose from. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option......

Five Questions You Need To Ask Before Selecting a Blogging Platform

If you don't have a long-term blogging strategy today, you might have one tomorrow and find out the blogging you did yesterday wasn't on a platform compatible for the future. So think ahead and try to keep up.

Does Your Audience Write Your Blog? They Should.

Every good politician comes fully equipped with a speech writer to help them craft their message. We know this, but when these political figures get up and deliver the speech, we like to believe it's theirs, just as if they wrote it themselves. There is no shame in that! So why shouldn't bloggers have someone write their blog posts for them? No, I'm not talking about ghostwriters, but I am talking about audience participation in every blog post you write...

The Narcissist's Guide to Blogging

If you're not yet a blogger but are thinking of blogging, you're probably even more of a narcissist. Why? Because the only reason you haven't started blogging yet is because you haven't figure out what's in it for you.

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...

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.

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...

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!

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...

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...

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.

How to Find Core Keywords For Effective Online Marketing

There are many angles and avenues for researching keywords for your online marketing efforts. Some people focus on numbers such as search volume or keyword competition. Others might focus on the tools you use to dig up obscure keywords to target. While these may be good keyword metrics to consider, focusing on the keywords themselves should be the most important focus...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Let Community Be King Over Your Content

If content is king, it can be a bully. It's all about itself. However, when you let community be king of your content, you can then focus on building community engagement, which encourages people to read your content. When community comes first, it uses content as a tool rather than a weapon. Tools fix things. Weapons, not so much...

What the Old Testament Teaches Me about Web Marketing

Since the Bible is the best selling book of all time, I figured I might be able to find some indispensable wisdom for the Internet age. Who knew the Bible could provide us with sage advice for SEO and Internet marketing!

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.

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.

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...

The Right Message May Not Be So Right for Your Audience

The number one key to your business growth is crafting a message that speaks to your audience. Having the right message builds up your strengths and helps you overcome any deficiencies you might have....

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.

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...

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?

What SEOs REALLY Do...

Imagine an Online Life in the Offline World

I often wonder what it would be like if the power of the Internet was made available in regular, everyday life...

Perception is Worth 1,001 Words

In the world of business, marketing and advertising is everything. Marketing is at least as important as the products or services you sell. Without marketing, you have no one to demonstrate the superiority of what you offer!

The Difference between Good SEO and Great SEO

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

Forget the Sale. Focus on the Customer

There are a lot of phases to the buying cycle. Searchers begin with a thought and then start researching answers via their favorite search engine. As they learn more about their query, they move into shopping and buying modes that hopefully lead them to a satisfied purchase.

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.

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?

The Ultimate Keyword Sorting and Organization Spreadsheet

There is more to keyword research than just the research. You have to be able organize and sort your keywords into groups that will allow you to optimize them most effectively into your website. This post will walk you through the organizational side of the keyword research process using a customized keyword research spreadsheet.

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.

You Know Your SEO Provider Sucks When...

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

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.

How to Communicate in Twitterbites For Re/Tweet-Friendly Blog Posts

Soundbites have become essential to anyone wanting to make a point. If it can't be said in nine seconds, you're SOL!

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...

Social Media is Sucking the Life Out of My Business!

For many, social media is fun. And it should be. But it's easy to get overwhelmed, throw up your hands and walk away. But this isn't an area where you can concede defeat. While social media can be a pain, and these complaints have legitimacy, you can overcome them. Time, patience and practice make all the difference in the world.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Don't Roll It Out Yet! Three Checks Before Your Optimized Site is Ready to Go Live

When you deal with big projects, it is often easy to overlook small things along the way. It's not that anyone is cutting corners, but rather some small detail gets overlooked. Sometimes even the smallest details can matter a great deal!

Q&A: With Online Marketing, Should I Start with SEO or PPC?

Got questions about SEO and PPC? We've got answers!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 4b: Crafting the Story p2

Search engines don't read. They are not really looking for "keywords" as we seem to think, but instead they look for word duplication and context similarities on any given page. The search engines see a bunch of words, and within that content a few repeated words stand out. This gives the search engines clues as to what the topic of the page might be.

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 4a: Crafting the Story p1

When taking your public relations strategy online, there are some similarities to the "traditional" way of doing things, but there are also a lot of differences. Going online opens up a whole new world of opportunities that, if leveraged properly, can make your PR campaign far more successful than the old-school ways of doing things.

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.

Optimizing Your Online PR Strategy for Search & Social, Part 2: Goals of Online PR

Content just for the sake of being read is nothing more than a bunch of words on the page. Every piece of content should speak to your potential customers, encourage them to engage, and ultimately lead them to that conversion point.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

The Dirty Little Secret of Conversions, Part 3: Give Customers What They Need

While it's great to know what people want, when you give them what they want, you only give them a partial solution. The want is the symptom. But, when you address the need, you are addressing the underlying problem and providing a much more holistic solution.

The Dirty Little Secret of Conversions, Part 2: Understand Your Customer's Wants

Business building is about relationship building. In order to get and keep customers, you must be able to build some kind of relationship with them. After all, you want to be different than the 100's or 1000's of others all selling the same product or service. Once you open up the door to relationships with your customers, you create a comfort level and familiarity that continues to bring people back.

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.

...But I Don't HAVE a Fracking Coupon!

Have you ever been to a site where, you've shopped around, found what you wanted, and when you went to check-out, they asked you to enter your coupon code number? WTH! You don't HAVE a coupon! But, you know that, somewhere out there, a coupon can be found!

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.

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.

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.

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?"

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.

Three Easy Steps to Achieve IA Greatness

One of the tasks that often takes us away from our computer monitors and into the world of post-its, index cards, and cork boards has been when working on a site's information architecture. This can be a big task, that often requires a lot of table or wall space. But, it doesn't have to. Here are some ways to go paperless, and still achieve IA greatness!

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.

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.

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.

How NOT to Do an Interview: The Basics

A while back, I was asked to participate in an over-the-phone interview that would be later broadcast online. This is one of those interviews where they ask you to provide a list of questions up front so they know what to ask. Sadly, I don't even remember who it was or where the interview ran. But, what I do remember is my faltering missteps during the interview. Yeah, don't pretend it's never happened to you!

Are You Preaching to the Converted?

In the service industry, once you've got a client, he or she is yours to lose. That means that, unless you screw something up, they'll often continue to be a client for as long as there is a need for your services. But, it's your job to continue to sell them on the quality of what you provide by giving the best service possible, and making sure the results are more than merely satisfactory.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Dropping in to See What Condition Your Condition is In - Part II

In the last post, we explored five of the Top 10 Guidelines to Establishing Web Credibility, provided by Standford back in 2002. Still relevant today, here we'll explore the remaining 5.

Dropping In To See What Condition Your Condition Is In - Part I

While revisiting the Top 10 Guidelines To Establishing Web Credibility (published by Stanford in 2002), I found it interesting how, with all of the advancements in site development and marketing, it all still comes back to the basics. Below are the first five guidelines. I've provided some of my own additional thoughts and commentary and would be interested in hearing yours as well....

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.

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.

What I Want for Christmas from the Search Engines: The Franchise!

Here we are again, two years after "What I Want for Christmas from the Search Engines: The Sequel" and eight years since the original, "What I Want for Christmas from the Search Engines." I'm back with a new Christmas wish list. I smell a franchise opportunity here!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Image (Not Rankings) Matter in SEO

Many approach SEO as an effort to build rankings. But, really, it's about building an image through the search engines. People may find you by your ranking in the search results and click through your site because they are attracted by the products or services you offer, but unless you build an image of quality and customer service, all the rankings in the world won't bring them back.

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.

Is Your Online Marketing the Camry or the BMW? Probably Neither.

Online marketing, like many other things in life, has several levels of, um... let's call it "luxury", for lack of a better word. You go from your basic model online marketing campaign (which is often someone who simply knows you have to edit some meta tags) all the way through to the most luxurious, no-holds-barred, damn-the-torpedoes, throw-everything-at-it-regardless-of-cost marketing that has everything you need (plus a lot of stuff you don't). The question is... what kind of marketing campaign is right for you?

Using Your Competition to Establish Online Marketing Goals

Most business owners start with a pretty good idea of who they are competing against before they even set up shop. This is valuable information that can help you overcome a deficit of knowledge that you may not even know you have. Just as competitor knowledge is valuable for offline businesses, a business owner must also have intimate knowledge of those who they are competing against online as well.

What Does Your Competition Know That You Don't?

Your competition should play an important role in your research before you move forward with any SEO, PPC, or online marketing campaign. In fact, it's generally a good idea to do a fair amount of competitive research before you build a website or even decide what industry or niche to focus your efforts on.

Be Remarkable: Take That Idea and Own It!

Many businesses start an online business because they can. They fail to look at what they can do that is different or remarkable from the ten other guys doing it. This makes for bad business. Who cares if you can do it well! If you can't do it better or more creatively, you might as well get out of the game right now.

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.

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.

Google Instant Isn't Instant Gratification

Over the past few days, I've been playing around with Google Instant and reading a lot about it. There is a pretty broad range of opinion, and I've been drawing some of my own conclusions. Will Google Instant change the face of SEO or PPC? Will it save us time searching? Will people adopt or reject it? Anybody offering opinions on these questions is merely speculating. I've got my own speculations, and I'll share them here.

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.

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.

Don't Let Good Content Die - 4 Ways to Keep It Alive

There are any number of reasons why content needs to be changed, freshened up, or removed altogether. But rarely, if ever, do you want to throw the baby out with the bath water. Something can usually be salvaged. Previously valuable content can be made valuable again. Here are four ways you can keep good content alive, even when it's old.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How Using Lots of Keywords Can Help You Focus On One Keyword

If you have ever spent any amount of time doing keyword research you can walk away amazed (or even frustrated) about the sheer volume of ways people search for what is essentially the same thing.

How to Deal with Criticism Properly

As much as we hate it, criticism isn't all bad. Criticism, regardless of how it was intended, can help us adjust and adapt to situations. It can provide useful insight, justified or not, into our lives and give us the opportunity to become a better person.

Does Your Content Know Where Your Audience Is?

The best way to attract the specific customers you want and make sure you are meeting the needs of your audience is to write your content specifically for them. But even knowing who your audience is doesn't mean you're able to speak to them on their level unless you know where they are in the buying process.

Guilt by Association: Do You Really Know Who You Are Linking To, Parts 1-12

A lot of people subscribe to the "Guilt by Association" theory in online marketing. This theory suggests that you are who you associate with. I agree there is some definite truth to this mindset, but, like a lot of things, it can also be taken to a paranoid extreme. This fear leads some people into a paralysis that ultimately hinders their online marketing efforts rather than helping them.

You Keep Using That Keyword. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

Keyword research is a funny thing. You can gain a lot of knowledge about what words people use when searching on the engines, but it tells very little about what a person wants when they search using a particular keyword or phrase. The intent behind the search is the missing component. Unfortunately I don't know of any keyword tools that get far enough inside the searcher's heads to know what exactly the searcher's intent is.

11 People that Will Piss You Off

No matter where you go in life, you're sure to find people who seem to make it their life's joy to make you angry. They probably don't even realize what they are doing... it just comes naturally. Two conflicting personalities at work.

How to Make Your Content Trusted Content

I was talking with a client the other day about how to optimize their content. They kept saying, in a way of trying to understand what they need to do to improve their website, that what they need to do is to create a bunch of content and keep using their keywords over and over. Uh... no.

10 Steps to Courageous Leadership

Leadership isn't just for those with the title or position of leadership. Every person, in any given situation, is a leader of something. You may not have the prestige or salary, but there is no doubt that you carry some leadership responsibilities, however small they may be.

All Good Content Starts Here: Keyword Research

One of the great things about developing content for your website is that, with a little research, you can know exactly who your target audience is and how create content to meet their needs. Spending a few minutes before setting pen-to-paper, or fingers-to-keys, can tell you just about everything you need to know about what types of things people are searching for on the web. From that, you can determine what kind of content you need to reach your audience.

Put Your SEO and Copywriter in Their Place... So Your Keywords Will Be Too!

When dealing with your online content you have to find the right keywords and the right place for them on the page. SEO 1997 was all about throwing keywords anywhere and everywhere on the page in hopes to claim those top spots. In today's world your content has to read, not like a keyword laundry list but more like information that actually helps sell your product or services, or provide information the reader finds helpful to them.

There's No Such Thing as Perfect Content

If George Lucas taught us anything with his re-tinkering of the original Star Wars trilogy it's that there is no such thing as "perfect." When it comes to your website's content, the same holds true. But in the case of your website, the tinkering should upon the original rather than create a bastardize version of an mildly flawed classic.

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.)

How to Optimize Your PPC Campaign to Profit From Every Click (Advanced)

Every sale you make is worth more than the cost of the products or services charged in that one transaction. The question is, from now until death, how many customers come back for repeat orders, how often, how much do they spend, how how does that affect your PPC campaign?

How to Optimize Your PPC Campaign to Profit From Every Click (For Beginners)

Proper set-up and management of your PPC campaigns is vitally important to ensure you have a profitable and high ROI PPC campaign. Without effective bid management and ongoing testing of ads and landing pages the campaign will soon be nothing more than an expensive traffic delivery method.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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....

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.)

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.

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.

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....

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.

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:

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Death of the Professional, Brought to You by Google

I'd love nothing more to see a backlash over the vast amounts of free crap available online and the sites that provide it. Searchers and internet users would begin to demand quality and search engines wouldn't reward those sites with the greatest amounts of crap over those with smaller amounts of quality content.

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.

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.

How Small Business Owners Can Build a Blog Without Blowing the Business

Many small business owners are out there thinking "Blogging? That's just one more thing to add to my already over-booked work schedule. No thanks." I feel you. But blogging is an important aspect of growing your business. The key to good blogging is understanding how to work it in, prioritize it properly, and not to feel obligated to anybody but your family and customers.

How a Little Blogging Can Make a Big Difference for the Small Business

Luckily the prophets of doom have been wrong more than they've been right. Now they are claiming the death of blogging. According to Wired Magazine, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook are the new "it" and blogging is on it's way out. We'll file that right next to the death of SEO!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Outfox, Outsmart and Outgrow Your Big-Business Competition

If you don't want to be a mom and pop operation, or you want to be more than the small business you are, then it's time to start thinking not like the small business you are but like the bigger business you want to be.

How Small Businesses Can Brand Themselves On the Cheap Online

People often associate branding with money. Lots and lots of money. Generally, if you try to run a branding campaign you might see from companies like Target, you most certainly will have to fork over a big chunk of change. But small business owners don't have that kind of money to brand themselves in similar fashion. Fortunately, there are other ways to brand your small business online.

Why Branding Matters to Small Businesses

Branding isn't just for big companies any more. With the internet and search, it has become easier and cheaper to for companies to brand their names in front of their target audience. Good branding efforts will always cost you some time, energy and even money, but it's not out of reach of the small businesses.

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?

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.

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:...

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:...

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:

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:

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?

7 Steps to Improving Conversion Rates

Each entry point of your site (wherever the visitor lands first, not just the home page) needs to be treated as the starting point that will lead your visitors step by step toward the conversion goal. In order to guide your visitors from this starting point to the end point, you need to make sure each step along the way is aligned with the next; in sync and unbroken.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Don't Let Your "New" Go To Waste. RSS It!

Perhaps you "just" sell products. Or maybe you "just" have an information site. Or you "just" do some other thing that doesn't require an RSS feed. In your line of work you don't really get into the whole blogging, news headlines, audio, or video thing, so this post isn't for you, right? Not so fast.

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.

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.

The Construction of an Optimized Web Page

Even if you hire web developers to build or manage your website, it's important for you as well to have a basic understanding of the various elements necessary to build a successful web-page. Ignorance of these things may be bliss until you realize you have spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a beautiful website that is in no way search engine friendly.

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.

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.

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.

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

Who you choose as your web host provider, or what type of web hosting account you have can have a profound impact on your search engine rankings. We'll look at a number of other factors that can mess with your site's performance in the search engines.

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.

Go Blog Yourself Step 8: Do It Right and Do It Again

Developing a good blog isn't about being a one-hit wonder. If all you have in you is one post then you're better off guest-blogging for someone else, instead of trying to build a blog of your own. But if you want to develop your own blog with your own following then you've got to be able to deliver the goods on a regular basis.

Go Blog Yourself Step 7: Give Them More Than They Came For

There is an old adage that says you need to leave people wanting more. The essence of this is to make sure you don't give so much that your audience becomes bored, but to give them only enough to keep them wanting more. Give them just enough to satisfy, but also wanting the encore. A blog is different. You don't want to leave them wanting more, but instead you want to give them far more than they expected.

Go Blog Yourself Step 6: Keep Them Interested

Having a good headline, a good article and even a good-looking site isn't always enough to maintain an audience. To keep people coming back to your blog day after day you have to go through the extra effort to keep your visitors interested in your content.

Go Blog Yourself Step 5: Be Easy On The Eyes

Having a good looking blog starts with having a good looking website design. It's amazing how easy it is to throw up a blog. But putting one together that is visually appealing to your audience is often another matter all together. There's more to a website or a blog than a header, side navigation, and a few images....

Go Blog Yourself Step 4: Reveal the Goods

The best titled blog in the world is only going to get you so far. To get readers you have to prove that you've got the goods that go with it.

Go Blog Yourself Step 3: Have a Good Pick-Up Line

When writing a blog post the title of the post is your pick-up line. That's your first opportunity to make a first impression. Deliver a poorly crafted pick-up line and there is a good chance your blog post sit there alone and unread. Craft a strong pick-up line and you at least have a shot of pulling them in to see what else you got going for you.

Go Blog Yourself Step 2: Know What They Want To See

In the online blogging world, there is also a while range of audiences. You know who your audience is, but what are they looking for? The easiest way to figure this out is to perform a bit of keyword research. When looking for things to talk about you need to look at three different keyword categories:

Go Blog Yourself Step 1: Know Who's Looking

Some blogs are out there looking for the little-boy giggles. Others are trying to attract the same element that pays to go peek behind the curtain at the freak-show. If you're a business blogger, looking to speak to other professionals, you need to target people in your industry. The point here is, before you can really know who or what you're going to be as a blogger, you need to know who your intended audience is.

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.

Make Money Giving Things Away For Free

The era of "there's no such thing as a free ride" is coming to an end. So many things are free now days I often wonder how anybody makes money anymore, especially competitors trying to sell what someone else gives away. But free works. This has been true long before the web was invented.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Q&A: A Few Things You Need to Know About Links

Some of the best link building strategies you can employ are those involved in building quality content and improving your site for your visitors. These things alone can do wonders in getting people to link to you.

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.

Speak Your Customer's--Not Your Corporate's--Language

No matter what you're saying to the customer you want to be polite, non-offensive and, yes, even helpful!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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....

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.

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.

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.

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.

Are You Guilty of Crimes Against Usability? Let the Jury Decide

Your website is being judged. If presented before a jury of your peers, would you be found guilty of gross marketing misconduct or absolved of all charges of crimes against usability? Let the jury decide.

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.

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?

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.

I'm a Google Convert But I Still Want to See Competition in Search

Google got to where it is because it earned it. None of the other engines seem to be able to dent that and are losing market share to Google each month. However, I'd be surprised if anybody would notice if Google's results were swapped with MSN's for a week.

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.

4 Tips to Improving Your Site's Ability to Sell, Sell, Sell

There are numerous issues that make their way into the visitor's conscious and sub-conscious, most of which must be overcome before they are willing to seal the deal and complete the sale. Here are just a few:

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.

What I Want for Christmas from the Search Engines: The Sequel

Six years ago I wrote a post about what I wanted from Christmas from the search engines. I thought it would be a good time to revisit what I asked for back then, whether it happened or not, whether I really wanted it (20/20 hind site) and perhaps ask for a few new things.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part XII

The process of organizing your keywords is similar to the process of splitting a single core term into multiple cores, only its done in a much more fine-tuned scale. With core terms you were dealing with multiple themes, or different ways to search for the same product. In this phase we are working with only a single core term and deciding how to segment literally hundreds of phrases into manageable groups that are similar in nature.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part XI

Organizing your keywords into an effective marketing strategy is the most important of the four phases of keyword research outlined in this document. While most often SEOs and keyword researchers focus on the research phases, organizing your keyword properly can truly help you create a vastly more successful optimization and marketing campaign.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part X

The most important aspect of analyzing and eliminating keywords is to fully understand what the customer is looking for. We often see keywords through our own lens of understanding. You think about things a certain way because you are educated and trained that way. But the customer may not be educated in the same way, or at all, in terms of industry related jargon. So you have to step outside of your own thought processes and learn to look through the lens of searchers who think differently from the way you do.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part IX

As you sort through your lists of keywords, you want to be sure to eliminate phrases that won't deliver converting traffic. Whatever keywords that you keep for optimization, you want each to be able to drive the most qualified traffic, giving you visitors that are most likely to buy your product or services.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part VIII

After having researched through your relevant core terms and search phrases, it's time to start the process of looking more closely at each phrase. What you want to do is separate the good keywords from the not-so good. You need to find the search phrases that will ultimately provide you with the greatest benefit in your marketing campaigns, and eliminating or sidelining the rest.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part VII

As you research out your core terms you'll notice that there are three types of results produced. The first will be a core term that returns a very small list of search phrases. Almost too small to do anything with. The second is one that produces a healthy list of phrases that you can easily organize for optimization. The third produces an extremely long list of phrases that can be broken up into several other sub-core terms and groups. We'll discuss this latter in detail.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part VI

A core term and search phrase are similar in that both will be searched and both can provide potential traffic to your site. Core terms, represent a broader topic while the search phrases are simply core terms with added qualifiers, therefore representing a narrower focus. Both core terms and search phrases will be optimized into your website to drive traffic and hopefully, be instrumental in generating strong conversion rates.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part V

There are four different factors that you need to analyze in determining the relative importance of each core term:

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part IV

Site owners often begin the research process by first going to the available tools. But you can't really use these tools effectively--or to their fullest potential--until you have some information in which to actually research out. In this step we want to take core terms that we've already discovered and plug them into the tools to help us find core terms that have still remained elusive.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part III

Today I'll show you the research steps involved in finding good, strong core terms that will be the basis for the rest of our research, and provide us some actionable intelligence that will be used throughout the keyword research process.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part II

Because keyword research is so crucial, a more organized approach to it is essential. Instead of starting the research process looking for words you essentially already know but are just in an unknown order, you must start the process looking for what is unknown. In order to find those unknown phrases, you have to start with a foundation that will guide you from where you are to what it is that you're trying to find, a list of keywords that can be optimized into your site.

Comprehensive Guide to Keyword Research, Selection & Organization, Part I

A start to finish guide on how to find, analyze, prioritize and organize your keywords. How to create a solid keyword foundation for your SEM campaigns, whether SEO or PPC, that puts you in a stronger position for success and gives you a significant advantage over your toughest competition.

What Should You Expect From Your SEO?

Keeping the client's expectations is no longer the job of the salesman but instead becomes the job of the project manager and/or SEO. And it has to be done throughout the life of the optimization campaign. No matter how many times an SEO tries to keep the client's expectation in order there are always clients want and expect more than they are currently getting.

A Case Study of SEM Campaign Failure and Client Refunds

I ran into a couple of unique situations a few months that really challenged me. Both had to do with unsatisfied customers demanding that we give them money back. Each situation was different and therefore handled differently with a different result. In one case, money was returned, in another it wasn't.

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.

Making Site Search Work for You (and Your Visitors)

The problem with site search on a lot of sites is that they often don't really work all that well. They'll produce good results for some searches but not for others. I've been on a number of sites testing their search only to find that there are "no matches" for exact searches on products they clearly sell. This is a problem.

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.

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Privacy and Security Issues

While most visitors won't read Privacy and Security pages, they do provide necessary assurances that visitors look for in terms of being able to trust you. However, when visitors do click into these pages need certain information needs to be presented to them to ensure their needs are met.

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Site Search

Site search is an important element of on-site usability. Both in its ability to help visitors find the information they are looking for, or by being absent if it doesn't produce accurate results. Site search must be able to improve the visitor's experience in your site, otherwise it does more harm than good.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Content Appearance

Great content can get lost if it's not easy to read thrown into an otherwise cluttered page. Ensuring that your content fits visually into the site is just as important as having good content to begin with. If you want the sales message to get across, your visitors will need to read it.

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Website Content

Content is an essential part of the persuasion process. Pretty, image-based sites may be appealing to the eye, but it's the content that appeals to the emotional and logical centers of the brain. The inclusion of content as well as the effectiveness of the writing are all crucially important to the sales process.

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.

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.

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist for Website Design Considerations

The site design is essentially the first impression that someone gets when they land on your site. You may have all your usability and SEO elements in place, but if the design is lacking then your visitor's impression of you will be lacking as well. A visually appealing site can not only bolster trust and credibility, but it can make you stand out among other less-appealing sites in your industry.

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.

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.

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.

The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!

My master website marketing checklist covering over 400 specific items through 23 topics. These topics include things such as website development, SEO, usability, accessibility, etc. This list doesn't cover any "how tos," which are an essential ingredient to successful online marketing, but sometimes you need to first know what to do so you can then discover how to do it.

How Well Do Search Marketers Brand Themselves?, Part II

This week I've been looking at the speakers from Search Engine Strategies in San Jose. I first covered a handful of featured speakers and then moved on to the search marketers themselves. Here are four more search marketers and an quick review of how well they brand themselves in the search results.

How Well Do Search Marketers Brand Themselves?

Monday I discussed several of the featured speakers from Search Engine Strategies and looked at their search results branding for their names and businesses. It turned out not to be as enjoyable as I had hoped as all of them have very high visibility. Not that I wanted to point out anybody's faults, but hey, that's kinda the fun. Today I want to look at several of the search marketers themselves.

How Well Do Search Marketing Speakers Brand Themselves?

Since it seems everybody does their own recaps of the sessions they attended at Search Engine Strategies, I like to take a different approach. Last year I ran a two-part series covering just a handful of the session speakers. I looked at how well each branded themselves in the search results of Google. This yearI wanted to start with the list of SES's Featured Speakers.

Why I Won't Grab Any Schwag from SES

My list of reasons why I won't be bringing home any schwag from Search Engine Strategies.

Why I Think SERPs Should Go Beyond 10 Results

It seems to me that if the search engines are confident that they are providing strong, relevant results to a query, that they would want to provide more results than just 10 to each searcher.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #6 Voice

Creating a very distinct voice for your website is really about giving your website a personality. You can have great copy that lacks a clear voice that can be heard. But by creating a voice that can be heard clearly and distinctly through each written word on the page you are increasing the level of engagement with your visitor.

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....

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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....

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.

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.

Directory Links = Paid Links. Or do they?

One of the areas of confusion that many have regarding paid links is knowing when a paid link is really a paid link, and when is a paid link penalized. in their attempt to eliminate all forms of paid links from affecting their natural algorithmic search results Google has left one giant loophole in the paid link witch hunt: paid directory links.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Three Easy Ways to Fix Broken Links and Stop Unneccessary Visitor Loss

One of the easiest ways to lose visitors from your site is through broken or invalid links. In business, it is pretty much well known that it requires less of a financial investment to keep a customer than it does to acquire a new one. The internet is really no different. Once you get a visitor on your site, or get them wanting to be on your site, it takes less investment to keep them there than it does to go bring in another new visitor. Therefore it is important to do whatever you can to keep acquired visitors on your site helping them move through the conversion process.

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.

Securing your Brand and Minimizing the Competition Through Alternative Domain Names

Buying up alternative domains can help people find you when they type in the wrong domain in inadvertently, or when they are just randomly typing in keywords in the address bar.

A Little Favicon Goes a Long, Long Way

I remember when favicons first started to appear, it was like, hey, how cool is that. But now they are so common that I hardly notice them anymore. Well, no, that's not exactly true. I do notice them, and like them, it's just that I'm not surprised to see them anymore. But I AM surprised when I don't see them.

Website Architecture Questions Answered, Part III

More website architecture questions answered including questions on website submission, viral marketing, content and moving a website.

Website Architecture Questions Answered, Part II

Last week I answered some questions related to my Website Architecture webinar that I'll be conducting today. More questions were submitted in the last week and I've provided my answers to a few here.

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.

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.

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.

How to Create Printer Friendly Pages Without Creating Duplicate Content

When it comes to issues of duplicate content, one of the most frequent offenders is the "printer friendly" page. Just about any kind of site can benefit from creating printer friendly versions of their pages, but improper implementation of these pages can wreak duplicate content havoc on your site.

Securing A Domain Name Isn't Enough... Did You Secure Your Twitter Name Too?

The last thing you want is someone out there twittering in your name. Maybe they have good intentions for you, but maybe they don't. In either case, they are out there engaging in the community saying things that may appear to be official company communications.

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:

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.

Why Session ID's And Search Engines Don't Get Along (Hint: It's a Duplicate Content Thing)

There is no better way to create an infinite amount of duplicate content on your site than to force session IDs onto each visitor (and search engine). Typically, session IDs are used for tracking a single visitor's navigation path through the site, including the adding or removing products from the shopping cart. They are great for tracking purposes, but really, really bad for search engines and inbound linking.

Preventing Secure & Non-Secure Site Duplication

When shoppers can access secure and non secure versions of the same page, then likely the search engines can as well. This creates almost a complete duplicate of your site, one secure and one non-secure version. It's essential to tell the search engines what to think, especially when it comes to which pages of your site should or should not be included in the index.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Selling a Product or Are you Selling Yourself?

There are two important questions that every business needs to be able to answer: What's in it for me? and Why should I buy from you? The first questions, when answered correctly, helps sell your product or service, but it doesn't necessarily close the deal. In order to get the deal sealed and money in hand you have to be able to answer the second question sufficiently....

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....

6 Quick and Easy Accessibility Issues That Make Your Visitors Happy

As more and more users gain access to the web it becomes increasingly important to ensure that your website is accessible to all, not just a few. Just as businesses must comply with the American Disabilities Act to ensure proper access to customers with disabilities, businesses should do all they can to make their websites accessible to all users regardless of the means in which they access the site. And of course not all accessibility issues involve meeting the needs of the disabled. What must be considered is the growing number of users that now access websites through non-traditional means, whether it be mobile phones or with images turned off. These users can still be your target audience and ensuring your site can be used through alternate avenues is essential to capturing that audience.

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.

14 Website Usability Guidelines That Keep them Coming Back for More

Sites that are designed to sell products and/or services must go the extra mile to enhance the visitor's engagement with the website. Shopping cart abandonment (shoppers abandoning their carts before deciding to pay for the "items" they've added to their cart) can result in a significant loss in potential sales. But much of that can be reduced when the shopping process is streamlined and geared for shopper satisfaction. The selling process--from initial interest to the very last checkout page--must be able to grab shopper's attention and proceed to drive them through to the finalization of the sale. But even...

10 Ways to Help Your Visitors Trust You

Trust is a key usability issue when it comes to running a successful online business. Most people automatically view web businesses with a bias against them compared to their brick and mortar counterparts. Your ability to convince your visitors that yours is a trustworthy business is one of the key components to getting visitors to convert into customers. Creating a website that conveys trust can be tricky. There are rarely any answers that are always "right" for every visitor. There are, however, several factors that have universal appeal to the weary shopper.

Think Beyond The Link: How Exposure Building Trumps Link Building

Getting links is great, but as search marketers we should be looking far beyond that. We should not be so much as trying to get other websites to link to us (that's certainly a welcome result) but we should instead be working on getting exposure, in whatever format that comes in.

The Anatomy of a 12-Month Link Baiting Campaign

Last February (2007), I had a diabolical plan to become a household name in the SEO community. Here I was, a guy who has been in SEO for almost ten years and remained a relative unknown. Sure, I made a few friends here and there and have been slowly building my reputation, but who would of thought 12 months ago that I would be able to snag an interview with one of the biggest names in the SEO. And that's not me interviewing the big name, mind you... that's the big name interviewing me!

11 Ways to Fill Your Shopper's Cart

Since the "purchase" is the ultimate conversion, it is imperative that you remove as many obstacles from the customer's research-to-buy cycle as possible. Providing your visitors the key ingredients in their shopping experience creates a smooth and worry-free transaction process. The easier it is to shop and buy the more customers will overcome the natural hesitations that many feel before they commit by hitting the final "complete order" button.

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.

Social Media Marketing is Branding

Think of all the ways that companies use branding to build awareness of themselves or to promote their social awareness and customer service values. A few things come to mind such as greeters at the entrance of your my favorite store, go-green awareness issues, charity drives that "give back" to the community for every purchase made, TV screens playing music videos or news as you wait in line, and the list goes on. None of these things lead directly to conversions but they do lead to higher company awareness and the good old fashioned fuzzy-feelings we get when we...

Searching for Better On-Site Search Usability

Not every site needs, nor should have, an on-site search feature. But those that do must be sure that the search isn't just an after-thought. It needs to be more than something to add because you think visitors want it. Adding a search function is not necessarily good for on-site usability. Implementing a search function improperly is often a greater source of frustration than not having one altogether....

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.

5 Engaging Ways to Engage Your Audience

How engaged a customer is with your website will determine whether they can be persuaded to buy, comment, download or submit their information for you to follow up on. Customer engagement goes beyond just getting the customer's attention, you must keep their attention. This can be done by providing your visitors near immediate gratification.

To do that you have to first know who your audience is, know what they seek and then also know their purpose for being on your site. Knowing all this then lets you work toward meeting the needs of your target audience. But it also means taking things a step further and building a relationship with them. The ability to build a relationship with your visitors can be crucial to driving them through the persuasion process. Relationship building starts the moment the visitor hits the website.

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.

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.

12 Privacy and Security Issues Your Customers Care About

Your website's privacy information and security settings can be significant hurdles when it comes to gaining trust with your visitors. Establishing trust is paramount to enticing visitors to make that final commitment, whether that be making a purchase, choosing to provide their info, or simply making initial contact with you. Your job is to make sure your visitors feel confident that their information is kept safe and will not be used for nefarious means, or anything other than what they fully expect. While providing assurances are nice, those assurances only go so far as what actually happens. Be sure that your small print reinforces what your visitors already expect to find in regards to how their information is used.

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.

14 Usability Tips for Login and My Account Pages

Sites that require users to log in to access certain information and/or purchase products add an additional layer of potential complication to the usability process. To avoid potential visitor confusion and the possibility for errors, it is important that any login process requires little or no thought on the part of the site visitor. Once logged in, you must be sure that visitors are able to find the information they want and expect to find. My Account pages need to provide visitors with access and ability to view and change personal information, as necessary.

When is Usability More Important than SEO?

Every day we get businesses coming to us looking to improve their search engine rankings. They want to talk about an SEO campaign but one quick look at their site and we see that SEO may not be the right approach for them. Usually in these cases the site needs a complete usability makeover.

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.

4 Copywriting Steps that Will Sell Ice to Eskimos

For many business owners, writing can be a daunting task. Sure we know our products and services inside and out and putting what we know into words is easy enough, but that's about as far as it gets. Is that enough to sell? Sure. Could more be done to sell better? You bet!

Four Quick Ways to Improve Your HELP and FAQ Pages

Depending on the nature of your site, Help and FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) can span a few or many pages. Building up these sections of your site can greatly enhance your visitor's experience with your website. These pages are often sought out by shoppers who are looking for just a bit more information to help them feel confident about their purchase. Building comprehensive Help and FAQ pages gives your visitors confidence that you're there to provide them the information and help they need to be comfortable purchasing from you. Solidly built pages can often reduce visitor confusion, lessen support call frequency, and create higher conversion rates as more shoppers are satisfied and confident that you can meet their needs.

Searching for Better On-Site Search Usability

Not every site needs, nor should have, an on-site search feature. But those that do must be sure that the search isn't just an after-thought. It needs to be more than something to add because you think visitors want it. Adding a search function is not necessarily good for on-site usability. Implementing a search function improperly is often a greater source of frustration than not having one altogether.

Developing Exciting Copy that Speaks Your Visitor's Language

There is a distinct difference between editing a site for search engines and making edits for visitors. Traditionally in SEO, adding keywords to a web page falls under the category of editing for search engines. But many don't realize that adding keywords to your copy can and should be a function of making the site function better for visitors. The copy of your website falls very distinctly into the marketing realm of website management. Yes, search engines look at copy too, and adding certain keywords can help you achieve search engine rankings rankings, but each page needs to appeal to your readers first.

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.

Converting Visitors Through Errors and Form Fields

Forms are one of your primary points of contacts with your visitors. While many visitors still use email or even the telephone to contact you or to place an order, the vast majority will contact you first via your web forms. Forms that are broken or improperly implemented cause frustration and can greatly reduce your conversion rate for leads and sales.

8 Items Every Shopper Needs In Their Shopping Cart

Customers who, by all means, appear to be ready to make a purchase are often found abandoning their shopping carts before they complete their online transaction. In many cases this is part of the normal online shopping experience as the shopping cart is just used as a place to collect items of interest but which the user has no real intent to purchase. But all too often it is a failure of the shopping cart page itself that leads visitors to abandon their items which they do, in fact, wish to have.

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.

12 Product Page Conversion Strategies That Shant Be Ignored

To be effective, your website must implement product pages that are able to satisfy each of your visitor's needs. But information isn't enough either. While providing necessary information, these pages must be convincing enough to entice your visitors to move through the purchase process -- on your site rather than on a competitor's website.

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.

6 Ways to Get Your Visitors To Contact You From Your Contact Us Page

Along with the About Us page, your Contact Us page is one of the most important and crucial pages on your site to get right. In fact, the Contact Us page could be considered the absolutely most important page. Even if the rest of your site succeeds in the goals, if visitors fail to find the information they need to contact you then you will bring their shopping experience to a screeching halt.

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.

Full RSS or Summary Feed?

I'm not the first one to chime in on this topic, mostly because I've gone both ways and I can make pretty valid arguments from either side. But I've finally settled it in my mind which is "best". Full RSS feeds are better than summary feeds. Let me tell you why...

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.

5 Easy Ways to Make Your About Us Page More About Your Customers

For many sites, visitors that find their way to your About Us page tend to have a somewhat higher conversion rate than those that don't. Potential customers that do visit this page are showing a bit more than a casual interest in what your site has to offer and are looking for additional signals of trust.

Nobody Wants Your Stinking Content... So Give Them a Community!

On the web it is impossible to have a conversation without content. That is why content will never truly be dead. Every word written, every blog post, article, instant message, forum post, etc/ (the list goes on and on) is done via content. But content, outside of community, is not a conversation, it's merely a one-way communication. To paraphrase an old philosophical riddle, if someone communicates and no one is around to hear (or read) it, is he really saying anything at all?

7 Ways to Make Your Home Page a Home Run for Usability

Your home page is the single most crucial page of your site. This is the page that will be the primary entry point for a majority of your visitors. It is also the page that sets the stage for the rest of the site giving visitors a birds-eye view of who you are, what you're about, what you can do for them, what you offer, and how they get the information needed.

25 Ways to DESIGN Your Way to Higher Conversions

During the design phase of building a website all too often we find that the end result is really nothing more than what somebody decided "looked good". In some cases it's a combination (or compromise) of what a handful of individuals have determined to be "good enough". What many fail to realize is that web design and visitor usability go hand in hand.

An Amazingly Detailed Post on Why PageRank Should Be Ignored

These figures can't (or can, depending on how you look at it) be ignored.

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?...

9 (+1) Tips For Writing User-Friendly Content

The content of your website is your #1 sales tool. Pictures, tools, and other fun stuff can be important in making your site visibly and functionally appealing, but it is the content that sells. Well written and user focused content allows your visitors to "find out" more about your products and services, as well as how your company will be able to meet their needs.

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....

How Easy Could This Be? UnSubscribe Me!

Last month I posted about Barnes & Nobles tedious process for unsubscribing from their email newsletters. It was so complex that I honestly couldn't even figure out why I was receiving emails to begin with. By all appearances I was not subscribed to anything. This was confirmed after a couple of submissions to tech support, they also told me that I had already unsubscribed. Phew! But that's not the end of the story....

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.

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.

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.

Content or Community, The Red Pill or the Blue?

In my last article I declared that content was dead and community was the new king online. The title of that post was a bit of an overstatement which wasn't backed up by the rest of the article. (It was a link bait-y title, but yet another example of community ruling content. But I digress.) In the article I found some stats that some have used to re-declare (yet again) that "content is king" but I went on to show how those stats really didn't say that at all. I wanted to go a bit further in today's post while...

Sometimes Motivation Has to be Felt

Motivation is a funny thing. You can try to encourage people by telling them the benefits of this, that or the other, but sometimes it's just not enough. You've got to make them "feel" it. If you craft your message right, you can do just that using words only.

Lessons From Blockbuster: Don't Hide All Your Good Sales Material

In the last of my four part series about lessons learned from Blockbuster's Total Access program, I'll explore the need to make sure you're giving site visitors enough information to make the sale.

Content is Dead. Community is King Now.

I can hardly bring myself to say the old cliche about content being... well, you know. I think it's one of the original cliche's in the SEO industry. And as redundant as it has become, for whatever reason we keep hearing it over and over again. And every now and then a new studies pops up seemingly proving proving, once again, that content is... uh, good....

Lessons From Blockbuster: Total Access Takes Another Minor Misstep

Blockbuster provides a perfect real-world example of a company struggling to get it right. Sometimes they get the DVD in the tray and sometimes they don't. (That analogy sounded better in my head!)

How Hard Does This Have to Be? UnSubscribe Me!

Every week I receive weekly emails from Barnes and Noble telling me about books that are being released and other such stuff that I'm not interested in. The other day I decided to go ahead and click the "unsubscribe" button and be done with it all. If only it were that easy....

Losing Wait: 5 Simple Steps to Reducing Web Page Download Times

While high-speed access is far more common today than it was just a couple of years ago, web technology has also gotten more advanced. With each new whistle and bell added to your website, with every new feature, wait time is added in your page downloads. So high-speed access or no, you still have to make sure you keep your download times in check and therefore reducing wait time for your site visitors....

A Look at Search Engine Strategies Speakers and How Well They Brand Themselves, Part II

Last week I started looking at the branding savvyness of a handful of speakers at Search Engine Strategies, San Jose. There was no way I could go through each and every speaker so I narrowed the list down to those who spoke in sessions I attended. Here I continue through the list (alphabetically) and will provide an additional bonus: me. Yeah, I got my own set of branding issues which I uncovered once I started looking into some of the others here. But before I rip me a new one, let's continue...

A Look at Search Engine Strategies Speakers and How Well They Brand Themselves, Part I

While I was live blogging the search engine strategy sessions last week I was often in a hurry to find links to each presenter's website. Come to find out it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. In some cases I was able to find a speaker's company name fairly easily with a quick Google search. But other times I was left actually guessing to make sure I got the right company....

Lessons From Blockbuster: Money For Nothin', and the Survey's For Free

What happens when a company asks users to spend a great deal of time filling out a "customer experience" survey, but fails to offer anything up in return?...

Lessons From Blockbuster: A UVP Worth Writing Home About

Blockbuster figured out how to leverage their offline properties for their online rental service, namely the local Blockbuster Video store. Instead of putting your movie back in the mail to be shipped back, you can now take your movie, which you received in the mail, directly to the local Blockbuster store....

Writing for Readers, Skimmers and (Yes) Non-Readers Too!

There is a lot that goes into developing good content for websites, and there are a lot of schools of thought into how to develop text that is "just right" for search engines and customers alike. We've heard all the arguments about content before. "People don't read, they just look at the pretty pictures." "Lots of text is needed for SEO." "Not everybody skims text, some like to read word for word." "Not everybody reads word for word, some like to skim and scan." On the surface these appear to be quite contradictory points, but they are not. In fact,...

SEO through PPC Eyes

There is a lot more to SEO than often meets the eye, but sometimes the SEO eye isn't enough to make a good optimized page great. While the actual SEO work can be pretty straight forward, it's the additional effort in making the page user-friendly and has the ability to drive visitors to conversions....

So Many Blogs (comments) and So Little Time (for tracking)

A few weeks ago one of my employees ran across co.mments.com, a free, web based comment tracking tool. It's turned out to be a very nice one-size fits all solution to keeping up with any comments on any blog post, whether I've commented there or not....

What Would You Do with 1,200 Email Addresses?

MIVA is updating their records... and in the process giving all of their contacts access to over 1200 email addresses. Early this morning I received an email from MIVA and there it was, right in front of me, over 1,217 email addresses staring at me in the TO box....

Giving Personality to Your Customer Personas

One of the things we've been trying to wrap our head around is the concept of writing content for both personas and the personality of site visitors. We battled with this for several days, trying to distinguish properly between a persona and a personality. I was finally able to boil each down into a few words that made it easy for us to see the difference....

The 50 Best Websites of 2007

Do you ever get the feeling that there are super cool websites out there that you have not discovered? Sites that everybody is talking about, except to you? Well, fret no longer, young Internet Junkie. Time Magazine, in partnership with CNN.com has issued their report on the 50 Best Websites for 2007....

Ezine Articles Says "NO" to Business Article Content

I've been submitting my articles to Ezine @rticles for a few years now and I have great respect for them, but lately, well, they've been riding the short bus to school drinking crazy Uncle Joe's home made Koolaid....

All Roads Lead to Congestion: Weighing in on Universal Search, Part II

With Google's new universal search being rolled out the concept of "top search engine rankings" changes dramatically. On one hand a first page ranking is much more difficult to achieve, and on the other, there are now more ways in which to achieve a first page ranking....

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....

A Day in the Life of a Search Engine Friendly Web Page

In a previous article I wrote that a search engine friendly website is not the same as a search engine optimized website. I'm using that as a jump off point for this article on the topic of building a search engine friendly website. The purpose is to simply highlight a few of the aspects that comprise a SE friendly (not necessarily optimized) website....

Shut Up and Listen to Your Audience for a Change

Having the right message is critical to the success of any business. The number one key to business growth is crafting a message that speaks to your target audience....

Don't be Afraid to Try and Err

Though already successful, Pepsi understands that long-term success and company growth means always being willing to attempt new ideas and strategies. Marketing online has proven that rule time and time again....

What's the Best Way to Communicate With Your Clients?

We once had a client complain that they didn't know if we were doing anything for them. I guess the ranking improvements they were seeing wasn't enough of a clue. That complaint only happened once. We realized then that there was a breakdown in communications between us and our clients and instituted measures to insure that it would never happen again....

Mmmm! Tasty Search Goulash: Weighing in on Universal Search

Google realized that very few people were using their individual search areas such as images, video, news, etc, and universal search is their one-size-fits-all fix to that. The result is a bunch of, what I would consider to be, irrelevant search results. I understand what Google is trying to accomplish, I'm just not convinced this is the best approach....

Where Have all the Online Sales Gone?

A recent New York Times article has pointed out a trend showing the slow down in the growth of online shopping. The article points out a few previously hot industries are starting to show a slowing in growth....

How Safe is Your Search?

McAfee recently reclease their State of Search Engine Safety report, an updated from their May and December 2006 reports....

Winning is for Wimps and Losers

People often find themselves looking for the winning scenario for themselves or their businesses. Finding the winning scenario is important for any long-term success. But even better than the winning scenario is the win-win scenario....

Google Experimental Search

Google recently added Experiemental Search to their list of Google labs options. I spent some time playing around with it and found it quite interesting, to say the least....

Link Bait is the New Reciprocal Link

Link bait and reciprocal linking programs have quite a bit in common. Without disparaging anyone who engages in link baiting strategies I do believe that many forms of link baiting are just a dressed up version of reciprocal links without the reciprocation....

Managing your "Inbox Tasks"

Our company has built our own custom task management system that integrates with our SEO and Marketing client reporting system. It's great. In fact, I'm a big fan of task management. But having a task management system in place, and even when used properly, still does not take care of all of my task management issues....

Search Engine Friendly is NOT Search Engine Optimized

When we are quoting development work for prospective clients we are often asked to develop a website that is search engine optimized. This usually brings me into a long-winded explanation on how developing a website to be search engine friendly is not the same thing as optimizing that website for search performance. Kind of like how building a car is not the same as making it ready to compete in the Indy 500. Those are two different tasks altogether....

Are You Saying What You Think You're Saying?

When you think that your employees just don't listen or follow directions very well perhaps its time to sit down and start listening to yourself for a change. Get out of your own head for a second and hear your directions from the standpoint of someone who doesn't already know what you want....

Spider-man 3 Bible-Study Guide (no joke!)

Finding biblical wisdom in a pop-culture geek film! I love it! (Oh, I love the marketing angle, too!)...

Follow the Path, Not the Piece to Success

When we find something that works, it may not be for the reasons we initially thought. Only after thoroughly analyzing one success, and seeing the big picture we can realize that the strategy that we thought was the reason for success is really just one of many pieces. It was really all of the pieces together that formed the path which led to success....

How Much Would You Pay to Get Visitors to Leave Your Site?

If you're paying for marketing that will drive traffic to your website but have not spent any time or money providing a better customer experience on your website, then you might as well be paying your visitors to leave....

Small Businesses Should Know Their Place Online

The Internet allowed many mom and pops to move out of mom and pop status and develop a new kind of corporate identity. But as the e-marketplace began to grow, driving traffic to a new online business became increasingly difficult. While starting a business on the internet today is still relatively easy compared to doing so off-line, it has become more expensive and time consuming than ever....

Everything is Marketing

As a small business, everything you do has an impact on your marketing message and ability to get that message out clearly. This includes how (or whether) you answer your phones, how you reply to email messages, what you say in online forums, the comments you make in blogs the speed of your computers, the presentation of your website, and potentially even the car that you drive....

The Best Keywords Ever

No, I'm not going to give you a list of most searched or most clicked keywords or whatever. Instead I'm going to talk about how to determine which keywords will be the best for you....

Finding Success Outside Your Target Audience

It's not often that a company finds success outside of its intended target market. But that seems to be what is happening with the makers of Slingbox....

Cookie Crumblers Corrupt Conclusive Counts

Have you ever been suspicious that your traffic stats are overinflated? Well, you should be, especially if you use cookies to track user analytical data. According to a new press release by comScore cookie-based counting overstates the size of a web site's audience....

How to Make Fridays Productive Again

Fridays are typically the most unproductive day of the week, with the exception of the occasional Monday doldrums. By Friday everybody is ready for the weekend and its often just difficult to get into the work rhythm of the first four days of the week....

Small Businesses Should Know Their Place Online

The Internet allowed many mom and pops to move out of mom and pop status and develop a new kind of corporate identity. But as the e-marketplace began to grow, driving traffic to a new online business became increasingly difficult. While starting a business on the internet today is still relatively easy compared to doing so off-line, it has become more expensive and time consuming than ever....

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....

How To Sell That Thing You Sell

The other day I went to a local seminar on "internet marketing". I honestly didn't expect a whole lot; it was one of those "how to make money on the internet" things, which promised to tell you tips on how to use the search engines to your advantage, yada, yada, yada. But I have to say I was surprised, at least from the first 30 minutes of the 90 minute seminar....

bBy bCentral

Years after having any sort of relevance in the search engine landscape, Microsoft has finally chosen to close down their bCentral Submit It service. Yesterday I received an email from Microsoft explaining, in that Microsoft sort of way, what's happening....

How Little Information Can Provide Accurate Expectations

Providing a little (or a lot) of information can go a long, long way to building a good relationship with your visitors. That, in turn, can lead to more sales and significant business growth. Unfortunately, many online businesses go with the less is more philosophy. As such, this leads to less user satisfaction and in turn, fewer sales....

MSN Says Don't Use Our Search for Research

Yesterday MSN posted on their blog that they have turned of certain advanced search queries because, (gasp!) people are using it for research!...

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....

Hey Google: What Did You Do With My Alerts?

Within the last week or so Google updated their Google Alerts service to incorporate it with some of Google's other services. Somewhere in the process of the change they screwed up as over half of my Alerts are missing!...

8 Ways I Wish Being Offline Was Like Being Online

Ever wonder what it would be like if we had all the conveniences of the Internet in the "real" world? I do. A lot, actually. Whether I'm sitting at a stop light, looking where I left my keys or just waiting in line at the grocery store, if we had the power of the Internet available to us I think our lives would be so much simpler....

Do Music Downloads Spell the End of the Music Biz?

In reading an article about the plummeting of music CD sales believed to be caused by the increase in music downloads (purchased and pirated), I got to thinking about the music business in general. While most news stories and editorials talk about the effects of the music distribution industry, I can't help but wonder if this will effect the music industry as a whole--artists and fans included....

A Marketing Campaign Gone Wrong... Or Right?

Lionsgate films may have an unintentional hit on their hands. It appears that someone put up the wrong billboard campaign which many are finding objectionable....

Does your SEO Only Know SEO?

The SEO industry has changed significantly in the last few years. Gone are they days when SEO focused exclusively on top search engine rankings. Today's SEOs, or at least any worth paying more than one dollar to, are focusing on many other aspects that were once traditionally left to more marketing minded people....

Don't Hide All Your Easter Eggs All In One Place

Right now Google is the 900 pound basket delivering a sizeable chunk of traffic (eggs?) to businesses on the web. That's fine and all but what happens when you lose your Google rankings for a day, month, year?...

If It Ain't Broke... Fix It!

Should you change your page content frequently? The answer is yes and no....

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....

10 Not-So-Quick-But-Still-Important Ways to Increase Conversions

There are literally thousands of signals that can be changed to improve one's conversion, last week I pointed out ten. Today I give 10 more, but they are not quite as easy to implement as those on the first list....

10 Quick Ways to Increase Conversions

My SEO firm has been spending a good deal of time analyzing conversion and usability aspects for our clients over the past year. While there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of things that can be changed to help improve conversion rates, we've created a short list of things that are both quick and easy to change or add to your site....

Tired of Opting Out When You Never Opted In?

The big news of the past couple of days is that Yahoo now allows you to opt out of having Yahoo use the directory title and description in their general search results. As I was installing the new robots meta tag onto my home page I started thinking, "why am I opting out when I never opted in?"...

Multiple Path Link Building

In just about any form of marketing, when something works it gets repeated to death until the strategy is no longer effective. Online marketing, especially link building, is similar. While there is no replacing the concept of building a good site worthy of links and letting people know about it, there are actually numerous strategies available for attracting good links through solid marketing efforts....

The Paperless Office is (Not) Here

According to comScore, 65% of Bank of America account holders use their online bill pay service. In fact, B of A is dominating the online bill pay market. According to the study, Wells Fargo has the next highest usage at 18% and then Chase and Wachovia at 13% each....

Serving the Client's Best Interest is Not Always in the Client's Best Interest!

We are in business to serve our clients, not ourselves. But the more I thought about this the more I realized that this sentiment is not entirely true. While we want our purpose to be client-centric we realized that in order for us to properly server our clients we have to serve ourselves as well....

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....

(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....

Changing the Face of Advertising, 8 Seconds at a Time

A new company is about to change the face of off-line advertising as we know it. They are starting in the movie industry (and only for eight seconds at a time) but the implications of this will reach into every aspect of paper advertising and even into the digital photo market....

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....

Time Tracking for Greater Productivity

The time spent on billable activities is important information to know, and not just to have a better picture of the bottom line. How our time is spent affects both us and our clients. The more time we spend on unbillable activities the more we have to compensate by adjusting package pricing, but the less time we spend on billable activities, the less we are actually doing for our clients....

Google Provides (Almost) Accurate Backlink Information

Google Webmaster Central has just releases a tool that allows you to check your site's backlinks. Hows that different from the link: operator? Well, this one actually works!...

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

True success doesn't come easily but requires patience, determination, hard work and sometimes even personal sacrifice. If you do want to succeed and are willing to put forth the effort, here are seven steps to success in business and in life....

Mapquest Offers Gas Pump Pricing and Locations

Mapquest now lets you find and compare gas prices in your city, state or zip code....

Link Request Flattery

The problem with most link emails is that there is never any real effort involved in getting the links. Just some generic crap about how they "really liked your site!" Wow. That's awesome! When I was contacted about getting the manuscript I was flattered that somebody wanted me to read their book and blog about it. Flattery is effective....

2006 Internet Growth Trends

According to recent press release by ComScore, overall internet usage increased 10% from Dec. '05 to '06. Also includes information on top web destinations and category growth trends....

Billable Rights of SEOs and Their Clients

Ever wonder just what you as a client and your SEO firm as a service provider have the right to expect from each other? You're not the only one. As such, Stoney deGeyter has put together a comprehensive list of "billable rights" for both SEM providers and SEM clients....

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....

Being Successful by Committing to Constant Growth

Someone asked me my definition of success recently and I responded: Life, Health and Happiness. Life and health are easily determined, but happiness is pretty darn vague, and I deliberately answered that way. What makes me happy?...

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....

Managing Your Pay-Per-Click Portfolio

Investment into the stock market and PPC marketing has a lot of similarities. By drawing these comparisons this article sheds some light on the expectations of a well-managed PPC campaign and provides solutions to effectively managing your PPC "portfolio"....

Don’t Cheat Your Business by Going Cheap On SEO

If you're like me, that frugality carries over into just about all areas of your life, including searching for an SEO company. But one thing that bargain shoppers tend to find out the hard way is that sometimes the best deal isn't always the best deal. In fact, the bargain often turns out to cost you more in the long run....

What Were You Doing the Day After?

What were you doing the day after Christmas? If you were like many folks, you were online. According to Nielsen//NetRatings online shopping for the day after Christmas rose 35% over 2005....

Guide for Writing Optimized Text

Optimized text (OT) is first and foremost marketing copy for the website. Each optimized page must be written with the client's products or services in mind. They are not general information pages, but pages designed to provide the visitor with the information they seek which compels them to take the desired action....

Ignorance: The Downside of Social Marketing

The ignorance of the Wikipedia community in regards to SEO is, well, interesting. There is an internal debate as to whether or not Matt Cutts is noteworthy for his own Wikipedia page. Huh? Really?...

Are We Finally Seeing the Decline of PPC?

PPC (pay-per-click) advertising has been a great way to almost instantly start an online marketing campaign and get immediate returns. Recently, however larger companies seem to be cutting back on their PPC spending. Last week MarketWatch posted a story about PPC costs and why businesses are looking for greener pastures....

Long- vs. Short-Term SEO

I've always thought of SEO as a long-term process. More of a perpetual process, really. SEO firms (not to be confused with SEO consultants) tend to provide one of two different types of service. For the most part, they can be defined as "long-term" SEO and "short-term" SEO....

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......

Google Myths Debunked

The blogosphere is a great place to get information, learn new things and even to spread your own knowledge. It's also a way for myths and rumors to spread, many times unchecked. These myths get passed on from blog to blog and soon they are simply believed because they've been repeated so many times....

Dan Thies Says Goodbye

SEO Guru Dan Thies has announced that he'll be closing his doors to his SEO training programs. Why, you ask? Well, Dan will explain it all at his "retirement party" teleseminar, during which he'll answer all our questions....

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....

Long- vs. Short-Term SEO

I've always thought of SEO as a long-term process. More of a perpetual process, really. SEO firms (not to be confused with SEO consultants) tend to provide one of two different types of service. There are pros and cons to both short term and long term search engine optimization proposals, here are a few to consider....

Google AdWords Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines

To add to Jennifer's post yesterday on Google's AdWords Quality Score, I found another bit of information provided by Google, Google AdWords Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines. Google lays out some information that is good nut just for PPCers but for SEOers as well....

Family-Friendly Alternative to MySpace

There seem to be enough MySpace ripoffs that it doesn't make much sense to talk about any of the lesser-known alternatives. That is, of course, unless one of those alternatives brings something unique to the table. I came across ShoutLife while perusing through my daily blogrolls. I was intrigued by what I saw but still wasn't sure of the big "so what!". What is it that ShoutLife offers that MySpace doesn't? I talked with ShoutLife president Paul McLellan to find out....

Monitoring Competitor Changes and Collecting Business Intelligence Data

In the world of online marketing, tracking changes to competitor, client and industry related websites can not only help you stay current on important issues, but can also help you gather additional competitive intelligence data simply and easily. RSS is great, but its not everywhere....

Heaviest Online Shopping Day Ever

According to ComScore, December 4, 2006 was the heaviest e-commerce shopping day on record. Spending topped out at 647 million dollars!...

13 Ways to Lose ROI on Your SEO Campaign

Whether you have outsourced your SEO campaign or are performing it in-house, here is a quick list on how to lose ROI and create diminishing returns for your business. Why 13? Well, because that's your lucky number!...

3 Important Elements of SEO, 4 That are Absolutely Essential

Not everybody is able to implement a full-scale SEO strategy. The reasons for this may vary; time, budget, technological barriers, etc. For those that find yourself limited by what you can do now, here are the essentials of SEO....

13 Ways to Lose ROI on Your SEO Campaign

Whether you have outsourced your SEO campaign or are performing it in-house, here is a quick list on how to lose ROI and create diminishing returns for your business. Why 13? Well, because that's your lucky number!...

How Best to Spend Your Marketing Budget

The addition of online marketing has opened up a number of new doors: website development, email advertising, banner ads, pay-per-click ads, strategic link partnerships, search engine optimization, social networking, directory submissions, and the list goes on. So where should you spend your money?...

Google's SearchMash

SearchMash is a fun, ad-free search environment. I could see many of these features making their way into Google search at some point in the future....

Creating a Positive SEO Experience

For years SEO has been relatively easy to jump into and "expert" SEO firms were known to appear overnight, only to disappear months later. That said, fly-by-night SEO "gurus" are not the only reason that many businesses have soured on SEO....

Investing in SEO: Clients vs. SEOs

When it comes to purchasing an SEO package, it all comes down to how much are you willing to pay per hour, and how many hours do you want to invest in your website's promotion efforts? While many SEOs charge a package price, how much goes into that package is determined by how many hours of their time the SEO is willing to invest, and for how much....

Hurry up and Do Nothing for Measured SEM Success

Search engine marketing is simultaneously an intense game of taking action to increase sales while also a patient intermission of waiting to see the results. There is almost always something that can be done to improve your site and your search rankings, but after making specific changes you must be patient enough to wait for the results of those changes to come back and be compared against the previous changes....

Three Final Checks for Your Optimized Pages

If you are always optimizing pages then you probably know how easy it is to overlook small, but important things. It's the small things that, when over looked, can often throw the biggest wrenches in the works for an otherwise well-optimized site. Here are the three most commonly overlooked tasks when uploaded new or changed content to your website:...

SEO Holy Trinity Holy Grail Wholly Textbook

If there was a Holy Trinity of SEO I would say it would have to be copywriting, usability and links. But there is one important part of SEO that is actually more important than this Trinity, and that is Keyword Research. Without this, any SEO campaign, even "Textbook SEO," is basically a game of pin the tail on the online donkey!...

The Arrogance of SEO

I'm tired of the arrogance within the SEO community, specifically with those that claim themselves to be the keepers of all true and correct SEO knowledge. Maybe other industries have their own similar issues that I don't know about, but I do know what I see within the SEO community and I'm fed up....

Real Search Engine Optimization Linkbaiting

I understand what linkbaiters are doing, and it is a different kind of service, but shouldn't a well developed website with lots of great information already be it's own linkbait? Isn't the SEO Marketer's job to make the site more appealing to both search engines and site visitors alike?...

Undersell Your SEO Service, Overachieve Your SEO Results

For many companies, the sell-at-all-cost approach can often come back to bite. The good salesperson is doing his job, but a problem arises when the products or services don't live up to the sales rhetoric being to entice the buyer. Its the result of a salesperson that oversells and over promises but the products or services don't (or can't) meet the expectations of the buyer....

Human Rights and the Web

Since Google has agreed to censor their search results in order to enter the Chinese market, much hoopla has been made about American corporations and their responsibility to human rights. Is it right for American companies to acquiesce to foreign governments who have a history of human rights abuses, just to enter their markets and gain a profit?...

Mining for Keyword Gold!

Much has been written on the topic of keyword research by other SEOs. Without trying to restate anything that has already been written, (at least by me) let me present a few ideas that can help you identify all of the possible keyword phrases that you could benefit from....

Secrets of Successful Business Relationships Online

While online businesses lack the ability to build relationships face-to-face, this does not negate the importance of building relationships with your customers--you just have to go about it a bit differently. In part, this is accomplished through your website itself, sometimes through email communications, and occasionally over the phone....

How to Lead with your Online Marketing Campaign

From a competitive standpoint, it's always good to know what your competitors are doing, who they are targeting, and what areas they are venturing into. A failure to know this is poor business strategy and planning....

Drive Business Success Through Delegation

I have to admit, I admire many of the sole practitioners in the SEO industry. Frankly I don't understand how they do it; they perform the SEO, link building and copywriting while keeping up with current industry news and trends at the same time....

Preaching to the Converted

One a customer has bought from you; there is a good chance he or she will buy from you again, provided that the experience was positive. If you don't do any follow up, there is a good chance that youll miss the boat the next time that customer needs your product....

How to Spam with Blogs: A Tutorial for Every Wanna-be SEO

The nofollow was merely a band aid fix to one kind of blog spam, but not a solution to the real problem. But since there is not just one kind of blog spam there is no single solution either....

How to Persuade Others to Give You Their Money

Youd be surprised with the impression you can make with a quickly returned phone call. I cant count the number of sales Ive made because Id called and gotten a contract signed before another SEO company even returned the prospects call or email....

Managing Your Time Effectively

In SEO and SEM, time management is critical. Almost anybody in the industry will tell you that you can spend countless hours "tweaking" a web site, looking at traffic analysis and conversion stats, and employing solid link building campaigns....

Prevent Home Page Link Value Leakage

As technologically advanced as search engines are, there are a few areas where they still don't quite measure up. It's well known that search engines don't like duplicate content on web sites, but did you know you could unknowingly be serving them duplicate content?...

Building a Professional Web Site That Achieves Your Goals

Careful and strategic planning before you begin developing (or re-developing) your website can help you build the best possible website that meets both your, and your customer's needs....

Are Search Engine Rankings That Important?

Top rankings are not the only means to generate traffic. Good SEO can bring traffic from many avenues, not just the search engine. But is that still SEO? No, not in the strictest sense. Can other marketing efforts bring in just as much traffic as top search engine rankings can?...

Undesirable SEO and What to Do with a Small Marketing Budget

Unfortunately, there are far too many of these faux SEO providers out there. The knowledge of these SEOs differ, some know enough to talk a good game, others know enough, or are good enough salespeople, to be able to sell a sham service. In either case, these are the SEOs that give the industry a bad name....

Establishing Web Credibility - Part 5

Just like any other form of medium, it's best to get a third party to proof read your site's content. Undoubtedly, they'll find something you missed even after several proof reads of your own....

Establishing Web Credibility - Part 4

Sure, you can make the argument that you're too busy working for your customers to worry about the small details on your own site like that, but then that's assuming you get the opportunity to make that argument. The potential customer might have already bolted from your site....

Establishing Web Credibility - Part 3

Providing extra information including features and benefits of your product will help users make the decision to buy. Adding information such as pricing comparisons, warranties, and quality customer service helps users realize why they should purchase from you....

SEO Your Website First, Design Later

Before developing your website, picking your design and development should be secondary to bringing your optimization and marketing team onboard. The marketing team can help you interview and select the right designers saving both time and money in the long run....

Establishing Web Credibility - Part 2

Do you have experts on your team? Are your contributors or service providers authorities? Be sure to give their credentials. Are you affiliated with a respected organization? Make that clear....

Establishing Web Credibility - Part 1

There are a number of reasons why people are distrustful of stores offline and online, but that sense is often heightened when shopping on the web. That makes it ever more important to go out of your way to create a sense of trust and credibility to your online visitors....

When and Why You Should Secure Multiple Domains

There are many different reasons for purchasing multiple domain names, and each reason has its own set of benefits and uses. Buying multiple domain names is a great strategy that can be used to capture additional type-in traffic, secure other branding avenues you may wish to pursue, or simply to prevent your competitors from securing them....

Meeting Your Targeted Audiences Wants and Needs

While you dont have to provide a perfect user experience for every individual who stumbles across your site (an impossible task anyway,) you always want to be sure to incorporate the elements that your audience wants and needs....

SEO is Location, Location, Location

Achieving top search engine placement is the B&M (brick and mortar) equivalent of choosing your store's location. We've all heard it, when setting up your store, location is everything: location, location, location. Unlike B&Ms, however, websites can't just buy or rent their location on the organic search results....

SEO Accounts for Only 11% of SEM Spending

Optimization is a long-term process that requires patience for results to be achieved, and continuous maintenance to stay "on top". PPC simply requires more money to stay on top....

New Algorithm Measures Require New Means For Optimization

What does link aging accomplish? It fights link spam. Many link spammers try to achieve top rankings for their sites by getting hundreds, if not thousands, of links for a site virtually overnight, or by purchasing "ads" on high PR sites for the purpose of getting the link value, where the ad itself is of little or no consideration....

Bridging the Gap Between the Page, Keywords and Copywriting

When keyword themes are applied correctly throughout the site, whether to existing or newly created pages, copywriting should come naturally without feeling forced or your visitor even noticing your targeted phrases....

Securing a Marketing-Rich Domain Name

Before going out and buying the first domain name that comes to mind, take a step back so you can think it through first. While you can easily change your domain name before your site goes live, once you've begun the work of establishing your web presence changing a domain name is not quite a simple....

SEO is Dead

The reality is that while SEO will remain an integral part online marketing, those that focus exclusively on achieving top search engine rankings will fail....

Top Rankings Guarantees Debunked (Again)

Each week I get calls from prospective clients looking for some kind of guarantee for our services. Sure, we can provide a guarantee that gives us enough wiggle room to be useless, but I would rather work with a company that is a bit more forthright in their business practices....

Online Marketing Hierarchy and Definitions

While everything an SEO does is considered a function of "online marketing", if you hire an SEO or purchase an SEO only service, don't expect to receive search engine marketing or online marketing service with that....

Analyzing One-Way vs. Reciprocal Links

Link building has become a cornerstone of SEO/SEM services so many are interested in knowing what makes a good link, what they should strive for, etc. that will provide the biggest impact on their site optimization....

Creating a Marketing Focused Website that Sells - Part 4

In parts one, two and three of this series of articles I looked at a variety of issues that can impact your web site's ability to convert visitors to buyers. Today, I'll be covering the information content that you'll need to help people find their way around your web site....

Creating a Marketing Focused Website that Sells - Part 3

In parts one and two of this series of articles I looked at a variety of issues that can impact your web site's ability to convert visitors to buyers. Today, I'll be covering the information content that you'll need for your about us, contact us, FAQ and product pages....

Common Sense Algorithm Chasing

The best SEOs are those that utilize what I will call common-sense algorithm chasing. They have a thorough knowledge of SEO that will make sense to the visitor as well as knowing and understanding where search engine algorithms are and where they are headed as well....

All Marketers are Thieves

I think it's also true that all marketers are thieves. A few weeks back Chevy started an "Employee Discount" marketing campaign where us average Joes can get a car for the same price as Chevy employees. Guess what, it worked!...

Creating a Marketing Focused Website that Sells - Part 2

Dont try and give too much information on your home page. We know that every additional click a user has to perform causes visitor loss, however putting too much information on a single page can also confuse them....

Creating a Marketing Focused Website that Sells - Part 1

With the exception of cloned web sites, every web site has its own unique characteristics. Your site should be built to fulfill your informational and sales needs, while being effective in getting your target audience to take the desired actions....

Should SEOs Recommend or Implement Optimization Changes?

Before selecting a search engine marketing company, you need to do a little internal and external research. Not only will it save you time and money, it will also ensure that your SEO campaign can and will be more effective....

Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part Three

Quality web hosting is difficult to come by, but is absolutely essential for any business that takes their online marketing efforts seriously....

Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part Two

You want to choose your hosting plan carefully to ensure that it will be able to handle whatever server load your site might generate, especially during peak times or big marketing pushes....

Selecting a Web Host Provider - Part 1

When researching various hosting companies, look for quality over cost. You don't necessarily have to pay an outrageous monthly fee, but you do need to find a host that provides you all the features you need with minimal inconveniences and ongoing problems....

Why Online Marketing Matters

Marketing your website online can literally add thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars into your business bank account....

Pay for Performance Pricing Models for Search Engine Optimization

Personally, I would not price SEO services based on performance unless I was given 100% control over the client's website, something very few clients are willing to hand over, and rightfully so....

Do You Have a Bad SEO Company, or Are You Just a Bad Client?

There have been a number of blog and forum posts and articles recently about what to do if you’re with a bad SEO company. All good advice, but sometimes it's not the SEO that's bad, its the client....

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait: Part 2

In the second part of this series, Ill look beyond the details of getting your site ready to optimize and will dive in to the actual work that takes place before your site goes live....

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait: Part 1

In a previous article I wrote about the making of a perfect SEO firm, highlighting all the different jobs that an SEO firm must perform for the optimization process. That article outlined only the overall human resources needed but didn't go into the specific job functions that are required in the SEO process. Here is where I let that particular cat out of the bag....

Determining the Value of Your SEO Service

We often have potential clients come to us price shopping. They are not comparing our services with our competitors, but they are comparing our pricing with our competitors. In that battle we lose almost every time, and the reason for that is because there is always an "SEO" company that will work for less. With SEO, however, you usually get what you pay for....

Allocating Your Web Site's Budget Properly

What is the goal of getting your site optimized? Is it top rankings? Sadly, for many, this is still the case. In the strictest sense, SEO is just about achieving top rankings, but that mindset is also changing....

Marketing Your Web Site the Right Way is a Worthwhile Investment

Doing your search engine optimization and marketing in-house will often times produce poorer quality results and use up more valuable man-hours than simply paying a professional in the first place....

What Makes the Perfect SEO Firm?

SEO companies come in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of the size of an SEO, the following specialists should be a part of their team....



About the Author

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

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