SEO - 9/12 - Digital Marketing Agency

SEO White Knights – SEO for Good

By | SEO | No Comments

Here comes some excellent PR for the SEO industry – Searchengineland reports on the case of SEO’s taking on the Google Cash Scam.

Google Cash is a scam, unaffiliated with Google but using their name, which is basically a get-rich-quick scheme, which of course benefits the founders, at the expense of the people who fall  for it.

SEO White Knights are attempting to reduce the damage done by the scam, by SEO-ing articles telling the truth about the scam to the top of the search results.

I LOVED reading about this – the SEO industry takes a lot of crap from people who don’t understand what we do, and who think we are spammers/scammers ourselves. This story shows the good behind SEO – that it can be used to positively affect the status quo – by burying dangerous stories, or promoting important ones.

SEO is democratic. It takes time and effort, but anyone can do it, or hire someone to do it. So if you feel strongly enough about something, you could join the cause to promote or destroy it. There is nothing unfair about SEO – if you think your site deserves to be higher, then do some work on it. If it is a good quality site, with some work it should be able to get really good rankings.

The SEO White Knights show how SEO can be used for public use – health awareness campaigns, scam alerts, anything the public needs to know can be promoted. PPC could also be used (although maybe not as effectively), and is currently being used by the Google Cash scammers (not sure why Google is allowing those ads?!).

SEO can be used not only to directly increase visitors, but also for proactive PR, defensive PR, branding and influencing people for the better. For example, imagine an SEO campaign which optimised the sites of local animal shelters for searches about buying pets? Or campaigns which optimised recycling or reusability organisations for searches about waste disposal or dumping?

Now this is what I call a feel-good Friday….

SEO's Most Important Factors

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SEOmoz has released its 2009 Search Engine ranking factors – a conglomeration of the opinions of a number of professional search marketers. (Take it all with a pinch of salt of course, would you give everyone the answers if you knew them?)

Of course, SEO is a mix of science and art – you guess a bit, you test a bit, you combine and see how things come out. No one except the magicians at the search engine algorithm departments know exactly how your site is ranked, but these experts all gave their opinions and there were a few things they agreed on…

The number 1 most important thing for ranking, according to 73% of those surveyed, was external links with keyword anchor text .

Most of the top 5 were link related, with Title tag being the only on-site factor listed.

The worst things for SEO, included link farming, cloaking and having a lot of downtime for your website.

In fact, it seems that the 2009 survey listed a lot of the same things as the 2007 survey, indicating that the ‘dynamic’ world of SEO isn’t changing as much or as fast as we sometimes think.

Nobody seemed to be going out on a limb with their opinions or predictions. In particular, I found it really strange that for the question:

Which of the following statements best represents your opinion of how Google will treat links as part of their ranking algorithm over the next 5 years?

Nobody at all chose the answer

Links will become largely obsolete, much the way keyword stuffing fell by the wayside in the late 1990’s.

The most popular answer – that the importance will decline, but they will remain powerful , seems to make sense, but I just find it odd that in a ‘cutting edge’ profession like internet marketing, no one could conceive that links would become obsolete.

No one chose it because the current idea of ‘recommendation’ and PageRank makes so much sense. But have we become so insititutionalised by this system that we can’t imagine another way? Will we be blindsided by Google if/when they come up with an alternative?

With link farming, link buying and the proliferation of sites which are practically pointless except in the business of placing links on them, I can definitely imagine a clean-up of some kind coming along.  Perhaps there will be umbrella groups of sites, or you will need sponsorship, or you will need authentication, or you will have to BUY your way in (would you put this past Google?).

Would Google rule out the possibility of getting rid of links? I wouldn’t think they would rule out anything, and so thats why I don’t like to either.

Alice laughed: "There’s no use trying," she said; "one can’t believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven’t had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice in Wonderland.

Free Digital Marketing Advice for Small Business – Lesson 4 – Offsite SEO

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After covering keyword research , and onsite SEO, it is now time to get off your website and advertise it in other places across the internet.

The Google algorithm, which is the thing which says where your site ranks, takes over 200 factors into account when deciding where you can rank. We have already covered a few of these, like age of your site, content, meta data, and onsite headers and links. However, much of the influence comes from other sites – that is, if other sites link to you, Google will trust your site more, and your rankings should improve.

This is why linking strategies are such a major part of any SEO campaign. But what kind of links are SEO-friendly, and where can you get them?

The best links for SEO are:

  • From sites about your industry, or related industries
  • On pages which don’t have a tonne of other links
  • Ones which don’t require you necessarily to reciprocate
  • With your keywords as anchor text
  • Links to deep pages within your site

You can try and get these links in many ways, but one of the best, and whitest of white hat ways, is through having great content, or cool gadgets, which people naturally want to link to. For example, if you have a great map or other gadget on your site, do a press release about it, or advertise it on other people’s blogs.

Reciprocal links are still links, and they won’t do harm to your site, just make sure they are reputable and relevant.

The thing about linking is, that although it should help with your SEO strategy, it also puts links to your site on lots of different sites across the internet – if you put these in good and relevant places, then people might click through, increasing traffic to your site as a nice side effect.

A previous linking article I wrote outlines the best way to put together your linking strategy, so I won’t go into the details too much here. Just remember that offsite SEO is just as important as onsite.

Google's Next Generation Search Technology

By | Google News, SEO | No Comments

Google is working on some changes and updates to their search algorithm and index, which Google’s webmaster blog calls ‘next generation’ search technology.

The changes are being previewed now, although it is all to their ‘back end’, so only web developers or specialist SEO-ers will probably notice any difference.

This is where you can go and test it out – Google Sandbox

I find that terms like my name, our agency, or competitive terms like ‘car insurance’ are showing fairly similar results in the new technology as the old.

SearchEngineLand has found some rearrangement of Google apps, like news and video.

While undoubtedly many SEO-ers will be running around worrying how to optimise for these changes, I dare say that if you have a good quality, relevant site, your position should not change too much, and actually since Google is trying to improve results, if you are a good site, your rankings should improve!

So if, like us, you optimise sites by improving their quality and relevance, as well as improving their site structure, and web presence, then I think you are going to be quite ok….

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