Archive for November, 2009
Lately I have had the subject of lying on my mind and not only for the fact that I have five kids ages 7, 9, 10, 11 and 13 at home and lying seems to have become one of their favorite pastimes. In the world of SEO (like many industries) there are a slew of lies floating around the web and some individuals benefit by them, some big companies (starting with the letter ‘G’) encourage them, but mostly the entire industry suffers for them.
Lying is a big part of everyone life, from the little tiny white ones; “do I look fat in these pants”? to “I have never had sexual relations with that woman”! – My kids and I love the movie The Truman Show and my 6 year old daughter wondered for weeks whether she was in the “Jessica Show” (and I encouraged it by looking at the mirror every once-in-a-while and saying a few halted lines about a product). One of my all-time favorite movies, The Matrix was about a really big lie and the recent movie, The Invention of Lying was about a world were no one even knew what a lie was because one had never been committed. I think I have a permanent fascination with ‘lying’ since reading the book, The Truth Machine because it was so amazingly interesting. I even heard there is a professor in Cambridge teaching an ethics course and every class he tells one lie and it is part of the grading system for the student to find out what lie was perpetrated each class.
Some of the popular lies running the gambit in SEO are:
-SEO companies that offer search engine submissions, some even charge as much as $99 for this useless service. All you need is one backlink out there for the search engines to follow and they will naturally index your site, no need to pay for this as a ‘service’ and in my opinion any SEO company that offers it is on the shady side.
-You need thousands and thousands of links to rank for competitive terms – completely untrue, you can rank for competitive terms with half or a quarter of competitors backlinks depending on the quality of those links. One good link can easily be better than 100 spammy links.
-Getting a high page rank will help you rank better in the search rankings. No way, no how! These days visual page rank means very little and I have seen many low page rank and even zero page rank sites place very well in the organic listings. Not only is page rank almost worthless, chasing it (by purchasing incoming links from high page rank sites) can actually get your site penalized.
-Guaranteed results scams – This one is big these days and I have had numerous potential clients ask about what guarantee I offer and I tell them the same thing each time. I guarantee I will work very hard to get you ranked as high as possible in the shortest time while balancing out risk. It is about then, they launch into a speech about an email they got promising them number one position in Google or your money back. I try my best to explain that no one can guarantee that and there is always a catch. Whether it is by them using paid placement, ranking for obscure, low competition key phrases or plain old ‘hit-and-run’ tactics (meaning the business won’t even be around when you try and collect your money back). Please have a look at my SEO scams section for more info on these types of offers. I end each of these conversations with a statement like this, “If nothing else, do you really think that a company is going to work on a website for months and then because of something beyond their control – get paid absolutely nothing for it?”
-SEO can be done by anyone, including yourself. Now I am not saying it is not possible for a website owner to learn the basics of SEO and in fact I encourage it, because if and when you eventually hire a professional you will at least have a rudimentary understanding of what needs to be done. But just like plumbing, you may be able to tighten up a washer or unclog your own drain but when it comes to doing any complicated work you better be prepared to hire a professional or devote some serious time to learning the plumbing trade. Same with SEO – you can write better content and buy a site design with a better structure but when it comes down to serious SEO you will need to hire a professional or spend 100′s of hours learning a new part-time career. And just like trying to fix your own broken water pipe problems you might end up making things worse and then paying twice as much to fix the damage you have done. If your business depends on you to provide a function, be it sales, support, planning or other expertise – your time is much better spent doing those things and paying out profits to a professional SEO that can perform those specialized services faster and at a much higher level than you could.
-Here is another myth/lie that I can vouch for personally. It seems many people think that if you go to Matt Cutts blog and write down complementary comments (read: kissing his butt) to his posts you will receive a higher page rank and up to 400% more Google traffic. This is false.
Lying is part of human nature but it is always a good idea to stay up-to-date on what lies are floating around a particular industry so you don’t fall for them.
I was looking through the back-end of my Google gmail account today and was a little shocked to see them offering me some serious amounts of storage. For the life of me I can’t figure out what someone could possibly use it for but maybe I am just missing out on something? Ah, now I see that it also counts towards Picasa Web Albums but still 16 terabytes of data? $4,096.00 a year?
Let’s hear what you would use your 16TB’s of storage for? And will the often rumored about, mythical G-Drive be available soon?
Here is my favorite Thanksgiving logo, probably because I love snoopy and have fond memories of reading and watching peanut cartoons when I was young. I would like to send out my best to all my clients and visitors that are celebrating this fine holiday today!
I myself am thankful for my health and my kids. I am hoping everyone has a happy and safe holiday!
It seems SEO’s are fairing well these-days, even in a bad economic environment – salaries for SEM/SEO related positions were up in 2008 and that just shows that decision makers are continuing to see the relative value we bring to the table.
2009 yearly salaries for an individual contributor with 1-3 years relevant experience range from $40,000 to $80,000; senior manager salaries range $70,000 to $120,000; and vice presidents with responsibilities for large SEM campaigns or a team of specialists earn from $160,000 to $250,000.
While the salary range for those with 1- years experience is quite wide I think that the majority of those getting the low range, $40k – $50k are in the 1-2 year experience range. Once you have 3 years plus under your belt I don’t think you would even consider a position for under $60k.
It seems the spending on SEM will continue into the distant future and that is sweet music to anyone that is involved in this industry!
Search engine optimization (SEO) has really taken corporate Canada by surprise or a better way of putting it would be bewilderment. Most decision makers in this country know that SEO is important but are not sure exactly what it is and how it can ultimately effect the bottom line of their companies. Because of this uncertainty Canada still lags behind the USA and the UK in terms of utilizing SEO to drive quality visitors to their websites and grow their business .
The secret that many large companies in the UK and the USA already know and that the more progressive Canadian companies are now just starting to find out is that having a ‘real’ professional SEO in-house is like having a “secret weapon” – and just to clarify, I am not exaggerating, blowing my own horn or using a poor analogy. This is the cold-hard truth and up until now a very well kept secret.
Here is an example in support of my above statement:
-In my last in-house position the basic numbers supported the true power of SEO as the ultimate ROI (return on investment) and secret weapon. When the company made conversions through more traditional marketing methods both online and off with banner ads, radio commercials, TV spots and print advertising the cost per acquisition was $49.00 When they made acquisitions through SEO the cost was $9.50 – considering SEO brought in almost 20 million dollars in revenue in 2008 I would say that not only was this an amazing ROI but it is really what kept this company afloat.
Having an in-house SEO allows a company to be very ‘light’ on their feet and take advantage of opportunities that would otherwise not be found or leveraged to their full potential. When you have an edge on your competition by using SEO to increase your website traffic, brand awareness and ultimately your companies profits it can open many doors for partnerships because everyone in your industry or complimentary industries wants to be part of a successful company.
When the boss/board of directors/owners/CEO or president wants to test market a new product or service they can jump in with both feet knowing the in-house SEO will support and find ways to promote and analyze the potential of the new endeavor. When someone comes knocking to sell them advertising or the newest greatest profitability scheme they can have the SEO sit in on these meetings and offer ‘real’ advice based on hard data. For example, we had the Yellow Pages folks in for a meeting last month and they were telling us of their newest and greatest ‘improvement’ coming down-the-pipes in which we would be able to bid on top placement in their online directory. The section they were recommending for us was one our SEO (me) knew only garnered us a few dozen hits a month even in spot 4 on Google – so it gave us the heads-up on what type of bid would be worthwhile (a low one) where-as another company in our market might get sucked into bidding very high for the same keyword because they did not know the actual value of it.
When a partner in the industry was refocusing their mission thereby leaving a website up for grabs the in-house SEO was able to see the value in this site and the company was able to acquire it before it went to public auction where it would have fetched 4 or 5 times the value we paid.
Really, I could go on and on….leveraging current market share, taking advantage of hot news trends, driving long-tail traffic to inner pages, raising the value of current affiliate and membership programs, developing good will with suppliers and friends, spotting red flags on the horizon and avoiding penalties. I can’t count the times I have sat in on a call with my boss and x supplier, x salesperson, x investor, x affiliate, x business proposal and had valuable input into what the offer might mean to us. Simply because as the in-house SEO you live and breathe the business and industry you work in – knowing the data and pitfalls from the inside out give you tremendous knowledge and insight.
Having an in-house SEO really is a secret weapons, sort of like having in-house council but it costs a lot less, for now!
When a company is as rich as Google they don’t really have to worry about the competition, they just buy them up.
Google has officially announced that it is taking mobile display advertising provider in exchange for $750 million. This deal helps create Google’s mobile ad platform as AdMob’s mobile display joins Google Mobile search ads and SMS.
The following is the joint statement by both companies:
“Mobile advertising has enormous potential as a marketing medium and while this industry is still in the early stages of development, AdMob has already made exceptional progress in a very short time. AdMob is the quintessential Silicon Valley startup – generating impressive year on year revenue growth – and we’re excited to welcome this talented to Google,” says Susan Wojcicki, VP of Product Management at Google.
Mobile ads is the wave of the future so we always expected the big ‘G’ to be a major player. They actually might end up being the ‘only’ player.
There is a long standing rumor that Google wishes to ‘take over the world’ – now that might not be exactly true but they sure as heck got their fingers in a lot of different pies! While the title is a bit ‘tongue-in-cheek’ at the moment, it might just be the future?
While this post is not directly related to SEO, it does give a glimpse into where Google is headed and what type of power they wield. How long till Google offers free SEO advice or automated SEO advice?
The turn-by-turn GPS market is huge and you just have to take a look at the juicy prices Garmin and Tom-Tom are charging for their hardware. Even the iPhone apps are priced quite high in the $99 range.
When I heard Google was including free turn-by-turn navigation directions with each and every Android mobile OS, I was first shocked, then awed! I mean wow, what an offer and what a catch! My dad always told me when conducting business you should think of a nice hook to get folks involved and start the buying. But this not only hooks but it is line and sinker as well. To add insult to injury it will also likely spin the entire GPS market on its head because it sure as hell gets much harder to sell something to people when they can get it elsewhere for free.
Hopefully Google will stay too busy with this and other ‘bigger’ plans of world domination and leave us alone for a couple of decades.
So Google finally stepped up to the plate with a post over at GoogleWebmasterCenteral on blog comment spam but the real question is did they give us good, useful information or just open up a Pandoras box of ways to ‘kill’ your competitors in the search rankings?
FACT: Abusing comment fields of innocent sites is a bad and risky way of getting links to your site. If you choose to do so, you are tarnishing other people’s hard work and lowering the quality of the web, transforming a potentially good resource of additional information into a list of nonsense keywords.
FACT: Comment spammers are often trying to improve their site’s organic search ranking by creating dubious inbound links to their site. Google has an understanding of the link graph of the web, and has algorithmic ways of discovering those alterations and tackling them. At best, a link spammer might spend hours doing spammy linkdrops which would count for little or nothing because Google is pretty good at devaluing these types of links. Think of all the more productive things one could do with that time and energy that would provide much more value for one’s site in the long run.
Now many folks are drawing the obvious conclusion, should I just go buy a blog spam commenting package from overseas for $10 and hope the dozens of spam comments will sink my competitors rankings? Google answers back that if your competitors link profile is otherwise healthy then this type of offensive won’t make a difference but what happens if your competition is relatively new and has a really small link profile with just a few dozen links? Will I then be able to sink them for all the semi-competitive keywords they are beating me out on because of their high quality content?
I just wish Google would do away with their shroud of secrecy and start being more transparent because this sounds like they just opened the door with a sneaky, under-handed method of playing dirty.