Archive for the 'Optimizing for MSN' Category
My answer is NO! There are probably a trillion pages of spam remaining in the index.
I just got a random email from a link seller with a list of 560 websites most with page rank 3 and 4 with computer generated content that reads like a completely different language.
Seriously, what can Google do to get rid of these websites? And the kicker is that most of them have Google Adsense on them!
Typically most SEO’s will begin with a new website by optimizing the home page because that is usually your best starting page in terms of current search engine visibility but many beginners neglect the power of inner page conversions. Inner pages can be so valuable because often the traffic that you send there is laser targeted and will therefore convert at a very high rate. I have found it common to see inner pages with bounce rate and/or conversion rates that are 5-10 times
higher better than home pages.
Here are a few results I pulled from a client that has been with us for the past two years and it can give you a good idea on the growth potential of inner pages.
The moral of this post is that you should always make sure the search professional that is working for you has a holistic approach to your search engine success. Focusing solely on the home page will leave a lot of visitors and money on the table.
I started 2011 off by getting two strikes on my first two bowling balls of the year, so that should mean a stellar year for me personally?! Here are some of my thoughts and predictions for this year.
- Google will face some more heavy anti-trust lawsuits and will start to back-off on their greed factor. Google has now pushed organic (natural) listings down past the fold, squeezing out online directories and information providers (weather and sports score sites) and have implemented ads right inside emails.
They are so aggressive in their quest to earn another few billion that soon, everyday folks will start realizing that they might not be the best search alternative. The big question is, can a new search engine or one of the older ones step-up and do something that will help the mainstream searchers switch over? I predict that besides the rough ride Google might have with anti-trust issues they will remain dominant and retain most of their market share.
- Apple will come out with an iPad Lite or iPad Jr. – iPads have been very popular but they sure are big! I think Apple will have an option for a smaller more compact iPad this year. My guess is the new version will have a 7.7 inch screen so it will be roughly 20% smaller.
- A terrorist attack in the USA will succeed on a much smaller scale than 9/11. I predict something like a bombing in the downtown core of a major US city in CA or NY. My guess is that many plots over the last few years have been foiled but the crazy, sick terrorists will continue trying.
- The US government will announce increased rebates for purchasers of electric cars. The current rebate of $7,500 will be increased to at least $8,000 and maybe as high as $10,000. The USA and in fact all of North America needs to start ending its love affair with fossil fuels and electric cars are a big part of this solution.
- Similar to the above I predict a breakthrough this year in electric car batteries that will allow for a 25% increase in travel distances and a similar decrease in charging times.
Long Term Prediction
- This one might come across as more science fiction than science but I predict by the year 2050 we will be utilizing solar and lightning power for 90% of the worlds energy needs.
One part of SEO that many people have trouble with, even professionals – is data-mining. I wrote a Google Knol titled : Website Analytic Tips for SEO a few months back and received good feedback on it.
The truth is, that data-mining can be very time consuming and a bit boring but it is essential! There is so much great information hidden among your website statistics that you are really missing out on good opportunities if you don’t leverage this data. Here is an example of an opportunity I recently discovered:
March 7, 2010 – April 6, 2010 Google sent 13,4xx non-paid visits via 2,8xx keywords
March 7, 2009 – April 6, 2009 Google sent 10,8xx non-paid visits via 2,2xx keywords
23.xx% increase in visits
http://www.xxxxxxxxxxxx.com/xxxxxxx.htm – Pageviews 97x Previous: 9x (+914.xx%)
xxx xxxxx xxxxxx – rank 5th in Google.ca
March 7, 2010 – April 6, 2010 67 visits
March 7, 2009 – April 6, 2009 0 visits
xxxxxxxxx – rank number 2 in Google.ca
March 7, 2010 – April 6, 2010 54 visits
March 7, 2009 – April 6, 2009 0 visits
Almost all the visitors are finding this page by searching two keywords, so optimizing further for those should increase our ranking and traffic to this page.
Through data-mining we find opportunities like this and the goal here is to follow the natural trend of this page garnering more visitors, so I will build some backlinks and authority directly to the page to increase its traffic. I might also tweak the on-page content to help with relevance and to make sure I get conversions.
Generally speaking I have gradually changed many inner page title tags so they are more unique and contain appropriate keywords to match the content of those pages. In the long-term this should increase the long-tail traffic to inner pages and offer us more opportunities like this to rank and receive high quality visitors to these pages.
I have heard from a few potential clients before that even though their own website does not rank for many searches they are OK in the SEO department because their various directory listings rank, so people will find them anyways….
This is a really bad decision and will most certainly guarantee a long-term unsuccessful foray on the web.
Even the high quality listings typically offer multiple chances for a potential customer to veer off to another competitors website. Then there are some like below that just post your company info with the intention of making money by NOT sending a customer to your website. In the sample below, note the two ads before company info and then there is not even a link to the destination site listed. No where to go but directly to one of your competitors I guess! If you are located in Toronto and need a quote on SEO please give us a call at 416-671-3114, we also help international clients across the world wide web.
I found an interesting blog post on DigitalPoint and that combined with some local research really has me concerned about the current and future state of SEO. Almost every new client I speak to has one or two horror stories under their belt from dealing with SEO in the past. Btw, here is the post:
i have join seo line very shortly n i have no knowledge about it all,, i think i choose better line but some body told me that there is no future. is it true if yes then tell me why.. n if its false then tell me how growth is possible in this field.
To me this is a good example of why so many people have bad SEO experiences. Now don’t get me wrong, my favorite coder is from India and we have been working together for the past four years but if you are going to provide research, content, backlinks and represent a company’s website online you should be able to read, write and speak the language you are optimizing for.
I just spent a few minutes perusing the computer services category of my local Craigslist to see what the local competition is up to….and let me tell you – they are up to no-good!
Usually it would make me feel good to see so many clueless folks calling themselves SEO and SEM experts but I am really starting to get concerned. Why you may ask, would I be concerned if my local competition is a bunch of quacks? Well the thing is that I still think they are getting clients and those same clients will walk away in a few months scratching their heads and thinking SEO/SEM is a total waste of time because of these tricksters.
Let me take a moment to count the ways my local competition scare me (and should scare away clients):
1. Most of their websites have very few backlinks but they all brag that they have 5-10 years experience. How can that be?
2. Most of them don’t rank for anything at all, well almost nothing…one of them ranked for ‘online SEO youtube vids’ – now there is a money term!
3. Most of them offer submission to search engines as part of their service.
4. One doesn’t even have his own website, when I called he said he is not a good designer so he needs to buy one soon?!?!
5. A couple are on free hosting services.
I received a private message at a forum I have been a member of for many years and it was from a relatively senior member that was promoting some discounted listings reviews in his network of web directories. The directories themselves look pretty nice, good templates and category structure but I took a quick look through the backlink profile of one of them and I was quite shocked!
I found backlinks from porn, coming soon sites and even from a page that was simply 10k+ links jammed full of porn, gambling and rx – I was going to post a screenshot of the page but it crashed my browser twice so I figured I better not push my luck.
Most good SEO’s always check backlink profiles before building links but there are many ‘cut-rate’ services out there that won’t spend the extra time doing this type of due diligence. So be very careful or your website might just become part of a ‘bad neighborhood’.
John Dvorak over at pcmag.com wrote an article yesterday where he complained quite mightily about how SEO is ruining Google search results by:
“tricking Google or Bing or Yahoo into ranking your particular Web site higher than the competition by reverse-engineering the tricks used by Google, et al to rank sites in the first place.”
“It’s killing the Internet if it hasn’t already.”
and his proof of this is:
“Try and find the best cell phone deal on the Internet. Do it by using a search engine. Every hit is some commercial site trying to sell you something.”
So basically he typed in ‘best cell phone deal’ and he was upset that they results that came up were various websites that wanted to ‘actually’ sell him a cell phone. Ummm, ya….if you type in cell phone deals or some hybrid of that query you are likely in the market to ‘actually’ buy a cell phone, ergo the results that come up will be sites trying to do just that.
The real truth is that Google and other search engines encourage SEO as a way of putting your websites best foot forward and they don’t have any problem with this as long as you represent your website and its content in an honest way. In fact here is a link to Googles SEO starter guide – which by-the-way is available in 40 languages due to its popularity.
After making the above wildly unresearched statements John continues to hoot-and-haw about how everyone is out to trick him but then he gives SEO a little free promo by stating:
“My advice to Web site managers, when you see this sort of result, is to contact THAT site and hire the consultant doing SEO for it. This sort of thing is no accident.”
Maybe he was just spouting off to attract readers but some of these comments, obviously made by search engine marketing folk got pretty nasty:
“I wonder if you have any understanding of business and marketing if you think commercial sites coming up when you are actually looking for a deal is a bad thing. That really made me laugh.”
“You’re right John, if I type in “best cell phone deal” I definitely don’t want to see sites offering me the ability to get good deals on cell phones. What I’m REALLY looking for would be a wikipedia article talking about the future of cell phones followed by a bunch of sites featuring cell phone news and tips on using cell phones to order pizza.”
“Congratulations!! You have created the worst article that I have ever found on the internet.”
“John…seriously???? you just lost all credibility.”
“What a pity to read your post! What a pity for pcmag to let you write about SEO! I do recommend reading some basics SEO before you put up another post.”
“Which is worse? SEO, which you woefully misdescribe, or linking keywords in your article to adverts so that they pop up without warning in a really intrusive way?”
“John, a long long time ago, I respected your intelligence. Today, that’s completely gone.”
Ouch, I hope John does not take all this criticism too hard but I do agree – this article did seem quite ‘light’ on research.
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.