Archive for the 'New Site SEO' Category
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 found a really amazing flash website but please be warned that loading time is really long…..don’t even attempt it on dial-up, you will have to quit your job to wait for this one to load. I found it interesting that the page has been indexed by Google and cached because I have seen clients with big images on their home pages appear to receive penalties for being long to access. On my T1 it took around 3 minutes to load up.
Having your website go viral can be an amazing experience and here is a fine example of one that garnered 35,000 backlinks in just two weeks with a crazy (but funny) idea! Some of these links are from high authority sites like Cnet, Mashable and more….
www.PleaseRobMe.com great idea!
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’.
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.
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!
I have recently exchanged a dozen or so emails with a potential client and the crux of our conversation has been her asking what she needs to do SEO-wise to help her brand new site rank high so she can bring in new clients (she is a real estate agent) and I am trying to tell her in ‘as nice a way’ as possible that her website is horrible and no matter how much SEO we did and no matter how high she ranked her chances of getting conversions were extremely low.
Finally I decided to lay-it-on-the-line because I could no longer think of any ‘nice’ ways to convince her that a site redesign was really imperative – so I broke out the truth stick!
“I just spent 2 months designing this site”
To put it bluntly I guess that is why you are a real estate agent and not a web designer, but fret not because I could not do much better. We should all stick to what we are good at and pay the pros to do what we don’t understand. When I have plumbing problems I call a plumber. I could go to Home Depot and talk with them for 2 hours and then buy all the parts and try and fix it myself but more than likely I will make it worse. So instead of spending lots of my own time and money on something I don’t know how to do I call my plumber and pay him $65 an hour to fix my problems quickly and correctly. It really is the same with SEO (or web design), you can spend 100′s of hours learning SEO strategies of your own and then go out and give it your best try but you might just get your site banned from the search engines and then all the time would have been wasted.
Did I go too far, will she be angry or shocked into facing the truth. I don’t feel I crossed the line, just came close to it. What do you think?
I will briefly touch on one of the most important things to look for when hiring an SEO company. Look for a company that includes a portfolio or case study section on their site. It is important to have at least a glimpse into the type of work the firm has done in the past.
Here is a perfect example of a company that is probably a complete waste of money. Besides their obviously poor English skills and the fact that they offer search engine submission as part of their service. The portfolio page, http://www.bluedelightconsultant.com/portfolio.html is just a collection of barely recognizable images with no live links and no mention of what terms they achieved ranking for.
This question has been floating around the web for years and the myth still looms quite large. Does a high page rank help me get a high search engine ranking?
The simple answer is a big, fat NO! But it gets much more complicated. A high page rank could be representative of many other high quality backlinks or it could just be one not-so-good high page rank backlink.
Here was a post on DigitalPoint which hammers home this point.
Tried everything to improve google ranking but didn’t work
I have a jewelry related website with pr4 it has 322 backward links. I have tried too many things to improve my keywords ranking like:-
1- Bookmarking with individual keywords.
2- Link Exchange with quality sites.
3- Keyword rich article submission.
4- Blogging for individual keywords.
5- Free directory submissions.
But still my keywords are not in top 50 keywords in google (USA).
Please suggest me what should I do more to get my keywords in top ten in google.
Every suggestion is valuable for us. So kindly share your ideas with me.
Hiring a qualified in-house SEO is very difficult. I myself have been working from home on my own projects for the past 7 years and had very little time to take on contract work for other folks. Because my lifestyle changed (kids are growing up) and I was feeling very socially isolated I decided to feel out what was available in the job market in Toronto, Canada where I could use my SEO/SEM skills. I was quite picky about which job postings I would submit my resume too and in fact only sent in approximately 10 over a period of 6 months. I took a job with a local public software company a few months ago and am really enjoying it.
One thing I have noticed is that SEO/SEM is really in its infancy insofar as mainstream business understanding it’s concept and it’s enormous ROI potential. Another thing I have noticed is that most business owners, marketing managers and definitely human resource folks don’t have a clue as to the value an experienced SEO brings to a company. Many companies are listing a wide range of requirements, like below:
· 5 years experience optimizing SEO campaigns through “White Hat methods”, with a minimum of three years successfully creating and managing Google AdWords and Yahoo! Sponsored campaigns;
· Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Advertising, Business or other related field;
· Track record of leadership, coaching and mentoring abilities, with proven experience in managing people;
· Excellent analytical skills, including experience reviewing campaign performance results and making recommendations for future action;
· Strong knowledge of search engine algorithms, organic searching, and ranking strategies for Google;
· Experience with Landing page conversion optimization (A/B testing, multivariate testing and offer testing background);
· Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.);
· Minimum of 3 Years Management Experience, with demonstrated proficiency in the competencies for Senior Leadership (achievement orientation, team leadership, adaptability, business acumen)
· Experience hand coding HTML and CSS are definitely a plus;
· Working knowledge of web analytic and bid-management tools such as Atlas One Point, SearchIgnite, Webtrends, Hitbox Professional, Omniture, Core Metrics;
· Experience with online display advertising, banner advertising, Affiliate Marketing, Web site Analytics and Web site Conversion Metrics (CPM, CTR, CPC, CPL, CPA) is a bonus.
• Organic Search Program Management
• Monitor overall SEO program success with regards to ranking, indexed pages, back links, traffic acquisition and report to senior management
• Analyze sites for opportunities in optimizing architecture, usability, conversion and navigation results
• Audit the website’s technical infrastructure and identify obstacles that may cause spider accessibility issues
• Perform competitive analyses to monitor weakness and opportunities and help improve natural results
• Identify editorial/keyword opportunities and assist in the content strategy and execution to acquire traffic for targeted terms/phrases
• Optimize various website components to improve visibility/rankings as well and traffic conversion
• Examine the linking environment and craft a plan for the acquisition and optimization of inbound links
• Ensure the necessary tracking is in place to monitor the performance of the optimization program
• Ensure Web analytic tools (Omniture and Google Analytics) are correctly implemented and managed as to ensure reporting is available to key stake holders
• Analyze and create reports that highlight the progress against key performance indicators.
• Experience developing, implementing and maintaining a search strategy, with a strong emphasis on organic search
• Experience with SEO reporting, web analytics tools and multivariate testing
• Experience working in both a B2B and B2C internet space, with an emphasis on transactional/ecommerce
• Extensive knowledge of primary and secondary search engine mechanics
• Ability to interact with a variety of departments and different levels of management
• Strong computer skills, including extensive knowledge of MS Excel and PowerPoint
• Organized and attention to detail is a MUST. Ability to work independently and as part of a team, pro-active versus reactive, ability to problem solve and to work successfully within a set process, and coordinate as needed with multiple internal clients and vendors.
• In-depth knowledge of search engine technologies (algorithms, ranking strategies and industry trends)
• Ability to understand HTML code for title tags, meta-description tags, keyword tags, ROBOTS.txt files, redirects, etc
• Strong understanding of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
• Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing or Business Administration is preferred.
• Minimum 2 years SEO relevant work experience
• Familiarity with how web browsers and servers work and interact
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• Strong analytics and reporting skills
But then they offer salaries in the range of $35k-$45k – I think it will take a while yet till those doing the hiring catch on to the fact that SEO and most of SEM is not taught in school and only comes from specific experience and following the trends and changes on a daily basis. Many parts of proper SEO is still an art and not quite a science, so offering a low salary while requiring tons of specialized experience is the recipe for having a position sit empty for a long, long time.
I currently see five positions that have been searching for someone for more than six months. I can’t even imagine the opportunities (and $$) they are losing in the meantime. I would also guess that many of these SEO positions will be filled by unqualified candidates that will either harm the websites or do nothing for them. There are two major barriers which seem to be causing this problem; firstly, many of the people doing the hiring don’t know very much about SEO – other than, they have heard their business can leverage it to increase the bottom line. Because of this lack of knowledge it is hard for them to differentiate between candidates and it also makes it difficult for them to offer substantial salaries because they are not sure what type of ROI it will achieve. Secondly, many of the good SEO’s make considerable hourly income just offering consultations or running and optimizing their own sites, so the talent pool is very thin in almost every job market world-wide. Thirdly, a decision maker in this process may have come across some sort of advertisement online where a company is offering SEO services from overseas as ridiculously low rates and they figure if they could contract it out for X amount of money they should be able to get someone locally quite cheap. What they don’t realize is that 99.9% of these overseas operations offer zero value and are just doing low-quality directory submissions or submitting poorly translated articles or making spam comments in blogs to build up a few backlinks, which might have an end result of a search engine penalty or ban.
My advice is that every single business that has a web presence would benefit substantially by hiring an in-house SEO expert but don’t scrimp on the salary you are offering. If you find the right candidate don’t lose them over a few thousand dollars because long-term SEO can double, triple or add even more to your bottom line. The salary for an SEO professional should be in the $75k-$100k range and even more if you are asking them to take on marketing management duties in addition to SEO/SEM. If you have any doubts that those salaries are a ‘real’ bargain then take a look at our SEO pricing section.
The web is the wave of the future and if you wait too long to hire the right person you are not only losing tons of potential business but will have a lot of catching up to do and it will prove very costly.