When Your Site Falls In The SERPs

Search engine rankings are not static. They never have been. And likely never will be. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that if you ever suspect that search engine rankings will remain static, then you’re insane. It isn’t going to happen.

So why then do online marketers get so excited when they see sharp rises and falls in their search engine rankings?

Here’s a little insider knowledge for you: Search engine rankings at first are quite high for most websites. The search engines discover your site and place you pretty close to the top of the search rankings. This is freshness. Because your web page is new, if it matches a particular search query, it gets a little extra ranking love.

However, it’s natural for these web pages to settle back in after a couple of weeks. They’ll fall to their natural search rank and stay there until something dramatic happens or your consistent SEO efforts pay off.

Occasionally you’ll see sharp rises and falls after your site has been active for a long time. These are due to the search engine tweaking its algorithm. When they do that they create a little dance in the search results. It favors some sites and hurts others. But after the dance, sites settle back in to their natural rankings again.

Search engine rankings are in a constant state of fluctuation. It’s natural. Don’t freak out about big swings in the rankings. Just wait it out. It’s usually a temporary thing.

July 2nd, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

Is It SEO Or Cutting Cookies?

If you were doing any amount of SEO or Internet marketing ten years ago, then you know it was fairly easy. All you really had to do was make sure you used your keywords in your content enough times, and in the right places, and add your metatags and you were as good as gold. Cookie-cutter SEO was the norm.

Over time, the search engines grew more savvy and were able to filter out the spam – which, by the way, is an ongoing struggle. You’d be hard pressed to find a search engine today that looks at the keywords metatag. The reason is pretty simple. It’s been gamed so many times by spammers that it’s become all but useless.

Then, last year, Google unleashed an update called Panda. Panda was targeted at content farms. Google essentially said that cookie-cutter content across multiple pages on the same website was a deal killer. Now, you won’t find many webmasters using that approach.

If content is king and content is SEO, then the old mantra to make your content original and unique also applies to SEO. In fact, I’d say that’s always been the case. But it’s much more the case now.

SEO doesn’t have to be cookie cutter. In fact, it should be just as unique as your content. Every website is different and has different needs. Think about that as you try to focus on improving your search engine rankings.

June 29th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

3 Reasons To Use Blekko

In case you haven’t heard, Blekko is a search engine. It’s not as huge or as popular as Bing or Google, but it’s still a search engine. And as a search engine I’d say it has a lot of value. There are three reasons I can think of off the top of my head to use Blekko.

3 Reasons To Use Blekko, The Search Engine

  1. Backlink Data – Since Yahoo! killed its Site Explorer tool, webmasters have sought to find backlink data on their websites. Blekko has free data on your website and that includes a list of your backlinks.
  2. Discover Your Hosting Neighbors - Another bit of useful data Blekko has to offer is a list of websites that sit on the same server as yours. If you discover that any of those neighbors are spammers or that you are in a bad hosting neighborhood, then you can request that your website be moved to a new server or you can find another host.
  3. Search By Hashtag – Since both Google+ and Twitter are now supporting hashtags, it makes since to be able to search for information by hashtag. Blekko makes that possible.

To take advantage of some of this data you have to become a member of Blekko. Fortunately, it’s free to be a Blekko member. You can join by giving them your e-mail address or by signing on with your Facebook account.

Blekko is an awesome search engine that no webmaster should ignore. Get your SEO data for free.

June 27th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

The Value Of A Good Keyword List

When it comes to keywords, not all of them are profitable. What you want to do is identify your profitable keywords. To do this, you need to know what makes a profitable keyword.

Just like any investment, there are two things that drive profitability. Your cost and your revenue.

The cost of a keyword is the CPC, or cost per click. Even if you are using your keyword list for organic SEO and aren’t doing any paid search, you should still pay attention to CPC. This tells you the market price for the keyword.

Your best keywords are those keywords with a low CPC and a high conversion rate. If a keyword has a high conversion rate, then it is more likely to convert traffic into a sale. Once that happens you can see the value of your keyword by subtracting your CPC from the revenue generated by that sale.

One more thing to consider is the competition marker for your keyword phrase. Is the competition for that keyword high, low, or medium.

If you have a low CPC keyword with low competition and a high conversion rate, then you have a golden opportunity. That’s the keyword you want to capitalise on. Do it quickly because keyword values can change rapidly, especially when the competition catches wind that something is working.

June 25th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

SEO Ain’t What It Used To Be

When you consider that SEO used to be a matter of producing content around specific keyword phrases and building a few links to it to watch it rise in the SERPs, it’s become clear to those of us who have been watching the industry for years that now it is not what it used to be. No longer can you simply count your keyword densities and submit your site to a few directories and hope to rank No. 1. It takes a lot more work.

In a technical sense, search engine optimisation is still about creating great content and building reliable links, but how SEOs go about doing those two things is completely different.

Today, your content has to be unique and valuable to your audience. Spam and mass produced website content won’t cut it. Your links have to come from a variety of websites with relevant anchor text and utilizing high authority positioning strategies. You can’t just blast out a lot of directory submissions and achieve good link building.

These activities take time. Writing excellent content requires a strategy. You can’t just do it on the fly.

Link building is one of the most time consuming activities in the SEOs arsenal. But it’s an important one. It can mean the difference between mediocre search engine rankings and great search engine rankings.

June 21st, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

Is Google+ An SEO Tool?

Google+ made a big splash last year when it became the fastest growing social network in history. Millions of people logged on within the first month. But then many of them abandoned the service right away. I’d say they made a mistake. I see those people slowly and gradually making their way back to Google+. Why?

I think it’s because Google+ is more than just a networking tool. It is a great social media networking site, but it also has its SEO benefits.

One benefit I’ve seen is the branding/reputation management benefit. The more you post, the higher your Google profile rises in the search engine. That’s pretty significant. If people are searching for you by name or brand, then you want your profile as high up in the search engines as possible. Google+ is a good way to put it there.

But Google+ brand pages also have their benefits. You can have a personal Google+ account and have a brand page for your business. Use your brand page to post important updates on your business and it’s brand name will also rise in the SERPs.

But let’s go one step further. What if you used your keywords inside of your Google+ updates? I’m not talking about spamming Google+. I’m just talking about using keywords in your Google+ posts. Do that often enough and those keywords could be associated with your name, business, or brand. It’s Google+ SEO.

I wouldn’t recommend using Google+ to spam the Internet. That could get your account suspended, then where would you be? What I am talking about is using it as a networking tool with SEO benefits. Pepper your posts lightly with keywords.

June 17th, 2012 / Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation

Why Long Tail Keywords Can Be Like Gold

When you optimise your website for search engine traffic, you’ll have to make a series of choices about strategy. One of those choices entails a list of keywords that you will use to target your content toward. Long tail keywords represent the best opportunity for small business owners to seek out targeted traffic for their website.

What Is A Long Tail Keyword?

Long tail keyword phrases are keyword phrases that are more narrow in scope than broad search phrases and therefore target a narrower subset of your audience.

For instance, a generic keyword term related to our business would be “web design.” But we can narrow that search term to a more narrow field by adding some qualifiers such as “custom web design” or “web design for WordPress.” These keyword phrases have fewer searches for them each month than the generic “web design,” but they are still profitable keyword phrases.

Find The Long Tail Keyword For Your Business

As the business owner, your job is to seek out the best marketing opportunities and to reach the audience that is most likely to present you with the best return on investment. Finding the right long tail keywords to target with your content is what effective search engine optimisation is all about.

When you’re ready to do the keyword research that will help you find your long tail keywords, let us know.

June 14th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

Is SEO Essential To Web Success

A customer said someone told him he shouldn’t worry about about the search engines. Just write your content and it all will work out in the wash. That’s the going theory.

I’ll have to disagree. Search engines are important. They’re a major source of traffic.

Saying don’t worry about the search engines is like saying don’t worry about food. Just open your mouth and all the nutrition you need will just fall right into it. Believe it?

Then don’t believe it about the search engines.

I will say that you don’t have to over-optimise your content. In fact, you shouldn’t over-optimise. You can, you know. It’s possible.

But the fact that people over-optimise their content should not be used as evidence that thinking about search engine optimisation isn’t necessary. It’s every bit as necessary as putting together a good meal.

Your website needs traffic. And the search engines will be the source of 60% to 80% of your traffic. Don’t you want that traffic to be targeted traffic? If so, then you have to think about the search engines. You have to think about what they want and why they want it. Then, provide the search engines with the type of content they need to ensure that your website is ranked well for the terms that people search for.

That’s what search engine optimisation is about. It’s necessary because you want traffic to your website, and because you want to eat well.

 

June 13th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

The Great Page Title Debate Of 2012

When Google sparks a debate, she really gets things going. The next great debate in SEO will likely be over page titles.

Let me go on the record for saying the debate hasn’t started yet. But I think it’s coming. A few SEOs have already weighed in on what they think. But what’s even more important is what small business owners who do their own SEO are going to do after everyone else has adjusted to the Google algorithm change.

What change am I talking about? I’m actually talking about changes.

  • Trigger alt title when HTML title is truncated.
  • Efficiency improvements in alternative title generation.
  • Better demotion of boilerplate anchors in alternate title generation. 
Each of these algorithm changes address a specific way that Google deals with page titles, or will deal with them moving forward, but in the aggregate these are important changes. For the most part, here’s what they mean:
  • It’s important to keep your page titles short – less than 65 characters
  • Your primary keyword does not have to be at the beginning of the page title
  • You should pay very close attention to your on-page content to give Google something else to use for a page title if it sees the need to (Google reserves the right to change your page title)
  • You can optimize your page title for your exact keyword phrase or a variation of it

I think the main point is that Google is now reserving the right to make your page title whatever it thinks is best for the searcher. This is pretty much the same policy the search engine has toward your Meta Description. I’d still write the best page title I could, but don’t expect it to be the page title for every search query.

June 12th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

Using Link Explorer To Spy On Your Competition

Links are still an important part of the search engine optimisation process. When Yahoo! decided to shut down its Link Explorer it left a lot of SEOs sad and confused. Now, Bing has added a Link Explorer tool in its new Webmaster Tools.

You can spy on your competition by entering their URLs into the Link Explorer tool and seeing what links they have pointing to their websites. This is a great opportunity for you because you can learn those links and send link requests to those websites asking them to link to yours.

Internet marketers have doing this kind of competitive link research since Google first introduced its search engine in 1998. Links have become a very important part of search engine optimisation over the years and many websites continue to rank well in the search engines based on their link portfolio. If you want to expand your SEO opportunities, then I highly recommend performing some competitive link research and your own link building.

I would not perform this exercise on only one competitor. I would do it for all of your competition if possible. At a minimum I would do this for five competitor websites. Ten is even better. Get as many quality links as you can because they are still some of the Web’s best currency.

 

June 10th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation