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Will Google’s NoFollow Link Policy Kill Your SEO? Not if you follow these tips

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Will Google’s NoFollow Link Policy Kill Your SEO - Not if you follow these tips

At one point or another, marketing teams resort to using techniques that are generally frowned upon by the online community. It will probably take a long time until the marketing realm is totally rid of these so-called “black hat” strategies, but Google is determined in its crusade against stopping it once and for all.

One of these resolutions is the recent requirement of nofollow tags in links from other websites.

The modus operandi

One of the traditional, overused tactics in SEO is to try and get as many backlinks from authority websites as possible. This is because those websites regarded as having high PR can influence the “linkers” in terms of authority, thus boosting their chances of getting a high rank. This happens despite of Google’s insistence that PageRank be treated as the strongest factor in SERP rankings.

This activity also poses a dilemma for websites in their fear that Google may suspect them as a “link seller”. But now, Google requires links to include the rel=”nofollow” tag to stop passing on authority “credit” to other sites, and to thus avoid being penalized.

 So when do you need to use a nofollow link?

If your site supports paid links, you need to use nofollow in order to keep these links from giving credit to other sites. Also, if your site has a comment section that you don’t always monitor, using nofollow links prevents commenters from getting credit from you, as well as posting bad links that could hurt your SERP rankings. This also applies to content posts that other people may contribute on your business blog.

Nofollow is also helpful when embedding media (such as infographics) or widgets that you obtained from other sites. The thing is, you don’t want Google to think that you’re endorsing those sources, so you need to make sure credit is not passed on to them.

Obviously, you also wouldn’t want to boost the authority of your competitors, so you need to make sure you attach a nofollow tag when linking to a site that most probably belongs in the same industry as yours.

There is nothing to fear so long as you stick by the rules

Google’s intentions are, at the end of the day, for everyone’s welfare. It may be a hurdle to our current marketing situation, especially to those who have been accustomed to using their own strategies, but it’s healthier to compete in leveled field rather than allowing a few to get ahead by not following the rules.

Increase your Google Search Rankings: 5 Expert SEO Tips

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Increase your Google Search Rankings - 5 Expert SEO Tips

Online visibility is a powerful asset that a business could possess.  It opens up endless possibilities for prospects to stumble upon a company that could solve their problems and provide their needs. Unfortunately, Google exists to make sure that every business would have a fair share of searchability and advertising reach.

Lead generation through search engine optimization may sound like a techie’s dream job, but even small businesses with just enough resources can tap this channel to increase their sales opportunities. All they need to do is to listen to experts.

On that note, featured below is an excerpt from an article by Brandon Gaille, CEO of the internet marketing company ByReputation.com, which specializes in SEO, social media, reputation management, video production, and web design. According to his website, BrandonGaille.com, Brandon is a serial entrepreneur that has founded five multi-million dollar companies. He is widely known as one of the top marketing minds in the United States.

From BrandonGaille.com:

5 SEO Tips

1. Linking Strategies
First is to use linking strategies that work today. There are so many existing linking strategies nowadays that can be used to improve its performance. However, it is very important to follow the three steps in securing the best linking strategy for SEO operation. Step number one, build high quality links. Having one high quality link is much better than possessing thousands of poor quality links. This step will help websites improve their rankings. Step number two, diversify the links. Diversifying links is very important in maintaining a strong bond with a powerful search engine.

2. Domain Authority
Second tip for effective search engine optimization is to acquire an aged domain or authority website. Top performing sites nowadays in the SEO landscape are those that are connected to authority websites existing in search engine for several years. It will be better for web developers to invest in authority websites while planning to start a new site to ensure a good start in the middle of the competition.

3. Use the Right Keywords
Third secret advanced information to apply in search engine optimization operations is the proper use of keywords. Keywords are considered as building blocks for SEO. Keywords should always appear in the titles and subheadings of a certain page. Meta descriptions for each keyword are also important for SEO.

It is also good if SEO will always use keyword variations, but be careful, overused keywords are not attractive to use in a website.

4. Give Great Content
Fourth tip is to make sure that the products of SEO will provide great content for a website. In order to achieve this, there must be originality in the whole content. Have some important links coming from authority websites and provide contents for the product that are very relevant to the assigned topic.

5. Watch Your Competition
The last tip is to keep an eye on the competition. Try to evaluate the SEO strategies of other competitors and learn from them. Securing regular updates about SEO is very useful in gaining higher quality of services and rankings.

Read the full article plus a great infographic at http://brandongaille.com/5-keys-to-increasing-your-google-search-rankings/

SEO and Social Media Marketing: A Winning Combo for SMBs?

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SEO and Social Media Marketing- A Winning Combo for SMBs

From a logical standpoint, it’s difficult to see SEO and social media marketing in the same boat. Search marketing is more inclined towards keywords and algorithm, while social is, well, social.

But apparently, these two can be integrated to make the most out of content creation, distribution and discovery, particularly for small to midsized businesses (SMBs) that aspire to increase their online presence.

According to an Ascend2 report:

  • The most effective SEO tactics for top performers are creating original content (55% vs. 33%), updating website content (43% vs. 42%) and keyword management (42% vs. 29%).
  • The most difficult SEO tactics for those with inferior strategies are external link building (40%), creating original content (40%), keyword management (35%) and social media integration (34%).
  • The most useful metrics for tracking and analyzing SEO performance, across the board, are conversion rate, website visitor traffic and trends, engagement, and search rankings by keyword.

It’s clear that SEO and social media integration is a must. However, it’s also one of the most difficult challenges for businesses to overcome. If you’re looking to increase conversion rate, engagement and improve your overall SEO efforts, consider taking these 4 steps towards a more social media integrated SEO strategy as outlined by Erica Bell, social media specialist, in a Business.com post:

  1. Identify themes in SEO performance and social media engagement. Dig in to your analytics for what keywords and phrases are doing well in driving social media and search engine traffic. Look for where overlaps take place and pay attention to any current trends or themes taking place.
  2. Define your keywords and cross-apply insights. Google Analytics, your webmaster tools, and any social insights you have can help you define what keywords your business should be focusing on right now and in the near future. Those trends and themes you identified in the first step can help you determine what words to go after for search engine and social media optimization.
  3. Develop an SEO and social sharing optimized content strategy. Your content marketing strategy, from production to distribution, needs to consider both the SEO value and the social engagement potential of piece. Don’t neglect either area.
  4. Ensure your optimized content can be found and easily socially shared. Each piece of content that your produce for SEO should be able to be easily shared. Include social widgets and buttons so your audience, readers and website visitors can share your content with a click.

Read the full post at http://www.business.com/blog/integrating-seo-and-social-for-greater-smb-success/

This 2014, Master the Art of Link Building with a 5-Step Strategy

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When it comes right down to it, link building works in the very essence of marketing itself; not only is link building an incredible way to acquire visibility of your website on authoritative, relevant websites, but it also adds cement in the foundation built upon the relationship that exists between businesses online.

That makes link building an essential cog in the business marketing machine, and in the coming year, you as a marketer must go back to their roots and master the of going about building great links to your website.  Consider this 5-step strategy proposed by Alison Groves of Raven Internet Marketing Tools:

Step 1: Research

What kind of websites do you want to discover?

To make sure they’re high quality, look for sites that are:

  • Highly authoritative
  • Seen as trustworthy
  • Sites you want to be associated with
  • Popular with competitors

Step 2: Outreach

Use your research to cultivate a list of high quality websites with whom to start building relationships.

  • Connect with website owners via social media
  • Organize your outreach:
  • Manage the outreach:
  • Share the load

Step 3: Organize

What do I need to know about the potential link and relationship I’m working on?

  • Date of first outreach
  • Date of follow up: You never want to be too forward or needy.
  • Type of link requested or acquired: Are you writing a guest post? Did you comment on a blog? Did the link happen organically?
  • Website domain: Yeah, you might need that one.
  • Website owner’s contact info: Can’t build a relationship if you can’t get in touch with them.
  • Conversation notes: If you’re talking to a ton of people, keeping detailed notes on the conversations you’re having will save you from a world of embarrassment later. Trust me.

Step 4: Follow up

Once you’ve done your research, performed your outreach, organized all the data, hopefully you will have heard back from some site owners and will be well on your way to building great relationships with them.

If so, make sure you are constantly maintaining your information. Every conversation you have, every step of the link building process (requesting links, to active links to even inactive links). The more information you have, the more you need to organize and maintain it.

Step 5: Report

One of the biggest struggles marketers have is proving our worth to our boss or client.

While the end game of traffic and conversions is somewhat apparent, how did we get there?

Acquiring mentions and the relationships that come along with that take time, and can be hard to quantify that time to those paying the bills.

Want to enhance your SEO? Google+ to the Rescue!

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Want to enhance your SEO - Google+ to the Rescue

Coming out of the shadows of Facebook and Twitter, Google+ seems to have promised itself a rare distinction as not just a social media site, but a tool for online marketing altogether.

This is obviously because Google+ is the brainchild of the people who gave the gift of Google to the world, so that makes it a highly useful instrument in SEO, plus all the benefits of your run-of-the-mill social network, to establish a powerful lead generation machine. Imagine the power of gaining good ranks and maintaining a solid social presence at the same time.

Google+ itself describes its service as connecting social, communication and people designed to build your website’s ability to rank higher on search. If you’re a business blogger using this site, you can associate your content to your own authorship, as provided by your Google+ profile.

Optimize your profile. Google provides every chance for you to perk up your page by providing all the necessary details (much like Facebook), and also the ones essential for back links, such as website URLs, business bios and descriptions. In Google+, readers almost automatically associate the post to its author, and that’s why you’ve got to hit your mark in terms of making your profile credible. You can even ask Google to verify your page to raise your credibility.

Social extensions. Fortunately, Google+ is not an exclusive platform. The search engine would easily associate your business website to your Google+ page once you add the badge or the “+1” button directly on your content page. You can use the snippet of the code for your page and connect it to your Adwords campaign as well as to your social extensions.

Post high-quality content – consistently. The site is basically the integration of content creation and social media identities, but of course, since it is Google-based, the quality of content is still the determining factor to search rankings. The more you consistently provide them relevant information, the more people are likely to follow you and assist you in getting your desired spot.

Stir up the buzz. To make it into a real game, you have to find ways to make your posts engaging to other people. Share your thoughts in comments sections of other Google+ profiles and especially your own. Sparking up these interactions give more weight to your efforts to be recognized by search engines.

After 5 Years, Email and Search still Beat Social Media, and You Better Believe It

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After 5 years, Email and Search still beat Social Media, and you better believe it

Here’s a piece of information that social media worshipers may not like: boosting emails and improving SEO can lead to better customers compared to “likes” and “tweets”.

It’s been a relatively known fact – it’s just that people subjected it to speculation and dismissed by theories. But when credible numbers enter a conversation, all doubts might as well be put to rest once and for all.

Custora recently released a report coming off a study among US companies across 14 various industries. Their data is based on a total of 72 million clients who interacted with 86 companies from 2009 to 2013.

A central tool that they used in the study was a standard measure called Customer Lifetime Value or CLV, which pertains to the “dollar value” of a company’s relationship with a customer. This metric focuses more on long-term projections of cash flows and benefits instead of quarterly benefits. It also sets a limit on how much a company should spend to acquire a customer based on a projected CLV.

Here are some of the notable findings of their study:

  • After determining which of the clients involved are ranked as having a “high lifetime value”, it was found out that 54% of those customers were acquired through organic search, which makes it the most profitable channel amongst all strategies.
  • When they sought to rank each strategy based on the percentage of customers acquired (without considering the lifetime value), the victor still remains to be organic search, accounting for 16% of all customers, followed by pay-per-click at 9.8% and email at 6.8%.

Facebook and Twitter? Only 0.17% and 0.01%, respectively.

  • Twitter came out as the least beneficial channel, even in CLV, where it scored a dreadful 23% below average. Facebook had at least 1% above average, but it’s not something to be proud of, either.
  • Although organic search generated the largest numbers, the “most improved” award goes to email marketing, with a growth rate that has quadrupled since 2009. The trending strategy involves building online communities which require email addresses, and then painstakingly converting each of those members to customers via email.
  • Two other channels that were found to have rapid increase in success are affiliate referrals and banner advertisements. Both have scored better or at least equal to that of Facebook and Twitter.

 

Resources:

http://blog.custora.com/2013/06/e-commerce-customer-acquisition-snapshot/http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/11170/email-and-search-deliver-more-customers-than-social-media

Redefining Lead Generation With SEO Marketing

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Having a hard time generating qualified sales leads? That is to be expected. With the world economy still feeling the after-effects of the financial meltdown in the United States and Europe (and there is no denying that everyone still feels it), finding prospects can be pretty difficult at this point. Still, that is no reason to just sulk around, mope about your fate, or perhaps do a dozen other unproductive things in your office. Rather, this should be an opportunity for new lead generation tactics. That is where interest in search engine optimization (SEO)  marketing take off. And believe me, there are a lot of interested people here.

 

This form of marketing works by improving the standing a website, or group of websites, in internet search pages. This is a rather subtle operation, and results will definitely take longer than telemarketing, but it does present some interesting possibilities. Think of SEO as a form of support in the general marketing campaign. You have to admit that generating B2B leads using old channels is hard. Right now, sales is slow. But your priority is to keep your business visible in the internet. As long as you are there, it would be easy to promote your business to potential buyers. So how will you start on this?

 

  1. Remember to research your market well. Analyze what keywords they are most likely to use and incorporate that in your over-all SEO marketing campaign.
  2. In SEO marketing, your aim is to provide information, not to sell. The selling part can be done later. What is important is that you engage the interest of prospects, prove that you are an industry authority, and that you and your company can be relied on in the future.
  3. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are great mediums to engage prospects and customers in conversation. This will help increase your presence in the online community. Just keep in mind that your aim here is simply to have a conversation at this point.
  4. Try hosting a webinar or a video conference with interested prospects and attendees. This will help cement your reputation as an industry expert, as well as put an edge over your competitors. You will need the help of appointment setting specialists on this.
  5. Be active blogging and article contributions. In this way, you can promote your own business through other online channels. It would be a good boost to your reputation as well.

 

Once you have established your presence in the Internet, and search engine results appear to be favorable, then it is the time for you to engage in a more aggressive sales campaign. Seek your from your network interested prospects in the United Kingdom. Once they express willingness to talk business with you, now is the time for you to give them a telemarketing call. And it will be an easier job, since it will no longer be a cold call anymore.

 

Of course, if you have a hard time negotiating and doing business with prospects on the phone, it would be a good idea to work with a professional lead generation agency, then.

 

Top Three SEO Tactics To Avoid (Wait, Is SEO Still Relevant Anyway?)

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Search Engine optimization (SEO) was the buzzword of years long ago, like, 17 years ago. One might think that because it’s been around for so long everyone knows how to leverage it for their personal use and drive hordes of potential sales leads to their website. Although there have been a few successful stories, SEO is still a science of such fluid structure that even now marketers are having difficulty taming it.

When it first gained popularity, everyone who was anyone adopted it as an online marketing strategy. Then Google released the Panda update and everyone’s efforts went back to zero. Now that almighty Google is promoting value-rich content, has SEO become a thing of the distant past? With today’s digital marketing terrain, is SEO still optimal for promoting your website?

SEO is still very much relevant, although is has taken a considerable step backwards to make room for other digital marketing strategies such as social media, email and especially content marketing. Good SEO cannot exist without equally good content, as is highlighted by Google’s algorithm. Sales leads are driven towards your site by these relevant, well-researched, reliable and authentic content.

Whether you are still using these top 3 detrimental SEO tactics or plan to use them in the future – DON’T:

  1. Keyword Stuffing. The number one no-no for SEO and considered as spamming. Relevant content discusses topics using more than one word, so do yourself a favor and try to expand your own blogging vocabulary. Also, readers (i.e. sales leads) generally abandon a site the moment they read the same word used more than three times in a sentence.
  2. Reciprocal links and link farms. Almighty Google hates it. Period.
  3. Spreading articles through article marketing directories. These artificial link generating sites provide little benefit for your website. It’s much better to share your articles with topic-related websites that help promote your authority about your chosen keywords.

The moral of this story is that there is no holy grail for lead generation marketing. Each and every effective marketing strategy is the result of careful research and implementation where ROI is measured by carefully defined statistics. The main purpose of optimizing one’s website is  still sales leads generation, so whether your digital marketing makes use of this age-old marketing model, as long as it’s not broken and is doing its purpose, there is no need to abandon it just to join the current fad.