Google Instant… Just Add SEO!

Google introduced its latest version of internet fast food last week, aka, Google Instant. Its less filling but tastes great folks! Seriously, though, the amount of teeth gnashing and heart trembling

that proceeded this announcement was truly comical. The horror of it all. The end of SEO. Death of the web. The burial of search… none of it true. In fact, the salient bits of this “news” have been appearing, albeit individually for some time now over at the GooglePlex.

I perform a lot of search queries every day in the course of our business. I was happy to see that turning off Instant was very easy to do and took advantage of the offer quite quickly. Frankly, Instant, for me, was just adding more distraction to my “experience”. [Read more…]

Is Your Website Standing On One Leg?

Link-a-Billy Dave Talks Sales

If your site has been dropping in the search engines for a search term that you have traditionally performed well for, read on…

There is no way to sugar-coat the message in this article; It is almost impossible for your website to be competitive anymore if you are not engaged in a link building campaign, and adding fresh content to your website.

There are hundreds of factors that the search engines use to determine the indexing position for a given search term. Some factors are minor, but two are major – Links and Content.

Links – Your sites link profile can be as much as 50% of the equation in ranking your website. For competitive search terms, you will not arrive on the front page if you do not have links that support your website for that search term. The top SEO practitioners recently created an SEO success map, there was 100% agreement that Linking is one of the top contributing factors to ranking success. There was also complete agreement that poor linking practices can kill a website. For more on link building please read What Are Links and In Link We Trust.

Netrafic Offers a Complete Link Building Strategy – Contact Us

Content – Your sites content profile can be as much as 50% of the equation in ranking your website. The search engines will no longer consider a few pages of content on a subject to be authoritative for highly competitive search terms. In addition, content freshness is being given additional weight today. If makes sense that a top website on a given subject should have a wealth of topical content and new information would be added on a regular basis. Content is primarily text. Graphics, Media, and Flash are also minor considerations, but there is no replacement for text. An important note – text built anywhere other than on your websites primary domain does not count. Its not worthless, but it does not count toward building your site as far as the search engines are concerned.

Netrafic Offers Content Building Strategies – Contact Us

The above assumes that your website design is already search engine friendly, and some other key elements are in place. It is a generalization given the complexity and competitive nature of the search results race. Here is what you need to take away from this article – even if you are perfect in one area (links or content) it is still possible to fail. You need the complete package. You can not count of your past success in the search engines to continue if you don’t get in the game.

Helping Your Site Fight Link Spam

Fight Link Spam

We have recently encountered several client sites that have fallen victim to hackers and link spammers. The hackers gain access to the site, and drop links into key pages that point back to drug, adult, gambling and pirated software web site. The links are inserted in a way that make them impossible to see them when looking at the site, but the search engines see them just fine. This is sometimes referred to as “Spamdexing.”

The motivation for the hackers is to gain better search engine position for key search terms that relate to their chosen enterprise. If the hacker is successful this will reduce your sites ability to perform in the search engines, and may even get your site removed completely.

Cost? FREE!

Netrafic is implementing a monitoring system that silently watches for these types of links. If a hacker gains access to your site and plants links that could negatively impact your web marketing effort we will immediately be notified and manually check your site. If there is an actual problem we will contact you. This service is being added at no charge to clients that are participating in the the Link Building Strategy service.

If you have question or concerns please feel free to contact us.

Read More: Search Spammers Hacking More Websites

Create a Flood of Internet Traffic in Ten Easy Steps

Grabby headlines like that require substance, don’t they? More often than not, I am left scratching my head. So I present to you, a list (top 10 no less) of what it takes to create “a flood” of traffic to your web site. After all, it’s not smoke and mirrors. Never was. It’s just good old fashioned work. People – we are dealing with machines here. So, if you can think “machine-like”, chances are you will do better than the next guy. Many clients of ours enjoy all of these processes in our work for them. They are busy people and realize their time can be spent better doing things they are good at. They elect to outsource their online marketing to us. Regardless, you can have us do it, or you can do it. The important part is that it gets done.

Create a Flood of Internet Traffic

You have high expectations for this world wide web and here is the reality of what it really takes to make it happen.

1) Start by building a search engine friendly web site. For all practical purposes, search engines read plain old typewritten text aka html. Sure, there are advances being made in technology. But like anything, applying the KISS principle to web site development is a good idea. Spend the money on a robust, scalable database instead of a bunch of flashy flash-o-rama pages. Spend the money on the best website management console you can. These are tools that will help you build out your site as time goes by. By all means build the site to be mobile ready.  Once you have built a site it must have SEO principles applied to the pages to aid the search engines in indexing your information so it shows up when people search for what it is you offer.

2) Going in to the project, web site owners tend to treat a web site like a brochure project. I’ll give you the bad news upfront. It’s not. A web site “project” is never completed. The good news? You know that typo you found on your brochure project? You can fix it on the web site! Step 2 is the never ending story. You must be willing to commit to adding more pages with deeper and deeper information, year in and year out. As well, you must commit to revisiting every page of your site at the very least, annually, with the intent to adjust, tweak and clarify your message with each pass. You must “re-apply” SEO to old pages changed and new pages added or you miss the bottom line reason why you are doing this…remember…the flood?

3) Embark on a long term, long view linking strategy to create a dominating association with the rest of the web. Your on-page SEO is only going to take you so far. And if you are in a highly competitive channel of business on the web, chances are, on-page SEO will not be enough to carve out a top ranking. This oh-so important step is fraught with pitfalls, misconceptions, liars and thiefs. There are also some people who really know whats what and can provide a huge difference in your long term outcome. I’m happy to know one of these people. I don’t even attempt to understand any more than 25% of what Dave is up to!

4) Create and execute a blog that will contribute to the page count of your site (as opposed to off-site blog services). With SEO in mind, blogging can be an incredibly powerful tool and will pull every bit its weight solely based on what you put into it. Ouch! Blogging about your business is a complex issue. You have to be prepared to give rather than receive. The nice thing about blogging is that we are talking a paragraph or two. Not a book. The key to blogging is consistent fresh posts. 3-4 a week is excellent. 4-6 a month is a bare minimum. You mix your posting up with contributions to your community, industry and others. Every third or fourth should be used to drive readers to a specific page/offer of your site that contains more information about a subject. A blog is the perfect place to announce a new page or feature has gone live on your site. This long term project has two goals; to create hundreds of potential search landing pages and to drive blog readers to get into “the meat” of your site.

5) Create press releases to be released through the various online PR systems. A good goal is to deliver 4-6 awesome head turning releases a year. When you apply an SEO strategy to these releases they can provide a variety of potential traffic sources. Who knows, you might even become a cyber-celebrity! Of course you blog these releases as well.

6) Create business pages at social networking sites. Who and what sites you choose to do this action with is up to you. The more you sign up for the more time commitment you are making to this part of your “flood” funnel. The work here is in building an audience(s). Otherwise there is no reason to be here. The goal here is to build an “insiders” group that is going to get notified by you with information before anyone else will. Now, when you blog, you go to your social network(s) and you post a link and a snippet to your blog, drawing the people back to your site from the networks. I wish it were that easy. Social networks require that you be an active participant and not just for the sake of selling your stuff. Its where you also build customer awareness, customer service, customer loyalty. We call it brand management in today’s world.

7) Create a YouTube account. Sure you can also choose another service. But you’ve got to post your videos at YT also. If you wanna know why then become an SEO “expert”, ok? Maybe you’ve noticed YT videos showing up in search, right? As long as you keep that “machine-like” thinking cap on the SEO target throughout all of these steps you’ll do just fine. You are going to have to create videos or attain and edit others you have permission for. The good news is small business marketing in a YT world really only takes a digital camera and, yup – some creativity and time to put it all together. But, when you have created your video you get to spin it through your blog and social network during its “opening days” and then reside it on your site where it can help explain or sell or compare – whatever it might be doing…Here again, this step provides important tools; new content for your site in a format people like and another potential search result point of light.

8) Whew – we are almost caught up to 2009 – But Wait! There’s More! Twitter’s fast moving “news feed” style community can build and support a steady flow of traffic just like all the rest of these tools. First though, you’ve got to build an audience. You are going to need to be known as a contributor not a shouter. This is where most people stumble and fall. They cant put in the effort to build their social network audiences. It takes time and nurturing. With Twitter in place you have the perfect online funnel poised to participate in the flood. As your news breaks you tweet about it and link the message to your FaceBook page. This helps build your FB fan base. At the Facebook page, visitors read a snippet and are linked to your blog to finish the whole story. The story takes them to a new page on your web site. Is this a sale? Or a lead form filled out? Or just another positive impression on the road to acceptance? It’s all good!

9) Everything above is “free” in that you dont pay for anything more than the effort it takes to make it all happen. After you have all of that in place, you can afford to work some pay-per-click advertising. Because you are getting new traffic from so many other sources, you arent as desperate as those who’s only traffic is PPC. So you go for the “long tail” ie. less expensive terms and positions and use the traffic as good targeted whipped cream on your traffic sundae.

10) Analyze your traffic data to help make better business decisions the information uncovers.

It won’t happen overnight. Or in a few months. But as you build, refine and grow, so will your traffic, till one day it is in fact a daily flood you are capable of welcoming in.

Links Are Here to Stay!

If you are still sitting on the fence, waiting to employ a link development strategy for your website, I have some good news, and some bad news.

First, the Bad News: If your website is in a competitive search market you can no longer expect top organic results without having a link building strategy — Period.  Even sites that are well seasoned are starting to see their rankings drop in the search results if their link inventory is weak.

The Good News: It is not too late to implement a link building strategy for your website.  The positive effects of linking (on your search engine results) are rapidly visible.  Seasoned sites can see their positioning for competitive search terms rise in less then 90 days!

The Basics

  • What Are Links?  Links are the “action elements” that you click on to navigate between web pages or websites.  They can be text or graphics.  There’s a decided emphasis on text links for the purpose of Search Engine Optimization.
  • Where Do Links Come From?  The primary sources for links leading back to your web site are: other websites, Internet directories, articles and press releases, blogs, social networks, and advertising venues.
  • Why Are Links Important?  The Search Engines view links in terms of “popularity” on the Internet.  If other sources on the net think your site is popular, then the Search Engines have more confidence that your website is a trusted source.
  • So More Links Are Better?  Not necessarily, the links must come from sources that the Search Engines already trust.  Think of links back to your site as testimonies to your website’s character.  A bunch of junk links from a foreign country or useless websites can actually have a negative effect on your site’s ability to rise and perform in search.
  • I’m Confused.  How Many Links Do I Need?  This is a common misunderstanding, so you are not alone.  Link development is an ongoing process that needs attention for the life of your site.  I like to think of “inbound links” as nutrition for your site.  Just like you can not eat a whole years worth of food in one sitting, you can not get linking finished in one swoop.  A link a day helps keep the competition at bay!

For your website to perform effectively in natural search, for it to receive front page listings, you need to address these top three aspects of SEO:

First, you need to start with a website that is designed to be Search Engine friendly, so that the search spiders can crawl it. 

Second, you need to have the on-site content aligned with your message, and groomed for the key words and phrases that you are targeting. 

Third, you need to build a robust link inventory from reliable and relevant sources. 

The team at RightNow Communications can help you develop a top performing site.  Contact us for an assessment of your online presence today.

What are Links?

There are two primary motivations for creating inbound links to your web site. The first is to create inbound traffic to your site from potential customers. I like to call these Advertising Links. The second are links created to increase the search engines understanding of what your site is about, or SEO Links. For the purpose of this article, I will concentrate on this second group.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consists of many elements that combine to help create a clear picture of what your site is about. Search engines collect data on every web site that they can find. The information is primarily text based, and this is true of links that lead to and from your site. For this reason, most SEO Links are text based, not graphics or logos.

Links are like votes. In general, the more links that cast “votes” for your web site on a specific topic, the more the search engines can be confident that your website will provide that subject matter. Without these critical votes it can be very difficult for your average web page to attain good search engine results. A very interesting example of the power of linking is the Google Search Result for the search term “Miserable Failure.” The very first result is the Whitehouse Bio for George Bush. This is accomplished by thousands of web pages placing the text link “miserable failure” on their web page and pointing it toward that page.

Text links are just what they sound like; actual text that is hyperlinked from an outside source to a page inside your website. There is a very specific formula and process to creating these links. Because the search engines read text, they use a text matching process to decide how relevant each link (vote) is to its destination.

The outside web source where the links reside can be in a number of web based formats. Another standard website or directory is the obvious spot, but there are a number of other powerful linking opportunities. There are many was to add links to information releases like articles, blogs, forums, social networks, and various interaction sites. There is a technique for each media type, but in general, you want to stick to relevant subject matter that is similar to your website.

How many links does your site need? The answer is, “Enough to beat your competition!” This will be different for every market. Take something as competitive as the search term “Travel Agent” – The number one Google result (out of 148 million!) is the American Society of Travel Agents reporting 110,000 backlinks! Compare that with the search term “Ski Ohio” and the number one contender, Alpine Valley, only has 500 links.

Time is critical to the success of any linking additions. SEO Links can take months to cause any effect or change on the results that a search engine displays. Look at the first page results for any search term and you can bet the top contenders are already building links. Most of the time, when you notice your results slipping, it is not that you are doing a poor SEO job, it’s just the competition working harder to beat YOU!

SEO Linking is a time consuming process that is absolutely necessary to help boost your site in the search engines natural results pages. Like everything else in business, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. There is only room at the top for a few websites for each search term. See You at the Top!