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Google Search Engine Optimization

The Three Things Business Owners Keep Trying… and That Search Engines Keep Punishing

When search engine optimization first started being a viable widespread marketing tool, it had a “Wild West” feel to it. Everything was about content and links – the main tools that search engines use to understand websites and rank them – to the point that maximizing each was the name of the game.

Since then, however, the search engines have gotten a lot smarter. They’ve noticed that a certain percentage of web designers and their clients have become skilled at finding loopholes. Over time, those loopholes have been closed, and trying to use them can actually harm your site’s search rankings.

Still, that doesn’t stop people from trying to use them, even though they don’t work. Here are three of the silliest things that business owners and web marketers keep trying… and that search engines keep on punishing:

1. Using copied or duplicated content. If your website has the same content as some other website, then how do the search engines like Google place any value on you, instead of the original source? They can’t. As a result, having a little bit of duplicated content (like a product description) won’t hurt you, but it won’t help you, either. Have too much of it, and your site is rendered invisible to search engines.

2. Giving or getting links from low-quality websites. If lots of high-traffic, high-quality sites with original content of their own are always linking to you, then that’s a sign to the search engines that you are a valuable source of information. If most of your links are coming from low-quality sites, on the other hand, that says something about your business as well. It’s important that you have the right kinds of associations online, because the wrong ones are bad for search engine positioning.

3. Being repetitive (or being repetitive). Over-using keywords and phrases is a great way to tip off Google and the other search engines to the fact that you are trying to manipulate your rankings for a certain keyword or phrase. Posting lots of content with unnatural repetition is one of the easiest ways to be completely ignored online, so just don’t do it.

Although each of these tricks has been proven to no longer work, you can bet that some of your competitors are still trying them. Let’s work together to make sure that you don’t repeat their mistakes.

By David A. West  Join me on Google+

Categories
Google

Why the End of Google Places is the Beginning of a New Opportunity for Marketers

In recent months, we have been advising our clients to take full advantage of Google Places, which had largely supplanted the Yellow Pages as the number one resource for customers looking to find local businesses to shop at and buy from. By incorporating maps, websites, reviews, and contact information all in one place – and on the world’s most popular search engine, no less – it was quickly becoming one of the most powerful Internet marketing tools around.

If you followed our advice, we have some bad news for you: at the end of May, Google Places ceased to exist. The good news? Everything that made it wonderful is still there… and in fact, there are more reasons than ever to keep using it under its new home in Google+.

In reality, this was a move that had been expected for quite some time. For those of you who aren’t that familiar with Google+ yet, it’s the company’s answer to Facebook and Twitter, and it’s growing by leaps and bounds every day. It already boasts hundreds of millions of users, and may even surpass the other social sites by the end of the year. It’s only natural, then, that Google would move its “Places” profiles under the newer and still-growing Google+ platform, which now features a “local” tab when you log into the site.

Expected or not, however, the change has some implications for businesses who want to continue to find more local customers:

It’s now easier for your customers to find you and share info. Not only does the integration of “Places” into Google+ mean that customers can share your information with their circle of friends and colleagues, but local businesses are now more prominent as part of Google’s normal search results. This is great news for companies with a strong following.

Reviews and feedback are everything. Like other social sites, Google+ seems built upon reviews and feedback. This is even more true now that they are offering free access to Zagat reviews, which tend to be more detailed and nuanced than the kind of typical star ratings we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the Internet.

Expect more mobile integration. With the popularity of the Android platform growing along with Google itself, expect to see more mobile web integration with the Google+ system as time goes on. Now is a great time to start working things like click-to-call and driving directions into your mobile business website.

Google+ content may start to influence search results. Although the engineers at Google have made it clear that +1 and Google+ data don’t directly influence search results or search engine rankings, it’s conceivable that they will in the future as more information becomes available.

The bottom line is clear: for companies of all sizes, right now is the time to get serious about ramping up your Google+ efforts. Why not meet with a member of the CAYK® team soon and let us show you how to get more out of your search and social marketing efforts?

By David A. West  Join me on Google+

Categories
Social Media

Should Sex Offenders Be Allowed On Facebook?

Josh Wolford wrote an article over at WebPro News the question, “Should Sex Offenders Be Allowed on Facebook”

Josh wrote, “People convicted of sex crimes + a giant network of hundreds of millions of teens as young as 13 (officially) = obvious disaster. Any parent or even non-parent can see how the anonymity and broad reach of social networking form a dangerous playground for kids.”

Read the full article here.

Contributed by David A. West  Join me on Google+

Categories
Google Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization: Too Much of a Good Thing Really Can Hurt You

We’ve always thought that going too far with search engine optimization was a bad idea – especially since it can hurt your conversion rates and the profitability of your business website – but now it turns out that it might not even work. In fact, Matt Cutts (Google’s Spam Chief) recently let it slip in an interview that the next change to Google’s algorithm may actually be designed to punish sites that have too much in the way of optimization.

Is this good news or bad news? And what does it mean for the future of your business website?

Here’s what you need to know about over-optimization and Google’s next update:

There’s no reason to expect a dramatic change. Although a lot of people are envisioning some sort of massive shift in Google’s algorithm, history suggests otherwise. Even the much-discussed “Panda” change that came along recently only effected an estimated 10% or so of all web searches. That means that your site isn’t likely to move much – for better or worse – in Google’s rankings right away.

Change will be coming, however, which brings us to the next point…

This is good news for most businesses (and for searchers). Google isn’t going through the effort of changing its industry-leading algorithm for no reason, or because it simply wants to give business owners and web designers another reason to grind their teeth. No, like all of their major shifts, this one is being undertaken to stay on the cutting edge of search, and specifically to please searchers.

Think about it this way:

How many searchers really want to find over-optimized sites when they’re looking for answers or products? The answer lies between “very few” and “absolutely no one.” That’s because they’re looking for information and resources, not endlessly used keywords, enormous numbers of backlinks, and robotic landing page text.

Since most business websites don’t feature any of these, a change in Google’s algorithm can actually be great news. Instead of searchers having to shift through your over-optimized competitors, they’ll now have an easier time finding your business online.

Optimizing your site the right way is still a good idea. Since Google’s new update has to do with over-optimized sites, not just the ones that are easy to find online, it’s important to know how far is too far. There’s no way to be sure, but we’d be willing to bet a lot of money that the answer lies in those features we pointed out a couple paragraphs ago: too many keywords on a single page, obvious link utilization, nonsensical page titles, etc.

Undertaking good search engine optimization (in the form of relevant content, backlinks, and some focused tweaking of things like image text and page titles) is still going to be an important part of Internet marketing for the foreseeable future. And it should be. There’s nothing wrong with making it easy for customers to find you – you just don’t want to go so far that it’s counterproductive.

Want help making your business website more profitable? Schedule a free appointment with a member of our team today, and we’ll show you how search engine optimization and other tools can work together to grow your company over the Internet.

By David A. West  Join me on Google+