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SEO

Is Google Blocking Keyword Data?

The answer appears to be YES. As of October 18th, Google has been blocking keyword data in Google Analytics. This article from the amplify-interactive.com blog explains this in more detail. After reading the article and doing additional research, here’s what I’ve found out:

  • This directly impacts you if the user who searched and ultimately clicked an Search Engine Results Page link to your site was logged into Google with a Google account at the time they clicked. 
  • Google claims that this only impacts approximately 7 percent of searches. I’m not sure if I buy into that figure or not, but it came from a credible podcast at www.sitepoint.com.
  • There is a way to see the missing data. It is in your Webmaster Tools data. This is also accessible from inside the new Analytics interface, under the Search Engine Optimization link. You have to have your Webmaster Tools account tied to your Analytics account to see this.

I have checked several of my client sites and haven’t seen a real impact yet. You can bet that I’ll be keeping an eye on this situation moving forward.

Social Media Revolution

Here’s a short video that gives some enlightening numbers on the Social Media Revolution.

How To Get Your Website Found

In getting your new website found, three things must exist first. You need compelling content on a regular basis. Your on-page optimization for every page needs to be solid. You need to be popular. Popularity can come through off-page optimization, or it can be purchased outright through Pay Per Click advertising.

Compelling Content

Content needs to be written for your prospects and customers. It should written in the everyday language and tone that your customers use. If your content is purely marketing related and doesn’t provide usable information — it’s not good content. In my article “How many pages does my website need?”, you can see that every web page needs to stand on it’s own two feet.

Break your long pages into multiple short pages. If you are offering a number of services to your clients, don’t rely on just a single page that simply lists all the services. Ideally each service should have it’s own page. Answer the questions on that individual page that you’d tell your client in a face to face meeting. If you stick with a single, long page listing all your services… the Search engines won’t be able to determine what that page is really about and neither will your customers.

Writing regular entries in your blog is another way to produce fresh content on a regular basis. Many of my blog entries are on topics that are beneficial to my clients. I post links to these entries on my Social Media pages like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.

On-Page Optimization

This aspect of Search Engine Optimization covers the elements of the page that can be seen by either the site visitor or the programmer who built the page. What counts? In a nutshell, page titles, heading tags, meta descriptions, in page links, customer readability, keyword density, keyword appearance in the body of the text, CSS and HTML markup validity, speed of page load, image names, etc.

What’s the process? Every site is constructed just a little bit differently, but the process is about the same. It may involve coming up with additional content for some pages. Breaking some long pages into multiple stand alone pages. Then we go through and adjust page titles, headings, in-page links to other pages in your site, and make sure each page has a good meta description. More advanced strategies would also involve changing page names and image names to get more usable keywords into your site.

Since we’re talking about on-page elements, we’ll want to ensure that Google Analytics is installed on every single page. Analytics enables us to measure the traffic coming to your site. We can see how many visitors, from where, how long they’re staying, which pages are viewed the most, and a lot more information than you or I will ever make use of! But, it’s there for the taking. Either you or I should be monitoring this data on a regular on-going basis.

Popularity

Popularity can arrive in the form of Off-Page Optimization. Each website that links to yours, other than your own, that are trusted and relevant indicate a vote of trust in the eyes of the Search Engines. The more votes of trust you have, the more popular you become . These links can appear on other sites, blogs, social media links, press releases, article marketing, and directories (either free or paid).

You can simply start using Twitter and Face book and try to build yourself as an authority in your field, gaining user trust and links in the process. You could schedule press releases every six weeks for the next year. We could get some industry specific articles written and do some article marketing. We could hire someone to visit blogs and leave comments. We could submit the site to any number of free and paid directories like business.com, yelp, superpages, yahoo, hot frog, and hundreds of others.

You could be as hands-on or as hands-off as you desire. We could hire someone to research and ghost all of this, or none of this, or somewhere in between.

Popularity can be arrived at overnight through Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). OK. The truth is, you won’t become popular overnight, but at least your site will have page one visibility because of the PPC.  You could control your click budget and start in the city or the state of your choice to get some traction and exposure. Or, you could start off with a National campaign.

Many clients will start with Pay Per Click while addressing the on and off page optimization activities for their sites. As the site gets found more on an organic basis, the Pay Per Click can be paused or dialed back to more of a maintenance level.

What’s it all cost?

Every site and every business is unique to some degree. We need to discuss your specific goals. Then we can pin down a closer set of numbers, but for budgetary purposes:

On-Page Optimization:

Keyword Search – Plan on two – eight hours minimum.

Apply optimization elements to one page, approximately one hour per page.

Analytics – One hour to setup and install. Monthly monitoring and reporting of Analytics data, starts at $99.00 per month.

Popularity:

Press Releases start at $350.00 each.

Article Marketing starts at $200.00 each.

Link Building campaigns start at $500.00 per month.

Social Media ghosting starts at $200.00 per month.

Pay Per Click setup starts at $695.00. Monthly monitoring starts at $99.00 per month.

Keyword click cost: industry and location specific.

** Prices shown above are rough estimates and current as of April 2011

 

Cool New eMail Signature

Who Else Wants A Cool URL For Your Social Media Links?

I have obtained a Domain name for each of my major Social Media URL’s. Check out my eMail signature:

Follow Me:
Facebook: www.affordablewebfacebook.com
Twitter: www.affordablewebtwitter.com
LinkedIn: www.affordableweblinkedin.com

These look so much better than the really long ones supplied by Facebook, Twitter, and linked in! They’re easier to remember. They fit nicely on the back of a business card. They’re just downright cool.

Since I provide Domain Name and Hosting services — I can hook you up with these for your company as well. I’ll do each new Social Domain Name for your company for only $25.00 each for the first year. Renewals after the first year are currently $15.00 per Domain Name per year.

Are you Ready? Give me a call at 503-307-0834, or send me an eMail at [email protected]… Let’s get started.


CSS versus Tables For Layout

A common problem with table based layout is broken tables. By this, I mean that the table is missing a closing </td> data cell, or </tr> table row tag. The layout might present OK on the screen… Until you add one more piece of data. Then the entire layout self destructs in front of you. I’ve had several sites that I’ve agreed to do on-page SEO work on. The net result was that it took more than twice as long as it should have. I’m no stranger to tables – I’ve been building table based layout since 1995.

Industry Best Practice today calls for the separation of “Content”, “Presentation”, and “Behavior”. This is accomplished by utilizing HTML to label content, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to control the look and feel of the site, and Javascript to control client side behavior. Here are some concrete reasons behind this separation of duties.

Read the rest of this entry »

5 Key Things You Need To Know About Domain Names

The Domain Name of your website plays a very important part in how your site gets found. Don’t take it lightly. Here are three things you must know about Domain Names.

1. Your Domain Name should contain keywords that help describe what you do. If you are a localized business, your Domain Name should also describe where you do business. The Domain Name will be evaluated along with the folder name (where your page files are stored) and the page name to determine if the Search Engines are delivery relevant results.

Read the rest of this entry »

Now You Can Respond To Your “Places” Reviews

Google is now allowing local business owners to respond to reviews left on their Places page. This is a great way to engage with your customers and build relationships. As with any public interaction you should remember 1)Be nice, 2)Don’t get personal, and 3)Feedback is helpful.

Here are some additional guidelines from Google on posting reviews to Google Places

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Where You Must Use Keywords To Satisfy Your Users

The Title Tag – This will be used as the link on the Search Engine Results Page. Your users will see this before they click through to your site.

The Meta Description Tag – The text that appears here will generally be used as the link description on the Search Engine Results Page.

Headings and Sub Headings – The <h> tags on your page. Many users will scan a page before they take time to read the copy. With keywords in the <h> tags, users will get the idea that they’ve found the right page.

Body Copy – Come on… Do I need to say more? This is the real reason that people visit your site.

Links on the page – These generally appear in a different color and are underlined. Kind of catchy. The eye will pick these up on a page scan.

Alt Text – The alt text on your images won’t be seen by the user, unless your images don’t load. Still, it’s a good idea.

Bulleted Lists – These little islands of text contain information that the writer deemed important enough to construct a list from. Readers appreciate information that’s quick to read.

Quotations and Interviews – Pull quotes are short and meaningful. These are also easliy picked up when a user scans a page before reading it.

References at the bottom of the page – A resource box with references and links is a great place to use keywords.

Takeaway Box – A summary that says “The main points of this article are…”

Link Title – Element Title attributes will popup a title when the user hovers the cursor over the element. These help explain  why the element is in place.

Testimonials – On page client testimonial can be incorporated on most any page. They help build trust and answer questions that site users might have.

Signature box at the end the article – A great opportunity for the author to present his or her company and what they do.

Keywords Are For People, Not Search Engines

Forget about the Search Engines. Write great content focused on the people who are consumers of your information. Take a 30 second break and watch this 1960’s commercial featuring our favorite rabbit trying time and again to get his hands on Trix breakfast cereal.

Our rabbit seems to have a one track mind… It’s focused entirely on this great tasting cereal. Many website owners today have a one track mind as well… They’re focused entirely keywords for the sake of keywords.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Trix are for kids, and keywords are for people. The whole reason to put keywords into Page Titles, Meta Description, <h1> tags, alt tags, body content, anchor links, etc. are not to “game the system” or attempt to satisfy the Search Engines. It’s to satisfy the eventual users of our websites. The consumers of our information.

With the correct keywords in the right places, our site users will feel confident that they have found a site that truly satisfies their needs and provides the answers they are hunting for.

Content has always been king. With today’s Internet, it is even more important that we have great user-centric content on our sites. Update this content on a regular basis and ensure that the keywords you’re using speak directly to your site users.

Focus on the consumer of your information first. The Search Engines will be good with that approach as well.

How Many Pages Does My Website Need?

Let me answer your question, with a question.  How many questions or solutions does your website provide? In today’s environment, on today’s internet, content is king. The more compelling content you have, the better chance you’ll have at attracting users to your site.

A top notch website today will usually have:

There’s your first nine pages. So, now it’s a question of how many questions, solutions, products, or services you offer. As each page on you site should stand on it’s own two feet. If you offer three products that don’t require installation, you’ll need three more pages. If those products require installation, you could easily have three more. If each product has a PDF manual, that’s three more. Do you products have a sales brochure? There are three more pages.

So, your simple site with three products has turned into a site with the potential of having 18 pages. Could you cover all this with, say, eight pages. Perhaps, but the Search Engines will have a tough time indexing your site and delivering it to a Search Engine Results Page.

What else can you be thinking about in order to add fresh content on an on-going basis? Consider these sources:

  • Do you send out Press Releases? These could be re-printed on your site.
  • Do you publish a newsletter? Either printed or an email version?
  • Have you won any industry awards?
  • Are you keeping up with site updates when you release new products or services?
  • Do you have a blog attached to your site so you can post short ad-hoc articles throughout the year?

It’s starting to look a lot like content!

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