Vetting SEO providers is a real challenge today for numerous reasons. Let’s look at just a few of them just from the discussion forums:
”A few free memberships and my e-mail being associated with the site is all I needed to be overwhelmed by the ‘SEOs’. They come in fast and they are almost always in two catagories: One is a flood of Indian men named John or Keith telling me that he can submit the site to search engines and directories for me and will even throw in some free ‘advanced penquin-proof link building’ if I pick up their premium package. The other is the SEO services and programs…they are worse than Keith and John. Keith and John are easily ignored and tend to leave my boss alone…the ‘professional’ or ‘enterprise’ or any other bull___ service tends to get their e-mails read by my boss…and then I have to spend time explaining to him why these are b.s. and should be shunned -they will waste money at the least and hurt the company at the worst!”
The canonical tag was one of the handiest developments in SEO in a long time. It’s thanks to this useful piece of information in the header of our websites that we can essentially eliminate any duplication that might be occurring without needing to go through the development teams to get 301 redirects handled (how many times does it turn out to be a 302?). Unfortunately, as with all things, there’s a lot that can go wrong with them, especially if the people putting them in aren’t quite sure what they’re doing.
If you’ve been in the game for a while, you’ve probably seen some shockingly bad implementations of them. I know I have. Today, I’m going to talk through a few of them.
The folks over at HubSpot surveyed nearly 1000 marketing professionals in January 2012 and found some interesting things about inbound and outbound marketing.
Just so you know outbound marketing refers to marketing designed to interrupt and push prospects so you can sell them: trade shows, direct mail, telemarketing, etc.
Inbound marketing refers to marketing designed to interest prospects who are more qualified, pull them toward a business and allow them to make contact when they are ready: social media, SEO, blogging, content marketing, etc.
It’s interesting how many businesses act like SEO is in a different department than marketing… “oh that’s IT.” This is a real problem for people who implement SEO because the expectation is often: “go do your technical thing to get our site ranking but don’t expect any help from us, that’s your job.”
This kind of thinking might have worked out fine a few years ago but today the search engines treat sites that don’t engage as not so useful – and that impacts search rank. “But it’s just a program, how could it know what’s engaging or not?” Oh my friend, the algorithm is a program, but don’t be naïve, that’s not all search engines have at their disposal to evaluate and rank sites today.
Social SEO is a hot topic right now. It refers to the social factors that can influence search engine results. If you are overly focused with your on-page efforts you may be missing this component. One solution is to put yourself in the position of your audience. In your experience what information has prompted you to comment or share with your network? It is likely including these factors in your writing will propel your content through the social pipes.
Whether you are doing SEO in-house, on your own time or with a professional, it still takes time for a site to begin ranking well for a keyword that has never been targeted before, unless you’re involved with a brand with a huge following. Here’s the gist:
Engaging content to the searcher is the foundation so please don’t try to push a web page that’s all about “me and my super awesome company.” You’ve often got to create content that’s not about you if you want conversions.
That new content should have a few good quality links pointing at it from sites that are reputable and/or relevant to the topic to gain good search rank.
In a somewhat recent Matt Cutts video he goes over some of the objectives of the Panda update and iterations that followed. Then Matt says, “It helps to step into the Google Mindset and how we think about these sorts of things because whenever we’re trying to write the algorithms, whenever we’re trying to uncover the signals, those kinds of questions can be very helpful to understand how we’re thinking about the problem and how we’re trying to return higher quality sites.”
Matt says they are going to keep iterating on the Panda update to try to keep sites that don’t produce quality content from ranking as high as sites that do produce content that users love.
So you have a new business and, to keep expenses down and ROI up, you use the Internet to find new customers or clients. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best investment, but it normally takes 3 to 6 months to see top rankings. Since you must have customers to stay afloat, you want immediate and qualified prospects to come to your site. So what you need right now is paid search (pay-per-click advertising). And implementing both SEO and paid search simultaneously can give your business an irresistible one-two advantage.
When paid search is the main source of new customers, you have to maximize the ROI from your immediate – yet pricey – web visitors. How? By clearly communicating with the most desired prospect whose problem you can solve, and who is willing, able and ready to engage now.