Archive for the ‘Search engine results’ Category

Unknown Search Results Make SEO Harder

October 6, 2014 1 comment

unknownresultsGoogle has been encrypting keyword searches for several years now. That makes web searching more private for users, but a lot more complicated for web marketers. In a blog post from 2011, Google claimed,

Over the next few weeks, many of you will find yourselves redirected to (note the extra “s”) when you’re signed in to your Google Account. This change encrypts your search queries and Google’s results page. This is especially important when you’re using an unsecured Internet connection, such as a WiFi hotspot in an Internet cafe.

Some controversy developed at the time, but as secured browsing has grown, I hardly see search keywords in my reports any more. Part of the controversy has to do with the fact Google continues to display specific keyword searches for its ad program; AdWords. It makes sense to use secured browsing when surfing on a public connection. I’m just not sure I can buy into allowing paid advertisers access when website operators typically keep their organic search reports private.

Unfortunately for small businesses, it’s changes like this where having a professional working for you can be of benefit. There are some pretty complicated solutions detailed here that I won’t go into in this article.

What I will go into are two straightforward workarounds that can still provide the information you’re looking for.

The first is to examine user behavior on your site’s pages. Pages that get traffic are typically ranked. Digging a little will tell you which keywords are on that page and you can have a general idea of which keywords are bringing visitors to your site.

But what if you have a campaign or publicized link out there? Could that skew your results? Yes it could! Which leads me to step two…

ALWAYS use a tracking code for links you promote. What’s a tracking code? It’s a simple bit of php you put on the end of a URL. For example this is the link to the Guide I’m promoting:

This is the same link with tracking code:

It’s the “?” that initiates the code. You can put whatever you want after that. I use src to indicate a source and test can be anything you want. If I posted this to Facebook I could use –

For Twitter –

If you use multiple posts to the same source you can track them in more detail by adding a numeric code or date like this –

BEFORE you publish the tracking code be sure to test it! You don’t want to spend time or money publicizing a link for it to go to your 404 not found page.

I have been an advocate of tracking codes for a very long time. Google’s encryption of keywords is going to force smart marketers to have to use them 100% of the time. Or you can just buy ads…


2012 in Review

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 24,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Search and Social are Colliding!

December 3, 2010 1 comment

On my podcast in the summer, we discussed an interesting phenomenon in Europe…more visitors were using Facebook than Google.  Back then, it was an interesting sidenote, but today that phenomenon isn’t exclusive to Europe.  It’s becoming more and more apparent the future, indeed the present, of marketing is through social contacts.

90% of consumers online base their decision on the recommendation of a friend.

The online marketing industry is taking note.  I was recently made aware of a multi-day conference where the entire subject is search/social convergence.  Several recent articles I’ve read discuss social site results showing up on search engines.  Businesses are rushing to create social profiles for the purpose of selling products and services.

Unfortunately, many of these businesses are going to step on some toes and incorrectly sell on social sites.  When we engage on social sites, we don’t want to be pitched or sold.  If we’re in the market for a product, we’ll ask!  So why should businesses have a social presence for sales if people don’t want to buy?  Several reasons.

1.  Facebook is a far more effective sales platform than a website because of the potential to extend influence to friends of your customers.  Activity on your Facebook page can be spread throughout the platform with very little effort.  Social activity can also be added to non-Facebook sites.

2.  Buyers want to stay on the platform they’re using.  Why go to a third-party site when you can make your purchase on a site you already trust?

3.  Searches for buying signals for your brand can be set up on Twitter and Google alerts.  For instance if you’re XYZ widgets you can set up searches for “XYZ widgets” and “buy XYZ widgets” and “XYZ widgets sale.”  Not only can you monitor your brand, but you can monitor people who want to buy your product or service.

I recently “asked Twitter” for a recommendation on telephone tracking numbers.  Within five minutes a vendor responded.  Of all the companies in that space, only one responded.  Are their competitors missing out on business?

The worlds of search and social media are definitely colliding.  As this new medium evolves I think we’ll see social media become more and more effective as a sales tool.  Search sites must adapt or they will be left behind.

SEO Results?

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

SEO results or something else?  Does it matter?  Comments?

Three Ways to Out Rank Your Competitors on Google

September 28, 2009 10 comments

head to headTaking on the big dogs is always hard to do.  That’s what I did when I started optimizing for “Salt Lake City SEO.”

One of the fundamentals of SEO is established sites tend to out rank new sites because they have more links and more content.

While researching for that post, I found I could easily out rank my competition on the blog side, but out ranking on the website side would be much more difficult.  That’s OK.  I have a plan.

Use established sites to gain search engine ranking

There are probably a million sites to leverage to get a good ranking, but I like to submit to sites that will duplicate my work through RSS.

Article Directories

The easiest way to do this is submit content to article sites.  Article sites have been around a lot longer than any new websites, so they’ll show up in search engine results higher and sooner than anything else.  They also act as a filter for the visitor because if someone reads my article, then comes to my site for more information, it seems they are becoming a pretty well qualified prospect.  I only submit to article sites that allow anchor text so I am maximizing my time.  Other websites that use syndicated content take those feeds as is, so my anchor text gets duplicated all over the web.  I can even submit older articles from this site verbatim without worrying about a duplicate content penalty.

I am currently submitting articles to three of my favorite directories.  I will let you know how that turns out.

Press Releases

Press releases are one of my favorite ways to generate buzz, branding and inbound links.  They are great for new sites because the fact you’re launching a site is newsworthy in itself.  Press release sites not only distribute to major news sites, they also utilize RSS so blogs and other news aggregators scrape and publish your content.  To get the best distribution and the ability to use anchor text, it will cost you money, but the exposure is well worth it.

The key to writing a successful press release is making it newsworthy.  While it’s worth the money spent just for the links and the distribution, ideally you want to generate a release that will create press.  Too many web marketers submit press releases that are poorly written or just plain spam.  By taking the time to write something newsworthy, you will create something worth your effort.

I have not submitted any press releases yet, but I came up with two newsworthy ideas I think will generate some press.  I’m still working on some details, but plan to have idea one fully implemented this week.

Directory Sites

While doing some research on my targeted key words, I found some localized directory sites I thought would be worth submitting to.  Besides Blogtopsites and Blogtoplist which I always submit to, I found Blogcatalog and MerchantCircle.  Much to my surprise, I found the following for my key phrase a couple days ago:

Hi front page of Google!

Hi front page of Google!

Over time and after implementing some of my other strategies, I believe this site will rank in the top ten, but for now I’m pretty pleased.  Look out big dogs, I’m nipping at your heels!

If you want a hint about the future of SEO, this is it.  Other sites are the place you want to be; Facebook, Twitter, Directories, Google Maps, etc.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Seth Godin.  He’s launching Brands in Public, a content aggregator for companies.  For $400 a month you can get some pretty cheap SEO, but the idea has its detractors.  No matter how much people hate it, it’s going to happen.

Embrace change.

Salt Lake City SEO – Guerilla Marketing

September 18, 2009 4 comments

guerilla gorillasI wanted to provide an update of the strategy I tried last Friday to try and get some search engine rankings for this blog for the term “salt lake city seo.”

I based my strategy from tip number three in this article.  Please understand I wasn’t “testing” this strategy, I was implementing it.  I have carried this out before with great success in gaining new readers and obtaining links from more authoritative sources.  Yes, some of the companies mentioned in my article took notice.  Yes, they are considering using my services.

However, that wasn’t my main goal.  My main goal was to get ranked on page one of Google for my key phrase, “salt lake city seo.”  First of all I knew to be realistic.  There is no way this blog will get ranked on the first page of Google for my key term because it doesn’t have enough inbound links and it hasn’t been around as long as the others.  Looking at the search results this morning confirms my thinking.

salt lake city seo website results

Eventually it will get up there, but I’m pretty sure I’ll never claim the top spot, unless MWI does a site redesign and makes a mistake in the migration.  I don’t think they will.

I know I can’t compete on that playing field, but I can compete on another…the blog search results.  Yeah, yeah, people don’t search there very often.  But if they do, I think they’re probably a pretty qualified customer.  Perhaps they’re a competitor doing research?  Anyway, I know this blog can dominate the Google blog results for my key term…and it does.

salt lake city seo blog results

Between the several posts I made about this topic and my RSS copiers, these articles take up many of the search results.  Even better?  I’ve earned a top position on the page that won’t disappear.  You see someone else could write an article about Salt Lake City SEO and push my position down because the blog posts typically rank based on freshness.  By owning that top position, it doesn’t matter if my articles move, because this site has gained enough authority to keep that top spot as a relevant site.

From my perspective, these have been great results.  I hope I’ve been able to turn a boring topic into something interesting and hopefully you’ve learned something.

Use Photos for SEO!

September 17, 2009 5 comments

Photos can help SEO

Photos can help SEO

A few weeks ago, I suggested/informed/declared that Flickr was a great place to get a little extra traffic to your site.  A photo site?

Yesterday Bing announced a visual search where photos would show up instead of text.  I believe this is something every SEO company should be aware of…and exploit.

Google already has an image search.  It’s something I use for almost every image used here and elsewhere.  Sometimes the search term I use to find a photo reflects the topic at hand.  For this post I knew I would be talking about photos.  In my mind it was a lot of photos, not a specific one.  So I searched for collage, found the one displayed here and saved it to my hard drive as a file called “photo seo.jpg.”  Then I added the “alt” tag  “photos can help SEO.”  This is a little SEO trick to help this page and to help the photo show up on Google images.  I could have kept the original file name or left off the alt tag, but why let such opportunities go to waste?  Plus I want my photo to be more relevant so someone doing a search for seo photo might actually read this article.

Sometimes I pick a photo that’s ironic or funny.  Yesterday, I did a search for apples and oranges to represent visually how different Facebook and SEO are.  I didn’t change the file name which was applesoranges.jpg or some such thing.  I also didn’t use an alt tag.  The file name was perfect.  I assume that’s a pretty common search term and I’m hoping that article will show up.

For the Facebook article, I didn’t use the best photo I found.  I really liked the one where someone had hand stiched half an apple and half an orange together and then taken a beautiful photo of it.  When you use images, there are copyright issues to consider.  Here’s how I handle it.  If I see a copyright, like I did with that image, I steer clear of it.  If I see the same image over and over on different websites, I assume it’s fair game.

The image I used yesterday was also an original image, but had no copyright info on it.  I supplied a link back to the original and feel pretty confident I won’t have any problems.  If for some reason the site owner asked me to remove the image, I would comply in a heartbeat and find another suitable image.

Why don’t I link right to the image instead of saving it first?  This practice, known as hotlinking, has become quite dangerous for several reasons.

1.  By linking to the image, you’re using the other site’s bandwidth.  I know I don’t have enough traffic yet to impact anyone, but it’s bad form.

2.  The site hosting the image may go down, and your site will have an ugly gap.  Sites come and go.  It’s a fact of the Internet.  Never rely on someone else’s site.

3.  The image may be changed.  Any one can name any file, anything.  It’s happened in the past where a completely benign file name that was hotlinked, suddenly became a pornographic image because the disgruntled host realized someone was effectively stealing their bandwidth.

If you’re not using images in your blog posts or website, now is the time to start.  Here are some quick tips.

Use Flickr to host your original images.  Do fill in the description tags and use an SEO friendly file name.  Do provide your website in the description area as well.

Always save and reupload images you find on the web.  Do rename the image if necessary.  Do use alt tags to enhance the image’s description.  Remember that humans can read the alt tags, so don’t simply keyword stuff.

Don’t steal images!

Remember that photos provide additional SEO exposure especially on Bing and Google.  Plan accordingly.

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