Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SEO Interview Questions

I’ve written a few questions that might help structure a SEO interview or even help someone get an SEO job. I think though, there are a great deal of ways to answer many of these questions. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing example answers but I think as long as you have a clear idea of the kind of answer you expect to hear back then this should do the trick.
A SEO interview needn’t be a long list of technical questions (as I expect many people might have differing perspectives anyway) but rather a chance for you, as the interviewer, to understand their technical SEO skills, depth of knowledge and interest the candidate has in SEO.
Some people might also disagree with the ethics of asking some of these questions, but feel free not ask them if, of course, you don’t want to.
SEO Interview Questions
Death by interview has been known so I wouldn’t recommend asking all of these questions. Pick and choose at will…
Open-ended SEO questions
1. What is your favourite aspect of SEO?
2. What is the most difficult aspect of SEO for you?
3. What has been your biggest mistake in optimising a website for search engines?
4. What has been you biggest success in SEO?
5. Do you have your own website(s)? What are they? What is their purpose? How effective have they been?
6. What business sectors have you previously worked in as a SEO?
7. What is the most competitive sector you have worked in as a SEO specialist?
8. Do you like Matt Cutt’s?!
Knowledge of the SEO Industry / engagement in learning about SEO and engagement with the SEO Community
9. What is your favourite SEO website/blog, and why?
10. Who do you most respect in the SEO industry, and why?
11. Who do you least respect in the SEO industry, and why?
12. Which website do you go to learn something new every time?
13. What Analytics packages have you used?
14. Talk me through the process of setting conversion goals?
15. Explain the process of advanced segmentation and an example of why you might use this?
16. If you could develop a new feature for an analytics package that is not currently/easily available what would it be?
17. Please explain the PageRank algorithm…
18. What is the most important aspect to you of the PageRank algorithm for link-building?
19. What is page segmentation?
20. What is LSI / LSA and its relevance to SEO?
21. Explain to me how phrase-base algorithms work? Clustering?
22. Describe any perceived differences in the main search engines?
23. Have you noticed any algorithm changes lately that you believe to have affected your rankings? How do you work to protect your online visibility?
24. What process do you typically go through when researching keywords?
25. How could this process be improved?
26. How do you carry out competitive analysis of keywords/SERPs as part of the keyword research process?
27. When targeting keywords on-page, discuss some considerations you might make?
28. What factors hinder search engines access to a website’s content?
29. What is the most responsible way of using Flash?
30. Tell me how you might use the Robots.txt file?
31. What is the difference between an xml sitemap and an html sitemap?
On-page Ranking Factors
32. If you were reviewing a landing page, what on-page ranking factors would you consider?
33. How would you analyse the strength of that page as part of the site?
34. Are you competent with HTML and CSS?
Onsite Ranking Factors
35. Talk me through factors you would consider in building an optimised website. (Possible answers might include the discussion around information architecture, site structure, title tags, link structures, keyword relevance, etc).
36. What are onsite ranking factors for building a successful landing page strategy?
37. Please provide examples of blackhat SEO techniques?
38. What are your thoughts on blackhat SEO techniques? What, if any, have you used, or tested?
Offsite Ranking Factors
39. What would the perfect inbound link look like?
40. What do you like and not like about link-building?
41. Explain to me your involvement in link-building in the past?
42. What approach to link-building have you had most success?
Linkbait Development and Marketing
43. Would you consider yourself as creative?
44. Have you ever successfully carried out a linkbait campaign for a client / in-house? What was the success?
45. Talk me through the process you might go through in developing a linkbait strategy?
46. Are you confident writing and publishing content online?
47. Please provide examples of the content that you have written. What was the purpose of this content and what keywords were you targeting?
SEO Tools
48. What keyword research tools do you use and why?
49. What is your favourite ‘SEO tool’? Why?
50. Do you think SEO tools are effective in competitive markets? Why?
51. Have you carried-out split-testing / multivariate testing of content?
52. What did you learn from this process?
Image Optimisation
53. What factors can you do to encourage the chance of ranking for images?
54. What is hotlinking? How can this be successfully optimised?
Video optimisation
55. Have you ever carried out video optimisation?
56. What are a few considerations of optimising video content?
Social Media Interview Questions
Open-ended Social Media Questions
57. Which social media sites do you most like? Why?
58. Which social media sites do you most dislike? Why?
59. What has been your biggest achievement in SMM?
60. Do you feel that you are well connected in Social media spheres? Does your social media account carry influence?
61. Do you prefer to use the same pseudonym across your social media profiles? What are the pros and cons of doing this?
62. When did you get into social media (and marketing)?
63. What is your oldest social media profile?
64. Would you ever sell or buy social media profiles?
65. What has been the most effective social media marketing campaign you have been involved in? How was it effective? Metrics / exposure / links?
66. How do you effectively use social media to support SEO campaigns, or vice versa?
PPC Interview questions
67. Although not strictly SEO, the understanding of the cross-over of visibility in paid-listings can be very important for effective SEO campaigns.
68. Have you worked on/with PPC accounts? How did it go?
69. How do you integrate PPC and SEO?
70. What considerations might you make when carrying out paid search competitive analysis?
Business Acumen and ROI
71. What are the key performance metrics you have previously reported to clients?
72. What are effective metrics for highlighting return on investment from SEO?
73. What would you like to change about the SEO reporting process?
74. What other areas of business present opportunities for organic search visibility?
75. If your SEO efforts aren’t getting the visibility you would hope, what would you do?
Pitching for Business
76. Have you prepared proposals for SEO clients?
77. Have you presented proposals to SEO clients? How did it go?
78. What was the biggest mistake you have made in a meeting with a client?
79. What is your greatest strength when presenting to prospective SEO clients?
Retaining Business
80. What do you think is the most important factor in retaining a client?
81. From the previous company that you worked for, what was one process that they could have improved in retaining and gaining clients?
Closing questions
82. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
83. What are you salary expectations? Availability? Etc, etc…
84. How did you feel the interview went?!

Monday, November 15, 2010

5 Ways to Improve Your Local Business Website

When customers don't stay on your website for long, it's hardly surprising you fail to connect with them and build the trust needed for them to get out their credít cards and purchase from you.

The great news for you is there are tons of quick and easy - usually free ways - to make your website more appealing to your customers.

Here's 5 you can apply today.

1. Site Search

When you have more than 20 pages, it's a good idea to add a search facility. If you have a site search, make sure it's prominent. Usability guidelines tend to prefer the upper-right corner of the page. Keep the button label simple and clear - "Search" still works best for most sites. Don't unleash your powers of lateral thinking and swap in a word like "Retrieve". Keep it simple.

To Do: Just using your search, try to find 3 pages of content. Is that process "quick, easy and straight-forward?" Or is it "hit and miss?"

2. Ensure Your Web pages Can Be Skim-read Easily

Few people read word for word online; the vast majority skim-read to get a sense of the page before they read any of it in detail. Make it easy for visitors to skim-read your content. Always use headings and bullets to break up text.

Think about it. If a heading is not relevant for your visitor, they can easily skim down to the next heading, making it straightforward for them to get directly to the information they need.

Always keep your text in manageable chunks, not an unbroken wall of words like insurance small print, so it's easier for customers to look up what they want right away and with confidence - which is critical if they are making a buying decision.

To Do: Give your website a quick review and make sure all your text is broken up into clear, manageable sections.

3. Keep Your Styles & Colors Consistent

Make sure people know they're still on your site by being consistent - confuse them and you'll lose them. Keep the look and feel of your website sections consistent and avoid any radical changes. Visitors can get confused and think they have left your site accidentally.

Layout, headings, and styles should be consistent site-wide, and colors should usually have the same meaning.

For example, don't use red for headers on one page, red for hyperlinks on another, and red as standard text somewhere else.

To Do: Ensure all your web pages appear to be part of the main site and that they are consistent with each other. Are there any "nasty surprises" depending on the part of the site you're in?

4. Use Emphasis (bold, etc.) Sparingly

It's a fact of human psychology: try to draw attention to everything and you'll effectively draw attention to nothing. We've all seen that site, the one with a red, blinking, underlined "NEW!" next to everything. Don't be that guy or gal.

Remember, if your site's graphic design is counter-intuitive and doesn't help visitors get something done quickly, it's going to make your site much slower and difficult to work with.

Slow, awkward sites don't ever, ever, delight your customer or create a good rapport online.

Visitors will be back at the search engine in seconds if they find your website "complicated" or "busy".

To Do: Ensure your website is only highlighting critical factors you absolutely need your visitors to gaze at or clíck on in order to meet your online business goals. Menus, buy buttons, opt–in boxes and so on.

5. Keep Your Ads & Pop-ups Unobtrusive

Ads are a fact of life, but integrate them nicely into your site. Don't try to force ads and pop-ups down peoples' throats; you'll end up creating frustration for your visitors. Also, do people a favor and make your ads clear. If you blur the line between ads and content too much, your content may suffer, since many people have developed "banner blindness" when it comes to surfing, and might overlook some important content by mistake.

To Do: Double check if your popup window is significantly increasing your opt–in rate. If it isn't, you could be annoying present and future customers unnecessarily.

Final Word

Always make sure you view your website through the eyes of the customer and not through your eyes, the website owner.

Make sure there are no red-flags on your site that are going to frustrate, confuse or bore customers. Keep everything nice and simple to make sure your visitors enjoy spending time (and money) on your site

Friday, September 17, 2010

How site index by Google Sitemap

Google has implemented a cutting edge method of crawling web sites for its search engine index. This unprecedented method of indexing web pages is known as Google Sitemaps, and it is quickly growing in popularity among webmasters and SEO agents and managers due to its ability to get an entire web site indexed quickly and to pick up errors in the links coming into and out of a web site.

Google Sitemaps consists of placing the URLs of your pages along with important information regarding how Google should index them into an XML document. This information is then read by the Google Spider and the pages are normally indexed quite quickly, assuming that they are coherent to Google's standards for indexing pages (and also assuming that the sitemaps conform to Googles Sitemap Criteria which will be explained a little later).

There are two primary types of Google Sitemaps. The first is a list of pages in a website and the second is a list of sitemaps in the website. Google has limited the number of URLs in its sitemaps to fifty thousand URLs. This may sound like a lot, but for some of the more intricate web sites, fifty thousand URLs may not even make a dent in what they want indexed.

This led to the advent of the Google Sitemap index file which can index up to one thousand sitemaps. If you do the math, this means that you could have one thousand sitemaps with up to fifty thousand URLs in each sitemap which allows for fifty million URLs to be placed in your Google Sitemap scheme. But wait, there's more. Who ever said that you can't have an index of indexes? You could actually make an index of a thousand index files which are all indexes of a thousand index files. Basically, there is no limit to the number of URLs that you can hold in your Google sitemaps.

Now that you understand the power of the Google Sitemap you're probably asking yourself how to create and implement a Google Sitemap. The first step is to simply create your sitemaps. Here are the templates which are also available at . For a sitemap file use the following format:

Everything here is pretty self-explanatory with the exception of the changefreq and the priority aspects. The change freq asks how often you think the page will change on average. The possible values for the change freq option are: always, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and never. The priority aspect basically just asks how important the particular page is in your website. The value can be anywhere between 0.0 and 1.0. If you decide not to specify a priority it will default to 0.5.

To create a sitemap index file follow the following format:

This is all pretty straight forward but it leads me to my next point. You notice that the file names all end in .gz. Google allows you to compress your sitemaps so that they take up less of your disk space when you place them on your site and less of your bandwidth when Google downloads them (which it seems to do approximately once every 9 hours or so). You may only use .gz compression. If you try .zip, it won't work.

Now all that you really have to do is submit your sitemap to google. In order to do this you must go to Google Sitemaps and log into your Google account. If you don't have a Google account, you can create one. Once you log in you will be allowed to submit your sitemap into the google index. At some point within about 24 hours of your submission, Google will give you the option to place a small HTML file onto your website so that it can confirm that you do, indeed, have access to editing the site. Once you have done this it will begin to provide you with statistics regarding your google sitemap. (Note that even without this feature you can see when google downloaded the sitemap last and what the status of the sitemap was at that time.)

How Google Sitemaps Fits Into Search Engine Optimization

According to Google, the Sitemaps utility is free and will continue to be - yet it's almost as good as the paid inclusion service offered by rival search engines. So how can you take advantage of this great service?

First of all, you should create a Google Account. Although you can still use Google Sitemaps without an account, you need one before you can use Google's tools to check your site submissions. Once you do that and go to, you'll be guided through the process.

Google Sitemaps has a very helpful question and answer page that will give you the help you need - the answers to most questions people have can be found right there. Good luck!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Backlinks for Search Engine Optimization- How Important are They?

Backlinks are a key component in search engine optimization. Search engine consultants talk about the importance of backlinks for achieving higher search engine ranking. That’s because the more one-way backlinks you have leading to your website, the more important the search engines believe your page to be.

There are two types of backlinks: one-way links and reciprocal links.

One-Way Links are basically backlinks that only go one direction. Maybe it’s a link that goes from your website to another website. Or maybe it’s a link that goes from another site to yours. Either way, it’s only going one way.

Reciprocal Links are backlinks that go from one website to another, and then back to the original website.

It’s important to differentiate between one-way back links versus reciprocal links. Many search engine optimization experts believe that one-way back links are more valuable than reciprocal links because they’re much harder to earn. The thinking is that since they’re harder to earn, they must be more valuable, which means other people think very highly of your site. If people think highly of your site, it must be an important site, which means the search engines will give it a higher ranking than those sites that do not have a lot of one-way backlinks.

As search engines like Google grow and improve, they’re putting more emphasis on how popular a website is, not whether they use all the right keywords. This popularity is measured through one-way backlinks. They’re like votes to Google, and search engine ranking is more like a popularity contest: have a lot of links to your site and your site achieves a high ranking. The easiest way to find the number of backlinks that lead to your site is to visit Google or Yahoo! and type in the following command:

You will be shown a list of all the websites that have backlinks to your own domain. If you want to see who has links back to a particular page on your site, then type in the whole URL to that individual page.

Although no one can be sure of the exact algorithm Google and Yahoo use to rank sites, it’s commonly believed that if a website has more backlinks, it will achieve a higher search engine ranking. There are other factors that go into the whole search engine ranking, but backlinks are one of the more important ones.

But it’s important you have good quality backlinks, not just links that appear on any page you can find, like a link farm or sticking a comment on a page that has nothing to do with your website at all. That is, if you sell hammers, don’t put any backlinks on a page that sells children’s shoes.

That’s because search engines like Google have started cracking down on link farms and backlinks spammers. The search engine spiders know how to tell the difference between backlinks on a link farm and links on a quality website. If you are caught spamming, you will be dropped in the rankings, or possibly even dropped completely from Google’s index.

So you need to pay attention to the quality of your backlinks, now more than ever. One way to do this is to make sure you use the proper anchor text in your backlinks. For example, do not ever hot-link the words “click here.” What you’re basically telling the search engine spiders is that the website is about Click Here. Instead, use the keywords about the site that the backlinks are leading to. If you’re creating backlinks to a site about hammers, put the word hammers in your links. “Click here” isn’t about hammers.

In short, if you want some great search engine results, be sure to include backlinks as part of your search engine optimization strategy. You’ll see it pay off with improved search engine rankings.

Link Building in Online Marketing: Tougher Than It Sounds

You probably don’t need to read the latest advice from the online marketing consultants to figure out the basic idea behind link building. Without links, your site won’t develop authority. Without authority, it won’t move up on the search engines. But even the most savvy online marketing consultant would have to admit that doing that is just not as easy as it sounds.

More Is Not Better In Link Building

Just going out and getting a bunch of links won’t necessarily help your site. You need quality links to get higher search rankings. But sometimes figuring out what makes one link better than another is tough. This is where you do need to keep up with what the online marketing consultants are recommending or you may just be wasting your time.

Targeted Anchor Text Is A Must

When you start pursuing links on sites, you need targeted anchor text. However, you don’t want to use the same text everywhere. Google will notice that in a bad way. You want to use two or three different phrases and the proper name of your website. If you can’t get anything but an image link, make sure the site owner puts your anchor text or the name of your site in the ALT tag of the image.

Pay Attention To Links In And Out

Google looks at the site where your link appears and decides how much benefit your site gets back. A site with a lot of inbound links passes more authority to your site. At the same time, being linked on a site full of low-quality, outbound links probably won’t help you much.

PageRank Isn’t Everything

Don’t be one of those site owners who sees nothing but PageRank. A site with high PageRank can still have low link value. This is especially true of sites that sell links. Steer clear of sites that use phrases like “sponsored by” or “paid for by.” Google may not let that site pass PageRank at all. Move on. They’re not worth your time.

Concentrate On Site Relevance

Let’s say your site is about red widgets. You get a link on a site about purple doohickeys. That link isn’t worth as much as one on a site about red widget management. Make sure you’re pursuing links in relevant places and look at how those places are optimized. If a site owner gives you a choice of having a link on a page titled “About Us” or one with the title “About Red Widgets,” which one do you choose? The link on the optimized page, “About Red Widgets,” has more value.

An Online Marketing Consultant Checks What’s Not Obvious

Take your cue from the pros and check sites in ways that aren’t obvious. For instance, in any search engine, you can type in “cache:” followed by a site url and find out if the site has been indexed and when it was last crawled. But what do those dates mean?

Chances are good that if the site hasn’t been crawled in 30-45 days, it’s not a good place for a link. But some domains have more value than others. For example, links from .edu domains are better than from a .com, but .info is worth less. All these factors should be weighed in judging a site’s worth in your link building efforts.

Does Social Networking Matter?

We’ve all seen the little link bars under blog posts and in forums asking people to Digg or Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or StumbleUpon. Do you need to try to get links in places where social networking can happen? Yes. Alone those links may not have a lot of value, but Google is increasingly looking at the “active Web” in determining site authority.

It’s time consuming, but participating in forums and social sites and getting blog owners to run your articles with your linked anchor text included can be worth your time. But remember, relevance is a basic rule in online marketing consulting.

Are You Getting Clean Links?

When you get a link on a site, do you go look at the page’s source code? Is there anything extra in the “href” tag on the link? Is the site using redirect code? Is there a “nofollow” in the site’s meta data? If there is, the link is useless to you. It won’t pass any authority to your site because that code tells the search engines not to follow the link. Make sure you’re getting clean links.

When you’re on a tight budget and trying to develop your site and get higher search rankings, it can be a tough decision to work online marketing consulting into your thinking. The Web used to be pretty much a do-it-yourself place. That all started to change in 2004 when people began talking about “Web 2.0.”

It’s harder than ever to judge quality link building in the new world of Web applications and social networking. You can do it, but try to stay up to speed on what the online marketing consultants are recommending as good strategies. The Web is changing all the time. Good link building takes time and effort; you don’t want to waste those any more than you want to waste money during hard times.

Quick Link Building Tips

Link building is the most dreaded task of all serious SEO’s. Here are five quick and easy backlink building tips that you can apply today!

Link Building Tip #1 – Get Active in Your Community

I’m not talking about joining the local country club here (although that would be fun…), but rather about joining forums that are relevant to your niche. You want to find a forum (or forums) that is active and well ranked, and place your link in your “signature” section. This way, whenever you contribute to the forum (i.e. say something), you’ll be building backlinks. It is vital that your posts are of informational and educational use, and that you don’t just abuse the system in order to gain links. You’ll get banned quicker than you can say “backlink” if you do this. Contributing to the community is of the essence here.

Link Building Tip #2 – Suss Out Your Competition

Write down the website addresses of the top five results for your desired keyword. Then, using Google, type in “link:website” (replace website with the actual website address). This will show you where each site is getting their links from (well, most of them in any case) and hopefully spark some ideas for your site.

Link Building Tip #3 – Get Writing…

Writing and submitting articles is definately one of the most popular link building tactics around. You simply write a short article (400 – 600 words) and publish it on as many article directories as possible. Each directory will allow you to place your link in the “resource box”, thus growing your number of backlinks. You might be wondering “But what do I write about?”. The answer is simple – write about your area of expertise. So if you’re a handyman, write about some basic DIY tasks that people can carry out. Write how-to’s, 101’s and the like – Just give it some thought, it’s well worth it…

Link Building Tip #4 – Submit To Directories

Wherever there is an industry, you’ll find directories, especially on the internet. Do a search for your keyword and the word “directory”. Sign up to as many of them as possible – it’s a free link every time, and you might even find organic traffic (people) finding you on these directories (that’s what they’re there for, after all).

Link Building Tip #5 – Get Blogging

My final tip is to get blogging, or at least commenting on other people’s blogs. Have a look for relevant blogs and post some useful comments where suitable. Each comment will earn you a free link, plus potential direct traffic if the blog is popular and well followed. A word of warning though – make sure that the blogs don’t use “nofollow” tags, as this will render your link null and void in the eyes of the search engines.

And there you have it! Five easy link building tips that you can apply today. Best off all – they’re all absolutely free… Remember, link building is an ongoing exercise, and the more you make it a habit, the easier it will become. The only cost is your time and effort.

Five Tips To Increase Your Backlinks

Getting a top position in the search engines is no easy task. The key to achieving this is constantly building links to your site – here are five simple strategies…

Put Pen to Paper

Whatever industry or niche you’re in, you should have an above average knowledge of that topic, so put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) and write some informative short articles (300 – 500 words) that would appeal to your target market. You can either syndicate these articles through article directories, or head to the publishers and try to get them published on high ranking sites. Doing both is always a good idea. Every time your article gets published, you score free links – so get going now!


Explore the realm of social bookmarking and get your links featured on as many social networks are possible. The potential for a viral linking explosion is huge in any social network, so work on a good value offer to promote to these networks (something free and useful).

Break Into the Forum Community

By registering on, and actively participating in forums that are relevant to your niche, you can quickly build up the number of back links to your website using your signature file (provided that they allow this and that the links are “dofollow”). Whilst the “SEO weight” of these links is debatable, you still get the benefit of publicity and who knows, you could learn a thing or two whilst online! A word of warning though – don’t spam the forums with rubbish comments purely to score back links to your site – you’ll get kicked out pretty quickly.

Follow Some Blogs

Blog commenting is quite a popular link building technique in the SEO community. You simply follow some popular blogs in your niche or industry, and provide constructive comment where suitable, leaving your link in the comment. Make sure that the blogs are “dofollow” type, as the “nofollow” ones are useless.

Differentiate or Die

This classic business phrase has a slightly different meaning in terms of link building. When building links (whatever method you may use), always try to differentiate your anchor text used across the web – at least to a certain degree. Having identical links and anchor text all over the web is likely to raise a brow with the search engines.

Most importantly, commit to the journey of link building.

The best link building strategy is a long term, consistent one. Set a target for how many links you want to build monthly, and aim to achieve this amount every month. Be patient and have a little faith – your hard work will be rewarded.

10 Steps To Getting The Click

There are a number of steps a webmaster can take to encourage visitors to “click” on a link or graphic located on their website. The following steps will help “get the click

1. Colors

Use contrasting colors for links. This makes the links easier to discern from other text on a web page. Also, avoid placing links against a patterned background, as it will make it much more difficult to read the link text. Bottom line, the link color should stand out from the rest of the web page, and be easy to locate.

2. Link Traits

Underlining is still the universal indication of a link. Using the “underline” for links will send a clear message to website visitors about which text on the webpage is just text, and which text is actually a hyper-link. And along this line of thought, you should avoid using underlining for text that is not a link, just to avoid confusion.

3. Visible

Make all the links visible. Do not hide the links or navigation on a web page. Avoid using scripting to display links, as these links will not be visible to website visitors who have turned scripting off in their browser for security reasons.

4. Textual

Text links have a higher rate of clicks than linked images. The one exception is typically a “Buy Now” button, which tends to be more effective than text-only “Buy Now” links. Keep this in mind when creating a linking scheme for your website.

5. Consistent

The location of links should be consistent as the visitor moves from page to page through your website. Do not move links around as the content of the web page changes.

6. Position

Place important links in a location that is easy for the website visitor to see without having to scroll. Position important links “above the fold” on the website.

7. Font Style & Size

In order to make links easy for the visitor to see, be sure to use a font style and size that can be easily read.

8. Graphic Links

If you use image links, the clickable graphics should be vibrant and should stand out from the other content on the page. Use bright or bold contrasting colors for the graphic. Be sure to include appropriate ALT text for each linked image, so the visitor will have an indication of the material being linked to as they move their mouse over the graphic.

9. Split-Test

Conduct split-testing by changing colors and moving links around, and then monitor and track which options and locations result in the highest number of clicks. What may seem intuitive is not always as obvious as you might think.

10. Fresh Eyes

Ask a friend or family member to navigate your website. It may surprise you to learn what they see and where they click. A fresh set of eyes will give a good indication of how others will perceive your website and the clickable content.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Top 5 Semantic Search Engines

“Semantic” is a word with a magic ring to it in search engine circles. The way it’s hyped makes you suspect it is the second coming of search. Hypes make me skeptical and I have been biding my time, waiting for the technology to mature. Now the time has come and I’m glad to present the top 5 semantic search engines.

What is semantic search?
A semantics search engine attempts to make sense of search results based on context. It automatically identifies the concepts structuring the texts. For instance, if you search for “election” a semantic search engine might retrieve documents containing the words “vote”, “campaigning” and “ballot”, even if the word “election” is not found in the source document.

An important part of this process is disambiguation, both of the queries and of the content on the web. What this means is that the search engine — through natural language processing — will know whether you are looking for a car or a big cat when you search for “jaguar”.

The five search engines below all use semantic analysis to sift through and present data. But, as you will see, they do not do this in the same way and present five different products.

When to use semantic search engines

Semantic search has the power to enhance traditional web search, but it will not replace it. A large portion of queries are navigational and semantic search is not a replacement for these. Research queries, on the other hand, will benefit from semantic search.

Read on to see our list of the top 5 semantic search engines and learn how they can improve your search experience.


Hakia is a general purpose semantic search engine, as opposed to e.g. Powerset and Cognition (below), that search structured corpora (text) like Wikipedia.
Hakia search results are organized in tabs: Web results, credible sites, images and news. Credible sites refer to results from sites that have been vetted by librarians and other information professionals invites by Hakia to identify credible web sites.
For some queries (typically popular queries and queries where there is little ambiguity), Hakia produces resumes. These are portals to all kinds of information on the subject. Every resume has an index of links to the information presented on the page for quick reference.
The elements of these resumes will vary according to the nature of the query (e.g. biography, bibliography, timeline etc. for persons, government, economy, culture etc. for countries). Resumes are excellent for researching a topic and are my favorite Hakia feature.
Often, Hakia will propose related queries, which is also great for research.
For instance, if I search for Barack Obama, Hakia suggest I might be interested in information about Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Sarah Palin, John McCain, John Sununu and Joseph R. Biden Jr. as well.
For some queries Hakia presents really poor results, but it is still in beta and is improving rapidly.


SenseBot is a web search engine that summarizes search results into one concise digest on the topic of your query. The search engine attempts to understand what the result pages are about. For this purpose it uses text mining to analyze Web pages and identify their key semantic concepts.
This way SenseBot helps you get a better grasp of what the relevant term is about. In this way you do not have to go through a large number of web pages and comb through results with incomprehensible expert definitions (or any definitions at all).
The summary serves as a digest on the topic of your query, blending together the most significant and relevant aspects of the search results. It contains a tag cloud, relating your query to other relevant concepts and a list of sentences believed to define or describe your query. Each sentence is followed by a link to the source.
Not all of the summaries are informative or even intelligible, but that is likely to improve; Like Hakia, SenseBot is in beta. This is bleeding edge technology — it’s evolving as we speak.
Read our review of SenseBot.


Powerseet is at present not a regular web search engine. It works best on smaller, relatively structured corpora.
The technology offers a comprehensive view of such information. You can test it on Wikipedia and Powerset definitely excels at this, structuring the information and presenting it in a way that, for research purposes, is a great improvement on Wikipedia’s own search engine.
You can enter keywords, phrases, or simple questions in the search box. On the search results page, Powerset often answers questions directly. My favorite feature is the way it aggregates information from across multiple articles.
“Factz” is a box that often appears in the search results and is a set of suggestions for reference queries based on the information available. For instance, when I search for Obama, Powerset offers links to information on what Obama has said about Robert Gates, Middle East, Pakistan, trade and more. Clicking one of these links brings up a box in the search results page with the actual words said by Obama and links to the articles in which the quotes appeared.

DeepDyve DeepDyve is a powerful, professional research tool available for free for the general public.
It is a research engine that lets you access expert content from the “Deep Web”, the part of the Internet that is not indexed by traditional search engines (e.g. databases, journals etc.).
Researchers, students, technical professionals, business users, and other information consumers can search Wikipedia or deep web resources within these categories: Life Sciences and Medical, Physical Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Business and Finance, Patents, Legal, Clean Technology and Energy, IT and Engineering.
Research sites’ search engines often rely on Boolean languages or hard-coded taxonomies, which constitutes a threshold and makes them hard to use (or even inaccessible) to anyone but insiders. DeepDyve is an advanced yet easy interface to these valuable sources of information.
Your query can consist of anything from a single word to 25 000 characters. The search results are presented in a complex manner with many advanced options for refining, sorting or saving your search. Despite the complexity, the search results are relatively easy to navigate.


Cognition has a search business based on a semantic map, built over the past 24 years, which the company claims is the most comprehensive and complete map of the English language available today. It is used in support of business analytics, machine translation, document search, context search, and much more.
You can use Cognition’s technology to search one of four bodies of information:
• (currently 1,858 volumes consisting of 675,704 files of federal case law in XHTML format). The release comprises US Supreme Court Decisions and Court of Appeals decisions from 1950 on.
• MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online) Abstracts: abstracts for life sciences and biomedical information from an international literature database. It covers the fields of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and health care, as well as fields with no direct medical connection, such as molecular evolution (currently 18,005,903 files).
• The English version of Wikipedia
• The complete New English Translation including text and translator notes of the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, John and Mark.
We tested Cognition on Wikipedia. On this huge volume of text, Cognition is especially useful for sorting out meaning in complex queries:
• Phrases like “historical houses of worship & historical temples”
• Meaning: “worker on strike” vs. “strike oil in California”
• Classes like “Indian tribes of Latin America” or “diseases of North American trees”
The technology that goes into solving queries like this is impressive and Cognition gives you valuable control over the assigning of meaning and classes in a user friendly way.
The presentation of the search results is less than perfect, though, and I wish the cognition team would learn from Hakia or Powerset in this regard.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Make best use of Manual Directory Submission

The main goal of any website owner is to increase the traffic to his website. One way of achieving the goal is to submit the website manually in web directories. Submitting the website manually includes visiting every directory one by one and submitting the link of the website manually over and over again. Several companies take the difficulty of submission on their own for a fee, thus solving your problem. The benefits of manual submission get along a far road as the directory entries are of best quality and pose a greater result of being accepted and indexed.
Website directories usually accept all kinds of websites and then categorize them into different categories. Visitors who are in search of new and interesting information on the internet often bump into web directories. The more the visitors to your site, the better will be conversion link. Though there is one automatic submission process which makes the process of submitting links easy and in short time, but it will be regarded as spam by search engines. Automatic submission will make hard for the website to have a good rank on search engines. These days, most directories have installed Google Analytics to track the submission made by automated software, so one needs to be careful.
Manual submission makes the website owner to have higher control over submission process. Moreover, you can become specific by choosing the categories wherein the link can be submitted which is not provided by automated submission. With the implementation of Captcha code, usage of automated submission will limit the number of directories where you can submit to. Thus, purchasing automated directory submission software is a sheer waste of money. It is better to submit the link manually. The time that the web directory takes for listing the site depends on particular search engine or directory used. Although the process is tiresome, labor intensive and cost effective to build, but it offers better control over submissions.
While submitting the link to web directories, all that is needed is to fill out a submission form and your conformation as well as following guidelines and terms. The most crucial benefit derived from manual submission is that the quality of content and link will always be reviewed by human editor, thus increasing the credibility of the site.
Before submitting the link of your website, it is necessary to make sure that one’s website is designed in right way to take most of the advantage of traffic that is directed by submission in varied categories. While submitting, you must write title as well as link text while utilizing niche keywords. There must be a brief description of the website written in effective and attractive manner. You do not have to repeat the words and remain factual all the time. The content in your website must be keyword based.
Manual submission of website link to the web directories brings in traffic to your site and helps in topping the charts in search engine rankings.

Importance of SEO Companies

All the websites that are present on the Internet needs SEO services or better say effective SEO services to get noticed as they strive to reach their targeted customers by attaining higher search engine rankings. Some people might argue that their website ranks topmost in the search engine rankings and they do not require SEO services. But this is not true for the website. Even a website with the top ranking requires optimization services to maintain their position on search engines. This is because SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a ferocious circle that requires constant ongoing efforts from experts who work on the behalf of the webmaster to fight an uphill battle in the search engine results.

What do they do?

A professional search Engine Optization Companies helps you support the identity of your website at an international level on the Internet. They bring into the notice of the Internet services, users and products that are being offered at your company's website. Strategic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques are utilized for website promotions. As your website ranks on the top positions in the search engine result pages, the traffic on your website is increased tremendously.

How do they do it?

Scrutinizing the behavior of the Internet users allow SEO companies to develop new ways of promoting a website. Reliable SEO company experts also keep a constant eye on the frequent amendments that are made in the search engine algorithms and device their SEO strategies accordingly.
Long term benefits promised by professional SEO Company
If you wish to benefit in the long term from the advantages of professional provider, make sure they employ only white hat SEO techniques. Some of the best white hat SEO techniques that professional companies use for the long term success of a website are:

1. Link building - Inbound links, diverting the Internet users to the main website are created by the SEO experts all over the Internet on blogs, discussion forums and social networking sites. Reciprocal links are also made with websites that share a similar theme.

2. Selection of the right keywords - Accurate selection of keywords is also necessary for the success of a website promotion. The chosen keywords should attract relevant traffic to the website. The competence of these keywords must be checked.

3. "Content is the king" - This phrase is indeed true and holds a lot of importance in the Search Engine Optimization world. Search Engine Optimization consultants ensure that the content of the website is original, up-to-date, easy to read and have the appropriate keyword density. Over stuffing of keywords unnaturally may draw the suspicion of spamming towards the website. So, professional firms are quite alert in this regard.

4. Blogs, article and press release submission - As updated information is necessary to achieve higher rankings, press releases, blogs and articles are written by expert writers associated with professional SEO firms and the link of the website is included in the author's bio.

5. Web designing - Last but not least, the website designing of the company is also checked by the affordable SEO Amendments are Company are made in the website so as to make it search engine friendly.

Hence, the need for a professional SEO company and its affordable SEO services is irrefutable for online success of a website and business.

Planning a marketing strategy for the online businesses

Marketing is often considered as the backbone of any sort of business, whether it is an online business or offline business. Marketing is the only proper way to notify the target customers about the business, so that they can go into business deals with the company. If the target customers cannot get to know about a business, then cannot make any sort of deal with that company which is a sure loss for the company. Now, if the business is an online business; then the main tool for marketing is the website. Promoting the website to the worldwide target customers should be the main aim of the website owners. The more people they can reach, the better is the chance of success for that business. However, this is a very difficult task and only proper Search Engine Optimization tool can help the websites to reach the worldwide target customers. To get noticed by the worldwide internet users, the website must attain superior rank in the search engine; this is only known way to reach the target customers from all over the world.

Search Engine Optimization has helped the website owners to a large extent in promoting their business. It is often considered as the backbone of the websites. Without proper marketing online strategy it is almost impossible for any website to get proper business deals. When any website is published in the internet, it remains invisible to others. At that moment, the websites need proper Search Engine Optimization which helps the websites to rise up in the page rank of the search engines. After few months of proper website optimization, the websites succeed in attaining superior rank in the search engine’s pages. And at this time it gets highly noticeable to worldwide target customers. SEM tools have proved to be extremely essential for the progress of the websites in the cyber world; without proper optimization no website can survive in the tough competition of the internet market.

Website optimization consists of two main steps; the on-page optimization and off-page optimization. Both of these optimization processes are extremely important for the websites. In the on-page optimization, the SEO companies perform several tasks on the pages of the websites and for that they may even have to hire a programmer. On-page optimization is pretty difficult, but can help the advancement of the websites to a large extent if properly conducted. Besides this, the off-page optimization is also very important for the websites; it is not as difficult as the on-page optimization but helps the websites to a large extent. The Search Engine Optimization companies which can perform both these optimization techniques successfully and completely, succeed in helping the websites get a superior rank in the pages of the search engines. When any website owner goes for a Search Engine Optimization company, he should always go for the experienced and efficient ones. SEO management techniques are pretty complicated and only the experienced SEO companies which have adequate knowledge on the internet market condition can succeed in helping the website owners reach their goal.

Why Choose Local Search Engine Marketing

The potential of the Internet is no longer unknown to the global citizens in this technology-enabled century. Today, the Internet is an integral part of our lives and it is the focus around which all our social and commercial lives revolve. Nowadays, before we go out to purchase anything, we make a thorough research of the product on the net. As an industrialist, it should be our attempt to utilize the websites to promote and represent our products appropriately. Search Engine Optimization is a set of techniques that helps to improve the projection of the visibility of your website in the search results which are produced by the primary search engines. There are several such techniques that are legally permissible that can get your web site's visibility much better in the search results; local search engine marketing is one such techniques.

History of local search engine marketing

If you are a technology-enabled industrialist, you must be knowing that through the medium of your website, you can reach out to nearly all probable customer across the world. You also have the opportunity to deliver your and services to almost every possible country by the means of shipping companies. But there is a truth which you cannot afford to disregard. Every business carries out a good amount of its dealings in a restricted geographical area near the place where it is located. This is very normal when you are looking at it from its operational and logistical standpoints. Therefore one out of the many in the set of SEO techniques is what is called local SE marketing.

What is this local search engine marketing?

This particular concept mainly depends on local search engines and directories. These offer you to join them and set up your own profile. They also allow you to post your link. There are several search engines which work in specific regions and countries. These are approached by people who look for regional products and services. You can get a good chance for a better search-rank in this local SEs. Local Search Engine marketing targets a restricted environmental area.

Benefits of local search engine marketing

* the cost of listing in a local SE is far less than anywhere else

* you can update all matters regarding your business anytime and from anywhere

* you are provided with a free map that points out to your location

* your chances of a better visibility in other search engines are improved and you can work in accordance with other SEO methods.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Four reasons why Google might not use the anchor text in the links to your website

The text that is used in the links that point to your website has a major effect on the position of your website in Google's search results.

For example, if many people use the text "buy blue widgets" to link to your website, then it is very likely that the linked web page will get high rankings for the keyphrase "buy blue widgets" in Google's search results.

The link text (also called anchor text) is the text that is used in text links. Example:

Learn Search Engine Optimization Tips

Unfortunately, not all anchor texts will be used by Google. Check the following things to make sure that the links to your website pass the correct anchor tag:

1. The nofollow attribute

This is a no-brainer. Links to your website that use the rel="nofollow" attribute don't pass the link text to Google. Example:


2. Invalid characters in the URL

If an URL contains invalid extra characters then chances are that search engines won't be able to index the link correctly. Example:

Learn Search Engine Optimization Tips

In this example, there's a space at the end of the URL. Some webmasters found out that anchor text is not passed to Google if the link contains an extra space character.

Note that most browsers are able to correct this link and they will display the web page correctly. Unfortunately, search engine spiders seem to have more difficulty with malformed links (or they take them as a signal of low quality).

3. The links use 301 redirects

Google's Matt Cutts recently confirmed that Google won't consider all anchor texts that are used in 301 redirected links. Example:


The web server redirects "" to "" with a 301 redirect. In that case, it's likely that Google won't use the link text.

4. The first link passes the link text

If a page links twice to the same page then Google will use the first link text and discard the other link texts. Example:

A leading SEO resource focused on helping successful webmasters make money and increase their profits through driving targeted traffic to their sites by improving their rankings in Google and other major search engines will be ignored by Google.

The first and the second link go to the same URL. In this example, Google will use the link text of the first link, which is "A leading SEO resource focused". The link text of the second link will be ignored by Google.

If the second link points to another page of the linked website, then both link texts will be used by Google:

A leading SEO resource focused on helping successful webmasters make money and increase their profits through driving targeted traffic to their sites by improving their rankings in Google and other major search engines will be ignored by Google.

Six things you can do to remove bad press from the search results

No matter how good your company is, some people will always write something negative about your site, even if you tried your best to help them.

Reputation first aidSome customers might write negative comments about your company in their blogs or some of your competitors might like to damage your reputation by creating fake comments about your site.

What can you do if web pages with negative comments appear on Google's first result page for your company name?

1. Fix the problem

If people write negative reviews about your company, the first thing that you should do is to fix the problem that caused the negative review.

2. It doesn't hurt to ask

Send the webmaster of the web page with the negative review a polite email and ask for removal of the negative comments. Many webmasters will cooperate if you explain the issue.

3. Give web pages with positive comments a boost

If the webmaster does not want to remove the negative review, find websites that contain positive comments about your site.

Link to these pages from your own website to increase the link popularity of these pages. The more links the pages with the positive reviews have, the higher they will be ranking in the search results.

If appropriate, bookmark web pages with positive remarks about your website on social bookmark sites such as Digg and Delicious.

4. Ask for testimonials from happy customers

If you receive positive feedback from customers, ask them to write a review on, or similar sites.

5. Add your website to company wiki pages

Websites like allow you to create an article about your company. If your company is important enough, you might even create an entry in Wikipedia.

These Wiki pages will also appear in the search results when someone searches for your company name.

6. Make sure that your own website tops the search results

If your own website comes first for your company name then most people will click on your link and don't look further. Use IBP to make sure that your own web site has position 1 in the search engine results.

Removing negative comments from the search engine results can take some time. It's best to avoid negative experiences at the outset by providing high quality products and good customer support.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do It Yourself SEO with a Foolproof Twist

As the founder of an independent SEO firm I am asked almost daily "What is the easiest way to optimize a web site?" It is harder to answer than you might think. It depends on who is asking and what their knowledge or experience level is. But last week I read an article written by the person who taught me search engine optimization ten years ago, and I now have an answer... Learn the secret recipe, then use it.

There is no magic bullet that works on every web page like so many SEO 'miracle' books and programs would have us believe. Each page has its own unique 'secret recipe' that has to be discovered and then applied because every single page it is trying to outrank, is unique. If this seems confusing, just remember my new favorite quote that I borrowed from that author's website: "Think about it. Anyone could bake Mrs. Fields famous cookies - possibly better than Mrs. Fields herself - with the secret recipe. And that's all SEO is; knowing the secret recipe for any given web page."

And it really is that simple. We will look at how to discover the secret recipe in a moment, but first there is one crucial thing to understand about search engine optimization before you go any further:

SEO means making a web page as highly visible as possible to search engines... for a given keyword.

Just about everybody knows the first part; but too many people forget the second.

Remember that your soon to be visitor types in very specific keywords (search terms) on search engines like Google, because they are looking for something very specific.

If you know your most important keyword that is great! If not, do not waste your money on expensive keyword software that SEO professionals use. Use a free keyword tool like Google's, found at:

Just enter in the keywords that you think people are searching for to find your product or service and then check the search numbers for those and related keyword suggestions.

So what about the secret recipe? Once you know your main keyword or keywords you need to see how well your site is optimized for that term already. This is called getting your SEO Quality Score.

What you do is make a list of the most important optimization aspects of a webpage, for the search engine of your choice (because Google looks for different things than Yahoo or Bing.)

Here are ten critical factors for Google, but there are nearly 140 to be aware of...

• Keyword use in document title
• Keyword use in body text
• Link texts of inbound links
• Global link popularity of web site
• Keyword density
• Keyword position and proximity
• Number of words
• Readability level of web page
• Keyword use in H1 headline texts
• HTML validation of web page to W3C standards

Once you have all of this information for your webpage, you need to get it for the pages currently occupying the top ten positions for that keyword and then see how your page compares.
You can buy software that does a lot of this for you but it generally costs $500 to $2,500 for the ones that really work and even then you might need to buy an hour of an SEO consultant's time to help you really understand it.

Doing it yourself is very educational. You will be an SEO pro after a couple of these. So if you have the time, I would not hesitate.

In my case I did not have the time - or let's be honest, the patience - to invest what would be 20 plus hours doing this manually and not really understanding what I was looking for. At the time I was a lawn sprinkler installer looking to optimize my company webpage and knew nothing about SEO, except that it was too expensive for me to hire someone else to do it they called their SEO To Go package that reviewed my site for all 140 SEO factors and provided plain English instructions to fix every aspect of it. I did most of them and hit number two on Google.

Here's my dirty little secret... Realizing this was much easier than breaking my back in irrigation, I picked up a couple local shops as SEO customers, ordered reports for those sites, followed the directions and my SEO business was born. I no longer need their help, but it made for some easy success when I needed it most.

Knowing the secret recipe is the foolproof answer to DIY SEO. Once you have the secret recipe it's easier than you ever thought possible and you'll be laughing all the way to the bank with the money you saved.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

On Page SEO Mistakes

This section refers to SEO mistakes made on your actual website.

1. Not Targeting 1 Keyword Per Page
This is the most important facet of on page SEO yet so many people are either unaware of its importance or forget to do it. It's heaps easier to target a single keyword per page than to target 10 keywords per page. At the very maximum, you can target 2 keywords, but you should try to keep it to just one. Focusing your efforts on 1 keyword per page will get greater results quicker.

2. No Keyword In URL
The URL of each page should have the keyword you are targeting for that page. If it doesn't, then it's just going to be harder for you to get that page ranking for that target keyword. Fix up your URL if you have to because this is crucial to SEO success.

3. No Keyword in Title Tag
I cannot count the number of pages I've seen that don't have their target keyword in the title tag. Just in case you're not aware, the title tag is what appears at the top of your browser when you're on a webpage. This is the one mistake I see the most because it is so obvious when I visit a webpage. It's surprising how many home pages of websites have the word "Home" in their title tags. You MUST have the target keyword in your title tag because it will make a huge difference to your SEO efforts. This is certainly one of the top 10 SEO mistakes out there today.

4. Bad Use of Meta Description and Meta Keywords
The most common mistake regarding meta description is people not using it at all. Just in case you weren't aware, the meta description is a short description which is used to describe your website in search engine result listings. You should use it to encourage people to visit your website when they find you on the search engines. It also doesn't hurt to have your target keyword there.

Regarding meta keywords, the most common mistake people commit is putting too many keywords there. You should limit yourself to a maximum of 5 to 8 keywords because putting more will only get you punished by the search engines for keyword spamming.

5. Bad Keyword Density
Unfortunately, many people are still committing this grave SEO mistake. Some are mentioning their target keyword as much as possible on their webpage to try and get it to rank highly. It used to work in the early days on the Web when engines were not intelligent, but these days it can only result in your websites getting penalized or even banned.

On the other hand, there are also people who do not use their keyword enough on their webpages. This is equally bad because it means that the search engines have no idea as to what keyword your webpage is trying to rank highly for.

The goal should be a keyword density of 3% which is not too much and just enough for good SEO.

Off Page SEO Mistakes

This section refers to SEO mistakes made outside your website, but which hamper your website's ability to rank highly on the search engines.

6. Bad Keyword Research

Keyword research is the basis for SEO success. If you target keywords with a high level of competition, then your ability to rank highly and get traffic will be diminished in the short term. On the other hand, you should not simply target keywords because of low competition because there may not be enough people searching for that keyword. It's all about finding a balance between the number of searches and the number of websites competing for that keyword. Using tools such as the Google Keyword Tool can help you achieve that objective.

7. No Keyword in Anchor Text

Off page SEO is all about building backlinks aka links back to your website. Nevertheless, while doing that, most people forget to put their keywords in the anchor text of the backlink. For example, if "computer repairs" was the primary keyword of your website, then you want to be sure that computer repairs is in the anchor text, just like in the following:

"Visit the best computer repairs service in town."

Please note that the above is just an example.

This must be one of the most simple top 10 SEO mistakes committed today.

8. No Anchor Text Variety
While it's great to use your target keyword in the anchor text of your backlinks, you must also mix and match with other keywords. In other words, if you use the same keywords in the anchor text of 100 links, then the search engines will regard this as suspicious and will penalize your website. For this reason, you should find about 5 other related keywords and use them in your anchor text too. The greater the variety, the better your SEO results will be.

9. No Link Source Variety
There are plenty of ways to get backlinks. One of the top 10 SEO mistakes committed, however, is using only a minimal number of link sources. For example, some people simply use article marketing to get their backlinks. Others just use social media. You need to be using a variety of sources to get your backlinks. The reason why this is the case is that the more sources you utilize, the more natural the backlinks will appear to the search engines, and the higher your site will rank.

10. No Natural Build Up of Links
Building on the previous mistake, you have to make sure that the number of backlinks your website gets takes place in a natural, human-like manner. For instance, getting 300 links in just a single week will certainly grab the attention of the search engines and as a result, they will punish your website accordingly. However, if you get 300 links over the course of a month, then that will appear to be more natural and they will more likely than not reward you.

Fix Them and Then Avoid Them

I suggest that you go through all of your websites and see whether they are committing the SEO mistakes covered in this post. After correcting them, it's all about avoiding these common SEO mistakes so that your websites get the rankings and traffic they deserve.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Reverse SEO Restoring Online Reputations

Reverse SEO fits seamlessly within the context of your online reputation management (ORM) program. It is the quickest, most effective solution for dealing with bad press that has surfaced on the search engines about you or your company. By pushing negative listings from the front page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing, reverse SEO shields you from the damaging commentary of others.

Negative publicity online has become one of the most frustrating challenges for companies. It is typically anonymous. Names are often unattached to forum threads, blog posts, and even entire websites. Therefore, it is difficult to track and address the source of the complaint. Moreover, the growing popularity of social networking platforms has made it easier than ever for anyone with a mild grievance to give weight to their grudge. If you or your company have been the target of bad press online, it may be time to launch a reverse SEO campaign.

In this article, we'll clarify how negative publicity gains traction within the search engines, and how it can lead to a public relations nightmare. We'll also provide a working blueprint for executing a reverse SEO campaign and controlling the damage.

Controlling Bad Publicity With Reverse Search Engine Optimization

To appreciate why reverse SEO is effective, you should understand how negative press takes root within the top search listings in the first place. Google, Yahoo, and Bing rank pages based on a large number of criteria. If a website and its individual pages satisfy the most important of those criteria, those pages will rank well.

A lot of the bad press that targets companies (possibly even yours) is placed on websites that meet key ranking parameters in the search algorithms. That means the negative publicity can climb into the top positions and gain exposure. When people search for you or your company, they'll see the bad press. That damages your reputation.

Reverse search engine optimization is an ORM strategy that pushes negative publicity from the top search positions. By moving the bad press off the first page of listings, reverse SEO limits its exposure and stifles its impact.

Ingredients For An Effective Reverse SEO Campaign

Like search engine marketing, reverse SEO uses a methodical, multi-pronged approach to protect your online reputation. The first step is to identify the sites and pages that contain negative publicity about your company and that are ranking for important keywords. Those keywords might include your name, that of your company, or key employees.

The second step of reverse SEO is to analyze those sites and pages for their respective ranking authority. That will help you determine the effort and tools you'll need to use in order to move them from the first page of listings within Google, Yahoo, and Bing. A negative PR blitz that is spreading across social networking sites is more difficult to overcome than a single blog post that is on a non-authoritative domain.

The third step is to gather the necessary tools and execute your reverse SEO campaign. Such tools might include optimized press releases, a new network of competing sites and blogs, social media profiles, and a social bookmarking program. Reverse SEO may also include heavy content syndication to build high-quality links. A search engine marketing specialist will have these tools at their disposal.

Reverse SEO Begins Before Negative Press Emerges

The best time to launch a reverse SEO campaign is before bad publicity appears in the search engines. This is due to the way that the pages link. A page will rank well within the search engines if there are enough thematic links pointing toward it. However, once it ranks, it will gain exposure. That exacerbates the problem.

Negative press can spread rapidly as people attach the press to their own blogs, sites, forums, and social media accounts. That creates a growing portfolio of links pointing toward the damaging press, cementing its position in the top listings. It becomes more difficult to address. By launching a reverse SEO campaign upfront, you can prevent the negative publicity from gaining exposure in the first place.

Protect Your Online Reputation With Reverse SEO

Reverse SEO should play a key role in your online reputation management program. It is far too easy for unsatisfied customers, resentful employees, lazy journalists, and malicious competitors to tarnish your name. And when it happens, it is usually done under the cover of anonymity. Anonymity makes the complaint or grievance impossible to address in private.

Launch your reverse SEO campaign now - before trouble strikes and the damage begins to gain momentum in the search engines. In a year's time, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Google Duplicate Content Penalty

The truth of the Google duplicate content penalty is quite simply that there is none! If that confuses you, then you have been reading too many misinformed forums or blogs where people get stuck on some popular term that they have no idea what it means, and then profess to be experts.

The only experts on the Google duplicate content penalty, and the only people who are qualified to define it, are Google, and in Google's own words "There is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty". This comes directly from Google's Webmaster Central Blog.

That should be the end of this article, at precisely 96 words excluding title as I define my word count. But it is not. Why? Because even though this blog is operated by Google, and even though much the same has been stated by Matt Cutts, Google's main software engineer, and other Google experts, people still argue and complain about the Google 'duplicate content penalty'.

So here is the truth: you might ask who am I to know the truth, but I read all the Google blogs and their official statements, and in applying what I learn, I achieve excellent results for my web pages on Google search engine listings: and those of Yahoo, MSN and Bing. So I am coming from a sound base that my results can prove.

As a professional article writer whose customers trust to get them the best results from the articles I write, I have to be very aware of the policies and the way the algorithms work of each of the major search engines, and so I am as qualified as anybody to comment on myths such as this.

The Truth of the Google Duplicate Content Penalty

There is no duplicate content penalty. Google's major search engine function is to provide a customer the best possible results for a search, based upon the search term (keywords) that the customer has used in the Google search box.

Google's customers are not:

1. You, who use it to get your web pages listed.

2. Adwords advertisers that use Adwords to advertise their products.

3. Corporations or individuals that use it to have their web pages listed.

4. Internet marketers who recommend others to use Google for advertising or searching.

Google's customers are those seeking information, whether that is to solve a problem, where to purchase a product at the cheapest price, find a sports result or to get directions to a specific location. Everybody that uses Google uses a search term to find some information that they need. That search term is what you and I refer to as a keyword.

If Google detects several web pages offering exactly the same content, its algorithms will select that which best offers the information required and list that. It might also list one or two other pages offering exactly the same content if there are good reasons for it doing so (e.g. more links to other relevant websites, more other relevant pages on the domain, and so on).

So, not all duplicate content pages will be refused a listing. If these duplicates are articles, then the algorithms that the spiders carry on their backs will take the links from these articles into consideration, the authority of the directory on which it is published, and other factors, before deciding which should be listed. It is wrong to believe that this decision has a chronological factor, but, if you include a link in your article Resource section to your web page that contains the same article, then your page is liable to be listed above the others, partially because of a greater number of links back to it from the other copies, and partially because your entire site is liable to be more relevant than these others to information being sought by Google's customer.

This is not because yours was created first, but because it better meets Google's criterion for authoritative back-links. However, if the rest of your website is not equally authoritative, your page might be listed behind another with the same content or even not listed at all.

All of this is designed by Google so that its customer is offered the most relevant range of results to the keywords they used. That is what Google is for, and is its ultimate objective. Google will not penalize any individual or any website for publishing what you refer to as 'duplicate content', and it will take your version into consideration for publication just as any other version.

What counts in the long run is which version Google's algorithms believe to be most likely to provide the best possible information to the person seeking it, and if that means not publishing a whole host of duplicate information, then that is only fair, isn't it? If you used Google to find some information, you wouldn't want to find page after page saying exactly the same thing, would you?

No, and neither does Google. A Google listing comes from its indexing of billions of web pages that contain the keywords used by the searcher: both in relation to the entire phrase and to the individual words used in the search term. If you want your copy to be different, make some minor changes and perhaps change the form of the keywords, but most importantly, change the title and the introductory paragraph to which the crawlers will take special notice.

You then have a better chance of your version being listed along with some of the others, but remember: the next time you use the term 'duplicate content' you are using a term that does not exist in Google's vocabulary for any reason than to deny its existence. The Google Duplicate Content Penalty does not exist: the truth!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Your Corporate Identity Stand Where

Whether you direct a corporation or own an independent operation, your corporate name will set the pace and tone. However, a great business name alone will not guarantee success. Additional key factors to consider include:

--Logo design and corporate identity package--
Since a majority of people are extremely visual, a strongly designed logo can work wonders in establishing your identity. Visual design is a language in and of itself. If you don't have a logo, you are selling yourself short... if you have a poorly designed or unprofessional logo, you could be turning business away.

--Corporate Name "by-line"--
Many corporate names do not describe or even indicate the kind of products or services offered. Examples are corporate brands like J & R Industries or Red Moon. In such instances, a solid by-line can offer added valuable and concise information, lending clout to the name itself.

--Product Names--
Product names are certainly just as important as the names of the businesses that market them. But how can a product name best do its job in grabbing the attention of a customer or client? Some folks figure it's all about choosing a brand that is totally unique and unconventional like Uggs or Spanx. Others believe a descriptive name will do the trick. In the end, a name that engages emotion while providing a hint of description is likely to be the most successful. Go into any store, and you'll come across tons of product names you've never heard of, which means the product itself may be great but the brand is not. Yes, while the names Snickers, Corvette and Popsicle have proven to be tried and true winners, the same cannot be said for Edsel and Titantic.

Here are some points to consider when establishing a name for a product:

--A great name should last.
Years ago, product names were created to appeal to the public long-term. Consistent advertising campaigns turned many brands into household names. Just think of those Brill Cream ad along the highways or those for Timex that proved they "just keep ticking." But then many companies made a decision to put less emphasis on marketing a product name and more emphasis on marketing sales by focusing on price. Soon, one product name was blending with the next, and something was lost. Today, there's a move toward restoring the "personality" in a brand. And that means if you choose a ho-hum name for your product, you're likely to get lost in the shuffle. Develop a brand for your product that can work in multiple cultures for decades to come by telling a "story."

--Know what you want your product to do.
Choosing a great brand does not take place by means of committee. You could gather a roomfull of so-called experts, and have them debate winning names for hours. And in the end, you could well end up with a loser. As you begin the naming process, go out and talk with potential customers to see what they look for in a name product like yours. Do a bit of surveying, and then use that information in conjuction with your own inner sense. What feels right to you? After all, the person who gave birth to an idea is the one who really "knows" the personality.

--Stand out from the competition.
As you develop a name for your product, raise the bar for the whole industry. In other words, don't attempt to fit in with all of your competitor's names. Rather, dare to set a new standard. That's certainly what Apple Computer and Nike did with their products. When you set a new standard, the public will gravitate toward your product because of the motivational experience they believe it can produce.

--Consider your brand to be an evolving metaphor.
People love stories and metaphors because the imagination is engaged when considering imagery, and because stories and metaphors reach deeply into human experience beyond words. The "Cabbage Patch" dolls stirred imagination through the name, since this brand allowed for all kinds of evolution around the birth of these little creatures in a whimsical cabbage patch. The first name for these dolls was "Little People," a name that had nowhere near the metaphorical potential as the eventual name.

--Be sure your brand engages the emotions.
Air Jordans didn't sell because folks were interested in advanced construction of the soles. Rather, every time they thought of Air Jordans, they could picture Michael leaping to make a winning shot. Products help us connect to our dreams, and good product name will

--A great product name is supported by strong reputation and integrity.
Before introducing your product, set an internal standard that will be not only the foundation for this product but all those to come. Levi Jeans have established a high standard that has lasted through decades, giving the name an added boost.

--Don't go for "hip."
A great brand isn't contrived or forced and that means names that seem "cool" or "hip" will seldom be enduring. The public wants value in a product, and they also want value in a name.

How would you promote an enterprise that lacks a defined title or brand

In considering these questions, it doesn't take long to realize that a business name plays a huge role in letting the world know you exist. A business name is a constant touchstone, connecting your purpose with the public you serve.
Comparing Then to Now...

Naming a business in the year 2007 requires more know-how and awareness than ever before. No longer is it as simple as putting a family name on your office door or store front. Nor can you count on a blend of your first name and service description to do the trick on a business card. Sure, the likes of Henry Ford, Marshall Field and Montgomery Ward, didn't have to invest much thought or money into a unique brand. In their time, few people had the resources or know-how to start their own businesses and if they did, professional identity was considered synonomous with the family or individual that stood behind the company. In other words, naming was a no-brainer. When driving down Main Street in any town across America in past decades, you'd see a bevy of business names like Joe's Plumbing, Gloria's Boutique, McAllister Legal Services or Smith & Sons Jewelers. Back then, little thought or consideration was given to the process of business naming, since it was enough to be descriptive while identifying ownership.

We entered a new millenium, and corporate America was undergoing some big changes. Large companies reorganized, leaving many employees, who thought they had security, suddenly without a future. As giant conglomerates rescued sinking ships from imminent bankruptcy, many companies and corporations spent thousands (and sometimes millions) developing catchy, unique titles and logos to give themselves and their offshoot divisions an edge. And some of those folks facing premature retirement, decided to grab for financial freedom by giving the business world a try. Every day over the past several years, hundreds of small companies are popping up everywhere with hopeful entrepreneurs seeking to outdo growing competition with unique ideas or the best deals. The internet is now a permanent presence as an important means of marketing. With the rapid evolution of the world of business, the process of naming a professional enterprise has become more complex than ever.
So What's Important?
So what's important to consider when naming or renaming a business today? Of course, sight and sound are at the top of the list when it comes to the key ingredients in a successful brand. If a name doesn't look good on signage... or if it's tough to say, spell or remember, there won't be a lot of staying power. Secondly, a name should provide positive or intriguing associations for the greatest percentage of the probable customer base. Just about everyone loves the imagery of a star, so Starbucks couldn't go wrong choosing that word as a primary syllable in their identity. On the other hand, a term like "slimy" or "mad" might be more challenging to integrate into a name. Suggesting a pleasant mood or actively engaging the imagination could be the means to a happy ending. For instance, the moniker of Arizona spa resort, Miraval Life in Balance soothes toward relaxation while scares those who are unemployed into action!
Sight, sound and positive association are somewhat obvious components in the process of naming, but there's an often overlooked key ingredient that can break or make a brand silently... the subliminal frequency. Yes, every word in language carries a silent vibration that is generated by the vowels and consonants present in a word pattern or equation. Just like the frequency of a color will unconsciously affect human response, so too, the frequency of a word will influence the human energy field. You may hate the color pink and never wear it, but walk into a pink room and you'll find yourself calmed into a relaxed state... like it or not. In a similar way, you'll recognize a mood of solid responsibility when you see the name IBM... and you'll somehow sense that the Ritz-Carlton is all about luxury and appealing image just by hearing the name. Although subliminal frequencies of language are hidden from the five senses, a professional nameologist can readily determine the most advantageous name vibration for a particular enterprise.
Even the best business name is at the mercy of the person in charge. That means every potential business owner should evaluate his or her name for strength and balance before finalizing the name of the business... and before signing those corporate papers. Determing if you should use your middle name or initial in your business title will give you an edge as you embark on your new venture. And larger corporations would do well to evaluate the name dynamics present for CEO candidates. While the name Enron in itself was poorly structured with regard to its silent sound frequency, the name Ken Lay put a few extra nails in the impending coffin, since this is a moniker that encourages its name bearer toward impetuous action irresponsible thinking.
Finally, in the age of the internet, securing a solid internet presence is imperative. The name you choose, should have .com availability, so that your web address will be easy to find for your many customers and clients. Settling for a .net or .biz address could well have you lurking in the shadows, rather than being center-stage.
Key Ingredients for a Successful Business Name
1. Sight and sound
2. Positive association... and imaginative potential
3. A complementary subliminal influence... by way of the silent language frequency
4. Strength and balance in the name/names of the business owner and/or CEO
5. Availability of a .com internet address

Online reputation management with SEO

is the practice of consistent research and analysis of one’s personal or professional, business or industry reputation as represented by the content across all types of online media.he goal is to have people speak about your brand in a positive sense by achieving, maintaining and improving a positive online sentiment about it.

Being mentioned in social media can be a threat if not dealt with correctly, but can also generate great benefits if used the right way. It’s all about buzz and sentiment, and how you manage it."

Online Reputation Management or ORM, (* Brand Reputation Management or BRM in UK) requires more targeted optimization since the goal is to remove negative URLs from the top 1-2 pages of Google result pages.

Here are my tips for ORM:

1. Check if the website pointed to by the URL of the negative article or post has a free article submission link. Create and publish an positive and informative article regarding the ORMed website on this article website. This gives positive feedback to the ORMed website. Add links to the article that point to the ORMed website. Perform off-page optimization / link submissions that point to this article.

2. Push the lower ranked URLs higher by performing link submissions that point to these lower ranked URLs. You are in fact performing SEO for the positive URLs. This will take much of your time since you have several links (about two pages but depends on how far back from Google search results you want the offending links listed) to push higher in Google search results.

3. Use microblogging and social bookmarking sites to push the positive links higher. These sites are indexed faster by major search engines and you will see immediate results in less than an hour.

There are several websites that have more detailed info about Online Reputation Management. You just have to Google it.

What is Online Reputation Management?

It is rare that a successful long standing company does not at some stage have some kind of negative feedback from a competitor who is jealous, a dissatisfied client, a prima-donna who wants to look special or just someone who simply wants to rock the boat. Of course the vast majority of website owners do not have a problem with their reputation.

However, with more and more user- generated content media and social media opportunities, there is the danger that negative comments/posts can find themselves in the top 10 of Google, or even worse, above-the-fold on a search for your company name, individual name, brand/product name or main keywords.

I am a great believer in free speech. However, free speech has its drawbacks. Sometimes negative feedback can get written with little justification or evidence provided. This can be disastrous PR wise, especially for strong brands.

Sometimes, however, negative comments are justified. In this case, a marketing manager will still want the “negative” page on the second page of Google results. It is a bit of a problem for SEO companies to offer this service, as they could be seen as manipulating Google to the detriment of users if there is a real basis for negative comments, and could themselves face a problem with their reputation. “ABAKUS helping the XYZ cowboys to gain reputation!”. This article, however, assumes that the reputation management is justified.

Who Needs Reputation Management?

Anyone in any kind of business needs a reputation management plan, including those who are just beginning their careers.

•Career Development and Reputation Management. Anyone beginning a career or changing jobs can benefit from reputation management. One of the first things a hiring manager does when he or she receives a promising resume is to enter the name of the applicant into a search engine. As a job seeker, you want to make sure that what your potential employer sees on the internet makes the best impression possible. One incriminating photograph or inappropriate blog comment could take you out of the running immediately.

•Brand Reputation. If you’re marketing a product or service, you want to make sure that the information about your product or service floating around on the internet is positive. Consumers regularly use the internet to research purchases and will immediately write off any brand or company that has made a poor name for itself. Even one bad review can turn a consumer off completely.

•Online Crisis Aversion. If you’re running a business, you will likely undergo a crisis at some point or another. The Taco Bell incident mentioned above is a good example. Another example is Jet Blue, the airline that made its passengers sit on a tarmac for the better part of day while waiting out a storm that was tearing through the east coast. There is no doubt that a crisis of some ilk will happen to your company, and you’ll need a stellar reputation management to help you deal with it.

•Anonymous Online Defamation. Online character defamation can be a serious issue for businesses and individuals. The laws surrounding character defamation and free speech are tricky, so if you find that some anonymous person on the internet has created content about you that doesn’t present you in the best light, the quickest and easiest way to deal with it is through reputation management.

•Government Public Relations SEO. Surprisingly, government organizations haven’t been known to use SEO to its fullest potential. Electoral campaigns and international conflicts are but two of the many situations in which officials can benefit from government online PR and reputation management by making sure that internet users find positive information when they conduct online searches about public policy, tourism, and conflicts.
It’s clear that the number of people and businesses who could benefit from reputation management is immense. And both proactive and reactive reputation management are key.

What Can SEO 1 Services Do To Help?

Reputation management is an involved process, and one that you simply can’t afford to tackle on your own or leave to someone who doesn’t know how to do it well. Bad press can ruin your business, so it’s worth the time and effort to enlist the aid of someone who can do reputation management right the first time.

If the information that needs to be buried is minimal, customers can expect to see the positive effects of reputation management within a few months. For businesses that have experienced a large amount of damaging press, the process can take as long as a year. This means that you simply can’t afford to wait to start your reputation management campaign.
....Our Business Partners....

Rainrays Web Directory

Earn upto Rs. 9,000 pm checking Emails. Join now!