Online Marketing Lessons to Learn from 3 Scary Movies (Part 2)

Happy Halloween Eve! Get ready for some more lessons from scary movies:

4) Gremlins
Gremlins and links – what do they have in common? One is cute and cuddly (Gizmo/white hat) and the others are just plain nasty (Mogwai/black hat). In the movie, the bad gremlins multiply quickly and can cause havoc if left to their own devices. (If it were only so easy to kill bad links with bright light…)

As we know, there are different types of links and automated services might not be the best. Links should be earned a few at a time and not by the dozens or hundreds one day out of the month to catch up. Even Google recently said that website submission services can be harmful to your site. Proceed with caution and just like having your own Gizmo, some people just aren’t ready!

5) The Fly
In this cult classic by David Cronenberg, Dr. Brundle turns into a human fly in an experiment gone awry. His ultimate wish is to be fused with his wife and unborn child to become… you know, the ultimate fly-human-hybrid. After his plot is foiled, he begs his wife to put an end to his misery – which she does.

Does this sound familiar to your website? Some owners can go overboard with content, design, over-optimization, thin content, and questionable SEO tactics over the years. Pair that with an exact match domain and you’re bound to be buried by Google in the post Panda and Penguin world. There’s a time for it and some people just need to know when to end it all… and start over new. This means 301 redirecting your content or affected URLs to a new domain and starting fresh with new content. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Don’t let the monster consume your pride and work things out before things get any worse.

6) Friday the 13th
At the end of the film, just when you think the masked killer is dead, there he is! Not only does Jason live but he also survives 11 other sequels including trips to space, hell and an intense battle with Freddy Krueger. The same goes with SEO. Many people claim that SEO is “dead” but it has really taken a life form of its own and is constantly changing to adapt to the evolving search marketing landscape. You can go on and on about how search engine optimization is a dying art but at the end of the day it comes down to the truth – SEO lives (and so does Jason Voorhees)!

Read our previous post here and let us know what you think!

Thinking Out of the Box: 6 Link Building Strategies

Link building is increasingly becoming more important but at the same time, more complex. Nowadays, it’s about more than just tweaking your on-page SEO and submitting articles to to directories. It’s easy to give broad advice like “network with local colleges and ask for a link” or “call a related local business and ask for a link” … Here are some easy to implement ideas that can help with your link building campaign:

1) Create a free stock photo gallery – Whether you’re an avid photographer or Instagram fan, offering free use of your pictures can be a great way to get a link. It’s easy to set up a dedicated page on your site with stock photos that people can freely use. Even better, if you’re a web designer, you can offer free social networking icons, fonts, or even stylesheets – all while asking for a link back to your site.

2) Broken/dead link building – This can be a tedious process. One way to do this is to search the top terms you want to rank for and check out the top competitors. You can run a broken link check on them (like Xenu) and see if they have any broken links. It’s more than likely that they’ll have a broken or outdated link on their resources/links page. At this point, you can send a friendly email informing them of the dead link and asking (but not pressuring them) to add your link in place of this broken link.

3) Build a definition/glossary page – This strategy is great way to show that you are an expert in your field. At the same time, you’ll get to cover your most important targeted keywords and then some! Think of something like this, that will be helpful for years to come and something that can always be updated – so that people keep it in their references.

4) Wikipedia and wikis
– Although links on Wikipedia are nofollow, it’s a great addition to your backlink profile and it can bring relevant traffic your way. The key here isn’t to spam but to find relevant articles and to make citations or add to helpful “External links” at the bottom of the page. Remember, Wikipedia is not the only one out there. It’s a matter of digging around to find some more relevant ones to your business like wikidoc, AboutUs and so on.

5) Give away badges
– Post Penguin/Panda, it might not be such a good idea to get or ask for links with the same block of anchor text. Images are a great and safe way to diversify your link profile and it doesn’t take much. Many niche bloggers (tech, moms, gamers) appreciate well-made badges that they can add to their site. Think of something fun and simple, like Foursquare badges.

6) Live blogging at industry events
– Microblogging platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous combined with smartphones make it easy to live blog before, during and after events. An important part of having your posts re-shared is offering interesting insight not just mundane updates like “So excited for the seminar to begin!”. Take creative pictures, add your opinions and provide non-attendees with info that just might make them wish they were there with you!

Think Nofollow Links are Useless? Think Again!

In 2005, the infamous nofollow tag was created. When this tag is applied to a link, search engines are instructed not to take the link(s) into account for search rankings. The nofollow tag can be applied to a whole page or to each specific, individual link with the tag.

While nofollow links may seem annoying and unimportant, it’s important to remember that they’re still an important part of an effective SEO campaign. Here are some reasons why:

Helpful Links Can Still Boost Traffic: Let’s say you have some legitimately interesting or helpful links on Wikipedia, Pinterest or The Huffington Post. Even though the nofollow tag is applied to your links, people who are interested will click and be sent directly to your website. In a way, nofollow links are helpful because it encourages businesses to serve the user first and search engines afterwards.

Diversify Your Link Profile: You might think that having all “follow” backlinks is good for your site. Having no (or very little) nofollow links is suspicious because it’s not a part of a natural link profile. It’s only natural to share your site and promote it on different kinds of sites (with all different kinds of anchor text) – even if the sites apply nofollow. Your business is not only self-contained and it’s expected that you’ll gather some nofollow links here and there. A more natural profile with nofollow links from trustworthy and reliable sites is better than having dofollow links from low ranking or shady sites.

Raise Brand Awareness: Commenting on forums and Q&A sites are an easy way to share your knowledge and insights. It’s reasonable to see someone leave a link like “Your Name @ This Company“. This is just another way to build your social network and show that you are a real person who is interested in connecting with others. There are many users browse certain sites regularly and commenting consistently will help them become more familiar with your web presence.

Before you think about writing off nofollow links completely, think again. For more information about link building strategies for your small business, contact our Los Angeles internet marketing company at 323-340-4010 or send us an online message. We look forward to hearing from you!

Quick… Think Links!

link buildingGoogle algorithm updates are currently putting links in the hot spot, but there is good reason to always be thinking about them instead of just sometimes. In the world of SEO, link building is becoming more complex and can’t just be an automated after thought. That is, unless you want to get nailed by the reoccurring Panda and Penguin updates!

Theories about link building can be confusing and it’s hard to keep up with current and outdated strategies. Here’s a quick refresher on 4 common linking topics:

Diversity as a Goal: Automated link submissions are seen as spammy because you can easily create hundreds of the same links. Not only is this not helpful for user experience, but it also makes your link profile look suspicious. Manual link building is encouraged because you can achieve a diverse portfolio of links. But here’s where the “catch” comes in, as Google is cracking down and devaluing or even penalizing links that look unnatural in their eyes.

What’s Your Anchor Text?: Exact match anchor text is also being devalued because it’s not natural to gather a lot of those links. Relying on these types of links can quickly get you penalized for over optimization. Instead, it’s natural and more likely to have partial match keywords as well as a good percentage of anchor text such as: your company name, your site’s URL, and generic words like “home and “click here”. These linking practices are undesirable from an SEO standpoint, but it’s still good nowadays to have a few thrown into the mix.

Don’t Forget About Images: Whether you want to call it hesitation, paranoia or even fear over anchor text, you can integrate the use of linking images. This is a good time to think outside of the box and broaden your SEO assets so that you’re not just counting on text links. Check out this article on Pinterest optimization that is also extremely helpful for optimizing pictures in general.

Deep Links: Here we go again – always linking to your home page might sound like the best and most convenient strategy, but it’s really just a bad habit. As we all know, bad habits are hard to break. Depending on your anchor text, you’ll want that link to point to the specific page of content on your site The goal is to connect your inside pages together and show that the related pages are relevant. This can help improving indexing of new pages and increase click through rates.

Using effective online organic strategies to create links is so important because they are what is pointing back to your website. A diverse and reliable link profile will strengthen your web site’s reputation, while sporadic and shoddy links create a weak foundation. This is why negative SEO is such a scary thought because bad links can literally destroy your visibility in search engine results. Do you have any other thoughts on link building?

Sitemaps: The Spider Webs of Organization

sitemapAs if creating, designing and editing content isn’t enough to worry about, there’s also the important task of organizing it. That’s where sitemaps come into play.

A sitemap is a page where you keep a list of all the important pages on your site. Much like a table of contents page, it’s a place where users can find a comprehensive list of all your content and find what they’re looking for. Depending on the size of your site, it’s acceptable to have multiple sitemaps for the sake of simplicity and ease. Remember, adding new pages to your site means that your sitemap should also be updated.

Some myths to keep in mind: Adding a link on your sitemap doesn’t guarantee that Google will crawl it. Adding links to a sitemap is not an easy fix to get your content crawled and indexed. Instead of waiting for it to happen, you have to actually have to go out there and create or earn it. This is where link building comes into play. The more relevant links that are pointing to your web page, the more likely it is to get indexed.

Google also likes it if you have a sitemap.xml file. In here, you’ll keep track of your pages along with a note of how often you update the page (monthly, weekly, daily, never). This is all fine for record keeping but like so many other things they’re so cryptic about, Google doesn’t explicitly say that having an updated sitemap.xml file will help your rankings in any way. Go figure…

There are many tools and free resources you can use to automatically generate a sitemap file for your site. Remember to use them with caution and review before updating. You can use a free broken link checker like Link Sleuth to make sure that every link works before making it live!

A Balanced Link Building Plan

link building balanceLinks, links, links. The more, the better… right? WRONG. This misconception started long ago and sadly, the myth still continues to this day. Your link building or keyword advertising campaign should consist of much more than just a one-dimensional view of obtaining links.

When it comes to link building, many people take a look at it from 2 main ways: internal links or external links. Whereas some people overload their web pages by interlinking, others go crazy by buying/submitting hundreds of links at once. In order to diversify and build quality links, you’ll consider a good mix of the following:

Comments, directory submissions, social networking, social bookmarks, infographics, widgets, videos, article submission sites, .edu/.gov links, blogs, press releases, and even paid links (in some rare cases).

That’s just some of many places where you can build links. What about how you link? Different types of anchor text include:

URL, company/brand name, exact match anchor text, partial match anchor text, and even your name.

Search engines love to see a variety of different links coming from a variety of different (and reputable sites). If your link building campaign consists of utilizing one or two method (multiplied by hundreds), this not only look unnatural, but it can also devalue those links that are pointing to your website.

Here’s a good example. If you’re selling handmade crafts, it would look unnatural to link a keyword like beautiful handmade gemstone jewelry hundreds of times. I mean really, who would use those exact words except for your own company? Instead, you should also use your brand name, variations of the keyword and even images. This is why many experts in the industry prefer to use partially matched anchor text because it’s more safe and stable in the long run.

Although there is no right way to build links, I sure think there is a wrong way – and that is utilizing too much of the same anchor text from a handful of domains. Diversify your anchor text, types of links and even look at no follow links as your friend (in moderation). All these techniques add up to a more natural link building profile that search engines definitely favor.

What Are Your Search Marketing Resolutions?

Now that 2011 is almost over, it’s time to think about some online marketing resolutions. Do you have any good ones? If not, here are some ideas. Remember, social and local are going to play a bigger role!

1) Share your content in the right places – If you’re going to have new content, it helps to promote it in updates, press releases and social sharing. And we’re not just talking about Facebook and Twitter. Since infographics are so “hot” right now, you’ll be missing out if you don’t take the next step and share it on sites like Visual.ly Your new content will do you know good if it just sits there on your site.

2) Learn about your marketing company – A few days ago, we saw the fatal blunder from Ocean Marketing, the PR company behind the popular Avenger controller. Long story short, the owner of this PR company treated a customer very disrespectfully and the email went viral on Penny Arcade. As a result, the controller, which had about a 4 star rating on Amazon has now dropped to a 1 star rating. There are many search marketing firms out there, so make sure to do your research before you choose one to represent your brand. After some more digging, users have found that Ocean Marketing’s website has blatantly plagiarized content from other SEO firm websites!

3) Pay more attention to social media – If you haven’t heard, Google+ Status Updates Now Appearing in Organic Search Results. Social factors has always played a big role in better search engine rankings, but they are becoming more important as search engines view this customer engagement as trust and relevancy.

4) Act natural when it comes to organic optimization – This one holds true from link building, blogging to social networking! For example, take a look at link building – you need a good mix of do follow and no follow links across a variety of trustworthy and related domains. Anchor text that you use shouldn’t be what you want it to be, but what customers are actually searching. And your social media updates shouldn’t be completely automated, but carefully thought out with the right personality behind your brand.

Get ready for a happy new year! When it comes to organic online marketing, let us know what are you looking forward to in 2012!

Life After Google Panda Updates and Link Building

link building

Love it or hate it, link building is still an important part of SEO after the massive Google Panda updates.

The quality of your inbound links is becoming more important as Google Panda updates have shown us.  Although these updates are aimed at getting rid of “content farms” and lower quality links, many people’s rankings have been hurt by the recent Google Panda 2.2 updates.  For example, many people who used to rank well for certain phrases using article submission sites have now seen drastic drops. Of course, you know Google is already preparing version 2.3!

Because of these updates and changes to Google’s search algorithm, quality links have become increasingly important. Overall, the point of these updates is to help you recognize and ultimately remove low ranking on site pages and off site content in order to improve user/customer experience.

And with the debut of Google +,  you bet that social media activity is becoming more important in determining your search engine rankings! Back to my point of link building – it’s crucial to continue your efforts on a consistent basis. Here are a few good link  building resources that are sure to be helpful.

Taking the 7 Link Challenge

It’s time to take the 7 Link Challenge with Darren Rowse of Problogger:

Your first post
I remember this took a lot of time and editing for two measly paragraphs. I haven’t really looked back on it but it’s cool to see that it has gotten 21 retweets! Using Twitter to Achieve a Higher Search Ranking

A post you enjoyed writing the most

I was suffering from a case of writer’s block and didn’t really know what to write about. Sometimes, it’s good just to force yourself to write and you’ll find a topic that is inspiring. Add Pieces of Flair

A post which had a great discussion

A recent guest blog post that got a lot of comments for and against the EZineArticles WordPress plugin. 3 Social Media Tools That Help Bloggers Interact with Readers

A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written

I wish I wrote a valuable resource that other bloggers bookmarked and referred to. For me, it’s Chris Brogan’s 100 Blog Topics I Hope You Write.

Your most helpful post

It was helpful for me to write this post because I was researching link building resources. Hopefully, readers learned about different types of links. What’s Your Link Building Focus?

A post with a title that you are proud of

A fun topic to think and write about. I think the title sums the post up nicely. Does the New Facebook Make You Miss the Old MySpace?

A post that you wish more people had read

It would be nice to get more input about this topic and see what other people think about the topic. Does Social Media Help or Harm Your Blogging Efforts?

OMS Long Beach ’10 Overview

Yesterday, half of the Emarketed team got up bright and early for OMS Long Beach. It was a day filled of learning and we attended 8 back-to-back seminars in all! There was a different mix of attendees: traditional marketers, internet marketers, specialists and others just looking for some more information about the latest in online marketing.

So many speakers, but who was the most memorable? Jeff Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak , was definitely the most entertaining. He was even available to sign some copies of his new book. Then, there were the many facts that the presenters threw at us. I was surprised by this one from Chris Anthony of Exact Target: regular coupons have a redemption rate of 1% while mobile coupons hover around 5-10%!

Now, on to the different topics. I focused on attending the SEO seminars, so here are some new takeaways that I got from the speakers:

Link Building and SEO Takeaways

Don’t worry, these aren’t lame tips like “write creative content” or “add entertaining pictures”. I hope you learn something new from these takeaways!

  • Catfish of Business Online offered a unique idea: Offer free WordPress themes or embeddable widgets for users with a link back to your site.
  • Use a bulk 404 checker for pages and links you might have lost after undergoing a website redesign.
  • Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures stresses the importance of getting as many different links from many different websites as you possibly can. Some easy ones: 123people, flavors.me, LinkedIn, BusinessWeek and even asking friends and family.
  • You can re-purpose old content to make it new again. If you write a lot about a certain topic, you can target different people and write it for their perspective. Example: If you write about social media, tailor it if you write for social media for non profits.

Overall, it was a very educational field trip but we forgot to take a group picture, once again! Next time for sure…
If you’re looking to attend a local social media event of your own this summer, make sure to check out Mashable’s list of upcoming events.