When Should You Use a 301 Redirect?

This Google video recently came out and confirmed what many people have always believed to be true – using a 301 redirect doesn’t dilute any link juice. The myth of lost link power has been dispelled by Matt Cutts himself. In his exact words, “The amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link.

This makes sense, as using a 301 redirect is permanent, compared to the temporary 302 direct. Make sure to notify Google when making a change of address. Here are some other common reasons to utilize a 301 redirect on your site:

Change URL for vanity or business purposes – Did you changed your business name or pick something more memorable? A 301 redirect will help direct customers to the right place and ensure that you don’t lose any traffic during this transition.

Getting rid of mispelled or non SEO-friendly URLs
– In the past, some marketing companies (or DIYers) got stuck with using CMS that didn’t allow for custom SEO-friendly URLs. Having a string of alphanumeric characters for a page that should be named, for example, dog-toys.html would be more helpful and a 301 redirect can help you achieve exactly that.

Use only one version of your website address
– For example, directing “website.com” or “website.com/index.html” to “www.website.com”. People can get into the bad habit of using different versions of their URL. Using a 301 redirect can help you clean up this mess.

Merging 1 or more websites
– Back when search engines didn’t notice when website owners had multiple properties, it was fine to have as many different sites as you wanted. Nowadays, this is something to stay away from… which could mean merging pages from your smaller, less visited sites into your main site. Using a 301 redirect would help you retain the backlinks from those mini-sites and strengthen your main site.

Cleaning up content pages
– More content can’t take the place of quality content and some website owners are paying the price for that now. Having pages full of thin or spammy content dilutes the quality pages that are on your site. To clean up these muddy waters, you might want to have 1 (or a very select few pages) that focus on a particular topic.

Read more best practices on SEOmoz and HubSpot. Have any other questions on 301 redirects or using htaccess? Comment and let us know below.

Are More Keywords Better for SEO?

This post is brought to you by an actual conversation I had this past week:

“If I add all related keywords related to my site, why do I need to do anything else?”

Unfortunately, many people have this same point of view when it comes to how online organic SEO works. Search engine optimization is a constant process that needs to be updated to the changing industry and search engine algorithms. But it can be confusing when you ask yourself why it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it process once you add as many keywords that you can possibly think of.

As we can’t emphasize enough, accurate and detailed keyword research is vital to any successful SEO campaign. Search engine and search users are more sophisticated than most people think!

The Google Keyword Tool is an effective and free way to research:

Which keywords to use: lawyer or attorney, expert or professional, best or great, shop or store, sofa or couch? Check the data and you’ll see that some phrases that you think are similar have much different search data.

Search competition: Do you want to rank well for a phrase that has half a million + competitors? This will require an aggressive plan that takes place over a course of many months. In the mean time, you can conquer other phrases with less competition by using the right long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords: These will usually run from 2 to 5 words and are usually descriptive adjectives that help better describe your product/service. Affordable hotel room, luxury day spa etc.

Search volume: There’s no point in ranking well for a phrase that no one is searching for! And with what we’ve mentioned about competition, it isn’t so effective to go after competitive keywords that get the most search volume. You’ll want to find a middle ground that matches your SEO manpower and monthly budget.

SEO involves more than just throwing together a page, adding all “relevant” keywords and calling it a day. The keywords you choose should be about quality and not quantity because let’s face it… choosing the right keywords is an art in itself. But it’s how you use them, afterwords. Check out this oldie-but-goodie resource by Rand Fishkin on how to “perfectly” optimize a page.

Does Your Business Need SEO Now or Later?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s the most important things we like to put off for later? When’s something is confusing or we’re not really sure what to make of it, those are the things that we save for much, much later.

When it comes to search engine optimization, it could hurt your business to wait until later (or never at all) to get started on a search marketing plan. SEO can be confusing if you’re new to the game but it doesn’t have to be if you have someone who works in the search marketing field on a daily basis. Here are some reasons why SEO is so important right now:

Any type of website – Whether you’re starting out with a brand new website or looking for a new SEO friendly web design template, search optimization can help boost your site’s traffic and organic search rankings.
Flexibility – As a small business, SEO can work with what you already have. An SEO plan can be integrated on your blogs, social networking profiles and even local listings. All these different mediums will work better with a synchronized plan so that more customers can find your business.
Long term investment – Some people think that SEO should just be done once and left alone. Think of SEO as a way to maintain the health of your website. It’s not just something you do once and forget about! Effective SEO plans change with different factors that affect your search rankings including consumer trends, seasons, competitors and more. These things are always changing, so why wouldn’t your SEO?

SEO is not the only type of online marketing that you should focus on but it’s a great, solid foundation for any other route you want to take (paid search, social media, e-commerce etc). If you’re looking for a Los Angeles SEO firm to help you achieve your business goals, call us today at (323) 340-4010 for a free consultation.

Are You the Tortoise or the Hare in the SEO Game?

SEO and speedMany people don’t understand the power of organic SEO. Like the tortoise and the hare, you can look at SEO in two different ways:

  1. Hare: Going fast all at once
  2. Tortoise: Taking it slow and steady

If you’re looking for a quick gain with SEO, you could be tempted to churn out pages of content with keywords strewn throughout. This might give you an initial boost but competitors with a more steady approach can creep up on you.
You’ll probably also be skimping out on the quality of the content that you put out. Instead, you can use your speed with a more focused approach: after you jot down your ideas for content, have someone else edit it and schedule the content to be released throughout the month. If you expend all your energy in a short amount of time, you’ll run the risk of burning out and wasting your efforts.

If you believe in taking the slow route, you’re on your way to building a strong foundation for SEO content down the road. By doing keyword research and writing about interesting topics, you’ll attract more clicks and readers. However, it is easy for the process to get too drawn out. At first, you might set a goal of blogging once a week and that slows down to every other week and maybe, once a month if you’re lucky. Being too slow could also mean that you’re missing out blogging about recent news topics/stories that are related to your field.

Unlike Aesop’s famed fable, there really is no “right” or “wrong” speed to adapt when it comes to SEO – but more of a mentality. Consistency and quality are important for SEO content and when you keep those two things in mind, you’ll go farther than just relying on a time frame to reach your destination.

Why You Need a Content Management System

Are you tired of waiting for changes to be accepted before they’re made live on your web site? A content management system can change the way you look at your website. One of the main benefits of using a CMS to maintain your site is that you don’t need any knowledge of HTML or programming to make updates. Making changes to your site is now was easy as blogging.

Features and Benefits of a CMS
Check out the search engine friendly web design we’ve created for Dr. Mike Dow. Creating or editing a new page is easy to do with the fields provided in the “backend” of the site. You can also add meta tags and descriptions that correspond to your page’s content. Need to add pictures of video? No problem.

A CMS is useful if you need to make frequent updates to your site. This means adding resource articles, blogging regularly or updating events. Did we mention that consistently adding relevant content to your site is good for SEO? With a CMS, you can go about adding content whenever and wherever you need without having to worry about interfering with the site design.

If your website does not currently have these user-friendly features, it’s time to think about a web content management system. As we’d like to think of it, out with the old static site and in with the new user-friendly CMS! Don’t forget to check out our Organic CMS for more information.

Intel’s Advertising Overhaul


Listened in to a webinar this morning with Corey Carrillo of Intel Corporation and Craig Macdonald of Covario about Paid Search and Big Brand Marketing: How Intel Coordinated Search Into a Global Ad Campaign. Most of the time, I find that big corporate presentations are kind of dry because they only cover really general topics and give broad details.

Anyways, Corey admits that Intel is lacking in their brand power presence when compared to Dell or HP. They began an overhaul of their advertising campaign which portrayed their engineers as “rock stars”. Across video, online, email and other advertising platforms, Intel used the same format with familiar characters. This gave their new image a consistency. I personally like these new ads and how consumers can relate.

Consumers seemed to enjoy these ads and found them entertaining. BUT… when directed to the landing page, customers quickly bounced. Like we’ve talked about before, this landing page looked really cool and was flash based. From the consumer point of view, it was too slow loading and they weren’t finding what they were looking for. After a simpler revamp, Intel’s ad campaign improved. They tested, measured and learned from their mistakes and it’s something we all can learn from.

As Corey reminds us the 3 most important things he considers when it comes to a paid search campaign:

  1. keyword selection
  2. ad creative used
  3. landing page

Lesson learned: Integrating your SEO and PPC campaigns are easier said than done, especially for big corporations.

5 Link Building Tips

Link building is an effective way to bring traffic to your website. The more traffic and quality interactions you get, the better your Page Rank will be. Instead of quantity, it’s time to reevaluate the quality of your links. Here are some methods that you can utilize to benefit your business:

  1. Submit a press release. The purpose of a press release is to announce your new website or upcoming events. PR websites will distribute your release to different online news outlets, while allowing a greater control of what demographics to target.
  2. Embrace social media profiles. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. There are so many social communities where you can insert a link to your website.
  3. Protect your online reputation. When you get requests for link exchanges, make sure you carefully research the site. You don’t have to accept every request – it’s okay to say no.
  4. Share useful content. People will always appreciate info on a relevant or interesting topic. Whether it’s just random blogging or a more serious subject, be an expert in your field.
  5. Stay relevant. Don’t forget to demonstrate your knowledge and submit to relevant websites and blogs. It’s easy to get distracted, so stay on track!

Search Marketing During a Recession


Think Positive

What should you do when it comes to your search marketing efforts during a recession? Many marketers believe that search marketing is somewhat recession-proof, but it pays to do your own research. It may be too soon to tell, so it doesn’t hurt to do some analysis. First, talk to your peers and ask them how business is going. You can learn a lot from their personal experiences and networking is always a big plus. Keeping up with the latest news means that you won’t get left behind during the next economic upturn. Things may look slow in the meanwhile, but don’t be easily discourage. Innovations like Google Wave or advances in mobile search marketing thrive during times like these!

Recession Dos

Invest: Whether it is time or money, experts suggest that a recession is a time to invest more into search marketing efforts. Why? Competitors may significantly cut back on their expenditures, so that leaves room for you to take advantage of an open market.
Think “Free”: Take advantage of free help that can come from link building and social networking. These efforts take more time than money and will improve the results that you’ll see in the long-run. You can also take time to give your website that much needed makeover.
Organize: Regardless of the economic conditions, a well-organized business always runs more efficiently. Keeping track of what you cut-back on or increase will help you easily make changes and see results.

Recession Don’ts

Don’t carry on as normal but don’t be afraid. Does that make sense? It is foolish to think that the recession doesn’t have some impact on a part of your business. Disregarding external factors is not beneficial and you won’t learn anything new. The worst thing that a business can do is to cut costs in blind fear. If you cut back or eliminate new content and a paid advertising campaign, why would you be surprised if your business suffers? It’s time think smarter and you can take these tips with you as you move ahead.

Preparing SEO for the Shopping Season

What Should You Expect?

For most companies, the last business quarter proves to be the busiest and most profitable time of the year. Knowing this, it is important to get organized and prepared for the stress that is to come. There’s no need to fret, as having a plan will save you time and anxiety during the holiday season. Consumers aren’t afraid of splurging on deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, pre and post Christmas sales. Now more than ever, consumers are finding search engines results helpful and it is something that smart retailers will definitely take advantage of. Here are some tips to help you with your SEO preparations for the shopping season.

Focus on Organic SEO

The shopping season is a crucial time to focus on organic SEO efforts. Although there is no definitive answer, most experts agree that failing to keep up with promoting targeted keyword phrases is a bad move to make. In most cases, keyword traffic is likely to decline if your content is not actively being optimized. Having a brand name is not enough to guarantee you success if your company is not showing up with relevant keywords. It pays to be committed and patient when it comes to your organic SEO arrangement. Not only will this method bring in customers who are familiar with your brand, but make other potential consumers aware that you exist! For this reason, many turn to SEO as a cost effective way to bring in the holiday success.

Understanding and Attracting Customers

First, get blogging! Active blogs that are helpful and entertaining will be valuable to consumers. Resist the temptation to flood your blog with self-promoting materials. The blog arena is a place where you can retain loyal readers and even make useful contacts with your peers. Blogs are an informal medium and readers will appreciate reading material that they can relate to. Instead of just trying to sell yourself, think of creating a win-win situation for yourself and your readers. In the world of social media, you can reach out in other forms. Whether it is funny blurbs on Twitter or viral videos on Youtube, using social media is a great way to spread the holiday spirit around. Christmas and Hanukkah are the big ones, but don’t forget about Halloween. What about National Boss Day or Winter Solstice? Don’t be afraid to get inspired with your blogs, but remember that there is a difference between getting creative and going overboard!

Using Twitter to Achieve a Higher Search Ranking

It can be difficult to fully recognize the potential of Twitter as a useful advertising tool. So, how do you know if you’re doing it right? Take e-commerce company Zappos, as a good example. Zappos effectively utilizes Twitter by establishing a microsite, twitter.Zappos.com. The site obviously also links to Zappos’ site, but more interestingly links to the CEO’s Twitter account and even features employee tweets.
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Many companies use Twitter, but what makes Zappos different? Their CEO, Tony Hsieh, tweets on a whole variety of topics. Ranging from business advice, occasionally promoting his business, and even humorous updates, such as “Calling a children’s word game “hangman” just seems plain wrong”. They should invent a more humane game, like “lethal injection””.  Sometimes, it is really refreshing to see a corporate Twitter account actually be social! Users are drawn to this because it shows that a CEO understands the use of Twitter as a social media utility and is not only using the account for the sole purpose of gaining sales. Zappos has gained followers, received positive publicity, and gained exposure by being featured on sites such as Twitter of the Day.

The success of Zappos’ Twitter site has resulted in their achievement of a higher search ranking. However, there is still argument on how you can really tell if the traffic driven is accurately measured as a direct result of the Twitter account. Nevertheless, studies have shown that you get the best results when both your paid and organic search works in unison. A recent study found that you can get up to a 20% increase in clicks on your natural listing if you have a paid ad near it. Not surprisingly, the study also showed that if you show up on paid and organic search, your number one ranking gets 20% more clicks. In the end, it is important to learn from Zappo’s social approach to gaining more clicks and to think about synergizing your paid and organic search efforts to get the best results.