Do You Have a Love/Hate Relationship with SEO?

Love and hate – when it comes to search engine optimization, it’s normal to have these conflicting feelings. But you don’t have to feel hopeless and directionless. Don’t let the chaos of SEO ruin your outlook on website marketing. There are ways to get out of a slump.

Choosing the Right SEO Firm

Like any good relationship, it helps to know what you’re looking for. Are you looking for a generalist or a specialist? You might be interested in only one or a few aspects of online marketing, such as off-site link building or blogging. In these instances, it helps to really find someone who specializes in these areas.

If you’re looking for a company to help with all aspects of online optimization, it helps to seek out a reputable SEO company with experience in your industry. Make sure to ask for a free SEO website analysis to find out more about your weak areas that need help.

Think About Alternatives
If you don’t have the patience for a long-term SEO campaign, paid search marketing can help those who want more immediate results. Although organic optimization is popular, it doesn’t hurt to think about PPC as a complement to the SEO content on your site.

Speaking of complements: branding, video marketing, social media and reputation management are also aspects of online marketing that don’t necessarily deal with SEO directly, but make a great impact. If you’re too frustrated to deal with natural optimization, remember that there are other areas to spend your time. And this is great because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket.

Lesson Learned

Yes, SEO can be volatile and results depend on search engine algorithms, search volume and customer trends. Sometimes, these things are far beyond your control and the best thing you can do is sit back and wait until the dust settles. Read and learn about the current algorithm “weather” and remember that like with anything else, there will be ups and downs in your SEO campaign. Make the most of it and you can help reduce those numbers of downward trends.

Search Marketing Odds & Ends

For your Friday: here are some helpful tips that we all hope you can benefit from.

Don’t focus on just one factor: When it comes to metrics and analytics, it’s difficult but sometimes, you just have to pull through! Focusing solely on one measurement whether it is Page Rank, bounce rate, or clickthrough rate can cause you to lose focus of other measures as a whole and lose sight on the big picture. For example, it’s not uncommon to hear about a client who complains of being outranked by a competitor for 1 particular term… even if they are outranking that particular competitor for 10 different terms! In other words, pick your obstacles and choose wisely.

LinkedIn Answers and Avvo: These are both reputable Q&A sites for business professionals. Being active can help increase your credibility in the community. Bonus: as you become more active, your search engine visibility may also increase as these trustworthy sites are favored in search algorithm.

Don’t be intimidated by updates: Google Panda updates or algorithm changes can seem like a scary thing. The important thing is to stay in tune with what’s going on. As we’ve always said before, if you haven’t dabbled in black/grey hat linkbuilding methods, you should be in the clear. Many times, these announcements drum up anxiety and panic causing people to go out and make sporadic changes to their site. In the mean time, they may very well be doing unnecessary damage to their own site and blaming the drop in SERPs to the updates.

Put the most important things first: This goes with content, Facebook updates and Tweets and anything else you want to link. In a more specific example: we are conditioned to think of Twitter updates in 140 short characters. Think again – how about 45 characters, instead of 140. Many people have found that while whole Tweets are indexed, the messages are truncated in results at about the 45 character mark. While it’s tempting to please the search engines, remember to put real human readers first.

Don’t believe the SEO is dead hype: While the tactics of search marketing from 5+ years ago are “dead”, SEO is far from dead. An increasing number of these articles are showing up for many different reasons: link bait, shifting the focus on alternative search marketing strategies (local and social) or even just because SEOs who want to be disassociated with the myth that all search engine optimization is spam. Make sure to check out this article to see why SEO will never really die.

Stay tuned for more odds & ends and have a great weekend!

How Do Google Freshness Updates Affect SEO?

What Is It?
Since the end of last year, Google’s Freshness updates have been been affecting about 35% of searches. To get a better idea of how this works, take a look at Bruce Clay’s in depth illustration of exactly how freshness affects SERPs. Basically, as Google crawls pages to index them, it will also search for “fresh attributes” and assign them a score. This value is a contributing factor when search results are displayed. The general idea is that fresh content is more useful than old, stale content.

How to Optimize
Not surprisingly, Google has a variety of ways of determining the value of freshness including time spent on page, popular topics and changes in anchor text. In many ways, this algorithm update has changed online marketing priorities. Instead of pushing for addition of more content and more keywords, the focus should be on consistently updating the same relevant web pages with useful information. Since all these factors are available online, it’s best to review them regularly to see how you can utilize them when updating your web pages.

Why Freshness?
In the end, Google aims to improve the user experience. As internet marketing firms work with businesses to improve their strategies, users will surely benefit. These updates will help display more relevant and recent search results that will make for better searching!

5 Common SEO Myths

seo mythsOld SEO myths never seem to really die and it doesn’t help that new ones are being created. Let’s take a look at 5 common myths about search engine optimization:

1) SEO is a set it and forget it processAre we done yet? Many online marketing services have a completion end date or end goal – web design project, PPC campaigns etc. But what about SEO? An effective SEO campaign is an on going process that never really ends. It helps to think of web copywriting and content creation as a regular process, like a more traditional marketing campaign that changes with the seasons and consumer trends.

2) More keywords will get you a higher ranking – More is NOT always better and this is exactly the case when it comes to optimizing content. You can’t just throw in random keywords because you want to cover as many areas related to your business as possible. Keyword stuffing isn’t going to impress people or search engines – not to mention that it’s a dead giveaway that your site is spammy page that’s not helpful.

3) Search engine rankings can be guaranteed – Have you ever had an SEO company guarantee you #1 positions? Talk about shady… As frustrating as it may be, there’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee when it comes to SEO. Rather than focusing on the top spot, a reputable SEO company will give you a detailed plan about how to achieve top rankings within a realistic time frame using white hat methods.

4) Once you reach the top, you’ll stay there – Search engine algorithms are changing all the time and you can bet that your other businesses are making changes to keep up. Success is possible but staying in the top ranks is a constant and time consuming process. Related to Myth #1, we recommend a consistent SEO plan so that you can stay in the top rankings once you’re there. If you stop your efforts after reaching the top, it will be a waste because your rankings could easily slide and your competitors will surely be thankful!

5) Linking Out to Other Sites Will Help Your Rankings: I’ve heard this more than a handful of times so it must be a common misconception! Some people believe that linking out to well-known sites and brands will help their rankings. Not sure where this idea came from but it’s definitely not true. Incoming links from relevant and trustworthy sites will give your site the link juice that you’re looking for, not the other way around.

Do you have any other myths about organic optimization that you’d like to share or debunk?