Last week our CEO Ross Dunn wrote about the Ten Worst SEO Tactics. Today, I will cover the most difficult technologies and techniques to work with. While each of these technologies, techniques and designs have a useful purpose for web-designers, webmasters and general office staff tasked with keeping the site up to date, they each also present problems for search engine spiders and/or SEO practitioners. While reading, please keep in mind that the search engines are aware of these issues and may be in the process of creating work-around solutions. Similarly, the creators of many of the technologies mentioned here are also aware of these issues and in some cases are working to present webmasters and site designers with solutions. Topping the list is FLASH. Read more…
Internet advertising has evolved significantly over the years. In the beginning pop-ups were just that – pop-ups. When they open, you close them and move on. The original pop-ups are still there, but they have also evolved into interstitial ads – you know, those annoying versions that require some level of interaction to make them go away. Some times it’s a video, sometimes a static ad, but it’s always right in your face.
When PPC ads started appearing in search engines they were simple text ads separated by the non-paid listings – they were non-intrusive and un-offending to the searcher. Over the years they have significantly evolved, but to the searcher they, for the most part, remained the same. Most of the changes have been in the realm of the advertiser in terms of ad management and specific targeting abilities, in particular local targeting.
Google has its Local Targeting Options and Overture has its Local Match. A variety of other pay per click engines are offering Geo Targeting based on country, and soon, will likely offer very targeted city and precise searching by radius.
Now both Google and Overture offer the ability to target very specific locations, within 20 miles from a specific point by using the physical address or longitude and latitude. This precise method of targeted PPC advertising is still quite new, but will likely shift over to the second tier engines in time if it proves to be beneficial to both advertisers and searchers.
Such local targeting gives localized business the chances to advertise online with the chance of receiving qualified business. A small craft shop in Vancouver that does not offer online sales, can now place an ad online that will be directed to only local qualified traffic – no more wasted leads from searchers in Toronto.
Hacking The Locals
In Many cases, creating a successful Ad Campaign requires a look at the competitor’s ads. If you are targeting specific countries outside of your own, in many cases it is either near impossible, or extremely difficult to view the competition – until now.
If you are an advertiser in the US and also place ads targeting the UK, it is difficult to see your direct competition unless you are located in the UK. Although it may have been around for a long time, today I just learned of a Google hack that gets you around this.
After you perform your search in Google, go up to the address bar and at the end of the URL add the text ‘gl=uk’; (or instead of uk, any applicable country code), hit enter and you will now see a listing of AdWords ads that are targeted towards the UK.
Have you have an experience with Local Targeting for any of your PPC campaigns? I would love to hear about your positive and negative experiences! Email me at scott@StepForth.com.
“Thank you so much for your willingness to help and for your time supporting the beginners”. (Michael from Australia) Over the last few weeks I have received several emails like this – from interesting people with inquiring minds all over the world. They have a broad range of experience, from beginners to advanced in their knowledge base of search engine placement and optimization. Each are seeking, in as layman terms as possible, answers to many basic and fundamental questions. To wit:
Q. Is it really important for visibility to have my own domain name?
A. Absolutely. To maximize impact, consider a domain name including your specific keyword(s). As well, you should develop a keyword-enriched title for the page.
Q. Please shed some light regarding keyword phrases?
A. Keyword phrases are particular combinations of relevant or unique words that users search on. What is the wording you want to promote? Focus on this. For example, a few unique and descriptive keywords for StepForth Placement would be: search engine placement, seo services, sep, sem, S.E.O., search,engine, optimization, StepForth, ranking, optimisation, optimize, top10, website,marketing, etc.
Q. For my site would it not be better to have three instead of four pages by combining two pages in order to increase the size of the small Home Page?
A. It all depends. Certainly you want the Home page to offer sufficient enriched keyword text. The text used in this section should be descriptive of your business, its products, and your potential customers. In addition, for each page, remember to use unique and descriptive titles, Keyword and Description META Tags. Also, consider creating text-based navigation map and Site Map at the bottom of each page.
Q. I can understand the importance of links to my site, however, why should I offer my link to other services that my potential clients may go to.
A. It is good practice to develop a link page on your site. To increase site relevance, popularity, and visibility, link your site to complimentary business, service, or information sites. As a rule, obtain meaningful reciprocal links with related and relevant associations, on-line publications, manufacturers, suppliers, etc. Search engines would consider this link as a vote of confidence that the target web site is about your keywords or keyphrase and thus your site would have a better chance of achieving a top placement under that phrase.
Q. I have a limited budget. What can I do to get the best return for a minimal investment?
A. Everyone has a different concept on what is ‘a best return’ and ‘a minimal investment’. How fast do you need it and how much work needs to be done? And who is going to do the work? Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Our small company package starts at $2000. To many business owners this is viewed as a small price to pay for marketing their business. Many companies setup an annual budget for web design yet remarkably they neglect to set aside funds for necessary search engine placement, optimization and maintenance.
Sometimes there is a relatively quick fix. If you have a advertising or promotion line in your financial statement appropriate some the funds from there. Many SEO companies can offer flexible payment plans, spreading out the payments. See your finance department for advice. Depending on your fiscal year-end he/she may suggest monies could be used from the current fiscal year with the balance paid from the next annual budget. Another route many of our technically minded clients lean toward is our $150 per hour consultancy fee.
If you depend on a successful Christmas/Chanukah selling campaign the only way the reap the benefits of marketing your site now may be to just bite the bullet and set aside the necessary financial resources. Or wait until next season’s campaign.
Q. Should I put into my Meta Tag “Keywords” my selected keyword phrase, which may be exactly the same phrase a user might type into a search engine box? Also, should they be in the same order in the text body AND as in the SE user’s box
A. For an excellent explanation of Meta Tags, please read “10 Minute Search Engine Optimization”, by Ross Dunn, StepForth CEO. The link is http://news.stepforth.com/2003-news/ten-minute-optimization.shtml
For years we have been warning that unethical SEO techniques that violate Google’s SEO guidelines could result in a site being banned from the Google index. In the past week, Google made a fairly major ranking update that appears to have wiped clients of Traffic Power, from the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Read more…
Every few months it is a good idea to review SEO techniques in light of changes in the ranking algorithms used by the major search engines. As of today, there are only two major organic search tools we worry about, Google, and Yahoo. Both of these search tools look at different elements of your website when considering where to rank the site in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). While considered one of the “Big Three”, MSN continues to receive results from the Yahoo/Inktomi database with LookSmart listings being displayed from time to time. MSN is likely to release its own algorithmic search engine in the coming months. What works for Yahoo tends to work with MSN. Please note, these basic rules for rankings may change at any given moment. That’s one of the things that make this job so much fun… Read more…
If you are looking to spend some of your advertising dollars on Pay Per Click (PPC), but don’t care for the high prices of Google and Overture, you may want to take a look at some of the other PPC engines out there.
Many PPC Engines charge set up fees and have minimum click through rates of 5 and 10 cents, along with minimum monthly spends. For a small business on a limited budget testing the PPC waters, this may prove to be rather expensive. goClick offers no set up fees or minimum monthly spend, and click rates as low as a cent. Read more…
Links have been a factor in ranking well in the SERPs for a long time now, but recently they have become much more important, especially when seeking high rankings on Google. Because of this, incoming links have turned into a hot commodity, especially from high PageRank sites.
For a while now websites have been offering paid run-of-site links, the higher the PR, the higher the cost. But now some webmasters may have found a way to essentially steal or borrow PageRank, giving the illusion that their site is much more powerful in order to drive up advertising costs. If you are thinking of purchasing site wide links, this is something of importance to watch out for. Read more…
The Internet is the most widely used business tool in the world. In theory, it is the least expensive and most pervasive medium for global communications. At one time, the Internet was the exclusive playground of the technical minded, otherwise known as the “nerds” and the “geeks”. It’s not nearly as cool to be a geek as it was five or six years ago. The Internet is not our exclusive playground any longer. As proven by last week’s Google IPO, the sandbox in which we shared ideas and inspiration is now the largest commercial community in the world. Everyone who is anyone in business uses it and therefore, everyone who is associated with anyone in business needs to be able to use it quickly and easily. As acceptance and usage of the Internet has grown so rapidly, every business, NGO, governmental department, school, church, and even favorite great-aunt has developed a website to communicate their message to the greater world. In order to meet a growing demand, programmers and designers have had to develop products that are easy to use for employees all businesses, regardless of those employee’s technical ability. The world of basic HTML has, for the most part, gone the way of the dinosaur. Read more…
As Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising becomes more and more popular so does the art of fraudulent clicking. Companies are springing up overseas with the sole purpose to click on advertiser ads. How does this affect your PPC Campaign? Read more…
With Google’s new Local Targeting features, it is possible for a small brick and mortar business with a website to achieve relevant internet traffic from within their local area. For some time now Google has allowed for ads to be country specific. Now not only can an advertiser target specific countries and states/provinces but they can also focus on actual target cities. Read more…