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We have all been there, “how the heck do they always get #1?” It is a constant frustration for many a client and, well, even myself occasionally. The fact is that much of the time there are a few solid reasons behind the search engine success of any website and it is important to learn what these reasons are before trying to compete. How is this done? Therein lies the subject of this article; how do you determine what your competitor has done to win the search engine war?

Demystifying your competitor’s success requires you to put on your detective garb because you are going to have to investigate all aspects of their website; even the deepest darkest corners. In the following instructional I will lead you through a hypothetical investigation of a competitor who is ranking for the phrase “voip services”. In each step I will choose the more popular result that I find when I do similar competitor analyses professionally. So please take note, the sample is only the most popular result; occasionally there are truly baffling cases of competitor success which have required heftier investigation leading to differing conclusions of what they did to succeed. Read more…

Links are the primary arteries of the Internet, the underlying connectors between different places. Links are the transporters that take you everywhere on the web. You likely came to this space via a link and are as likely to follow one out again. Links keep you going online, hopefully to places you want or need to get to.

Google created the most successful information retrieval device of all time based on sending spiders to follow each and every link they can find on each and every web document they come across. Yahoo, MSN, Ask, and all the other search databases have acquired the vast amounts of information they contain in similar fashion. Links play important roles in the ranking formulas of all search engines, especially Google, by providing numerous pieces of data for their algorithms to chew through. Read more…

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005

Dirk Johnson on Post-Jagger Recip. Links

Dirk Johnson from provides link-building services. Over the past year, Dirk’s firm has helped a number of our clients acquire the relevant incoming links necessary to achieve strong Google placements. These are not purchased links though clients do pay for the time it takes to find and get them. Read more…

Everyone loves Top10 lists. In the SEO industry, where search engine results form the ultimate Top10 lists for clients and practitioners, the sheer number of ways a website, document or other spiderable object can be designed makes it very difficult to produce a general Top10 list for best practices. There are however, a number of basic mistakes made by webmasters, site designers and new online-entrepreneurs that inadvertently create obstacles to search placement success. Read more…

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

Google Jagger Update

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a fairly significant update happening at Google right now. As with all other major updates, Brett Tabke from WebmasterWorld has given it a name, Jagger.

Jagger is keeping true to previous Google updates and is wreaking havoc on the nerves of many webmasters, SEOs and small businesses who’s placements seem to have vanished overnight. Starting sometime over the weekend, Google started showing results that looked somewhat different from the results shown earlier.

The changes actually started with a string of back-link updates that began in early September and continued into the first week of October. Two weeks later, the information Google has in regards to links directed towards a specific website is likely different than the information it had two months ago. That is likely the cause of immediate changes to the SERPS.

The most important advice in dealing with any type of Jagger is simple; don’t panic.

Like temporary hearing loss, effects suffered by a visit of the Jagger Update will likely dissipate over time. What you are experiencing right now is the flash of the live-time update show in which everything is bigger (like the big-boxes who dominate the rankings right now), and badder (like the spam that rises to the surface before sinking).

Google updates happen in phases and tend to take a few weeks to fully work themselves out. If your website has suddenly lost rankings for no reason whatsoever, there is likely a simple explanation. It tends to happen during updates. More often than not, the site moves itself back up again as it and its document histories are reweighed against sites with similarly themed content.

During the infamous Florida Update , the StepForth site dropped to the mid 100′s and then to the 1000′s before bobbing back up to the #6 spot it holds today.

That’s not to say a sudden loss of ranking is ok by any stretch. If your site loses its placement overnight, there might be a problem it shares with other sites that lost placements at the same time.

According to Google Engineer Matt Cutts , the changes stem from a series of back-link updates starting in early September. Obviously, that’s where we are looking when investigating client sites that have been adversely affected by this phase of the update. We have noticed that some clients sharing similar outbound link pages have dropped in rankings. While stopping short of advising clients to immediately remove those pages, we are looking very closely at the link-paths established by our clients to try to judge how Google is looking at those links.

We hope to have concrete information to print in our blog in coming days but it will take a while to really see how Jagger is going to play out. In the meantime, we will have advice for our clients in coming days.

They say that today is the first day of the rest of your life. That makes everyday an important one though as we all know, some days are much more important than others. Today is one of those days. Read more…

Over the past week, SEOs and SEMs have noted some significant changes in the search engine results delivered by Google. Google appears to be actively cleaning its listings by targeting sites using suspicious link-building techniques. A couple of well-known search engine marketing sites have vanished from Google results under keyword phrases they dominated just last week. Read more…

SEOinc seems to have vanished from the Top30 search engine results at Google. Until earlier today, SEOinc had consistently ranked in second place under the keyword phrases, “search engine optimization“, “search engine placement“, and “search engine positioning“. Read more…

Recently, a friend of mine bought a new car. Buying a car can be extremely stressful with an enormous array of important numbers, specifications and comparative measurements to consider before purchase. Now I was raised in the downtown core of Toronto which is a megalopolis stretching around the northwestern quarter of Lake Ontario. Growing up with a highly efficient public transit system and a decidedly urban lifestyle, I never even considered the need for a vehicle until I was in my mid 20′s. Ten years later I am still at the “this moves me where?” stage in my relationship with vehicles. Taking me to a car-dealership is sort of like asking another city-kid which mushrooms are safe to eat in the forest. “Hey that one looks cool…” Things can get pretty Mickey Mouse from here eh? Read more…

Once upon a time in a search engine long ago, content was king and little else mattered. Then along came the links in an attempt overthrew the king – now everything is messed.

Back links are very important in placing well in the SERP’s especially for highly competitive keywords, however content is still the king, and without it your sites are as good as lost! So what is a site owner to do when you’ve expressed and said all there is to say and are left with only a 5 page website? Read more…

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