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One of the most frequently asked questions readers and clients email StepForth Placement’s SEO staff, revolves around how websites can be best optimized to meet the algorithmic needs of each of the major 4 search engines, Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Though there have been wide sweeping changes in the organic search engine landscape over the past six months, the fundamental ways search engines operate remains the same. 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…

Sometime around January or February, a number of webmasters began to notice that Google had somehow “lost” huge portions of their websites. Reference to their sites, generally to the index pages and a seemingly random selection of internal pages existed in Google listings but pages that once drove sizable amounts of traffic appeared to vanish into the ether. As February rolled into March, more reports were posted to blogs and forums by frustrated webmasters who started to notice the number of pages from their sites had declined, significantly, in Google’s index. Read more…

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Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Yahoo Search Marketing Handbook

Mona Elesseily has nearly five years experience crafting Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) campaigns for her clients but over the last 16-months, she has been absolutely immersed. As the Yahoo! (Overture) PPC expert working at Canadian paid search advertising firm Page Zero Media, Mona has enjoyed a unique opportunity to learn, explore and understand the inner workings of Yahoo’s premier PPC program. In the autumn of 2004, she was “challenged” by her employer, Andrew Goodman, to write a book explaining the intricacies of establishing and managing a successful YSM PPC campaign.

The result of her work is the Yahoo Search Marketing Handbook, a 102-page manual that starts with the basics, outlines potential pitfalls and gradually guides the reader towards establishing and maintaining winning YSM PPC campaigns. Read more…

I am a SEO. As a search engine optimization specialist, I have spent the better part of the last decade studying search engines to get a better understanding of how they work in order act as a guiding consultant for paying clients. My clients, or more appropriately, my firm’s clients, are interested in having their web documents found on the first page of search results across all the major search engines. After spending years traveling trenches full of fiber, my colleagues and I have gotten very, very good at getting those first page placements. If only SEO was really so simple. Read more…

StepForth’s methods of providing search engine optimization services for Google rankings have evolved significantly over the past year. Since the release of Google’s March 30, 2005 patent application, “Information retrieval based on historical data“, our SEO and research departments have made site usability and understanding user behaviours a priority.

After reading, analysing and writing about information found in the patent application, we correctly predicted user behaviours were becoming critical factors in Google’s estimation of the relevancy or importance of documents in its index. Read more…

A couple of days ago, I received a call from a west coast reader who works as a corporate recruiter. She had been asked to find an in-house SEO for one of her clients, a medium sized corporation. After recommending a number of SEO/SEM related forums and Ed Lewis’ SEO Consultants Directory, we started to talk about the cost/benefit of hiring an in-house SEO and outsourcing the work to a consultant. As our conversation moved from point to point, a number of issues surrounding hiring in-house SEO talent emerged.

Today the trend leans towards hiring in-house. A quick glance at employment websites such as Monster.com or Workopolis.ca shows a growing list of positions for SEOs who have two or more years of experience. The demand for experienced search marketers far outstrips the supply of really good practitioners, a situation evidenced by SEO salaries ranging from 30K at the low end to over 100K at the top. Read more…

Some sites are built using “cutting edge advanced design techniques” that draw from several sources. Some have poorly structured databases. Some look as if they were slapped together seven years ago and have since existed as an afterthought. The one thing they all have in common is that they offer search engine spiders far too little information to grab onto. Having to negotiate between the needs of technically unfocused clients and the highly focused technical needs of the SEO staff, a SEO good salesperson can spot problem issues a mile away.

A few weeks ago, our sales manger and I scrolled through a number of potential client sites he had moved to his “problem-issue” file, compiling a dossier of examples of SEO-unfriendly sites that have come our way over the past six months. It’s amazing how much you can learn from the mistakes of others. It is equally amazing to see these basic mistakes repeated time and time again.

There are any numbers of basic, simple SEO mistakes, most of which are inconsequential, that find their way across ou Read more…

The process of search engine optimization and placement has undergone a number of fundamental changes over the past year. Once a highly technical, hands-on operation, SEO is now more about analyzing information, strategic planning and long-term consultation. The changing nature of how SEO services are performed has caused many SEO firms to make radical alterations to their office environments and staff skill-sets. The most interesting thing about this period of intense change in the search marketing industry is that the biggest changes are only starting to happen. Read more…

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Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Measuring Success as an SEO

“How do I know if my SEO campaign has been successful?”

I was asked this deceptively simple question the other day. I wasn’t able to give the fullest response but considering the circumstances, I gave it a great effort.

It’s mid-spring in Victoria and the golf courses are playable again so I joined a friend and a few of his acquaintances for a short round on Saturday. By the time we had gotten to the third tee-box, talk had turned to Google and eventually search engine marketing in general. That tends to happen around me for some reason. Read more…

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