Should I Use Nofollow for SEO?

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Fair questions are great. Great questions are awesome, and this is a great question. If you are not familiar with the rel=nofollow tag you can read a bit about it at the link. Important facts include that it does not affect the display or readability of the web page in any way, and that it is used by many search engines including Google.

Questions arise among those looking to improve search engine optimization on their pages because the idea behind nofollow is that it does not pass through your Page Rank to the other page. There are reasons why you would not want to share your PR with other sites and Matt Cutts, from Google, addresses this issue in the following video.

Google Hummingbird Will Affect You If…

hummingbirdGoogle’s new, not updated, algorithm (set) plays heavily to mobile. A/B testing is just starting on this but my prediction is that an identical page with no mobile ready presentation (HTML5, responsive design, alternate presentment, whatever) will not fair as well in Hummingbird as one that does not.

Now, perhaps more than ever, site structure, geographic location, mobile readiness, and self-identity is highly valuable. It still pays to network, connect, engage, get social, be local, and pay attention to detail. Hummingbird promises to be a big boon to the honest Internet marketer and social networker.

All of this means being “Google friendly” has taken on an entirely new set of priorities. Most sites are not Hummingbird ready. My experience is that the average, small business, real estate agent, chiropractor, healthcare or legal professional, will need site modifications to become Hummingbird compliant or will loose Google traction quickly.

10 Proven Steps To Improve Search Rankings

seo techniques graphicGoogle is king, there is no doubt about this. Today when people say search over 83% of them mean Google. With that bit of information it is easy to see how captivating attention from that mass is valuable to any business. While the next several words will not guarantee you a number one search result it will help you understand what it takes, and what your opponents are doing, to win in the search wars.

Follow these steps, monitor your progress, and learn even more about search engine optimization and you will stand a fighting chance. If you are too busy or prefer to hire a professional to handle this for you I am happy to speak with you. Simply use the Contact link and let’s talk.

1. Check your site for misspellings especially of keywords. Google is smart enough to know how to spell. While there is a “trick” to misspell certain keywords, which has proven to work (mortgage being spelled morgage is one), but use caution. It also gives the opportunity for a search engine to see you have a misspelling within your site. Find a good tool or hire a pro to crawl your site for errors including spelling.

2. Speed up your page load time. You may use a tool like YSlow to help you discover why your page is loading slow, or even if it is loading slowly. Elements of sites load separately so if you have large graphics or pre-loaded video or that God forsaken Flash embedded in your site you are almost certainly losing visitors – especially on mobile devices. Continue reading

What Is A Doorway Page?

There it is on Twitter the exact text you’re looking for even if you didn’t know it. “Five Ways Guaranteed To Increase Sales FREE” or whatever it may say. So you click the link and land on a page filled with advertisements and a blurb which makes no sense but seems relevant to the link you clicked and it has a “Read more” link so you click it only to land on a similar page still not getting the information you’re hoping for. You have just been doorwayed.

Google calls a page as such as doorway page and their algorithm and search quality team are constantly on the lookout for them. I mention this not because you have never seen one but to stop you from getting the bright idea this may be a good way to get traffic to your business site. Yes it may draw some traffic for a while though when Google finally discovers it, and they will, you risk being blacklisted without warning and facing a steep battle trying to get that domain name accepted back into the good graces of the search giant.

In 2006, BMW suffered Google’s wrath for setting up doorway pages to attract search engines and redirect traffic to its German website, BMW.de – BMW’s page rank was reduced to zero. – Website Magazine

BMW, of course, is likely a much larger company than yours and you may, just may mind you, get away with it for at least a while.  Matt Cutts, in the video below, give a bit of insight to Google’s views on doorway pages. Keep in mind Matt is the head of Google’s link spam division so what he says is golden.

What Page of Google Am I On?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

One of the most often asked questions I answer is “how can I be on page one of Google?” This is a good question for me since I am, after all, in the business of getting people as close to the number one organic search results as I possibly can. There is a concerning aspect of this too: people who believe they are on the first page of Google search results when in reality they are way back sometimes in the teens.

How can this happen?

Google, like virtually every other site, loves using cookies to deliver user specific information. This information stored in these particular cookies seeks to provide search results which are best for a particular user who has Google cookies in their web browser. What this means is based on previous search results and previously “clicked on” results tells Google a searcher prefers one type of link, or one link, over others. So if Bob Peltserman who owns a pallet manufacturing company in Talahola and he searches for “pallet manufacturers in Talahola” then clicks on his link the next time he searches that link result may, and probably will, be higher in the results. Besides he is sitting physically in Talahola when he searches so Google wants to provide him with the highest level of accuracy when he is searching so technically he could leave off “in Talahola” and still see an adulterated high search result for his own link.

How do I find my real Google listing position?

This is your fortunate day for today you will find a couple of online, free tools to help you discover just where – or at least which page – of Google (and Bing) your listing shows up on. Further this result will sidestep all the contamination you may have in your browser. Let me restate that contamination part so you, Mr. or Ms. Reader, will understand when you go to Google and search the results you are seeing are not the same results other people may be seeing.

Places to Publish Articles Online to Help With SEO

SEO – Search Engine Optimization with Article Publishing

When it comes to SEO it’s all about having a bigger net connected to a funnel connected to a syringe. Get the biggest net possible! Here are a few places you can publish articles with links back to your site. This tactic gets both love and hate – sometimes from the same users! If you’ve read my writings or listened to my shows/podcasts you’ll know I’m a die-hard fan of data. My data says you do get a return on using this tactic and how well your article is written, what keywords it uses and how you invite people back to your money maker all play a role in that all important event: conversion!

When you write if you do not write with conversion in mind you’re probably going to greatly decrease your chances for getting conversions as a result of your efforts. First here are some places to publish your articles on line. Following the list are some tips for successfully generating SEO results and increasing click-through from these articles:

  • eZine Articles – varying results
  • ArticlesBase – have had some decent success with these
  • ArticleAlley – have a client who swears by it
  • GoArticles – when providing information about resources I get a surprising amount of clickthrough

Here are Some SEO Tips for Article Posting

  • Relevant Content – If you write generic articles and pack in a few keywords you can generally kiss your time goodbye. I have found simply writing on topic with generalized information does nothing to entice the few dozen readers who find the article to your money maker.
  • Exciting Headlines – “How I beat the Google Algorithm for FREE” is better than “Search marketing tips” you know what I mean?
  • Link To Your Free eBook – inside of your article you should have a link to download your free whitepaper or free report. Don’t have one? Get one! Make sure you have a squeeze page/landing page capable of capturing the necessary information and using it to connect with your new prospect.
  • Mention Others – when you are writing mention other people who are influential and tell them you mentioned them in your article. You’d be surprised how many tweets or messages I get from people I know, and people I don’t know, saying, “Hey, just mentioned you in my post over at _____”. I usually retweet if nothing else.
  • Keep It Original! – I don’t even bother arguing this one anymore. The data and facts say duplicate content is no good for you because it’s no good for the community. That said modified content works just fine.

Arguments Against Article Posting for SEO

Many sites use the NOFOLLOW tag and this means Google (and other honorable search bots) are not supposed to follow links away from this site. This is true in many cases and it’s easy to tell if a site is doing so by simply viewing the source code for a page and looking for the NOFOLLOW tag in the links on the page. For SEO purposes this is a deal breaker – however – for getting visitors to come to your moneymaker perhaps not. After all would you refuse to post on a site (craigslist for example) which may get 300 views to your link just because Google wasn’t going to follow that link and index your site? Ha!

Are You Buying SEO Service or Keywords?

I have realized several times without ever writing it that most people who say they are SEO experts are actually keyword users. Now there is certainly nothing wrong with appropriate use of keywords and, in fact, it is and essential factor in SEO. The problem, if you want to call it so, is many SEO professionals end at keywords. They don’t know how to really break down how a domain, site, page, article, or sentence actually work with or against the algorithms which result in higher ranking on the search engines.

seo marketing image

By Danard Vincente

One big example  I recently encountered was a client who had contacted a “competitor” about doing SEO for their site and the first thing the SEO company suggested was they change their domain name because their domain does not contain their keywords. Really? That’s the best you can do and that’s the punch you lead with? In reality had the client changed their domain name and done so the way the SEO expert suggested they would have tanked and may never have been able to get back their PR5 on Google.

Another bit of talk I hear from people who have spoken with someone either before speaking with me or who speak with someone else after speaking with me about Search Engine Optimization is this: They told me I need at least 4% saturation on my keywords but no more than 6%. Okay. If we’re looking at keyword density chances are that’s not an unreasonable range but where are those keywords and how do they flow with the conversation? Are those keywords in the footer in font designed to blend into the background? Are those keywords in the meta keywords tag? (I know, that was snarky.) Or are those keywords in the headings and body text in a natural flow for human readers?

What, Exactly, is SEO and Why is it Important to Small Business?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Small business SEO is the realm of snake oil and magic bullets. It’s the place in cyberspace where digital hustlers spread their lore and captivate audiences with stats and stories from around the globe. You will find both the trustworthy provider as well as the ant-lion hustler spewing great gushers of acronyms in volume enough to spin the heads off ten penny nails.

Let’s see – what all did I confuse the search bots with in that paragraph? I got “small business SEO” there at the lead then I hit it with “snake oil” and “magic bullets” in one sentence. I think by the time I got to “ant-lion”, “hustler” and “ten penny nails” the Googlebot probably thought I was using an article spinner. That’s another topic in and of its own but for now let’s get to the pertinent information for the small business online marketer who, let’s face it, needs to be found in search engine searches.

How we got here today, I mean the history of search engines, is important but that’s a little beyond the scope of time I expect you to invest in learning the what and why about small business SEO. Today nothing matters more than Google. That said there are other important tools and systems relative to online search marketing but none of them tops Google. In fact Google dominates the search engine space with 83% of the search engine activity as of May 2012 (resource).  The closest “competitor” is Yahoo with 6.5% and Bing is all the way down at 4.15% of total global search share.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization, SEO, is the practice of creating or modifying a website, a webpage and/or the content thereof to be more “search engine friendly” and thus result in more searches displaying your page higher (ie closer to the first result) in the search engine results pages (SERP). As an example if Janet makes wood beads for jewelry she would certainly like for her website link to appear at the top of the search engine results when anyone searches for “wood beads for jewelry” or “wood beads”. It could mean the difference between a few sales and thousands of sales – this, of course, depends on the demand for the product.

How To Rank #1 On Google Search Results

Matt Cutts is the definitive resource on Google search spam control which defaults to his having tremendous knowledge about how to rank higher in search results. How do you do search engine optimization (SEO)? According to this video that probably is not as important as having the proper links. Listen, I can talk all day about how to rank high in Google search results but let’s listen to The Expert, Matt Cutts, in his own words. Watch this video and share this article with everyone who wants to place number one on Google!

Of course the idea is funny and great work by Sam. In truth there are techniques to help you rank high on Google and those, are not them. So how do you get your site up in the search listings? Simplified it goes something like this:

  • Write for the readers, not the search bots – readable human content about what you really do.
  • Write frequently – fresh, relevant content is still king.
  • Think about your title and headings – people like relevant titles and headings and so does Google.
  • Use relevant graphics with good titles and descriptions.
  • Link out to relative content – people like this, so does Google.

For more information you can always visit Google’s Help For Webmasters channel on YouTube.

Top Ten Highest Ranked Sites on Alexa – What They Can Teach Us

If you’re reading this chances are you use some, most or all of these sites daily. Having been a user of Alexa since 1996, when the web was just a diapered baby, I have always been fond of some of the tools they provide and the new era is no different. If you have not used Alexa’s Site Info go give it a spin after you read this article – you’ll learn a lot about your favorite sites.

  1. Google – Earth’s favorite search engine
  2. Facebook – a little community site
  3. YouTube – video library maximus
  4. Yahoo – that other link index thing ne news site
  5. Baidu – China’s hope for search dominance
  6. Wikipedia – a place to find the meaning of life
  7. Windows Live – yeah, uhm this must be a mistake
  8. Blogspot – a spot for blogging
  9. Amazon – a river of books, videos, games, hard goods and more
  10. Twitter – the little bird that tells everything

So what does this mean to you as a marketer, developer or community builder?

When I was a young fellow I grew up where a river fed into a lake so we fished. A lot. One of the first questions fishermen ask each other when greeting on or near the water is, “Catching anything?” That was followed, usually, by the other party saying something that may include, “Yes. They are biting really good down by the bridge.”

People are searching in increasing numbers for the information most relevant to their terms. Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm to make certain the best search results are delivered as often as possible. Amazon is tracking searches and delivering relevant information to their visitors. You can learn from these top performers by looking at their Site Info on Alexa which I have so conveniently linked for you here in this article.

Look at the search terms which result in traffic to those site. Now think about your own site, product, brand, or message and think in terms of search relevancy. One of the more difficult challenges is to teach new web marketers how to think like their prospects instead of like a brochure writer. “What are people going to type into Google to find your site”, is one of my most asked questions to new people I am working with as clients.