Answering The Big SEO Questions

Answering The Big SEO QuestionsSEO or Search Engine Optimization, is still of much debate nowadays regarding its effectiveness.

That being said, know the world of SEO and having one’s doubts put aside is very important.  There is a lot of ground to cover for businesses who don’t believe SEO can be of any value anymore.  Here are some simple questions to ask oneself regarding SEO.

Is SEO still valid?

In today’s market SEO is still alive and kicking.  Some would debate its effectiveness but it comes down to the final results.  The search engines aren’t going to ignore SEO anytime soon because there isn’t enough technology to properly counter it and may do more harm than good.  On the other hand, SEO has gotten so corrupted by profiteers that the public isn’t being served well to the point of exhaustion.  Search Engines like Google know this and are working on alternative technologies to remedy the situation.  That being said, SEO is still here and calls for a sharp eye.

Doesn’t SEO take an expert?

SEO may seem intimidating to the layperson but overall it isn’t that complicated a process to learn the basics and innovate.  The problem is getting through all the hype and false data about the subject.  You have to look at what the pros say works the best on a basic level and then do your own detective work to figure out those neat tricks the professionals use to excel.  Be cautious of those SEO guru courses that claim to be able to get your site to the top of Google in a day or some other such claim.  They’re just out for your money.  So follow the basics and you’ll get the gist of SEO.

SEO is only for rich people right?

Not necessarily.  In some cases it will cost you a pretty penny to get the best in SEO for your website.  This is because the top pros demand such a price as their strategies and techniques do indeed work.  The problem is trying to figure out which one of these experts is honest or not.  Testimonials from clients are enticing but in today’s world of corruption you can’t trust anyone.  That being said, it costs more to test each and every top notch company unless you go to a forum of high respect and get that information from industry pros and customers.  Communicate, communicate, communicate, is the keyword here before you buy.  Even when you do hit paydirt some major competitor with more cash than you will find out who your SEO guru is and offer them more money to topple you and the game is afoot again.

Google doesn’t recognize SEO anymore?

Google does indeed recognize prsent day SEO.  The issue at hand is that the SEO experts exploit the system so that the public ends up with results that are far less than optimal when it comes to their time and effort.  When that happens, everyone loses across the board because revenue is lost, and applied false data is spread undermining the entire world.  It may not seem serious but think in terms of the effects.  A crooked SEO company gets a crooked construction product to the top of the search results, that product gets worldwide sales, a year later buildings and other structures start falling apart injuring or killing people and costing governments billions.  Google wants to prevent this but can’t just wipe out SEO overnight.  This is the battle before it and they’re working on it night and day.

How can I benefit from SEO today?

The best way to benefit from SEO today is to learn the basics.  Get the reading material, talk to the pros, get the right software and technology.  “Make hay while the Sun shines!”, is the best advice at present.  Watch out for crooks and pay attention to the industry and things should be good sailing.

Finally, SEO is at a crossroads with lots of speculation as to which way the industry will go.  It’s a make or break time for search engines and surfers too.


The World Of Negative SEO Blackmail And Google

The World Of Negative SEO Blackmail And GoogleIf things aren’t bad enough already in the world and on the web, Google and its clients have to deal with a problematic wave of extortion, aka blackmail from the dark forces of Negative SEO gangsters who are threatening webmasters that they’ll damage their Google results if they don’t pay up money.

Cybercrime is a multi-billion dollar a year industry and law enforcement hasn’t enough manpower nor experts to battle it all. Google had reportedly told webmasters that their ratings could suffer from attacks but now things have taken a turn for the worse.

Google realizes they can’t protect their webmasters and are stumbling around working feverishly to handle the problem. Law enforcement around the world is stymied as to how to combat it as with countries like China, Russia, Nigeria, and even the U.S. Have no way to arrest and prosecute them all.

Crime is running rampant all over the planet and it stands to reason that the web is suffering brutally. Major hacking attacks have compromised billions of accounts and it looks like there’s no stopping them. Some experts claim a reboot of the web is called for but skeptics point out that criminals aren’t the only ones engaged in such activities as we’ve seen in the headlines that governments themselves have engaged in unlawful web surveillance and theft. Shut down and rebooting the web would mean these governments would be crippled regarding espionage. Add to that the cyber criminals are making so much money and paying so much in bribes, shutting them out would mean disaster for the underworld and corporates.

The consensus is that a Congressional route in the U.S., teamed up with international allies could effectively make the web far safer but then countries like China and Russia would protest. The cybercrime economy is so vast that should it shut down it might cause international disaster for honest webmasters as well.

This is the age of computer warfare that had been predicted by security experts decades ago but no one paid attention. These negative SEO blackmail attempts are just one of thousands of scams to rise and sink its fangs into the public.

Right now the only recourse for a victim is to contact their local law enforcement or FBI but that is of little help as their hands are full and resources limited.

In recent months Google has added some firepower to its algorithm lineup with Panda and more. It looked promising but it is going to take a miracle, a real smart whiz kid to come up with something that ends this nightmare once and for all. That just might happen because whomever does come up with a solution will be wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. Somehow some computer whiz sitting in their basement or fooling around on their smartphone will have an epiphany and come up with a solution. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, it’s a matter of ‘when’. When it does you’ll see mountains shake all over the planet and cyber criminals fleeing for their lives.

If you suspect your website has been a victim of negative SEO contact us for a free consultation. Affordable SEO offers negative SEO and unnatural links remediation.


The Brand New Google Boost to SSL

The Brand New Google Boost to SSLRanking on Google is going to be a lifestyle for many, many people all over the world, and when something comes up that has to do with SEO (especially when it’s brand new) there are going to be speculations related to it. SSL certificates are an integral part of most secure websites, and apparently Google has figured out a way to work SSL certificates into the ranking algorithm that Google uses. Web hosting businesses have never been so busy, and a time like this just ensures that they’re going to be rolling in the money for quite some time to come. Google has said themselves that the weight surrounding this ordeal isn’t very big, and that SSL certificates only play a very small role when it comes to ranking websites. It isn’t as large as it could be right now, but Google is probably going to pursue it in future endeavours. They’re trying to get people to make use of HTTPS (as opposed to HTTP), and the use of SSL certificates is only possible through HTTPs functions. Even if it is a small role, there’s still a role in the first place, and SEO service gurus and marketers all over the world are reacting through social media platforms.

People have mixed reviews when it comes to discussing the matter, most of them are just curious as to how something so seemingly insignificant can help you rank higher on Google. There are plenty of things you can do SEO wise to work on your rankings, and there’s so many different things that SSL certificates seem sort of pointless in a sense. There’s nothing wrong with trying to be innovative and creative, technology is a past time that is completely run by geniuses and those who are willing to think outside of the box, but is this implementation of SSL certificates the right thing to do? The community didn’t receive it very well, and when that happens it usually means that Google is going to make even more changes when the next algorithm date comes to fruition.

No matter what your position is on this matter you still have to take it in stride, Google is still a search engine giant and it’s not going to go away anytime soon, so you might as well make lemonade with the Google lemons being gifted to you. Most of the tweets and status updates were snarky and weren’t really forgiving with the incorporation of SSL certificates, most of them were actually related to Google being money hungry. Some said that they were going to end up selling SSL at some point, which actually wouldn’t be that surprising. No matter how you look at it this is a business, and the entire reason you’re in this industry is to make more money, so how hypocritical is it to take shots at a larger than life company that’s trying to monetize? SSL’s are useful for more than just ranking of Google, so there’s always that.

SEO errors you can’t afford to make

SEO errors you can't afford to makeSEO, or Search Engine Optimization is still alive and kicking as a functional and effective way to get traffic to your website, blog, or other online presence. If you run a business it is a must have series of tools and processes that requires much study and application.

Doing SEO right isn’t just a matter of adding some cute keywords on the page and hoping that the search engines will find it, not at all. There are specific steps, all of which require monitoring constantly. Actually, monitoring the website or blog, is a key action that many webmasters and site owners don’t do and wonder why their efforts fail.

Nothing remains the same on the web and getting your site noticed and referenced means you need to keep an eye on it. This calls for checking the statistics. A good statistics program is essential and not to be overlooked. If you have no idea of what is going on then you won’t be able to tweak and fine tune your site for optimal effectiveness. It’s not called optimization because it sounds cool, it’s called optimization because that’s what it is.

Today, Google and the other SE’s are aware of complaints from surfers that the results they see after a query are often of low quality. Lots of SEO going on but the content is so rotten that the surfer wonders why they even tried. This destroys a site nowadays because the SE’s are on to the scam and are vigilantly scouring sites to make sure the content is quality and not just slapped together to get popular rankings.

Another boo boo is sloppy writing. Even in translations the copy should be written by professionals and not someone who is doing it for pennies. The reason being is the computers know the difference between a human and a a word processor. No computer program can match the wonders of a person’s perceptions and translated to the written word. Routine and obvious low quality copywriting that doesn’t catch the eye and engage the reader means the surfer will wander off, never come back, nor link or refer the site.

Link building is both a science and an art and goes both ways. Whom you link to and who links to you shows SE’s that your site or blog is popular. Sure there are scammers out there that pile on the links hoping to boost their presence but the SE’s are getting hip to it and are instead looking at how social networking links instead of direct links via websites and blogs. Doing sloppy link building will get you penalized and fast.

Finally and foremost, keyword and keyphrase abuse. Cramming the site with keywords and keyphrases does no one any good and you’ll find out quickly that improper use will bring about bad rankings and you’ll be left in the dust.

So there you have some SEO boo boos you can’t afford to make and shouldn’t.

Out With the Old and In With the New: SEO vs SEM

Out With the Old and In With the New: SEO vs SEMSEO (Serch engine optimization) has been something of a popular topic when it comes to technological talks, and the reason this is so is because of the features and efficiency that come alongside the use of search engines. No matter what you’re in need of on the internet a search engine is going to make things much easier, whether you’re looking to find a great new restaurant or simply somewhere new to shop. SEO is always looked at as being a “best of the best” type game, which is where the person who makes prevalent use of technical SEO tactics and relevant content wins in the end. Although SEO is an acronym that many people have grown to know SEM seems like it’s making its way to the top, and we’re going to go through why this is happening. SEO has innovated in ways we never would have thought possible, back in the day when the term “SEO” came up you would just think of keywords in metatags and such. Google took it upon themselves to improve their algorithm, and as a result the SEO game was turned into an ever-changing cornucopia of frustration.

We suppose that’s how it’s supposed to be in the end, because everything that’s worth fighting for never comes easy. Google has dedicated themselves to ranking the best sites in the best positions, this means that high-quality and engaging content reigns king these days. Growing organically isn’t impossible, but it’s definitely one of the harder things you can try to accomplish online. SEM is a different term, but it’s essentially the same thing in the end. Search Engine Marketing is a term that represents the marketing portion of SEO, and it’s pretty much the new term that’s being coined for the time being. Innovation is pretty much inevitable these days, and that goes for just about everything (including search engine optimization).

Seeing as the whole algorithm thing has been throwing people off of their game there has been rumours spreading that state SEO is “dying”, but this is far from the truth. The fact of the matter is that SEO is going to stick around for a long, long time, it’s just going to be referred to as SEM sooner rather than later. Nobody is trying to rank their sites for the pure fun of it, and in the end it’s marketing no matter which angle you choose to work with. It’s an incredibly large industry, and when you’re working within such a large industry people are going to try and develop things that will help them stand out. This is why the entire process is so intriguing, as well as why it has so many incredible developments in such a short timeframe. This is the era of technology and there’s no way to get past that without talking about SEO, thinking otherwise would just be a quick way to push yourself towards the rule “out with the old and in with the new” you’re going to be blessed with more than one positive trait (no matter what the project at hand happens to be).

Don’t leave yourself uninformed of the events transpiring today, keeping yourself in the loop is crucial if you want to stay relevant in the SEM world. Marketers are coming to fruition just about every single day of the week, and it’s up to you to determine where you’ll sit on the online marketing patriarchy. You might not think the term SEM is that important right now, but give it a bit of time and you’ll see the error of your ways.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO Specialist

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an SEO SpecialistThe world of search engine optimization is one that is often muddied in confusion. There are so many rumors flying about regarding what works and what doesn’t that one can find one’s head swimming from all the false and misleading data. That’s why knowing what to ask a SEO specialist is of vital importance so you get the best service from the most ethical professional.

1)  What is their SEO experience?

The first thing you want to know is what do they know. How long have they been at SEO and can they show you statistical results to validate their claims. This is tricky because there are so many ways a scammer can beguile you and you’ll need to be on your toes to make sure you get them to tell the truth and back it up. Check on how long they’ve been in business. Ask for testimonials and then search for testimonials on your own. Somewhere there’s going to be someone praising their skills or lambasting them. You’ll have to use the right measure of judgment here because competitors can often bad mouth a company and get away with it legally. You want facts, transparency and good communication from the SEO specialist  you’re hiring. If they struggle or hesitate one iota you’ll know you’re in for trouble.

2)  Show me the stats

Statistics are the figures that back up what a person says such as in the SEO industry. They’ll have their own statistics but the websites they state they’ve catered to will have their own as well. This is where you can separate the chaff from the wheat. Ask them about their stats regarding a website they’ve worked on. Contact the owner of that site or use any of the available website monitoring statistical programs. You’ll be able to piece together when the SEO expert actually got on board and how effective they were. It takes weeks and months to show results so go through a good amount of data and you’ll have a good measuring stick to estimate your probable success with them.

3)  Don’t trust the hype

SEO experts of ill repute will make all kinds of claims to get your business. One of them is that they’ll get you to the top of Google and the rest of the search engines in a day or a week. That’s a big lie and a sure sign that they’re out for that quick buck. SEO is an area of such need that it attracts the worst of the worst. When an SEO company makes such claims you need to run the other way. Ask your prospective SEO specialist how long it take to get positive results. They should tell you it will take weeks or months as that’s the way it works. In rare occasions you can hit the jackpot and fly to the top of the results. Once that happens you’ll know you’re with the right expert.

4)  Watch out if they claim an inside track to Google

Google is the search engine of target but you’ll have SEO companies claiming to know some inside track to Google’s algorithms, their cousin works for Google or they have some psychic link to Goggle’s top SEO staff. All this again is hype and no responsible business SEO expert is going to make those claims. They’ll tell you that they do know the fundamentals of Google’s algorithms but those algorithms change and thus makes SEO a more precise type of engineering and not some magic bullet.

Overall, a real SEO specialist will walk you through the process and not try to mislead you. They’ll provide pertinent data you can understand, statistics to back it up and long term service not some fly-by-night operation.

Image credit: kbuntu / 123RF Stock Photo

What The Experts See In The New SEO Periodic Table Elements

SEO Periodic Table ElementsAt this year’s SMX meeting in June, bigshots of the SEO kingdom got together and discussed the latest in SEO, the big search engines, the algorithms, strategies, and the surprising results they’ve gathered over the past year.

This year’s triad of knowledge included Marianne Sweeny of Portent, Matthew Brown of Moz, and Marcus Tober of Searchmetrics inc.

The analysis of what ranks and doesn’t came as a surprise in many cases and the old standards kept their ground as well according to the report at Search Engine Land.

One of the things that popped up and is a rising talk of the town is the power of brand names.  This is all abuzz amongst internet marketers because achieving brand name status means an easier road to marketing and capital.  People either know who you are, respect you, or they don’t.  Rankings seemed higher for certain brands even new ones.  It’s also part of not a singular thing that makes the rankings higher with brand names. That includes links, backlinks, social media, etc..  The bottom line here is it’s better to have a brand than not.

Internal links and good content still win the day although one must be cautious about how many and how good those internal links are.  Good content continues to win the day and writers who specialize in great copy can mean the difference between success and failure.  Remember, people will visit a site and if they can’t understand what is going on they won’t search, bookmark, or share.  It’s imperative that internal links go to relevant pages and those pages have content that is far better than good.

Other such common sense factors as site speed are important as well.  If your site loads too slow you’re losing out big time.  Those timeouts mean no surfers, spiders, crawlers, etc..  You need to be on top of what your hosting company is doing and make sure they are up to speed.

Other tidbits in the search metrics focused on fine tuned things such as mentioned earlier but in-depth regarding the connection to well done optimization and poorly done.  Keywords strategically and well placed enhance things for the better.  Good content, speed, the works.

If all this seems common sense it is because it is. The days of sloppy, cheap content coming from hack mills are coming to a close and soon billions of websites will drop off the radar as a greater emphasis on quality emerges.

It’s ironic how the experts are finding that Google and other top social sites can drop in ranking and then upon analysis find out that it’s all about quality.  People know quality and the emerging domination of mobile is showing that.  People just don’t have time for schlock content.  It’s their valuable time and money at stake and if a site reaches top rankings but delivers sucker content only because they know the tricks of black hat SEO then the end up taking a beating they’ll never recover from.

SEO Mistakes Not To Make

SEO Mistakes to avoidHaving SEO or Search Engine Optimization done correctly means one’s website will be in the game at a top and efficient position. It takes skill based on the science and technology available as well as some good common sense and insight. That being said there are a list of serious mistakes that webmasters and site owners do that kill any good attempts with SEO.

Poor quality content

No one wants to visit a site where the content is poor. Hire professional copywriters and not those nickle and dime ones. Make sure the pictures an videos are clear and well done. Don’t slap any bells and whistles on the site to look pop culture or cool. Get to the point. Your content should be about what makes your site unique and how it services your surfers. If you’ve got a business and your business is about pet care don’t slap some big picture of you and your kids or girlfriend all over the site. Surfers aren’t interested in your personal opinion of yourself, they’re interested in what you provide. Quality content means putting on the site works you created or hired someone to do. Professionalism is easy to spot. Sloppy work is sloppy work, no contest there. This is where a pro level SEO service is needed.

Keyword stuffing

Some people doing SEO have no clue as to how to populate a webpage or website with the right keywords the proper way. They stuff the same keyword anywhere they can and then wonder why the search engines penalize them. There’s a science, a technology to how to use keywords and a little bit of study will bring about surprising results. Keywords don’t bring a page to the top of a search engine alone nor overnight. It takes time and is done in coordination with other factors of website construction and management.

Inefficient use of social media

Since social media is one of the biggest traffic sources and growing, having SEO done right that incorporates it would be advisable. Not using social media properly is missing out on a major source of standing and growing traffic as well as boosting your presence on the search engines. When people share your website content that data is now available to the search engines. The more links to your site from organic traffic sources, the higher you’ll rank and the more credible you’ll appear. This isn’t a difficult thing to do. There are plugins that have icons and links to all the major social media around the world! A simple bit of cut and paste code and people visiting your site can click any number of these icons and suddenly your content is all over the place and these plugins are free! Do not underestimate the power of social media and SEO and don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Be competent and your SEO will benefit from it.

In addition

In addition to the above mentioned procedures make sure your link building is sane and not slapped together with links coming to and from irrelevant websites. Search engines see this and know your site is amateurish or a spam farm. Keep things smart, use a plan to make sure you’ve got a guideline of efficient and effective SEO techniques. It’s all about fine tuning things and using common sense that will help you avoid these SEO mistakes.

The Marriage Of Social Media Marketing And SEO

Social Media Marketing

Far too often entrepreneurs make the mistake of not realizing the importance of combining SEO and social media marketing. They’ll focus on one or the other and soon find themselves in a quagmire of low stats and lower performance.

The reason is that both these platforms compliment to one another and only the savvy and alert will know how to utilize them efficiently. The game has changed and is changing fast. As more people get online and more commerce is done, a company doing business on the web is going to be hard pressed to get attention much less revenue. With all the hackers and spammers out there working night and day to get to the top of the search engine results, the average marketer or website owner is up against the wall. It has gotten to the point that competing against these ne’er-do-wells is pointless, however, Google and other search engines aren’t going down without a fight.

The key here is to get back to studying the data that SEO and social media marketing provide. That meta data is very important not just to see how many hits one gets but where they come from, time, date, region and more. What content do they like and are they sharing, liking, reposting what you have provided. Are the public talking about your services in good tidings and are those reviews spreading virally around the web. All this data and more are necessary for success and that means doing the homework, testing, studying and keeping it going. Without such you’ll find yourself falling behind or paying a good sum of money to get someone else to do it for you and that means overhead you shouldn’t afford.

It calls for looking at the procedures and tactics the big shots use and remembering that following the fundamentals is just as important as following those golden nuggets of wisdom along the way. That’s a major trap right there, the golden nugget online marketing courses promising to solve every problem you’ll have with SEO and social media marketing. They can’t. You can get gurued to death listening and buying such products. It’s best to get the free information often accompanying a website like Facebook provides and the free tutorials that others put up on sites like YouTube. You will be astonished at what you can find on your own. You can chat with fellow marketers, entrepreneurs and such at many blogs and forums and you’ll know from the start if the venue is honorable or not. Anyone trying to get you to buy everything they have means you’ve run into a spam minefield.

So the bottom line here is getting the data and doing the due diligence. You have to realize this is a marriage between SEO techniques and social media marketing and that calls for studying a massive amount of information that is ever changing. Not only that but the trends involved can be overwhelming. Every day something unexpected goes viral and changes the landscape of what is trendy and popular. A website or business has to be on the ball to take advantage of these things with keyword rich text, excellent content and ever ready response to surfers. When people are liking your site, comments, etc., you have to get in there and reply back, give and take information and then structure your websites, social media profiles and pages accordingly.

This calls for being on the ball 24/7 and it calls for staying on top of SEO and social media marketing trends.

What’s The Story On Google’s Pay Day Loan Algorithm?

Payday_loan_shop_windowWith much anticipation in their war on spammy websites, Google’s heralded Payday Loan Algorithm hasn’t lived up to what it was cracked up to be.

Website owners, spam watchers, and SEO optimization experts have all been chomping at the bit regarding seeing this software do its job in getting the spam off the search engine and allowing legitimate sites to see their day in the higher rankings.  After the announcement that the software was up and running, aficionados watched intently to see the results.  So far they’re not satisfied even from the responses of Google’s SEO expert Matt Cutts who enlightens the public on everything Google and SEO related issues.

It was on June 12, 2014 that Cutts made the announcement that the software was up and running but so far the satisfaction level just isn’t there for the public.  Lots of speculation is emerging from experts in SEO and those on the sidelines.  The Payday Loan software was touted as a something like a dream come true.  Something the hard working website owner or webmaster could count on to give them a fighting chance against the black hat spammers who often thwart the search engines and dominate the top rankings.  They populate Google with low end quality content written by hack writers from third world countries.  The average and above average website owner and webmaster doesn’t have a chance nowadays.

That being said, it’s going to take serious vigilance to see where this SEO algorithm is going and whether the spammers can compromise it.  It’s like as soon as Google gets ahead these people are right on their tail and they’ve got to start all over again.

The Payday Loan 3.0 algorithm follows the Panda 4 software that Google initiated recently to do somewhat of the same thing.  One might think that with this one two punch that Google would be well down the road to beating back the spammers but so far no flags or fireworks of celebration have been seen.  It may be that due to the sheer volume, perhaps billions and billions of spammy websites are too much for the algorithms to handle in a speedy manner and may well take weeks or months to show results to a satisfactory degree.  If that’s the case then it could be a double edged sword for Google in that by the time the software takes hold and shows results, the spammers and black hatters will have back engineered things and Google will be back where they started.

It’s all about the math here.  With billions of people on the web and millions of spammers and those who would undermine things for greed, it may call upon Google to really pour on the heat and find a way to combat it all.  It may take something drastic that will upend the SEO world but something has to be done before someone else comes up with a search engine that can’t be compromised and Google will go the way of Yahoo.

Picture credit: Wikipedia

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