Posts Tagged ‘google’

It has been several years since my last post here. Google killed guest blogging and knocked down traffic to some of my favorite pest control blog sites in the process. So I abandoned my writings that were destined to fall to the back pages of the index where no human eyes would find them. Is there value for writing just for the bots? Is there hope for human connection when rankings will not be had? Alas… is SEO dead?

SEO in 2017

Oddly, I found myself explaining SEO to developer yesterday. And it was refreshing to realize how alive and well the need for SEO still is. Sure the tactics and practices have adjusted but the SEO foundation and work remain largely the same. Perhaps this is even more so the reason for me leaving this site destitute for so long. The excitement and newness was gone. It had become very mundane. Plus with the lack of readers, believers, and other practitioners to cheer me on, the blogging ceased. But I will tell you this, there is still much you may learn from this blog and the posts of the SEO past. Knowing where we came from will help you understand where we are today.

The 6 Keys to SEO that will remain

1 – Content – As the saying goes “Content is King”. While this may still be arguable, it is still relevant. The words, the images, the videos, are the content that makes your website worthy of human eyes. Not to say that all content worthy of being seeing will be seen. I do say, that once seen the content will carry it forward to be seen more or fizzle and die out to be rarely seen again. Content is what people come to consume. If not worthy of consumption, if not easily digestible then content should rot.

2 – Mark-up –  Most markup is hidden from humans. Markup is the code that speaks to bots so they can process, define, format, and present. I include in this meta tags, headers, titles, and most of all Schema (or the next iteration of structured data). In fact, Schema.org markup may already be on its way out. I’d suggest looking into JSON mark up. The internet of things is only made possible by a structured universal language to identify those things, that language is primarily for computer eyes only and is called markup.

3 – User Experience – Humans still need to connect with humans. When it comes to webpages the experience for users most be pleasant so that users will return and bring more users. This includes users of all device sizes, browser types, and sensory shapes. As human expectations change so will user experience. Search bots now make snap judgements based on site speeds, layout of rendered pages, and placement of useful elements on the page. Does your website protect users with its terms of service? Are users secure and computer connecting safe from viruses? Your site will be judged and ranked accordingly.

4 – Keywords – Keywords are the bases for intent. Connecting complimentary intents means pairing a music buyer with a music seller. If the immediate intent is to hire a pest control service then a user won’t likely order a pizza if sent to Papa John’s instead of Bulwark Exterminating. Therefore, understanding and expressing what your website page intends to do (provide pest control in Austin) will help a search engine provide the right results for its users who live in Austin that want to “get rid of scorpions”. Bridging that gap is understand what searches want when they enter a keyword phrase in relation to the keywords targeted by a web page.

5 – Links – Well you can’t just trust any old website on the internet these days. Links are like votes. And popular votes count on the internet. Hence, links will always be a factor in which site to trust and which to not trust. Links today are more loosely defined as mere mentions will cause connections. A phone number can easily be an identifiable link to a specific company. The content surrounding those links builds relevance. If you search for Thomas Ballantyne you will find Bulwark Exterminating in the results and few hyperlinks to Bulwark actually carry the anchor text of “Thomas Ballantyne”. So links and anchor text still matter and will always matter.

6 – Search Engines – Needless to say, that search engine optimization is wholly reliant on search engines existing and being used. But search engines will never go away. Search Engines have grounded their roots in human psyche as follows; to find and learn, to ask and be entertained, to express needs with desires of being filled, to hunt and gather information, and to conquer life. The search engine provides. The Search Engine engages and drives human activity.  Forever more will there be a bot that will search, find, and organize the information world for human consumption. And with that bot, there will be those that seek to provide content for consumption.

3 of My Latest Tips and Secrets of 2017 SEO

1 – History – One of the biggest secrets I have is that history counts. The longer you stay online, the more history you gain. The longer you carry a keyword ranking the better chance you have to keep that ranking going forward. If you have a bad history, it will hurt you. So be consistent with who you say you are and who you really are. Your History makes your Reputation. Reputation is trust. Trust is currency. It is your currency to buy visitors and to gain customers.

2 – Build it right from the start– Let’s say you have a niche that hasn’t broken into the online world yet. (Still happens, as I found out when building a house. Try finding a Phoenix Framer). Being first to break out online gets you results and fast, just for being first. But you are the only runner, so being first in a race of one doesn’t mean you ran a good race. However, if you start racing now and really work at being a top racer, when others join you will have the history and experience to compete. Plus, it can be a distance race. Bulwark in Austin has over 400 online reviews in Google alone, that puts some distance between us and someone starting now. Build your website right from the start and you get distance and not just first place in a one man race.

3 – Visible Reputation Trumps Ranking – 5 little gold stars can take more traffic than the top ranked on the page. A bad reputation on the first page can lose your site traffic when people search for your company by name. And when it comes down to it, people won’t buy if they can’t trust you. Visible reputation can go into how your site simply looks even if you did rank #1 for SEO.

 

Well it feels good to blog again. SEO is alive and well. Your views, shares, and comments are appreciated and help drive more posts and more conversations.

Advertisements

When will this link thing in SEO end? Will it ever end? One thing is for sure, there are a lot of guys still trying to get links. So today I give you a copy of an email sent to me by an SEO company offering their services.

 

__________________________________________________________________

Dear Webmaster,

 

I manage several high reputation affiliate websites and would like to offer you a contextual link exchange deal, which can be done in several ways:

1) Content in exchange for links:

As a company which provides accurate content to our partners, we are now offering to provide you with FREE, relevant and original content articles at any requested field (we have dedicated content writers for this purpose). In exchange we only require 2 text links from each published article for as long the article is published and at the minimum of 2 years. Each article will have a unique content, will be only used only once and will never be given to any of our other partners.

2) Exchange of contextual links:

A simple exchange of links from within relevant text on various pages of our websites. The key words will be pre-selected. We can negotiate the number and quality of pages in which the links will be created.

3) “Partner Page” links:

A very basic level of link exchange, this way we can still establish long-term relevant links, but with lower SEO exposure.

 

Thanks & Regards,

************

Marketing Manager

Providing services since 1996 

__________________________________________________________________

SEO-Link-Building-Challenge

HELLO! He is a spammer. Do you expect anything more than spammy links?

As tempting as it may seem, guys that spam your inbox probably aren’t the most diligent hard working individuals. They want the quick hit and runs. They want the easy way out. They look at mass numbers. You may get a lot of links, but link volume isn’t everything. The days of massive link volumes are gone. You want quality links not quantity of links.

SEO is becoming mainstream to the business owner. 6 to 7 years ago I would be shocked to find a business owner that new what SEO was. Today I am shocked to find one that doesn’t. The majority of business owners now know they need and want SEO. The problem now becomes understanding what SEO really is, and does a business owner ultimate get his website ranked in Google. Hence the BBB is trying to fill a need for its loyal members by providing a quick and easy guide to getting websites ranked.

Here is the BBB’s article: 5 Steps To Get Your Business On Google’s First Page

Reckless. Very reckless. If only SEO was as quick and easy as a 5 step.

Black Hat Magic

What  irritated me the in this article was the following statement:

“Accredited Businesses who use BBB’s dynamic seal on their website will greatly benefit from bbb.org’s high domain status, thus increasing their own domain authority and search engine ranking.”

What BBB did here is shrewdly ask for a link. Asking for a reciprocal link to be more clear. Further, implicating that by adding a link to the BBB the businesses owner will get better ranks. They even linked to Moz.com within this misguided statement. Was this contrived or is the writer just naive? While this tactic of reciprocal linking isn’t entirely black hat, the fact that the article doesn’t give full disclosure that they are asking for a link makes me cringe.

 

Most Effective SEO Strategies

spring-spider-pest-controlDespite the BBB’s attempt to gain links from their naive and trusting followers, the BBB did publish a survey with some good percentages for effective SEO strategies. The survey put “Link Building” as the 3rd from the bottom. The respondents felt that “Quality Content Creation” is your best bet for SEO success. Bravo. Take the survey’s advice and work on your content strategy and keyword research. Give users the information they are searching for and your business should reap some SEM benefits. But please understand, SEO is not a quick 5 step project. It’s a competitive world out there, and everyone wants the first page of google.

 

K – I –  S S – I – N – G

google-wikipedia-serps

 

So Google is now displaying a little drop down screen shot of the Wikipedia page associated with a website. The information is Universal and site wide, so this tab is included on deeper pages.

Why is this Interesting to me?

I find this very telling of how heavily google is now leaning towards entities in the search results.

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A recent study by Ryan C. McDevitt of Duke University lays claim that plumbers who bid on Google’s PPC ads have a high likelihood of being poor quality plumbers.

The article makes a comparison of PPC ads to the former yellow pages. The argument begins with the home based services whose names begin with the letter ‘A’ or a number. They found plumbers with ‘A’ or numeric names charge a 8.4% price premium. They used a study from 2005 based on the Chicago yellow pages which documents ‘A’ names and number names by percentage of total listings in each category to point out plumber’s beat the average 9.3% of business with ‘A’ names. This study they used is pretty eye opening.

Rank Yellow Page Headings by Percentage of “A” or # Names

1
 Locks & Locksmiths 65.90%
2
 Towing-Automotive 28.90%
3
 Taxi & Limousine Service 21.20%
4
 Convenience Stores 21.20%
5
 Plumbing Contractors 21.00%
6
 Associations 20.80%
7
 Insurance 19.90%
8
 Roofing Contractors 15.20%
9
 Cellular Telephone Services 14.90%
10
 Art Galleries & Dealers 14.90%
11
 Employment Agencies 14.80%
12
 Automobile Repairing & Service 14.50%
13
 Electric Contractors 14.10%
14
 Travel Agencies & Bureaus 13.50%
15
 Painters 13.30%

Source: American Business Disc,2005

Does it correlate that yesterday’s Yellow Page spammers are today’s internet spammers?

The fact that Locksmith’s tops the list reminds me of the notorious Locksmith spammers in today’s SEO world. Albeit it may not be entirely fair to suppose an ‘Automobile’ category is gaming the system by using ‘A’ names as the category itself begins with ‘A’.  It is also insightful that roughly 6.2% of competitive categories use ‘A’ or numeric names. If name selection for a business were unbiased we would likely see an average closer to 3.9% ‘A’ names, which is where Lawyers and Attorneys fall due to regulations requiring firms use names that match the lead attorney. Pizza companies actually fall below that mark with a 3.4% ‘A’ name ratio.

My Thoughts

The idea that plumbing spammers are more likely to bid on google PPC ads is intriguing. However I found that the study by McDevitt of Duke makes a lot of assumptions. Further, it used Yelp as a primary source for counting reviews and comparing complaint averages. I highly doubt that the data included Yelp’s obnoxious filtered reviews. Plus, as Larry Kim added, 25% of Yelp’s reviews are suspected as fake.

And if the conclusion has some merit among the plumbing industry, I find it hard to believe it is applicable to all home service industries. Granted I am a bit biased to the pest control industry, but even still, I find it hard to imagine a business model that could afford the current cost per ‘pest control’ click and not retain customers.

The study does have some tenable findings in the yellow pages with regards to A and numeric names associated with quality. I believe the choice to take the AAA name for phone book ranking is an indication of choosing short term gains over long term strategy. A well developed quality service takes more careful aim with long term strategies in the crosshairs.

But… “Hey, I am just the pest control guy.

for further discussion on this study visit HBR : http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/11/beware-the-plumbing-firm-that-advertises-a-lot/

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Google is constantly testing and refining their search. This also applies to their ad section. Google cares about conversion optimization. Click here to see previous changes to sponsored section. Despite their “Do no Evil” slogan, they are still in the game to make money. Here is the latest testing of their ad section.

Google-Ads-Section-testing

Compared to current “Ad section”:

Google-Search-PPC-Section

my first reaction…

google-ads

What is that Big Yellow Tag doing there?

I am actually a bit skeptical on if this is going to help click through rates. It does grab one’s attention which could help CTR. The main advantage I see is that the shading has disappeared. I think most people have grown cold toward the shaded “sponsored” area and simply skip over it out of habit. I assume that Google isn’t going to do anything that will hurt revenues.  Only time will tell if this test goes live in all the searches and how much it helps Google’s bottom line. But you can take this away, “Always be testing. Always.”

Here is the best Hummingbird Joke I’ve got:

Why does a hummingbird Hum?

Why Does a Humming Bird Hum?

Answer: Because it doesn’t know the words! Dumb bird.

Hey it’ Google’s Birthday!!

The humming bird is set to make the search faster. Along with other updates google is 100% happy. And why not, it’s their birthday. So blow out the lights and make a wish.

Related Posts:

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I updated my Google+ App on my iPhone and found this..

Google Plus Checkin for iPhones

Google Plus Check-Ins

I have never know google to not use information they collect to better their search results. I foresee Google+ checkins becoming a major part of Google’s Local Search algorithm. The Google+ Check In will add the user data that google is craving to make search results relevant to users. Google places has come a long way. At one time Google scrapped the internet trying to create it’s local directory. They abused Yelp trying to add in reviews. They indexed foursquare to make sure the results were relevant. Now they have their own system to do all this themselves. From reviews to location data, Google+ answers the local directory call.

Can Google+ capture the foodies?  As for the foodies, I am not sure, but I do believe Google has the means and drive to eventually beat down Yelp and Foursquare. While Yelp will have a long life and will still hold on to much of it’s elite foodie following, the annoyance and frustration from both businesses and the non-elite users will erode Yelp’s base. But what do I know.. I am just a pest control guy.

If you check out the search terms that are being used to find your WordPress blog you may come across this phrase “encrypted_search_terms”. Why? Has your site been hacked? Or are you a sneaky SEO that has been hiding something and you’ve been caught by Google. If you are worried about this term showing up in your wordpress dashboard read on.

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

Encrypted_Search_Terms is now my all time biggest traffic term!

It is nice to know what people are finding your site for, so I keep track using wordpresses traffic tools. “Christmas Lights Ditto” has been one of my best search terms ever, but it and others were just passed by “encrypted_search_terms”. But it’s not that I rank for “encrypted_search_terms”, it’s because the search terms the googler searched are actually being encrypted. If you use Google Analytics you will find these terms labeled, “Not Provided”. Per Google it is only going to effect about 10% of your traffic. That was the stat they gave when they first launched this encryption, “to protect the user.” But there are many that report this impact is far greater than 10% and that it is only expected to grow.

Should I be worried about “encrypted_search_terms” showing up on my dashboard?

The term showing up does not indicate anything about your site. You are most likely not being found for that term. This term is now showing up for everyone using WordPress’s site tracking. If you care about knowing how you are being found, then yes you should be a little more than worried about this. Google is taking away search data. If you have been trying to watch your search terms trends then this will be a problem. Your data from year to year will now be flawed, especially if the percentages continue to change.

Here are a few more sources for you to really dive into this discussion:

Can I get this data back?

No. Sorry, but there is no real solution for you to get the data back. You can run analysis on which pages are being seen most frequently and make inferences as to what terms brought them to those pages. You can pay for pay-per-clicks to find terms that may become hidden. You can ask users to share the data. But there will be no going back to the days that Google shared openly with the webmaster this information.

You will find the following “Consumer Alert” on yelp:

We caught someone red-handed trying to buy reviews for this business. We weren’t fooled, but wanted you to know because buying reviews not only hurts consumers, but also honest businesses who play by the rules. Check out the evidence here. ( http://s3-media3.ak.yelpcdn.com/saphoto/RU7bd3h2f6pBlf8BfAyxGQ/o.jpg )

Clicking the link provided will take you to an image caption of the correspondence between the yelp sting operative and the company. This jeweler was offering $200 for a review, per the craigslist post they had created. And apparently they are not the only ones using this technique… per google search for “Craigslist.org Yelp review”:

Does this Yelp Penalty Affect Ranking?

Levi Jewelers still ranks #1 in the yelp search “Jeweler” from a desktop, as of today. It still shows the 5 stars and 91 reviews. ( Interesting to note that they do have 366 filtered reviews. )

When you travel to their page the consumer alert is below the fold:

The mobile version does not currently show the consumer alert whatsoever. And the yelp deal with Levi, one that pays yelp, is still active.

What is the verdict?

Honestly, I think yelp could show some more teeth here. But for the sake of making a public example of this company, I believe they are opting to keep them up. This is also a recent update and I am sure that the future versions of Yelp penalties will be modified. The email correspondence occurred beginning Oct. 11th through Oct. 13th. It appears that it was leaked to the press very quickly and thus the public relations team is getting their message out.

However, from a previous yelp broken filter blunder in which Yelp quickly reacted to remove the reviews, I feel yelp still fails to make a solid stance. Their previous blunder only called for a quick cover up, it did not remove the members who violated the guidelines. Will yelp protect the other members that the Jeweler paid off to get good reviews? Will there be a point when businesses get an advocate to combat yelpers gone wild?

Pest Control Guy Penalized on Yelp for Reviews

Rumor has it that there is a pest control guy that was caught red handed buying reviews on yelp as well. I have not been able to find this bugger. I am shocked however that a Phoenix pest control competitor of mine openly offers a credit for a yelp review on his website. It seems that this should certainly be a red flag for yelp.

“Love Us? YELP! Post a positive comment on YELP and receive $5.00 off any service. Let us know through our Contact Us page”

Apparently a yelp review is only worth $5 for pest control companies. That is a bit shy of the $200 the jeweler is offering and the $100 a restaurant in Sedona is offering.

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