Brand Search and Page One Presence

Getting on page one of search results is really what it’s all about, isn’t it? About 60% of website traffic for a business name comes from search engines. Let’s talk about what kinds of content we want to show up on page one. In today’s multi-dimensional online world, there are several bases to cover. Here are eight suggestions for getting your brand displayed on page one.

Research. The first step is to get a feel for the kind of presence your brand currently has. Do a search for “(brand name)” and “(brand name) review,” check the first two pages and look at what you find. In many cases, you’ll find there is already some coverage about you. See what’s being talked about, highlight the positive items, visit those pages and keep the URLs handy for reference.

Reviews. Many people looking for Mark’s SEO Shop will simply type “Mark’s SEO Shop” into their choice of search engine and hopefully see as the first result. But that’s just part of the story, at least concerning Google and its various platforms. Others may search for “Marks’s SEO Shop reviews.” Any reviews on the business will show under the Reviews section, which is on the right side of the Google search results page, for example. Google now automatically understands reviews and will be providing direct links to review websites as well. So you should make sure your business is included in as many relevant review sources as possible.

Social Media. Next you want to make sure you have a solid social media strategy in place. First, get an account at Twitter, Google+, Facebook and YouTube or whichever of these are relevant to your business. These media services are easy to tie into your brand for searches and over time will generate followers that you can reach easily.

Industry Sources. Look for affiliations that are industry relevant. For example, for Mark’s SEO Shop, it would be relevant to be mentioned at the IMA blog. Getting a profile will help as well by enabling you to learn more about what other people in your industry are doing and for following industry trends.

Press Releases. Place announcements about your business on external sources. Press release websites are great for establishing brand authority via current news and for building long-term brand presence. They are also easy to get ranked on search engines and will create positive mentions for your business.

External Blogs. Resources like WordPress or Squidoo are free and make it easy to create and maintain a blog to share timely and relevant information. These properties are also easy to get ranked on search engines and can provide important feedback from your audience. If you have reviews from your customers, put them up on these websites after you’ve obtained permission.

Internal Blogs. If you plan to host a blog on your work domain, create it with a subdomain identity like or so updates go into a fixed area of your website and you can control the look and feel. Installing and running WordPress is a breeze and should be easy for you to manage.

Interlinking. Now that you have a number of web properties out there, make sure you link them to each other. It’s very simple to link up social media profiles to help you gain trust and relevance from the interplay between them. Whenever you read about news in your industry, make a comment and drop in a link back to your websites to generate visitors and search engine importance.

This is a dynamic process. Keep up with the linking and property creation for your websites, and you’ll have page #1 for your business dominated easily.

Link Penalty: Too Much of a Good Thing?

One of the most fundamental ideas about search engine optimization (SEO) is that you need to build backlinks to your website. Even at the most basic levels, this seems to make sense. The more links you have pointed to your site, the higher the chance that someone is going to click on one of those links and visit.

Google relies on this idea heavily. For a long while, they believed it was the ONLY factor for ranking a website, never mind the rest of the theory behind SEO! Of course, that has changed. Now there are other factors, like the age of the domain, the text, the quality of the websites linking to it, updates to the website and a ton of other factors. However, link love is still right up there and will remain so for a while, at least until Google+ gains solid traction.

But can you have too much of a good thing? The answer is yes. If you have too many links coming from sources that do not look natural, there is a risk of getting your website into trouble because of your spammy ways. There have been many big brands that have had issues with this sort of thing (Dun & Broadstreet, JC Penny, Overstock, etc.). They all bought links from people in different ways, got caught doing so and had their websites penalized. The sword cuts both ways of course. Forbes was found to be selling links from their website, and they had to face a link penalty as a result. Fortunately, link penalties don’t last forever. You’ll eventually come out of it and get back into Google’s good graces. But it’s enough to say, watch your back lest you get caught!

Now let’s look at the ways you can get into trouble with Google. Here are four areas you should stay away from.

Excessive Link Buying. If your website gains a large number of links in a very short period, there’s a chance of raising red flags. Most natural link building goes slowly. For example, a new domain name called that gets a ton of links for original oregano will automatically ring a few bells. Most natural link building will have varied anchor texts, be built over many domain names and have a long-term evolution in the number of links. Of course, there could be a new domain name for an event that is suddenly popular, but links to it will come from popular news sites, other sites of value and so on, rather than just a few spammy sources.

Site-wide Links. In some cases when you buy links from blogs, they will be in a blogroll on the side of all pages, the header or the footer. Typically, these are unnatural and will have a standard footprint across other websites as well. As soon as you get into something like this, you will head into some choppy water for sure.

Specific Link Sources. Sometimes people will employ tactics like link pyramids. A link pyramid, as the name suggests, is a pyramid-like structure with your website on top which then is getting links from a list of sites below it, which in turn are getting links from sites below it. This is more or less natural. However, websites in the first tier typically have similar page rank. The third tier linking to the second tier are similar page rank as well and follow the same structure. This can generate some smoke and get you into trouble. Your website will naturally get links from all kinds of websites, social networking, forums, news release websites, etc.

Awkward Anchor Association. This is just common sense. If you get links that all say the same thing, like Original Oregano, it really does mean that you’re getting too eager to be noticed for Original Oregano. And unless there is a compelling enough reason for Google to believe your website about this, it’s not going to happen!

So, build your inbound links on a long-term basis and keep them diverse. Don’t make it awkward for your website, and Google will keep pushing your site up in the rank pages.

SEO for Your eCommerce Website

Google supports a number of classes and properties. What this means for your website is that the level of control you have for your store is pretty awesome. In case you’re wondering what schema’s are and how they help your website, schemas are open-source class implementations that integrate into Google search results. These schemas help show things like photos of a page author, star rating for a product, location of a store, phone number and so on.

Let’s take a look at new implementations from Google and how they can help your store convert more customers.

Using the new tags allows you granular control over your products and lets you leverage the strength of Google search into your product feed. There are as many as 25 different attributes you can use to describe your product and get into Google’s search feed with better results.

The new attributes also allow you to link products to each other and describe physical properties of products. For example, you could have isAccessoryOrSparePartFor, isConsumableFor, isRelatedTo or isSimilarTo. Plus, physical product properties can include color, depth, height, weight, width and itemCondition. These properties allow you to provide structured data about the dimensions, appearance and condition of your products.

This is just a sampling of the attributes available from GoodRelations that can give you far more control over your product list. Another potential benefit of using snippets in your pages is being on the good books of Google. There is no denying the fact that when you see a photo of the page owner, a star rating or a list of reviews for the product, the conversion rate goes a lot higher.

In the long run, these Schema integrations have excellent benefits for the end user. For example, a single page with a list of all products and prices for a product would certainly make life easier for your customer. Whichever way you look at it, there are exciting times ahead for consumers and retailers alike with the integration of these new schemas and granular information being available for products.

Effectively Reaching Your Customers via Email

Reaching your customers via email is an inexpensive yet effective way to increase traffic to your website. That being said, you need to make sure to follow a few basic strategies for making the most of your mailing lists and outreach efforts.

The first thing people will see when you send them an email is your “From” name and email address. Since most emailing programs and websites allow you to customize your header settings, make sure your name clearly communicates that it’s coming from your website. For example, if your website is Mark’s Marketing Magic, make sure your email goes out as Mark’s Magic Marketing <> or the equivalent for your website. It is also especially important that your email ID is not a Gmail or Hotmail address. That’s the last thing people expect to see from an established brand.

Use the subject line effectively as well. When you send out an email, do not use something generic like “Buy These Products.” Instead, use a phrase that’s more specifically targeted. And form it in an attention getting way like “James, these Magical Marketing strategies will surprise you!”

Get to the point. Long emails are not particularly inviting or easy to go through. With a limited attention span, most people will skip through a large portion of the email. As a rule of thumb, try to keep your emails to about five hundred words and spread the paragraphs apart so that it’s easy to scan and read. The focus of the email should be expressed clearly in the first two paragraphs with links to buy or respond before the first “fold” of the email.

Test before you send to minimize the chance of your message ending up in the recipient’s spam inbox. Many email service providers look for words like “free,” “buy now,” “get it here,” etc., to check if a mail is from a spam source. Most mass email programs have built-in tests for Bayesian spam filters and spam words that should be an essential step in email preparation. Also, the more unique your email looks, the lower the chance for being sent into spam limbo.

Filter mail users, which can be done with most of newer programs, based on opens, click-throughs, privacy requests, unsubscribe requests and sales. When people buy your products, make sure you thank them. And don’t email them again with another pitch!

Include an appropriate method for contacting you and sharing the email with others. Your footer should contain a number of options including methods of unsubscribing, easy forward-to-a-friend links, and contact-the-sender functions. In your email signature, clearly include your name and details.

Make sure to test your email tactics over time, and remember that email can be the cheapest and most effective method of reaching your customers. It is often ignored as it involves some work. But keep using it, and you’ll be surprised with the number of repeat customers you’ll find  in your database.

Long-Tail Keywords

Selecting the right keywords for your website is fundamental to successful search engine marketing. For example, if the website is for Adam’s Amazing Aardvarks, it doesn’t make much sense to try to rank for the term “aardvark” right out of the box because it’s simply too general for the business results it will probably generate. Short keywords, typically one- or two-word terms, may have a higher number of searches but will have a lower success rate in terms of conversions. Which is why, when you start up, you should build your website’s keyword pyramid from the ground up.

Optimizing your website for shorter terms usually involves a large amount of effort with lower conversion rates. For example the people who come to Adams Amazing Aardvark website on the term “aardvark” are most likely looking for research information or photos at best. People who have a real intention of transacting will most likely be looking at other terms which will define their query better.

Long-tail keywords are easier to rank and will also have a higher rate of conversion. For example, if Adam is selling ants to his customers as aardvark food, he should have a webpage called aardvark-food.html with details on the ants he sells. This approach will help Adam attract customers based on what they specifically want to buy and also allow him to optimize for quicker success.

Once you start generating traffic with long-tail keywords, you can start having success with shorter keywords as well. Long-tail is the building block of long-term success and is essential to making sure that your website gains a strong presence in your business segment.

If you look into the analytics of your website, you will find a surprisingly large amount of data that points to long-tail keyword volume. In fact, most websites have about 70% of their traffic from varied, longer-term searches vs. one- or two-word queries.

When researching the right long-tail terms for your website, look to your competitors, see what pages they have. You won’t be able to tell which ones convert best, but you will get an idea of a good model to follow. Also, think like your prospects, imagine which keywords your target audience might be looking for, ask a friend or your customers what terms they used when they found your website.

Lastly, make sure your pages are named according to your target terms. For example, Adam’s site should have a page named something like buy-aardvark-food, buy-aardvark-medicines, aardvark-habitat. etc.

“Aardvarks” may not be the best example for a website planning to generate large sums of revenue. But the idea here is to give you a picture of what long-tail keywords are and how you can use them for your website.

Predictions for Internet Marketing in 2013

We went over the year in search in our last post, let’s look at what the year likely holds for us in the coming year. If the direction that Google has taken over the last year – one thing we can say for sure is that it’s going to be a full year of fast updates and quick changes. SEO is always evolving and we have seen Google make changes, roll them back, tweak them and keep on being at it. There were a number of small updates and a few big ones.

Here’s what the big ones for this year look to be like

1. The year when Social Search gets mature, Google+ has always been something that Google wanted to push, they are getting more and more traction with their platform and they will definitely have closer integration with their search results. The more people recommend your website in Social circle’s the better results you’re going to see.

2. Stronger integration with Google has already setup a number of integrations such as star ratings, author markup, price matching, etc. Google already announced closer integration for e-commerce websites such as price points, categories of products and so on.

3. Link text will definitely not be as important, we’ve seen that exact link matches are already lower in importance and Google is putting penalties on high exact match links. We are going to see more importance on brand building in terms of link building. The better you position you website as a brand the quicker the results.

4. Accessibility, mobile is going to be big this year onwards. The number of mobile devices on the marketing is going up extremely quickly. We expect by 2017 mobile searches will overtake desktop based queries, to ensure you are high on rankings, have a decent website that is child friendly.

5. Real content, Google is looking for real websites with real content for real people! That’s right, keep it real is the word, when people write content for blogs or websites, they naturally cover varied topics, right from research areas to musings and ruminations. The more natural you keep your content, the better your website is going to appear. Thinking about your goals in the long term will help, for example if you have a website about romantic short stories, writing about dark chocolate and strawberries would be quite different in nature, but as objects they would be close to each other.

We predict these to be the key areas that Google is going to be looking at over the next year, it certainly will be an exciting year ahead so keep visiting us and reading on how things are changing with the world of search and keep yourself updated and changing!

Guest Blog and Grow Your Presence Online

Guest blog posting has become very popular and is one of the most effective strategies for increasing your blog readership. Guest posting means simply writing or publishing articles on someone else’s blog or website. It is a very effective way to reach out to new readers and popularize your website. It also include allowing other bloggers to post on your blog or website as well as.

One of the biggest advantages of guest posting is that it can help you develop relationships with other bloggers. Bloggers always require good content. If you can add some value to someone else’s blog through your content, you are surely going to develop and build a good relationship with them. Finding good friends in other bloggers will help you grow your brand in the world of social media.

With guest posting, you can also be introduced to new communities by sharing your posts or messages. If you carry on your role of a guest blogger properly, over the time you will gain fans, followers and more loyal readers. But you must to patient and tactful in your efforts. For example, don’t blatantly promote your products to increase sales.

Guest postings also act as a boon for search engines since host bloggers include a link to your blog which, over the time, will be beneficial. The backlinks that you receive from the posting will make it easier for you to get noticed in search engines like Bing, Google, Yahoo and others.

Guest posting is always an advantage if you are planning to grow your blog or website and boost your reputation in the Internet world. If you are not satisfied with the flow of traffic to your blog or website, you should start guest posting to other websites or blogs and see your influence grow online.

Blog Commenting: Build Your Traffic and Backlinks

Commenting is an essential part of the interaction between you (the blogger) and your readers. It’s an effective way of sharing valuable knowledge with active blog readers as well as improving your visibility in search engines.

Blog commenting is a required best practice for developing a relationship with your readers through the exchange of ideas, thoughts and views after every post. The process includes readers visiting your blog and leaving comments to a post or article as well as your reply or another blogger’s reply – all creating a healthy interchange between blogger and readers.

In addition to being a way to share knowledge with your readers, blog commenting can also act as an important off-page SEO technique by generating backlinks to your website. Comments are also helpful since regularly updated blogs are highly searchable in search engines and have a better chance of achieving higher ranks.

Comments you make on other blogs can increase the number of inbound links to your blog. Many blogging platforms, like WordPress and Blogger, offer blog commenting systems that allow readers to leave their name, email and URL. When you comment on a post in another blog, you can leave behind the URL of your blog in the URL field, which acts as a backlink to your blog.

Blog commenting is an effective way of exchanging myriad information online. And from an SEO point of view, you gain traffic and backlinks to your blog. It’s a vital element of Web 2.0 websites that builds communication.


Social Media and Its Importance for Your Website

Social Media and Its Importance for Your Website

With the rise in popularity of social media, it is easier to reach consumers and make your presence felt on search engines. This development now makes a strong social presence for your business or website a necessity. To establish yourself online, you need to work hard, especially when you don’t have a high budget to spend on social media, like bigger brands.

The easiest step to improve your social presence is social sharing, which can earn you a lot of fan following. But earning a strong fan base will not happen by chance. It requires a continuous process of proper planning and execution. But, before you think about social sharing, consider why people would share your content and help you promote your business or website.

Examples of sharing include:

• Sharing something funny

• Sharing important links of value to others

• Endorsing a product, company or service

• Sharing creative designs or concepts

• Sharing content by a known and respected authority

Content that addresses these points generally attracts the most followers. And with each share, you are likely to gain links. Hence, you need to create your content very carefully to make it attractive to your followers. Creating something useful (e.g., a useful guide, creative designs, something provocative) can generate sharing. An important point that you need to consider is that, once you satisfy your followers, you have an increased chance of higher popularity in social media overall.

The way you want people to share your content depends on the design of your website, including how your website can be navigated and its accessibility. A badly designed website can act against you and keep visitors away. If your visitors find it difficult to navigate the pages and content of your website, they are unlikely to share anything.

Once you are done with the design of your website, the next important step is to determine the social platforms on which you are going to share. Sharing content on popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ can help you establish your brand online. Other social sharing platforms include Pinterest, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon. You can also place social sharing buttons on your website to let others share your content easily. Placing social sharing buttons on pages that contain shareable content makes it easy for visitors to share. However, placing these buttons on every page of your site is unnecessary and can slow down the site.

There are other ways to help you establish your site socially:

• If you are selling unique products or services that are in high demand, you can easily gain links from people who are talking about them online. You can also advertise your products and services on social platforms and grow your fan following.

• You can create one or more small external websites or microsites that act as a platform for visitors’ interactions or other tools that can be used for entertainment purposes.

Establishing your presence socially can be a great boon for enhancing your brand and drawing links to your website. The concept of reaching out to the world via social web and media is becoming more important with each passing day. Don’t miss out on this important opportunity.


Blogging: The Most Effective Way to Promote Your Website

Off-page search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the techniques you can employ outside your site itself to help gain higher ranking in search engines. Most off-page SEO methods are important, since they help build or generate backlinks for your website. Among those techniques, blogging is one of the most popular and important steps that should not be overlooked.

Blogging is a powerful approach to building website popularity. Blogs not only help you attract traffic to your website, but also draw quality backlinks to it. You can create and host a blog on your website (for example, or You can also create your own blog on free blogging platforms like,,, and, among a host of others.

The best way to attract loyal visitors to your blog is to add new and unique content, including infographics and videos. Writing new content for your blog draws visitors and gives them a reason to visit regularly. You should be as clear, precise and unique as possible to convey your thoughts to your readers. Blogging can also be an excellent medium for initiating conversations with your audience and increasing your visibility.

When you update your blog, search engines will crawl your site and give you a better chance for higher rankings. Featuring and updating a blog regularly will also generate good backlinks to your website. Another important way to increase your backlinks is to be a guest blogger on other respectable sites and write based on a keyword you want to be ranked for in search engines. In addition, submitting your blog RSS to different RSS aggregators will boost your efforts to expand your audience base. Submitting your blog to various blog directories and blog search engines can help in promotion of your blog.

There are varied tools available to encourage your visitors to stay in touch with you in conjunction with your blog such as FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter widgets. Encourage your users to bookmark and share your pages with their friends; there are one-click tools available to assist with this goal. For more ideas on how to popularize your blog, stay in tune with ours and see how we market it.