Netnotic Digital Marketing and SEO

Netnotic Marketing
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galen@netnotic.com
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Search Engine Optimization, Google AdWords, Web Design



p: 306.371.4595
e: galen@netnotic.com



p: 306.371.4595
e: galen@netnotic.com

SEO | Search Engine Optimization Blog

More Traffic or More Value

Date: 2012-09-12

Should your digital marketing efforts focus on driving more traffic to your page?  Let's say your website is a big pile of crap and you have a very high bounce rate combined with a very low conversion ratio. Bringing more traffic to a pile of crap will most likely not change things in your favor very much.

Changing your pile of crap into a source of valuable content may have two beneficial results. The first is likely to be a better rate of conversions. The second is a by-product of the first, better content (better value) will improve your search engine positioning and bring you more traffic.

Higher conversion ratio * higher traffic = higher ROI.

Build value first, not traffic.  Value attracts the quality of traffic you want and leads to more successful digital marketing.

See our E-booklet 5 Magical Steps to Grow Your Website Traffic for tips on how to create Value and attract traffic.

By: Galen Sonntag



Image alt text and image title attributes

Date: 2012-09-04

What is the purpose and what's the difference of the image alt attribute and the image title attribute? As browsers rapidly release new versions, the distinction and the treatment if alt and title attributes (tags) is getting harder to determine. Some people refer to the alt attribute as the alt tag and the title attribute as the title tag. As both of these are truly attributes within an image tag, we will stick with the attribute label, and also avoid confusion with the actual title tag, which is a meta tag. To go back in history, the purpose of the two was quite clear. The alt attribute is intended as "alternative text", to be displayed when the browser does not display an image, or when a screen reader, such as for visually impaired, reads the content of the screen. The image title attribute may be used to provide additional information about the image. For the purposes of SEO, Google uses the alt attribute to help understand the image content and relevance to the page. How browsers treat the two attributes varies. Internet Explorer will display the alt tag as pop-up information while Firefox and Safari use the title attribute. In cases where both an alt attribute and a title attribute as present, IE will select the title attribute. Recommended use, treat the alt attribute as an opportunity to tell a web crawler from search engine what the image is about and use the title attribute to provide user relevant information, and/or action oriented information. For example (your site is about blue race cars), if you have a logo on your site linked to your home page, your alt attribute may be alt="blue race cars home" and your title attribute may be title="See Our Blue Race Cars Home Page". This provides useful information to both without simply copying and repeating one attribute for the other.

By: Galen



Google Penguin - Panic Time

Date: 2012-07-06

If your website was hit hard by Google Penguin, you probably believe it is time to panic.  A little panic is understandable, after all, your online presence is likely one of your most important marketing channels.  Here is a quick example of why not to panic. 

Google is always tweaking their algorithms, including major updates like Penguin this year and Panda last year.  In between major updates are more subtle changes, but frequent changes, that don't get big headlines, but cumulatively can have just as much effect as the major updates.

On one of the sites I manage, the Penguin update seemed to hit it hard, and unreasonably hard.  I panicked a bit, I researched a number of blogs and read postings by Google on what Penguin was intended to do then I compared the site, the content strategy, the inbound and outbound links, etc, to the best information available and I could not determine anything for which the site should be penalized.  Yet the rankings and traffic had dropped.  On this site I monitor a number of keywords and some of them had dropped off the first page of Google search results.  Generally that means no search traffic from those terms.

I kept a close eye on the rankings, running reports on a weekly basis and over the course of several months now, without drastic or dramatic changes to the site, 16 of the 18 search terms I am tracking have all recovered back to or above their pre-Penguin rankings.  Not only that but this week a significant number of them shifted up again.

It is my belief that Google has "undone" some of the Penguin factors which they realize have damaged the search results of good quality sites.  This has not been a highly publicized event as I don't believe Google ever apologizes, they just keep working to deliver what they believe are the best rankings for quality sites.

By: Galen



Off-Page Optimization

Date: 2012-06-24

Off-Page Optimization is what your search marketing efforts consist of away from your website domain. Generally this involves obtaining links to your website from other websites, and can be done in a number of different ways, some more effectively than others. Like most things in business, nothing good is free. There is always a cost in link-building. Sometimes it is a monetary cost and sometimes it is a resource cost, like your time. Here is a quick overview of some of the common linking practices and which are useful and which may be otherwise avoided. 1. Manual link building. This is high value activity, and difficult, and time consuming. In it's simplest form, this is seeking out websites with complimentary content to yours and asking them to link to you. 2. Link exchanges. Some companies offer a link exchange program where you submit your URL and description and they place on one or several of their client sites in exchange for you linking to their clients. This can be problematic, if you end up with link to your site, and links from your site, that are not well related to your site content. Always insist on knowing what sites you will be required to link to and who will be linking to you. 3. Link farms. In summary, this is a bad practice. Link farms are sites set up primarily for the purpose of linking to other sites. They have little if any original content. In the past days of SEO, these were questionable practices as the links had little value to human users of the Internet. With Google's Penguin update, sites connected to link farms have been heavily penalized. Best advice, just don't get involved. 4. Article directories, can be a good marketing tool, if they have editorial standards that are enforced and original content is involved. Like many thing, some are good, some are bad. Article submissions also are highly labor intensive, but the results can be very rewarding. 5. Blogs. Blogs are no longer the linking powerhouse they once were, but are still a good place to get your name spread farther and wider. Best practice for this is to monitor some blogs in your industry and submit posts and comments, with a tag line or a byline, linking back to your website. Stick to your industry. Don't look at the entire blogosphere as your linking playground. 6. Social media is the new buzz of the link building community, ever since Matt Cutts of Google "admitted" that Google does use links in social media as ranking signals. Follow the same guidelines here as blogs, which really are a form of social media, and comment where you have some value to add. Get involved in conversations for the purpose of the conversation, and, if appropriate, offer up a link to your pages. When pursuing an inbound link objective, link to relevant pages within your website. Don't assume that people will find the related content your home page. Links to pages deeper in your site help those pages rank better on search engines. Try to follow this simple guideline, ask yourself, "would you click this link if you found it here?". If the link to your site link seems out of place, then you should not post/ask for a link.

By: Galen



Google Penguin Update

Date: 2012-06-15

What is Google Penguin?

In April Google launched their "Penguin" update to their search ranking algorithm.  For some sites, it was a day of reckoning.  Their search rankings tumbled and their steady stream of traffic suddenly went dry.  Like the "Panda" update a year ago, the purpose of these major changes is to "deliver the best possible search results, delivering the most up-to-date and original content".  At least that's what Google spokesman Matt Cutts has stated. Google is on a quest for quality.  Sites that have original, good quality content, that deploy good SEO practices.

I have a few "experimental" sites that I have used to test out some linking programs that I believed were on the edge of white hat vs black hat SEO.  Turns out these got hammered by Penguin.  They are not client sites, just experiments. 

How Should I Respond to Penguin?

If your site got hammered by Penguin, then you likely have a quality issue.  Either bad quality links or bad quality content.  You are in trouble.  If you have been buying links or participating in link schemes, it's time to get out of them.  Contact the owners of the sites and ask them to remove the link to your site.  Use a backlink checker tool to produce a list of who links to you.  Don't use the "link:www.yourwebsiteurl.com" feature on Google.  As with the Penguin update, links that they feel are bad links or spammy link are ignored and you wont find the bad ones.  Next, take a look at your site content and do a major overhaul.

If all these actions fail to return your sie to good rankings, then you are left with two alternatives.  1. Hire a professional SEO consultant.  2. Purchase a new website domain and start all over.  Perhaps both.

Downgraded by Penguin but not Lost?

If you merely lost some ranking positions in Google, such as moving from the #5 position to the #12 (second page), or similar results, now is not the time to panic.  Certainly if your site got hammered (see section above) then it's time to panic.  If you are simply a little lower than you were before, then a steady approach to SEO should help you recover.  Begin by checking out the pages/sites that have moved above you and do some reverse engineering.  Find out who links to them, check their keyword strategy, look at their content, and compare to your site/pages.  What are they doing better than you?  Now, put together a plan to leap frog them by doing the same thing, but better.  Adjust your content or develop new content.  Manually request links from authority sites, focus your keyword strategy and monitor the changes in search results.

Google Penguin and Panda are major updates to the search algorithm, but they are not the end.  In between Panda and Penguin have been many small updates and post-Penguin will be many more small updates.  Keep an eye on your search results and keep tweaking to find that sweet spot where Google loves you again.

By: Galen



Mobile Best Practice - Content

Date: 2012-06-12

The Mobile Web is different than the desk top web.  Your users expectations are different, primarily based on two factors, they have a smaller device to view your content and they likely have a different informational need.  If you are a retail location, or an office location, you need to satisfy their primary information needs quickly and easily to make their mobiule web experience a satifying one.

One suggestion that most mobile web best practices include is to include your address and phone number on the mobile home page.  These are the two most common pieces of information users seek as they are on the move.  Help them find you and help them contact you.

Remember, the mobile is not your complete website, squished.  It is a different user in a different setting so deliver the appropriate content in the appropriate way.

By: Galen



Spring Clean Your Web Site

Date: 2012-03-18

Spring must be here.  The Canada geese are returning in flocks of 20 to 30 birds and I am starting to bump into my neighbors again as we spend a bit more time outdoors.  The quick wave when passing by in our cacoon vehicles is passing and the brooms are coming out to sweep out the dust, dirt, salt and muck of the winter.

It's time to do the same for your website.  If your website sits, static, for an extended period of time, your content becomes stale in the eyes of search engines.  Simply put, Google likes existing websites to update their content on a regular basis.  While you are at it, make a list of what is outdated on your website and what new information is missing.  Browse through your pages with the intent of replacing 25% of your old content with new content. 

It is spring, a time for growth and a time of renewal.  Take your spring cleaning to the web and blow the dust off.  Your return visitors will thank you.

By: Galen



One Day SEO Plan

Date: 2012-02-29

Today is Feb 29th, the" extra" in the leap year calendar and a great day to spend on getting your Search Engine Optimization project started.  Many business owners and managers shy away from SEO because they just don't have the time to get it done in house.  Too many other priorities.  This is unfortunate because SEO can be one of the highest ROI and easiest to measure marketing activities you perform.  This extra day this year is a great day to get started.

I call SEO a marketing activity as it really does fit well with the traditional explanation of marketing, which is getting your message in front of potential customers and providing them informtion to help make a purchase decision. Your website is your information package and SEO is the tool that helps more potential customers find your website when they are searching for a product or service you offer. Few other activities are as measureable as SEO.  All you need to do is follow your website analytics stats, review the keyword reports, and you will know if your SEO efforts, which are focussed around keywords and search phrases, are increasing in traffic or decreasing.

So this is your extra day of Marketing for 2012.  Make it your SEO kickstart day and get started the right way, with keyword research.  Begin with your website analytics package (we always recommend Google Analytics) and see which keywords currently bring the most traffic to your site.  Also view the content reports for which pages are viewed most often.  This will tell you what is working for you now.  Next, prepare a list of these keywords and test them in Google to see where you rank.  Then, prepare a list of words and phrases that your customers would use to search for products and services in your line of business.  Search for these in Google and record your position.  If you are not on the first page of a search engine, you are not being seen by most searchers.  Stats show that most searchers do not go past the first page of results, over 90% only click the listings on page one.  If you find yourself on page 2 or higher, these become goals to improve your ranking.

Take your list of keywords and search phrases and use a keyword tool such as the Google AdWords External Keyword Tool (just search for that term).  The tool is free to use and will give you a good sense of search volumes and competition for keywords.  Enter your whole list into the tool.  From the results, prioritize a list of keywords with high search volume and low to medium competition.  These will be the keywords you tackle first to drive some early SEO gains.

It is important to note that SEO is not a one day in four years project.  SEO should be a continual effort to monitor, research, test and enhance your website.  At the end of your One Day SEO project kick start, put together a schedule of these activities to be done on a monthly basis.  Schedule your activities on a specific set of keywords.  Schedule time each month and commit the time in your calendar.  Make sure that meetings and other projects do not superceed your high ROI SEO efforts so that you can take full advantage of the internet as the top lead generation tool available to marketers today.

By: Galen



Refresh for Ongoing SEO

Date: 2012-02-06

SEO is a never ending project. Think of a cycle of revisiting everything on your site, and all your inbound links, start to finish and then repeat. Remember your site exists in a dynamic environment. For every change that you make, on and off your site, there are countless others made by your direct and indirect competitors. A great position in the search results one day can be whittled away in no time and you'll find your site dropping to the back pages.

Here are four places to look to refresh your SEO.

  • Update Your Action Calls What do you want your visitors to do on your site? Are you building a list for outbound marketing? Do you want newsletter sign ups? Do you want them to phone you? How about ordering your product online or signing up for an event? It should be very clear to your visitors what action you would like them to perform.  Change the format and the position on the page of the action calls. Make it very clear what they can expect by performing a specific action. A link that appears as "Newsletter" is less likely to attract attention as on which promises "Register for our Free Fishing Tips Newsletter".
  • Update the Old to the New On your site.  You likely have a number of content types; images, text, videos, and documents. Make sure all your documents, all your examples and case studies, are up to date. What may be topical and current when it was written, may now be out of date. In order to stay current, go back into your posted documents and check all your date references and all your monthly/annual stats. No one wants to read about what was important 5 years. Bring them up to date. By keeping your stats in your documents up to date you are providing trusted information to the visitors of your site.
  • Now, what about your images? If your website attracts a repeat following, they will grow tiresome of the same images, over and over. Images, image names, and the alt/title attributes are part of the content signals search engines use. In addition to freshening up the look of your site for your visitors, search engines appreciate fresh content. Replace the old images with new images, well tuned to your keyword strategy. That is, ensure the image filenames and attributes support your SEO rules.
  • Have a look at your blog posts from years past. Sometimes coming up with entirely new content isn't needed. Take an old blog post, with some stats or facts, and do a follow up article. Use new data to update the numbers and make the old story new again.

Are All Your Pages Working for You?

Each of your website pages should have a reason for being on your site. It should provide some useful information or be part of a valued process for your website visitors. Therefore, it should be treated as a possible landing page for related searches. Search Engine Optimization is the process of preparing individual pages to perform well in search results. By the sum of many individual good results, you have optimized your website. So, turn every page into a purpose page. Start by managing the exceptions, your underperforming pages. Check your website analytics package (we always recommend Google Analytics) and check the content section. Which pages have:

  1. the lowest amount of traffic
  2. the lowest amount of entry page traffic.

Stat 1. above will tell you something about the ability of your site navigation to take your visitors to pages on your site. Under-visited pages have unconvincing navigational hooks to bring your visitors to the page. Pages with low entry page traffic are not ranking well in search engines, or the search results are not convincing enough. Now is the time to revisit this page and think about both optimizing the inter-site links as well as the keyword optimization. Have you missed the target with your keywords? Have you gone too broad and your page is buried on page 10 of Google? Have you gone too narrow and all 3 people in North America searching for the obscure term are not enough to reach your goals? Start from the customer and redefine your target keywords for the page, then, go back and rebuild the content and the inter-site links around this revised keyword. You can’t get every keyword and every page 100% right every time. That's what re-optimization is about.

Don’t Break the Good Pages

This may also be said as "leave well enough alone", and if "it ain't broke…..". I am not proposing that you ignore and let your pages go stale. However, not everything is top priority. It is important to review your performance, including page by page analysis. Then, learn from the pages working well and apply your SEO knowledge to the pages that need help. In reviewing your best performing pages, you should be developing a set of best practices for your own site. Follow these tips above and the refresh work with pay off with better search results and hopefully an increase in relevant traffic.

Start Again

Once you have cycled through all the page on your site, prepare yourself to start at the beginning again.

By: Galen



Using QR Codes

Date: 2012-02-01

QR codes are growing in popularity, not necessarily in quality.  QR stands for Quick Response.  The technology was originally developed for the automotive industry, where it is still in use today, and recently has been adopted by the mobile industry as a way to provide an action oriented link to a mobile web page (or other actions).  Here are a few pointers on how to properly use a QR code in your own digital marketing plan.

First of all, have a plan in mind.  How does the use of a QR code with your digital marketing plan.  Do you already have a mobile ready destination to take the user?  What will you provide for them when they access the QR code?  Make sure you provide something of value to them, either informational value or entertainment value.

Understand the setting and the context in which your QR code is placed.  Ensure that the QR code is accompanied by some text that clearly explains what to expect by scanning the QR code.  Place the QR code in a location where it can be scanned, not on the side of a bus, or on a highway billboard (yes, these exist). 

Use the QR code in a creative way.  The destination URL you send them to can be to a YouTube video, to your Facebook page, to a promotional contest entry page.  Don't tell them something they already know.  I have seen QR codes in magazines that link to a full size web page of the magazine ad.  No added value there.

Shorten your QR codes URL's.  You can use one of the short URL services to reduce the amount of data that the QR code needs to store and that improve the scan quality of the code.  Make sure before your QR code hits the market that you have tried scanning it with the major brands of mobile phones and de-bugged it.

QR Codes are a hot item right now.  Many smartphone users are actively scanning them, while many still have not even downloaded the QR code reader app to their phone.  Some phones that are landing on the shelves these days have a QR reader app already loaded so the market potential is growing.  Start at the beginning, and have a plan, with some value to add to the mobile phone user.

By: Galen



Is Your Website Mobile Ready?

Date: 2012-01-31

If your website is not yet mobile ready, then you need to start thinking about what it will take to become mobile ready.  Most sites are what I would call "mobile viewable", that is, the same content which can be viewed, on a smartphone.  It is likely difficult to navigate the site, and some functionality and features are lost.  If your site is built using primarily html and has limited or no use of javascript and flash then likely your site fits this description.  But it is not truly mobile ready if the expereience leaves the visitor with a sense of frustration.  Should you care?  After all, mobile access is still a small part of the vistitors, isn't it?  Let's look at some numbers.

Why your website needs to be mobile ready.

Some recently reported projections by Google state that

  1. by 2013, more people will use their mobile phones than PC's to get online
  2. mobile searches have grown by four times since 2010
  3. there will be one mobile device for every person on earth by 2015

If you look at your website stats, check your visitor browser type and see how much of your traffic is coming from Mobile browsers.  The most popular browser / operating systems are shown below:

Android         43%
Apple            27%
Rim              20%
Windows        6%

Within Google Analytics, there is now a specific category of statistics for Mobile.  Googles Ian Carrington states, "If you don’t have a mobile strategy you don’t have a future strategy."  A recent study has shown 57% of smartphone users have heavy search engine usage, and this leads to action.  51% call and 52% visit a business after conducting a search.

Another recent study of website traffic across a wide spectrum of industry websites revealed that 10% of all website visits were from mobile devices, ranging from a low of 5% to a high of 23%.  Interestingly, none of these sites were yet mobile enabled at the time of the study.

There is more of a difference between desktop and smartphone web acess than simply the size of the screen.  Mobile users are more action oriented (see above stat regarding call or visit following a web search) and are less likely to scroll to the bottom of your content.

Your mobile strategy needs to ba a people strategy.  Think through the content on your site, and think hard, and get rid of anything that is not in your top 20% of content and then build your mobile version to deliver just this content. 

There are several technical approaches to the delivery of a mobile site.  The main two involve using special CSS within your site to only display the "mobile" content.  The second is to maintain a seperate set of pages specifically for mobile devices that are designed for the smaller displays.  Remember that mobile no longer refers to just smartphones as the adoptoin of tablets grows rapidly.  The screen resolution of these (iPads, Blackberry, etc.) is small than your screen on your desk.  "Responsive websites design" is the term used to describe a website which adjusts/adapts to the display capabilities of the device.  The "standard" dimensions are:


Smartphone:     320 px
Tablet              768 px
Netbook          1024 px
Desktop          1600 px

In summary, Mobile makes your online pressence more complex and more powerful at the same time (doesn't all technology).  As mobile usage grows, it will no longer be an option to not have a mobile strategy.

By: Galen



Mobile Site or Mobile App?

Date: 2012-01-25

If you have chosen to "go mobile" you have just made one of a series of important decisions. The next decision is just as important. What is right for your company, a mobile site or an app?  The answer should be based on what you want your website users/customers to do while mobile. Remember this, the mobile user has a different piece of technology in front of them, compared to the desktop version.  Therefore, what they will do will be different.

With the popularity of the iPhone and their bg TV media campaigns, it seems there truly is an app for everything. But not everyone has an iPhone and not every business can afford to develop apps, including apps for the different mobile platforms of android, apple, and blackberry.  Then there are all the tablets to consider as well.

Apps certainly have a strong role to play in the mobile web. They are a great way to provide specific functionality to your loyal customers such as performing transactions, downloading media, or accessing customer specific accounts. Great examples are the social media apps for Facebook (just look at personal page mobile uploads) and banking apps.

Mobile sites do not need to be written to be device specific, rather they are display size specific.  They should operate consistently across the range of different mobile browsers.  Development costs should be less and development time should be shorter.

The next criteria to consider when deciding what path to pursue is when and why your customer will need to find you from their mobile phone. Will they go to the mobile marketplace (such as the iStore or Blackberry App World) to download your app for future use or will they search for you from their phone when they have a specific need?   Another example should illustrate this. A user who wants to check the current weather and the forecast for their home town on a regular basis could make good use of an app. A user who needs to find a tow truck will search on Google, likely for a phone number. It is unlikely they will have a tow 'truck app' on their phone just in case.  The good news here is that the mobile site content will be indexed in search engines.

Now you have the important criteria to you plan your strategy to "go mobile".   Carefully think through the decisions above then make your decision based on the answer you get.

If your decision becomes mobile site then you will want to check out the Mobile Site Development Service from Netnotic Marketing.  If your decision becomes a mobile app, we have a great developer we can refer.

By: Galen



Using PPC and SEO Together

Date: 2012-01-18

Some people might say that PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are at opposite ends of the search marketing spectrum.  PPC is all about paying for short term gain while SEO is all about long term lasting results.  Both of these are true, but, to be honest, I believe that there is huge benefit to using them as part of an aggressive two-pronged strategy to drive traffic to your website that delivers the results you want.  Rather than opposing forces, I believe these are merely tools in the toolbox of a savvy online marketer, when used correctly to complement each other.  My favorite PPC campaign platform is Google AdWords.  One of the best features is the ability to integrate with Google Analytics so that powerful stats are available to track and evaluate your website and your campaign success.

SEO is intended to prepare your website to deliver organic traffic, traffic from the unpaid listings on search engines.  Good SEO accomplishes this, over time, and takes the application of time and expertise to deliver results.  It is like building a sports team through drafting good players and developing them until they become stars. Your keyword search phrases are your players in this analogy.  Pay Per Click is like using free agency to acquire the best players, right away, at the going market rate.

To build a winning team (a winning website) for both long term and short term results, consider using the best of both the SEO and PPC tactics to get you there faster, and keep you there longer. Your website may be a great website, but it can't be the top ranked site for every search term that you want. Pay Per Click campaigns can get you the traffic you want. Think of Pay Per Click as the free agent signings that fill in the current deficiencies in your SEO.  Remember that PPC, while it will guarantee you traffic to your site, it takes money. If your website is not bringing you all the traffic you want, use a Pay Per Click campaign to compliment the traffic it brings by targeting your pay per click where you want to grow.

The stats in your Pay Per Click campaigns are a lot like the stats on your website's free traffic. Learn to use the stats, especially the keyword performance stats. By monitoring your campaign stats, you can quickly see what ads and what keywords are being displayed the most and which are being clicked on the most. This should lead you into developing and optimizing content pages on your site for these keywords and key phrases.  You will see, in your campaign stats, something called a bounce rate. This is a very important stat as it tells you if you are wasting money. The bounce rate is a measurement of visitors entering your site and leaving after only viewing the 1st page. You paid for these visitors. You need to determine what an acceptable rate is. If 90% of your paid visitors bounce, you need to multiply the average cost per click by 10 to give you a true measure of what it costs to get someone to your site who will at least look at one more page.

By using the real world stats from your PPC campaign, you will know what keywords drive traffic to your site, but more importantly, what keywords drive the traffic that leads to results.  You can use the top performing keywords to direct your SEO priorities and attract that traffic for free through the organic search results.  Pay for the clicks now and you will take a short cut road to improving your SEO results.

By: Galen



Google Apps for Your Business

Date: 2011-12-08

Is Google's Gmail (and Google Apps) right for your business?

My first response it, it's free for personal and small business so why not give it a try.   If you are an Enterprise user with more than 10 users on the same Google Apps account you will need to pay a fee to use the system which includes many shared features including calendaring, groups, and more.  But what might make Google Gmail and Google Apps right for you?  If you are a small business, and you need email, file storage, group organization, and the ability to access your communication tools at the office, on your phone, and away from the office, then Google Enterprise Apps is worth looking into.  One of the most attractive features of Google Apps is that you don't need an IT staff to run a bank of servers in your office.  These cost savings alone make sense.  Then add the savings in software and it almost becomes a no-brainer decision.  Google Apps is all web based, accessed through the web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari) and all the software, such as documents and spreadsheets, run on the Google servers so you don't need to pay software licensing fees and constant upgrades.

What you do need is someone with a bit of technical savvy to get you set up on Google Apps, especially when it comes to having your web domain emails routed through Google Gmail.  So take this hint and use some one like Netnotic Marketing to get you set up.

Some people are under the misconception that in order to use Gmail and Google Apps you need to use an email ending in gmail.com such as yourname@gmail.com.  This is not true.  You can access your domain based email via Google Apps (requires a change to the MX records on your web server account).

Simply put, if you run a small business and you want to reduce or eliminate IT infrastructure costs, then I highly recommend Google Apps.  You can get started with the Free Google Apps at http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/group/index.html or Google Apps for Business (more than 10 users plus premium services) at http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html.  Of course, at Netnotic Marketing we'd be happy to offer our consulting services to get you going.

By: Galen



What is Your Bounce Rate?

Date: 2011-11-01

Do you know your website bounce rate and should you care?  The answer to the second half of the questions is, of course you should care.  Bounce Rate is the percentage of website visitors who view a single page on your website, then leave without taking any further action, without viewing any other pages or content.  These are visitors who have either not found the website they were looking for or who were not compelled by what they found on your site to stick around and view more.

On the Google Analytics dashboard, you will find a site-wide bounce rate.  Dig deeper and you can find the bounce rate by day, by page, by keyword, by source.  This will help you determine what content on your site (by page) is driving visitors away or what attraction method is not working (by keyword and by source).  This assumes you are running Google Analytics.  If you are not, you should, even if only for bounce rate data.  You will also find bounce rate extremely valuable when analyzing your pay-per-click campaign such as Google AdWords.

Now, why doe this matter?  It matters because it is costing you, either an opportunity cost or a hard cost of wasted money.  If you are running a pay-per-click campaign, and your visitor clicked on one of your ads, you have spent real money and this visitor did not take the action you were hoping for (buy something, subscribe, download content, etc.).  This is money from your marketing budget.  Within your Google AdWords reporting (also in Google Analytics if you link your reporting) you can view your bounce rate along side your expenditure for each keyword.  Multiply your expenditure times your bounce rate.  That is money you spent to have visitors bounce off your site.  Pure cost with likely no benefit.  This money is likely better spent on other keywords with lower bounce rates.

That's the cost under a pay-per-click scenario.  So what if you have a high bounce rate on organic traffic?  It's free traffic so it's no cost, right?  Not really.  This falls into opportunity cost.  If your website, or particular pages, are attracting traffic with high bounce rates, then either you are attracting the wrong traffic or your website is not deemed useful (for potentially a variety of reason, including poor content and poor design).  If you have high traffic and high bounce rates, then you are missing opportunities to convert these customers into revenue (or whatever your website objectives are).  Your action should be to find the high bounce rates on the combination of keywords and pages and work on your website conversions to improve the performance.

Bounce rate is a powerful statistics as it is an early gauge of the success of your content and site design.

By: Galen



Partner for Better Service

Date: 2011-10-27

I recently had a conversation with a customer that led to a project that quite honestly I can't handle myself.  The technical aspects of the project, yes, I can manage these.  The website design and SEO, sure.  But there is a significant video component and social media integration that I know can be managed better by others.  Did I turn the project down?  Of course not, instead, I brought in the experts to help manage the project and add their particular areas of expertise to the customer's advantage.  See my page on Partners (in the left hand menu).

I beleive strongly in leveraging the strengths of your friends, associates, partners and even competitors when it makes business sense for all of you.  I this case, the people I have brought into the project could all be considered competition to me, as our services certainly overlap.  Any one of us could be the lead on this project.  However, my company is much stronger being able to call on experienced talent such as this.

As I say on the Partners page, the benefit to the client is substantial, and the reward to all of us will be another successful project.  But a word of caution, choose your partners carefully.  Make sure you know the quality of their work, and make sure they understand their role in the project.  If you are the driver, stay in the driver's seat so that you all follow the same road.

By: Galen



Does Social Media Drive Traffic

Date: 2011-08-14

I recently read an article with the title of Study Says Social Media Sucks at Driving Traffic and I thought it was bang on accurate.  The main of the article is that social media is not a huge referral source for traffic to websites.  Does this mean that social media is failing?

I think the answer is an emphatic NO!  Social Media is not failing, in fact, an interpretation of the study is that social media is extremely engaging and that's why traffic is not following links to other sites, but rather staying on Facebbook and Twitter and spending their time there.  As social media sites continue to enrich their offerings, they continue to give marketers a platform to interact with their community of interest. 

It must be remembered that your objectives on social media need to be set in context of the reason people use social media, first, to interact with their friends, second to seek information.  Successful marketers know that social media is not a lead generation machine, but a place where listening and responding provides opportunity to help shape the online discussion.

Social Media sucks for driving traffic, true, but it excels at building credibility.

 

By: Galen



On Page vs Off Page

Date: 2011-07-09

On Page vs Off Page, Where to Start?

The answer is on page optimization should happen first.  On page optimization is getting all your stuff sorted out and your pages ready for search engines to understand what your page and your content is about.  If you work in reverse (put off page optimization first), and build a bunch of links to pages that are not optimized you will likely establish low relevance between the links and the pages which may be difficult to overcome.  Start with getting your pages in order, write great useful content, make use of the one page SEO assets which help serach engines understand and postiion you properly, then work on your off page optimization strategy.

Think of your website as a retail store, with categories and aisles.  if you bring customers (online traffic) to your retail store, but the store is not set up properly, customers will feel disorganized, frustrated, and not get what they came for (your content).  In the same way, search engines will have a tough time categorizing and indexing a poorly organized site.  Once your site is built, work on building the traffic so that when the search engines and traffic arrive, they do what you want, which is use your content, buy your products, read your information, sign up for your newsletter, and make your site a valuable resource.

By: Galen



How to Trick Google

Date: 2011-07-07

I had a customer once ask me if I knew all the best ways to "Trick Google".  I said "No".  There is no "Trick Google Stretegy".  In fact, the best strategy is the opposite, make it blindingly obvious to Google, and your page visitors, what the pages on your website are about.  Tricking Google might also be referred to as "black hat SEO" or using somewhat devious methods to gain short term results on search engines.  This can include keyword stuffing, cloaking text, and other methods that may eventually get you blacklisted on Google, Yahoo, Bing and others.  While you might get some short term gain, stick to "white hat SEO" methods if you are in it for the long run. 

By: Galen



Keyword Matching Game

Date: 2011-06-28

One successful approach to SEO is to play the keyword matching game

Matching Keywords
Include your main keywords within your file name, title, image file names, image attributes, headings, and content.  By matching keywords across a wide range of page elements such as this, it is obvious to the search engines what the main theme or content of your page is.  Here's the caution, avoid the temptation to over use the keywords.  When you write your page copy, ensure you use the main keywords in the early portion of your copy, and again in the last portion of your copy.  Depending on how long your copy is, do not jam it full of the same keywords in every sentence.  It needs to read naturally.  Make it useful content, not just for the search engines, but for the human visitors to your page.

Use Broad Matching
When matching keywords across the various page elements, use a broad matching technique.  Broad matching is not exact matching.  The keyword phrase does not need to be exaxtly the same, the same words in exactly the same order.  You can alter the order the words appear and use word variations such as plurals.  A quick example may help.  Let's use the phrase "walleye fishing lure" as our primary keyword.  Variations used on different page elements could include "walleye fishing lures picture", "fishing lures for walleye", "fishing lure walleye", "walleye fishing lures".  Most people, when searching on search engines, use the default broad matching technique so the combination of words will be highly effective.

Keywords in Images
When matching keywords in your image alt attributes, do not simply repeat the same keyword phrase for every image.  Use variations.  Twenty images on the same page with the same alt atttribute seems suspicious, don't you think?  Search engines will think it is.  Keep in mind that the file name of your image is an opportunity to highlight your keywords as well.  An image named IMG2340-934.jpg has little relevance or meaning to anything other than a sequential numbering scheme for a digital camera.  Take the time to rename your image to something more descriptive and perhaps even memorable.  Using our keyword theme above, "walleye-fishing-lure-001.jpg" and  "walleye-fishing-lure-002.jpg" are appropriate names, as is "fishing-lure-for-lunker-walleyes.jpg".  Avoid spaces in your file names, use the dash or underscore to separate words.

The matching technique is a highly effective way to focus the search engines on the keyword theme of your page.

By: Galen Sonntag



SEO Basics - On Page Optimization

Date: 2011-06-27

On Page Optimization

On Page Optimization is putting the rubber to the road. On page optimization refers to making changes to your on-page elements to attract keyword searches from search engines.  Everything on the page is a potential asset to be used in the optimization process.  The key here is that on-page optimization is a page-by-page process.  In strictly technical terms, SEO is about pages, more than it is about websites.  You want to set up your web pages to be optimized for your keywords.  The website within which the page is contained is certainly relevant because it has a number of links pointing to each page through the navigation, and search engines do factor in the rest of site content as a relevance factor.

Matching Keywords to Pages

Step one for on page optimization is to take your list of pages and identify which of your primary keywords match with the content of each of your pages.  Also select one or two of your secondary keyword phrases that are related to your primary keyword and relevant to the content on the page.  When matching keywords to pages, resist the temptation to optimize a page for everything that seems relevant.  If you try to optimize for everything, you end up watering down everything and your results will be watered down.  This is why we select a specific and short list of keywords for each page, so that we can make these keywords on the page apparent to the search engines.  Think of it this way, we are trying to make it blindingly obvious to search engines what the page is about, and there are a number of key indicators that search engines use.

Using On-Page Assets

Web pages consist of elements that can be viewed with your browser plus all the code that is used to tell browsers how to display the page and other meta data not viewable on the screen (use View-Page Source or View-Source in your browser menu to see the page code).  Search engines use varying combinations of the page content, formatting code, and the meta data (a.k.a. meta tags) to decide what a page is about.  I refer to these as SEO assets.  The most important assets to concern yourself with are content (first), the page title tag, the page file name and path, and your headings.  Use your primary keyword in both your page title tag and your page file name.  Work your keywords into the other on page assets such as your category headings, image file names, and image alt/title tags.  Key point, do not stuff all your keywords into any asset or tag, stick to one keyword and keep it brief.  For images, name your images with a keyword that matches the alt/title tag you plan to use.

Content vs SEO

Always write your content for humans first, but with SEO in mind.  Search engines algorithms, in the early days of the internet, could be fooled with stuffing keywords in the keyword tag and repeating them multiple times in the text and other assets.  Algorithms are now incredibly smart and are built to give higher ranking to well written copy, copy written for humans.  If you have a dilemma, keyword density or copy that makes sense for human readers, write it for humans.

Use it All

Do not overlook a chance to help search engines understand your page and content.  Everything that points to your pages, including your navigation links, should be built with the content on the following page in mind.  Use the anchor text of a link and the title attribute of a link, to match the title tag and primary content of the resulting page.  Every time an on-page asset matches the content of the page, it is another indicator to the search engines regarding what your page is about.

In a very simple summary, do everything possible to help Google and other search engines understand what your pages are about by matching the on-page assets to your keywords.

By: Galen Sonntag



SEO Basics - Keyword Selection

Date: 2011-06-24

Keyword Discovery Process

Finding the right keywords is critical for good SEO.  Keywords (and phrases) are the food that feeds search engines.  As discussed in a previous post, keywords must be relevant to your business, have enough search volume to be worth optimizing, and have low enough competition that you can rank well for them.

The Keyword Discovery Process is a creative driven process with measurement tools to confirm choices.  The creative side is much like brainstorming and using discussion to generate a large set of potential words and phrases that will later be tested.

Interviews for Keywords

To start with, interview the people closest to your customers, including customers if you can, and ask them a few key questions. Interview your sales staff, your call center staff, your installation personnel, your receptionist. These people are all in frequent contact with the customer and hear them talk in customer language, not the language of your internal communications.  Ask these questions:

1. Without using brand names, what is the product/service the company sells?

2. What terms would you use to search for this online?

3. Who are your top three competitors for this product or service?

4. What are the top three attributes of the product/service the company sells?

From these questions you can now get a good sense of what and how your product or service is referenced in the marketplace and search terms that are used. Keep in mind that customers may not refer to your products using the proper technical name that you define it as. This is not a case of your customers being wrong, it is simply the language of the customer and your search terms should reflect their language, not yours.

Now, check your website analytics package to see how these responses match up with how visitors are finding your website.  If you have a high degree of matching then your SEO is currently producing good results. If, like most websites, what your customers call your products are not your top search terms, then you have much to gain from SEO.

Another source of highly relevant keywords is to examine your competition.  What terms are frequently used on their site?  Check their keywords meta tags, if they use them. Make note of these as testing will follow. If you still need to generate more potential keywords try the Google Wonder Wheel (turn off Google Instant in your search settings and a link to Wonder Wheel appears down the left hand side of your search results).

Testing Your Keywords

A long list of keywords, generated from interviews, your Google Analytics history, and some competitive research should now be available for testing.  Search through the list and put together as many combinations of words and terms as possible. Do not add your own bias to this process, yet. Use the attributes of the product from question #4 above to create more combinations for testing. With your list, in electronic form, it is time to test for volume and competition using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (just search “google adwords keyword tool”).  Now, follow this process:

Copy and paste several of your search terms into the Word or Phrase box. Leave the website field blank as you want to explore a wide range, not just those Google determines relevant to your current website content. Check the box for “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms”.  Leave this unchecked and this can also be used to generate keyword ideas. Enter the spam filter check, you will only have to do this once (refer to screenshot below).

The results report will show you the keyword, the competition, and the search volume.  Keep in mind that the competition measurement is based on the Google AdWords system using the number of bids for the keywords, not the number of websites or web pages which include the keywords.  However, with Google being the number one search engine and the number one pay per click ad platform, this is a good data source to use.

Measuring Keyword Strength

Use the download feature and export the keywords lists to the Excel format.  Continue this process until you have pasted and produced the reports for all of the keyword phrases on your list.  Compile a master list and review the list.  You will need to reduce the list by two main criteria, competition and volume.  Start with search volume and remove anything with low search volume.  Then review the competition. If your website currently is page rank 4 or lower, you should avoid search terms with moderate to high competition. If you have page rank of 5 or higher you are well positioned to compete on the high competition terms.

Managerial Review

The last step is now to add your managerial experience to the process. Your marketing team should be best suited to relate the keywords and phrases you have developed to the marketing plan of the company. Their job is to discard any terms that are not relevant to the marketing plan. They should also rank the terms from high strategic importance to low importance. Those terms with high strategic importance will be the lead terms used in the on-page optimization to follow.

By: Galen Sonntag



Rebranding Sonntag Search Marketing

Date: 2011-06-22

We are working fast and furious to get everything in place with www.Netnotic.com as our re-brand of Sonntag Search Marketing.

Why rebrand?  First of all, Sonntag Search Marketing sounded a little bit bland.  Secondly, the term search marketing in the company name seemed to be limiting us in other areas of our business.  Many people we talked to were suprised when we told them we did website design.  "I thought you guys were just search marketing and SEO", was a statement I had heard enough to know we needed to re-brand.

So, the movement to Netnotic Marketing is underway.  Sonntag Search Marketing still exists, for now, as we convert to the new name, new brand, new look, and of course, increased service offering.  Over half of our business is alrady in web design so this is a move that is just a natural occurance, a reflection of what we actually are.

By: Galen Sonntag



SEO Basics - The Importance of Keywords

Date: 2011-06-21

SEO is a series of activities that are performed on your website pages to help search engines properly identify and index the content on your site’s pages that have high value to your site visitors.  A couple of points to emphasize in the previous sentence: content, pages, and visitors.  Good SEO practices do more than just bring traffic to your pages.  It brings high quality traffic with an interest in your site content.  To do otherwise would be a waste of effort on your part.  It all starts with good useful content that web users want to access, and then helping them find your site.

1. Keyword Selection

SEO is a keyword (or key phrase, or search phrase) driven process.  With well chosen keywords, you improve your chances of getting good search engine rankings and good traffic.  You must put the time and effort into a thorough keyword selection process which will put you on your way to attracting the right traffic.

2. Relevance, Volume & Competition

There are three dimensions to well chosen keywords.   These are relevance, search volume and competition.  Relevance is how meaningful is the term to your content and your marketing plan?  This takes the knowledge of your business and your industry into account.  Search volume is how many people are searching for the term via search engines?  Is there a market for the term?  Competition is how many web pages are you competing with for the same keywords?

The ideal combination is high relevance, high search volume, and low competition.  In this list of key factors, high relevance is the MUST.  If the term is not valuable to your business, your website content, it is not worth optimizing for.  Choosing low relevance keywords is the same as any other poor marketing activity, a waste of time and money.  If competition is high, it will be difficult to get top placement in the search engines.  If demand, or search volume, is low, it fits into the category of “who cares”.  You, and your marketing team, are the best suited to decide relevance of the keywords.  Search volume and competition can be measured by a number of tools that are available on the market.

3. Keyword Testing

Testing for search volume and competition can be performed best with SEO optimization software tools, but there is a free method which provides reliable results as well.  The best free tool for this is the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. The Google database is the best source for testing against.

Add your keywords and use attributes that describe your product to generate variants and alternatives for testing.  Adding additional descriptive terms to “root” keywords is called long-tail keywords.  The Google AdWords Keyword Tool will display a wide range of search terms, the search volumes, and competition for the terms.  Look for terms you have already determined to be relevant (this is your subjective decision making) and then view the competition and search volume from the Keyword Tool.  This will add the objective measurement to narrow down your search terms for optimization to those that you can gain traffic from.

By: Galen Sonntag



More Traffic or More Value

Date: 2012-09-12

Should your digital marketing efforts focus on driving more traffic to your page?  Let's say your website is a big pile of crap and you have a very high bounce rate combined with a very low conversion ratio. Bringing more traffic to a pile of crap will most likely not change things in your favor very much.

Changing your pile of crap into a source of valuable content may have two beneficial results. The first is likely to be a better rate of conversions. The second is a by-product of the first, better content (better value) will improve your search engine positioning and bring you more traffic.

Higher conversion ratio * higher traffic = higher ROI.

Build value first, not traffic.  Value attracts the quality of traffic you want and leads to more successful digital marketing.

See our E-booklet 5 Magical Steps to Grow Your Website Traffic for tips on how to create Value and attract traffic.

By: Galen Sonntag



Image alt text and image title attributes

Date: 2012-09-04

What is the purpose and what's the difference of the image alt attribute and the image title attribute? As browsers rapidly release new versions, the distinction and the treatment if alt and title attributes (tags) is getting harder to determine. Some people refer to the alt attribute as the alt tag and the title attribute as the title tag. As both of these are truly attributes within an image tag, we will stick with the attribute label, and also avoid confusion with the actual title tag, which is a meta tag. To go back in history, the purpose of the two was quite clear. The alt attribute is intended as "alternative text", to be displayed when the browser does not display an image, or when a screen reader, such as for visually impaired, reads the content of the screen. The image title attribute may be used to provide additional information about the image. For the purposes of SEO, Google uses the alt attribute to help understand the image content and relevance to the page. How browsers treat the two attributes varies. Internet Explorer will display the alt tag as pop-up information while Firefox and Safari use the title attribute. In cases where both an alt attribute and a title attribute as present, IE will select the title attribute. Recommended use, treat the alt attribute as an opportunity to tell a web crawler from search engine what the image is about and use the title attribute to provide user relevant information, and/or action oriented information. For example (your site is about blue race cars), if you have a logo on your site linked to your home page, your alt attribute may be alt="blue race cars home" and your title attribute may be title="See Our Blue Race Cars Home Page". This provides useful information to both without simply copying and repeating one attribute for the other.

By: Galen



Google Penguin - Panic Time

Date: 2012-07-06

If your website was hit hard by Google Penguin, you probably believe it is time to panic.  A little panic is understandable, after all, your online presence is likely one of your most important marketing channels.  Here is a quick example of why not to panic. 

Google is always tweaking their algorithms, including major updates like Penguin this year and Panda last year.  In between major updates are more subtle changes, but frequent changes, that don't get big headlines, but cumulatively can have just as much effect as the major updates.

On one of the sites I manage, the Penguin update seemed to hit it hard, and unreasonably hard.  I panicked a bit, I researched a number of blogs and read postings by Google on what Penguin was intended to do then I compared the site, the content strategy, the inbound and outbound links, etc, to the best information available and I could not determine anything for which the site should be penalized.  Yet the rankings and traffic had dropped.  On this site I monitor a number of keywords and some of them had dropped off the first page of Google search results.  Generally that means no search traffic from those terms.

I kept a close eye on the rankings, running reports on a weekly basis and over the course of several months now, without drastic or dramatic changes to the site, 16 of the 18 search terms I am tracking have all recovered back to or above their pre-Penguin rankings.  Not only that but this week a significant number of them shifted up again.

It is my belief that Google has "undone" some of the Penguin factors which they realize have damaged the search results of good quality sites.  This has not been a highly publicized event as I don't believe Google ever apologizes, they just keep working to deliver what they believe are the best rankings for quality sites.

By: Galen



Off-Page Optimization

Date: 2012-06-24

Off-Page Optimization is what your search marketing efforts consist of away from your website domain. Generally this involves obtaining links to your website from other websites, and can be done in a number of different ways, some more effectively than others. Like most things in business, nothing good is free. There is always a cost in link-building. Sometimes it is a monetary cost and sometimes it is a resource cost, like your time. Here is a quick overview of some of the common linking practices and which are useful and which may be otherwise avoided. 1. Manual link building. This is high value activity, and difficult, and time consuming. In it's simplest form, this is seeking out websites with complimentary content to yours and asking them to link to you. 2. Link exchanges. Some companies offer a link exchange program where you submit your URL and description and they place on one or several of their client sites in exchange for you linking to their clients. This can be problematic, if you end up with link to your site, and links from your site, that are not well related to your site content. Always insist on knowing what sites you will be required to link to and who will be linking to you. 3. Link farms. In summary, this is a bad practice. Link farms are sites set up primarily for the purpose of linking to other sites. They have little if any original content. In the past days of SEO, these were questionable practices as the links had little value to human users of the Internet. With Google's Penguin update, sites connected to link farms have been heavily penalized. Best advice, just don't get involved. 4. Article directories, can be a good marketing tool, if they have editorial standards that are enforced and original content is involved. Like many thing, some are good, some are bad. Article submissions also are highly labor intensive, but the results can be very rewarding. 5. Blogs. Blogs are no longer the linking powerhouse they once were, but are still a good place to get your name spread farther and wider. Best practice for this is to monitor some blogs in your industry and submit posts and comments, with a tag line or a byline, linking back to your website. Stick to your industry. Don't look at the entire blogosphere as your linking playground. 6. Social media is the new buzz of the link building community, ever since Matt Cutts of Google "admitted" that Google does use links in social media as ranking signals. Follow the same guidelines here as blogs, which really are a form of social media, and comment where you have some value to add. Get involved in conversations for the purpose of the conversation, and, if appropriate, offer up a link to your pages. When pursuing an inbound link objective, link to relevant pages within your website. Don't assume that people will find the related content your home page. Links to pages deeper in your site help those pages rank better on search engines. Try to follow this simple guideline, ask yourself, "would you click this link if you found it here?". If the link to your site link seems out of place, then you should not post/ask for a link.

By: Galen



Google Penguin Update

Date: 2012-06-15

What is Google Penguin?

In April Google launched their "Penguin" update to their search ranking algorithm.  For some sites, it was a day of reckoning.  Their search rankings tumbled and their steady stream of traffic suddenly went dry.  Like the "Panda" update a year ago, the purpose of these major changes is to "deliver the best possible search results, delivering the most up-to-date and original content".  At least that's what Google spokesman Matt Cutts has stated. Google is on a quest for quality.  Sites that have original, good quality content, that deploy good SEO practices.

I have a few "experimental" sites that I have used to test out some linking programs that I believed were on the edge of white hat vs black hat SEO.  Turns out these got hammered by Penguin.  They are not client sites, just experiments. 

How Should I Respond to Penguin?

If your site got hammered by Penguin, then you likely have a quality issue.  Either bad quality links or bad quality content.  You are in trouble.  If you have been buying links or participating in link schemes, it's time to get out of them.  Contact the owners of the sites and ask them to remove the link to your site.  Use a backlink checker tool to produce a list of who links to you.  Don't use the "link:www.yourwebsiteurl.com" feature on Google.  As with the Penguin update, links that they feel are bad links or spammy link are ignored and you wont find the bad ones.  Next, take a look at your site content and do a major overhaul.

If all these actions fail to return your sie to good rankings, then you are left with two alternatives.  1. Hire a professional SEO consultant.  2. Purchase a new website domain and start all over.  Perhaps both.

Downgraded by Penguin but not Lost?

If you merely lost some ranking positions in Google, such as moving from the #5 position to the #12 (second page), or similar results, now is not the time to panic.  Certainly if your site got hammered (see section above) then it's time to panic.  If you are simply a little lower than you were before, then a steady approach to SEO should help you recover.  Begin by checking out the pages/sites that have moved above you and do some reverse engineering.  Find out who links to them, check their keyword strategy, look at their content, and compare to your site/pages.  What are they doing better than you?  Now, put together a plan to leap frog them by doing the same thing, but better.  Adjust your content or develop new content.  Manually request links from authority sites, focus your keyword strategy and monitor the changes in search results.

Google Penguin and Panda are major updates to the search algorithm, but they are not the end.  In between Panda and Penguin have been many small updates and post-Penguin will be many more small updates.  Keep an eye on your search results and keep tweaking to find that sweet spot where Google loves you again.

By: Galen




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