Saturday, August 22, 2009

SEO your website for search engines not just Google.

Upon reading the title you are probably wondering what I may be referring to when I say "SEO your website for search engines not just Google." as search engine optimization applies to all search engines not just Google.

While that might seem obvious it's not always the case. In fact when most people think about SEO they think about what are the best ways to get to the first page of Google or being at the top of Google Adwords list when someone makes a query on a specific topic.

Whether you are outsourcing your search engine campaigns or have an in house specialist, ask them what search engine they are focusing their optimization efforts on for your website.

Chances are they will tell you the one search engine that starts with a G because that is where most of the traffic is coming from. The next question you should ask them is "How do you know if you don't try optimizing the website for all search engines not just one".

Recently I read an article called Is Google the Lazy Man's Marketing Method? . Optimizing your website for just one search engine is not lazy but stupid. In today's world where technology changes and leaders become followers from one day to the next it's not smart to put all your eggs in one basket with one search engine.

Before Google was a hit, Yahoo controlled the world of search engines and now it had to team up with Bing in order to be able to survive the search engine wars.

Your SEO specialist should also look at search engine optimization (SEO) considerations needed for Bing because is it this search engine that will power both Bing and Yahoo for the next 10 years and together they control more then 30% of the search market and that is nothing to sneeze at.

Ask.com is a great search engine as well. While much smaller then the three giants mentioned earlier, it delivers excellent traffic. There are also search engines that focus on specific niches.
In terms of advertising in search engines via ads that show up next to relevant search results, you may have heard that Google delivers the highest number of clicks but have you heard that Google Adwords does so at the highest expense to your marketing campaigns ?

Everyone wants to go and advertise via Google Adwords which leads to more competition and more people bidding for the same keywords driving costs higher.

Recently I set with one of my clients to do an annual review and I asked his team about their future goals and needs to see how we can optimize their campaigns. One of the things we looked at is their PPC cost and budget for the following year. Upon checking PPC costs on different websites for their specific keywords I was able to move some of my client's campaigns to Yahoo search marketing and extended their marketing reach with the Ask Sponsored Listings network. The result ? Actually better then expected. The client's traffic was enhanced resulting in more sales at a lower CPA cost.

In a similar case, I was able to show a different client how their marketing team can get better traffic at a lower cost using Microsoft adCenter and 7search. Again the end results were higher sales at a CPA cost that was lower then any of the previous campaigns on the Google Adwords network.
  • The reason for the lower cost and more valuable traffic? Again less people bidding on the same keywords that my clients used therefore less competition driving costs down.

  • The people who are actually searching and clicking on the ads on Bing, Ask and Yahoo have a habit of making quicker buying decisions where on Google users have a habit of "searching" which results on many more ads being clicked on before a final decision to purchase an item is made leading to higher acquisition costs on the Google Adwords network.
What have we learned here ?
  1. Make sure the person you hire focuses their energy on search engine optimization activities in such a way that your website will rank well on all search engines and not just the largest one.

  2. Don't follow the herd and think outside the box. If you see conversions are down and costs are up, try something new. Test, test, test different marketing ideas for your website and when you are done testing, test some more because what works today may not work tomorrow not because your plans are not good but because markets move and technology changes. By constantly testing different marketing plans you assure yourself that you are always a step ahead of everyone else who is "just satisfied".

  3. Always ask questions to make sure you understand how your marketing budget is being used for your organization's website and if your team tells you "don't worry", it's a clear sign you need a second opinion.
What do you think ? Do you have any other suggestions or opinions about this post ? Please share it with us, we are always listening.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bing is in talks to power Yahoo search engine, Oy Vay

Microsoft's Bing to power Yahoo search? Not sure about you, but I don't like it one bit. Upon reading the story on Mashable web site I found out that the talks are in their final stages for Microsoft's Bing to power Yahoo search.

As a Microsoft shareholder nothing thrills me more then knowing Microsoft is getting to power Yahoo search engine without having to spend $44.6 Billion to buy the entire company and all the headaches that may have come with it. Yahoo search was what Microsoft was really after and where the money will be made long term so it worked out for the best in favor of all Microsoft shareholders including myself. After this deal closes Microsoft will have nearly 30% of the search market. As Kramer would say on Seinfeld, Giddy Up. So you are probably wondering why the Oy Vay ?
What's the big deal of Bing powering Yahoo Search? Quite simply it will eliminate a great competitor that drove innovation and products which didn't come from either Google or Microsoft. Innovation that was driven for one purpose which was to stay ahead in the search market.

Since the competition will not be as strong as prior to this agreement, innovation will take a back stand.

Some examples on the innovation that came out of Yahoo are the following
  • Yahoo had a built in SearchScan which helped protect users from viruses, spam email, and potentially damaging software by identifying those websites that may harm your computer. Neither Bing nor Google have this technology built into their search engines. While Google has some built into their toolbar if you have one installed, it is not built into their search results by default to warn you. So far I have not seen this feature in the search results at Bing. This can lead to search results which are not as safe.Upon clicking the image below you can see a full size screen image of what I am referring to in Yahoo search results.
    Yahoo search results being shown on http://www.webseotutorials.com


  • Yahoo also had another feature which I loved that made search easier to for a specific website. As an search engine optimization specialist, this was very important in my line of work as well as anyone else that maybe researching a company. This option linkdomain:http://anyurl.com inurl:office enabled anyone to look at any website and show all inlinks in a variety of options such as From All Pages to Entire Site, Except from this domain to Entire Site or Except from this domain to Only this URL.
Yahoo gave you options which is what users wanted.
  • Yahoo Site Explorer was also an excellent tool for webmasters. It gave site owners access to the information that Yahoo had about a site's presence on the web. Upon authenticating that you are the website owner you were able to see which of your websites were indexed by Yahoo's search engine, track which sites linked into certain specific pages on your website as well as view the most popular pages.
    It was very similar to other available webmasters/analytics tools but provided a deeper understanding of what was going on with a website deep in the core not just the outer layers.
This agreement will also throw search engine optimization into a loop because now two giants will control search on the web. Yes you have ask.com as well as a few other smaller search engines but the majority of search will be conducted on either Google's search engine or Microsoft's Bing Search engine and now these two giants can decide what they see or think is relevant for websites to rank well.

The rules of today may not be the rules of tomorrow. This is not because the rules of today don't make sense or because they are bad but because Google and Microsoft may decide what they want the rules of the game to be.

Yes Yahoo had it's issues and it's search results have been a sinking ship for the last few years as they could not get a hold of the search market. Almost everyone lost trust in Yahoo search when the results were lousy a couple of years back and moved over to Google for their search. Once that happened it was hard to get these same users back.

This is a very similar situation to what the American automakers faced when the buyers lost trust in them years ago. When the American car manufacturers finally did wake up and started to built a better product, it was hard to bring back the customers and the trust they placed in the Japanese auto manufacturers.

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't always use Yahoo but when the need came up I did it because I knew the search results would be different.

Bing looks good and the feedback which I have been getting from users is that this is the first search engine coming out of Microsoft which can and will complete with Google but for heaven sake Microsoft, don't throw all of Yahoo's search ideas aside.

If I were on the conference call when this agreement will be announced I would ask the following 3 question to truly understand the impact that this agreement may have on the future of search.

  1. What impacts will this search agreement have on innovation as there will be less competition as a result?

  2. Will Microsoft Bing end up implementing some of Yahoo's search tools such as SearchScan since they don't presently have any tools that provide this service?

  3. What does the future hold as Microsoft sees it for the other search engines which are not part of the Google/Microsoft search empire ? Will there be more consolidation such as this which will further eliminate competition and erode innovation ?
Yahoo search was not all bad.

You heard it here first, this agreement changes everything and it is not all good news but as they say in French, c'est la vie.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

SEO link building using blogs

There are many ways to build links to your website which in turn help your search engine optimization. In fact some companies measure the success or failure of their marketing strategy based on how many quality links they were able to obtain back to their website (A/K/A - Link Popularity) in a certain time period to grow their website reputation.

While there are many ways to build quality links to your website, there is no better link building strategy in my opinion then by building quality blogs which contain original content that is valuable to your website visitors.

Blogs are great for this purpose because search engines love them for two reasons. The first reason is because blogs are usually updated regularly with fresh content which search engines love and the second reason why blogs are great as a link building tool is because blogs are designed to draw search engines into them like a magnet with their simplicity and clear view. Blogs are put together in such a way that they link back to other web pages which further enhance the topics discussed in the original blog. For example, let’s say that BestBuy has a blog which focuses on digital cameras and they are discussing the latest item which was received in inventory. Google loves this type of blog because it's updated almost daily with fresh content on digital cameras and the blog will most likely link to BestBuy's website in order to provide more information in regards to that specific camera. In fact a company may have different blogs set up each focusing on a specific niche. All these blogs will then link back to the main website within that specific niche section so that in Google's eyes many unique blogs are linking to the website therefore further enhancing the website quality links and authority on the subject matter. Think how much link value a company such as BestBuy can receive if they had nine unique blogs sending links back to the corporate site. Now instead of one main blog sending links back they would have nine different blogs each sending unique links and traffic to the main site. Search engines love the link love and actual customers love this as well since they don't have to fish for what they are looking for as each blog focuses on a specific niche. You will love this because it helps you with your search engine optimization activities.

The end results would be a great link building strategy. Blogs are also set up in such a way that you can target specific keywords in the titles of each blog post. You can also easily add category names and tags to each blog post to further help your readers find what they are looking for and for search engines to find their spider food. Why is the term spider food used to describe fresh new content in a blog or website ? The reason is very simple, search engines crawl the blog or website like a spider to look for new content. When you post fresh original content to your website or blogs it's as if you are throwing spider bait out there for search engines to capture. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what type of blog software you use. Whether it is Wordpress, Blogger, Typepad or any other type of blog software, just go out there and start multiple blogs to post links back to the original site. In the next post I will go into details about what type of blog links have the most influence and which once to stay away from so that you will know how to enhance your link building strategy.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Search Engine Optimization Tutorial 101

Over the last few days I was thinking how to start this Search Engine Optimization Tutorial blog and what information I can share with my readers so I did a lot of research on where to start but then I realized that there is so much information out there that if I throw it all at them, they would get lost.

For example do you know what organic search ranking means ? What about natural search results ? Would you know what Google PageRank means or meta tags ? Google dance ? Would you know what search engine submission or website marketing is ? These are all terms that are used by search engine optimization consultants as well as people who are familiar with the industry.

Then I realized that I needed to start at the beginning and talk about how Search Engine Optimization came about as well as why it is used before going into the best techniques to use in the world of Search Engine Optimization so as to get the best results.

Most people who are new and some that have experience with Search Engine Optimization may or may not know what these terms mean but this is where I come in. I would like to share my knowledge, skills and experience with you in this Search Engine Optimization Tutorial in order to teach you these things as well as what search engine optimization tools to use so that you can achieve top listings with search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN and although not many use it ask.com which is a great search as well.

This blog will feature a new tutorial every day focusing on a different technique which you can use to better your results. At the same time, I will share any news that I believe will help you in your daily task of optimizing your web site because as you will soon discover, the search engine optimization world is never constant and always changing due to the way search engines retool their algorithms which is based on new market developments. In this blog I will also share with you a little known secret on how to locate your Google ranking once they deploy their new algorithms before everyone else discovers it so if need be you can make changes to your site and achieve the better ranking.

Through out this blog I will also share with you screen shots so that you can better understand and see for yourself what is referred to. These screen shots will include step by step instruction so that you do not get lost in the explanations and follow through as you doing the steps at home.

So without further delay lets start in the beginning and how the term search engine optimization came about.

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