Google Bowling – If I am going bowling you should be worried.

google-bowling-teamIf I am saying I am going bowling,  you should be worried.

Recently I have seen an uptick in reports of individuals taking advantage of the Penguin and other updates to destabilize the rankings of their competitors.

This is an old school method called Google Bowling.    It’s when you point large amounts of low quality links to a competitor in a fashion that looks like that competitor is the one that purchased those links.   Hence tripping off all sorts of spam filters within Google and penalizing that targeted site.

It’s been done to bury competition in the past,  but only recently it appears to be more effective to the point where in a test environment I was able to bury a website in the rankings using only external links, and trust me.. not many were needed.   Took a whopping 3 minutes to allocate the proper links to bury it.

Scary,  I was able to send that many links to my own test site to cause that error to appear,  and see the targeted site go down in flames.

Next thing I am waiting is to get a call from companies asking me to bury their competitors.  

 A notice showed up on the targets  webmaster tools saying

Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links to XXXXXXXXX

Dear site owner or webmaster of XXXXXXXXXXX
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.
If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Sincerely,
Google Search Quality Team

 

It’s time to redefine SEO

The problem that I am seeing recently is that SEO is defined as the following:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results.” – Wikipedia

That maybe true 20 years ago,  but honestly life has changed since that definition was made.  

20 years ago if you wanted to find a contractor,  you’d use a search engine, find what you wanted and contact them.    Today you’d still search Google,  but you also might post on Facebook asking your friends if they know any contractors that can do that project as well.

This wasn’t really that much of an option when the term SEO came out.    The point being that SEO started to become the same loose definition for online marketing.   Clearly the situation has changed.

Search Social Optimization might be a better definition.    Though that does not fully encompass everything,  it does however define it somewhat more robustly, but it’s flawed in the fact that you’re calling PR in the case of Social “Optimization”.    So this is better, but inaccurate.

Online PR might be even better,  because you’re trying to get both Google and others on social media to suggest your site and products.  But online PR is sometimes confused with Reputation management,  which is an entirely differing animal.    That’s when some former customer or former employee puts less than helpful information on the internet about you and your firm. 

Let’s go though some ideas.   Finding the proper word for Modern SEO and Social might be more difficult than you think.   

SEO –  Only referred to organic rankings,  the internet changed in the past 2 decades.

Search Social Optimization–  this is not a terrible definition,  but it still implies optimization for Social,  when it’s actually PR.

Online PR – too often confused with Reputation Management.  The confusion alone makes this definition terrible.

Reputation Management –  This is sometimes called “Crisis Management” ..  it could technically be defined as what SEO and Social is,  but in reality is already is defined as a defensive measure rather than a marketing strategy.    In other words Reputation Management isn’t a marketing campaign,  it’s to defend yourself against someone else’s marketing campaign against you.

The problem is there are hundreds of way to define this, each of them with flaws in the definition.      What are your thoughts,  comment on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook hashtag #yooter to see what other’s have said.

 

The words you write and how they apply to SEO

maxresdefaultYears ago we had a client that was a chain of auto repair shops on the West Coast.   The copy they used was “We’ll mend your automobile”, and they used this all over their site.      Some Advertising Agency thought it was clever,  they paid tens of thousands of dollars for that catch phrase. 

The problem is no one was searching for “automobile mending”  they were searching for “car repair”.

Google did autocorrect them to an extent.    Some individuals saw the company in some limited searches,  mostly because how how people linked to them with the word “car repair”.   The end result however is that they company was only getting a fraction, a tiny fraction of the attention they deserved.

This is a problem, a big problem specifically for that client.   They used the wrong words to describe their business.    

Within a year their online leads increased by 4 fold.     In other words that minor switch from their old catchphrase to their new one fixed their online search engine optimization problem. 

The words you write are important,  very important.    Don’t use industry insider terms, use the layman terms if you are in a B2C space.  Your clients don’t know,  and actually don’t care to know your industry terms.    In this case they just wanted their car to work.

Another problem is many companies describe their solution,  not the problem people are having.

This was the opening sentence for a local company.  “Our replacements give you years of trouble free service”  What people were searching however was “Windows are stuck”

The words “stuck” and even “Windows” were not in their copy,  in fact they referrered to their product as “replacements” .

A 100% miss!  The adjustment to the copy increased their sales dramatically.

You need to think before you write the words on your site,  the line of thought should be as simple as “what are my clients looking for”.

 

 

Search Optimization and how it works with fortune 500 firms

Many of our SEO and Social Media clients are Fortune 500 firms. 

Working with larger companies has some costs and benefits.  For example what many mid-size and smaller firms call red tape is typical in larger firms due to the fact that they are working with larger budgets, more people and more money is typically involved.    This means errors are more costly.   You can’t have one guy running around modifying the company website without some sort of oversight. 

That means changing the site would require at least 2 people signing off on it,  sometimes even more …. just to move something minor.

Othertimes it means having the new copy be run through legal. 

The point being that working with larger firms has it’s own unique issues that require it patience and time.   We had one client recently take up to 90 days to modify a single paragraph of copy on the main page their site. 

These rules however make sense when looking at it from their perspective.    If the content is misleading there could be a lawsuit.    If the content has a typo,  there could be some fallout at the company expense.

In other words fortune 500 firms are held to standards that are typically higher than that of other companies.

The good news is that many fortune 500 firms trust their SEO to Yooter InterActive.   We have worked with Verizon’s AOL,  Google’s Zagut division, Pennsylvania Power and Light,  Lehigh Valley Health Network and other companies of considerable scale.    These companies have trusted us for their Search Optimization because we know how to work with larger firms.

Contact us if you are looking for an SEO that has earned the trust of your corporate peers.

Lehigh Valley Advertising Firm, Perfect Six talks SEO, and talks well.

We’re big fans of Perfect Six.    There are a few Lehigh Valley advertising Agencies that we follow,  but today we’d like to spotlight their post regarding Lehigh Valley SEO.

never ever ever open your store in Reading, PA.  It is better to choose the Lehigh Valley, or even Wyomissing for that matter. …. Google robots have a hard time distinguishing the proper noun from the noun. 

The quote is fantastic, because it’s 100% true.   Reading Bookstore or Reading Bookstore.   One instance you’re talking about Reading, PA  while in the other you’re talking about reading books.

Google has made much progress over the years,  geolocation tends to fix many of these issues,  however those issues have not gone away in entirety.    We still see many reports of mixed up search results when the city name is also the name of something else.

That’s a great post Perfect Six!  We will continue reading your all your latest posts!

 

 

 

11 years as CEO of Yooter InterActive

I didn’t even notice,  until I got notified by Linkedin,   11 years is a long time.      I realized that over the course of those 11 years so much has changed in the Search and Social areas.    

11 years ago life was much simpler in terms of ranking clients.   There   were less factors,  less competition,  and less overall importance to Search and Social compared to today.

At the time when I founded Yooter InterActive Marketing,  people asked “do people really make a living doing that” and “who pays for marketing like that?”.

Times have changed,  and they have changed so much that sometimes it’s mind boggling to step back and see actually what has changed.

Things went from turning on your computer and after a few minute boot time, then double clicking the browser, navigating to Google.Com then searching for “how to make Pizza a home” to asking your phone verbally “hey Google,  where is the nearest pizza place” and instantly getting results.

Just as technology progressed,  so did people.   People don’t search now like they did back in the early 2000’s and late 1990’s.   Search queries are now more mobile oriented,  more “right now” and more by default location driven.      Today people are just as inclined to put a quick post on Facebook “where is the best pizza shop in Pottsville, Pa?”   and get a response within minutes.   Meaning social media is such a bigger part now than it was in 2004 ,  especially for business.

So with the mix of increased technology and increased human awareness in our searches.  The types of information we ask for and how we ask for it.  Jobs like promoting for clients becomes more and more challenging.    I love challenges,  but once in a while you do get the mind boggling thought “Technology races faster than you  think”.  

Like this post,  part of it was written on a desktop, the other part was verbally transcribed on my iPhone.   In 2004,  this would have been a dream,  today it’s a normal day.   In cases like this Technology progressed so fast that by the time you believe you fully understood  X ,  Y has replaced it.    This is both a blessing and a curse.  
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is becoming more and more relevant in our modern lives.    Today the stock market was closed due to a computer glitch.   But the majority of trades on the market are not done by humans,  a computer program makes or  breaks banks, individual savings,  and everything else.  All based on AI.Another AI modifies your search results in Google.    When you search in Google,  the search giant remembers what you were searching for and factors them into your next search.  In other words in learns from your searches and customizes them for you, and only you.This makes an SEO job difficult sometimes because being #1 sometimes means your #1 for you alone,  the rest of the world sees you somewhere between #1 and #14 depending on their search pattern which Google’s Artificial Intelligence  (or commonly called Algorithm) determined is the best for you.The other criticism is that with positive reinforcement,  you keep getting more and more of what you were searching for, that line of political thought,  for example and are never exposed to any other viewpoint. There have been times when I have searched for a candidate, and another individual searched for the same candidate and the articles and information displayed were very different.   His was tilted highly towards with negative information about this candidate,  mine showed mostly positive.Even his drop down was filled with negative qualifiers compared to mine.Technology has segregated us to an extent,  you now get only the news and the articles you want,  you’ll also more likely not to get any news or articles you don’t want.It’s fascinating, scary and hopeful all at the same time.   We live in interesting times.

Best Regards,
Roger [email protected]

Google Guidelines, Webmaster tools, Mobile and Security

Many companies and advertising agencies tend to forget about the product that Google offers called Webmaster Tools.  Within Webmaster tools it allows you many options that are not available otherwise.   We use most of the tools there,  but our favorite is the mobile usability tool.

mobileThe tool allows you to have a good idea why your site is having difficulty mobile devices.

With Google’s enforcement of mobile for rankings.  It makes sense for your company to focus on making sure that your company site displays properly on a mobile device.   It however is not the only reason to go in this direction.   Over the past few years mobile has become so large that it cannot be ignored by any company.
Some recent reports have stated that more people search from their phone than their computer,  while in their homes. This makes the push to mobile more and more important.     But mobile isn’t the only thing that has changed,   security has become more and more important as well.   Google last year announced that they will be giving a small boost to firms that utilize https (secure) rather than http (non-secure) as their protocol.Years ago,  page load time was so important due to the limited bandwidth,  and secure does take slightly longer to render.    However now that most have at minimum Wifi, 4G or LTE,  coupled with a modern mobile or desktop browser the base assumption has changed. Both these factors are not just for SEO , both these are actually for you and your clients benefit.   Individuals want to be able to see your content on their phones,  and they want to do it securely. Even if you decide that an SEO firm is not right for you,  we strongly suggest you fully read and understand Google’s quality guidelines.    It’s a wealth of knowledge that will help you and your company ROI and bottom line. Yooter InterActive is a SEO and Social agency located near Reading, PA.

Domain Name Selection and extension for your business

This question keeps coming up.  Even though Google has published a guideline regarding how it treats domains and their extensions.

A quick outline of what that guideline states is the following:

Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)

Unless a top level domain is registered as a country code top level domain (ccTLD) with ICANN, Google will treat any TLD that resolves through the IANA DNS root zone as a gTLD.

But country codes are different, but not all country codes.  According to Google, some country codes are treated as a Generic TLD.

.ad
.as
.bz
.cc
.cd
.co
.dj
.fm
.io
.la
.me
.ms
.nu
.sc
.sr
.su
.tv
.tk
.ws

Meaning that a .fm or a .ad is treated as a .com domain name.   Now there are merits to discuss regarding a non-.com domain name.   It tends to be harder to attract links, be subjected to mistypes towards the .com version of the domain name and other issues surrounding the use of a non-com domain name.

Another issue is the fact that some browsers automatically go for the .com domain name, or automatically fill in the .com for many individuals, especially on a mobile device.

The end result is though Google technically will treat a .cc as a .com,  if someone has the .com version of the domain name the chances are high that that individual most likely will sap the strength of your domain name.

In other words, the suggestion is though technically Google treats the domains the same,  everything else (from human error to hard-coded aspects of the browser) don’t.

Stick to a .com for now, until the world is more familiar with other TLD’s ….  that includes the new ones, such as .space

 

 

 

Reading Pa is a market that deserves more attention

We believe that Reading, Pa is an undeserved market.    The fact is Census data,  the poverty rate of 41.3 percent put Reading,  Pa as the poorest city in the United States.

Part of the problem is that Reading does not “export” enough products and services compared to what it “imports”.   Part of the solution would be an effective SEO campaign, where businesses in the area could help attract businesses that are not only in the local market and bring money into the area.

The most valid cost effective strategy would be to invest into a strong SEO campaign to market to areas outside the local market.

First that invest in SEO tend to do much better overall than ones that do not.   It’s not just the “feel good part” of ranking well.  It’s the fact that you are opening your market to a much wider region.  Meaning you are reaching potential customers that typically you would not reach without a robust SEO campaign.

Give us a call at Yooter InterActive.  We are nearby and would love to meet you!

 

Reading PA SEO – It’s a great market

We spoke earlier about how we enjoy working with SEO in the Reading PA market.  We are local to the area and know the digital landscape well.   We have proven ourselves with many of the international firms that have hired us in the past,  and many of our current local clients.   From large players like PPL Electric to Regional destinations like Allentown based Lehigh Valley Grand Prix.

The end result however is that we believe we can help your firm grow using low cost organic SEO.   Your firm deserves to rank as well as your competitors.    They most likely however spent time, effort and money to make that happen and that’s why they are seeing increased business from their Search and Social advertising campaigns.

Search and Social is somewhat of a new type of Advertising,  before there was a line between what you posted on Facebook,  and what Google is displaying on their results.   However in the past several years that line has blurred.   You are seeing Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others,  even Linkedin (in some cased) driving traffic and raising ROI for businesses.   At the same time with the extreme adoption of Mobile,  you’re seeing more and more people asking their phone “where do I buy X or Y”.

Life is moving quick,  you can’t let your Search and Social campaign be in the dark ages while your competition is flying past.

Let us help you.

 

 

Advertising doesn't mean buying ads in Reading, PA