It’s amazing how little things change in the SEO world

By and large many things change over time.   Cars,  Computers,  and yes SEO but some things stay the same.  Abit for differing reasons.   Years ago it was suggested to keep page sizes smaller.   The reasons were that people were limited on Bandwidth on their dial up accounts in the 1990s.    Today the same suggestions exist, but not because of dial up, but rather because mobile devices with smaller screens are more the norm than the exception.

Mobile bandwidth is an issue as well,  because it’s priced roughly like how dialup was in the 1990’s..  you pay for how much you use,  unlike a residential connection where it’s pretty much all you can eat (to an extent, they’ll still limit you for going out of what is considered normal).

So the suggestion is still there,  however for a differing reason.

I find myself giving out the same advice for a different reason 20 years later.

I find it fascinating how little some things change,  and at the same time how much things do change.

The phone in your pocket has as much computing power (most likely much more) than your huge whitebox in the 1990’s early 2000’s.    The internet is accessible to you anytime and anywhere.    That fitbit on your wrist is connected to the internet… even when you are sleeping.  Uploading your sleep patterns to the cloud.  Where in some instances it’s searchable by others.

That type of technology was not widely available in the 1990’s (though to be fair was accessible to some extent by prototypes and other kinds of never largely adopted technology).    So privacy and other issues were not a concern.   But here’s a tidbit of knowledge .  The first practical usage of an internet connected device was in 1993,  where a bunch of students connected a webcam in front of the coffee pot.  That way they didn’t have to waste a trip to get a cup of coffee when there was none in the pot.

How this differs from today’s tech is sensors,  apps giving you notification when the coffee is low and other types of improvements.   But something is to be said about the 1990’s era hackers that created the whole thing in the first place.

Yes life changes,  but really not as much as you think.

 

 

Google threatens Rank Checking software users with manual penalty

rank-checkerThis has been the gold standard for quite some time.   The famed Google Guidelines.    However it appears that recently Google has moved a specific line item to another area.   Placing Rank Checking software users in the same league with websites that install viruses, Doorway pages, and cloakers.

Then to boot threaten action against them via a manual penalty.

Many times you’ll see discussions on reddit or other SEO forums regarding Rank Checking Software.   Clearly these do violate Google Guidelines and they are specifically mentioning them in their quality Guidelines and users of them are now given notice that they might get a manual penalty if they decide to take that route.

 

We wanted to Welcome Talen Energy – Formally PPL Energy Plus

We wanted to welcome Talen Energy.   Previously we enjoyed working with PPL Energy Plus,  but we are excited to be working with the new company,  Talen Energy!

Talen Energy is one of the largest independent power producers in the United States.   We consider it an honor to be working with them.

 

 

Automated SEO tools – they don’t work

From time to time reading on some SEO forum , subreddit or other outlet tends to see someone mention a software package for automated SEO.

By and large these things don’t work.    SEO and Marketing isn’t something that can really be automated.  It takes hard work,  large amounts of compelling content and a logical platform to place that content on.

Some automated approach isn’t going to work.   Even for tracking it becomes problematic.   You can’t hope to run an effective campaign with a robot.     If one takes that approach it’s akin to removing your marketing department and replacing it with a php script.

When doing an effective SEO campaign,  you have to put hard work into that campaign,  you have to publish good content.   You can’t just press a button and sit back.     This is why firms like Yooter exist,  it’s because you can’t trust your SEO and Social campaigns to a program that everyone else is using.  

Google rewards uniqueness and content.  It tends to penalize content scrapers and automated programs.    

Even tools that track rankings can’t really factor in the customized results and geolocation driven results that Google provides.   In other words you can’t trust automated tools to even keep track of your rankings, much less increase them.

For the past two decades I have been doing search engine optimization,  I have yet to find a program that works and does not violate Google Guidelines which specifically ban against automatic queries to Google such as a rank reporting tool.  I have also never found a program that increases rankings using an automated program.   I am not saying the technology won’t exist one day.   I am just saying that it doesn’t now.

I would challenge anyone to show me a program that does not violate these guidelines and does what is advertised.

Define a Search Marketing Agency

Many companies claim to do Search Marketing and Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ).   The issue that many of these agencies have is that they forget the reason they were hired in the first place.

Being #1 for a term doesn’t matter if it’s not making any real progress towards generating business.    The way that any valid SEO agency would approach the task wouldn’t be from a technical standpoint, but rather as a business decision.

The sole reason firms like Yooter InterActive are hired is because a company wants to increase their ROI.  Companies do not hire or spend money just to see their rankings improve without any corresponding increase in business. 

For the most part that is what separates an experienced SEO firm that works with fortune 500 firms and with decades of experience vs one where an individual may have the  technical knowledge but not the experience working with firms of that magnitude or be completely in tune with the reason companies hire SEO firms.

 

Company spotlight Grothouse Wood Countertops

woodcountertopWe wanted to spotlight Grothouse Wood Countertops! The company has a rich history in custom wood countertops and wood products. 

The type of product that comes from Grothouse is considered top tier in the industry.    The countertops come with a comprehensive lifetime warranty and all items are custom made in the USA by their master craftsmen.

In other words,  you get a top quality product, made in the United States with a lifetime warranty. 

 

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.

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