Google’s Penalties

It never fails to astound me how people constantly opt for the cheapest deal. Cheap search engine optimization is a misnomer, if you want the best SEO you have to pay for it. If it was cheap and simple, then for £50 or £100 per month everyone would be Page 1.

I’ve worked on many campaigns at SEO Liverpool but up until about 4 months ago I was only aware of two real Google penalties. The outright ban, where a site will be completely removed from the Google index and the minus 40-60 penalty.

About 9 months ago I started talking to a local company about helping them with their SEO efforts. As usual, we sounded each other out and it looked like we could move forward. Typically, we had no contact for a few months, then unexpectedly, my contact called me up and said that all of his Google rankings had disappeared. He explained that the only thing his site was ranking for was its name. The site came up no.1 for his two word company name and no.1 for the domain. However all of the other positions the site had with the homepage, albeit not good ones had disappeared. I had a little play around and even when I tried searching for some unique text off the homepage (in quotes) it didn’t come up.

So I asked this guy a couple of questions, you know – have you made any changes recently that could have caused this to happen? After about 5 minutes, he confessed to talking to a guy he knew, who’d gave him some help… he was cheap… etc. His sage advice was to place lots of area names at the bottom of the homepage, which he did… in tiny text so that nobody could see!

I told him in 5 seconds “The site has been penalised, you put hidden text in and attempted to deceive Google”. We got rid of the hidden text, I told him what to say to Google on the reinstatement request and his site was back to where it was previously within a week.

The point of this little story is that SEO evolves at an incredible rate. If you’ve missed ‘Panda 2.0′ and probably the most devastating ‘Search plus your world’, then you might as well not bother calling yourself an SEO. Remember, if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. A search engine will penalise you! Use a respected SEO company, and understand that your nephew, his mate or the fella down the pub doesn’t have a clue.

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Let’s get your website ranking quickly

At Summit, our online marketing company we’re always asked to speed up the process.

If your site is brand new and you want to compete against established sites directly on their most important keywords then you need to be good at public relations, have a better brand strategy, or have some remarkable feature that makes people want to talk about you. Without conversation and links it is hard to pass up sites that have been accumulating links for years.

But what if you could roll back the clock, and quickly grab those top search engine placements. You can.

The easiest way is to buy an old site that is not well maintained, and then build it up. But if that is outside the scope of your budget or marketing strategy and you are trying to rank a new site the key is not to attack directly, but to attack indirectly.

Of course many of your product pages will contain keywords that are the same or similar to that which the competition is targeting, but the more obscure long tail words are going to be easier to rank for. Here are 6 strategies to help you get lucky with your ranking quickly:

Tip 1

Use the less popular version of a keyword. If most your competitors are targeting Knowledge Management but nobody is targeting Knowledgemanagement then it is going to be easier to rank for that alternative version. And even if the alternate version only gets 5% or 10% the search volume of the related keyword, you are still going to pull in more traffic by ranking #1 for it than you would ranking #30 for the more popular version of the keyword.

Tip 2

Use many keyword modifiers. If you can’t rank for the core keywords then try to add some related keyword modifiers to the page title. Is credit cards too hard of a keyword? Then consider targeting a phrase like best credit cards. Cheap search engine optimization contracts will usually concentrate on this particular tactic.

Tip3

Mix up your on page optimisation. Rather than placing your keyword phrase all over the page consider mixing up how you use it. If the page title contains best credit cards consider using something like compare top credit card offers in the on page H1 header. Notice the change between plural and singular versions of the keywords. Popular CMS programs like WordPress have plug ins like the SEO Title tag plug in that make it quite easy to vary your page title and on page heading.

Tip4

Go deeper than the competition is going. In some fields I have been lucky enough to find niche low volume keyword topics that bring in a couple searchers each day. The ongoing maintenance cost of this content has been negligible, but as an added bonus for ranking for these long long tail keywords is that some of the people who search for them are people who really care about those topics, and many of them link to our websites. And so my new sites start benefiting from the self reinforcing effects that older sites benefit from, even though it is still new.

Tip5

Move away from the commercial keywords. If you stay within a small basket of well known commercial keywords it is hard to compete with strong competitors that have been targeting them for years. Niche how to content that solves a searcher’s problems is likely to build inbound links. These inbound links boost your domain authority and pass PageRank internally to other pages on your site, which is much of the general goal of many SEO linkbait projects…some pages are good at building inbound citations while other pages leverage that link authority and generate revenue.

Tip6

Buy traffic. If you build high quality niche content and it does not rank as well as you would like it to then you need to actively market it. Mention it to a couple popular bloggers in your space and ask them what they think of it. Another option for instantly getting relevant traffic to featured content is to buy targeted ads. StumbleUpon (you’ll end up paying for SEO services in dollars) sells category based traffic for 5 cents a visitor, but this traffic is nowhere near as potent as search traffic – many of these visitors come and go quickly. You can also buy pay per click traffic for your quality content. If you are buying it for commercial keywords the cost per click can be significant, but if you are trying to promote a quality non-commercial topic that is linkworthy you can often get visitors from search and AdSense ads for less than 10 pence each. With the buying traffic to build links strategy, it can take hundreds of clicks to generate an inbound link, but when you consider how time consuming and expensive link building is, then $50 or $100 for a good link can be an outright bargain.

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Adwords Quality Score Help Part 4

Cheap search engine optimization is as subjective as the best SEO.

SEO SEM and Web design companies have a habit of boldly claiming they offer both and are all things to all men.

This final part of our look at quality score takes search back to the basics, back to the fundamentals. Providing the user direct access to finding the content they want at the time they want it.

5 basic steps:

Keywords.
Organisation & Structure.
Match Type.
Creatives.
Landing Pages.

Keyword building: Most people bucket them and go off on the long tail. You should have several different groups and categories of brands. It will really improve your quality score. They are not necessarily tail terms, they are product specific. Don’t chase every keyword, chase the right keyword. If you can build out your campaign you can really lower your CPC – if your keyword is profitable, make it more profitable.

Structure: Don’t build thousands of useless keywords. Be organised when you put this together. Some limit you to 10,000 ad groups. If you have not reached that limit you are not working hard enough!

Match types: Every keyword you run should be on every single match type. Every keyword should be running on exact. When you break it out, you will start to see a decline in your phrase match spend. Put in your negatives.

Creatives: Go down to the specifics where you are not even using Dynamic Keyword Insertion any more. Be so specific. We use colour type, size, etc in every creative that we do. Let the user find the exact creative that they are looking for. It will increase your Quality Score and lower your CPC.

Landing pages: In some networks your ad could/will be disapproved if you do not have great landing pages. Everything in your landing pages should be in your ad copy and everything in your ad copy should be in your landing pages.

Simple

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A B2B Paid Search Success Equation Part 2

Quality of visit: assessing the value

Now, let’s turn our attention to the quality of a visit and how it factors into your paid search success equation.

To start, let’s get personal. What’s the value of a visitor to your site? (Play annoying game show music now). Okay, time’s up. The answer is, of course, that it depends.

Yes, it was a trick question‚ but the point is that there’s never just one definitive answer for this. The value of a visitor to your site should depend on the action they take while there.

Yet all too often, B2B marketers routinely identify a call to action, implement a tracking pixel, and plunge forward with their SEO PPC campaign with little regard to the differences in value.

Why is this? Especially considering the complexity of the buying cycle, and as noted earlier, that prospects are in different phases of it. For instance, some visitors may want to register for email updates or free white papers while they are researching their options. Others might want to look up product specifications or use product comparison widgets as they edge closer to making a buying decision.

Given that, each specific call to action on your site should have an assigned value, dependent on what it provides. Consider registrations – they actually capture user information, so naturally, they should receive a higher value than other actions where the visitor remains anonymous.

Essentially, what you want to do is create a quality index. Why? Because having a clear understanding of the value of a visitor (essential with all search engine marketing) can help you shift your marketing pounds away from the keywords that don’t perform strongly, to those that do.

To accomplish this, first identify all of the different actions a visitor can take on your site. And be thorough. Then rank them in order for the value they hold. Next, assign values to each action based upon what it delivers for your business.

Once you have your calls to action indexed, use a tracking system to capture these actions that occur as a result of paid search activity, and incorporate these values into your optimisation efforts. Lastly, use this information to inform your bidding strategy.

The bottom line is that while keywords, ad copy, and landing pages are fundamental to paid search, alone, they won’t add up. Tracking and understanding the quality of a visitor are also essential to your paid search success equation.

Unrelated Note

Please remember that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys, quality PPC and SEO agencies charge for the high standard of service their clients receive. Here at Summit we’re getting bored of clients asking for cheap search engine optimization and PPC.

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