Negative SEO Is It Possible?

SEO training has evolved over the past 4 years, the fundamentals are still the same, but with vastly different ancillary objectives. As Summit Online Marketing, we go into businesses offering our tailored SEO packages. Generally, we discuss actions, provide robust strategic marketing plans and discuss relevant activities. Sometimes, a sheepish employee will asked this question “can we affect our competitors SEO efforts”?

Let me explain, a few years ago, we looked at the impacts, if any, of negative SEO on websites, and a discussion arose from an article on search sabotage.

A year later, we’re still discussing the consequences and seeing if negative SEO is still possible. In various threads we’ve read, the SEO community have indicated there are still ways to sabotage websites and rankings, from hijacking competitor’s DNS to doing it to yourself by killing your URL structure.

Now, though, there’s potentially more with the impact of new technologies. New concerns about sabotage may take the form of cloaked sabotage or reputation sabotage. This isn’t to say the impact of traditional techniques such as parasite hosting and embedding hidden links has been diminished.

We’d recommend that you need to be the one who protects your site, because Google isn’t necessarily reliable in that regard. (After all, Google is tracking billions of pages.) However, not many people know how to protect their own websites.

We believe that a lot of SEO sabotage attempts involve trying to trick Google into thinking that a site should be penalised and does not meet guidelines. That can be by directly modifying the site (through legitimate mechanisms to do so, or by finding vulnerabilities and exploiting them) and by modifying or setting up external references to a site.

Food for thought

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Press Releases and Search Engine Optimisation

I’m still constantly surprised that many companies still don’t take advantage of SEO. There are many, however, that issue press releases on a regular basis. As part of our SEO packages, we cover press release optimisation. What they don’t understand is that press releases can be part of your SEO efforts, and can be used to gain presence in the editorial results of the search engines, even if it’s not a direct presence for your actual domain.

Press releases, in the traditional sense, were meant to reach out to journalists with the hope that a publication would pick it up, call someone within your company for comment, and gain a presence within the traditional media community (television, radio and/or print) to enhance your image and further your business.

Any SEM that offers SEO outsourcing, listen up… Press releases in the digital media environment can do all of that, plus a bunch of other cool stuff. Even though many continue to issue press releases, few have made adjustments to their efforts to include press release optimisation for the digital community and to further their interactive marketing — and specifically SEO — efforts.

By paying attention to a few important details, it’s possible to craft an interactive press release and create synergies within your other marketing efforts:

Step 1: Creation of the Press Release

Write for the editors you’re trying to reach traditionally, as well as the search engines.

Headline: You must have a catchy headline or else no one — aside from the search engines — will read it. If you want the most from your efforts, include at least one relevant keyword phrase that people search for.

Copy: Mention the keywords of focus for the release within the first paragraph.

Linking: Many press release distribution companies allow you to include keyword-rich anchor text in links. These links should be directed to specific URLs within your Web site that, ideally, have a title tag, header tag, and content that supports this same keyword phrase. There’s great SEO value in having links on other Web sites linking to you, using keywords that you’d like to rank for within the anchor text of the link.

Tags: Many distribution partners allow you to tag your press release with keywords that you’d like to have this release associated with.

You’ll have to wait for Part 2 of this post for distribution and more press release benefits.

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More Viral Marketing Tips

At Summit Online Marketing we want to give our readers tips, we know that some business don’t need to pay for SEO Packages, they just need a little helping hand. On that basis some information in a recent survey from Nielson shows that recommendations from consumers are most powerful. On the web, this translates into thousands of people.

As a Google SEO have a look at this frankly salient advice

Case Study – Starbucks announced closure of stores. Stock price dipped. At the same time there was a huge spike in the blogosphere regarding Starbucks.

More Stats. 7/10 Brits use the net for news. If your in that space, you have a huge opportunity. 97% of journalists go online to find stories on the web. 79% find stories on the news wires.

Budget – How many people have a viral marketing budget? Not too many. This is a definite issue.

Myth – Web and viral marketing costs a fortune. If you’re writing a white paper get an interview in the Times and other industry related magazines. This approach can take time, but their isn’t much cost involved.

Basic Elements – Free is really good, like a white paper, if you give away your expertise you will reap the rewards.

Make it easy for your content to spread and share

  • Make sure it scales easily from small to large. Don’t crash your server! Use Youtube to host your content if need be.
  • Social media takes advantage of common motivations and behaviours. People are generally social.
  • Utilise existing communication networks like the news wires such as PR Web. Can you put news or podcast or video on there. Take advantage of these resources.
  • The key is great quality content! There many different strategies. Great tip is adding an RSS feed.
  • To blog or not to blog? Need a strategy. Who is going to say it? How often? You really need a plan. Don’t start a “me too” blog.
  • Basic techniques: Forward to friend, bookmark features, etc. “Addthis.com” is a great tool to enable sharing.
  • Youtube – Setup your own branded channel – create simple videos that are fun and quirky. Tell your clients and friends. Optimise your channel. Link from your website. Get a Flip Video Camera!
  • Tubemogul is a free service that distributes your videos across the major channels. Can check the stats and pull reports.

Measuring success – Links – We know that links are gold for organic rankings. In our early days, we had a page on our website with lots of new free emoticons. From this we generated over 2,000 links within a couple of weeks

The best SEO advice is to make sure you have a plan to create the right connections.

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Adwords Quality Score Help Part 3

The progressive conversation on relevancy:

With the onset of Quality Score, relevancy is much more scientific than most SEO packages will let you believe… if you want to approach it properly. The conversation has been going on for quite a while. I am going to focus specifically on the landing page and the collaboration that needs to occur to get this right.

Relevancy: what it used to mean, you had this bucket of keywords that you’d created during your search engine optimization training. You had the same titles and descriptions for everything on your list. Maybe you categorised them in Excel, started to map keywords, either way it used to be extremely manual. Then, the tools started to get better, standards started to raise, and relevancy became increasingly part of the conversation when it came to do quality search marketing.

We got more aggressive on bidding strategy, handling text ad methods, titles and descriptions, keyword landing page, and getting more serious about what we wanted the consumer to do.

Landing page: we have always been delivering this to deliver on consumer demand. Where you land on the page is one thing but now there are many more things to look at. You want to look at the account history, content and layout, usability and navigation and load time.

If Quality Score is well handled, it will force the tightening of relevancy to occur earlier on. We want to deliver on relevancy.

Guidance: When it comes to content, content rich strategies in search have always been wise. Use tags when necessary and be descriptive.

Usability: It should be useful, relevant, and deliver.

Navigation: Direct connection to what is sought. Make it clear how to get there. Ease of passage.

Transparency: Make sure the nature of your business is crystal clear.

Load time: this can be smooth with the right kind of collaboration. Minimize the number of redirects and come up with creative workarounds of slow servers.

Conclusion: If you are serious about relevancy, you need to take Quality Score seriously. It does I believe represent an opportunity to hang your interests on. As you go about making site modifications and dealing with all the other factors, understand what the threshold is and what your efforts should be. Know that your efforts are going to be re-evaluated by the engines over time, and will get better and better.

Summit for all your online marketing consulting

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5 Tips for Driving Qualified Traffic With Online Marketing

Online marketing consulting firms often need to be creative when it comes to solving client web site traffic and sales problems. Inspiration from friends and family, movies, or even the smooth sounds of the local radio station can be useful.

Take this longstanding frustration: The efforts of a top SEO can sometimes produce an increase in website traffic that is not accompanied by a corresponding increase in conversions. While more traffic is almost always positive, it does little good if the majority of site visitors aren’t seriously interested in the products or services being promoted.

So how does one make sure the right traffic finds the right web site content? I recommend taking the advice of 80′s pop icon Lionel Richie by asking your site visitors the classic question, “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”

While Mr. Richie may be directing his sentiments at a visually-impaired student (see the video if you don’t know what I’m talking about), this is a question whose answer is critical to every online marketer as well. In order to get conversions, you need to make sure the business you are promoting is being found by legitimate prospects. Ensure your site provides what visitors are looking for by following these five musically-themed guidelines:

* Know your audience – Should you be targeting a product’s end-users or distributors? What stage of the buying cycle are you targeting? A good online marketing team conducts the proper background research in order to fully understand who they are trying to reach, where they are in the buying cycle and plans content creation, optimisation and promotion accordingly.

* Book your prospect’s favorite venue – Once you feel you have actionable knowledge of your target audience, you can select appropriate places for reaching them. Research communities, influencers and behaviours of the target audience to establish a useful presence and content, be it on social networks, forums, blogs or the company web site.

* Give fans what they want – Make sure the offer and conversion opportunity are a good match for what the target audience is looking for. In some cases they will be looking to buy your product, but in others they may want more information like a white paper or a case study, or the opportunity to be contacted.

* Choose the right ‚”lyrics” – When selecting keywords to optimise your site content or pay-per-click campaign, keyword popularity is only a starting point. Choosing the most appropriate keywords to describe product or service offerings considering relevancy, context and intent are important. Research, consideration, evaluation and purchasing are different phases of the buyer’s search experience. Optimising the right content with the right keywords for each of these phases will help prospects find your site in a more relevant way.

* Sing it loud – The copy, images and overall design of your website and landing pages should be obvious cues to the type of product or service offered and consistent with search query that brought them there. Structure your site design and calls to action so that prospects immediately know that they’ve found what they are looking for. For example, sending PPC traffic from a specific product keyword to the company home page will alienate and confuse the searcher. Send specific traffic queries to specific landing pages. For SEO, optimise specific content for specific phrases to help searchers pull themselves to the right content for conversion.

Implementing these tactics can increase web site traffic specifically for people who are more likely to convert. When you pose Lionel Richie’s question to your visitors, more will respond with a resounding “Yes it is you I’m looking for!” And while you may not receive thanks in the form of a clay sculpture, the increase in your conversions should more than make up for it.

Please contact SEO Liverpool for more information about our SEO packages.

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