Dealing with a Company in Google My Business with Multi-Locations and Same Phone Number (Canadian Version)

If you have a company with multiple locations, or you work on an account that has multiple locations, what is the best option to achieving the best results with your Google My Business Listings?Multi-Location, One Phone Number & Google My Business

I’ve worked on an account in the past that had this exact same issue. It was a multi-location business, and they funneled all the calls via one main phone number. As a result when they originally setup their call system, all leads were to come into the main line. Each office location did have its own phone line, but just the one main number was pushed on the website and via social.

From a Business Owners point of view, this can be easier if they want to keep calls/leads centralized, and possibly save on hiring extra staff for the smaller locations. This is totally understandable from the business owner’s needs.

The Potential Issue Dealing with the other Numbers

The potential for duplicate business listings to appear is very possible. Here in Canada, Yellow pages pulls the phone numbers from the telephone providers. So each location with the original phone number will show up in Canada’s YellowPages.  YellowPages a few times per year will pull data from the local phone providers. So no matter what, your Canadian Yellow Pages listing will have your local office number and as a result, the location/number will start to get listed in other sites. So from the get go, there’s the potential for your citations being a tad bit messy.

Note: if you ever need to update your YellowPage.ca Business Address, while you can get YellowPages to update it, you will ultimately need to have your address/information updated via your telephone provider. Even when updating your Yellow Pages (Canada) listing, they will still pull the data from your telephone provider sooner or later and this could get updated. So having all of your NAP information right from the get go is essential.

Multi-Locations Phone Number

If you are working with a situation such as each locations number automatically forwards to the main line, what exactly is the best option? If this is the case for you, you should look to have each Google My Business Listing to have the actual Office number. Google My Business is getting more competitive. The potential for traffic for your local region is very high so you need to take every (Google Approved) advantage to help your GMB listing and with your Citation Campaign.

If each locations phone number does not forward to the main line, realistically there should be someone there to answer the calls, so even in this situation, for the competitive citation advantage, leave it to the actual office phone number.

From an owners POV, I totally understand their point. They could have a number is easy to remember, it’s the one they push the most. On the website, for the main header or number that is pushed the most, this would be no problem having the one main number displayed. But still, each office location on the website should have the correct NAP information.

Mobile traffic is steadily increasing. If you check your Stats/Analytics over the past few months/years, you’ll notice that the mobile traffic has most likely been increasing overtime. So someone on their smart phone when searching for your product/service, will typically see the Call Button when the listing shows up in the Google Local results so they may not even see the phone number initially. On desktop they may see the phone number at times, for mobile you may just get a call button.

The ongoing battle, and it is a battle if you need to clean up the citations online, and try to have each location to have one phone number. The amount of work that is needed, to maintain and keep the other numbers out will almost never end.

Ultimately it’s your choice on how you decide to proceed with this. As a personal preference, I would advise to go with each Google My Business location having its own phone number.

Not receiving Google My Business invitation to manage a Business location?

If you are having problems receiving your Google My Business Invite. Chances are you have the one setting as seen below set to unsubscribe. This is how you can change your preferences and directly access all past Pending Invites from Google My Business Manager.

To access Google My Business Notification Settings

  1. First click on the url https://notifications.google.com/settings/brand_accounts
  2. Next, check your Brand Account Activity to see which selections that you may not be subscribed to.
  3. Select “You’re invited to manage a Brand Account
  4. That’s it. Your selection is automatically saved.
 Update Google My Business Preferences

How to Access Google My Business Pending Invitations:

  1.  First, click on the url https://myaccount.google.com/brandaccounts
  2. Once you click on the url above, you should see the same screen below.  Click on Pending Invitations
  3. If there are any pending invitations, they will show on the pending invitations page.

Access Google My Business Pending Invites

The time for open directory DMOZ.org  to close is nearing. On March 14, 2017 they will officially go off-line. Seeing that in the past year they had a full site redesign this is a tad bit surprising. Clearly they were looking for options for ways to entice people to keep them interested in open directory. Still the biggest factor for me like most was actually getting anything listed or changed for that matter.

Also, there’s the underlying question with a lot of the free directories themselves. If DMOZ, the biggest and most dominating directory online wasn ‘t able to make it work and adapt to the outside worlds needs, how are the other directories going to hold out. BOTW.org has adapted moreso with adding more features for the local markets. Theirs is a Paid directory model, so they need something that will help their company be profitable and keep up with good quality listings.

Formerly An Editor

DMOZ Closes

Once upon a time I used to be an editor open directory. This was for a number of years covering cities that I used to live in Kelowna, BC and my current hometown Corner Brook Newfoundland.  Also some of my favourite bands/Artists I was an editor for their category (Ozzy, Big wreck, and Queensryche, just to name a few).

To be an editor certainly was time-consuming and something an individual has to be committed to, working to help better their small section of the web. Ultimately my downfall for not being in there anymore was overzealous market in real estate listings. For me it seem like virtually everybody wanted to be a realtor in the mid 2000’s, and they all had sites and submitted it to open directory. So the love for editing was lost. While I do work in the SEO industry, I always played by the rules as an editor. I didn’t spam and I still don’t like spam.

I did try few times afterwards to reapply to be an editor, but the attempts never panned out. I’m not sure why, probably because my affiliation with clients in the Search marketing industry, and DMOZ editors were possibly a bit hesitant due to that.

Needless to say if they would have been a bit more lenient with regards to allowing new editors, Maybe participation could have continued to flourish. Even then as an editor, it was not uncommon for it to take a year for websites to be added to a directory category. Being an editor one could view and see how many sites where in submission list and when they were submitted in other categories. One can only imagine how bad it has gotten over the years. Also with sites being submitted to the wrong category, their submissions would most likely be moved over to the appropriate category. If that editor didn’t have privileges there, the submission was back and the end of the list.

The Demise of DMOZ & It’s Actual Usefulness

Speculating as what could be one of the possible reasons as to the demise of open directory,  my guess is the ongoing lack of editors, constant build up of submissions and the number of broken links, sites that no longer should be listed. Just the thought of the mountain of submissions that have been piling up must of been daunting. Also the cost of upkeep and possible downward spiral of actual traffic could be Another.

Other factors that it is not as useful as other major sites that focus on listing businesses online. Often I’ll be out somewhere and I want to look up up information on a business that I want to visit. I’m looking for current open hours, an overview of the business, pictures (if necessary) and reviews of the business.

The only thing that DMOZ offered was a description. For myself, Google My Business and Yelp are much more helpful for what I’m looking for as a local shopper in my area. DMOZ.org, while helpful in the past for SEO link building, with actually using it to find a new business that just opened up, Good luck. It would’ve been nice if there was a way for open directory to evolve more and connect with users better. But that would be one heck of an undertaking, and what would of been the ideal solution? On a side note, if you are a Google Local Guide, there are different levels and small incentives. DMOZ.org at that time, none that I could recall.

DMOZ – Decades out of date in some Cases

Just to show you how out of date it is. Here’s one section that I use to manage https://www.dmoz.org/Arts/Music/Bands_and_Artists/B/Big_Wreck/ The official website for Big Wreck isn’t listed. MTVs page only, this only has anything that has the words big wreck in the title. Not that useful for Big Wreck, and the only site that actually works is an interview from 1998.

It will be very interesting to see how much of an effect open directory will have on the organic rankings. Granted over the years open directory has most likely been given less weight with influencing organic rankings.

So ultimately for me, they were far to strict on allowing new editors for my liking. Not everyone is out there to spam the world. The world continues to move more towards automation.

Good Bye DMOZ

There may come a time, when you are updating WordPress, either updating the main core or one of the plugins, and you get stuck with a “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” message. Here I’ll show an easy fix you can use with your FTP program.

The FTP Quick Fix with the .maintenance File

  • Open your FTP Program
  • Make sure Hidden files are showing. You may need to go into preferences and have this option enabled
  • Next, if you did have to enable Show Hidden files, you may need to log out and log back in with your FTP program.
  • When logged in with your FTP program. Browse to the folder where the WordPress installation has been installed.
  • Look for a file called .maintenance and then delete this file. It’s that simple.
  • See, nothing to really worry about.

The .maintenance Trick Didn’t Work?

Run Home Screaming! No, just kidding if this option is not working for you and  you were updating some WordPress Plugins, then you can try to manually download the plugins that were involved with the update, then upload them via FTP. If there was an underlying issue with one of those plugins getting installed via the WordPress system, then uploading them via FTP should be the next option to try.

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute

.maintenance

In-case you were not aware, Canada’s anti-spam legislation came into effect July 1, 2014.  This is important for companies and individuals to realize. We all still receive spam emails to our accounts, and when Canadian companies send out these unsolicited emails, then they are breaking Canada’s anti-spam legislation, and potentially could land them in trouble.

To send a commercial email to an electronic address, you are required to have the recipient’s consent, to identify yourself, to offer an unsubscribe mechanism and to be truthful.

  • Consent: You must have a form of valid consent.
  • Identification: Clearly identify yourself and your organization. You must include your mailing address. You must also include a phone number for accessing an agent or a voice messaging system, an email address, or a web address for you or the person on whose behalf you are sending the message.
  • Unsubscribe mechanism: Provide an unsubscribe mechanism that is functional for 60 days. See examples of acceptable unsubscribe mechanisms.
  • Truth in advertising: Your messages must not be false or misleading. They must not have false or misleading sender information, subject matter information, URLs and/or metadata.

 

Here’s a visual guide to help you with adding a new website in Google Analytics.

Sign in to your Analytics account. Please note that you will need a Google Account, to access Google Analytics.

Sign in to your Analytics account.

 

Next, Click on the Admin tab.

Then, in the ACCOUNT column, use the drop-down menu to select the account to which you want to add the property.

GA-Step2

 

In the PROPERTY column (Middle column), select Create new property from the drop-down menu.

Only accounts that have edit permission on the account will be able to Create a New Property.

 

Select Website or Mobile app.

Enter the Website or App Name.

(Web only) Enter the Web Site URL

Select the protocol standard (http:// or https:// ). Enter the domain name such as www.example.com. Do not include the trailing slash.

Select an Industry Category.

Select the Reporting Time Zone.

GA-Step3

 

If you are an Ontario Business, you will need to know about AODA Compliance, and the size of your company will matter regarding if your company will need to comply, or not. According to the Ontario.ca website, regarding AODA Compliance. The main targets are all Government sites, any private/non-profit with more than 50 employees. Self-employed and companies with less than 50 employees are off the hook.

So according to the guidelines as of writing this, any company that has under 50 employees, should not need to worry about this.

For more detailed information regarding who should comply with this, check the Ontario.ca website, or follow the link below.

What Companies must comply with AODA in Ontario

By law, you must make new and significantly refreshed public websites accessible if you are:

  • a private or non-profit organization with 50+ employees; or
  • a public sector organization

The organization that controls the website must meet the accessibility requirements.

Oh what a shame, PageRank is now dead and will no longer be available. While it will be used by Google in the backend if things, we as users will no longer see it. Google Page rank has not really been updated in the last couple years. Maybe at the end of 2013 I guess. But then again I wasn’t really expecting, waiting for it, or even relying on it. How useful can’t really be if it’s only twice a year. So much can change in a few weeks or months that this number cannot always be accurate on our side of things.

Google PageRank is Dead

I recall some web directories that would require a certain page rank just to be listed. I always found this requirement to be very flawed. Solely to base a websites usefulness and worthiness on a PageRank number is a very lazy and not a true representation of the actual website. Often it would seem it would be either a four page rank or a five page rank. So if your PageRank wasn’t high enough then you’re out of luck. The actual usefulness and quality of a website should not be based solely on one little metric as PageRank.

The Temptation to try and manipulate a websites page rank solely to increase that number, by any means necessary could put a website in jeopardy. Breaking Google’s quality guidelines, can potentially lead you to a drop in traffic via a Google placed penalty. Fun stuff hey?

With Google page rank now gone. The actual manipulation of things will still be there. That is one aspect building that will never go away. Pushing the lines of Google’s link building quality guidelines will never go away.

The long-term success and longevity of the website should always be taken into consideration. It takes a lot of time and money to get a website up and running. While shortcuts can be tempting, the longevity of your website should not be put in jeopardy for a quick fix.

While the official nail in the coffin from Google on Page rank is now done, most of us have forgotten (myself at least) and/or not relied on it at all.

Read more on PageRanks demise from Danny Sullivan.

 

The Removal of Google’s Search Location Filter

Google has recently removed its search location filter (this is December 2015). One the uses for this filter was the ability to change the location of your city. This way you could choose to search from Toronto or from Edmonton and so on, and have the results tailored for that area. The main reason for the removal is that it was getting low use.

What this Means for You

For the average user, they will not notice anything. So you will not notice anything different at all. If you are in Toronto and searching for a restaurant, just typing in restaurant will bring back a list of restaurants in your area.

For my local area in Corner Brook Newfoundland, the initial results for the keyword restaurants are from Google’s local results, and you can click on the more places link to see more results. From there, the organic Search engine results have more sites, not the most helpful seeing one listing for PEI. But this in itself is one of the fallbacks of one keyword search.

What are the current options for location based searches?

For your current location, you can opt to share your location with Google so they can get a more precise idea of where you are. This can help with custom tailoring the results to better suit you. See here for how you can get more info on how to Change your location on Google. Just to give you a heads up, you can’t change your location as you could before via Google.

With the ability to change your city now obsolete, simply adding the city name to that keyword will help you get that result. But most likely this is what you were doing already, and Google also knows this. So if I’m going to be traveling to St. John’s Newfoundland, using the search term restaurants st john’s, I can get a list of potential places I would like to dine at. But really, I’m pretty sure I didn’t need to tell you how to search.

The main users of the Google search location filters are most likely people reporting on keywords for certain city locations and people manually checking for search engine results in other city locations. But even then, those organic ranking reports are not as reliable these days as search results can change from person to person.

Getting your Ranking Data

More and more, people may need to rely on Google Search Console Search Analytics data for their sites ranking. They state average ranking data for that particular keyword as ranking data from one person and also from location to location change.

If you are using a software provide for your rankings, chances are they may have something in place to help accommodate for these changes, to help you with getting some idea of how you may be ranking in a particular area.

So really, for the average user, they will not notice anything different. If you’ve been Googling for some time, changes are you have realize that single keyword searches are not always helpful. Long tail or keyword phrases tend to help narrow down those searches much better as Google has a better idea of what you are looking for.

So, no change for average user, big change for SEO’s reporting on keywords for different locations. Happy Searching!

Part of the issue many have with posting reviews on Google+ is that Google uses your Google Account Profile full name when associating it with your review. So, you want to write a review, but still leave it somewhat anonymous, this is the next best solution (for now).

Changing your First/Last Name Options

To post anonymously on Google+ they will need to change their first and or last name on their Google Profile. Say John Doe, wants to change his name, all he will have to do is change his last name to D. as a first and last name are both required. So in this case the name for the review would be John D.

Do you have a Google Account?

You will need to have a Google Account to make a review. To create a Google Account https://accounts.google.com/signup?hl=en

If you already have a Google Account, then you’ll just need to sign in, https://accounts.google.com/login?hl=en

Next make sure you are signed up and signed in.

Change your Google+ profile name

Important: You can change your name on your Google Account by editing your Google+ profile. Editing your profile name in Google+ will change your name in all the Google products you use for this account. You can still use a different Gmail username for sending messages.

Click on the link below, and then choose the device you are using. Once you are on your Google+ Profile page, you will need to click/select your name, then you will have the option to change it.

https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1228271?hl=en

There are alternate ways you can create a dummy account, but the way mentioned above is if you want to post a review under your main Google Account, but still stay anonymous. Google does not require your real name for your profile.

Create or change your Google+ profile name

Create or change your Google+ profile name

 

Part of the issue many have with posting reviews on Google+ is that Google uses your Google Account Profile full name when associating it with your review. So, you want to write a review, but still leave it somewhat anonymous, this is the next best solution (for now).

Changing your First/Last Name Options

To post anonymously on Google+ they will need to change their first and or last name on their Google Profile. Say John Doe, wants to change his name, all he will have to do is change his last name to D. as a first and last name are both required. So in this case the name for the review would be John D.

Do you have a Google Account?

You will need to have a Google Account to make a review. To create a Google Account https://accounts.google.com/signup?hl=en

If you already have a Google Account, then you’ll just need to sign in, https://accounts.google.com/login?hl=en

Next make sure you are signed up and signed in.

Change your Google+ profile name

Important: You can change your name on your Google Account by editing your Google+ profile. Editing your profile name in Google+ will change your name in all the Google products you use for this account. You can still use a different Gmail username for sending messages.

Click on the link below, and then choose the device you are using. Once you are on your Google+ Profile page, you will need to click/select your name, then you will have the option to change it.

https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1228271?hl=en

There are alternate ways you can create a dummy account, but the way mentioned above is if you want to post a review under your main Google Account, but still stay anonymous. Google does not require your real name for your profile.

Create or change your Google+ profile name

Create or change your Google+ profile name

 

If you happen to have a hosting account with 1and1.com with hosting Powered-By: ASP.NET, and tried to use their redirect service offered? You may notice that the redirect that offer is a 302 temporary redirect. This isn’t the ideal 301 Redirectredirect that we want to place on a domain for a 301 Domain Redirect, when changing from one domain to another.

We want to pass on any traffic, incoming link juice, traffic, etc and etc. With a 301 permanent redirect, we can achieve this. I’m not sure why 1and1.com never added this option, as they surely have many customers that have their domains registered and hosted with them.

There is an easy solution!

For your OldDomain.com, you will want to keep this on a hosting account, do not use their redirect service as this is a 302 temporary redirect.

Create an index.asp page. The only bit of coding that you’ll need is listed below. Most likely you will need to delete the web.config file, or just rename it so that it won’t be used with the hosting system. Just replace the domain name below with yours, and upload the index.asp page to your account via your FTP program. Just to note, you will want to delete or rename any other index pages, as you just want the index.asp page to be the page that is picked up by the spiders.

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
<%
Response.Status=”301 Moved Permanently”
Response.AddHeader “Location”,”http://www.MyNewFancyDomainWowie.com”
%>

As always, make a full backup of your files before making any changes.

When you have your index.asp page uploaded, test the redirect with http://web-sniffer.net/ to verify that the redirect is working and reading as 301.

If you happen to have a hosting account with 1and1.com with hosting Powered-By: ASP.NET, and tried to use their redirect service offered? You may notice that the redirect that offer is a 302 temporary redirect. This may not be the 1and1 301 redirectredirect that you initially wanted to place on your domain. Ideally when changing from one domain to another, you want to implment a 301 Domain Redirect, when changing from one domain to another.

Both 302 and 301 redirects pass PageRank, Link Juice, etc. with a 302 redirect, search engines will typically show the initiating url, due to the fact that the search engines are seeing this status code as a temporary change. Google’s John Mueller touched on this topic in October 2015. If Google thinks the 302 status code is a mistake, then they’ll treat it as a 301 redirect. There’s no telling how long this actually will take. That being said, if you are making a permanent change, then go for the 301. It gets the job done faster, and you know for sure the search engines will index it properly from the start.

With a 301 permanent redirect, we can achieve this. I’m not sure why 1and1.com never added this option, as they surely have many customers that have their domains registered and hosted with them.

There is an easy 301 solution!

For your OldDomain.com, you will want to keep this on a hosting account, do not use their redirect service as this is a 302 temporary redirect.

Create an index.asp page.  The only bit of coding that you’ll need is listed below. Most likely you will need to delete the web.config file, or just rename it so that it won’t be used with the hosting system. Just replace the domain name below with yours, and upload the index.asp page to your account via your FTP program. Just to note, you will want to delete or rename any other index pages, as you just want the index.asp page to be the page that is picked up by the spiders.

<%@ Language=VBScript %>
<%
Response.Status=”301 Moved Permanently”
Response.AddHeader “Location”,”http://www.MyNewFancyDomainWowie.com”
%>

As always, make a full backup of your files before making any changes.

When you have your index.asp page uploaded,  test the redirect with http://web-sniffer.net/ to verify that the redirect is working and reading as 301.

Are you ready for April 21 2015? Google will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in their Search Results. This transformation will affect mobile searches worldwide and will have a significant impact in Google’s search results. Ultimately this designed to make finding relevant searches for users.

This is a great move by Google. If you think about the ways that you search online, most likely you have a variety of ways to access the world wide web, either a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Having a website that can adapt to all devices is essentially for moving forward in 2015.

Just think about the sites that you visit on your smartphone that are not properly optimized for your screen. The font is way too small and virtually impossible to read. The site is hard to navigate and/or the site loads slowly.

If for some reason, you have been putting off changing your site over to WordPress or some other CMS platform that can handle your website on different devices, now is the time.

If you already have a WordPress site, you can test your site with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This can be a good testing tool for any WordPress/Joomla themes that you are thinking on trying out. Google PageSpeed Insights is another good tool to test your site, or test a theme you are interested in as well. If you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you can also access some information regarding your Mobile Usability Report.

Quick Takeaways on Google’s Mobile algorithm for April 21st, 2015

According to Google, it may take a few days to a week for the full algorithm to roll out and it will only affect Mobile Search Results, not Desktop. According to Google, your website will be seen as mobile-friendly or not within the new algorithm.

Tools to Test and see if your website is Mobile Friendly for Google

How Much Mobile Traffic are you getting that could be affected?

To find this, one option is to use Google Analytics (assuming you have it linked to your website property). When you log in, you can see via the screen shots below, you will need to go to the Audience tab, then Mobile and Overview. For the actual percentage circle below, just click on the percentage tab.

Google-Mobile-Percent

 

 

 

Are you ready for April 21 2015?  Google will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in their Search Results.  This transformation will affect mobile searches worldwide and will have a significant impact in Google’s search results. Ultimately this designed to make finding relevant searches for users.

This is a great move by Google. If you think about the ways that you search online, most likely you have a variety of ways to access the world wide web, either a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Having a website that can adapt to all devices is essentially for moving forward in 2015.

Just think about the sites that you visit on your smartphone that are not properly optimized for your screen. The font is way too small and virtually impossible to read. The site is hard to navigate and/or the site loads slowly.

If for some reason, you have been putting off changing your site over to WordPress or some other CMS platform that can handle your website on different devices, now is the time.

If you already have a WordPress site, you can test your site with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This can be a good testing tool for any WordPress/Joomla themes that you are thinking on trying out. Google PageSpeed Insights is another good tool to test your site, or test a theme you are interested in as well. If you have a Google Webmaster Tools account, you can also access some information regarding your Mobile Usability Report.

Quick Takeaways on Google’s Mobile algorithm for April 21st, 2015

According to Google, it may take a few days to a week for the full algorithm to roll out and it will only affect Mobile Search Results, not Desktop. According to Google, your website will be seen as mobile-friendly or not within the new algorithm.

Tools to Test and see if your website is Mobile Friendly for Google

How Much Mobile Traffic are you getting that could be affected?

To find this, one option is to use Google Analytics (assuming you have it linked to your website property). When you log in, you can see via the screen shots below, you will need to go to the Audience tab, then Mobile and Overview. For the actual percentage circle below, just click on the percentage tab.

Google-Mobile-Percent

 

 

 

Every so often we hear about a non-Google search engine that may look to take some of the search share away. The latest search engine in question is DuckDuckGo. With the release of Apples IOS8, DuckDuckGo will be the default search engine with Safari.

What is DuckDuckGO?

DuckDuckGo focuses on protecting searchers’ privacy, so you will not get personalized results as you would with Google for example. DuckDuckGo differentiates itself from other search by purposely showing users the identical search results for a given search term. If you check out their about page, you will notice they have their images blurred out, so yes, they are big on privacy.

DuckDuckGo & PPC Advertising

The fact that DuckDuckGo is being added to IOS8 should give it a good boost in traffic and awareness. For PPC advertisers, if you want to have your ad shown on DuckDuckGo, you will need to have a BING advertising account, and make sure you have All search networks (Bing and Yahoo! search and syndicated search partners) selected so your ads will appear on DuckDuckGO. Now, one thing you will need to keep in mind with PPC ads with them is that they only show one ad. So just one ad, the top ad will be shown for the bidding terms. This could potentially up the bidding for some keywords if things for them really start to take off.

It will be interesting to see how the traffic share for DuckDuckGO increases over the next few months, and to see how the actual traffic from Tablets and mobile devices fairs in Analytics/stats.

For the most part, there should be no change in rankings when changing hosting companies. We are assuming that your domain name is staying the same and that only your IP address is changing. Changing your IP address for your hosted website in itself should not affect the actual rankings.

DNS TTL (time to live)

Set your DNS TTL (time to live) very short, to around 5 minutes. This will help with the search engine spiders finding your new IP address.

You are going to have a copy of your website on two different host as you will be changing the DNS with your domain registrar. When you make the DNS change, you should see the DNS servers update within the time you specified. Keeping your site live on both hosts is recommended. Generally you will have a few weeks, or a month remaining on the old host. Keep the sites live on both, with the same exact pages/copy on each host. For your emails, to make sure there are no missed emails, you can opt to forward them to another email account (for your old hosting company). You will want to make sure you go with a good reliable hosting company, and that they have good support and very little downtime.

Not all hosting companies are equal, and when you find a good hosting company, you will want to stay with them as long as possible.

Hosting Problems

When changing hosting, you will want to make sure there is enough bandwidth with your hosting package.

Take note of all actual downtime with your website. If your host is having too many issues with downtime. See about having them switch your site to another server, or if that is not an option, and the downtime continues, you may need to look at changing hosting again.

Technical Hosting Support. This is a very important part and for myself a major consideration of changing hosting if the host has little hosting support. There most likely will always be issues that come up with hosting from time to time, and if your hosting technical leaves it up to you to solve it, changing hosting may be the answer.

Slow Responses to your problems. Another possible problem with hosting, is very slow responses to your emails.

Both technical support and slow responses were two major issues that resulted in the changing of hosting companies for my own websites.

Emails and SoapSpam

Not directly related to rankings, but you will always want to keep a watch on your email if your email is on a shared IP, which is normally the case. There have been times where SoapSpam have blocked an IP due to spam coming from one or multiple sites. For the most part, you will not need to worry about this, but keep tabs on it.

So the actual changing of an IP in itself should not affect your SEO, but there are other considerations that you will need to keep track of to make sure you are completely happy with your hosting. When switching, ask friends, co-workers, check the whois on some top websites to see where they may be hosted.

Obtaining the desired top 10 or top 3 rankings in Google (sorry BING and Yahoo), is generally your most sought after goal. Realistically life should get easier once you gain that high ranking right? Not always.Ranking-Arrrow

At times, for certain keywords, or keyword categories may not provide the leads, conversions or sales that you want, or worst, your high rankings on certain keywords just further increase your spam email intake with little to no gain on your actual target market.

You may have looked at your Google Analytics and found that certain high ranking keywords are getting no leads (from your conversion tracking). Other things to consider in these situations are that people could be still in the research stage, there could be incoming calls that are not being tracked with Google Analytics.

Other issues that can arrive with low conversions is the design of your site, the content and call to actions. While you may notice that Google at times likes ugly sites, users will not always be won over by an ugly or less desirable website design. With ugly websites, here I am referring to sites that may have great content and/or are able to naturally gain good quality links that Google likes. Google doesn’t care how Google looking a site is, us the audience on the other hand, tend to take this into consideration more so.

If you go to a website that you want to make a purchase or find more information on, you want this task to be as easy as possible. Every one of us has found a site that it seems just about impossible to find out what the next steps are to further enquire about their services and/or products. With your own website, you need to keep this in mind as well, and have some testing done on your site to see if the calls to actions are working and easily attracting the interest of your audience. Remember it is all too easy for them to hit the back button and go to the next site on the list.

With your website, you also need to check that it is responsive and that everything is working when you use it on an IOS device or any other mobile device as more and more people are using these for their everyday searches.

For your website review, there are some common things to check out. You will need to see that the links in your site are working, all navigation’s are working properly and no 404 dead ends. We want to make sure that users and search engine spiders are able to properly crawl/navigate through out your site.

Periodic checking of your forms and checking that the thank-you pages are setup and still working properly is recommended. If you are using WordPress or any other CMS system that is updated on a regular basis, you will want to test after each update.

If you find that the content on a certain page is not working, it may be time to rework that page and start testing. It is always to keep track of the data regarding that page (keywords, rankings, etc) as changing the content can affect the rankings for that page and your site if not done correctly.

With organic rankings, these tend to take a bit of time to achieve, and in some extremely competitive industries rankings will take a bit longer. In these situations, if you have the budget available, testing out potential keywords you want to focus your organic campaign on with Google Adwords, can potentially save you a lot of time (potentially wasted time). Being able to narrow down to your preferred selection of keywords that do convert via Adwords and then implementing these into your organic campaign can help your entire campaign and save you time on wasted keywords.

 

Obtaining the desired top 10 or top 3 rankings in Google (sorry BING and Yahoo), is generally your most sought after goal. Realistically life should get easier once you gain that high ranking right? Not always.Ranking-Arrrow

At times, for certain keywords, or keyword categories may not provide the leads, conversions or sales that you want, or worst, your high rankings on certain keywords just further increase your spam email intake with little to no gain on your actual target market.

You may have looked at your Google Analytics and found that certain high ranking keywords are getting no leads (from your conversion tracking). Other things to consider in these situations are that people could be still in the research stage, there could be incoming calls that are not being tracked with Google Analytics.

Other issues that can arrive with low conversions is the design of your site, the content and call to actions. While you may notice that Google at times likes ugly sites, users will not always be won over by an ugly or less desirable website design. With ugly websites, here I am referring to sites that may have great content and/or are able to naturally gain good quality links that Google likes. Google doesn’t care how Google looking a site is, us the audience on the other hand, tend to take this into consideration more so.

If you go to a website that you want to make a purchase or find more information on, you want this task to be as easy as possible. Every one of us has found a site that it seems just about impossible to find out what the next steps are to further enquire about their services and/or products. With your own website, you need to keep this in mind as well, and have some testing done on your site to see if the calls to actions are working and easily attracting the interest of your audience. Remember it is all too easy for them to hit the back button and go to the next site on the list.

With your website, you also need to check that it is responsive and that everything is working when you use it on an IOS device or any other mobile device as more and more people are using these for their everyday searches.

For your website review, there are some common things to check out. You will need to see that the links in your site are working, all navigation’s are working properly and no 404 dead ends. We want to make sure that users and search engine spiders are able to properly crawl/navigate through out your site.

Periodic checking of your forms and checking that the thank-you pages are setup and still working properly is recommended. If you are using WordPress or any other CMS system that is updated on a regular basis, you will want to test after each update.

If you find that the content on a certain page is not working, it may be time to rework that page and start testing. It is always to keep track of the data regarding that page (keywords, rankings, etc) as changing the content can affect the rankings for that page and your site if not done correctly.

With organic rankings, these tend to take a bit of time to achieve, and in some extremely competitive industries rankings will take a bit longer. In these situations, if you have the budget available, testing out potential keywords you want to focus your organic campaign on with Google Adwords, can potentially save you a lot of time (potentially wasted time). Being able to narrow down to your preferred selection of keywords that do convert via Adwords and then implementing these into your organic campaign can help your entire campaign and save you time on wasted keywords.

 

DMOZ-Submission-TipsA few years back, I use to be a DMOZ editor, here I will provide some general tips on submitting to DMOZ. One of the categories that I use to manage, I noticed the date on the original submission date with the person that submitted their site, and it was back in May 2002, and at the time of the review for that submission was about 2005. The problem was that this person submitted to a category that was hardly relevant, and it was one of the top level categories. As you can see, it took just under 3 years for the site to get moved over to the proper category by another editor.

With the top category directories, these generally get a lot more submissions, and the editors are spread thin, and sometimes a category may not even have an editor overlooking it. With this example of a site taking nearly 3 years to get in, and mind you this is a worst case scenario, taking that extra time to make sure you find the proper category for your site is extremely important.

So when you do find the category, try and make it as easy for the editor. First of all, a pet peeve of mine is the real estate section. For the local category that I manage, it is clearly noted how the title of the site is suppose to be, follow the rules and guidelines and it will make things easier for yourself.

Needless to say, there were countless sites that were listed in the list for 2 plus years, some survived and sadly some did not. It’s a shame that it took so long for someone to be approved to be an editor for the category that I was finally listed in, but this is something that some sites will encounter when submitting to categories that do not have an editor or have an editor higher up in the directory.

Just Submit & Move On

Just submit once (this is important) and move on, don’t resubmit, just submit once and leave it be. This is the best option.

Make sure you find the most appropriate category for your website down to the most appropriate subcategory, follow the directions clearly, use your company name for the title and for the description it should describe what your website offers.

Check to see how the descriptions are written in the category you are submitting. This may help you with the editing style of the editor. The goal is to follow DMOZ rules exactly, don’t keyword stuff, etc. Make the submission an easy edit and approval for the editor. Also, avoid making additional submissions for other Urls that you may have for your business. Stick to your main url. If an editor finds a company that has duplicate listings that is not appropriate, the listing(s) could be in jeopardy.

This is essentially the easiest way to explain it. The success of your website should not always have to depend on your company site getting listed in DMOZ or not. Even when there are editors for some categories, the submission list can get backed up and it will take sometime for the editor to get through it. The best advice is follow the submission rules and when its time for the editor to review your site, there will be less changes he/she will need to make.

To Review

  • Submit to the most appropriate category and subcategory. Just submit Once.
  • Follow Submission Rules exactly.
    • Take notice of editors current listings in category.
    • Title should be official company name, no added keywords in title
    • Description should accurately describe your site, without keyword stuffing. Stuffing keywords is easily noticed and that exact description will not get approved.
  • Don’t submit multiple sites for the same exact business unless it appropriate.

DMOZ Resources

The following link (DMOZ Guidelines) will cover just about every questions that you may have regarding submitting your site. Following these guidelines can potentially save you time in getting listed.

The info.txt file was used with Alexa (Alexa.com) to help update/verify your website. Alexa.com has since changed how they update the websites, so the info.txt file is no longer needed. If you want to update/add your listing, all you have to do isali

  1. Go to http://www.alexa.com/account, create an account,
  2. Then go to Dashboard > Claim Your Site. Or http://www.alexa.com/siteowners/claim
  3. Update your website info and click on Claim Your Site .
    • You will have two options for verifying, very similar to Google Webmaster verification methods. you will see two verification methods. One is uploading a file to your website, second is adding a meta tag. Once this is done, then you can go ahead and edit your website listing.
  4. Alexa may not have a free plan anymore, so monthly options now may have to be paid depending on the services you are looking for.

Is the info.txt file really needed? Best thing to do is check your listing in Alexa.com. You can opt to submit changes via their site, or you can upload your info.txt file. It’s not a must have for your website, but it would be good to make sure that your listing info is correct. Also, they use the NoFollow tag when linking to your website, so no link juice will pass on.

If you did have your listing verified before with the info.txt file,with Alexa  you may need to add your website to your profile again for making changes, but it should still have your old info from the info.txt file.

I’ve been wanting to have an updated small business website guide that would provide new small local businesses and non-profit organizations a helping start on how to enter the online world. From registering a domain, local/social options, hosting and design options. Here in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain Alberta, there are many great small and local businesses that may need a little guidance on what to do, and may not be sure where to start.

There are a number of items that you will want to start and prepare for to help get your physical store/business connected online to help with driving traffic/leads and sales.

Google Business Local and Google+

One of the first things I would suggest for you to tackle is Google+/Google Business Local. Reason being that it may take a few weeks for verification if you are only provided the mailing verification option. Listing your Business with Google Places will help you with showing up on Google maps and local searches. Even if you do not have a website yet, you can still have your business listed on Google Places and Google +, and help with getting your business found in your local area(s). Your business can show up for potential keywords related to your industry and thus help with connecting to customers. You can always add your domain name to your profile later on.

Google Business Local  https://www.google.com/business/  – This is one of the first things you should sign up for online. It’s very easy and a must for any business. This will help you with getting listed on local searches for your defined regional area. Make sure you use your official name and choose the proper category. When you start to type business related words, a list will show. Choose the most appropriate.

Bing Places for Businesses:

Don’t forget about BING/MSN. You can also add your business to BING for Places https://www.bingplaces.com/. Listing your business on Bing for free. All you need to do is find your listing, or add it if it is not showing initially in their results. While BING does not provide the same level of traffic that Google does, it should not be overlooked.

Going Social!

The next stage with our small business website guide is incorporating Social media into your business model. Social media is a must for virtually all companies, especially new local companies looking to get noticed amongst the main social networks. The main 3 are Google+, Twitter and Facebook. With Facebook and twitter, you can have these connected together, so you can have postings show up on either. With Google+, you will have to post updates separately. You may find your audience on one platform more than another. Aim to have profiles created in each and make sure to manage/check them regularly.

Choosing Domain Names

Next, choosing a domain name. Many times you will want to use your company/business name for your url. There are many good domain registrars. With the .coms and so on, you shouldn’t need to pay more than $20 per year, and always opt to register the domain name yourself so you have control over the domain. For a .ca domain name, then domainsatcost.ca is a good choice. For a .ca domain, you will need to have a physical Canadian address, and there are a few more steps to go through, than a standard .com domain, etc. Even though Google has targeted exact match keyword rich domains, if you are in a smaller less competitive market, having keywords within your domain name, can still be helpful, but remember that this can lessen in the years to come.

Choosing your Web Designer and Platform

After your domain name, comes finding a Web Designer to build your brand new website. This is one of the most important steps, and it is important to keep SEO in mind when creating the site just so there are no issues that will arise that will need to be addressed.

WordPress and Joomla are two of the popular choices. WordPress tends to be the most popular choice, and there tends to be more free plugins with WordPress than Joomla, and with Joomla there is a bit of a learning curve. So if you’re looking for something that is easier for yourself to manage, then WordPress would be a good choice. Many of the top SEO News websites use WordPress as their Platform.

Free and Paid Website Builders – The Options available

Out of all the free web Website Builders options, Weebly and webnode would be a good choices to test things out. You can test out on a free subdomain, and it is easy to change template designs. Ultimately going with a WordPress design enables more control and functionality in the long run. Weebly does not support WordPress. With Weebly, you do not have full and total control over the title tags, and it does lack all the cool customizations that WordPress or Joomla can provide.

If you are not design savvy, then the design customization options may be one of the main deciding factors with the Hosting Platform that you choose, and from there the range of design templates available may lead you into one direction or another.

Weebly.com

weebly_logo_copy

I have had a few clients use Weebly, and they have had success, some eventually changed over to WordPress for design options and further customization with the backend. Signing up and starting up a test site and design is easy. The one main issue is with the title tags. For the homepage, the title of the site will be displayed first then followed by your custom title tags, for the remainder of the pages, the title of the site will be displayed after the custom title tag. When contacting the Weebly support, at that time there were no options to change this.

HomePage: Website Title – Custom Title

Other Pages: Custom Title – Website Title

  • User Friendly – Yes
  • User Customization – Yes
  • Custom Title Tags – Yes
  • Custom Meta Tags – Yes
  • Easily Change Designs – Yes
  • IOS APP & Google APP – Yes

Paid Plan Options –

  • Free -. $0/mo (includes an ad on the footer of your website) subdomain from weebly.com
  • Starter – Connect your domain – $4/mo
  • Pro -$8/mo
  • Business – $25/mo

 

Wix

wix

 

 

 

Wix tends to be a  top choice (with over 40,000,000 users) for new startup businesses due to Wix’s marketing and advertising push. I have noticed a few local companies using WIX. While the designs can look great, one of the main issues there are with Wix at this time is that when create a website design, you cannot just switch design templates. You have to start over from scratch. So, on that alone, is a major drawback (you may want to check up on this as they may change this option in the future). Imagine in a few years, you will most likely want to change the design, and that would lead you to a complete overhaul. The bigger your site has grown over then few years, the bigger the task.

A local 24 hour gym here in Corner Brook CounterBalance Conditioning & Fitness Inc. uses Wix, and they’ve done a great job with the site.  Wix did a great job with allowing for nice clean urls. When originally writing this article, they didn’t have that option, and they didn’t have an IOS app. Great to see them make improvements. Wix is now higher on the list. If it makes your life easier not having to rely on a designer and you like to work on things yourself, give them a try.

  • User Friendly – Yes
  • User Customization – Yes
  • Custom Title Tags – Yes
  • Custom Meta Tags – Yes
  • Easily Change Designs – No
  • IOS APP & Google APP – Yes

Free Option? Yes (subdomain off of wix.com)

Paid Plan Options – starting at $4.08/Monthly up to $29.90/Monthly. Some of the smaller plans may have ads located on them.

Now, what does John Mueller of Google have to say regarding using Wix? His response is below.

WebNode

webnode

 

 

 

WebNode is another popular online website builder that provides personal and business website options. With the personal and business packages, you have more designs to choose from with the Business package. Setting up an initial design is very easy, urls are search engine friendly.

  • User Friendly – Yes
  • User Customization – Yes
  • Custom Title Tags – Yes
  • Custom Meta Tags – Yes
  • Easily Change Designs – Yes
  • IOS APP & Google APP – No

Free Option? Yes, on their subdomain

  • Mini – US$2.95  per month
  • StandardUS$9.95  per month
  • ProfiUS$24.95  per month

 

WordPress.com

wrd

WordPress is one of the top platforms available, and going with WP themselves, leaves less room for back-end troubles that can arise with other hosting companies. Also with the pricing, you get a Custom domain included.

Free Option? Yes under their subdomain

Pricing: $99 a year

All upgrades in a single purchase. More design, videos, and space (no ads).

Register your very own domain name, or use a domain you already registered.

What you’ll get with this upgrade

  • The included domain credit allows you add a custom domain to your blog
  • Upload HD videos directly to your blog with VideoPress (No Ads).
  • Choose custom fonts and colors with Custom Designer, or go under the hood with the CSS editor.
  • No Ads
  • Extra 10GB of storage space will give you ample room for images, audio and video.

 

SquareSpace

SquareSpace is another favorite and one that is recommended by Moz (formely SEOmoz). There are no free options, and pricing starts at $8/monthly.

http://www.squarespace.com/ Squarespace is the easiest ways to create exceptional websites. Pages, galleries, blogs, e-commerce, domains, hosting, analytics, 24/7 support – all included.

Pricing information can be found at http://www.squarespace.com/pricing/

Tour Overview can be found here http://www.squarespace.com/tour/overview/

  • User Friendly – Yes
  • User Customization – Yes
  • Custom Title Tags – Yes
  • Custom Meta Tags – Yes
  • Easily Change Designs –
  • IOS APP & Google APP – Yes

Sign up for Webmaster Tools

This step is for when/if you have a domain and hosting setup.

Sign Up for Google Analytics

To help with tracking your online traffic, you will want to have Google Analytics. http://www.google.ca/analytics/

Hopefully you have found our local business website guide helpful for your business. If you don’t want to deal with any of this, then just contact us. We deal with complete setups and can help you through the process.

I’ve been wanting to have an updated small business website guide that would provide new small local businesses and non-profit organizations a helping start on how to enter the online world. From registering a domain, local/social options, hosting and design options. Here in Newfoundland, there are many great small and local businesses that may need a little guidance on what to do, and may not be sure where to start.

There are a number of items that you will want to start and prepare for to help get your physical store/business connected online to help with driving traffic/leads and sales.

Google Places and Google+

One of the first things I would suggest for you to tackle is Google+ and Google Places. Reason being that it may take a few weeks for verification if you are only provided the mailing verification option. Listing your Business with Google Places will help you with showing up on Google maps and local searches. Even if you do not have a website yet, you can still have your business listed on Google Places and Google +, and help with getting your business found in your local area(s). Your business can show up for potential keywords related to your industry and thus help with connecting to customers. You can always add your domain name to your profile later on.

Google Placeshttp://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/ – This is one of the first things you should sign up for online. It’s very easy and a must for any business. This will help you with getting listed on local searches for your defined regional area. Make sure you use your official name and choose the proper category. When you start to type business related words, a list will show. Choose the most appropriate.

Bing Places for Businesses:

Don’t forget about BING/MSN. You can also add your business to BING for Places https://www.bingplaces.com/. Listing your business on Bing for free. All you need to do is find your listing, or add it if it is not showing initially in their results. While BING does not provide the same level of traffic that Google does, it should not be overlooked.

Going Social!

The next stage with our small business website guide is incorporating Social media into your business model. Social media is a must for virtually all companies, especially new local companies looking to get noticed amongst the main social networks. The main 3 are Google+, Twitter and Facebook. With Facebook and twitter, you can have these connected together, so you can have postings show up on either. With Google+, you will have to post updates separately. You may find your audience on one platform more than another. Aim to have profiles created in each and make sure to manage/check them regularly.

Choosing Domain Names

Next, choosing a domain name. Many times you will want to use your company/business name for your url. There are many good domain registrars. With the .coms and so on, you shouldn’t need to pay more than $15 per year, and always opt to register the domain name yourself so you have control over the domain. For a .ca domain name, then domainsatcost.ca is a good choice. For a .ca domain, you will need to have a physical Canadian address, and there are a few more steps to go through, than a standard .com domain, etc. Even though Google has targeted exact match keyword rich domains, if you are in a smaller less competitive market, having keywords within your domain name, can still be helpful, but remember that this can lessen in the years to come.

Choosing your Web Designer and Platform

After your domain name, comes finding a Web Designer to build your brand new website. This is one of the most important steps, and it is important to keep SEO in mind when creating the site just so there are no issues that will arise that will need to be addressed.

WordPress and Joomla are two of the popular choices. WordPress tends to be the most popular choice, and there tends to be more free plugins with WordPress than Joomla, and with Joomla there is a bit of a learning curve. So if you’re looking for something that is easier for yourself to manage, then WordPress would be a good choice. Many of the top SEO News websites use WordPress as their Platform.

Free and Paid Website Builders – The Options available

Out of all the free web Website Builders options, Weebly and webnode would be a good choices to test things out. You can test out on a free subdomain, and it is easy to change template designs. Ultimately going with a WordPress design enables more control and functionality in the long run. Weebly does not support WordPress. With Weebly, you do not have full and total control over the title tags, and it does lack all the cool customizations that WordPress or Joomla can provide.

If you are not design savvy, then the design customization options may be one of the main deciding factors with the Hosting Platform that you choose, and from there the range of design templates available may lead you into one direction or another.

Weebly.com

weebly_logo_copy

I have had a few clients use Weebly, and they have had success, some eventually changed over to WordPress for design options and further customization with the backend. Signing up and starting up a test site and design is easy. The one main issue is with the title tags. For the homepage, the title of the site will be displayed first then followed by your custom title tags, for the remainder of the pages, the title of the site will be displayed after the custom title tag. When contacting the Weebly support, at that time there were no options to change this.

HomePage: Website Title – Custom Title

Other Pages: Custom Title – Website Title

  • User Friendly – Yes
  • User Customization – Yes
  • Custom Title Tags – Yes
  • Custom Meta Tags – Yes
  • Easily Change Designs – Yes
  • IOS APP & Google APP – Yes

Paid Plan Options –

  • Free -. $0/mo (includes an ad on the footer of your website) subdomain from weebly.com
  • Starter – Connect your domain – $4/mo
  • Pro -$8/mo
  • Business – $25/mo

 

Wix

wix

 

 

 

 

Wix tends to be a  top choice (with over 40,000,000 users) for new startup businesses due to Wix’s marketing and advertising push. I have noticed a few local companies using WIX. While the designs can look great, one of the main issues there are with Wix at this time is that when create a website design, you cannot just switch design templates. You have to start over from scratch. So, on that alone, is a major drawback. From there, you need to consider how clean the code is (SEO Friendly). Imagine in a few years, you will most likely want to change the design, and that would lead you to a complete overhaul. The bigger your site has grown over then few years, the bigger the task.

  • User Friendly – Yes
  • User Customization – Yes
  • Custom Title Tags – Yes
  • Custom Meta Tags – Yes
  • Easily Change Designs – No
  • IOS APP & Google APP – No

Free Option? Yes (subdomain off of wix.com)

Paid Plan Options – starting at $4.08/Monthly up to $29.90/Monthly

 

WebNode

webnode

 

 

 

WebNode is another popular online website builder that provides personal and business website options. With the personal and business packages, you have more designs to choose from with the Business package. Setting up an initial design is very easy, urls are search engine friendly.

  • User Friendly – Yes
  • User Customization – Yes
  • Custom Title Tags – Yes
  • Custom Meta Tags – Yes
  • Easily Change Designs – Yes
  • IOS APP & Google APP – No

Free Option? Yes, on their subdomain

  • Mini – US$2.95  per month
  • StandardUS$9.95  per month
  • ProfiUS$24.95  per month

 

WordPress.com

wrd

WordPress is one of the top platforms available, and going with WP themselves, leaves less room for back-end troubles that can arise with other hosting companies. Also with the pricing, you get a Custom domain included.

Free Option? Yes under their subdomain

Pricing: $99 a year

All upgrades in a single purchase. More design, videos, and space (no ads).

Register your very own domain name, or use a domain you already registered.

What you’ll get with this upgrade

  • The included domain credit allows you add a custom domain to your blog
  • Upload HD videos directly to your blog with VideoPress (No Ads).
  • Choose custom fonts and colors with Custom Designer, or go under the hood with the CSS editor.
  • No Ads
  • Extra 10GB of storage space will give you ample room for images, audio and video.

 

SquareSpace

SquareSpace is another favorite and one that is recommended by Moz (formely SEOmoz). There are no free options, and pricing starts at $8/monthly.

http://www.squarespace.com/ Squarespace is the easiest ways to create exceptional websites. Pages, galleries, blogs, e-commerce, domains, hosting, analytics, 24/7 support – all included.

Pricing information can be found at http://www.squarespace.com/pricing/

Tour Overview can be found here http://www.squarespace.com/tour/overview/

  • User Friendly – Yes
  • User Customization – Yes
  • Custom Title Tags – Yes
  • Custom Meta Tags – Yes
  • Easily Change Designs –
  • IOS APP & Google APP – Yes

Sign up for Webmaster Tools

This step is for when/if you have a domain and hosting setup.

  • Google Webmaster Tools – http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
  • Bing Webmaster Tools – http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster

Sign Up for Google Analytics

To help with tracking your online traffic, you will want to have Google Analytics. http://www.google.ca/analytics/

Ultimately, for myself, WIX is at the bottom of the list, due to their Url format, coding and not being able to easily change designs is a major drawback. WordPress is a personal favorite as well.

Hopefully you have found our local business website guide helpful for your business. If you don’t want to deal with any of this, then just contact us. We deal with complete setups and can help you through the process.

301 RedirectThe Canonical URL tag has many similarities to the 301 Permanent redirect from an SEO standpoint. With a Canonical URL tag, you are letting the search engines know that the pages should count as one, while still leaving all the pages online for visitors. With a 301 Permanent redirect, this actually forwards the users to the new url. There may be cases where you are not able to implement a 301 redirect, and in these cases, the Canonical URL tag is a good option.

The Canonical URL tag just mainly for the search engines. These urls can still be tracked separately online. With a 301 Permanent redirect, all traffic search engine robots and online visitors are redirected.

Canonical URL tags operates on a single domain only, including subfolders and subdomains but (not cross domains). You cannot set a Canonical URL tag from domain1.com to domain2.com. 301 redirects can be used from one domain to another, from one page to another.

A 301 redirect is typically the preferred method as it tends to have a stronger signal. Both a 301 redirect and the Canonical URL tag method will both pass PageRank/Link Juice. Past research has shown that a 301 redirect passes anywhere from 90-99% of the PageRank. Meaning, in either case there will be some PageRank lost, but most times it is very minimal.

302 Redirects and the NoFollow Tag

Just to touch on other methods and tags that do not pass any PageRank. The nofollow attribute allows webmasters to adjust the PageRank flow. Using the nofollow tag on a link wi302-Redirect-Sign-MSEOll stop the PageRank from going to the intended page. This may be helpful for when you want to adjust the PageRank flow going to outside websites, or to pages within your website.

The 302 Redirect, is a temporary redirect and with this, no PageRank or Link Juice is passed on to the page/site. The 302 Redirect should be avoided in most cases. Often times, you will see the 302 Redirect being used improperly with domain registrars. People/Companies tend to have multiple domains and they opt to have them redirect, and it is easy for someone to have the wrong redirect used.

Check your site at http://web-sniffer.net/ to get the HTTP Request and Response Header information

When asking if Link building is dead, this tends to mainly relate to forms of link building so in that manner, certain forms of link building no longer become useful, as it tends to get overused, abused and pushed beyond Google’s ethical link building limits. So in that sense, that form of link building does die to a certain extent. In late 2013 early 2014, Google HummingBird targeted Guest Blogging and this once hot go to link building tactic is no longer as effective.

Looking for that quick link fix to the top is not always the best route. Designing a good/ethical link strategy for your company should be a top priority. For most people, your website is your business, and for many, their lifeline for work. So, careful consideration should always be taken. The links that your website is associated with affects your site, so the goal should always be quality sites related to your industry/field.

In its simplest form, links in one fashion or another help connect the web and users to each other, and helps us discover new and interesting websites. Just think about how you find and discover certain websites and pages. Many times it is via a link from some website (or shared), and at times, you accidentally discover a new and interesting site. More so now days, sharing links/pages via some share button helps us show which sites/pages that we like and what others to find out about. Not always will these links pass on any Link Juice, (PageRank), but that should not be the main reason/purpose of the link, connecting and getting your site found/noticed by your intended audience should be. Identify good quality sites that can provide traffic to your site and help you with sales/leads should be first while aiming to increase non-google traffic. Link sharing is much easier now, and you don’t need your webmaster to make the additions to your website, and the implementation of sharing links online is far easier than years ago.

Content is King (Mostly)

The slogan Content is King is an old one and a good one for good reason. Good quality content will naturally help attract people to your website/page and can also help with naturally gaining incoming links to your website. Naturally gaining links is one of Google’s favorite link building tactics and lets you know what articles/topics people like about your site. With naturally gaining links, the links were in no way bought or paid for in any manner, and the person choosing to post the link did so because they liked your website/article. This is one of the things that Google and other search engines link about this form of link building.

With the focus switching to Content Marketing (Content is King), is in itself a form of link building. Pushing out good quality content that people find interesting and want to share or link to. While Content is King is an old and tested tactic, certain f0rms of implementing this will not always be effective. Guest blogging and Article marketing are two good forms where it will not always work.

Article marketing is a type of advertising in which businesses write short articles about themselves, their company or their field of expertise as a marketing strategy. A primary style for the articles includes a bio box and byline about the business.

The problem with Article marketing is that the content and links tend to come from lower quality sources. Content at times can seem spammy and getting syndicated across the web. With recent Google algorithm updates, this tactic is less effective now than it was a few years ago.

Guest blogging is someone who posts an article on a blog that is not their own site/blog. Their motivation for this is to obtain back-links to increase their own website search engine rankings.

High Quality Guest blogging can still be worthwhile, as it is bringing high quality content and insight on a topic from well known and also unknown great writers. The problem is when taken to extremes, offering the same blog post multiple times or spinning the blog and the articles are of lower quality etc. (notice the similarity with Article marketing?). Quality content on quality sites will still be helpful.

Press Release is a written or recorded communication aimed at members of the news media for the determination of announcing something presumably newsworthy.

Press Release sites are now less likely to provide benefits to a website/page rankings. Typically the main goal of a Press Release is for publicity, using it solely for ranking purposes will not always turn the desired results as it once did, especially with PR syndication. (Notice the similarity with Article Marketing and Guest Blogging yet again?). Links from PR sites should be set to nofollowed, and many of the top PR sites do abide by this. One thing you can do to help your PR posting is to optimize it for some targeted keywords. The goal is to get the PR noticed by as many people, so working in standard optimization procedures will help with obtaining this.

With any form of content and the site the content is hosted on, it depends on the quality of the content, and the quality of the website.

So, Link Building is not dead, forms of link building do get overused, and link sharing is easier for all non-tech savvy people, so sharing in that manner is easier, it’s just having a good product/service/article etc. that somewhat would want to link/share. The web needs links to help connect sites to each other, the fact that a link will always pass Link Juice/PageRank should be secondary. Would you pass up a link on CNN if it was NoFollowed and didn’t provide any ranking benefit? The manner in which search engines value links changes, and the tactics that are used to obtain these links comes into question at times as well.

Selected Google Algorithm Updates

Brandy — February 2004

Google rolled out a variety of changes, including a massive index expansion, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), increased attention to anchor text relevance, and the concept of link “neighborhoods.” LSI expanded Google’s ability to understand synonyms and took keyword analysis to the next level.

Nofollow — January 2005

To combat spam and control outbound link quality, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft collectively introduce the “nofollow” attribute. Nofollow helps clean up unvouched for links, including spammy blog comments. While not a traditional algorithm update, this change gradually has a significant impact on the link graph.

Allegra — February 2005

Webmasters witnessed ranking changes, but the specifics of the update were unclear. Some thought Allegra affected the “sandbox” while others believed that LSI had been tweaked. Additionally, some speculated that Google was beginning to penalize suspicious links.

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2047678/Googles-Feb.-2005-Update

Jagger — October 2005

Google released a series of updates, mainly targeting low-quality links, including reciprocal links, link farms, and paid links. Jagger rolled out in at least 3 stages, from roughly September to November of 2005, with the greatest impact occurring in October.

Negative Reviews — December 2010

After an expose in the New York Times about how e-commerce site DecorMyEyes was ranking based on negative reviews, Google made a rare move and re-actively adjusted the algorithm to target sites using similar tactics.

Social Signals — December 2010

Google and Bing confirmed that they are using social signals in determining ranking, including data from Twitter and Facebook. Matt Cutts confirmed that this was a relatively new development for Google, although many SEOs had long suspected it would happen.

Panda/Farmer — February 23, 2011

A major algorithm update hit sites hard, affecting up to 12% of search results (a number that came directly from Google). Panda seemed to crack down on thin content, content farms, sites with high ad-to-content ratios, and a number of other quality issues. Panda rolled out over at least a couple of months, hitting Europe in April 2011.

Ads Above The Fold — January 19, 2012

Google updated their page layout algorithms to devalue sites with too much ad-space above the “fold”. It was previously suspected that a similar factor was in play in Panda. The update had no official name, although it was referenced as “Top Heavy” by some SEOs.

Link Warnings — July 19, 2012

In a repeat of March/April, Google sent out a large number of unnatural link warnings via Google Webmaster Tools. In a complete turn-around, they then announced that these new warnings may not actually represent a serious problem.

Insanity: Google Sends New Link Warnings, Then Says You Can Ignore Them (SEL)

Google Sends Out New Batch Of Unnatural Link Notifications (SER)

“Phantom” — May 9, 2013

In the period around May 9th 2013, there were many reports of an algorithm update (also verified by high MozCast activity). The exact nature of this update was unknown, but many sites reported significant traffic loss.

A Google Update Is Happening (Google: Nothing To Announce Now) (SER)

SEO Findings From Google’s Phantom Update

  • Link Source vs. Destination
  • Cross-Linking (Network-like)
  • Risky Link Profiles (historically as well as current)

“Payday Loan” Update — June 11, 2013

Google announced a targeted algorithm update to take on niches with notoriously spammy results, specifically mentioning payday loans and the adult industry. The update was announced on June 11th. Matt Cutts suggested it would roll out over a 1-2 month period.

Google Payday Loan Algorithm: Google Search Algorithm Update To Target Spammy Queries (SEL)

Google Spam Algorithm For Spammy Queries: Pay Day Loans+ (SER)

Hummingbird guest posting

http://academy.hubspot.com/blog/bid/116095/5-Link-Building-Strategies-You-Should-Avoid

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/guest-blogging/

Article Directories

Matt Cutts personal recommendation is to not upload articles to article directories. Hear what he has to saw here https://twitter.com/mattcutts/status/428607043037958144

What are some effective techniques for building links?

I know the rules of link building is constantly changing, here are some effective techniques for link building as suggested by Matt Cutts in 2010.

In a nutshell, some of the link building techniques suggested by Matt Cutts are as follows:

  1. Controversy
  2. Join some community, answer questions…  help others
  3. Original Research
  4. Newsletters social media, where do people spend their time
  5. 50 ways to build back-links, etc.
  6. Find something funny … etc.
  7. Make videos.

Anything worthwhile in link building, you generally have to work at it. Quality not quantity. If a link is easy to obtain, then it may be easy for your competition to copy. It will not always come easy and in the end, the payoff will be worth it. See Link Schemes for more information on links from Google.

When asking if Link building is dead, this tends to mainly relate to forms of link building so in that manner, certain forms of link building no longer become useful, as it tends to get overused, abused and pushed beyond Google’s ethical link building limits. So in that sense, that form of link building does die to a certain extent. In late 2013 early 2014, Google HummingBird targeted Guest Blogging and this once hot go to link building tactic is no longer as effective.

Looking for that quick link fix to the top is not always the best route. Designing a good/ethical link strategy for your company should be a top priority. For most people, your website is your business, and for many, their lifeline for work. So, careful consideration should always be taken. The links that your website is associated with affects your site, so the goal should always be quality sites related to your industry/field.

In its simplest form, links in one fashion or another help connect the web and users to each other, and helps us discover new and interesting websites. Just think about how you find and discover certain websites and pages. Many times it is via a link from some website (or shared), and at times, you accidentally discover a new and interesting site. More so now days, sharing links/pages via some share button helps us show which sites/pages that we like and what others to find out about. Not always will these links pass on any Link Juice, (PageRank), but that should not be the main reason/purpose of the link, connecting and getting your site found/noticed by your intended audience should be. Identify good quality sites that can provide traffic to your site and help you with sales/leads should be first while aiming to increase non-google traffic. Link sharing is much easier now, and you don’t need your webmaster to make the additions to your website, and the implementation of sharing links online is far easier than years ago.

Content is King (Mostly)

The slogan Content is King is an old one and a good one for good reason. Good quality content will naturally help attract people to your website/page and can also help with naturally gaining incoming links to your website. Naturally gaining links is one of Google’s favorite link building tactics and lets you know what articles/topics people like about your site. With naturally gaining links, the links were in no way bought or paid for in any manner, and the person choosing to post the link did so because they liked your website/article. This is one of the things that Google and other search engines link about this form of link building.

With the focus switching to Content Marketing (Content is King), is in itself a form of link building. Pushing out good quality content that people find interesting and want to share or link to. While Content is King is an old and tested tactic, certain f0rms of implementing this will not always be effective. Guest blogging and Article marketing are two good forms where it will not always work.

Article marketing is a type of advertising in which businesses write short articles about themselves, their company or their field of expertise as a marketing strategy. A primary style for the articles includes a bio box and byline about the business.

The problem with Article marketing is that the content and links tend to come from lower quality sources. Content at times can seem spammy and getting syndicated across the web. With recent Google algorithm updates, this tactic is less effective now than it was a few years ago.

Guest blogging is someone who posts an article on a blog that is not their own site/blog. Their motivation for this is to obtain back-links to increase their own website search engine rankings.

High Quality Guest blogging can still be worthwhile, as it is bringing high quality content and insight on a topic from well known and also unknown great writers. The problem is when taken to extremes, offering the same blog post multiple times or spinning the blog and the articles are of lower quality etc. (notice the similarity with Article marketing?). Quality content on quality sites will still be helpful.

Press Release is a written or recorded communication aimed at members of the news media for the determination of announcing something presumably newsworthy.

Press Release sites are now less likely to provide benefits to a website/page rankings. Typically the main goal of a Press Release is for publicity, using it solely for ranking purposes will not always turn the desired results as it once did, especially with PR syndication. (Notice the similarity with Article Marketing and Guest Blogging yet again?). Links from PR sites should be set to nofollowed, and many of the top PR sites do abide by this. One thing you can do to help your PR posting is to optimize it for some targeted keywords. The goal is to get the PR noticed by as many people, so working in standard optimization procedures will help with obtaining this.

With any form of content and the site the content is hosted on, it depends on the quality of the content, and the quality of the website.

So, Link Building is not dead, forms of link building do get overused, and link sharing is easier for all non-tech savvy people, so sharing in that manner is easier, it’s just having a good product/service/article etc. that somewhat would want to link/share. The web needs links to help connect sites to each other, the fact that a link will always pass Link Juice/PageRank should be secondary. Would you pass up a link on CNN if it was NoFollowed and didn’t provide any ranking benefit? The manner in which search engines value links changes, and the tactics that are used to obtain these links comes into question at times as well.

Selected Google Algorithm Updates

Brandy — February 2004

Google rolled out a variety of changes, including a massive index expansion, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), increased attention to anchor text relevance, and the concept of link “neighborhoods.” LSI expanded Google’s ability to understand synonyms and took keyword analysis to the next level.

Nofollow — January 2005

To combat spam and control outbound link quality, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft collectively introduce the “nofollow” attribute. Nofollow helps clean up unvouched for links, including spammy blog comments. While not a traditional algorithm update, this change gradually has a significant impact on the link graph.

Allegra — February 2005

Webmasters witnessed ranking changes, but the specifics of the update were unclear. Some thought Allegra affected the “sandbox” while others believed that LSI had been tweaked. Additionally, some speculated that Google was beginning to penalize suspicious links.

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2047678/Googles-Feb.-2005-Update

 Jagger — October 2005

Google released a series of updates, mainly targeting low-quality links, including reciprocal links, link farms, and paid links. Jagger rolled out in at least 3 stages, from roughly September to November of 2005, with the greatest impact occurring in October.

Negative Reviews — December 2010

After an expose in the New York Times about how e-commerce site DecorMyEyes was ranking based on negative reviews, Google made a rare move and re-actively adjusted the algorithm to target sites using similar tactics.

Social Signals — December 2010

Google and Bing confirmed that they are using social signals in determining ranking, including data from Twitter and Facebook. Matt Cutts confirmed that this was a relatively new development for Google, although many SEOs had long suspected it would happen.

Panda/Farmer — February 23, 2011

A major algorithm update hit sites hard, affecting up to 12% of search results (a number that came directly from Google). Panda seemed to crack down on thin content, content farms, sites with high ad-to-content ratios, and a number of other quality issues. Panda rolled out over at least a couple of months, hitting Europe in April 2011.

Ads Above The Fold — January 19, 2012

Google updated their page layout algorithms to devalue sites with too much ad-space above the “fold”. It was previously suspected that a similar factor was in play in Panda. The update had no official name, although it was referenced as “Top Heavy” by some SEOs.

Link Warnings — July 19, 2012

In a repeat of March/April, Google sent out a large number of unnatural link warnings via Google Webmaster Tools. In a complete turn-around, they then announced that these new warnings may not actually represent a serious problem.

Insanity: Google Sends New Link Warnings, Then Says You Can Ignore Them (SEL)

Google Sends Out New Batch Of Unnatural Link Notifications (SER)

“Phantom” — May 9, 2013

In the period around May 9th 2013, there were many reports of an algorithm update (also verified by high MozCast activity). The exact nature of this update was unknown, but many sites reported significant traffic loss.

A Google Update Is Happening (Google: Nothing To Announce Now) (SER)

SEO Findings From Google’s Phantom Update

  • Link Source vs. Destination
  • Cross-Linking (Network-like)
  • Risky Link Profiles (historically as well as current)

“Payday Loan” Update — June 11, 2013

Google announced a targeted algorithm update to take on niches with notoriously spammy results, specifically mentioning payday loans and the adult industry. The update was announced on June 11th. Matt Cutts suggested it would roll out over a 1-2 month period.

Google Payday Loan Algorithm: Google Search Algorithm Update To Target Spammy Queries (SEL)

Google Spam Algorithm For Spammy Queries: Pay Day Loans+ (SER)

Hummingbird guest posting

http://academy.hubspot.com/blog/bid/116095/5-Link-Building-Strategies-You-Should-Avoid

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/guest-blogging/

Article Directories

Matt Cutts personal recommendation is to not upload articles to article directories. Hear what he has to saw here https://twitter.com/mattcutts/status/428607043037958144

What are some effective techniques for building links?

I know the rules of link building is constantly changing, here are some effective techniques for link building as suggested by Matt Cutts in 2010.

In a nutshell, some of the link building techniques suggested by Matt Cutts are as follows:

  1. Controversy
  2. Join some community, answer questions…  help others
  3. Original Research
  4. Newsletters social media, where do people spend their time
  5. 50 ways to build back-links, etc.
  6. Find something funny … etc.
  7. Make videos.

Anything worthwhile in link building, you generally have to work at it. Quality not quantity. If a link is easy to obtain, then it may be easy for your competition to copy. It will not always come easy and in the end, the payoff will be worth it. See Link Schemes for more information on links from Google.

Main Search Entities are shown in the first table (Google, Yahoo and MSN). As posted in our previous top search engines from 2002 – 2005, Google in 2002 had approximately 16% of search share, and going to Dec 2013, Google sites are showing to have over 67%. On July 29, 2009, a 10-year deal was announced that Microsoft would have full access to Yahoo!’s search engine to be used in future Microsoft projects for its search engine, Bing. Google Currently provides primary search results for AOL. BING provides primary search results and paid results for Yahoo

Core Search EntitySearch Share (%) May 2005Search Share (%) Dec 2006Search Share (%) Dec 2007Search Share (%) Dec 2008Search Share (%) Dec 2009Search Share (%) Dec 2010Search Share (%) Dec 2011Search Share (%) Dec 2012Search Share (%) Dec 2013
Google Sites36.50%47.3%58.40%63.5%65.70%66.60%65.90%66.70%67.30%
Yahoo! Sites30.50%28.5%22.90%20.5%17.30%16.00%14.50%12.20%10.80%
MSN Sites15.50%10.5%9.80%8.3%10.70%12.00%15.10%16.30%18.20%

The second table below shows the top search engine entities going beyond the big 3.

Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in May 2005
Google Sites36.50%
Yahoo! Sites30.50%
MSN-Microsoft Sites15.50%
Time Warner Network9.90%
Ask Jeeves6.10%
InfoSpace Network0.90%
All Other0.60%
Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in Dec 2006
Google Sites47.3
Yahoo! Sites28.5
Microsoft Sites10.5
Ask Network5.4
Time Warner Network4.9
Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in Dec 2007
Google Sites58.40%
Yahoo! Sites22.90%
Microsoft Sites9.80%
Time Warner Network4.60%
Ask Network4.30%
Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in Dec 2008
Google Sites63.5
Yahoo! Sites20.5
Microsoft Sites8.3
Ask Network3.9
AOL LLC3.8
Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in Dec 2009
Google Sites65.70%
Yahoo! Sites17.30%
Microsoft Sites10.70%
Ask Network3.70%
AOL LLC Network2.60%
Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in Dec 2010
Google Sites66.60%
Yahoo! Sites16.00%
Microsoft Sites12.00%
Ask Network3.50%
AOL LLC Network1.90%
Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in Dec 2011
Google Sites65.90%
Microsoft Sites15.10%
Yahoo! Sites14.50%
Ask Network2.90%
AOL, Inc.1.60%
Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in Dec 2012
Google Sites66.70%
Microsoft Sites16.30%
Yahoo! Sites12.20%
Ask Network3.00%
AOL, Inc.1.80%
Core Search EntityShare of Searches (%) in Dec 2013
Google Sites67.30%
Microsoft Sites18.20%
Yahoo Sites10.80%
Ask Network2.50%
AOL, Inc.1.30%

Looking back from 2002 to 2005, these are the top search engines in the U.S. along with their percentage of search engine traffic. Back in 2002 Google was NOT the major player that they are today. Back in March of 2002, Google had 16% of the top searches, with Yahoo providing 36% of the traffic.  In Dec 2013, Google sites received over 67% of traffic and Yahoo sites just over 10%. The nature of peoples search habits changed dramatically.

This data is very interesting to see now looking back and knowing what are to happen with the search engine wars, and the death of SE’s like Alta Vista. Also you should know that Yahoo Search from 2001 to 2004 was outsourced, initially by Inktomi and later Google until 2004. In 1999, AOL Selects Google as search partner.  So  even in the early years, Google did have a bigger share of the top searches with search engines powered by Google.

Mar-2002Apr-2003May-2004May-2005Jun-2006
Engine% of  SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE Traffic
1. Yahoo361. Yahoo29.51. Google29.51. Google36.81. Google36.5
2. Google162. Google28.92. Yahoo28.92. Yahoo26.62. Yahoo30.5
3. Excite93. MSN27.63. MSN27.63. MSN14.53. MSN15.5
4. AltaVista94. AOL18.44. AOL18.44. AOL12.84. AOL9.9
5.Overture95. AskJeeves9.95. AskJeeves9.95. Excite4.35. Ask Jeeves6.1
6. MSN86. Overture4.86. Overture4.86. AskJeeves1.8
7. AOL57. Infospace4.57. Infospace4.57. Infospace1.3
8. Lycos58. Netscape4.48. Netscape4.48. Lycos0.8
9. Hotbot29. Altavista49. Altavista4
10. Fast110. Lycos210. Lycos2.4

Search algorithm history

As observed by WordStream.com.

Looking back from 2002 to 2005, these are the top search engines in the U.S. along with their percentage of search engine traffic. Back in 2002 Google was NOT the major player that they are today. Back in March of 2002, Google had 16% of the top searches, with Yahoo providing 36% of the traffic.  In Dec 2013, Google sites received over 67% of traffic and Yahoo sites just over 10%. The nature of peoples search habits changed dramatically.

This data is very interesting to see now looking back and knowing what are to happen with the search engine wars, and the death of SE’s like Alta Vista. Also you should know that Yahoo Search from 2001 to 2004 was outsourced, initially by Inktomi and later Google until 2004. In 1999, AOL Selects Google as search partner.  So  even in the early years, Google did have a bigger share of the top searches with search engines powered by Google.

Mar-2002Apr-2003May-2004May-2005Jun-2006
Engine% of  SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE TrafficEngine% of SE Traffic
1. Yahoo361. Yahoo29.51. Google29.51. Google36.81. Google36.5
2. Google162. Google28.92. Yahoo28.92. Yahoo26.62. Yahoo30.5
3. Excite93. MSN27.63. MSN27.63. MSN14.53. MSN15.5
4. AltaVista94. AOL18.44. AOL18.44. AOL12.84. AOL9.9
5.Overture95. AskJeeves9.95. AskJeeves9.95. Excite4.35. Ask Jeeves6.1
6. MSN86. Overture4.86. Overture4.86. AskJeeves1.8
7. AOL57. Infospace4.57. Infospace4.57. Infospace1.3
8. Lycos58. Netscape4.48. Netscape4.48. Lycos0.8
9. Hotbot29. Altavista49. Altavista4
10. Fast110. Lycos210. Lycos2.4

Search algorithm history

As observed by WordStream.com.

This Permanent redirect coding is for the web.config file on IIS and is for redirecting specific pages within your301 Redirect website to either another page within your site or outside of your website. 301 Permanent Redirects are helpful for passing on link juice/PageRank for your website/pages to another destination. A 301 Permanent Redirect is the best way to redirect and help maintain rankings/traffic for your website.

Just to note, if you happen to have the same url in the location path twice going to two separate pages, this can potentially lead to the site not showing. So make sure you make backups of the web.config beforehand incase you need to make quick changes reverting back to the original coding.

<location path=”8.html”>
<system.webServer>
<httpRedirect enabled=”true” destination=”http://www.YourMagicSite99.com/installs/” httpResponseStatus=”Permanent” />
</system.webServer>
</location>
<location path=”6.html”>
<system.webServer>
<httpRedirect enabled=”true” destination=”http://www.YourMagicSite99.com/Sales/” httpResponseStatus=”Permanent” />
</system.webServer>
</location>
<location path=”5.html”>
<system.webServer>
<httpRedirect enabled=”true” destination=”http://www.YourMagicSite99.com/services/” httpResponseStatus=”Permanent” />
</system.webServer>
</location>

Far too many times in the online printing industry, I have seen newly created online printing sites simply copy the content from other top companies (their direct competition), yes copy the exact contents word for word, and just use their own company name. You put so much time into the actual design of a website, why get lazy with the actual content? The content portion of your website is a very important part of your website. The content is the actual wording that the search engines use to know what your site is about. If all your content is copied, this puts your website at a grave disadvantage.

What happens when you copy a websites content?

When you copy a websites content and place it on your own website page(s), you are creating duplicate content. This is bad.  With duplicate content you most likely will have problems ranking. The reason is that the main website with the content is seen as the originator of the content, the content owner. These pages have already been indexed in Google/BING, and the search engines are aware of these pages. You invest a lot of time and money into the actual design, the content portion is just as important. Search engines do not want to see the exact same content displayed within the top results.

When you go to create a website, you normally don’t want to create an exact copy of someone else’s design right? This can affect how your brand looks, and cause some confusion with potential customers. So why copy the content? The actual content lets the search engines know what your website is all about, and if you copy someone else’s content, this puts your website at a disadvantage from the get go.

What are the implications of copied content?

The simplest answer is lower rankings or no rankings or Google may just ignore the duplicate content. The other potential issue the site in question can face is a DCMA removal request with the major search engines. This is something that you want to avoid. This will put the affected pages/domain that were submitted, removed from the search engines.

You have to remember that most top websites periodically scan for copied/duplicate content, and it will only be a matter of time before your site is found. If your website is just in the design stages and not officially launched, block it from the search engines. For sample text to fill up the pages, use dummy text (Lorem Ipsum) to fill your pages.

Duplicate Content within your own website

Within your own website, there are times where the search engines can index multiple versions of the same page, and this can cause duplicate content. With the example below, all 6 urls below are for the same page, but they are all for the same page. Hopefully you know that having six versions of your same page does not mean that you will have six times the chances to rank better, so why assume that copied content from other websites will be any different?

  •  http://www.1sampleexample.com
  • http://www.1sampleexample.com/
  • http://www.1sampleexample.com/index.htm
  • http:// 1sampleexample.com
  • http:// 1sampleexample.com/
  • http:// 1sampleexample.com/index.htm

In these cases you will want to set one page as the main. There are measures that can be taken within your website to help prevent and deal with these issues. You only want one page to be listed and funnel all the Link Juice to the one main url.

Always take the time to create (not duplicate) content. Invest in creating unique quality content for your website

From time to time, you may want to disavow links from certain websites you manage or own. There may be sites that you do not want your website associated with, possible link penalties and so on. You may find links from websites that you are not able to manually remove your link, so the next best option is to use the Disavow Link option with Google.

Disavow Link Notice

  • Do not use the disavowal tool unless you absolutely sure you need to use it.
  • If possible, try and remove all the links from the pages/sites in question first.

What does the Disavow Link Tool do?

The link disavowal tool simply allows website owners to tell Google they do not want certain links from pages/domains to count as an incoming links to their website. Ideally you would want to attempt to have the link removed manually, but many times this is not possible, and this is where the Disavow Link Tool comes in play. Instead of simply Disavowing certain pages from a domain, it is recommended that you instead Disavow the entire domain. Even if you do not have a Google Penalty, you may want to use this from time to time.

Where to download the links

You will need to go to your Google Webmaster Tools account. If you don’t have one for your website, now is a good time to do so.

  • Click on your Url in the Webmaster Tools homepage
  • Click Search Traffic in the Dashboard
  • Now click on Links to your site
  • Under Who links the most, click More.
  • Now Click Download more sample links. If you click Download latest links, you’ll see dates as well.
  •  Click on Download this table to get a quick overview of the domains that link to you.
  • Next, make sure that you download latest links. This will provide you with the exact link and date that the url was found/indexed with Google.

Note: You will want to verify that you have both www and non www versions of your site listed in GWMT. Each website is treated as a different site, so you will want to check the links in both sites, and compare. There could be links going to the non www version that are not linking directly to the www version. On a side note, if you are not 301 redirecting your site from non www to www, or vice versa, you will want to do so. This will help prevent in creating duplicate results of your website and content in the search engines. Also, using a 301 Redirect will pass on any link juice to the intended target.

It is recommend that you only disavow backlinks you believe that there are a significant number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links to your site, and if you are assured that the links are causing problems for you.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main

# SomeExample.com removed most links, but missed these

http://spam.SomeExample.com/things/comments.html

http://spam.SomeExample.com/extras/paid-links.html

# Contacted owner of DontListMeHere.com on 1/2/2013 to

# ask for link removal but got no response

domain:DontListMeHere.com

From time to time, you may want to disavow links from certain websites you manage or own. There may be sites that you do not want your website associated with, possible link penalties and so on. You may find links from websites that you are not able to manually remove your link, so the next best option is to use the Disavow Link option with Google.

Disavow Link Notice

  • Do not use the disavowal tool unless you absolutely sure you need to use it.
  • If possible, try and remove all the links from the pages/sites in question first.

What does the Disavow Link Tool do?

The link disavowal tool simply allows website owners to tell Google they do not want certain links from pages/domains to count as an incoming links to their website. Ideally you would want to attempt to have the link removed manually, but many times this is not possible, and this is where the Disavow Link Tool comes in play. Instead of simply Disavowing certain pages from a domain, it is recommended that you instead Disavow the entire domain. Even if you do not have a Google Penalty, you may want to use this from time to time.

Where to download the links

You will need to go to your Google Webmaster Tools account. If you don’t have one for your website, now is a good time to do so.

  • Click on your Url in the Webmaster Tools homepage
  • Click Search Traffic in the Dashboard
  • Now click on Links to your site
  • Under Who links the most, click More.
  • Now Click Download more sample links. If you click Download latest links, you’ll see dates as well.
  •  Click on Download this table to get a quick overview of the domains that link to you.
  • Next, make sure that you download latest links. This will provide you with the exact link and date that the url was found/indexed with Google.

Note: You will want to verify that you have both www and non www versions of your site listed in GWMT. Each website is treated as a different site, so you will want to check the links in both sites, and compare. There could be links going to the non www version that are not linking directly to the www version. On a side note, if you are not 301 redirecting your site from non www to www, or vice versa, you will want to do so. This will help prevent in creating duplicate results of your website and content in the search engines. Also, using a 301 Redirect will pass on any link juice to the intended target.

It is recommend that you only disavow backlinks you believe that there are a significant number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links to your site, and if you are assured that the links are causing problems for you.

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main

# SomeExample.com removed most links, but missed these

http://spam.SomeExample.com/things/comments.html

http://spam.SomeExample.com/extras/paid-links.html

# Contacted owner of DontListMeHere.com on 1/2/2013 to

# ask for link removal but got no response

domain:DontListMeHere.com

When you have a WordPress site, you will notice that there are both Categories and Tags. We will assume that the Categories will be for your new articles/postings assigned to their proper category section.Categories and Tag Options

A typical website structure can consist of a Homepage, Products/Services, Resources, About and Contact just to name a few. From there you may have a blog section for posting news/articles. This is typically used for your Postings assigned under Categories.

Set Categories to follow and index as normal. These pages will receive PageRank/Link Juice. And for that reason, you do not want to have duplicate categories.. This just dilutes the keyword targeting for the top keywords on the website. Targeting the same keyword on multiple pages within the website can actually work against your own rankings.

Set your Tags to noindex/noarchive. This is so no PageRank/Link Juice will be passed on the tag section pages. Tags are helpful to further connect related articles. The tags section of the website should just be for users to help navigate through the site, and not for keyword targeting.

The homepage, and main topic sections on your homepage will be the main areas that will be targeting your top keywords, and your articles/news postings within the Categories will be receiving PageRank/Link Juice, so these will help with driving additional traffic to your website.

Also depending on your site structure and size, you may also want to block some/all categories and let the post keep some PageRank. In a case like this you could have the main news page keep PR and then if you have the posts also sectioned off into a topic specific category, these could be set to Noindex.

Every site will differ depending on overall site structure and your goals.

The unsolicited door to doors salesman the other day prompted this annoying spam related article.

Unsolicited Door to Door Sales

I know, this isn’t web related spam, but non the less it’s usually unwanted and you can’t ignore it so easily as those nO-sPAMMyspammy emails, and it’s usually when you’re going to have dinner/supper that they tend to arrive making the experience that much more enjoyable.

We will be testing out an Unsolicited sign of some sort in the future and see if people will actually notice or not.

Unwanted phone calls/Cold phone Calls

The cold incoming calls that never cease to stop even when being on a do not call list. Even if you don’t answer, they’ll keep calling back. So most time you have to answer.

Google Upsell Spam

Umm… Google, you want more money? Yahoo and Bing not hurting enough in the search traffic wars? For one of my many Google accounts, I noticed an email from Google trying to get me to use adsense on one of my websites. I’m well aware of adsense and its uses, and no, I don’t want to at this time, thank-you.

Also one of the main irritations with Google is that with many of their accounts you are associated with, you have to opt out of the subscribe email list. So this leads to a very cluttered email inbox, where you have to unsubscribe from the same email list on different email accounts. So you have log out and log in multiple times just to stop the Google email spam. Would much rather the Opt-in with big G!

Comment Spam

It is amazing the amount of comment spam that a website can receive, and they are mostly from low quality websites. This can be a bit of a hassle for many websites. Akismet is one of the top sites out there helping to combat comment spam, and the use of Capthas to some extent.

Good ole fashion email spam

All we can do is set spam settings to high, and monitor the spam folder to the actual good emails.

Are you a nonprofit organization? Good news, just in-case you were not aware, Google has a Google Grants program available (for sometime now), and this is a nonprofit edition of their AdWords, Google’s advertising tool. The Bad news, there are only limited number of slots available so it may not be available in your region. Google Grants NonProfit SEO PPC Campaigns

https://google-for-nonprofits.appspot.com/application

Google grants is a great way for nonprofit organizations to get an extra push with traffic in Google via their paid advertising listings. In addition to getting free traffic via Google, using a PPC campaign is a good way to determine keywords that can be beneficial for your Organic SEO campaign. Ultimately using a combination of Nonprofit SEO/PPC campaigns can help benefit your overall marketing campaign.

Ok, on to the details….

With Google grants, you are given a daily budget that is set to $329 USD which is equal to about $10,000 per month. The tricky part with all of this is that your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) limited to $2.00 USD. The CPC can very easily rise very high, so you will be needing to have a wide keyword coverage and detailed campaign to help use up the allotted allowance per day and monthly.

With Google Grants Ads, your keywords and listings must pertain to your charity, so you wouldn’t be able to have a keyword campaign for selling MP3 Players. Keywords and ads have to pertain to your charity organization keyword market

  • A daily budget set to $329 USD, which is equal to $10,000 per month
  • A maximum CPC limited to $2.00 USD
  • Keyword-targeted campaigns Only
  • Appear only on Google.com
  • Text ads are the only option

You can find more information here http://www.google.ca/grants/details.html

As the world of online social connecting continues to evolve, its surprising how dependent we are of it at times. Do you fiddle with your smart phone while watching TV, going to bed, or just when you wake up? I remember years and years ago (don’t want to state how long ago anymore) when things were just starting to rev up. The first computer that I had was a 100 MHz Pentium with windows 95 and just under 2 gigs, okay, might of slightly given away how long ago. One of the first search engines that I used were HotBot and AltaVista and things were crawling at a snails pace.

For getting my news on a daily basis, I still rely on CNN and CTV Newsnet (here in Canada) but for the specialize areas that I like to keep up to date on a daily basis such as the latest ramblings in the search engine forums, newsletters and music gossip, I use RSS feeds with My Yahoo page and My Twitter Accounts. The Personalized RSS feeds are personal favorites of mine. You can choose exactly what you want to see on a daily basis no matter how strange or odd your taste is. Also, it is easy to keep up to date on other local areas of the world that would normally not be available on such an easy access today as it would of been 15 years ago.

If you were looking for the late gossip on your favorite band 10-15 years ago, you mainly had to rely on magazines. These days while the music magazines are still out there, the move to getting info on your favorite band is right at your finger tips and the information is updated instant.

Our computers, mobile phones, tablets are the gateway to the information highway, and its amusing at times when your computer breaks down and you feel somewhat cut off from things. Its more funny after the fact and when things are working again, but now with our dependence on the net, we rely on emails and txting via our cell phone, you can stay connected to the net constantly with your Blackberry or iPhone for example. No longer do we need to be totally cut off. Then there are those time that when your internet connection goes down and its just a time to sit back and relax and enjoy the peace.

Keeping track of friends and family is more convenient for myself these days with email and the various messenger programs. I managed to find a long lost friend with Facebook and reconnect, which otherwise may not of happened as quickly. The blog and twitter craze has been really good. Its making it easy for people to post their thoughts on the net without too much HTML knowledge, and its good seeing what people are writing about. I have a friend that occasionally writes these amazing emails on his thoughts and views of the world. With him being over 2000 miles away, I can still keep up to date on his very interesting theories and views of the world.

As our dependence on the internet has grown over the past decade and continues to go even moreso these days, we still rely on newspapers (less so for myself) and the popular news stations for the latest news, the continued move towards more up to date information via the internet will have an effect on traditional new sources. To what effect we will have to wait, and keep reading about it online or on the newspapers.

A common question people have is, when should I start to see results from my campaign? With Organic results in the search engines (the free listings in the search engines), results are not instantaneous. If you have a time sensitive promotion, then you should also consider incorporating Pay Per Click to market your products and/or services as you can control exactly how much your site will come up in the sponsored listings.

In the early stages of your campaign, it is highly advised that you use a combination of SEO and PPC if your budget will allow so. If you only have the budget for one, please read our article on SEO or PPC, to help you choose which would be better.

For New Websites

For a new website starting out, it will take time for results to start happening. First it will depend on the actual competitiveness of the industry that you are in and now many other competitors are in your field. The higher the number, the more competitive it will be. One thing to remember that is search engine results will not happen overnight. With organic search engine optimization, there’s a delay factor that comes into play. It takes time to gain quality incoming links for sites, and once these links are present on sites and/directories, then we have to wait for the search engines to then re-index these pages for the Search engines to see that you are listed. So as you can see, there’s a natural delay factor with organic SEO results. A lot of waiting and patience is needed.

For Established Websites

For more established websites, results will happen faster. It will always depend on the keywords that you are targeting. The more competitive the keyword’s, the longer it will take. But for the most part, you can start to see an inflow of traffic to your site at a much more timely manner than new sites. You can start seeing changes in as little as a few weeks to over a month or so, depending on the size of your site and how often your entire website gets re-indexed by the search engines.

What Other SEO Factors are Involved?

First, how competitive are your search terms? The more competition for a keyword phrase in the search engines, the longer it will take. We take this into consideration when taking you through the keyword analysis and find the best keywords for your campaign and use a custom dual approach that will cover your short and long term goals.

Second, is your site search engine friendly? The less SE friendly your site is, it can add to the time that it takes to get your site to the top of the results.

Third, how many quality incoming links do you have compared to your competitors? You could have the best finely tuned website, but if you have no quality links coming in to your website, then with the organic SEO listings, there is very little chance that you will rank high. The more competitive the industry, generally the more incoming links you will need to start showing in the search engines.

Fourth, What is the size of your site versus your competition? If your competition has 200 pages on their site, and your site only has 5 to 10 pages, more quality pages will need to be created. The larger your site, the more an authoritative the search engines will see your site.

You can expect a 2-3 plus months for rankings to appear for your entire website, and more established websites will see results in a more timely manner. While there are many factors involved that are not mentioned here, these are just some of the main areas of concern, and most importantly, you’ll need to have a lot of patience!

We would be glad to assist you with your site to develop the most effective search engine marketing possible for your site. Contact us and we can review your request.

One of the sources Google can use to generate snippets for the description and title of your website is from Open Directory Project (DMOZ). With DMOZ, getting listed is not an easy task, and even then, getting the description you want, is very unlikely as they are very stick with their editorial guidelines.

That being said, if you are lucky enough to be listed in DMOZ, you will want to use the NOODP meta tag. You can specify just Google, other search engines, or all search engines.

If you have a static website, you will be able to add the meta tag to your page, within the opening and closing HEAD tags. If you are using a program such as WordPress or Joomla, you can find a plugin that handles this directly. Many popular SEO plugins have this option built-in and just  needs to be selected.

To prevent all of supporting search engines from using the description/Title, you can use the following:

<meta name="robots" content="NOODP">

To specifically prevent Google from using this information for a page’s description, use the following:

<meta name="googlebot" content="NOODP">

If you use the robots meta tag for other directives, you can combine those. For instance:

<meta name="googlebot" content="NOODP, nofollow">

Changes will not be instant once the meta tag has been uploaded, and you will need to wait for Google, and the search engines to update their database

This article touches on some common  web Design Mistakes that are sometimes encountered with a design. These suggestions are aimed for Improved Optimization.

After I initially designed my website, I thought this would be a good time to touch on designing a search engine friendly site. This is a very important stage, and its important that your newly built website will not need to have any major changes just to make it search engine friendly.

Before I started working in the search marketing industry back in April 2000, I have designed a few sites, for myself, for friends and for businesses. In the beginning, I fell for the same trap that most web designers do. The splash pages and framed websites. To a web designer, a splash page this gives them a chance to display their artistic and creative abilities. From a search marketing point of view, it is easy to see the big picture and notice that having a splash page with huge graphics and flash with very little or no content is not going to help the site achieve great marketing success on the internet. But from a web design view, having a splash page looks visually appealing and often the client is very happy with it.

The Problems with Splash Pages

The problem with splash pages is that it provides hardly any content for the users or the search engines, and there is usually only one link/path into the entire site. So, the users and search engine spiders have to make an addition click (sometimes two clicks or more) to get to the actual content. The more clicks a user has to make in order to get to the goods that you want them to see, the more likely they will go back to the search results page and continue on to the next site.

Search engines generally consider the main page (ie default/index for example) to be the most important page on your site. We always want to use this to our advantage. So, if you have a splash page on your site, it would be highly advised that you have this updated and have the actual page that you want your visitors to see (the actual content) when they come to your site.
Search Engine Friendly Websites

Ideally, you want the very first page on your site to have all the info that the user and search engines will need. That includes a proper navigation and content.

So, for marketing your business online. You still want to have a visually appealing website, but you also want it to be search engine friendly. Having the best of both worlds will provide to be a great asset to helping your online business succeed in today’s competitive market. You want your site to instill confidence to your potential customer. Its important to have a site that makes your potential customer want to buy from you.
Using Flash

It is still ok to use flash on your site, but not have your entire site done in flash. If you do have your site entirely done in flash, you will want to have a HTML version done up ASAP! Don’t forget people that are on dialup, and people that don’t have the flash plug-in installed, there’s a good chance they’ll click the back button and leave your site.

As always moderation is the key. This goes with graphics as well. We do not want to have the site too heavy in graphics. You still have to consider that a large number of people are still using dialup connection and we do not want to have a site that loads slowly. Having this happen can result in the visitor hit the back button and continue on the the next site.

One thing to note is that apple iphones, ipads, and ipod touch are not flash friendly.
Drop Down Menus

Search engine spiders cannot follow the links in drop down menus. So if you do have drop down menus on your site, you will need to incorporate some text links on your site to make sure that the search engines can fully index your site.

Avoid Using Frames if Possible

If at all possible, try to avoid using frames when building out your site. Typically what happens is the sub-page with the content is the one that starts to ranking and get traffic, and they are left without the navigation on the other frames pages.

Indexable Content

Always make sure that you have enough content on your homepage, and also make sure that the content you do have, can be read by the search engines. Content within images will not get indexed within the search engines, and this will provide you with little search engines help. While the design, look and feel might be what you are aiming for, having your content within an image will  not give you have advantage over your competition. Keep your main content out of the images.

Flash/Java Plugins

I have seen in the past, sites that have all their content within a flash file or Java Plugin, and when investigating further, finding out that the content was not even getting indexed by Google. I have seen other SEO competitors fall into this little trap with their own websites. While the design looked great, their content was not getting indexed. Always test flash and java if you have the bulk of your content within these files/plugins. Make sure that your content is getting crawled and indexed by the search engines.

Audio and Video Content

If you have and audio and/or video content that you post on your website, one of the best things you could do is have it transcribed and include the text onto your website. This is a great source of content that you can be adding to your site to gain additional traffic.

Always Get Advice

Lets say you found a web designer that you like, it is still a very good idea to hire a search marketing consultant/company to help you along with the process. The majority of search marketing firms will gladly consult you through the development of your site (there will usually be a fee involved). Making sure that your site is search engine friendly from the get go, will save you money and time.

Test It Out! See how your Splash or Frames page looks to the Search Engines

Lynx Viewer – use this program to spider your splash or frames page to see what the search engines will see. Generally we like the search engines to spider content, and with splash or frames pages, this poses a problem, but the good news is that it is generally an easy fix!

The Importance of Having Unique Content

Previously, I talked about the problem with mirror sites and duplicate content. Today, I will touch on this a little further hopefully helping those that might take a page from someone else’s site just so they can get some quick content, to show them the problem with this and what they should do.
Where Are You Getting The Content From?

First of all, when you are creating a website, naturally you will need to have content for your viewers to see and so you can get your message across to them. The easy way out some people tend to take, is to take content from other peoples websites. First of all, if you do not have permission to do so, then you can run into problems and a little something called plagiarism.
The Problem With Taking Others Content

Even if you have permission to take other people content, this content will most likely not do much to actually help your site in the search engines. It will be seen as duplicate content. Search engines can very easily detect duplicate content. One way for you to check for duplicate content is with Copyscape. This is a great little program and its good to see if anyone has copied your site without your permission.
Why You Should Invest the Extra Time/Money

So with your website, you’ve spent X amount of dollars and/or time, don’t stop there, continue on with developing new and unique content for your website. Doing this early on, will do wonders for your site and help with people finding your site.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have unique content for your site, don’t take the easy way out and take text from another site. While it may get your website finished quicker and online, it would be worth it in the long run to get it done right in the first place.

I am really surprised when reading through the forums on a daily basis, the number of people that think or end up using doorway pages for their websites and think that it is alright. Essentially, never try to trick the search engines and always go for quality!

Doorway pages have many different names, gateway pages is another popular name as well, other common names are portal pages, jump pages and entry pages. The purpose of these pages is to rank highly in the search engines and draw traffic for your targeted keywords. Sounds good right? These pages are highly frowned upon by all the search engines, and is a sure way to get your site banned. They are basically designed for the search engines and not for humans.
The Problem with Doorway/Gateway Pages

Doorway pages are far too generic and do not provide and useful content for the reader. A Doorway page serves as a connector between the actual page the website owner intended you to see. Often what would happen is a page would be created focusing typically on 1 – 3 keyword phrases per page and those links would then point you towards the page that has all the goodies and info you really want. Also, it was common for these pages to be linked from the home/index page with hidden links (this is another great and sure way to get your site banned).

Getting Caught

Eventually you will get caught and all it takes is a competitor or a viewer that finds your page with these spam pages and report it to the search engine. Many search engines these days have pages/email addresses setup for reporting spam to help them improve the results in the search engine.

While you may think it provides some kind of short term benefit, sooner or later you will get caught, and all the time and money you invested is now gone and you have to start over again from scratch. I would highly highly advise you to stay away from doorway pages!

People invest lots of time and money promoting their domain name and it takes time to have a well established website. Its important that you make sure you own your domain name. If you did not actually register your domain name (had a friend or someone else register it for you). It would be a good idea to make sure you have control over it and its in your name. I have personally seen it happen where a disgruntle employee happen to register the company business name under his own name/account, and would not relinquish the url after he was fired/let go.

You can check the whois information to see the exact details. If you had a friend or someone else register a domain for you, make sure that you are the Registrant/owner. You can transfer a domain name with any register that you choose, as long as the person listed is willing. If not, they could easily hold your domain name hostage, and this is what you want to avoid.

It is always best to register the domain name yourself and under your own contact information. Basically, you do not want to potentially lose control over your site and lose all your time and money invested into building your domain. Losing your domain name or changing domain names will affect your rankings with Google. New websites tend to fall under an aging delay, and some site get caught in what people call The Google Sandbox.

Changing domain names is essentially starting over again, and it does take time to get everything back where it was before. It can take at least a year to get everything back to where they were before in all the search engines. Granted some search engines may be quicker to change than others, but Google will take you longer.

You can register Canadian domain names with DomainsAtCost.ca (very reasonable prices for .ca domains). Also to register a Canadian domain name you need to have an address from Canada and fill out the appropriate information from the CIRA.

A good portion of the work on a campaign is devoted to Link Building on a monthly basis as link building is one of the main factors of ranking in the search engines. Good quality links are needed to help with a websites. So I thought I would provide some information on link building to help you understand the process a little better.

Link popularity refers to the number and quality of links pointing to your website. Having other authoritative websites link to your website tells the search engines that they consider your website important, and thus helps increase your popularity.

With link building, we want these to appear at a more natural pace, and not artificially created as link building should be a gradual process for a website. Artificially gaining too many links very quickly in a short span of time can cause problems with the search engines.

Search engines prefer websites that have links from authoritative websites in a similar industry/focus. Links from authoritative websites helps with a websites visibility and gaining incoming links helps with its search engine rankings.
Free Directory Submissions

With the free directories, much of these are volunteer based, and as a result, it can take months with some just to get listed. When a link building campaign begins using free directory submissions, there is a delay or ripple effect of waiting for the directories to list the website and then get credit for the new link. So you can essentially see there is a ripple effect with the free directory submissions with a link building campaign, and patience is often needed as well.
Paid Directory Submissions

With paid directory submissions, for a certain price, the directory will review your submission in much quicker, usually within a few days. There are many quality paid directories for websites to be listed, and these days it helps to set aside a portion of your marketing budget for these. Some are a one time fee, and others are a recurring yearly fee.
Types of links (One way, Two way and Swapping Links)

With both Free and Paid directories, these are often one way links, from the directory to website. These are generally the types of links that we aim to gain as one way links tend to be more valuable than swapping links with other websites.

Swapping links (two way links) are becoming less valuable for websites when it comes to ranking higher. The search engines are easily able to detect websites that swap links, and these links can be discounted to a certain extent so they are not as valuable as compared to one way links. So one way links are more valuable than two way/swapping links.

Another way that some websites look to exchange links is using the triangle effect where the linking pattern is more of a triangle or circle. These are also very easy for the search engines to detect as well.

This is not to say that reciprocal links are bad, but you should be selective on the links/pages/websites that you exchange with. They should be within a similar industry/focus as yours. Link to the website if you feel they are a good resource for your own visitors, and link with websites that can potentially send traffic your way.

With one way links being more valuable than two way (reciprocal links) for a website, generally it’s better to devote more time to towards the one way links for websites.
A Few Other Link Building Options

From there, there are many upon many creative ways for attracting links for your site. Creating great unique content is a good way to naturally attract links. Link Bait is another option, Link bait is designed purposely to acquire attention or persuade others to link to the website. Link bait can be an tremendously powerful form of marketing. The term often has a negative connotation. The content for link baiting could be a text, image, audio or video clip and is appealing enough to catch the people’s awareness. Providing Original Research is another great way to attract links. While this may take a bit more time, when done properly, it can be very beneficial. How to Tutorials and Videos are other effective ways, along with embracing Social Media avenues to reach out to your community. The list can go on and on and on…

Below is a quick overview of Yahoo! and it’s Search History, so you can see that they have in the past used Google.

In May of 1998, Yahoo! Web Search is powered by Inktomi
In June of 2000, Yahoo! Web Search powered by Google
In March of 2003, Yahoo! Acquires Inktomi
In February of 2004 Yahoo! Web Search powered by Yahoo!
In March of 2004 AltaVista switches to Yahoo! Search
In August of 2004 Yahoo! Launches Local Search Engine
On August 18th 2010 Yahoo switches to BING

Yahoo! Organic Results Switch To Bing (Aug 18th, 2010)

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/100824-172703

Yahoo Outsource Search to Google! Today WSJ

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/080119-165300

Yahoo Layoffs Confirmed (Monday Jan 21st 2008)

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/080120-112309

Yahoo Layoffs Updated (Tuesday Jan 22nd 2008)

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/080121-2344

So you have your site template designed, its great looking and has a search engine friendly design. The two main questions you may have now are, one how much content will I need, and two, how many pages?

First of all, your content will have to be relevant and contain useable information for your viewers. You do not want to create doorway pages for your site. You want to have good quality pages, give the users the information that they want. If they do not find the information on your site, they will go back to the results and go to the next listing. This is what we want to avoid!

Try to view the site as one of your customers would. Are there any questions that you have once viewing your site? While preparing the content for your site, if you have product pictures, include these, but don’t have just a full page of product pictures with no content. Also, include the prices of your products if you can. If you were going to a site searching for a certain product, chances are you will want to see exactly what it is you would like to buy, the price and read the available information.

Ok, so how many pages will you need. It will be easy to say that a 5 page website will not be suffice. It is best to research your competition and see exactly how many pages they have and use this as a gauge. If you have a competitor that has 300 pages, it is going to be hard right off the bat writing up enough content, but have a long term plan to create new content on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. And as always keep your content fresh and up to date.

You always want to keep your text visible. Do not opt for any tricks to hide your content in any way. What the viewer sees, should be exactly what the search engine spiders see when they visit your site. If you choose the spammy way, then you are putting your online marketing campaign at risk, and this will set you back big time in the search engines and with your marketing budget.

The main point you will want to keep in mind that you should always continue to build relevant content for your site. Continue to expand your website and give the viewers what they are looking for. Search engines often perceive a site with a large number of pages on a topic or area to be more of an authoritative figure in their field, this is also in conjunction with good quality incoming links. Also, the more informative your site is, the better chance that people will want to link to you. So it ends up being a win-win situation!

What’s BING? (In short, BING is MSNs Search Engine.) That’s the question my fiancée (Now Wife) asked awhile ago when she was using my laptop when about to start a search query. I’ve just changed my homepage from Google to Bing on my laptop that I use mainly for personal (non work related) reasons. Having to constantly change my search settings to not have Google Instant displayed, as it’s set to go by default was one of the factors. So anytime the cookies get cleared, its back to Google Instant Annoyance!

Anyways, I don’t talk work, SEO/web marketing with my fiancée (Now Wife), or quiz her on the top 3 search engines, I try to leave work and home life separate. The fact that she wasn’t aware of Bing being a MSN/Microsoft site was very interesting, and made me think of Bing’s popularity vs Google for the average person.

Just to see the numbers and the popularity of each, these are the monthly global searches (exact match) from Google’s Keyword Tool, comparing Google vs. MSN/Bing.

‘Bing’ Monthly Global Searches 7,480,000
‘MSN’ Monthly Global Searches 83,100,000
‘Google’ Monthly Global Searches 185,000,000

So it could still very easily get lost in the mix for the average person that Bing is MSN Search. The search volume is clearly showing us the difference from Google keywords reported search volumes.

Another interesting study that came out just recently is a study done by Experian Hitwise on the success rate of searchers finding their desired results from their searches on each of the search engines. Yahoo showed a success rate of 81.36%, while Bing showed 80.04% vs Google at 67.56%. Also, it should be noted that Yahoo is powered by Bing.

It’s good to see that Bing is coming along with improving their search experience for their users. With Google, I’m constantly annoyed of having the change search settings for each computer. It would be nice if your desired search settings could be saved in your Google profile for any computer you log into, such as a Global save for example.

Next time you think of it, ask someone the top 3 search engines, see if they happen to mention BING or MSN. See if they’re making the connection with the two.

Once I had my site designed, the next step was to find a reliable hosting company. This will take some research on your part as any hosting company will not do. There are many issues that will be covered below.MiM_05

The range for a hosting package can be anywhere from just a couple dollars per month to $200 or more on a monthly basis. You will have to decide on what you are looking for, whether it be virtual hosting or a dedicated server. A dedicated server will end up costing you more money. Taking into consideration the budget you have for hosting and the options available, you will want to find a hosting company that has little down time.

For instance, for my website, the first hosting company that I chosen, I did research and even had a friend refer them to me. But in just the first month, my site ended up being offline for 2 days straight. This is surely something that you want to avoid. So, needless to say, I decided that it would be best to cut my losses and find another hosting company. The problem with downtime is that this directly affects the amount of traffic that your site will receive and you could be loosing potential customers. Also, this can affect your rankings as well if a search engine spider comes to your site and it is continuously down.

When deciding upon a list of hosting companies, there are a number of things to take into consideration. The amount of bandwidth needed, unique IP address available, UNIX or windows server, are logs available (with error logs and usage stats). It is highly advised that you choose a hosting company that has logs and that you have the option to have them updated on a daily basis if possible.

Shared IPs

Shared IPs are more common as not all hosting companies can afford to put every single website on a unique IP. If the hosting company you choose to go with does have this option available, it would be advised to look into this. But it is still quite common for a number of sites to be hosted on a single IP.

Why Have Logs?

It is highly advisable to have logs enabled on your site. Logs track all visitor activity on a website. This can tell you the amount of traffic each page is getting, the amount of repeat visitors, see what search engine spiders have visited your site, and see what keywords are people are using to find your site is just some of the valuable information logs capture.

Take it a step further if you have the available funding and buy some Web Analytics ROI Software (there are a variety of sites out there). You will want to find one that covers both SEO and PPC campaigns. Google AdWords and Overture do have their own tracking software now, but ideally, you will want something that tracks everything on your site..

Unix or Windows

A lot of these depends on what you created your site in. If you have chosen ASP or ASPX pages, then you will want to go with a windows platform hosting provider. Also, if you wanted to possibly expand into asp/aspx pages in the future, you would want to choose a windows platform as well.

Always do some research when looking for a hosting provider. The cheapest way is not always the best, sometimes you will have to spend a bit more money to get a good reliable hosting provider, but in the long run it will be worth the investment.

With today’s article, I am going to touch on something that we all need to have with marketing a website. And that is a little patience. It is best to have a good understanding of how the search engines work. The better you understand them, the better educated decisions you can make on your marketing campaign.

When it comes to marketing your website, we are all dependent on the search engines. This mainly pertains to the organic search engine listings (these are the free listings). With the search engines, it can take months for your site to be listed and to start ranking. It is not uncommon to see a site take 3 months to start to get off the ground with organic listings when first starting off. Each search engine has its own schedule for updating its database therefore each will not be on the same update cycle.

Google PageRank, Building Content & Link Building

In the forums lately, many are waiting for the next Google PageRank update. It has been about 2 months since Google’s last PageRank update. I must admit that I am waiting on this as well (patiently waiting that is). I launched my site (August 2004) and have actively started link building and writing articles. I know that my site has been indexed in the search engines and that the spiders have visited my site through monitoring my logs. Also, for the links that I have collected to my site so far, the majority of these have been indexed. But now comes the waiting game that we all have to deal with. Waiting for the search engines to update their database and to get credit for the newly incoming links that were obtained.

Need Results Now? Consider Paid Advertising

So, if you need results now and you have some money set aside in your marketing budget, you should look into using paid advertising for getting some instantaneously hits to your website. This is good for time sensitive marketing campaigns, or if you need more traffic for any given month. Using a combination of paid advertising with your regular marketing campaign is often a good idea. Even if you are on a budget, there are options that you can take to get the most out of your money. Focusing the targeted keywords and with some of Paid Advertising, you can focus on certain geographical areas. These are just two options that you can consider to help get more for your dollar.

Getting Listed in the Directories

The next hurdle for my site was getting listed in Open Directory. I am an editor for a few categories in Open Directory, so I am able to see how active that certain editors are. So I am able to get an idea if my site might get reviewed in a timely manner or not. For the category that I submitted my site to, it took about 5 months, which in all honestly is pretty good. The fact that I am a DMOZ editor does not mean I get special treatment. What does help is writing proper titles and descriptions so the editor does not have to make any changes. I also decided to submit to Yahoo’s Directory, and there were no problems getting listed with the title and description that I wanted.

With link building, one thing that you have to remember is that the search engines still have to re-index those pages that your link now appear on, and this can take up to 3 months or more at times, depending on the updating schedule of the search engines. In turn, after your site starts to get credit for those new links, you will start to get higher rankings in the search engines.
The Ongoing Battle

So having a little patience with the search engines will go a long way to helping your marketing campaign be a success. As always, for those that need traffic now, there is the paid advertising route that you can take. Last but not least, rankings do fluxuate!

Some common questions you may be asking are, how many pages will I need on my website and how should I use sample-web-designthese with my optimization campaign.

Ok, far too often I will be checking out some of the local company websites and far too often I see a website that has the exact same title and meta tags for all their pages, and surprisingly enough, I see pages with the word Index for the title of their index page.

Imagine you are walking down the street and there are stores everywhere, but they don’t have anything on their signs, or the signs do not really tell you their products or services? This is the same with the search engine results page (SERPs). It is important to make sure that all your title and meta tags reflect each page appropriately. If you spend all this time and money getting your site prepared, why stop after the design and the site is built out?

So, now matter how many pages you have, take the time to have unique title and meta tags for all your pages, this will be an added benefit for helping people find your website and getting your products/services to your intended customer.

Taking it one step further, when creating your website, first you will want to make sure that you content is original (that its not taken from someone else), and you do not want to create specific pages to trick the search engines. These are commonly referred to as doorway/gateway pages. They have many names but the are basically the same. When you create content for your site, its purpose should be to serve your reader/customer and not to fool the search engines.

When you finish writing each new page, take the time to write new unique title and meta tags for the page. The little time you take doing this will help the site in the search engines.