Search Engine Marketing

What is Adaptive SEO?

Chuck Bankoff - Thursday, September 05, 2013

First you have to understand that Google’s objective is to promote the best websites, not the best “optimized” websites. Search engines want to display the most accurate and varied results for each and every search query. Search engine optimizers know basically what the engines are looking for and attempt to gain a competitive advantage by “gamming” the system.

These techniques were not only publicly advertised, but considered industry best practices. The problem was they never met Google’s guidelines in the first place…they just happened to work.

Google is Smarter than You and everyone you Know.
You might assume “Adaptive” means reactive, but that’s not quite accurate. In fact where SEO is concerned it’s just the opposite. For years search engine optimization companies have been reacting to Google and adopting their techniques to outsmart the search engines.  These practices not only proved to be unsustainable, but have taken a dramatic turn for the worst. Regardless of what you think, Google is smarter than you, and everyone you employ… regardless of how tricky you think you are.

Adaptive SEO is about Web Presence Optimization, not Search Engine Optimization.
Adaptive SEO
is about NOT playing cat and mouse with the search engines. It’s about developing a legitimate long-term, bulletproof web presence by doing things right. It’s about developing and sharing good quality content, it’s about link “earning” not link building. It’s about a good sound technical structure for your website, with easily indexable pages, clear navigation and fast load times. It’s about being mobile friendly and socially active (yes, your social presence is an actual search engine ranking factor). It’s about reviews and reputation and citations on directories and other reputable and industry related websites.

So where did your Google Rankings Go?
Did you used to have top rankings for all those money keywords, but they literary dried up over night? …and I do mean overnight. If you’ve seen a slow decline in rankings, or if your rankings fell off a cliff on a specific date, it was most likely because your SEO team wasn’t playing by Google’s rules.

So what happened? Were you actually penalized for these tactics? The answer is both “yes” and “sort of”. “Yes” if these tactics were blatantly overused, “sort of” if all those tactics which were previously sustaining your search dominance were simply no longer being counted.

Backlinks (links from other website, directories and web properties around the Internet) are a ranking factor. Suppose you had 1000 incoming links, but 950 of them were cheap “spammy” links that your SEO company purchased instead of earned. There was a day when you woke up and Google decided to no longer give you credit for those 950 spammy links. Now you have only 50. Naturally your search results are going to take a hit. Were you penalized? Sort of…it was more like a “correction” similar to what the stock market goes through periodically.  Similar to investing in good quality stocks with a track record of a return over time, Adaptive SEO is about investing in quality techniques and developing a sustainable long-term strategy…not about using questionable practices that will eventually stop working.

 

Where to start?
Start with the Research

Kreative Webworks is a full service Digital Marketing Agency serving Orange County California since 1999.

 

Mobile SEO and Beyond… 3 steps to Outpace Your Competition in 2013

Chuck Bankoff - Thursday, December 27, 2012

Since Mobile devices are getting hotter ever hour as we move into 2013, should businesses take advantage of mobile devices in their websites? Does a business need to create a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) approach to leverage mobile in addition their regular website SEO? The answer to both questions is most definitely YES.

One needs to start with a basic Mobile Device strategy, and then decide what other web phenomenon can be used to create enhanced Mobile SEO results. For example, by combining unique characteristics from Mobile, YouTube and Social Media- we may find new opportunity doors opening for search results, bringing even better results to businesses. This article describes 3 simple steps to enhance your website beyond mobile for a fresh look in 2013:

1) Develop a Mobile Search Strategy,
2) Add YouTube videos to your website and Mobile solution,
3) Extend your social media footprint.

Get even more content marketing results by combining Mobile SEO, YouTube SEO, and Social Media SEO efforts.

1)  Develop both Mobile Device and Mobile SEO Strategies

Mobile users are searching for content that is mobile friendly. Business owners can step ahead of their competition early in 2013 by making updates to their websites ahead of their competition. With less than 10% of today’s websites that are mobile friendly, a business can definitely get ahead of competition by starting now with their own mobile solution. But beyond creating a mobile friendly website, what does one do to attract searches and get real customer results?

That is where a basic Mobile SEO strategy is needed. A great article by Bryson Meunier- Mobile SEO is Not a Myth…, suggests Mobile SEO ideas for a mobile unique environment to enhance Mobile SEO performance.

Knowing how search results are different between desktops and mobile creates a business advantage for mobile friendly websites. Google keeps making changes to search parameters as they try to enhance the searchers experience. Savvy business owners will need to keep one eye on Google changes, and another on their smart phone search results. Mobile SEO adjustments are not needed daily, but over a period of time, as analytical data provides the measured results for making strategic updates.

Also knowing how Mobile SEO can take local SEO to a new level of interactivity can help some business verticals; particularly where the business needs to build its local market reach. Mobile smart phone users often commute and travel to different cities. As an example, a salesman or other traveler may be looking for a restaurant, gas station, or local entertainment spot- and these searches might be added to the base mobile devices living in a particular area. Being able to target searches from a local area gives businesses an ability to capture potential customers coming into an area- much different than targeting only local desktop searches.

In addition to Mobile SEO, one might also investigate including Mobile Paid Search ads, with your Mobile SEO solution to enhance your search results even further. Because there are so few websites that have been converted to mobile friendly solutions, Mobile paid ads can give your mobile website a real advantage while your competition is playing catch up in 2013. Take advantage of the window of opportunity that Mobile paid ads can bring, before your competition recognizes the need to even have a mobile website.

2)  Add YouTube videos to your website and mobile solution

YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google this according to an article on 5 Essential Tips for Your YouTube Channel. Adding fresh new SEO relevant video content to your web solution can enhance your Mobile SEO results. Although YouTube is still building its SEO relevance, 2013 will be the year to plan to add quality video SEO content to your web solution. Make sure that your video content is also Mobile SEO friendly, which will further distinguish your web solution ahead of your competition. YouTube videos are playing a larger role in creating relevant, fresh, quality, entertaining content for SEO search engines to find. Combining mobile searches and video SEO opens up new opportunities for businesses to stay ahead of competition in search results.

Not only does YouTube rate as a fresh new SEO source for your website, it also plays highly into search results for social media content. Although in some rating systems such as Nielsen, YouTube may not be considered as a social media entity.

See SEO for YouTube- Best Practices to get a basic understanding of what steps a business needs to take with SEO practices for your YouTube Videos. It is not just a simple matter of uploading videos, but steps are required to enhance your video’s SEO search position. Consider producing your videos in High Definition quality, because this improves your YouTube rankings. Video tags are also very important part of building your YouTube SEO position.

3)  Extend your Social Media Footprint to enhance your Mobile solution

Mobile Internet users are overtaking wired Internet users in the next couple years, but the shift is happening faster for Social Media, this according to an article by Hootsuite CEO, Ryan Holmes. Social, Local, and Mobile (SoLoMo) is a term people will be hearing more often in 2013. Social networks sharing location information from their mobile devices, is becoming integral part to some social media environments. Certainly Business to Consumer (B2C) retailers will find new opportunities in 2013 to provide innovative offerings to consumers through SoLoMo. When creative offerings become accepted as part of the social media mind set, then SoLoMo will become a standard for new business opportunities in 2013.

Social Media is not just a capability for B2C, it also is starting to be more relevant in the business to business (B2B) market place as well. Turn the social media noise into music is a YouTube video about social media geared to a B2B scenario.

Like most other website enhancements, Social media itself provides a significant stride forward in your web solution. However the real pizzazz for 2013 is to combine social media with your SEO approach.  See an article – SEO and social media get married, which discusses what happens when SEO and social media join forces to build a strategic approach to content marketing.

Summarizing Mobile SEO and Beyond for 2013

A mobile website solution is a great idea to enhance your website for 2013 and Mobile SEO should be a natural extension.  However, taking further content marketing steps to enhance your Mobile website solution with Social Media and YouTube videos will leave your competition wondering what happened to their website. And don’t forget to follow SEO best practices for each enhancement.

  1. Have a Basic Mobile Device website Strategy – enhanced with Mobile SEO 
  2. Add YouTube Videos to your website solution- enhanced with Video SEO
  3. Build a linking Social Media footprint- also enhanced with Social Media SEO best practices

Mark Colestock, a digital marketing strategist at WSI DigNet, helping businesses with their online marketing needs. 

When Google sneezes…I catch a cold

Chuck Bankoff - Saturday, December 08, 2012

There’s probably about a dozen other clichés marketing agencies can use to describe how the search engine giant plays the tune and we just dance to it (see, there’s another one).

For years digital marketing firms have been playing cat and mouse games with Google. The factors that the search engines use to determine where a website should be ranked in the search results were just too easy to be manipulated by those of us who made a career of it. Some of us played by the rules (white hat SEO) and some of us “bent” the rules (black hate SEO).

Search engine marketing is no longer about Websites; it’s about “Web Presence”. Search engines have decentralized the criterion they use to decide which Web pages rank where for what keywords.

In my opinion you can no longer rely on classic SEO techniques alone to get your Google love. I recommend a total 360° multi-dimensional approach that addresses all of the elements that the search engines currently factor into their algorithms. Below is an overview of the various components that typically go into our strategy:

Components:

Content:
At the end of the day, search engines look for the same thing that people look for…content that is related to what people are searching for at any given time. You have to optimize, produce and manage content that is not only designed for search engines, but is relevant to your target market.

Keywords:
You will have to do extensive keyword analysis to determine the optimum keywords to ensure success. The most popular keywords are not necessarily the best. We prefer to target “niche” keyword phrases that relate directly to your target market. Targeting multiple highly relevant phrases will allow you a better opportunity to obtain higher rankings across more keywords that are directed to people farther down the buying cycle. (As opposed to targeting fewer harder to obtain “general” phrases).

HTML:
The output of almost all Website platforms is HTML code. It is the basic building block of the Internet. Other code such as Java script or Flash is a barrier to search engines indexing your Website. You will need to ensure that your Website is built on a search engine friendly platform. Adobe’s Business Catalyst platform, Wordpress, and basic HTML are always good choices. There are plenty of others as well.

Usability:
A search engines' goal is to display the best “user experience” they can find. That means that the actual structure of the website is a major factor in determining where your website will be placed on the search result pages. Also consider how many clicks it takes for a visitor to get to any of your pages on your site. If it is more than 3…it’s too many. It’s annoying to your visitors, and search engines recognize that.

Speed:
People don’t wait more than a few seconds for your Website to render before leaving, and neither do search engines. Make sure that you use high-speed hosting and a site design that is not heavy with extraneous code which slows down the Website.

Links:
Search engines factor both internal and external links. Each Website, directory or social property that links to your site is considered a “vote” for your Website. Why else would someone link to your site unless you provided valuable information?  It is important to note, that not all links are created equal. Some incoming links are more valuable than others.

Search engines also factor “Internal Linking Structure’ (pages on your site that link to each other). Linking unrelated pages can be detrimental to your efforts. However linking relevant pages strategically in a “silo” structure will increase what we call “link juice” and consolidate the relevancy of your keyword themes.

Blog:
Search engines love blogs because by their very nature blogs are updated frequently…and search engines like fresh relevant and original content. Blog posts are indexed relatively quickly and are treated as a Web page of information by the search engines. Search engines rank Web pages… not Websites. You will want to ensure that your blog posts are designed to rank for specific keywords, but not at the expense of your human visitors.

Social Media:
No longer just a buzzword, search engines factor what they call “Social Signals” that indicate that you are interacting with your target market (thus indicating that you are relevant). Aside from the obvious advantages of interacting directly with your consumers and driving traffic back to Your Website, best industry estimates are that Google factors between 9% - 14% of their search ranking algorithm based on social signals.

Analytics:
In order to make incremental improvements we must monitor and make incremental adjustments to certain KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Time on site
  • Top entry pages
  • Top exit pages
  • Traffic by keyword

Reporting:
Analytics must be distilled into a meaningful report that can be analyzed to show trends and progress without all the noise of the raw data. 

Design:
Search engines are concerned with the structural aspect of design, not necessary the aesthetic aspect. It is imperative to design the website around both usability standards and search engine preferences (which typically mimic human usability factors). Remember usability…

These 11 factors are just the main ingredients that go into search engine optimization. They don’t even address other aspects of an entire Web Presence Optimization program that includes profiles and pages from LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, and reviews on Google+, and Yelp and Citysearch, etc….

At the end of the day, its Google’s world, I just live in it. 

Content Marketing: Why is it so Important?

Chuck Bankoff - Monday, November 05, 2012

Link farms, content mills, low quality duplicate content. After years of being manipulated by blackhat optimizers (that’s the bad guys) Google hasn’t exactly changed the rules to the game…they are just enforcing them…big time!

At the end of the day, Google’s mission (so they say) is to deliver the most accurate and user friendly results to the searching public (tat’s everyone). That means filtering out the reams of useless, duplicate, non-value added content that infests the Internet today. Face it, most of it was designed to attract the search engines…not real people.

It’s all about quality content now. Good content attracts incoming links (backlinks) from other websites, directories and web properties that link to you…without you necessarily linking back to them. Each relevant link is like a vote of confidence for your website. Not only are backlinks a primary ingredient in search engine optimization, those links can also drive legitimate traffic to your website.

Quality content is also what search engines look for when determining which website should be ranked higher on the search engine results page (SERPs). If you have something new, original and relevant to say about a specific subject… you win and your competition looses.

Even Social content is a factor with the search engines:

  • Bing uses Facebook Likes as a ranking factor.
  • Google is integrating their +1 (Google Plus) as a ranking signal.
  • Tweeting about your business helps Google index your content faster.

And let’s not forget that you can use your own social channels to promote your literary masterpieces. And if others like it enough to share it…well you get the point.

According to Brafton, 92% of marketers say that content creation is either very effective or somewhat effective for Search Engine Optimization. 

Our experiences at Kreative Webworks is that quality copy, that is well optimized for specific keyword concepts (primary and supporting keywords) and used in the right outlets (on-site web pages, Blog postings supported by Social Syndication, News Releases, etc.) is what ranks quickly, and has the most “buoyancy (longevity).

This infographic on Content for SEO is packed with easy to follow information touting the benefits of quality Content Marketing. At the end of the day, Investing in original, high quality content is essential to your digital marketing efforts.

Have you been successful marketing with content? Let us know below and we’d be happy to compare notes and let you know how we do it. 

Google Wages War on Black and White Animals!

Chuck Bankoff - Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Can you name their next victim?

Is it just me or am I the only one who made the connection between Google's war on monochromatic animals and old time Western movies?  You know the ones where you can tell the good guys from the bad guys by the color of the hat they wear.

It wasn't immediately apparent when Google's historic Panda algorithm was released in early 2011, but when Penguin made its debut earlier this year, I thought a blind man could see it with a cane.

In simpler times Hollywood made it easy for us to tell good from evil. Darth Vader...dressed in black from head to toe. Jedi Knights? White robes of course.

Is it any wonder search engine optimizers typically fall into two separate camps...those who pay attention to what search engines are actually looking for and actually manage their clients websites accordingly, and those who take shortcuts and look to exploit temporary vulnerabilities for short term gains.

In other words; white hat vs. black hat...good versus evil...black and white animals like Panda' and Penguin's.

OK, so that begs the question; what is the next black and white creature for Google to bastardize?  Here is my short list:

  • Zebra
  • Orca
  • Skunk (my personal favorite)

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments below (no fair Googling )

Don’t let the “S” in SEO stand for Sucker

Chuck Bankoff - Monday, February 13, 2012

A personal friend of mine...an attorney, told me that he contracted with a search engine optimization company, (let’s call them the “Mellow” Pages) because they claimed to specialize in search engine optimization for personal injury attorneys.

6 thousand dollars later he was asking me why he was getting top rankings on the search results pages, but no additional business.

It didn’t take a forensic pathologist to unravel this mystery. After reviewing the keyword phrases that he contracted for verses the actual results, it was evident that he was simply the victim of a classic bait and switch.

Let me emphasize that my attorney friend…a VERY intelligent guy and a top attorney had absolutely no reason to suspect what would be painfully obvious to an Internet Marketing specialist.  He is a very competent attorney…not a digital marketing professional.

Here is how it went down:

He contracted for the following phrases:

  • Accident Attorney Irvine
  • Car Accident Lawyer Irvine
  • Car Accident Lawyers Irvine
  • Car Accident Attorney Irvine
  • Personal Injury Lawyer Irvine

 Here are the keyword phrases that were actually optimized:

  • Accident Attorney Irvine California
  • Car Accident Lawyer Irvine California
  • Car Accident Lawyers Irvine California
  • Car Accident Attorney Irvine California
  • Personal Injury Lawyer Irvine California

 Did you notice the difference? Simply by adding one more word (California) to an otherwise legitimate long tail keyword phrase, it turned a very competitive, highly searched on phrase into something easily achievable, but with no discernable ROI.

 Let’s take a look at his actual results:

Notice that virtually each phrase with the word “California” at the end of it ranks higher than the same phrase without the State name. Why is that?

 Well, by simply searching on both phrases in Google and comparing the amount of search results, I could quickly see that the phrase “car accident attorney irvine California” was approximately 370% less competitive than the version without the word “California” tagged onto the end.

 Is that a good thing? Actually your SEO consultant should be looking for less competitive words; that is an essential ingredient to good keyword selection. However those less competitive phrases must also represent a fair amount of searches. At the end of the day I would rather show up for 20% of a thousand searches than zero percent of a Million searches.

 If the research showed that by adding the State name at the end of all those phrases resulted in reduced, but significant traffic, then it would have been a sound strategy. In this case people who live in Irvine rarely search on a phrase like “car accident lawyer Irvine California”, however they do search on a phrase like “car accident lawyer Irvine”. The “Mellow” pages simply made it easy on themselves at the expense of their client.

 Let’s put this into perspective; every successful business person is good at what they do. There is no reason for anyone to be good in an entirely different industry like digital marketing. I would never review my own contracts, or do my own accounting. Why would I expect a lawyer to be able to interpret the results of a search engine optimization campaign?

So how do you safeguard against unscrupulous Internet marketing practitioners?  The same way you would when referencing any company or individual; “Reputation Management”. My best advice is to simply search on: “reviews” + “the individual you are working with” to see what other folks have to say about their experience with that SEO specialist you are considering.

Remember, ethics and skill are mutually exclusive. My instincts tell me that the “Mellow” Pages should have been more trustworthy and accountable, but that was clearly not the case.


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