Posts Tagged SEO

Business Blog or Not?

Here’s a little scenario I’d like you to think about. It’s something we come across on a regular basis.

Tom runs a landscape gardening company and has a small 5 page websitewith the following structure:

Home Page
About Us
Examples of Our Work
Contact Us

At the moment, Googlehas listed all 5 pages from his website on their search results. Tom knows that he shouldn’t really target more than 2-3 keyphrases per page and that his contact page and examples page have very little content, so therefore would be pointless to use for keyword targeting.

That leaves Tom with 3 pages that he can use to target Google for his chosen keyphrases. He thinks to himself, “surely there’s an easier way to get more pages on my website, so I can target more phrases”.

Tom notices that there’s a one day seminar being run in his local enterprise centre on online marketing. So he decides to attend. An apparently well respected Online PR expert recommends that he should use a blog as it will “significantly increase his ranking on Google”.

So after the seminar, Tom’s mission is to install a blog on his website. The first article he write is titled “how to create a perfect lawn”. He remembers the Online PR expert mentioning that most blogshave a system whereby they “ping” Google to let it know that you have published an article. In most cases, your article should appear pretty quickly on Google, in some cases in less than 15 mins.

After publishing his article, he does a quick check on Google to see how many pages of his site they have indexed ( “Brilliant”, he exlaims! “I now have a 6 pages listed on Google! If I keep going at this rate, I’ll have hundreds of pages indexed by Google in a few weeks. This is gonna be great!”, Tom thinks to himself.

As days go by, Tom keeps a close eye on his website statistics and notices that the site is getting a lot of traffic for “how to create a perfect lawn” and “a perfect lawn” etc. Surprisingly for Tom, he hasn’t yet got one sales enquiry. “Why could this be?”, he thinks.

Tom contacts his local SEO expert and asks for some advice. The SEO expert quickly points out that anyone searching for “how to create a perfect lawn” are unlikely to be looking to hire someone? “Isn’t it most likely that they will be trying this themselves since they searched Google on how to do it?”, the SEO expert says. “Ah, that makes sense”, says Tom.

So the next day, Tom decides to create an article that is more tailored towards the keyphrases he wants to target, rather than providing free tips and tricks. His new article is called “Landscape Gardening in Ireland”. He doesn’t want it to appear as a spam article, so rather than just filling a page with keyphrases, he spends quite sometime researching and writing a post on “Landscape Gardening in Ireland”.

After a few days, he checks his website stats again… “YES!”, he exclaims. “I’m being found for “landscape gardening in Ireland” and Google has 7 pages of my website indexed!”, he says.

Tom is delighted, this is great news. Tom thinks, “But why have I not got any sales enquiries?”. “Surely this time, people searching for “landscape gardening in Ireland” are looking for a landscape Gardner?”, Tom thinks to himself.

On further inspection of his website statistics, Tom notices that most people finding his website are going directly to his blog article and then leaving the website. They’re not even bothering to have a look at his wonderful portfolio page of all his great work. Tom’s unsure where to turn next. He has wasted time writing these articles that he doesn’t even enjoy doing and he has plenty of other things that he could. On top of this, he’s not too sure what to write about next… But what should he do??

Does this sound like you?

The simple answer to this is – Tom should talk to someone who can help – would be a good place to start! :)

The above scenario is similar to situations we encounter on a regular basis. Website and business owners are led to believe that blogging is the be all of a successful online marketing campaign. The simple fact is that they can be, but NOT for everyone.

The truth is that most of those requesting a blog have been ill informed about the true value a blog provides. Most don’t really understand how to use a blog successfully as part of an online marketing campaign. They expect miracle results even though they’re not sure what exactly a blog does or can do for them.

The increase in requests for blogs can lie squarely at the feet of fly-by-night SEO Experts and “social media and online marketing experts”. These guys love to talk the talk, but most have never really walked the walk. They hype blogs as the saviour in terms of promoting and marketing your website. Unfortunately, they only give away half the facts.

To get the answers you need to see if you it’s worthwhile you need to ask them the following questions:

  1. Do you think it would suit my business?
  2. Do you think I could generate business from a blog?
  3. If so, what would my best approach to doing this be?
  4. Have you examples of clients you have helped create a return with a blog?
  5. If so, can I talk to them!

That should be enough to have them either running away or helping you understand how a blog might help your business.

Here are the simple facts:

  1. Blogs DO NOT increase your search engine ranking
  2. Google loves content – the more you have – the better (ideally it should be related to your area of business)
  3. Blogs DO help you create more content for the search engines – therefore, you should increase the traffic to your website, because your website is likely to be indexed for more search terms
  4. Blogs are a great way of building your profile and help promote you as an authority in your field

Whatever your reason for wanting a blog, please don’t be fooled by those selling it to you as a “magic bullet” solution for search engine rankings. It’s not, if it was everyone would just install one rather than hire a SEO expert.

Blogs can be good for your business, but you need to seriously consider why you are creating a blog. You also need to consider if you plan to create business from your blog and if you do, what is the best approach to achieve this.

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Google staff will select who’s on top in the near future?

Marissa Mayer
Image via Wikipedia

Google, the foundation who were once proud of the fact that their software relied totally on a democratic process in the form of their algorithm to display to the top sites on the web, open the doors for a future that may not be so “democratic”.

Marissa Mayer stated in an interview:

“Google’s use of user data created by actions on Wiki search to improve search results on Google in general. For now that data is not being used to change overall search results, she said. But in the future it’s likely Google will use the data to at least make obvious changes. An example is if “thousands of people? were to knock a search result off a search page, they’d be likely to make a change.”

So is she saying that sometime in the near future, Google’s staff will decide who should be on top?
To me it looks like they will manipulate the search results to favour what they believe should be top of the pile.

You could argue that this is what their software already does although in a very complex manner. Basing their algorithm on a link popularity score, meant it was easily manipulated by SEOs across the world. But do they really need to make this a manual process?

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Geansai Gorm as Gaeilge

As the race for the latest “greatest SEO hots up, I think it’s only fair to mention the site that I would love to see win it.

Cormac Moylan has completed his new site, in which he will attempt to appear No. 1 in Google by the end of November for the phrase “Geansai Gorm”.

It’s the first site for this competition to be created fully as Gaeilge.

For this great attempt, I think it’s only fair to give him a bit of link love – Geansaí Gorm | Suíomh Éadach

Best of luck to my preferred winner! :)

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Geansai Gorm – the latest “Greatest SEO” competition

Damien Mulley, via the Irish Web Awards, has launched the latest search for Ireland’s greatest SEO.

Entrants are asked to try and rank their site number 1 in Google for the gaelic phrase “Geansai Gorm” (translated to Blue Jumper).

The basic rules are that you must use a brand new domain name, none of the keywords can appear in your domain and you can’t use 301 redirects.

I’ve never been a fan of these competitions myself because for an established SEO it’s an easier task to achieve results than those that have nothing to start with. Generally an established SEO also has access to a number of strong sites that they can quickly get good links from.

Already this morning there are a number of blogs that are appearing in Google for  “Geansai Gorm” which will make the task for the entrants that little bit harder.

It will be interesting to see who the winner will be none the less! Hopefully the winner can do the whole site “as gaelige” too!

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Google removes Yahoo & DMOZ recommendation from its webmaster guidelines

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Google have made a slight change to their webmaster guidelines that could actually be something quite major.

The following lines were removed from their guidelines:

  • Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.
  • Have other relevant sites link to yours.

For years Google has highly recommended a link in Yahoo! and DMOZ. Having links in these directories was a great benefit to your sites ranking. They also constantly recommended that you built lots of relevant links to your website.

This lead to huge abuse from search engine optimisers, who would simply spamming link farms and directories. What this means for the future is debatable. Maybe Google are going to disregard directories altogether regardless of their importance currently. I doubt they will undermine link value, but I wouldn’t be surprised anymore.

We’ll just have to keep an eye on things and see what happens.

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