Tag: Search Engine Optimization

If you’ve been hearing about Google Panda and Google Penguin, but still aren’t sure what they are, just know that it’s Google’s way of saying, “Stop trying to trick us. Give us the good stuff.”

If you’re not a search engine optimization wonk, I’ll explain it this way:

Two years ago, you could win Google searches if you had more links pointing back to your site than anyone else for those same keywords.

One year ago, Google was tired of that, and rolled out the Panda algorithm so it only looked at valuable links — links that went from a site about a keyword to another site about that same keyword.

For example, if I have a blog about tennis and I link to your blog about tennis, Google thinks that’s a valuable site. But if I have a blog with thousands of links on it and no common theme, and I link to your blog about tennis, Google thinks that’s crap.

Two years ago, having a lot of links, no matter what or where, was important. Now, Google is on to that. They hate it, and are fighting against it. And your site will be devalued if you pull that stunt.

So what DOES Google want?


Valuable content.

Rich, well-written, important, thought leading, world changing content.

They want stuff that engages people, interests them, teaches them, entertains them. They want something that people will stick around to read and share with their friends.

Google can tell if your stuff is interesting, educational, and entertaining, not by what you wrote, but by how long people stick around.

If it’s crap, they won’t stay. If it’s good, they’ll read it for a while. And if they read it for a while, Google will pronounce it good, and your content will rise to the top of the search engine rankings.

So your job is to write good, informative content, day after day, week after week, month after month.

It’s a long-term strategy that’s going to take a while. It’s not a switch you can flip and have the become all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a handle you have to crank over and over.

The problem is, most people don’t want to turn the crank after a while.

So the good companies, the successful companies, are the ones who can provide good content on a regular basis that people want to read.

Can you do it? Do you have the skills? Can you create stellar, well-written content that people are hungry for?

And can you do it again tomorrow?

That’s the real trick. To be able to create high quality content again and again, without fail, to meet the raging appetites of those people who are interested in what you have to say.

If you can do that, you’ll win. If you can do that, you’ll outperform the companies that are still living and mostly dying by the cheap backlinks.

A lot of bloggers worry about the problem with repeating their blog topics. They think they’re going to bore readers or keep them from coming back. But that’s actually the opposite of what’s going to happen. Here are three reasons you should repeat your blog topics:

1. You need to teach Google.

When you first start a blog, Google has no idea what you’re going to write about on a regular basis, so you have to teach it. You need to get it to understand that you will be writing about a particular set of keywords and ideas on a regular basis. If you write about an ever-changing variety of topics, they won’t be able to tell visitors what your site is about.Drink Boogie Repeat neon sign

Basically, if you try to be everything to everybody, then you’ll be nothing to nobody. And that’s who will see you in the Google search results.

2. You don’t have regular readers.

Check your blog stats. Chances are your first-time readers are more than 75% of your total traffic. That means that the rest of your readers have shown up more than once. Dig a little deeper. I’ll bet most of them haven’t shown up more than three times. That means that even if you have people who are reading on a regular basis, there aren’t many of them. In fact, it’s probably less than 2% of your total readership. That means 98% of them won’t notice if you repeat your topics.

3. You demonstrate your expertise by plumbing the depths of a niche.

It takes more than a couple blog posts to show people you know an awful lot about a particular topic. You need to write about a single issue. But it needs to be more narrowly focus than “marketing,” “cooking,” or “history.”

Rather, “email marketing,” “rustic French cooking,” or even “19th century sports history.” Those are all narrow enough niches that you can spend months and months writing about them, and sharing interesting ideas. But focus on those big narrow topics, and you’ll be completely out of ideas within six weeks.

Just remember, repeating topics is not the same thing as writing about the very same subject over and over. It means taking a new look at a topic, discussing new research and findings, and addressing new questions that arise. It’s not rewriting the same piece in several different ways.

So if you want to become an authority on your given topic, narrow your field down to a single niche, and then continue to write about it on your own blog.

Photo credit: cyanocorax (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Search Engine Optimization: Flash doesn't entice google

Google is like a hippy girl. More likely to be into your substance rather than your flashy duds. Enjoy!

Too much flash 

Duncan Alney Facebook | Twitter | Naymz | Blip.fm | Social Media Marketing

An interview with Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing

I caught up with Lee Odden recently, whose widely regarded as on of the most influential online marketers. We talked about the relevance of value of blogs especially in the context of public relations that is focused on traditional media, bloggers, analysts, and, increasingly, consumers. Lee makes some great points. Here's the recap. Watch the interview (recorded on the fly at a conference hence the somewhat hushed tone in both our voices).

1. Use blogging software as your newsroom CMS

2. Archive everything – press releases, case studies and more

3. Categorize your content by topic

4. Categorize your content by keywords

5. Use keyword rich tags

6. Use RSS feeds for the newsroom and categories

News rooms can be link magnets and can dramatically improve search results. While push marketing is still important, there are more and more situations where writers, editors and producers under deadline are mostly turning to the web to find information and people. Optimized content can make a world of difference – that is getting your content found on search!

Do you have questions? Do you have a story of how a journalist found you because of your optimized content?

Duncan Alney Facebook | Twitter | Naymz | Blip.fm

1. Purpose

The purpose of a website is huge. It defines everything in the site. This is basically obvious with any website though. When you first make a website, 99.9% of the time you are going to have a purpose for it. It could be a website for your company, selling items, etc. This is important because you do not want to have a website that does absolutely nothing for no one.

*Screenshot Example: Worldvision.org

2. Graphics

Graphics can make a website aesthetically pleasing. Your graphics could include vector drawings, clip art style images, or real photography. Good graphics are eye popping, but not distracting. Ensure your site has a balance of copy and pictures. We are all kids at heart and a site without any pictures/graphics is just boring.

*Screenshot Example: Davi-t.com

3. Navigation

Navigation is often considered the most important part of your website. It helps the user flow through your site. With poor navigation, the user cannot easily get to the information they are looking for. You want to make your website navigation very easy to use and easy for users to get where they want to go (or where you want them to go) in the fastest way possible.

*Screenshot Example: Clearleft.com

4. Accessibility and Usability

I use Mozilla Firefox on a PC, a co-worker uses Safari on a Mac, another co-worker uses Mozilla Firefox on a Mac, and my mom uses Internet Explorer on a PC. People have different browsers, different computers, different screen sizes, and different Internet speeds. One of the most time-consuming parts of making a website is ensuring your site works in different settings. You cannot expect all of your users to have the same settings. This can be very time consuming, but when you look at big sites (Google, MSN, Amazon, etc.) you will notice the same site – no matter what you use (excluding mobile browsing). Making your site usable and accessible separates your site from the amateur sites on the web.

*Screenshot Example: W3.org

5. Color Scheme

A color scheme on your website is something similar to the icing of a cake. Like graphics, it pulls the site together. It adds something to the look of the site. A good site will have consistent colors throughout.

*Screenshot Example: Viget.com/extend

6. Content

Content can make or break your website. You need a good balance of copy and graphics to make up a site with good content. The content is almost a summary of the above. A lot goes into content, but as long as the aforementioned copy and graphics are really good, your content should be fine.

Picture 7
*Screenshot Example: W3-markup.com/order

7. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is similar to usability. Just as we want users to easily navigate your site, you also want to ensure the search engine “spiders” can also easily navigate your site and find the appropriate information. Doing the necessary steps to optimize your site for search can ensure higher search engine rankings and increased traffic.

*Screenshot Example: Google.com

Article by: Zach Reed // Firebelly Designer (Follow me @bluetidepro)

Check out how the best of the best do what they do!30880949

 I had the opportunity to chat with several of the featured speakers at the Search Engine Strategies conference to learn about how the best of the best in the search and social media world do what they do. All of the interviews are now posted on our YouTube channel. Head on over and check it out!

Duncan Alney

Facebook | Twitter | Naymz

Zig.marketing has
been named the digital agency of record for three Sherwin-Williams brands,
Dutch Boy®, Krylon® and Pratt & Lambert®. Zig is helping Sherwin-Williams
make a commitment in the digital space to stay ahead of a changing media
landscape, and do an even better job of talking to and inspiring new and
current customers.


I must commend
Sherwin-Williams for this move. While I don’t know the work of Zig.marketing, I
applaud Sherwin-Williams for recognizing that standard advertising doesn’t
work, and for understanding the value of reaching and engaging their customers.
This is another major brand that has axed a significant amount of traditional
media to move into a space where purchase decisions are being made.

And yet, so many mid-market
brands, continue to resist the benefits of internet marketing. Of course, the
marketing director who doesn’t understand it is afraid of it – but the advice I
have for you is simple: Adapt or you will become redundant anyway. Its just a
matter of time. Your internet marketing strategy should include micro-sites,
landing pages, banners, organic and paid search, blogging and micro-blogging,
and email.

The truth is mid-market firms are more mobile, should take more risks to compete with larger brands, and should use every advantage they can. What do you think?

- Duncan Alney Facebook | Twitter | Naymz

Show me your results please?

Firebelly Blog Theory

So it's not a rant, but I'm getting tired of all the theory talk by people that have never executed anything in the branding, search or social media world. You're not an expert (you know who you are) – you're an evangelist for yourself. You want to book seminars, you want to train people and you've never had a successful client engagement. But as I was saying to the Dalai Lama - you've got thousands of people that you don't know and never talk to on Twitter. Got that going for you. Wait that wasn't really the Mr. Lama. Even the Dalai can get his brand jacked.

So it's taken us a few months to realize this, and we've written our fair share of theory as well, but for those of you who read our blog regularly, we're going to be bringing you more results-based stories, although we do love a fluffy story and we'll still bring those to the table. Think of our blog like a cocktail – 2 oz. real experience based, 2 oz. analysis and 1 oz. fluff served in a martini glass.

- Duncan Alney Facebook | Twitter | Naymz

Interview with Dave Naylor and Todd Friesen

I’ve had some interesting interviews – educational, academic, and oh-so-polite. This is a different interview. It’s sort of exhilarating to listen to these two big dogs’ almost stream of consciousness dialogue on what black hat was, and how its white hat now.

The activities discussed ranged from buying links, hacking .edu sites and placing links, 301 redirects from expired domains, resurrecting old sites with key word relevant content translated from English to German and back to English add some ad-sense blocks and more, DNS poisoning, spreading rumors about the competition, and much more. No question that what was black before is grey now, if not white; and that the eastern bloc and India are the churners and burners in 2009. I agree completely, by the way, with the declaration on full client disclosure. The take away point is clearly that smart marketers are here for the long term and don’t engage in dangerous tactics that can get a site banned and even result in jail time.

Anyway, here’s the background on these fellows:

David Naylor (DaveN) is a Search Engine Optimization and Search Marketing bad ass. He’s led huge campaigns for all kinds of companies. He leads Bronco Internet. And he’s an engaging guy – in a presentation or one-on-one.

Todd Friesen, Position Technologies, is considered by many to be an SEO pioneer. He’s worked with top-name clients and is co-host of the popular SEO Rockstars on WebmasterRadio.FM, as well as a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies, WebmasterWorld Pubcon, SMX and other conferences.

And, by the way, the video is mis-labeled. David is labeled as Todd and vice versa. Whatever. The content is what matters.

On a lighter note, Dave and Todd both “blame Google for everything”,  theorize that “Twitter’s in bed with Google” and agree that Twitter is the new instant messenger. Neither care to be assailed by rubbish third-party applications on Facebook.


Duncan Alney Facebook | Twitter | Naymz

Interview with Brian Halligan, CEO, HubSpot

Recently spoke with Brian Halligan, CEO, HubSpot. HubSpot is an internet marketing company and their product is B2B Inbound Marketing Software that helps their client attract more visitors using SEO, social media and blogs, as well as, capture more leads with landing pages, lead intelligence and marketing analytics. Whew what a mouthful! What’s even more interesting is we’re working with HubSpot on one of a project.

Both Brian’s presentation (which I’d watched earlier) and our interview (which you can watch below) confirmed my strong beliefs in content. Its clear that companies that are leading in the search race are producers of great content. Great content includes copy, photography or illustrations, video, and applications. Good content can be on your website, your blog, and on other places on the web with links back. Brian actually believes in “remarkable content” (coined in this context by Seth Godin who coins everything that already exists with cool little phrases) which is content that people dig (pun only slightly intended) so much that they are compelled to remark on it. Yeah I know you didn’t really need the explanation.

So, while I believe there is a place for paid search, invest in good content FIRST. Whether its on your website, blog or social media assets. Doesn’t matter. If you know what you’re doing, write it up, get some photos, get some video, develop an application. And if you’ve got chops – develop it yourself, if not, hire a professional. Remember your content is a reflection of who you are!

Duncan Alney Facebook | Twitter | Naymz

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