Critical Factors Google Uses to Judge Your Content Quality



As you no doubt know, Google has long judged your Web site on content quality. But research reveals other vital factors about Google’s algorithm changes.

“Google’s Hummingbird algorithm change means the search engine now has a better understanding of the intent and meaning of searches which improves its ability to deliver relevant content in search results,” said Marcus Tober, Searchmetrics founder and CTO.

imagerymajestic supply chain risksCharacteristics of strong quality

Google looks for comprehensive information and content that’s easy-to-understand.

This means your site probably entices users to stay on your site longer and has higher click-through rates. And you have effective internal links and quick-loading pages with less advertisements.

All of this is explained in a 2014 Searchmetrics study.

The report reviewed 10,000 trendy keywords and about 300,000 Web sites that rank in their top 30 search results.

However, big brands are ranked high even without meeting such content standards.

Well-known brands don’t have to have much content, internal links or keywords in the search-engine description.

But big brands benefit from high-quality backlinks from news-media sites and other highly ranked sites. Strangely, Wikipedia is according big-brand status by Google.

Smaller brands and sites have to work harder to attract Google’s favorite status.

“This means search engine optimization is increasingly a holistic discipline. It’s not enough to optimize and rank for one relevant keyword – content must now be relevant to the topic and include several related terms. This helps a page to rank for several terms and creates an improved user experience at the same time,” Mr. Tober added.

More findings

Google spots high quality, relevant content. Sites enjoying No. 1 and No. 2 rankings have comprehensive relevance with at least 900 words with images and videos.

“Just creating more content does not positively influence rankings,” Mr. Tober explained. “It’s about developing relevant and comprehensive content for users dealing with more than just one aspect of a certain topic.”

He says search engines now analyze “content clusters” not just single keywords – subjects that are based on keywords and a myriad of related terms.

Readability is important to Google – higher ranked sites were easy-to-read using the Flesch readability scale:

Score Notes
90.0–100.0 easily understood by an average 11-year-old student
60.0–70.0 easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students
0.0–30.0 best understood by university graduates


(NOTE: Personally, I find this Google practice of using a readability scale to be very offensive and is a catalyst for dumbing down of people worldwide.)

Social signals are important. No surprise:  Google favors its own Google followed by Facebook shares, Facebook Likes, Pinterest pins, and tweets on Twitter.

“Our study provides a comprehensive overview of the factors that correlate with a high Google ranking as well as an analysis of what the top sites have in common on average,” explained Mr.  Tober.

“Search professionals must realize that good rankings cannot be achieved by cherry-picking a few factors. Having many backlinks and a fast load-speed will not result in a high ranking if the content on the page is not relevant to the user. Good rankings are based on the interaction of many weighted factors,” he added.

The bottom-line:

“My advice is to focus on optimizing the overall search experience for visitors to your site. Create high quality, accessible content which is relevant and valuable to you target audience; ensure your site is technically excellent to drive a good user experience; and promote it using social media and PR to drive quality natural backlinks,” concluded Mr. Tober.

Here’s a helpful infographic:


From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:


Do You Want to Prevail on Google? Watch the Cheesy Stuff — If you want to win on Google, heed its warning.   Sure, every online publisher wants to earn money from advertising these days. Note the emphasis on the word, “earn.” But there are ways to do right and ways to do it wrong.

Good Blogs Have Nothing to Fear from Google’s Updates — Alarms bells are sounding all over the Internet after Google’s seemingly incessant algorithm updates. The search engine’s changes can be unnerving for bloggers, but there’s no reason to panic. Use patience and tenacity to succeed.

SEO Tips to Rank No.1 on Bing and Google — Study — There are striking similarities with Bing and Google — Web sites for top brands rank the highest and No. 1 sites are dominant because they have quality content, as well as strong social media signals and backlinks. Those are the conclusions from a 2013 Searchmetrics study.
 
Google Tips – 23 Key Questions about Your Web Site — Google has unveiled vital information about what it considers important for Web site ranking. Without divulging proprietary information, Google emphasized it’s all about value – quality for Internet users. In other words, there are no shortcuts for success.

8 Red Flags Your Web Site is Out-of-Date (Here’s What to Do)
— Just like your finances, human resources and other aspects of your business, your Web site should be continuously monitored for red flags and to be sure it’s not out-of date. Yes, it’s time-consuming and expensive, but any problems should be solved. The trick is to do right, cost-effectively.

If you Google some sites about the link between vaccines and autism, you can very quickly find that Google is repeating back to you your view about whether that link exists and not what scientists know, which is that there isn’t a link between vaccines and autism. It’s a feedback loop that’s invisible.”

-Eli Pariser

 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Photo courtesy imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

SEO Tips to Rank No.1 on Bing and Google — Study



There are striking similarities with Bing and Google — Web sites for top brands rank the highest and No. 1 sites are dominant because they have quality content, as well as strong social media signals and backlinks.

Those are the conclusions from a 2013 Searchmetrics study. (Searchmetrics is a top provider of digital marketing software and services.)

search-engine-optimization-575032_1280Seemingly, the study confirms what I’ve long maintained — if you rank well on Google, you’ll show up well on Bing and Yahoo. (Here’s how small businesses can profit from cyber strategies.) 

For other than top brands, the study reveals only 24.7 percent of Web pages that show on the first page of Bing results also appear on Google’s first page.

The study analyzed 10,000 popular keywords and 300,000 Web sites ranked in the top 30 search results on Bing. (See correlation data here.) 

The study’s key findings: 

1. Bing and Google give brands special treatment; helping them rank higher in search engine ranking pages (SERPs). Top brands dominate on both search engines. However, Google’s algorithm seems to be a little more effective at identifying brands and separating them from non-brands.

“Brands rank in the top positions even if they don’t meet certain criteria that non-brand sites have to — or don’t meet them to a sufficient extent,” says Marcus Tober, CTO and Founder of Searchmetrics.

“For example, brand websites rank in the top positions on Bing and Google despite using keywords in the title or description much less frequently, offering less content on average and having a lower number of internal links. These are things that non-brand sites seemingly have to do more if they want their pages to rank well.

“And both Bing and Google consider it natural for brands to have comparatively more backlinks with the name of the company in the link text alone — what we refer to as ‘brand links’ — and still not be rated negatively as would happen for non-brand sites.” Why isn’t the influence of brands clearly defined on Bing as on Google?

The brand factor seems mainly to affect the very first position in Google’s results, whereas for Bing, the first four to six positions show some kind of influence that seems to be caused by the brand factor,” says Mr. Tober. “It seems like Bing is less sure about which sites belong to top brands and so deserve special treatment.”

For other than top brands, the study reveals only 24.7 percent of Web pages that show on the first page of Bing results also appear on Google’s first page.

2. Backlink numbers are closely linked to higher rankings on Bing. While both Bing and Google try to reward pages that have a profile of backlinks that looks natural — not as though it was artificially created by linkbuilding experts — Bing seems less rigorous about this than Google.

“A natural link profile means a site should not simply have a large number of perfectly optimized links that include keywords it wants to rank for in the anchor text. It should have a proportion of ‘no follow’ links which do not convey ranking benefits on search engines and links that contain neutral ‘stopwords’ such as ‘in’, ‘and’, ‘to’ in the anchor text — as well as links that are generic words like ‘there’, ‘here’ and ‘page’,” explains Mr. Tober.

But Mr. Tober says the link profiles of high ranking pages on Bing are still significantly dominated by pages with both a higher proportion of links featuring keywords and smaller proportions of no-follow links, as well as fewer links with stop words.

The study shows about 53 percent of the backlinks of Web sites ranked among the top 30 results on Bing contain keywords in the anchor text, which is about 10 percent more than Google). Two percent of backlinks of pages ranked in the top 30 on Bing contain a stop word. While on Google it’s 10 percent.

“The number of backlinks seems to be the most relevant metric for Bing, whereas the majority of the other backlink features — such as no-follow links or the presence of stopwords in the anchor text — seem not yet to be as relevant for rankings as they do for Google,” says Mr. Tober.

3. Social signals are closely linked to higher rankings. Web sites that rank in the top positions on Bing usually have a large number of social signals according — shares, likes, comments, plus ones and tweets. Plus, the worse the ranking, the lower the number of social signals. But Mr. Tober says correlation is not the same as causation.

“There’s a lot of debate in the search industry about whether social signals directly influence rankings or are just closely correlated with rankings – because highly ranked pages will get more traffic and so attract more shares, likes, plus ones etc.,” he points out. “On the one hand, the data cannot help us say definitively which is true — but on the other hand, social signals are an important user quality signal which you would very likely expect to be taken into account by search engines.”

4. Quality content is important for search rankings. The quality of content on web pages is an important ranking factor. As with Google, in Bing searches pages with more text are positively correlated with rankings indicating that higher ranking pages have more text.

But on average, pages ranking in the top 30 Bing results feature about 100 more words than URLs ranking in the corresponding positions on Google.

“If we assume that the existence of more text is an indicator of quality, then quality content is linked to higher rankings on Bing as well as Google, according to our study,” says Mr. Tober. “On Bing we actually found that this relationship exists up to a limit of around 700 words on average — after this the correlation tended to decrease. So you can’t just go on adding text in the hope it will continue to drive a more positive rankings boost.”

In Google searches, the higher the number of images on a Web site, the better the ranking in general. For Bing, the correlation of the number of images is much lower. Search engine algorithms also take into account keyword semantics and clusters of keywords related to a topic when presenting search results.

5. Consider vital on-page technical factors. Certain on-page factors tend to have a low correlation because they are present on nearly every page that appears in the top 30 search results on Bing and Google.

“These factors tended to be the very basic on-page factors such as the existence of H1 headings, a keyword in the meta description and site speed,” says Mr. Tober. They are almost ever-present and should not be disregarded by SEO teams.”

He says the low correlation for these factors does not mean they are not important.

“Fulfilling certain on-page criteria is now not about achieving a favorable ranking; rather, it is the opposite: It is simply negative for the rankings when web pages do not meet these criteria,” he asserts. “On-page factors are therefore considered more of a prerequisite for ranking higher in search results pages.”

From the Coach’s Corner, related Internet tips:

SEO: Strategic Primer for a No.1 Rated Blog — For a popular blog, you must understand the process — important basics in search engine optimization (SEO).  If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you know success doesn’t keep come automatically. SEO is arduous work. You must have a strategic blogging goal. 

Optimize for Bing to Achieve 30% Reach on Internet — Yahoo and Bing are expected to combine for 30 percent market share. If you haven’t already, start optimizing your Web site for Bing. Here’s how. 

Checklist: 14 Strategies to Rock on Google — Periodic changes in Google’s search criteria and algorithms have indeed hurt many Web sites. But it’s possible to bullet-proof your site’s prominence on Google by taking 14 precautions, which is worth your time and energy.

“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”

-Bill Gates


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





To Win on Google, Be Careful about Paid Content

If you want to win on Google, heed its warning.


Sure, every online publisher wants to earn money from advertising these days. Note the emphasis on the word, “earn.” But there are ways to do right and ways to do it wrong.

As a publisher of what is designed to be thought leadership here on The Biz Coach, perhaps you can imagine how I felt on Monday, May 20, 2013 when the following email arrived: 

Hello,

I am Kyle with Clear Web Solutions. My company represents a leading provider of online degrees. They would like to purchase ad space on your site’s page, www.bizcoachinfo.com/archives/8426. 

Ideally, we’d like to mention our client in a sentence on your site, which would link to our client’s site.  We could pay you via PayPal for your time and efforts as soon as an agreement is made.

Please let me know if you are interested so we can discuss the details. Thanks for your time and consideration.

Kyle

Advertising Representative

Clear Web Solutions

www.clearwebsolutions.org 

id-10086378
Not to be self righteous, but I had an immediate reaction of disgust. Someone wants me to mention his client with a link to his site for pay? Really?

On the same day, here was my annoyed response:

Hi Kyle:

If I understand you correctly, you and www.clearwebsolutions.org want to insert a paid-sentence with a link to you as a product advertisement in a Biz Coach article, 10 Key Differences between Leaders and Managers? 

Well, I can see why you inquired – data shows the article is perennially one of the most-requested and trusted business-coaching articles on Google.  But your request is ironic. 

A leader would neither make such a request nor would allow such a sinister-advertising approach.  Not only is your request insulting and immoral, it would result in a violation of Federal Trade Commission blogging rules.  Find another occupation before I report you and your company, and before it’s too late for your career.  

Terry Corbell

Publisher 

The abhorrent inquiry from Clear Web Solutions was certainly not the first of its type to be received here. There have been other insulting requests, which is why I once wrote this article: Is the FTC’s Blogger-Payola Crackdown Working?

Candidly, I had forgotten about them. But I was reminded of them when I spotted a WebProNews article by Chris Crum entitled, “Google Warns: You Better Adequately Disclose Paid Content.”

It was a reminder to heed Google’s policies on ethics.

“Google’s Matt Cutts has been talking about the subject a lot lately, so if your site offers any advertorial content, you better make sure you’re doing it the right way, under Google’s guidance, or you just might find yourself slapped with a harsh penalty independent of any black and white animal-named algorithms,” writes Mr. Crum.

Amen.

“Earlier this month, Cutts put out a video talking about a bunch of big SEO-related changes Google is working on, and that webmasters could expect to see over the coming months,” adds Mr. Crum. “The video discussed the most recent Penguin update, which we’ve already seen take effect.”

Again quoting Mr. Cutts, Mr. Crum warned about advertorials and native advertising.

“Now, Cutts has a new video talking for five minutes specifically about Google’s policies on advertorials and native advertising,” he explains. “Yes, they’re taking this seriously, so you should too, if you’re at all concerned about your Google rankings.”

Mr. Crum’s article linked to a second video warning that advertorials need to be properly disclosed if you want to avoid Google’s wrath.

There’s more.

“In case you’re still not convinced that Google is cracking down on this stuff, a couple weeks ago, Cutts tweeted that Google had just took action on thousands of linksellers,” Mr Crum warns.

See the original WebProNews article for more details.

From the Coach’s Corner, see these resource links:

Google Rank – 23 Key Questions about Your Web Site — Google has unveiled vital information about what it considers important for Web site ranking. Without divulging proprietary information, Google emphasized it’s all about value – quality for Internet users. In other words, there are no shortcuts for success. There’s been a lot of buzz about Google’s algorithm updates, and how they affect Internet sites. Many sites have benefited and others haven’t fared well in their Google ranking. Well, Google has made it clear what it considers all-important.

Secrets for Attracting, Keeping Readers on Your Blog — Content marketing is a valuable tool, but only if you observe best practices in substance and style – writing the most intriguing headlines and most relevant copy. Attracting readers and keeping them on your blog or site means you must capitalize on your strengths and write for the benefit your Internet readers.

Secrets for Attracting, Keeping Readers on Your Blog — Content marketing is a valuable tool, but only if you observe best practices in substance and style – writing the most intriguing headlines and most relevant copy. Attracting readers and keeping them on your blog or site means you must capitalize on your strengths and write for the benefit your Internet readers.

“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.”

-Potter Stewart

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.


Image courtesy of Mister GC at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Worried Your Web Site Losing Visitors? Best Practices to Fix it



If your site’s visitor numbers are falling, there are five possible reasons. The key is to know what’s wrong before you start applying solutions.

It used to be that Web-site owners only had to worry about losing traffic in the summer.

Instead of surfing, they found it more fun to enjoy the fresh air of the summer months, which prompted publishing solutions — five tips to deal with the inevitable traffic slowdowns.

But things have changed year-round for many Web site owners.

How’s your Web site traffic? Have you been suffering a decline in your visitors’ rate, but you don’t know why?

If it’s any consolation, it’s ostensibly a perplexing problem for a lot of people.

“Slowly, but surely, you’ve been watching your traffic numbers decline, despite not having changed much of anything about the way you publish content or optimize your website for the search engines,” writes Michael Garrity, an editor of Website Magazine.

His May 2013 article is entitled, “5 Reasons Your Search Traffic is Declining.”

Wisely, he suggests a “search result audit for your various keywords that will show you where you’re currently ranking on Google and its competitors for your most important keywords.”

He’s right. Your standing on your search engine results page (SERP) affects your visitors’ rate. If you rank highly, your visitors’ numbers are strong. If not, they’re weak.

In my experience, about 70 percent Internet surfers select a result from only among the first 10 on the SERP.

In addition, my sense is that the No. 1-ranked site attracts about 40 percent of the top 10 listings. (So, if you focus on content marketing, it’s important to use proven strategies for a No.1 rated blog.)

Mr. Garrity says Web sites falter in prominence for five possible reasons:

1. New Competition. He theorizes that too many search-engine optimization pros think they’re doing something wrong – without considering the possibility of increased competition – rival sites poaching their users.

“This is one of the reasons why conducting regular industry assessments and search audits is imperative,” he suggests.

2. Content is Out of Date. He believes the majority of content becomes old and declines in value, resulting in a SERP decline.

“One way to tell if your content isn’t as enticing to searchers as it used to be is to monitor that page’s analytics, and if something that used to get a consistently high influx of visitors now gets less and less, it’s likely that the content on the page is decreasing in value to most readers,” asserts Mr. Garrity. “A method for correcting this issue could be to produce a new, updated version of that content, and then to link to the new page on the old one.”

If I understand Mr. Garrity correctly, here’s where we slightly disagree on the solution to outdated content. Yes, you might have outdated content.

However, you’re paying for the bandwidth consumed by your users, and it’s best to save money. So, it you have new information to share — contrary to Mr. Garrity’s advice — simply update the old content and indicate it’s updated. Otherwise, Google will discount the value of the old page.

Google loves updating for fresh relevance and value, and so do readers. (Try not to delete the original post because Google will notice the 404 error and your site will be penalized for ranking purposes.)

Also, I’d make another suggestion: If you believe such pages are relevant, not to worry. You can use your social media and strategic press releases to boost traffic. Again, Google will notice.

3. Shifts in Algorithm Values. He points out the search engines might be making algorithm changes.

Agreed. Note: For you to stay popular on Google, be aware the search engine looks for its desired answers to 23 key questions about your Web site.

“If you notice that Google seems to favor certain types of content for one of your keywords or targeted search terms, maybe that means you should consider making a video or infographic the next time you consider writing a blog post about a that topic,” he suggests.

4. Caught Red Handed Being a Black Hat. Black hat artists use disreputable SEO strategies to trick search engines into a high ranking on the SERP. If you’re discovered using black hat techniques, you’ll be penalized.

“If you genuinely weren’t intending to be shady and just made a mistake, it’s important that you find out what your exact offense was and correct it as soon as possible, so that you can start trying to garner some good will with the search engines and make your way back up in the rankings,” Mr. Garrity says.

5. They’re Just Not That into Your Content. Ouch. Perhaps, your writing isn’t popular.

“To rectify this problem, you should be aware of the top sites and blogs in your niche or industry, and take note of what they’re regularly publishing content about (in order to understand emerging trends) and what their readers are saying in comments sections and on social media sites to see what they’re asking for, so that you have a better idea of what content will be engaging and valuable to the visitors you want to attract,” he recommends.

Furthermore, I’d add that the key for bloggers is to know the secrets for attracting and keeping readers.

Access his full article here. Website Magazine is a free publication, and provides excellent, timely tips.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional solutions:

8 Red Flags Your Web Site is Out-of-Date (Here’s What to Do) — Just like your finances, human resources and other aspects of your business, your Web site should be continuously monitored for red flags and to be sure it’s not out-of date. Yes, it’s time-consuming and expensive, but any problems should be solved. The trick is to do right, cost-effectively.

Checklist: 14 Strategies to Rock on Google — Periodic changes in Google’s search criteria and algorithms have indeed hurt many Web sites. But it’s possible to bullet-proof your site’s prominence on Google by taking 14 precautions, which is worth your time and energy. Google has perennially owned about a 66 percent search-market share in the U.S. and a 90 percent share worldwide.

Download Speed Matters for WordPress Web Sites – 5 Tips — Actually, download speed matters on all Web sites. Even if your WordPress Web site has compelling content with graphics and pictures, image and user convenience are equally important. So your site’s download speed matters – a lot.

5 Factors to Get Peak Google Results for Your Web Site – Study — What do top Web sites have in common? Successful sites produce a high number of Facebook and Twitter messages, but the sites minimize the volume of ads on its pages according to an authoritative study.

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

-Bill Gates 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






SEO vs. Blogging: Which Is Best for Your Marketing Budget?



To blog, or not to blog – that is the question.

With apologies for paraphrasing the famous opening line in William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, it seems apropos in debating the merits of blogging vis-à-vis hiring search-engine optimization (SEO) experts.

If you’re like most business owners, budgets are tight. So you have to make sure to get the best return on your marketing investment. That means a strong ROI from online and traditional marketing.

With all due respect, you’ll find millions of people online who have proclaimed themselves as SEO gurus. And every day, they contact me or my associates looking for work.

entrepreneur-593356_1280Many, possibly, are successful. But many can’t back up their claims. Why?

If you have to choose between hiring an SEO person or blogging, the former simply doesn’t lay a long-term foundation for Web prominence as well as good blogging.

To use a sports metaphor: If you launch a great blog, you won’t have to look over your shoulder as much, and worry about your online competition.

You can focus on aggressively running your race.

Blogging is a platform for content marketing, and there are valid reasons why savvy B2B marketers like content marketing. SEO should only complement a blog.

So if you have budgetary constraints, and you have to make a choice, your best branding bet is to budget time for a blog and to add it to your Web site.

The advantages:

  1. Ironically, regular blogging is inherently a SEO best practice, especially for B2B marketing. Meaningful blogging on a regular basis and promoted on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook serve as catalysts for highly prized links in business.  Links are an SEO objective.
  2. Frequency of change is an important criterion for search engines. After you post a blog, search-engine crawlers are all over your Web site noting the change. The crawlers along with choice keywords, generate valuable traffic and links. The more you write, the more links you get.
  3. Google, in particular as the No.1 search engine, places even a higher premium on quality content. In evaluating your Web site, Google asks 23 key questions about your Web site.
  4. You can get added credibility by using Google’s author program.
  5. Internet users crave information. They especially will appreciate your checklists, tips and strategies.
  6. A blog ties in well with press releases. If used correctly, they’re a great tool to promote blogs, and strategic press releases will help you beat your competition. However, don’t use the same verbiage in your blog as in your press release.
  7. Blogs are a platform to display rich media, eBooks, and white papers that you can sell. (For example, see the 11 best practices to profit from writing a business white paper.)
  8. You will be able to create opportunities to interact with your visitors — it’s a great idea to engage your potential customers or clients.

Further, blogging is easy if you can write. It will be a source of great satisfaction for you.

From the Coach’s Corner, for success in blogging, here are additional tips:

9 Content Traits of the Best BlogsIn blogging, it helps to be trustworthy and a great storyteller. My sense is that the best blogs share nine common traits in publishing quality content. Why do the best blogs share nine common traits? I base my conclusions on two factors: Information gleaned from Google and from my own journalism experience.

13 Tips to Develop the Best Content for a Top-Rated Blog — Content marketing has become an art form via blogs. Google the term, blog, and you’ll see millions of search results. At last count there were 190 million blogs. So you face serious competition for readers’ eyes. That’s especially true if you want to be known as a go-to informational site in your niche.

SEO and Other Strategic Tips for a No.1 Rated Blog — To own your blogging niche, you must understand the evolving process — important basics in search engine optimization (SEO) and other strategies.  If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you know success doesn’t keep come automatically. Blogging is arduous work. You must have a strategic blogging goal.

Worried Your Web Site Losing Visitors? Best Practices to Fix it — If your site’s visitor numbers are falling, there are five possible reasons. The key is to know what’s wrong before you start applying solutions. It used to be that Web-site owners only had to worry about losing traffic in the summer.

Make Your Blogging, Social Media and PR Work to Attract Fans — Businesspeople have discovered social media is a work in progress. It takes huge amounts of time, not only to implement innovations, but to succeed.

“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.”

-John Russell 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional.Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Good Blogs Have Nothing to Fear from Google’s Updates



Alarms bells are sounding all over the Internet after Google’s seemingly incessant algorithm updates. The search engine’s changes can be unnerving for bloggers, but there’s no reason to panic.

Use patience and tenacity to succeed.

On another page, I’ve written about the five factors to get peak Google results.

stockimagesBut you won’t benefit from obsessing about the right strategies, if you don’t focus on five tips:

1. Exemplary content with strategic keyword usage is vital.

Google has made it clear it wants to highlight the most relevant content.

Google places a high value on useful information.

The right keywords will attract users. If you write evergreen pieces, they’re often read two or three years later but will seem like fresh material to your users.

Even if there are dated details in a blog, they can be updated and noted as such. Then, it’s advantageous to promote your piece again via your social media.

2. Attract centers of influence.

It’s a good day when professionals ask permission to share your content and domain with their B2B customers. Also, it’s great when other bloggers cite your work, or when Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections promote your writing.

So write in a friendly but authoritative style.

3. Make full use of your social media.

Share your work on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you have enough space, ask your followers to re-tweet your tweets.

If you allow enough time, Twitter doesn’t like it, but you can Tweet your content in other dayparts to reach the maximum number of followers. All good blogs will insert social media buttons so readers can conveniently promote content.

4. Don’t get cute with links.

Google is very sensitive to disingenuous link building and sharing. Focus on writing great content to earn backlinks from credible sources.

So be patient but tenacious in pursuing your blogging goals.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more detailed sources of information:

Checklist: 14 Strategies to Rock on GooglePeriodic changes in Google’s search criteria and algorithms have indeed hurt many Web sites. But it’s possible to bullet-proof your site’s prominence on Google by taking 14 precautions, which is worth your time and energy. Google has perennially owned about a 66 percent search-market share in the U.S. and a 90 percent share worldwide. 

Google Insights – 23 Key Questions about Your Web SiteGoogle has unveiled vital information about what it considers important for Web site ranking. Without divulging proprietary information, Google emphasized it’s all about value – quality for Internet users. In other words, there are no shortcuts for success. 

Google Speaks Out About Frequency vs. Value — Are you concerned about your Web site’s popularity on Google? Here’s how the search engine differs from users in Web site content value vs. frequency.

Google Details its Reasoning for Best Web Site Rankings — The world’s most popular search engine has released detailed information on how it evaluates and ranks Web sites. Released in November 2011, the information is still critical for domain success. Ordinarily, for proprietary reasons, Google is a bit guarded when discussing its algorithm processes. But a blog post by engineer Matt Cutts was unusually informative.

Download Speed Matters for WordPress Web Sites – 5 TipsActually, download speed matters on all Web sites. Even if your WordPress Web site has compelling content with graphics and pictures, image and user convenience are equally important. So your site’s download speed matters – a lot.

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.”
-Louis Pasteur

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Marketing Lessons from Rick Santorum’s Failed Candidacy



So, former Sen. Rick Santorum unsuccessfully campaigned for president again in 2016. But he failed to do as well in 2016 as he did in 2012.

Ostensibly, he didn’t learn the marketing lessons from his failed 2012 campaign.

Most recently he has been CEO of Echolight Studios. Without even considering his political views, the former senator from Pennsylvania doesn’t have a prayer unless he makes some marketing changes.

Unintentionally, Mr. Santorum’s unsuccessful presidential campaign — with inadequate branding — provided business with Internet marketing lessons.

Mr. Santorum 


Perhaps you noticed the inflammatory results in searching the Web for him. When you searched for “Santorum,” the deprecating site of “spreadingsantorum.com” was first on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

For curious voters interested in the campaign, it was an especially disappointing search. The site is no longer ranked No. 1 for the keyword, Santorum, thanks to Wikipedia, but remained in the top 5 the last time.

The derogatory site was created in 2003 by a part owner of The Stranger publication in Seattle, who was annoyed by then-Sen. Santorum’s comment about a U.S. Supreme court ruling that was favored by the gay community.

Understandably, Mr. Santorum complained to Google about the rankings – after all there are precedents. Indeed, it can be argued that Google could do something about it.

You might recall Google penalized the derogatory monkey-face depictions of Michelle Obama. There are countless security examples from when Google and the other search engines have issued a warning about a Web site when it believes a site is a security risk to users.

Until and unless Google and the other search engines take corrective measures, the Santorum campaign should have focused on what it could control.

However, the campaign failed to use best practices in Internet marketing.

Its salient shortcomings:

  1. Failure to use SEO techniques
  2. A call to action without giving the right incentives – branding and value propositions
  3. Poor organization – lack of preparedness

Without even considering his political views, the former senator from Pennsylvania doesn’t have a prayer unless he makes some marketing changes.

Failure to use SEO

As a result of his strong showing from largely grass roots efforts, Mr. Santorum’s campaign attracted an unprecedented number of voters who were curious about him. They could find the right site easier when they search using the key words, “Rick Santorum.”

But if they searched using “Santorum,” they get the derogatory site.

In effect, however, the campaign allowed Mr. Santorum to become a victim of political sabotage sans common SEO procedures.

Yes, the Santorum campaign had options to effectively to eliminate the adverse impact of the sarcastic site. Curiously, “spreadingsantorum.com” only has a Google page rank of 5. That wasn’t insurmountable for the Santorum campaign, if it employed proper SEO techniques, and understood how to win on Google.

Hint: If you can win on Google, you will on the other search engines, too.

So see the following:

— Five factors to get peak Google results

— Google details its new reasoning for best Web site rankings

— Understand the 23 key questions Google has about your Web site

— Checklist: 14 strategies to rock on Google

As for the Santorum campaign, it needed to develop and focus on one site – just one site dedicated to the candidate. But it mistakenly directed Internet users to a donation form – one of two duplicate content sites (supportricksantorum.com and ricksantorum.com).

Premature call to action

The Santorum donation site set a poor example by only asking for money. There were no stellar branding and value propositions. Visitors weren’t readily able to learn anything about him – neither his policy positions nor his background.

All of this meant the right sites showed up twice – but they were below the fold on Google.

Moreover, duplicate content hurt the cause. Two different domain names containing similar content defeated the purpose. The two sites effectively insured his Web presence was diluted – the search engines don’t know which was paramount for users.

Poor organization – lack of preparedness

With such a confusing marketing approach, the campaign inadvertently sent two unintended signals.

Firstly, it showed poor organization and lack of preparedness — note the verbiage in this Santorum tweet:

“Your great support has caused some unexpected downtime on our website! You can still support us at our temp page: ricksantorum.com”

Because the campaign instituted some redirects – the tweet sent people to the donation site. That’s a violation of best practices in marketing – never assume the voter has enough incentives before you ask for a vote or beg for donations.

Secondly, such strategies — unbranded donation page and desperate-looking tweets — left users with the impression that he’d fail because he was desperate for donations.

Further, as an example of over-reaching, the campaign constantly changed the tag line that appeared on the search engines. The candidate needed to be consistently repetitive with his branding and Web presence. Aside from the duplication issue and failure to install the donation page in one site, he needed to attract thousands of new links from good Web sites.

Whether he realized or not, failure to take such precautions adversely impacted his credibility as a viable candidate. After all, even if he could have won his party’s nomination, he would have faced a Democrat who long ago demonstrated extraordinary Internet expertise.

Good Internet marketing lessons for business from Mr. Santorum.

From the Coach’s Corner, for more resources, see this portal’s Marketing and Tech archives, which are packed with solutions.

“Don’t blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.”

-John D. Rockefeller




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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Checklist: 14 Strategies to Rock on Google



Periodic changes in Google’s search criteria and algorithms have indeed hurt many Web sites.

But it’s possible to bullet-proof your site’s prominence on Google by taking 14 precautions, which is worth your time and energy.

Google has perennially owned about a 66 percent search-market share in the U.S. and a 90 percent share worldwide.

Combined, Bing and Yahoo have about 30 percent in the U.S. Most of the other search engines are also powered by Google.

So, obviously, it will behoove you to take full advantage of strategies to maximize your presence on Google.

Here’s a checklist:

  1. Make frequent changes on your home page. But be sure it’s all about quality and relevance to Internet users.
  2. For content marketing, regularly blog about relevant topics (see Google Speaks Out About Frequency vs. Value).
  3. Interact with your target audience using the salient social mediums: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+. Here are 8 Tips to Optimize Sales with Social Media, But Beware of a Red Flag.
  4. Be very careful about what you post – keep it professional and on business. Don’t assume that your professional profile can be separate from your personal life. Did I say be careful?
  5. Be aware that Google is influenced by links from the news media, quality online press releases distributed by authoritative firms, and other sites with a strong Google page rank (PR).
  6. Be careful about your other links. Do not allow weak Google PR pages to link to you. Minimize your links to other sites, as Google will perceive you as being manipulative.
  7. Make certain your profile or bio is professional and consistent throughout. Use the same picture.
  8. Insert relevant videos.
  9. Check your Internet reputation on a frequent business. Here are Best Practices to Optimize Your Brand, Manage Your Web Reputation.
  10. If you have employees, develop and implement a social media policy regarding your business reputation.
  11. Change your passwords frequently – make sure they’re strong. 6. Separate business and your personal life. Avoid posting compromising photos, text or videos.
  12. Accelerate your site’s download speed, which is important. See Google’s Continuing Quest to Increase Page Speeds and In SEO, Your Site’s Download Speed Matters to Google.
  13. Understand what matters to Google – see Google Insights – 23 Key Questions about Your Web Site.
  14. Despite what you might read, pay close attention to your use of meta tags and key words. They will influence Google and the other search engines.

By the way, don’t be fooled by the incessant hype about Facebook. Your Web site and prominence on Google will always be more important than what you do on Facebook. (See Winners and Losers in Facebook’s Invasion of Google’s Turf.)

My only regret about Google: That it hasn’t found a way to restart its real-time feature with Twitter. If you use the 14 recommended strategies, and if Google and Twitter get back together for real-time results, you’ll really rock.

Oh, here’s more good news — surprise — these strategies work on Yahoo and Bing, too.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more resource links:

10 Tips to Optimize Your Web Site for Higher Sales — If you haven’t optimized your Web site for sales, you might want to reconsider. There are more and more indications that online shopping will continue to grow.

Startup Toolkit to Make a Hit on the Internet — Just like your bricks and mortar location, your Internet presence will be strong if you always remember why people will buy from you.

By Adding Bells and Whistles, You Risk Losing Money with a Slower Site — At alarming rates, many top e-commerce Web sites risk losing sales because they’re too slow according to a study. Here are ways to accelerate the speed of your Web site.

“The only thing Google has failed to do, so far, is fail.
-John Battelle


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 






Google’s Quest to Increase Page Speeds but Offer Expires



Google has been very concerned about page download speed to help it maintain its image as a search engine. So much so that in July 2011 they offered Web site owners a limited time offer, which has now expired.

For higher performance, Google evaluated your Web site for download speed. They also offer to give out a new code that will made sites faster for enhanced user enjoyment.

PageSpeed Service was turned off on August 3rd, 2015. Please see Turndown Information for PageSpeed Service.

Your might recall Google’s process enhanced Web sites; prominence on the No. 1 search engine, and it enabled Google to operate at a faster rate for users.

Google’s goal has been to enable sites to download more quickly by as much as 60 percent.

“Page Speed Service fetches content from your servers, rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices and serves them to end users via Google’s servers across the globe,” according to Google.

“The extent of speed up depends on a variety of factors such as content on your pages, browser, geographic location of access, bandwidth, etc.,” Google explained.

On its page-speed service page, Google also provided a link for publishers to test their site’s speed. Most tests took less than five minutes.

“The test involves rendering your website on the selected browser by directly visiting your site, and repeating the same test by proxying your site through Page Speed Service,” Google said at the time.

Again, PageSpeed Service was turned off on August 3rd, 2015. Please see Turndown Information for PageSpeed Service.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are resource links to help your site’s Google presence:

“The Internet is the Viagra of big business.”

-Jack Welch

 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

SEO: Despite Hoopla over Social Media, Web Searchers Stay Longer



If you want your Web site to dominate your competitors and keep visitors on your site longer, you might want to consider that social media doesn’t enhance your odds as much as other strategies. What works best is an investment in content and search engine optimization (SEO).

Ironically, the hype about social media makes this seem like an improbable proposition.

However, a 2011 study shows you’re missing opportunities for growth if you’re too influenced by the social media buzz.

bwoman stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.netIt’s a strong word of caution against investing more in social media than enhancing your Web site with frequent, strong relevant content backed by SEO strategies.

The study by Outbrain shows referrals from user-traffic deliver more results than social media.

The firm, www.outbrain.com, provides services for an impressive array of publishers including content and traffic information.

Outbrain says users that directly visit your site and surf more of your pages constitute about 66 percent of your visitors’ data.

The firm’s study indicates social media enthusiasts will spend less time on your site – the bounce rate is higher – they visit one page and that’s it.

On the other hand, surfers who visit your site based on their key word or phrase-search will visit more of your pages.

To quote from Outbrain’s study:

— While search still reigns supreme in terms of directing traffic to content pages (41% of external referrers), social is gaining share at 11%.

— Of the six content verticals examined, stories in the news, entertainment and lifestyle categories are the most likely to receive traffic from social sources.

— Traffic coming from social media sources has the highest tendency to bounce.

— Readers who go from one content site to another (i.e. USA Today to The Daily Beast) are most likely to be engaged in what they’re reading, presumably because they are already in content consumption mode.

— Facebook delivers a more diverse audience than Twitter.

My sense about the study:  All traffic – social media enthusiasts and content searchers – is welcome. However, Outbrain is right. With all the hype about social media — if you have to choose between the two strategies — it might seem riskier to invest more in your content and search engine optimization.

But your ROI will be stronger.

Candidly, that’s my experience, too, as business-performance consultant and publisher of this business portal. Content searchers tend to be more studious and will spend more time looking for content that interests them. The bounce rate for them is insignificant. That enhances your odds for more revenue – whether you’re marketing products or services or depend on display-advertising revenue.

It may seem riskier in the face of the social media hoopla, but focus on providing frequent, relevant content backed by SEO. The social media efforts should be secondary. If you have to make a choice, remember Web sites with current, strong relevant content earn more respect.

From the Coach’s Corner, if you want more tips, you might consider the following tips:

Task-Management Checklist for Digital Marketing — To generate revenue from digital marketing, naturally, you must strategize to use best practices for customer relationship management and for pursuing new business. What are the task-management tips to maximize your time and energies in digital marketing? You need an up-to-date Web presence that ranges from effective mobile apps to social media.

SEO Tips to Rank No.1 on Bing and Google — Study — There are striking similarities with Bing and Google — Web sites for top brands rank the highest and No. 1 sites are dominant because they have quality content, as well as strong social media signals and backlinks.

Optimize for Bing to Achieve 30% Reach on Internet — Yahoo and Bing are expected to combine for 30 percent market share. If you haven’t already, start optimizing your Web site for Bing. Here’s how.

11 Tips for the Best Business Mobile Web Site — If you operate a retail business, it’s increasingly important for your Web site to be easy-to-use for mobile users. The use of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing, especially among Millennials — young adults aged 32 and under.

Internet Shoppers Demand 3 Cs – Customer Experience Study — Success in e-commerce is increasingly challenging for retailers that want to dominate in brand preference, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising. That’s because consumers want more and more in the three Cs — channels, choices and convenience.

“If you don’t make a mistake, you never know when you’re right.”

– Actor Robert Ryan (movie: House of Bamboo, 1955)

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.