In the midst of the rain and fog that is the on-going controversy within the SEO community surrounding the current changes in search engine policies and procedures, one has to ask: is there any ray of sunshine, any silver-lining? What (if any) is the good news in all of this? This is the question that people all over the world have been asking for some time.
They continually read about the complaints from search engine execs who are getting sick and tired of getting nothing but paid results generated in the SEO fashion, and they are wondering what it all means.
First of all, given all of the complaints pouring into the corporate offices of Google, Yahoo, Excite and others, is it any wonder that changes have been made? They were bound to come sooner or later. And it is understandable. The paid advertisements and pay-per-click links were getting too outrageous. Also, the users were tired of having to wade through tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of search results only to find that nothing “ranked” was what they actually were looking for. The “Network” mantra (“I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore”) grew loud enough that the execs had to finally act. And act they did. They needed to show their users that their complaints were not falling on deaf ears. So they made a few rapid (some read radical) changes in their policies and procedures to make sure that their users can readily find the information that they are actually looking for.
What worries the SEO community in all this is that, practically speaking, there will no longer be a need for making sure that articles have a certain number of keywords, highlighted and bolded properly so that crawlers can spot them more easily. But is this a bad thing? Is this not, in fact, the silver lining of the SEO cloud?
If you can’t hear it yet, then perk your ears up soon, because there will be a sigh of relief across the world-wide writing community when this news sinks in, because, for all writers, and especially for those who were never fit at it in the first place, the good news is this: word density will not matter. You will no longer have to swim through the bog of figuring out when and where and how often to place words and phrases the correct number of times. You will no longer need to dexterously memorize where the bold and headings buttons are. And you will no longer need to cry yourself to sleep as you wrestle with the bane-of-your-existence weird combinations of words that you have most graciously been given by your concerned, but not always completely understanding client. Now…If that isn’t good news, then I don’t know what is.
With rumors and “controversies” raging, how do you weather the storm? How do you process and understand what in the world is going on and figure out what all the brouhaha is about? First and foremost, you have to go to the source. Think High School here. The best way to avoid drama and spare some unnecessary estrogen-induced tears (or testosterone-laden punches for guys) is to go to the person who started it all and hear first-hand what exactly was said and what exactly happened. That way, less people get hurt and the whole process can be handled much more easily. The same rule applies here.
The drama is this: W3C is causing Google to change their policy so that a natural search will yield more results than a keyword search. That means, for example, that if you search “dogs, doghouses and dog breeders,” then you will get more results based on those words than if you had used SEO keywords. The results will have all three words or phrases in them, but in a natural form. This is a departure from the current SEO search approach.
The controversy is obvious. What does this mean for SEO? Will everything have to change and will we have to adapt to this new search approach? Can we even adapt? Does Google not like us anymore (thinking of High School again…)? The answers to these questions are actually quite positive regardless of how grim the prospects look. But before tackling those issues, you must first go to the source. This means heading straight to the W3C consortium and hearing it from the horse’s mouth. There you will find out exactly what is going on and exactly what changes will happen and when. If you have questions, you can read all the information from their site and you can always contact them in regards to the new policies and procedures. Hopefully, this should calm your fears and your concerns down a bit.
Now…as for what this all means: the truth of the matter is that, while the former SEO approach delivers some results, a natural search, like the one being implemented, will land more interested customers for the company. The results will bring more people who really want your business, not just some curious surfers who may not truly be interested in what you have for sale. This will not only boost business but also increase the traffic to your site. All this means: added rewards for you. Plus, by using the guidelines issued by W3C, you will have everything at hand to make the changeover easily. This is a win/win.
Understand, then, that change is inevitable, and it isn’t always a bad thing. True, when change occurs, it will be difficult for a little while. But all should/will even out and your business and company will be the better for it. The changes to a natural, organic flow have already been started and there are guidelines already available out there for companies and businesses to start the change over now. There is no need for tears (or punches)…at least not this go-around.
Submitting articles and web pages to their respective directories has, for the last so many years, been a cut and dry, cookie-cutter-esque, type of process, in which you followed a specific set of rules designed to simplify and streamline the process. But, the guidelines that were meant to speed up the process and make it “so much easier” for those submitting have actually become more confusing and outdated than helpful. This has led many people in the SEO community to stop submitting through the process and, instead, to post through other means. They say that they have even received much better results.
So should we all abandon ship and follow these discoverers into the open water? As will be no surprise, some say Yes and some say No. The die-hard “old guard” types in the SEO community want to stay on the ship. They like their cabin and they don’t mind the food. They have even grown accustom to the mixing smells of saltwater and wood. But, there are also those out there who say that there are several reasons to go ahead paddle away. And unfortunately there is no happy medium between the two viewpoints right now, which is making more of a mess out of an already confusing situation.
Chief among the reasons for those who are abandoning is that there is a storm coming that will most likely tear the SEO ship to bits. With the rise of organic searches, SEO will become obsolete, so all former tactics needs to be discarded and new strategies must be developed. This will be a good thing for the searchers, as they will be able to more easily and more quickly find what they are actually searching for. Also, the results will appear in and order of importance that makes more sense to the searcher.
This means that there won’t be a bunch of paid advertisements at the top of the results page confusing the searcher who is looking for something specific. Practically speaking for the companies, this also means that it won’t matter any longer if you have the best article, product or web site and are on the top of the list next to paid advertisements. The searcher can and will just skip on over you. So it is time to change. It is time to start re-thinking how articles are written and submitted, because the trends are going in a different direction.
Want someone (or something) to blame? Blame all the paid advertisements that are all over the place. Functionally they are how Google and the other search engines were able to start making money in the beginning. But they have gotten out of hand, and the searchers are fed up with it. So change is coming. Are you “on board”?
Link for Guidelines
"Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit." Google Guidelines, 2008
There's been an argument for a long time among SEO services revolving around whether or not there should be SEO standards. Specifically, the debates question whether a set of standards is actually a "best practices" list or an inhibiting factor for SEO. Now throw into the equation the fact that Google has published a set of "optimization guidelines." Is this “best practice” or SEO inhibition?
Something to consider: Google is the number one search engine - the big Kahuna. They are Big Momma in the SEO house, and whatever Big Momma says and wants, Big Momma gets. So…If Google says, "This guide will help make your website more 'crawlable’, and these are the basic guidelines for optimizing for our search engine", then should we really be worrying about semantics? Does it really make a difference if they're “best practices” or constricting standards?
Better yet, as companies that provide SEO services, aren't we obligated by our positions to at least look them over? I mean if anyone is the expert on what works and doesn’t work, wouldn't it BE Google?
Google Guidelines for Optimization
Those in the SEO community who provide SEO services may or may not agree with the guidelines. After all, SEO is a school of many theories. However, most, if not all, of these guidelines make sense; to turn away because you don't want to be hemmed in by rules or structure is to turn away from success for your clients. So here is what you should:
• Make every page accessible with at least one static text link. Definitely "best practices" for SEO services and web designers. Just like users, engines don't like to have to search for informational pages.
• Have information-rich pages that describe your content well. Again, "best practices". For example, what good is it to have a site with information that isn't related?
• Use text to display important content instead of images. While you can put text over an image, using an image to display the text cuts down on the effectiveness of the copy your SEO services provide.
• Check your site with a text browser. If you can't see all of your site because of fancy flash and script, neither can Google.
• Use an XTML Sitemap. For those sites that are too complicated to be crawled, an XTML Sitemap is especially helpful. If the spiders get lost, they can refer back to the sitemap.
• Don't try to trick the search engines to improve ranking. If you wouldn't feel comfortable explaining what you've done for a client to a competitor, don't do it.
Not only are the guidelines clear about “do's", but they set out their list of “don’t’s” as well. These include: cloaking, automated queries, and pages with irrelevant keywords (to name a few).
This is just a small portion of the list; there are many more tips in the Google guidelines. So, to all the other SEO services out there I say, forget semantics (unless it's semantic web) and read the guide. Whether best practices or SEO standards, the guidelines are there to show us the way.
As we enter into these uncertain times, online marketers and webmasters need all the help they can get. Recently, Google mailed a small booklet to its Adsense users; in it Google gives "6 Top Tactics For Tough Times." It is obviously referring to its Adwords PPC (Pay Per Click) program and clients but Google's advice can be applied to your general online marketíng.
These tactics include: (quoting directly from the Google mail-out)
1. Focus your ads on low prices and savíngs.
2. Use Value-related keywords.
3. Ensure your ad groups are targeted and relevant.
4. Don't waste money on irrelevant clicks.
5. Make it easy for customers to buy.
6. Focus your money on your high-performers. (End Quote)
Sound advice and I especially like the idea of focusing your marketing on low prices and savíngs mainly because people want bargains in tight economic times. I also like the fact that you must make it easy for your customers to buy... something as simple as putting your "order/buy link" above the fold can improve your conversions.
Also, targeting value-related keywords, is a very effective marketing tactic. Relating your keywords to "discounts, bargains, cheap, inexpensive, lowest prices..." will help improve your sales. So too, is catering to phrases that suggest the searcher is in a buying mind-set: gifts, presents, gift ideas, wedding gifts... shoppers searching those words are ready to buy.
Plus, focusing your time and money on your high-performers is solid advice. Sometimes succeeding online is simply finding a market niche that works/performs - then running with it. Once you have found the keywords and products that perform well with your site or sites - focus the majority of your time and energy developing those niche markets.
Now here are some of my most effective marketing tactics that have worked for me and tactics I will be relying on in the coming years - even in these hard times.
Make Keywords Your #1 Goal
This is the single most important factor for my own online success. You have to make keywords and ranking high for them in all the search engines your main objective if you're marketing online. Might sound obvious, but many beginning marketers don't truly understand how important getting top rankings for your chosen keywords will be in your online success.
Target less competitive long tail (multi-worded) keywords to get started and slowly work your way up to more popular keywords. Center your marketing around getting those first page listings (Top Five) for your keywords. Achieve this goal, (especially in Google) and it will be almost impossible for you not to succeed and make a profit with your online marketing even in bad times.
Autoresponders, Líst Building & Online Relationships
Keeping in contact with potential buyers is mission critical. You must use autoresponders to send follow-up messages to build trustful relationships with your potential customers.
So building a large contact líst is essential. That's why the social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace can be very effective marketing tools for building this online contact and trust. Truth be told, all these social networks are, more or less, just glorified autoresponders and líst builders!
Your Unique Selling Position
You must give potential customers some very good reasons for them to buy from you or your links. Offering special bonuses and discounts works wonders for your sales. Some of my most successful pages simply consist of coupons and discounts offered by different companies. If buyers can save $100's OFF by buying thru your links, they will.
Always remember, besides looking for the best deal or bargain, consumers are also looking for a quality product. If you're into affiliate marketing, only pick top quality products to promote. Picking top brand names also makes it easier to make sales. So too is only promoting popular online merchants like Amazon which can be an effective marketing strategy. Most importantly, always remember consumers are also looking for INFORMATION on the products they are considering buying, give them helpful information and you will succeed.
Go With The Flow
If you're marketing online, you have to follow what's working for you. Most times you will try countless ideas or tactics - once you have found a process or system that works, really work it or scale it up. Making your first dollar is the hardest, but once you do something that earns you that dollar, just repeat that "something" a thousand times.
Tracking what works is very important so keep a close eye on your site's traffic logs to find where your customers are coming from. Something like Google Analytics is simply priceless for "fine-tuning" your site and your internet marketing. It will tell you what's working and what's not.
Target Recurring or Residual Income
One of my most effective marketing strategies is to promote and sell products and services that give you a recurring or residual income. Make one sale and get paíd for years or for the life of that referred client. Concentrate on services like web-hosting, telephone, marketing programs... once customers sign up to these services, they will likely keep them for years. I am still earning income from sales I made five years ago.
Building a large residual income could be the key to surviving in tough economic times. This will be income which will carry you or your business over the rough patches since it is based upon past performance and not on your current selling situation.
The real beauty of marketing online and using computers... you can automate just about every process in your marketing system. Make it a point of automating everything you do... use autoresponders to follow-up with potential buyers, use automatic check-outs, automatic reporting... just set-up your whole internet marketing system that runs itself with little or no supervision from you. This will free up your time to concentrate all your efforts on marketing/promoting your site or product. Besides, nothing beats coming back from a vacatíon and finding out you have earned the cost of your vacatíon and then some - all the while you were lying in the sun and miles away from any computer.
Find The Top Online Marketers
If you're just starting with internet marketing, you need to find the top successful marketers and "model" what they're doing. This is relatively a new industry and you have to seek out the experts and pioneers who have set the groundwork. When I first started marketing online, I was quite fortunate to come into contact with some web marketing heavy-weights such as Marlon Sanders, Ken Evoy, Neil Shearing... and SEO experts like Brad Callen and Aaron Wall.
Make Google Your Friend
Whether you love or hate Google doesn't matter, you just have to make it your number one ally in your online marketíng. Google has just about conquered the world-wide search market, Yahoo and MSN are still important, but Google is the deal-breaker when you're selling stuff online. Consumers have enormous respect for Google, a number one listing for a lucrative keyword simply means money in the bank.
I have found using Google Search, Google Adwords, and Google Adsense have played a more than significant role in the success of my own online sites and marketing. Google tools such as Google Analytics, Google Alerts, Webmaster Tools... all have been invaluable and an enormous help in achieving my "web-based" lifestyle and livelihood. Of course, Google has also driven me around the bend more times than I can count, but no one is perfect. Besides, when it's all said and done, anyone marketing on the web must truly embrace Google if they want to reach their highest level possible.
Copyright © 2009 Titus Hoskins
There is never going to be a one hundred percent agreement from anyone involved in the online SEO field and process with regards to techniques Search Engine Ranking, Meta Tags, Reciprocal Linking, link building social marketing and the list goes on and on.
There are always going to be arguments as to which SEO technique works best, in what situation and how the strategy will work to get the most traffic. In reality this will really only bring traffic to your site... Not enough to break the bank though. What's missing is conversions.
Oftentimes, the SEO techniques that you are using will either bring you the best possible results for your keywords; or you will find out that nothing works and the different techniques that you have been using is never going to give you the chance or possibility to yield the results that you want. This is often the problem my clients run into and one that you will have to learn to deal with; once you figure out what to change, (most are clueless) how to change it, (some consider total web re-design) where to make the changes (is it the tags, the link building, the blog...?) and how to make those changes work ( like anyone has that kind of time on their hands )in the best possible ways that you will not regret the decision(s) that you made.
The mistakes that people often make are with reciprocal links. Basically the thinking is that they are going to get more traffic than they would normally get from organic search engine results. They start “swapping off” links to each other’s pages in the effort to help each other get the best possible bang for the buck. What these people do not realize is that this strategy is “old news” and will back-fire on you more times than it actually helps you.
Here is the real deal on that "technique" these people (link builders) are using your page to cross-connect, to get to, another person’s page on a completely different website altogether that is either along the similar line of thinking, products and/or services or content. The main problem here is that those visitors really do not stay on your website long enough to even look around to see if you have what they are looking for. This is something that is more of a waste of time than anything else, folks. Basically empty hits that have absolutely no value to your ROI.
Many people that do this will certainly argue with this viewpoint, and will even be completely turned off by the ideas and information that I am offering here and will “turn a deaf ear”, or drop me like a rented mule so to speak. Thus the information I am supplying here is maybe too progressive or boxed in this ever-changing world. It's true what they say about your web presence one minutes you are standing on solid rock and on shifting sand the very next day, week, or month.
If you are not using new ideas and SEO techniques that can be flexible, you are actually making things much more complicated for yourself. Just remember folks using a bunch of keywords in the right places is not enough any more. You have to do so much more.
In the world of SEO writing, there are a good many controversies swirling. These controversies range from the use of SEO to the changes that W3C is implementing to search engines such as Google. There are a lot of myths and misinformation that are driving some of us in the industry batty and a lot of us dive into these rumors. Let’s take a look at some of the rumors/controversy and see if we can pick through them.
How do you "SEO"? • Our first rumor and controversy involves the right way to optimize your content or website. "SEO" means search engine optimization or optimizer; it works for most search engines. There's no real "right way", as strategies vary from company to company.
Can I trick the Search engines ? • Now this leads into the next controversy which is SEO arranging and Google. Google will be changing how it ranks web pages in 2009. There has been a plan that was arranged with W3C in regards to how this will be run. Once this change is implemented, organic results will be stressed instead of keywords results. Organic simply means natural search and will be more suited to the person searching instead of the popular keyword searching results. This will indeed bring more people to your site.
How can I know if SEO works? • While some will argue that if they don’t get results with a company then you should fire them. Listen have you allowed them at least 30 -60 days to show you results? You see after the changes in Google takes place, this particular argument will indeed be moot. Right now, it is advisable to run what you have as far as pages, but start changing them now, in order to be compliant when the change occurs.
How can I pick an SEO provider? • Right now, as far as doing business with an SEO company is concerned, your best bet is to go with a company that has proven results. However, bear in mind that once the Google changes take place, the norm of search engines optimization will be a thing of the past and companies as well as individuals will have to do things much differently than they do now. Search engine techniques will be less important and the natural search will become more important. If you are working with a company currently that does SEO, then you will need to ask them how they will become compliant with the recent W3C edict for the new changes.
The Google/W3C changes in the World Wide Web, may be frightening at first, but will ultimately result in the best things possible with consumers. SEO is changing and the best thing that can be done is to roll with the punches and conform to the new changes. Ultimately your company will see better results which in turn mean ROI. This will, in the long run, bring you more qualified customers that will buy your service or product. In conclusion it's not all doom and gloom the new changes will benefit all.
Whether you are a small business owner or a CEO of a large company you cannot help but wonder about this topic. I have been asked this very same question by both; when is SEO necessary?
This is because most people out there still do not understand nor have the time to inform themselves about the real power that SEO articles and copy carry. There are really two major factors to consider. The first point (and advantage) of these articles is that they are rich in keywords/phrases which are designed to get the attention of the search engines “crawlers” –these are akin to electronic spiders that go searching the entire Internet for the information that you are looking for based upon what you have just typed into the search box. Secondly the copy should read well, engage the readers and entice them to click on your site. Hopefully and ultimately offering them the solution, the service, or that new magic potion you offer.
In case you are not aware SEO, stands for Search Engine Optimization. In it's purest form, this style of copywriting is designed to help the search engine “crawlers” find what the reader is looking for based upon how those articles are ranked by the search engines themselves.
So maybe you are wondering how do I write SEO Articles? First you need to know the basics of writing copy. The main thing is to have a goal in mind, an outline if you will that will make the words flow. Then I pick out a keyword or phrase that characterizes your item, product or idea. This can be anything from the name of a specific product or place to something like writing content geared towards the real estate market. The point of the keywords/phrases is the main idea of what the SEO article is all about.
If you are writing articles for someone else, they are likely to give you the necessary keywords. Most will also ask for a certain keyword density. I always advise the client that a 3%-5% keyword density is best. That translates into great copy without stuffing too many keywords. You see there are three forms of keywords. They are:
Lets hypothetically say the client wants the main keyword to be Alcohol Abuse.
I would then break it down like this
a. Primary (main keyword or key phrase given) alcohol abuse
b. Secondary (related topics) alcohol abuse statistics, alcohol abuse effects
c. Tertiary (Variations of keyword or key phrase) alcohol and abuse, abuse of alcohol
Is SEO necessary to make your mark in this very competitive marketplace? This is one of those questions that people have been asking for quite a while, and the answer is a resounding YES folks! SEO Articles are meant to draw the attention of not only the search engine crawlers and those readers that you really want to reach.
You're familiar with the language used: "act now and we'll send you two pieces of junk you don't need, but wait there's more, call in the next ten minutes and we'll add a third useless item."
Does any intelligent person really respond to this kind of pitch, and what self-respecting business would actually behave in this manner? The fact is, if you sell something of value at a reasonable price, and you treat your customers with some respect, you will get your share of business.
You may not get all the business, nobody does, but the business you do get, will result in more satisfied customers, more word-of-mouth referrals, and ultimately more sales.
This is why it is so important to stay in touch with your clients and new potential business. Many businesses think that they don’t need to know anything about SEO Articles, but they are very wrong indeed. This kind of thinking is what leads them to ask the title question of when is SEO necessary? All the time, is the answer to that.
If you are a writer and are thinking about writing for a living, very few of us would consider a job as an SEO copy writer or any other type of SEO job. It's extremely competitive and most of them don't know what they are doing. I always tell our clients the proof is in the results. We are on Page 1 of Goolge for Professional SEO Specialist. We actually have 5 listings on page 1 so go figure right?
Okay enough about us let me get back to giving you the information. Considering this option as a career you must consider these points. It is time consuming and technical. I am sure you have all seen these people trying to sell you a video or download for only $99. Great tips on how to get huge amount of traffic or tons of business overnight. In all honesty it doesn't work. I have been at this for years, and take it from me. It takes time, technique and lots of patience. You are competing with millions of businesses online. And I have always asked myself this question, if the person is making so much money online why are they giving you their secret? I don't know about you but I don't feel compelled to share my million dollar making scheme with anyone. Hellooo is it me or does that make sense?
But that is another article. Lets get back to SEO Careers. Yes, they are on the rise, however and there are many different ways that writers can find their own niche when dealing with any type of SEO. This is becoming a very popular job prospect. It's like anything that becomes popular in today's society, you have to become a specialist. For example if you are an MD you can choose to be a GP or you can specialize in one specific realm of medicine. Therefore If you are looking for information on how to cash in on your writing career why not consider SEO. Here is your chance to find out what it takes from someone who has been doing it for over 10 years.
SEO copywriters are copywriters that must have a basic knowledge of writing great copy. However SEO is different, there is a science to making copy read well for humans and search engines alike. SEO by definition is search engine optimized. How this is done is by using keywords that are highly ranked in Google. This is one of the top ways to get organic traffic.
- You need to know how to write SEO articles.
- Article submission and directory submission in order to drive traffic to a site.
- Find the keywords by using a specific tools in Google such as Adwords, Quake or other keyword analysis tools.
- Find the most popular terms (once you have used the KEI) that are currently rating high and write your article with those terms in mind.
- Do not stuff your articles with the keyword. Use common sense and use good copy writing skills.
- Always write the article with a purpose for the reader.
- Once you are done then go back through the article and place the keywords no more than 3 times in the text.
- Once in the first sentence, then in the middle of the copy and lastly in the last paragraph or last sentence.
As a copywriter I have to know how to do this in order to create successful hyperlinks. A basic way of creating a hyperlink is if you are creating a document, you would type in the url address of where you want the reader to go to. If you are using a word processing program, then you would be able to create the link by choosing create hyperlink. You would add a word and link it to the hyperlink so that if any one clicked on the word in blue then they would be taken to the page in question.
Most SEO service providers also know how to write compelling copy for the page in question. Here is where article submission and directory submission comes into play. What are they, you may ask? Article submission is when you submit your articles to both article databases and directories. These articles will have to engage your reader while having a specific message. This is where it gets tricky. You cannot expect your reader to click on the link unless they are truly interested in your message. So keep in mind you won't get every reader to click on your link but if you offer a valuable service at a competitive price eventually you will get the customers. It does however take time. And if you hear from online marketers saying it doesn't then with all due respect they are lying to you.
Lastly I have been asked doesn't Google penalize you for having duplicate content? The answer is "No" you can read it from Google directly. That is not to say you should upload the same article to 100 directories. Rather do what I do, I upload them to all our blogs, then refine each one so it reads different than the other 2 blogs. You would be surprised at how many time my articles have been picked up by other blogger, and article directories. Makes me feel like a star. So if you are looking for a trade and are creative without thinking "inside" the box, then check out SEO Careers.