Archive for the ‘SEO – Search Engine Optimization’ category

How the Expiring Apple-Google Deal Can Affect Your Website Traffic

February 10th, 2015

google mobile screenshotThe rumor is that Apple’s search deal with Google will be expiring soon.  Whether they will strike another deal, Apple will choose a new default search engine, or even power search themselves is anyone’s guess.  The result can potentially impact your web traffic.  If you solely focused on your Google rankings and an AdWords campaign, you might want to re-think your strategy.  According to, desktop and mobile Safari serve as the source for about 26% of internet traffic in the United States.  A shift from Google to another search engine could pose a real hit on your visitor numbers.  Bing already powers Siri searches on mobile devices as well as Spotlight Search on Apple desktops.  So if a deal with Google was not reached, Bing seems like the likely choice.  Yahoo would also like to make a grab – they just became the default browser for Firefox.

Now is the time to take a look at your Bing and Yahoo visibility. How are you ranking?  Remember, don’t rely on simple searches.  Personalized search will artificially rank a site higher for you if you visit it often.  Make sure you use a rank checking program.  A search engine optimization professional can assist you with this.  If your rankings are not where you need them to be, now is the time to make some tweaks.


Bad SEO Companies – How To Spot And Avoid Them

February 8th, 2013
Bad SEO Companies Do Things The Wrong Way - Do Not Enter

Bad SEO Companies Do Things The Wrong Way - Do Not Enter

“We do SEO.  Our services consist of creating a title tag and an alt image tag for each page.”  That is just what an SEO company recently told a web developer partner of mine.  Really, that’s it?  I shudder to think how many unknowing people they have ripped off.  So much more goes into SEO: description tags, heading tags, geo location tags, interlinking, keyword rich links, creation of backlinks, local SEO services.  The list goes on and on.  There is a wrong way and and right way to do SEO. Make sure you don’t enter into something you will regret.

I admit it.  I like to watch The Good Wife (must be the former attorney in me).  But both this season and last, they have bashed SEO.  It gets me frustrated. SEO is not bad and most SEO professionals are not the devil.  If you have a website, you need us to help you get found online.  That can be done ethically.  There does not have to be anything spammy about it.  But unfortunately, some so called SEO professionals (the bad SEO companies) are giving the rest of us an unjust rap – not only in the business community but also on television shows!

SEO is a comprehensive process.  It is not just a title tag and a keyword reference on a page.  It is so much more.  It is not just knowing what the right keywords are and where to place them, but also where not to place them and how not to be spammy.  Effective SEO professionals live and breathe SEO. They keep abreast of the latest algorithm changes, search engine platforms and more. They are involved in networks that share what is and is not working, what stumbling blocks are popping up and how you can get around them.  In a sum, these professionals are professionals.  So then why are these horrible SEO companies getting the work? Simple – price point and lack of consumer knowledge.

Bad SEO Companies Are Usually Cheap

And there is a reason they are so cheap.  SEO It is a time consuming, strategizing, constantly evolving process.  You probably get spam email from these companies all of the time promising great rankings and tons of backlinks for a crazy, affordable fee.  As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.  One of my clients had another SEO company before coming to me.  They were cheap, they did the work. They even got the rankings. BUT those rankings tanked when their black hat SEO practices were caught.  That bad SEO company created irrelevant, spammy, horribly backlinks.  Google found them and the client went from the first page to the abyss.  I had warned them this would happen, they didn’t listen and coasted along.  In the end, they retained me to remove the backlinks and the rankings shot back up.

How to Avoid Bad SEO Companies? Be Knowledgeable.

Get the SEO company to spell out exactly what their services will entail – line by line.  Make sure it includes, at a minimum: keyword research and analysis, copy and navigation strategy, title and meta tags, keyword rich links and interlinking.  Ask about their backlink process.  Find out if they do local SEO, including local business listings.  Ask for references.  Call the references. Do your research.  And if it seems too good of a deal, it is!

Simple Thanks

November 21st, 2012

TurkeyAs I contemplate Thanksgiving this year, as always, I have so much to be thankful for:

  1. Weathering Sandy and her path of destruction – my heart and thoughts go out to all those it has so tragically affected.
  2. The wonderful clients who have sought out and selected Write On Point to meet their marketing needs.
  3. Amazing and supportive family, friends and colleagues.
  4. The list goes on and on . . .

What are you thankful for?

Wishing you a very happy, fun-filled Thanksgiving Day!

Bad SEO Practices Include Too Much SEO

March 29th, 2012

Does your website have too much SEO?  If you don’t know, you better find out.

The head of Google’s Webspam Team, Matt Cutts, recently announced that Google is updating its algorithm to target sites that have too much SEO.  Supposedly this is Google’s attempt to level the playing field among the people who have been overly doing SEO and the people who have been making great content and trying to create a fantastic site.

So what are the bad SEO practices that are now considered too much SEO?

According to Cutts, Google is targeting abuse – too many keywords on the page, exchanging way too many links, going beyond what a normal person would expect.  Just how much SEO is too much is yet to be seen, but there are some telltale signs when it has been overly done.  Are you flooding your page with repetitive keywords that do not flow naturally with your content? What type of backlinks are you developing? Are they relevant? Are they from credible sites? Have you jammed your meta tags unnecessarily with keywords?    If you don’t know the answers to these questions, ask your  SEO professional.  Make sure you receive comprehensive, rather than just yes or no, answers so that you can effectively resolve any possible issues.

When will this new  algorithm change roll out?

Cutts revealed that Google currently has several engineers working on this.  They hope to release this change in the coming weeks, so you best review your site as soon as possible.

You can listen to the live interview, which is full of other great SEO information, at:

Change in Google Algorithm is Coming. What does this mean for your SEO?

March 16th, 2012

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Google is making over its search formula in an effort to maintain its market share, catch up with Apple’s Siri voice-activated mobile search and retain its lead in product search.  As we recently mentioned in our post What are the top 5 Search Engines? , Google owns about 66% of the natural search market, with Bing at 15% and Yahoo at 14%.  Google also enjoys more than 75% of all search-ad revenue.

In the coming months, you will supposedly see a change in the Google algorithm

Google will be adding semantic search to its algorithm.  This technology involves the process of understanding the actual meaning of the words being searched.  This change will result in more facts and direct answers to queries being shown at the top of the search results pages, with the goal of providing more relevant results.  For example, it could differentiate between words with more than one meaning.

How will Google’s algorithm change affect your SEO efforts?

Amir Efrati, the author of the article states:

“Google isn’t replacing its current keyword-search system, which determines the importance of a website based on the words it contains, how often other sites link to it, and dozens of other measures.  Rather, the company is aiming to provide more relevant results by incorporating . . . semantic search.”

The article, however, goes on the say that Google might now provide answers rather than just links to other sites, citing the question “What are the 10 largest lakes in California?” as an example.  If Google does not have an answer to a question in its database, it will blend the semantic-search technology with its current search system to

“better recognize the value of information on websites and figure out which ones to show in the search results.  It would do so by examining a Web page and identifying information about specific entities referenced on it, rather than only look for keywords.”

The goal of this blog is to provide information in the SEO and Internet marketing arena, both in terms of current news and trends, as well as answers to questions.  We purposely make questions the title to our posts so that searchers can immediately find a site that will help it solve its problem.  Providing such relevant information also helps our business by being known as a reliable source that clients and searchers can count on as well as driving visitors to our site, which also helps with our rankings. For these reasons, we recommend blogging to our clients.  If Google starts answering more complex questions rather than providing links or looks to further information on a page, SEO strategies may need to change.  The article referenced one person who believed that these changes could affect 10% to 20% of all search queries – that is tens of billions of searches a month!  It was also suggested by Larry Cornette, a former web search executive at Yahoo, that this algorithm adjustment could spur a change in website markup language, a language that wraps a web page’s content with formatting for how the site should appear. Time will have to tell if these conjectures come to fruition.

From what we have seen, Google has been incorporating semantic search into its results for quite a while.  It already provides answers to some questions at the top of the search results page.  And previous blog posts and announcements from Google discuss technologies they use to better understand associations and concepts.  So it will be interesting to see what these “new” semantic search changes to the algorithm will unveil and if they require adjustments to your SEO efforts.

What are the top 5 search engines?

February 22nd, 2012

Clients often ask on which search engines they need to monitor their rankings. So we figured we would share our thoughts on the subject, as well as those of other search professionals.

comScore recently released the January 2012 U.S. Search Marketplace figures for the top five search engines in the country. Their findings are set forth in the chart below.

US Search Marketplace

There is an interesting forum thread going on at about which are the best 3 to 5 search engines at this point in time.

Of course Google is number one. But there were some other interesting answers, such as Yandex the Russian search engine and Baidu, a Chinese language search engine. Others also mentioned Ask, Blekko and DuckDuckGo.  We wrote about Blekko when it first came out, but it really hasn’t seemed to take off.

We tend to agree with the forum administator, who simply said, “There aren’t 3-5. There is Google and Bing. (Yahoo uses Bing as well.)” In case you didn’t know, there is now a single Bing/Yahoo search engine.

So what are our top 5 search engines? Google, Bing, Google, Bing, Google!

AdWords or SEO? Is Google killing off natural search in the name of money?

December 13th, 2011

Google has always said it wants to provide the best search experience. Well, that statement may no longer be true. Apparently, it is placing more and more pay per click ads and Google’s own pages on the search results pages. Google is even running an AdWords ad that states: “Forget about SEO. To be visible in Google today, try AdWords.” What about content and credibility? Check out this blog post from Aaron Wall, one of the leaders in SEO. Will you now have to pay in order to be found? Do you need to decide between AdWords or SEO? They have always complimented each other. Will that no longer be the case?

Google SEO Updates as of 12/1/11

December 6th, 2011

Last week Google published another round of search improvements. They advised that this was the first of a monthly series where they will be sharing information about their algorithm and feature enhancements. Their new monthly blog posts will be highlighting the approximate 500 search improvements Google makes each year. So you don’t have to add another blog feed to your home page, each month we’ll be summarizing the posts for you.

Here are the Google SEO updates (and feature updates) for December 2011:

  • Related query results. Google sometimes shows results that are similar to the search terms that you used. It has refined the algorithm so that it is now less likely that related results will rank highly if the original search term had a rare word that was not in the alternate query.
  • More comprehensive indexing. Google is now including more long tail documents in its index. As we always tell our clients, going after long tail terms – such as “birthday party places in orange county ny” – is a great SEO strategy, especially for new websites or competitive markets. This refinement will make it even easier for searchers to find you.
  • A “parked domain” classifier. Parked domains are really placeholder sites for companies that have not yet created a website to go with a domain name. They can also be placeholders for companies that buy up domains as a competitive strategy, which they never even plan to use. These “placeholders” typically are filled with ads and are really not at all relevant to a search. This new classifier will help weed out parked domains from the search results.
  • Autocomplete predictions. As you may have noticed when you type in your search terms, Google tries to predict what you are typing and provides a list of search terms that may match what you are looking for. They have refined their prediction algorithm, making it a little more flexible.
  • Blog search results. Google changed its blog search index. Now it provides blog results that are more current and comprehensive.
  • The original content battle. In the last six months, Google has been addressing the duplicate content issue. They just added some new signals to its algorithm the help them determine which web page has the original content and which sites merely duplicated it.
    Image freshness. A change will not make it easier for Google to find the most recent images for news searches.
  • Importance of XML Sitemap

    January 11th, 2011

    If you have a website, you should be using an XML Sitemap to help improve your Internet visibility. What is an XML Sitemap? It is a simple, effective way for you to give the search engines a list of all the URLs you want them to crawl and index. If the search engines don’t find your site or specific pages on it, your prospects won’t either!

    Brief highlights of the importance of an XML Sitemap

    1. Although adding a URL to the Sitemap file does not guarantee that a URL will be crawled or indexed, it can result in pages that the search engines had not yet discovered or indexed get crawled or indexed.
    2. XML Sitemaps can help pages that are on the search engines’ supplemental index make it to the main index.
    3. You can use these Sitemaps to let the search engines know how often a page is changed to improve crawl rate.
    4. You can alert the search engines to any changes/additions to your site
    5. The additional URLs you provide help increase crawl coverage and crawl speed.
    6. The verification and registration of an XML Sitemap can give the search engines the credibility that they desire.
    7. In all, XML Sitemaps can help improve visibility and rankings.
    8. Best of all – they are FREE

    There are a few things to keep in mind. It is important to use the correct canonical version of your URL (i.e. www vs. non-www.) and that you load the XML Sitemap in the highest-level directory you want the search engines to crawl. Don’t include multiple URLs that point to identical content, simply pagination pages and low value pages. And make sure that none of the URLs you include contain tracking parameters.

    Start 2011 off right. Check with your web developer to see if they created an XML Sitemap for you. If not, ask them to do so right away!

    What Is Blekko? The New, Different Search Engine

    November 4th, 2010

    First Bing threw its hat in the ring. Now Blekko is joining. Are these “B” players or can they really compete with Google? As we know, Bing – a direct competitor of Google – is gaining users since its initial launch, but is still quite far behind the search engine giant. Blekko, on the other hand is different. It is not trying to take over the number one search engine spot.

    Then What is Blekko?

    Blekko is a search engine that allows you to search for results based on a particular viewpoint or category. For example, if you were looking for information on the recent mid-term elections from a conservative viewpoint you can quickly narrow down your search. How? With “slashtags”. You would simply type in your search query like this:

    2010 midterm election results /conservative

    Want to know the latest buzz on a particular celebrity? Type in their name /gossip and hit enter.

    Just put in your search terms followed by the slash and the viewpoint or category you want and Blekko narrows down the results for you. Blekko currently maintains over 250 slashtags, including blogs, news, gossip, green, even chocolate. These slashtags are really a collection of relevant topic websites. You can even create your own slashtag and make it public or private. Blekko’s goal is to identify the best 50 websites on the Internet for the top 100,000 search categories.

    How Does Blekko determine what websites to show and in what order?
    Unlike Google or Bing, Blekko is pretty transparent with how it determines its rankings. It tells you the final algorithm score for a website and why the site ranks as it does. You can really dig down deep into its decision process. This is such a comprehensive topic that it needs to be addressed it a separate post! Stay tuned.

    Suffice it to say that for deep, driven or truly targeted research, Blekko really has something to offer.