February 22nd, 2012 by jkardell
No comments »
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.
There is an interesting forum thread going on at HighRankings.com 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 HighRankings.com 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!
February 15th, 2012 by jkardell
No comments »
Make Sure Your Company is On Them
If you are a small local business, it is important that prospective customers can find you when they do a local search, ex. “farm market vernon nj or bookkeeping chester ny.” Adding your business to free online directories is a great way to enhance your web visibility. Take a look at the graphic below. Because of online directories, our client is in EVERY single result on the first page of Google for the term preschool pine island ny.
Our Top 10 – OK 13 – List of Free Online Directories
You don’t need to upgrade your listings in online directories to gain a benefit. All of the directory listing results in the graphic with the exception of one are FREE basic listings. Some directories play a greater role in visibility than others. Here is our top 13 list of free online directories – not in any specific order – that you should submit your business to:
We recommend that you also submit your business to any local, regional and industry related directories. Some of these may require a fee, such as warwickinfo.net in our graphic, but their visibility may make the expense worthwhile.
February 9th, 2012 by jkardell
No comments »
As we covered in our previous post Can I Use a PO Box As My Google Places Address?, Google does not approve of using a PO Box as an address in you’re your Google Places listing. Google reaffirmed this position in an update to the Google Places Quality Guideline stating:
Do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. If you operate from a location but receive mail at a mail box there, please list your physical address in Address Line 1, and put your mail box or suite number in Address Line 2.
Thankfully, this revision makes it easier for businesses who receive mail via PO Boxes rather than at their physical location. So while a PO Box cannot be your sole Google Places address, it can now be included in your address – hopefully without any issues.
December 15th, 2011 by jkardell
1 comment »
Although businesses have been able to claim their Google Places Listings since 2005, the number of businesses claiming them since April of 2010 is tremendous. Over 1 1/2 years ago, only 4 million listings had been claimed. Last March the number jumped to 6 million, and now just nine months later the number has jumped to 8 million. According to Google, that is 16% of all the business locations throughout the world.
A Google Places listing doesn’t just include your address, phone number and a link to your website. You can describe your services and products and upload logos, pictures and videos. Customers also have the ability to write reviews, which can greatly help with your rankings.
If you haven’t claimed your Google Places listing, what are your waiting for. It is FREE web visibility.
December 13th, 2011 by jkardell
1 comment »
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?
December 6th, 2011 by jkardell
No comments »
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.
August 31st, 2011 by jkardell
1 comment »
You have heard it all before. If you want to be found online by prospects, you need to optimize your website with search terms related to your products and services AND your local target market. Maybe you have put off doing so because you weren’t sure how much you bought into the whole idea of search engine optimization (SEO). Or perhaps you thought it was too expensive or not worth the return on investment. Well, here is an interesting fact that just might change your mind!
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, Americans trust small business owners over 13 other institutions! A whopping 71% of those polled said they trusted small business. Only 25% trust large corporations. And only 25% trust the federal government.
In this tumultuous climate, people trust local small business for a reason. Why? Because you are not some large inaccessible corporation. You are their neighbor, their son’s little league coach, and a face. But you need to get that face seen if you want to be recognized. So join your local chamber of commerce, volunteer for local organizations, join local networking groups. AND make sure your business can be found online.
That’s Where Local SEO For Small Business Comes In
You don’t have to tell people to shop local, this study already shows that people WANT to shop local. So make sure they can easily find your website when they are searching for your products and services. Don’t just rely on what you think your ranking is – remember personalized search can inflate your search engine rankings. Get a website visibility analysis and see how you are fairing. Learn how you can improve your site’s Internet presence and then do it! Here are some tips:
1. Make sure you are targeting terms that people are actually searching for
2. Don’t forget to include your market, such as dry cleaners warwick ny
3. Then make sure those terms are placed in the website’s coding and on the page itself
4. Create local business listings on Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local and optimize them with the appropriate search terms as well
5. Submit your website to the top directories – Yelp, SuperPages, InsiderPages, and more
6. Submit your website to any local directories
7. Submit your website to industry specific directories
8. Create a Facebook page, optimize it, and post often
Local SEO for small business is important and it doesn’t have to be break the bank expensive. The local business listings are free. The directory listings are free. Facebook is free. If you’re tech savvy, you can attempt creating your listings and optimizing your website yourself. If you’re not, you should find an SEO consultant who can help. Depending upon the size of your website, SEO services can be minimal with great ROI.
Local residents want to support your small business, so make sure they can find it.
July 26th, 2011 by jkardell
No comments »
According to Google, “AdWords Express is designed to help local businesses that aren’t already AdWords advertisers create effective campaigns.” Adding AdWords Express to your Places listing allows you to advertise on Google and Google Maps, including mobile devices. You set up a monthly budget and create copy for your ad and Google does the rest, including determining what search terms will trigger your ad to be shown and your bidding to have your ad included in the search results. The terms are selected based on your Places listing categories. Google has assigned a cost per click for each search term, which you pay every time someone clicks on your ad.
As we pointed out with Google Boost, if you don’t have the time or the inclination to learn how to create and manage an effective Adwords campaign, or don’t have an Internet Marketing company you can rely on to do so for you, AdWords Express is an option for local advertising. But keep in mind that it has limitations. AdWords provides more options and controls – keyword selection and bid control, local AND national targeting, advanced reporting and different ad formats such as video, display and more – than AdWords Express offers.
June 1st, 2011 by jkardell
No comments »
Maybe you missed it because of the long holiday weekend, but Google announced that over the next few weeks it will be charging for clicks on the directions link in your AdWords ads on both Google.com and Google Mobile. Google started charging for phone number link clicks in the ads quite a while back. So this should probably come as no surprise.
An AdWords Location Extension Is A Valuable Ad Component – So Look Before You Leap Away From the Cost
A location extension and its correlating direction link provide local searchers with valuable additional information that could entice them to select you over your competitors. So don’t rebel just yet. First determine your return on investment. Along with this new directions click fee, Google will be providing performance metrics for directions clicks alongside those for regular clicks and phone call clicks. You can also see previous metrics for the free directions clicks. Just select Free clicks within the dimensions tab of your AdWords account.
If after your analysis you decide that the return is not great enough to keep the location extension and directions link, you will need to remove the locations extensions from your AdWords campaign completely.
May 13th, 2011 by jkardell
No comments »
A slow page load time doesn’t just cause visitors to hit the back button, it can also affect your rankings.
Google announced it was including site speed in its ranking algorithms
as far back as last year. At that time, Matt Cutts at Google
clarified that it is only one of 200 factors that the search engine considers and that it doesn’t weigh as much as relevance, reputation, etc. But it still carries weight—and could possibly be a determining factor when sites are close in some of the more important factors.
One year later, some Google actions confirm the significance of page load time
A few weeks ago Google introduced Page Speed Online
, a performance analysis tool, which gives developers suggestions on how to decrease load time. This week the search engine giant unveiled a new Page Speed Online API
that allows developers to integrate this performance analysis into other tools and dashboards.
Page speed matters for conversions and web visibility. Is your site fast enough?
How to check your page load time
Google’s Webmaster Tools is one way to take a look at your load time—over time. Click on the Diagnostics tab, then Crawl Stats to view a chart that highlights your high, low and average load times over a few months time period. For real time load time, check out Web Page Test
How to reduce your page load time
Page Speed Online and Web Page Test, which are both FREE, can provide some eye opening information in terms of time and how you can shave it off – but you will probably need your web developer to explain the recommendations and make the changes. Although, Web Page Test gives a grade, so even non-techies can see where the problems lie. So do the tests and talk to your web developer about what they reveal.
Here are some general things you can do to increase your page speed:
1. GZIP Compression. See if your site’s host uses this form of compression, which can really speed up your load time.
2. Reduce the size of your images. But make sure you use a graphics program such as Photoshop or Smush.it to do so.
3. Cache your pages. This avoids the need for the browser to dynamically generate your page every time. Some content management systems, such as Joomla and WordPress, allow you to do this.
4. Limit your use of 301 redirects. And don’t pile them.
5. Combining CSS / Java Scripts. Load them in external files rather than putting them on every page so that the browser only has to load them one time instead every time someone visits each page.
6. Try a Content Delivery Network.