Thursday, March 31, 2011

How To Select Keywords For SEO?

For a startup with any sort of online presence, it’s critical to be found by Google. Search Engine Optimization, being ‘free’, lets you optimize your site to be found by Google.

This article is about a key issue startups confront once they decide to do SEO – what keywords to pick?

How do you decide what keywords do you do SEO for? Do you shoot in the dark, and come up with a best-guess of what might be the best keywords for your business?

Do you pick keywords with the highest search volumes? What if these keywords happen to give you very low conversion rates? What if they are highly competitive? How do you prioritize the various keywords you can pick?

One way to figure out the best possible SEO-keywords is to run an SEM campaign(using Google Adwords) for some time, so you can get a sense of what the most profitable keywords are.

You can rank keywords by their cost-per-conversion. This factors in intensity of competition as well(as more competitive keywords will have higher costs).

This gives you a quantitative measure of exactly which keywords are going to be the most profitable for your SEO. (If it takes too long to get enough conversions, you can still rank keywords by click-through-rates or cost-per-click).

This will involve some expenditure on SEM(during the testing period), but it can save you a lot in terms of opportunity costs.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top SEO Company Featured in Leading Business Magazine

The president of, a SEO company located in Westlake Village, CA, has been featured in C-Suite Quarterly Magazine. Craig McCracken, President, is an SEO Specialist that has worked in Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization for over a decade. His feature story in CSQ highlights how to “Increase Business with Search Engine Optimization.” specializes in effective online marketing services such as local SEO and nationwide SEO, as well as link building, social media marketing and text and banner advertising. From brand new websites to those listed in the top 10,000 websites worldwide, Craig McCracken and the RankGiant team have dominated top organic search engine rankings with significant results. Recently, C-Suite Quarterly, a leading regional business and leadership magazine, featured Craig McCraken in their Spring 2011 issue as a CSQ Advisor in the Business and Technology section. The magazine has recently covered feature stories on renowned business leaders like Jeffrey Immelt, the Chairman and CEO of General Electric.

On SEO, McCracken affirmed that, “Search engine optimization is a must these days. There really is no option if you are in business. Customers are no longer looking in phonebooks for the services they need, they are going straight to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. If Google can’t find your company, then neither can your customers.” Everyday the market place is growing, with companies new and old competing for the limited pool of customers in their industry. With search engine optimization it’s easy to get your company to the top of organic listings and get found by your target market.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SEO Mistakes: Could It Hurt Your Business?

Search engine optimization can be seen as the only best way to drive traffic to your website if you have no budget to invest in paid advertising. Yes, there are additional methods for advertising your site, of course when it comes down to search engine optimization, nothing else is similar. Nearly every active Internet user is reliant upon search engines, such as Google to obtain websites and targeted information. Your website can focus on whatever you want it to, and still be eligible for getting free traffic from the search engines. In the remaining portion of the article we will be sharing three SEO inaccuracies you should be avoiding if you dearly desire to make the most form your efforts.

SEO is not a one-time-effort. It is a long duration process, often without end. Obtaining a website which categorized according to objected keywords could take several weeks and occasionally months, depending on the type of competition. If you aren’t unswerving then getting to an upper level can be really hard to do, on account of it requiring you to put in several hours and surrender yourself to it. Even once you have met a higher class, you’ll still need to labor over maintaining that class. It’s not actually all that uncomplicated, though at the same time it’s not real strenuous if you’re taking step toward reaching your goal each and every day.

Keyword research happens to be one of the most important elements of search engine optimization. Targeting the wrong keywords and not focusing on the keyword phrases that are targeted then you are obviously making a mistake. You need to find keywords that are related to your website/niche so that you can get ranked in the right category, and drive targeted traffic to your site. What we mean to say when we are talking about keyword phrases, it makes sense to go for keyword phrases. Making sure that your keyword research is done correctly will help you in the long run.

Finally, you shouldn’t attempt to trick the search engines into ranking you well by creating doorway pages created by cloaking methods. Techniques like this worked in the past, when search engines were less sophisticated, but they’ve evolved quite a bit in the last few years. It just doesn’t pay to try such tactics like having cloaked web pages, as once the search engines find out, your site will be penalized.

Better exposure and getting your site ranked are the most important things in this article. To make your website successful you need traffic that converts. Get started now so that you can apply these tips and see the difference it will make.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where Do Your SEO Clients Really Rank In SERPs?

Apparently it has become a problem for companies to accurately determine through reports where they rank in organic search listings, since search engines have begun to favor local listings. Google, for example, favors location in search engine page results for companies that have filled out Google Places profiles, according to some search engine optimization (SEO) experts. It has complicated SEO efforts to achieve above-the-fold or even first-page ranking.

A company whose founders have roots firmly planted in SEO will debut a feature Tuesday that reports where an SEO's clients actually rank in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs), taking into consideration local listings in Google and Bing.

The product, SyCara Local Plus from SyCara, also checks rankings from ZIP code or geographic location to measure the influence of SEO efforts for clients by geography. As Google, Bing and other search engines market local listings, it will make it more difficult to move up in search rankings.

The market for local listings on computers and mobile continues to skyrocket, along with online advertising. Local advertising revenue will reach $153.5 billion in 2015 -- up from $136.3 billion in 2010, according to research from BIA/Kelsey released Monday. The firm estimates local online/interactive advertising revenue will reach $42.5 billion by 2015, up from $21.7 billion in 2010.

Fionn Downhill, VP of strategy at SyCara, believes local search will influence some industries -- such as the travel industry -- more than others. Providing an example, she says SEOs that are attempting to get a Las Vegas hotel to rank high in organic search may find that local listings in Google Places can much too easily push a company's ranking from one to 10 overnight.

SyCara, which bases the product on an algorithmic model, had simply relied on keywords to determine rankings in the reporting tool. Now the reporting tool monitors keyword, location, and language. "A keyword" becomes one keyword in a specific location. It will change based on geography.

The SEO ranking tool also measures videos and blogs, according to Downhill.

SyCara, of course, claims to be first to market with the tool, but banter with a variety of SEO experts in the Dojo Chat Room suggests SEOmoz and Raven Tools have similar features in their respective tools. For those who want to catch up with changes going on in Google Places, Mike Blumenthal over at the blog Understanding Google Maps & Local Search - Developing Knowledge about Local Search can get SEOs caught up.

As for SyCara, the company plans this year to take its tool into Europe and Canada, as well as translate the product to make it available in Spanish and French.

Beware of SEO Poisoning Attacks

According to GFI Labs, an increase in search engine optimization (SEO) poisoning attacks are exploiting several recent high-profile news events. GFI Labs, the dedicated malware research center of GFI Software, warned that searching topics as the disasters in Japan, Charlie Sheen and the NCAA “March Madness” tournament should be on high alert for poisoned search engine links leading to malicious websites.

In fact, according to Yahoo! Sports, recent searches for the term “NCAA brackets” have increased by 109,038%, making it an attractive, high-volume target for malware writers.

Using blackhat SEO poisoning techniques, cyber criminals are able to manipulate popular search engine results to include malicious websites. Unsuspecting users are then tricked into clicking on seemingly legitimate links. To avoid falling victim to this type of attack, GFI Software offers consumers the following tips:

1. Always deny a download when it comes from an unfamiliar source. Dubious links pointing to fake antivirus websites will continue to be a threat in search engine results. Simply being redirected to one of these sites is typically not a danger in itself. However, agreeing to do things such as downloading the installer, double clicking it, or allowing it to run can all lead to an infection.

2. Avoid clicking on websites with names such as “Celebrities with Diseases” that may appear in search engine results. Stick to trustworthy news sites in the various news portals of search engines, such as

3. Do not provide personal information, especially credit card numbers, if redirected to a site through a web search. Instead, navigate directly to the official site by typing the web address into your browser. Many fraudulent sites are carefully engineered to spoof trusted ones, in order to entice the user into providing financial information.

“Malicious attackers target trending topics and big news stories in SEO poisoning attacks because they often turn out to be the most popular search terms in a given time period, said Chris Boyd, senior threat researcher, GFI Software, in a statement.

“The unfortunate reality is that without a heightened sense of awareness of this threat, innocent web users looking to help with relief efforts in Japan or stream the latest NCAA basketball game can unknowingly click on rogue search results that lead to malicious content. We urge consumers to be extra cautious when browsing the web, regardless of the topic, and to think twice before clicking on search results linking to websites with which they are not familiar.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Hire The Right SEO Consultant

Last month, the New York Times published an exposé on the search engine optimization (SEO) practices employed by JC Penney. A Times journalist uncovered online marketing tactics that run contrary to the guidelines of the major search engines, Google and Bing.  These tactics pushed JC Penney’s website artificially high in the results when someone searched for “area rugs” for example.  In response, both search engines have since applied a penalty, removing JC Penney from these results and cutting into the retailer’s pocketbook – Penney’s makes $1.5 billion online annually.  

JC Penney is not the first website to be exposed. Ever since people started looking for answers on the web, search engines have been playing an increasingly sophisticated game of technical cat and mouse with marketers attempting to game their search algorithms.  Old-school brands like BMW and online powerhouses like have both been caught and penalized for manipulating the search engines. 

Today, it’s not just large companies engaging in search engine marketing.  As more and more people turn to the web for information, small businesses from shoe stores to lawyers to B&B’s have embraced the flood of customers that can be delivered by search engines.  By extension, more small businesses are becoming involved in the art and science of SEO and an increasing number of them are turning to consultants to navigate this technical marketing channel.

Search is a particularly challenging business – it is constantly changing, is highly technical and amazingly competitive.  Finding a high quality search agency can be difficult for a small business owner.  Choosing the wrong one can be disastrous - according to the JC Penney marketing department, the dubious search tactics were deployed by their SEO agency, SearchDex. Additionally, it can be very easy for just about anyone to proclaim to be an SEO guru while hiding behind confusing technical jargon and fleecing clients with outdated, ineffective or even dangerous advice. 

How do you find good SEO help?  While the following is somewhat simplistic, small businesses employing or considering hiring an SEO agency should consider the following red flags. 

Access to Information

Your agency should provide you with direct access and training to the reporting metrics of your site.  Thanks to a free tool called Google Analytics, every site owner has access to an extremely sophisticated and easy to use reporting tool that tracks the site’s performance.  Reputable search agencies encourage their clients to use Google Analytics and hold themselves accountable to the results displayed there.  If your SEO agency or website developer doesn’t provide you with access to Google Analytics, consider this a red flag - they are most likely trying to mask their own miserable performance. 

Ranking Reports

It seems clear that you can measure the success of an agency tasked with improving your site’s ability to rank by looking at how your site improves in ranking for given terms.  This; however, is an overly simplistic approach and never really paints a broad picture.  For starters, people use a wide variety of terms to describe what they are looking for:  “seattle divorce lawyer” “attorney for divorce in seattle, wa”” and “best divorce lawyer in king county” are all looking for the same information.  Limiting your focus to one of these terms misses the vast majority of the overall opportunity.  Additionally, searchers are using more specific queries to find information. 

These “long tail” searches make up the majority of search volume and look like this: “aggressive father focused divorce attorney for child custody fight in north Seattle”.  Ranking reports ignore these longer queries.  Finally, the search engines are increasingly returning customized results based on a user’s physical location, past surfing history or even social network.  Recent studies report that up to 60% of search results, depending on the query, are personalized.  Again, ranking reports fail to capture this type of information.   
Instead of ranking reports, great SEO agencies focus on quality traffic – users who come to the site, view lots of pages, and convert into paying customers.  


One of the primary ways in which search engines determine which pages to surface for a given query is the quality and quantity of links pointing to that page.  Each link works as a vote of confidence for that content – essentially the more people who link to a page the more likely that page has high quality content.  Additionally, the anchor text (the actual words in the link) can help a page rank for those specific words.  Because links can be so effective, search marketers spend a lot of time generating content for links.  In many cases, they try to manipulate the search engines by creating pages with nothing but links, or in some cases even buying links (both tactics are violations of search engine guidelines.) 
It’s relatively easy to check the links to a site by finding them through an search engine named Blekko.  Just search for any site on Blekko and underneath the results click on the word “links” to display all of the links that Blekko has found for that site.  Audit those pages to see if most of them are simply lists of links or blog comments with anchor text for things like “digital cameras” “free Viagra” or “cheap timeshares in New Hampshire”.  Finding these results is a clear red flag that your agency engages in dubious SEO tactics.

Pay for Performance or Promising Fast Results

SEO is a long term investment, requiring ongoing development of strong content.  Agencies that “guarantee” quick results or those who are paid based on their results are incentivized to cut as many corners as possible.  For example, an agency whose pay is contingent on achieving a top 3 ranking for a given term is incentivized to purchase links to collect their pay for performance bonus.  While this tactic may work in the short term, once the search engines catch on (and long after the agency has collected their fee), the long term damage to the business can be considerable.  Just ask JC Penney. 

The best thing to do when hiring or managing a search agency is to come armed with a thorough understanding of the fundamentals.  “Marketing in the Age of Google”, written by ex-Googler, Vanessa Fox is the best book that combines the art and science of SEO with the fundamentals of business.  Once you have a baseline understanding, require regular meetings with your agency where you discuss how search is impacting your bottom line. If they can’t have that conversation, it’s time to find someone who can.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How do search engines work?

Search engines are almost a fundamental aspect in one's life in the 21st century. The use, manipulation and application of search engines have become integrated in all mobile devices, PDAs and any similar technology to maximize its productivity.

People have reached a state of dependence on search engines so much so that, according to Alexa Ranking's stats, Google is the most important Web site in the World. This is because there are 34,000 keyword phrases entered into Google every second. People have come to neglect other search engines because Google has intuitively provided services to dominate the market in E-mail, analytics, and online advertising. However, in order to make the best use of search engines, one must understand how they work.

The first search engine, Archie, used to be an archive, as it did not semantically differentiate between keyword phrases, provide suggestions and accurate results. What makes Google so much more successful than Yahoo!? It is clear that the intuitiveness of a search engine is one of the most significant aspects of its success, just have a look at Yahoo!'s homepage and compare it with Google - the difference is the lack of clutter, faster loading, intuitive searching (Google only provides a bar to search whereas Yahoo!'s cluttered layout makes it difficult to navigate).

Search engines consist of four components: a query interface, search engine results page (SERPs), robot and databases. A query interface is what you see when you go to Google, the single bar for searching and the two buttons "Google Search" and "I'm Feeling Lucky". After inputting a keyword, one encounters the SERP visible to the user - the higher a site is on that list, the more traffic that Web site obtains. Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals attempt to bring a client's site to those higher rankings. In order for Google to index Web sites, it deploys a data gathering agent called a robot which scans everything on a site. The robots dump all that information into a database where information is compared, analyzed and ranked using Google's patented, and closely guarded secret algorithm, "Page Rank", measured from 1-10 - the highest meaning the most important site. All results one encounters in the SERPs are a combination of keyword relevance and Page Rank (PR).

In SEO, a Web site's PR is a critical component to achieving an incredible online presence, and so SEO specialists rely on three factors to influence PR in order for their results to appear in higher SERPs (the higher the SERPs, the more likely one will click that link). The three factors consist of: on-page modification (meta tags), whole-site alterations (anchor text) and off-site link building (incoming links). A robot indexes a site for the 1) location of specific keywords that you may have typed, 2) how often that keyword appears, and 3) the number of sites linking to the page that interests you. With these factors, SEO professionals modify and alter their client's Web sites to particularly optimizee using keyword research, page design and link building tactics (legitimate methods).

As I mentioned in last week's article, "Are You Search Engine Optimized?", BlackHat SEO methods have caused such a frenzy with Google that the company had recently updated their PR algorithm to combat content thieves, link farmers and spammers. Google stated their goal was "simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content - both good and bad - comes online all the time". This change has affected the SERPs and Web sites currently in the US only, but will soon impact elsewhere.

When using search engines, look through a number of channels in order to find your information, and avoid being ignorant that Google's top results will always have the information you seek. On the Internet, there are several channels to explore content.

Sufi Mohamed is a Search Engine Optimization specialist, and Brock alumni, who operates a multi-educational Web site called The Glaring Facts,

Some more important facts to know About SEO

You can find professional SEO experts who will help promote your website in search rankings by optimizing it with specific keywords, although there isn’t always much that can be done with certain sites.

Considering importance of internet in today`s world, Local Business SEO is being opted by many businesses and indivuduals. SEO an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization is achieving place as indispensable marketing device. Some of the basic information about SEO is as follows:

Search engines can sort and display your website more easily

The term SEO is best described as action of bettering website’s visibility to internet surfers. By using “robots” or computer codes, search engines read through almost every website. These robots are remarkable. They do searches and then report the results of their searches to the search engine. Once it is at the search engine, it is looked at and evaluated to find out if it matches the specified search. A rank will be given to the The relevance of each web page or website. Following these rules establishes new visibility for your online presence, because when someone searches for you using certain keywords your website will appear closer to the top of the list.

It relies heavily on keywords

Search Engine Optimization might look for other kinds of content. They can range from image searches, video searches, local searches and industry-specific vertical searches. Robots primarily recognize text so pictures don’t necessarily improve your search rankings. It is important that the site is keyword rich and that the first few paragraphs at the site use these keywords strategically.

Optimization isn’t possible for every single website that is out there

It is good to know that not all websites can be search engine optimized. There’s known to be quite a few website formats that can not be interpreted by robots, as referred to earlier. Robots seek certain works in both the webpage’s normal text and in the meta tags of the page. In principle meta tags are similar to your website’s tags which can be recognized by robot. They won’t be able to understand websites composed entirely of pictures or written in “Flash” since robots typically look for text content.Furthermore, blog-based websites will not generally be ranked highly for repeatedly referring to a product or website throughout their posts. For the sake of “optimizing” if a site duplicates content from other website or adds irrelevant keywords then some search engines may blacklist the site in fact.

You can find professional persons offering SEO services and doing consultation

In addition, the acronym SEO can mean “Search Engine Optimizers,” which are the businesses that provide services that parallel with SEO for their clients. Employees who provide in-house SEO services, also fall into this definition. Search engine optimizers can provide SEO individually or as a component of a broader marketing effort. SEO professionals are well-versed in web development and web design since they require these skills to manipulate source codes of a website to incorporate SEO tactics.

SEO is fast becoming an effective marketing tool, however similar to any marketing effort, quality content should remain a crucial feature of SEO.