Wait, you say…what’m I talking about?
Okay, backstory first….
Google back in June of 2011, announced that it “would begin to support authorship markup. The company encouraged webmasters to begin marking up content on their sites with the rel=”author” and rel=”me” tags, connecting each piece of content to an author profile…” as Eric Enge put it so well here.
About a month ago now, Google rolled out a brand new update to it’s web results search algo, and it was quickly noted and named by the SEO community as the “Pigeon” update. And while it did make changes to the overall rankings for web search result serps, it didn’t happen up here in the google.ca world till just this past week – at least our whole Canuck client roster was unaffected till then.
So, what’s this Pigeon update and what do you need to know about same?
It’s always a surprise when I get a new LOCAL SEO Campaign client and do a competitors analysis for their channel – and when I say surprised what I mean is that it’s really a set of on-page factors that must be done – and they’re not! That is, while the new client may not know what to do it’s the lack of just about anyone in their city and channel too, that always makes me shake my head with a “doh!”
Let’s say you run a legal firm in your city. You have (like any professional does) certain “areas of expertise” like perhaps “personal injury” or “trademarks and patents” – which ones you choose to specialize on is of course up to you but when it comes to Google et al, what you want to do is to let them know – yup, you’re the leader in that type of legal area in your city.
What are long-tail keywords and why might they be important to an SMB owner? Ah…some of the finest friends your website will ever have are “long-tails” when it comes to Google search results, so let’s get into it!
A long-tail keyword is – as Google itself reports here - “Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase. They’re a little bit counter-intuitive, at first, but they can be hugely valuable if you know how to use them…”
Okay, you’ve been thinking about your own SMB marketing plan you’ve got up and running for 2014, and if it’s one thing that’s standing out, it’s the lack somehow of great SEO rankings for your local, national or global sites….like the rest of the world. And if it’s one more thing that is nagging at you, it’s the thought perhaps that you’re not using “best practices” to push that SMB site up and up and up…maybe you’re not as “white hat” as you might think?
Almost every new prospective client that we get uses the same type of rationale as I’ve just outlined…they don’t know why their own DIY SEO campaign has stalled and they don’t know why. And they don’t know what it is they dont’ know.
The short answer is yes…but only with a few provisos that you’d need to consider first, not the least of all is that if you start something it should not “die” as it will reflect on you and your own online reputation too!
Huh….might be the first thing you think of, so to explain let me try to rationalize the commitment that you’d have to make to enable both a vital community and your own mirrored reputation.
Thinking today, that as I’ve had to push off 7 prospective clients in the past month (due to a multitude of reasons), that I am lacking really in one major “help” item – a worthwhile SEO Starter Guide to try to give them some “best practices” SEO help for them to use.
What I mean is that say for the last client who wanted our $5,000 monthly package for $250 a month – someone again who had no business intelligence to know that an investment is a real live SEO program has a real live ROI, that they were working from a POV that just isn’t real in a cost vs benefits comparison. They believed that as they only had that $250 a month to invest, that they would find an SEO firm that would accept that revenue but do a job at 20 times the value of same. And that, as we all know just doesn’t happen.
Why so long? This is still the #1 question we get asked by every single new SEO Program client…and while we do take the time to explain why, it’s also apparent to us that for many new-to-SEO clients, they just don’t “get it!”
Why? Well for the first matter under consideration, you must remember that they’re thinking with their wallet. That is, until we can produce brand new traffic, they pay the freight and that means the up-front ROI is not producing the numbers that they’d hoped.
Yes, we do tell them it’s an investment in their revenue stream and yes we do tell them that it definitely is front end loaded…but I also think that they ‘gloss’ over that in the hopes that new numbers will appear quicker than what we estimate.
Okay, you’re startup is up and live…you’ve had the EUREKA moment and it got passed every single vetting moment by friends, family and your own peer group. You found a great company name, a matching domain name too, it’s up and live and yes, you’re ready for that all important traffic to start to drop by to be amazed…and to buy your online products or services.
You’re ready – but is your website itself would be the question – and from our own long-time SEO practice, what we know already is that the site is NOT ready at all.
So why do we think so?
Okay this is now only a couple of weeks old, but it’s taken us that long to test everysingle TITLE tag and META description text strings in our tester to see what the changes just made by Google will mean – and it’s a change that any SMB should be aware of.
Google web results pages now use Arial 18 pt fonts to show these two link descriptors and that’s up 2 pts from the Arial 16 pt font that used to be used – and it changes IMHO how you should be “doing” both of these areas.
In fact there are many items to deal with to try to understand the “why” of an SEO Program cost for a new client to the world of search engine marketing, so I thought today I’d try to put together a short post explaining what any prospective client should consider before going ahead with any SEO practitioner or firm…so here goes!
Any SEO Program must be of course a real live one – and the only way to perhaps tell that it even stands a chance of being something you may want to consider investing in, would be the track record of the firm you’re vetting…..and yes, the costs and promises made.
Knowing what kind of a penalty your site receives from Google is the start of learning how to fix same – there I said it. That is so true that I’m always surprised when a new client comes along and they have no idea as to “which” type of a penalty they’ve been hit with. How does one tell and even more importantly, what can you do about same would be the import of todays post on Google penalties, eh!
Penalties come in two kinds of course – manual and algorithmic and yes there is a difference. A manual penalty from Google is when an actual human being at Google takes manual action against a website. One of the most recent (and attention grabbing) examples of Google taking manual action against a website and penalizing it was the J.C. Penney paid links scandal.
Okay, you’re an SMB owner and you run a bricks ‘n mortar location in your Canadian city, in any of our Canuck provinces and you’re wondering how you can get some LOCAL ranking traction. And the simple answer is – you need to use Citations (as described here in Wiki) to gain that traction via search engine rankings….and so now you know.
Huh? Well the real story of course is much longer and some background can be found here & here & here & here….and ESPECIALLY HERE….and yes, as you’d begin to suspect, there are more and more local search ranking factors at work than mere Citations – but that’s where we all begin.
Okay, so you’re thinking that 2014 is here….you’re back in charge of your SMB website after the holidays and really there’s not too much “new” to be considering on, right? You guessed it…..that kind of thinking is wrong, eh! Let me point out to you the items you should be considering….and what I’m talking about today is Google+!
That’s right, Google+ – touted as the #2 Social Media network with over 700 million accounts, is the Google answer to Facebook, which I’m sure you’ve read about muchly over the past few months and is covered here pretty nicely by the folks over at BurstMedia.com.
Sure…it’s been a really swell Christmas season here and yes, we had a real pleasurable time with our kids and grandkids and extended family too! I just hope that your own Holiday season was as much fun as my own.
And yes, I’m back “in the traces” and looking for new strategies and tactics for our own SEO clients as well as reporting on same here for our readers too!
That said…it’s 2014….and for us SEO practitioners we are just as aware as everyone else is that yup, SEO is a moving target.
Last year saw many many new challenges and updates and lateral moves by the search engines….and for those of us who try to stay “close” to that leading edge, it meant a ton of testing and trying….and finagling and fudging….and analyzing again and again!
Interestingly enough while I’ve been watching web results layouts change over the past 19 years, you know I’ve never every considered the real back-story rationale as to why those layouts are changing.
And while I’ve never noticed the actual changes, what I have apparently done is to realize somehow in my subconcious that the “space” that I’m interested in for our web rankings is growing smaller.
Smaller while in fact I’m now using a huge 27″ monitor and yet, I’m still looking down down down the page to see what I’m looking for….never thought about that – but yes it’s true I’d now admit.