There are some less than scrupulous SEO providers out there. We have noticed an increased level of hacking activity that is related to “Black Hat” SEO. For those of you with no experience with this term, the field of Search Engine Optimization has three types of practioners that modeled after wizards:
1) White Hat – We are a white hat SEO firm. Our activities to help develop page rank for our clients include the use of software to monitor and improve on site page quality, specifically Moz.com. We work on the technical aspects of the site’s pages. We work on the content of the site to improve it’s quality for ranking in its keyword target. And, we use good old PR tactics to do outreach to like-minded sites that might deem our content worthy of that all too elusive high quality link.
2) Gray Hat – Those more agressive in their efforts my try other, less accepted forms of link building. While they don’t tend to venture into things that are illegal and immoral, they may be trying things with your site that could get you “sandboxed” or worse “blacklisted”. They might be engaged in a number of SPAM related activities that seem to fill your comments box.
3) Black Hat – These folks are actively engaged in both unetheical and illegal activities. They are heavy spammers and they are often hackers. They will utilize malware and software and SPAM. They will hack your site (you may not even realize they are there until you see them show up in your codebase). And they will use it to add links to sites that you may or more likely DO NOT want associated with your site.
I write this a reminder, that just like your computer, you need to regularly back up your website. Know the systems that you are using, even if someone else manages your site. And be sure you know how to check on it. Most hacking instances are incredibly anoying at the least, but if you don’t have a clean back up of your site, it can be your worst nightmare.
And when it comes to hiring service providers, make sure you get references. Try to find a local web firm or advertising firm if possible or utilize the services of your webhost if you want to take a crack at it yourself.
There was a bit of a digital brawl that broke out on SmashingMagazine.com over the topic of SEO. Since SEO will continue to be something that businesses will be bombarded with through sales calls in 2013, I want to air both of the arguments for discussion. I will say that my opinion leans harder towards the SEOs response, with the caveat that Paul Boag is absolutely correct when he says that content is a core part of ranking success. However, his Ludite response to the many quality SEO based solutions that can help grow businesses and website traffic is quaint at best, but dramatically ill-informed.
Web developers rejoice as the nemesis IE falls to Chrome. May the decline continue.
Last week Google rolled out an update to their algorithm that is designed to enhance real time events in the query. Though it will impact 35% of search queries, that should not be mistaken with “keywords”. However, it proves a point that I have been harping on for years. Google thinks fresh content is important. This is one of the reasons why I encourage business owners to blog.
If you get into a habit of it, it will do more than help your search rankings. It creates a way for your website visitors to interact with your business. If you are excited about your business and you share that excitement, personally, with your visitors and they engage back, you have accomplished a primary goal of your website. Obviously, Social Media strategy plays into this, but your website, your blog, should be the center of that activity.
So you have three options.
1) you can get engaged yourself and manage your web content and social media
2) you can have your already overtasked staff do it on their lunch break
3) (my favorite) Hire a professional person or firm who does this stuff all the time
But sooner or later your website is going to have to “Get down with the Freshness”.
More on the Google update:
Search Engine Land Article
So the old adage goes. It has often been a topic among my peers that the things we do everyday for other people, we are not very good at doing for ourselves.
I have been tasked with speaking on a panel on the subject of blogging. What makes for a good blog? Why should businesses be blogging? Those types of questions. As I have been in conversations about it, I became grouped in an entertaining sub-group of “bloggers who teach others how to blog, but don’t actually blog themselves”.
While the categorization is partly right. The question then becomes what constitutes a blogger? And what is a blog anyway?
What I am writing right now is a blog in a variety of ways. It is being written in WordPress, a common and practical blogging platform. On this particular website, I only have my blog content as opposed to my other websites, where I have information and sales and marketing materials. And when I write here, I usually contribute via a post, which again is typical blogging behavior.
Now therein lies the real question in this article. How often do you post? In my case, that happens to be less than most.
So my clients have been asking, why ‘Peregrine’, often mis-pronouncing it. Pronounced [per•a•grin]. New brands are such a touchy thing. I mean you put all of this time and thought and meaning into something, but then when someone asks, you say, ‘derrrugh’. So, I want ed to take a minute here and tell the story of how Peregrine Digital came into being.
I was driving to Denver with my family and I saw this beautiful hawk flying over the highway and I thought, ‘Peregrine Media’ sounds cool. So I looked it up the word and the first thing it says is ‘mobile, mobility, pilgrim, stranger’. I thought, hey that makes sense. Falcons were used as one of the first international communication systems. They brought connotations of mobility, power, vision, ‘a hawk eye’s view’. But better yet, it brought this idea of strangeness, being foreign, which for me is a day in the life of the internet for most of my clients. It all snapped into place and as our business grew, we needed a bigger name. A better vision. More speed and accuracy. A better view of the competition. We needed to bring meaning and definition to the strange and intricate world of the internet. We proudly became Peregrine Digital Media.
I have a client who asked me, “so how do you ever get to the perfect website, I mean you can’t, right?” And the interesting part is that he is doing nothing instead. Now I know he will eventually get around to improving his site and I hope I am the one to do that for him, but the question raised remains. Can you have a perfect website?
The pursuit of perfection has driven mankind through the ages, and many religious practices aspire to achieve perfection. However, the pursuit is always a journey. It takes many careful steps. You have to nurture it, and focus on it. You have to devote yourself to it.
This is impractical for business owners, but it is important to realize that to achieve perfection you must first begin somewhere, anywhere. Start with your own team around you who can foster your social media buzz. Start by keeping a web designer on retainer to make regular updates and modification to your site.
To truly achieve the perfect website, there are basic principles in design and function that need to be adhered to. You must know your audience and give them an appropriate user interface. You have to let them know what you want them to do. That sounds odd, but perfection can’t happen without giving your website over to your customer. Give them what they need. They came to your website to answer some basic question.
And when you give them what they want. It is perfect.
(But, you must start from where you are.)
Seth Godin wrote in his 2001 book “The Big Red Fez” that there are two world views when it came to website design the “Engineer’s version” and the “Marketer’s version”. These days that can be boiled down to Designers vs. Programmers. Designers make pretty sites and Programmers make sites that work and can be found on Google. There are of course exceptions to every rule.
However, these days you have to have both. Long gone are the days that you could publish a beautiful site and not worry about the technical aspects of it.
These days you need a 1) beautiful site 2)with solid user-friendly navigation and 3)technically optimize it so that Google, Yahoo and Bing can find you.
If your site is ugly, you will lose credibility with your visitors.
If your site does not (to quote “The Big Red Fez”) “Give the Monkey the banana” your visitor will leave your site immediately and likely not return again. (Your bounce rate).
And if your site was not built with Search Engine Optimization in mind (SEO), you will not be found and your site traffic will suffer.
When working on your next web project, assuming that someone besides your cousin or nephew is building it for you, ask your developer these three basic questions:
1) What will it look like?
2) How will my visitors know what is important when they get there?
3) Will your efforts help me rank high in the search engines?
If the person you are looking to hire can’t definitively answer all three, keep looking. Or email me and I’ll help you
I had :07 minutes to cover a topic, that I could take 2 hours on. That’s ok. My spot was part of an ongoing conversation with Cliffdweller Productions about integrating video and websites. The real deal is that your website can be it’s own social media and video website. The question is can you come up with a website strategy that keeps your customer engaged, while providing a reasonable ROI in what you spend getting them there.
Search Engine Optimization evokes a series of thoughts for most people that begins with clouded confusion, spins into thoughts about spammy websites, and rests on “what exactly am I paying for?” At the same time it is one of the hottest topics in media circles.
In reality it is both simple and complex. At the end of the day, you and I (and Google) really want people to find exactly what they are looking for. As Brad Geddes put it, “the search process is driven by giving someone the correct information at the correct time.”
The reason that SEO is confusing, is that it is actually best delivered out of the center of your marketing campaign. But, most days it is the last thing we think about or plan for. SEO is site development. It is a focus on developing keyword-rich content, creating easily accessible channels into your site based on an evaluated understanding of who you want to reach vs. who you are currently reaching. SEO is about developing mutually beneficial linking relationships with top-visited, top-ranked websites.
If there is one new marketing initiative for businesses to tackle in 2011, it is integrating a search strategy as the foundation of their marketing efforts.