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
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.