Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

Great Article in the New York Times "The Dirty Little Secrets of Search"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Yesterday's New York Times had a great article about the SEO tactics employed by JC Penney's SEO Company that initially vaulted the JC Penney web site to the top of the Google rankings, but that eventually were then flagged by Google as being in violation of their rules. 

This brings to mind something we always talk about with our clients:  short term versus long term gain. 
As the article demonstrates, using some of these "black hat" SEO tactics can certainly work.  JC Penney was showing up #1 in the Search Results for searches of "Samsonite", "skinny jeans," "area rug," and hundreds, if not thousands, more keywords.  If you had asked JC Penney a few weeks ago if the strategy was paying off, I'm sure they would have called it an unqualified success.  And why not?  As the NYT article mentions, a JC Penny spokesperson was crowing about the company's December sales, saying “Internet sales through jcp.com posted strong growth in December, with significant increases in traffic and orders for the key holiday shopping periods of the week after Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas.”

But now the celebration is over.   Google is on to JC Penney, and suddenly they aren't ranking #1 for much anymore.  In fact, in many cases they aren't on the top10 PAGES anymore.  Worse, they will now probably be put under a much higher scrutiny by Google, which will make their future SEO campaigns all the more dangerous.  Even a well-meaning campaign can cross the line occasionally, which normally is never even noticed, let alone punished.  Recitative black-hat behavior, however, would seem a much more punishable offense. 

The December sales results notwithstanding, it is hard to say that JC Penney got what it paid for.  The thousands of links they purchased are no longer of any value.  I'm sure they spent a lot of money, and today they have nothing to show for it. 

Properly executed SEO is a much slower, more genuine process.   The goal should be to make a web site the most user-friendly, valuable resource for users.  If you provide users with invaluable information, the links, the rankings, the traffic and the page rank will follow.  It can take years to establish such a strong site, but when you perform SEO like this, it makes it much harder to get knocked off your pedestal.  It's a lesson JC Penney learned the hard way. 

But now the celebration is over.   Google is on to JC Penney, and suddenly they aren't ranking #1 for much anymore.  In fact, in many cases they aren't on the top10 PAGES anymore.  Worse, they will now probably be put under a much higher scrutiny by Google, which will make their future SEO campaigns all the more dangerous.  Even a well-meaning campaign can cross the line occasionally, which normally is never even noticed, let alone punished.  Recitative black-hat behavior, however, would seem a much more punishable offense. 

The December sales results notwithstanding, it is hard to say that JC Penney got what it paid for.  The thousands of links they purchased are no longer of any value.  I'm sure they spent a lot of money, and today they have nothing to show for it. 
Properly executed SEO is a much slower, more genuine process.   The goal should be to make a web site the most user-friendly, valuable resource for users.  If you provide users with invaluable information, the links, the rankings, the traffic and the page rank will follow.  It can take years to establish such a strong site, but when you perform SEO like this, it makes it much harder to get knocked off your pedestal.  It's a lesson JC Penney learned the hard way. 





Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

More Evidence of the Importance of Social Marketing

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Besides creating websites and doing the SEO for law firms, we also have started building customized Facebook pages for our clients and work to integrate those pages into our client's sites as well. 

A lot of attorneys scoff at the notion of using Facebook.  It is hard for them to fathom someone turning to Facebook to find an attorney.    To be honest, I think that is probably correct.   Someone wouldn't turn to Facebook to find a lawyer, but they probably would be likely to be more interested in an attorney who their friends recommend.   And that is exactly what Social Marketing is about.

For over a year now, we've been hearing that it was only a matter of time before the Social Networks are integrated into the search engine results.   First, Google started putting recent Twitter posts on the SERPS pages, and now BING has introduced something that we think makes Facebook more valubale to our clients than we had even hoped for.  

If you do a search on Bing while logged into Facebook, your friends recommedations (LIKES on Facebook) will show up at the top of the results.  Search for Pizza in Los Angeles, and a few of your friends on Facebook have "Liked" a local pizza place, that will show up in the results.   The same would be true for a law firm.

Do I think this is going to be an immediate game changer?  No.  Bing is still too small.  BUT, one has to assume Google will do something similar.  And I do think that having a Facebook page now will give you time to build up a following, so that by the time this really matters you are already in the game. 

Here is a VIDEO from BING on their new feature:

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Here is an article on Avvo about their take on the subject.

The BING / FACEBOOK Deal:  What It Means for Lawyers

Here are some examples of Facebook Pages we have built for Lawyers

Arias, Ozzello, & Gignac  - Facebook Page
Law Office of James Pokorny - Facebook Page
Bailey & Partners - Facebook Page

If you'd like to have a custom Facebook page built for your law firm or business, please contact us via this website or at 866-669-9404.



Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

What Will Google's Instant Previews Mean for Your Website?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Google announced a new element of their flagship Search Engine yesterdaY called Google Instant Previews.

For people who use Firefox and some of the site preview plugins, this feature won't be anything ground-breaking.   That said, the number of people using those plugins probably totalled in the thousands.    With Google adopting this for all users, the feature - and its affect on search habits - will finally be demonstrated.

I think the feature can only help quality web sites.  Not because I think they'll show up higher on the results pages, but rather because your quality sites will stand out to prospective clients before they have even clicked on the link to visit your site.   Likewise, these prospective clients will be LESS likely to click on links when they can see that the destination is just some directory or a site that looks clunky and antiquated.

With this in mind, design becomes ever more important.

Your content might be what gets your site noticed by the Search Engines, and eventually converts prospects into clients, but it will be you design that gets prospects to commit to click to view your site. 

Here is what Google has to say about it.





Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

How Search Engines Work

Thursday, September 09, 2010

To understand why Search Engine Optimization is important, I think it is incredibly important to understand how Search Engines work. 

Rather than try to explain it to you myself, below is a video from Matt Cutts, the man at Google who is responsible for the algorithm that runs the almighty Google search process.





Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

The Secrets of Search Engine Optimization - Article 1

Friday, August 06, 2010

Being a Good Resource

If you want to have a successful website, that actually brings in business, keep one thing in mind at all times.  Be a good resource to your potential client and you will be rewarded.  Google does not create anything.  Google is a search engine.  It categorizes and ranks information based on how "valuable" they deem it to be.  It is not Google's job to find the best restaurant, attorney or mechanic.  Google considers its job as providing the most relevant search results for the keywords that you type into the search box.  That means that an attorney who is fresh out of law school can show up above another attorney who has been practicing for 30 years.  

What Search Engines Want

Now that you know the first secret, how do you apply it.  A websites value is determined by hundreds of different criteria but when it all boils down there are only 3 that really matter.  Content, Quality Links and Time Online.  The first two you can do something about and the last is something you can overcome...with time. 

Website Content

Content is anything that you can provide on your website that is unique and valuable to a visitor.  Cutting and pasting other information will not give you an advantage over your competitor.  You need to offer something fresh to the internet community.  Frequently asked questions are a good way to demonstrate your expertise.  Break down your business into its parts and explain them in a way that is easy to understand.  If you own a restaurant, tell people about the ingredients you use and the chefs that you hire.  If you are an attorney, inform people about new laws or your opinion on events that relate to your practice area.

Quality Links

It has been said that "all links are not created equal".  This is very true.  There aren't a lot of links that will harm your site (you can not control who links to you so you normally don't get penalized) and good links are hard to come by.  The best way to get high quality links is to offer really good information that no one has.  This could be a video or an article.  If it is good enough other sites will link to you.  You can manually get some links on your own.  Find websites that allow you to post profiles or article and offer a link back to your site to give your credit of authorship.  Be wary of "link exchanges".  If someone that you don't know emails you and wants to exchange links it is best to deny that person.  If your website becomes part of a link farm (Did you see what I did there?  I linked to a credible source.  That is what you want people to do for you) you could be penalized and not even know it. 

Optimization Rule of Thumb

Before you post something to your site ask yourself "would one of my potential clients/customs appreciate this information".  If the answer is "Yes", it is good content to post.  Don't try to trick the search engines.  Work with them and you will be rewarded.



Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

Why a Business Should Be on Facebook

Friday, August 06, 2010

Facebook has reached over 500 million users and is becoming is becoming one of the most popular destinations on the web.  If you own a business and are not on Facebook, you may be behind the curve already.  Facebook, unlike search engines, is a personalized community of friends, coworkers and family.  These are the people who you have built relationships with and trust.  A search engine is a cold, heartless, program that provides you results based on an algorithm.  Facebook is a place where people share their likes and dislikes about everything from food to movies to doctors to lawyers. 

The video below addresses the shift that is happening on the web.  Sheryl Sandberg is a pretty good resource for this information considering she started at Google and is now working at Facebook.



Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

I Never Get Any Clients From The Internet

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I have heard a lot of attorneys who have websites tell me that they never get any clients from their website.  Even if they do get a call that originated online it is normally "not a very good client".  I am not surprised at all to hear this.  There is a very simple explanation to why this happens. 

Attorneys who do not believe that they can get clients from the internet don't invest much time or money into having a good web presence.  So even if they have a website, it performs very poorly in web searches.  They are lucky if they show up when someone types in their name.  That means if someone is doing a practice area specific search, they have no chance of landing on their site.  It's pretty obvious why they don't get any clients.  They are so far down on the list that most potential clients never find them and the ones who do have been turned down by all of the attorneys above them.

The internet isn't like other advertising mediums.  There comes a tipping point when the flood gates open.  If you move from page 5 to page 1 of the search results, you will get phone calls..  Law firms that show up on the first page for practice area searches are DEFINITELY getting clients from their website.  A lot of them are paying thousands of dollars every month to make sure they don't loose that advantage.  They are more than happy that you think clients don't look for attorneys online.



Omnipresent SEO Blog Posts

Pay Per Click vs. Organic Search Results

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pay Per Click is exactly what it sounds like.  You pay every time someone clicks on one of your ads.  It can be very useful if used correctly.  There are a couple of problems with PPC including:

  • Once you stop paying you stop showing up
  • Many search engine users ignore PPC because they know they are ads
  • Click fraud is real and can not be completely avoided

Paying for clicks is like renting instead of owning a home.  You get all of the benefits while you're renting but as soon as you don't build up any equity.  A well built website builds up value that will continue to pay you back over time.  $1,000 spent on PPC will last only a certain amount of clicks.  $1,000 spent on SEOing your website will be there indefinitely.

If someone always uses Google to do their searching, they are doing so because they like Google's search results.   They are not going there because they have better Pay Per Click ads.  Searchers trust that the websites that Google puts on their first page are credible businesses.  PPC is often just seen as advertisements.

Click fraud is when someone clicks on your ad with no intent to view your website or investigate your product or service.  They may be a competitor or just someone who has it out for you.  The search engines have gotten much better at guarding against it but, it can't be completely stopped.



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