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The internet is broader, faster and increasing in user capacity every day. Competition is rife and no matter how niche your business is you need an SEO solution provider to help you become as visible to your target market as possible.

Navigating passed the cowboys and finding a real expert isn’t easy, but with a bit of commonsense you can find an excellent search engine optimization services provider at a great price. Most of the “How to find an SEO expert” advice on the web focuses on experience, client base etc. But just because an SEO agency hasn’t worked with major brands doesn’t mean they aren’t brilliant – it might simply mean that they specialise in small to medium sized businesses and prefer to work on a more personal basis. So here are a few things people generally don’t think of when vetting their list of potential SEO agencies.

1. Study The Website

Start with the website. A website is the face of a business and something a company should take pride in. A website speaks silently about a business and says everything about quality, professionalism, effort and in the case of an SEO agency website, their understanding of a ‘quality user experience’. By nature of the profession an SEO agency website should be Read more

When it comes to internet marketing – SEO strategy “free shipping” is a great way to generate traffic, and did you know that a lot of people actually search for Read more

What is your website performance like? Not sure, right? I didn’t think so. In fact most website owners don’t know much about the user experience of their website, and, contrary to popular belief, SEO consulting isn’t just about search engine rankings. For a start, you won’t rank well with a slow site. So as a search optimization company, one thing I always look at on my clients’ sites is user experience and how each page individually performs. Read more

It isn’t enough that Google thinks it knows what users are searching for, but in a new testing initiative, the search giant has gone a step further by testing limited results. Results are being hidden when Google is confident of what the user is searching for. There have already been complaints on WebMasterWorld where searchers claim a search for “BBC Football” only returned a single web result. Should this experiment become a reality, the ramifications for online business are huge.

The official line on this from Google’s Matt Cutts is, “Sometimes less is more with search results”. Another statement from a Kapoor in the Google display team reads, In an effort to provide the most useful results for searchers we are constantly testing new features. Putting users first has served us well so we continue to do that”.

Are we facing a future where Google becomes an Read more

Google PandaGoogle has confirmed that a little over a week ago they carried out a data refresh of the Google Panda algorithm, and added that there were no additional changes. This refresh is an update of sorts but more of a reshuffle. I have come to call these “appeasing tweaks”, meaning the list of moaners who actually carry some weight in the web world is in, and Google then adjusts things so those big players get their rankings and traffic back.

There are some grumblings across the web from webmasters who have been hit again, and on assessment it seems affiliate marketers have yet again taken a bashing, seeing their review sites hopped over by blogs and random sites with seemingly less quality content. Largely, what we are seeing is Read more

Matt CuttsThe recent Google Panda updates supposedly had a stab at penalising ad-heavy pages, but an announcement from Matt Cutts has indicated that there is more to come in terms of stopping sites plastering pages with ads. Google’s Matt Cutts warns, “If you have ads obscuring your content, you might want to think about it,” asking publishers to consider, “Do they see content or something else that’s distracting or annoying?”

This latest dictation from the Ivory Castle has got the web community railed again as people accuse Google of being more than a little deceitful in their endeavours of late. Looking at the evidence it would seem that Google are only seeking to publish smaller sites using ad-heavy pages. This is fairly obvious after all the major sites hit by Panda were readjusted one by one. Not to mention that sites such as Yahoo!, MSNBC, WSJ, Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Mashable, The Huffington Post, and Techcrunch to name just as few, are all ad-heavy, and it’s hard to see Google penalising any of these sites. Read more

I often get calls from companies who are a little peeved at having wasted a large chunk of their marketing budget hiring an SEO consultant who simply didn’t deliver. Of course, as a search engine marketing firm this is great for me, but as a responsible business owner I feel it is my duty to point out a list of things you should check with a search engine marketing consultant before hiring their services.

  1. Can you tell me exactly how you conduct SEO?
    This might sound like a simplistic question, but a good consultant should be able to reel off a list of SEO techniques that have proved successful in the past.
  2. What are you going to need from me to be successful?
    This question will help you determine if he/she is going to take your money and Read more

No doubt by now you will have heard about the nerd fight going on between Google and Bing. Popcorn has been thrown back and forward all week as each side responds in a war of words that represents something like, “My dad can beat up your dad”.

Google accused Bing of copying search results after suspecting unethical practice and setting up fake search results to see if they were copied. It seems they were and the sting operation was successful.

Google Bing Results

Matt Cutts and crew went around pointing algorithms at the Microsoft engineers laughing like schoolboys who’d just
seen a friend kissing a girl, only to be shocked when Bing claimed that the results showed little more than a lesson in how to commit “click fraud”. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Senior VP of Online Services, determined to have the last word, spat back at Google like a viper:

“We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting. Google engaged in a “honeypot” attack to trick Bing. In simple terms, Google’s “experiment” was rigged to manipulate Bing search results through a type of attack also known as “click fraud.” That’s right, the same type of attack employed by spammers on the web to trick consumers and produce bogus search results. What does all this cloak and dagger click fraud prove? Nothing anyone in the industry doesn’t already know. As we have said before and again in this post, we use click stream optionally provided by consumers in an anonymous fashion as one of 1,000 signals to try and determine whether a site might make sense to be in our index.”

As the school kids fight it out, one thing is clear, Bing have come off well out of this. Why? Because many people who know nothing much of search outside of Google now know Google has a major competitor. Mark my words, Bing searches will escalate in the wake of this argument. The other side of the coin is that Google have made it obvious that they fear Bing. I mean if they didn’t then why would they invest time in trying to smear Bing’s reputation, or are they simply exposing unethical practice?

In truth this proves nothing, because Bing readily admit their users’ activity in Google affects their search results, but then so do a thousand other factors. Bing claim that if you do a search for a term that makes no real sense in English, and Google has created a fake search result for that term, Bing is likely to give you those fake results, too.

I fear that Google have made a huge unfounded accusation based on a manipulated test that is speculative at best, and anyway who cares if Bing copied a few search results, we all know Google is the definitive search platform so why wouldn’t a competitor replicate their practice.

There is a reason why WordPress was voted Overall Best Open Source CMS in the 2009 Open Source CMS Awards. With thousands of themes and plugins that do just about everything any other website can do, what started out as a solution for bloggers ended up being the world’s favourite open source CMS. To say it is the best would be to overlook some serious competition from Joomla, Drupal and Modx, and as mentioned in a previous posting, CMS is all about the requirements of the user. But let’s look at this from a modern perspective. When you need a stable, secure, user friendly, one-click solution WordPress is undoubtedly a leader in this field.

 

wordpressCustomisability

WordPress is primarily blogging software, but its customisability makes it a potentially great ecommerce or general information site. Starting with a pre-programmed basic theme you can customise your site to be unique from any other WordPress user. Depending on how deep you want to go, you may need to enlist the help of a developer, especially if you require static content or manipulation of the CSS (Cascading Style Sheet). As with all CMS, there are limits if your knowledge is limited.

Community

The WordPress community houses a plugin for everything you could want to do with a website. Support is never-ending with threads providing step-by-step guides on every aspect of building a WordPress site. When it comes to CMS, WordPress offers pure freedom. When you post a question on the WordPress forum, you can guarantee a reply within 12-24 hours – this community is a loving and sharing one.

Stability

I have never seen a WordPress dashboard crash, neither have I seen work lost – other than through stupidity. You can run WordPress both from your desktop and via a server, meaning that a full back up can be kept at all times.

Security

When it comes to ecommerce you need security, yet nobody can guarantee you unhackable software – WordPress however, comes close to the mark. WordPress is very secure and offers a number of security features as default and through plugin software.

Free

Best of all WordPress is free. You can have a fully functional website up and running within the hour for zilch dollars. It doesn’t take long to familiarise yourself with the dashboard and from there its plain sailing.

SEO

WordPress is SEO friendly, but as mentioned in the customisation section, if your knowledge is limited so will be your optimisation without a search engine optimization consultant. Therefore my advice is this; enlist the help of a developer to tweak your site exactly how you envision it to be, from there you can manage the back end (admin dashboard) without needing to constantly pay a developer for changes (the beauty of CMS). Similarly, pay out for search engine optimization consultant to help give the site a kick start and to learn some valuable tips from an expert.

Yesterday I posted about the negative impact the Google Panda changes are having on all sorts of websites, and with each day that passes, more webmasters are realizing they have been affected by the black and white bear of search. I thought it might be useful to offer a few tips on how to fight back for those sites that have been affected. Please bear in mind (no pun intended), that these tips are based on general research and my experience of the changes.

Eliminate Spammy On-site Links

If you have spammed your footer or sidebar with longtail keywords in an attempt to gain extra “Google points” then you may well have felt the force of the panda. Unless these links are linking to relevant and visible pages in your sitemap, then this could be a reason for Read more

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