First I want to welcome everyoneto today's webinar on successwith SEO, standing out on the web.
Myname is Rob Williams.
I'll be serving as today's webinarmoderator, and I'm with IASource Link and the UNI Center for Business Growth andInnovation.
A few quick items before we kickoff today's presentation.
First ofall, we do record all of our webinars and makethem available on the IASource Link website usually within the week.
As most of you have discovered in the lower part of the screen,there is a public comments box where you can alert us to anytechnical issues that you arehaving.
And on that same point, mycolleague Valyn Reinig is online today and available byphone, email, whatever youneed, to answer any questions thatcome in.
Valyn, please do putin your phone number and email address into the publiccomments box.
So pleasecontact Valyn if you have any issues.
If in the event that we doget disconnected, don'tpanic! Don't worry! You should be ableto come back into the webinarroom.
Usually just within a minute we'llhave everything back up andrunning.
In the lower right hand corneryou'll find an area for questions for our presenter.
Please do enterany questions into that box, not the public comments box,and Jeff has kindly agreed to answer those on the fly, andthen we'll have some time atthe end dedicated to go with a facilitated Q & A at theend.
And one other thing too, at theend of today's presentation we will have a short feedbacksurvey.
We use this to improve the quality of ourwebinars and to findfuture speakers, so we'd appreciate it if you couldtake some time and give ussome feedback on how we did today.
So today's webinar, we'regoing to provide an overviewon search engine optimization, and we're going tohelp you learn some strategiesto boost your visibility of your business websiteon the internet.
Our guestpresenter today is Jeff Carey.
He is thepresident and owner of BlueTraffic, which is an internet marketingfirm based in Des Moines,Iowa.
Jeff got his start in the industryin 1998 building pay-per-click campaignson Goto.
In 1999 he built and sold a web based advertising service fordomain name owners.
In 2001 he launched in internetdirectory for Iowa businessowners.
And then he formed CareyConsultants group Incorporated in 2003 to help companies withweb design, hosting, onlinemarketing, and later it became what weknow today as Blue Traffic.
Jeff continues to consult withcompanies nationwide on search engineoptimization, pay-per-clickadvertising, and social media.
He's earnedcertifications from Google,Yahoo, Bing, and has a bachelor's degree inpsychology from the Universityof Northern Iowa.
Go panthers! Carey is married and has twodaughters, and we're so excited to be welcoming him to today'spresentation.
Let's go ahead and get started with things, andJeff go ahead and take it away.
[Jeff]Alright! Thank you, Rob, andthank all of you for jumping online today to watch a little bitof this information about search engine optimization.
I appreciatethe invite to come in.
Feel free as we're workingthrough this if you have questions to goahead and post those, andI'll try to get to all of them before we wrap things up.
Let'sjump right into the presentationportion.
Okay! So what we're going to betalking about today is search engineoptimization for smallbusiness.
And I always ask this questionwhen I get in front of a group of business owners, and that isyou know we rely on our websites so much these days, and whenwe look at all the different thingswe try to do to get people to our websites andto interact with them and to hopefully have some of thembecome new members orcustomers or to make a sale, what it comes down to a lot oftimes is you'll take as much free traffic as you can possiblyget to your website as long asit's good, relevant, you know the right traffic to yoursite.
So the big question is whoelse wants free traffic, and usually theanswer is pretty mucheveryone.
So what's interesting, and I don'tknow if you keep track of the statistics on your website or not,but if you look closely, most businesses that I work withanyway get roughly 70 percent of their websitevisitors from sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
So that typicallyis free traffic unless you're using one of those sites to actually buysome traffic as well.
So when you look at wherepeople are going online tosearch, and I know everyone kind of knows thatGoogle is the big dog out there,these are the most recent stats I was able to grab fromcomScore's website, and that Google right now in theUnited States has about 65percent market share.
Bing would be right there in thenumber two position with about18, and Yahoo is right following at about 13percent, and then it reallydrops off from there.
I don't know how many of youremember when there used tobe dozens and even more web searchengines, but they've consolidated to a certain degree,and even sites like Ask that used to have 5 or 10 percent of trafficand AOL have dropped off to almost nothingcomparatively.
So let's talk about search engineoptimization, and first of all make sure we're all on the same pagewith what that is.
And I grabbedsome of this from some stuff I've done in the pastand also combined it with a littlebit from Wikipedia, and I'll just read it here.
Searchengine optimization is the process of improving the volume and thequality of traffic to your website through what we call natural,organic, sometimes calledalgorithmic search results.
So it's what youcan do to get traffic to yourwebsite for free, mainly coming from those majorsearch engines that I just mentioned.
So typically when I start working with abusiness owner, they thinkthis is some kind of magic.
They wonder how is it possiblethat when I do a search thatGoogle or Bing or whoever can decidequickly the results I'm going to see, and why are some sites ranked higherand some lower, and where'smy site in the big picture? And so there are anumber of factors that come into play whensearch engines are out visitingyour website and trying to decide what your site'sall about, and those factors arewhat really influence where you're goingto be in search results for anygiven search.
And so I'm just going to gothrough maybe about 8 or 10of them today and give you a broad overview, and thenwe can get into more detail ata later time with this.
One of the big factors in terms ofranking your website that you.
You know I think thispresentation will be availablelater, so you don't necessarily need to write it down, but itwould be to make sure thatsome of your main key words are right there in the title of thepages on your website.
Anotherone would be how much Google and searchengines trust your website andhow much your website is an authority on theparticular topic that your site concentrates on.
A third onewould be are there other websites linking to yourwebsite, and are they qualitywebsites or are they little junky, spammy,directory sites that you paid somebody on Viber tocreate for you that Google understands aren't worth theirweight.
Another factor that is important in getting yoursite to rank is how old it is.
So if you've got a website that's,say, 10 years old versus a website that you built two monthsago, typically that older site will have built up more of thattrust and authority, and forthat reason it oftentimes will rank a little bit better than abrand new site that searchengines maybe don't trust yet.
Along that same line, search engines look very closelyat how you're interlinking yourweb pages.
So having the right types ofinternal links to other areas of your website can bepretty important in gettingthose pages to rank in addition to just your homepage.
So search engines, when they'reout visiting your website, oneof the things that they're trying to do is they're trying to readcontent.
They're trying toread words on the page, kind of the way you and I do, andthey're trying to make sense ofthat in determining what that page is about, andtherefore what that pagemaybe should rank for.
So a big factor, I see a lot ofwebsites that have really pretty pictures and video and diagramsand so forth, but what they'relacking, a lot of times, and need is tohave some good, solid, unique, original content right there on the page.
So this is kind of what I wouldconsider to be a little bit of anewer factor that we've discovered not toolong ago, and that is that if you think in terms of traffic cominginto your site and what you dowith those people once they're on your site, some sites kind oftry to hoard their traffic andthey don't want anybody ever leaving theirwebsite and so they refuseto link out to other potential sites.
And Google kind of prefersto see your site linking to maybe other authoritysites where you can take yourvisitors to more information on a certaintopic that maybe you don'tprovide.
So it's important that when you've gotan area of your website whereyou want to maybe fill somebody in on somethingelse, go ahead and find areally good resource on that and go ahead and provide a linkout to them.
So I just put a few more downhere that I was thinking of offthe top of my head like the speed of your site is gettingto be a pretty big factor.
Google doesn't want to serve upsites that are very slow.
If somebody comes out and doesa search and they're waitingand waiting for their browser to load because you'vegot a big video that has to comeup first, that will really hurt your rankings.
So youwant to have a quick movingwebsite that's easy to get around.
Just kind of likeGoogle does.
There's is, I think,one of the fastest loading sites of any of them out there.
This is a big initiative that's going to be happening here justin the next, roughly, week, and that is that one of the rankingfactors that Google is tellingus about is they're going to start demoting websites that arenot ready for mobile search.
So as you may know, more andmore people are using theircellphones, their mobile devices, to get online and to visityour site, and as that happens, if your site is one that doesn'tdisplay well for mobile visitors and they're having topoke and pick their wayaround, that could actually hurt yourrankings.
So I know we'readvising our clients who aren't ready yet, to get theirsite to be more responsive and to show well on various screensizes.
So another one would be clean code, and that's justbasically saying that if yoursite has got so much source code behindeach page that search engineshave trouble looking through that anddetermining what's usefuland what's junk, that can really hurt your rankingsas well.
User metrics would just be when somebody lands on yourwebsite, what are they doing? So if they've done a search andended up on your site and all ofa sudden two seconds later they're hitting the back button, you knowthat tells Google something.
Ittells them that maybe you shouldn't be rankingfor that particular searchbecause people bounce very quickly.
So stuff like that, timeon site, how many pages theymight visit.
And here are just a few more.
This has become a fairly big one here in the lastcouple of years, and that'ssocial signals.
So you know if you were to askthe search engines do we look at Twitter and Facebook and Foursquare and those typesof websites in determining whetheror not your site's going to do well, theywould probably tell you todaythat those aren't really ranking factors, but whatwe have found in some studies is that they do correlate veryhighly with high ranking sites.
So if you've got those accountsin place and you're active onthem, your website has a much highertendency to rank well.
The lastone I want to put is anchor text.
Overall there are acouple hundred different things that search engines are lookingat to decide whether or not yoursite should be on that first page of searchresults.
So you know I think the ones I mention today, thereprobably are about 20 or sothat we really focus on, and those are the ones thatyou probably want to payparticular attention to.
So I just put together this littlerecipe for what I would call the SEO recipe,and it's really the addition of three differentthings that can turn into thosehigher rankings and more traffic for you.
So I'll just kind ofgo through them.
And numberone would be what I would consider to bekeyword research.
And that is if you're trying to get infront ofan audience online, you have to kind of understandyour audience and know what are they looking for.
Whatare some of the ways thatthose people search, and how can I align my websitewith those types of searchesso that when they do a search Googleunderstands that my site shouldbe there? A good example of that wouldbe we work with a lot of cardealers.
And car dealers don't like to usethe word used cars.
A lot of them prefer to saypre-owned.
And what's funny about it is ifyou do your research on that, people don't search that way.
Idon't go out and look for apre-owned automobile.
You know I look for a used car.
And so they struggle with that being in a position where I don'twant to put the word used caron my page.
And so that's an example ofaligning how people are searching withwhat your website actually says.
The level of competition isanother big one.
So usingthat same example, you know I'll have a car dealerthat will say to me ya we wouldlike to rank as high as possible for the word Ford orChevy.
And I'll tell them you know there are so manymillions and millions of websitesout there that probably if somebody types inFord you're not going to bethere unless it's a local result and the searchengine's serving up thelocal Ford dealership.
So I call those long tail searches.
And if you ever get a chance to see how peoplesearch or even if you look in theweb statistics for your own site, you'll seepeople don't type in one wordand find you.
And that's just not the way wesearch today, because we knowwe're not going to get the result we want.
So even two words ispretty vague, but once you getto like three, four, five, six, seven word phrases, that's howpeople search.
And that's thekind of information you'll want to put onyour website to help themfind you.
So knowing your audience is prettyimportant.
That's kind of stepone of the recipe.
Step two is once you know that,you have to take that information and apply it to your website.
Soyou need to say okay I'velearned how people are looking for this particular productthat we have.
I know how peoplemight be searching for this service that we offer.
And on thatparticular area of yourwebsite, you need to start talking about that and offeringinformation and resourcesabout that particular way people search.
I mentioned inthose factors title tags, keywords in your content, havingthat clean code, and linking from one page to another when itmakes sense to do that allwould be considered kind of the onpage site factors that youcontrol.
And then there's all the stuff thathappens off your site.
And I would bet that maybe 50 percent ofyour ability to rank is not reallycontrolled by what you do on your own site, but what peopledo off your site.
So if you've developed a really good resourceabout a particular topic, you'reprobably going to, especially if you'resharing that with other people,you're going to have other people that want to share thatwith their audience when itmakes sense.
And it's that kind of outbound link building fromtheir site to your website that is a huge signal for searchengines in saying okay weknow you control your own website, and you can tell usanything you want about whatyou do, but when other people tell us what you do, we take thatinto consideration as maybeeven being stronger as a factor.
So I mentioned socialmedia.
You know as you're out there sharing yourinformation on Twitter andFacebook and other sites, people will share it, people willlike it, all of those things havean impact, brand mentions.
And it's thosethree things together that would be a real simple recipefor having your rankingsimprove on search, getting just generally bettervisibility online, more traffic, more leads, more sales.
So what's changing in the SEO industry, and this stuff ishappening all the time.
It used to be back kind of in theglory days of the internet it wasvery easy to get a website to rank on the firstpage of search results, and then as search engines became moresophisticated, it became moreand more difficult.
And now it's a lot of work to get your site where you want to beand to maintain that, mainlybecause the search engines are constantlytrying to improve their results, and therefore they're changingtheir formula and their algorithmpretty much all the time.
So there aredifferent filters and updates that are happening.
Ifyou're in my world you mayhave heard of Google Penguin or Panda or theHummingbird Update or the Exact Match Domain Updateor the Page Layout.
And there are about a dozen of those differentways that search engines apply a major change to their rankingformula that can have an impact on how your site does in search.
There also are.
There are a lot of people whowhen they became frustratedwith their site not being there, they tookshortcuts, and they maybehired an SEO company that took some shortcutsthemselves in trying to quickly get that siteback up there.
And oftentimesthat worked for a short period until Google or Bing or Yahoomaybe discovered what that client had done totheir site, and then Google may have applied a penalty toyou and you may have wentfrom a number two or a number three ranking position to all of asudden being nowhere to befound.
There are ways that you can goback.
If that's ever happened toyou or a site you own, you can go back to thesearch engines and pleadfor forgiveness and clean that stuff up and getback where you need to be,but it takes some work.
So and kind of the one thing I'venoticed, and this tends to be a shift that happens every fewyears is.
It wasn't too longago that pretty much any small businesswebsite could rank very well on search results forsomewhat competitive phrases.
And now what I've seen over thelast year or two is when you do a search where you might expectto see somebody locally comingup, you're seeing some big national companies andsome big nationwide brands ahead of you.
And that'sfrustrating when that happens,because it makes it more and more difficultfor people to find you, which in most cases they're probablylooking for you and not somecompany in California that offers a service.
So what I want to do a little bittoday is talk about local SEO.
And this is theopportunity that small to medium size business ownershave in search results to still kind of stake their claim andbe right there on the first page ofsearch, even above some ofthose national brands or maybe sites that havejust a huge following.
So this is your opportunity.
Ifyou do business locally, and a lot of us do, a lot of ourcustomers come within maybe an hour drive ofwhere we're at, for those ofyou who do that kind of business, the next few slides here will behelpful for you to make sure thatyou're there from a local search resultsstandpoint.
And even forthose of you who are on here who say my market's alittle bit bigger than that, I dobusiness all over Iowa or in the Midwest oreven in the United States, these items I'm going to tell youabout are kind of the foundationand the building blocks for taking the next step tooptimizing your website for even larger areas.
So we'll go over to here.
So the first thing I would tell anybusiness owner that wanted to get better local results in search would be you kind ofneed to take a look at yourown website first, because if that's a mess, if the searchengines can't understand your main website,they're going to have trouble getting you into a nice positionfrom a local search resultstandpoint.
So some of the things I've talkedabout today already in terms of getting your content cleaned up,making sure you're using theright keywords where they need to be, your site being very fast tomove around, and things like thatwill help you from a local standpoint aswell.
But one of the big onesthat I see that most small business owners missis getting your address, yourphysical address, on every single page of yourwebsite.
So it can be kind ofclumsy to try to do that and put it in a contentarea.
A lot of times what I'lldo is I'll ask business owners if they haveroom down in the footer, kindof in the very bottom area of their website, to put the name oftheir business, their physicallocation, their city, their state abbreviation,and their zip code as well astheir local phone number.
That factor alone canhave a huge impact on howwell your site ranks in local results.
So ifyou haven't done that yet, I don't know whether you're theweb master in charge of yourwebsite who's going to make changes or if you hire someoneto do that, but that's a prettyimportant step that you'll want to take.
Right along that sameline, up toward the top of the page kind of beyond whereyou can see on your website butup in the top of the browser is what we callyour title tag.
And so every page has a title as it's beingcreated, and another veryimportant aspect if you're trying to target localbusinesses is that you put your main major city in thattitle.
So if you're in the Cedar FallsWaterloo area for example and you've learnedthat most people search for yourservices by those words, you know Cedar Fallschiropractor or hairstylist in Waterloo, somethingalong that line, then you'll want to make sure that you have thatat the title of your website aswell and get your city and your state abbreviation there.
So one thing I encourage everysmall business owner to do is tomake sure that they have some type of web statisticset up running behind the scenes on their website so thatthey can learn how people areinteracting with their website, how people are findingit, what they're doing when theyget there.
And so I oftentimes recommendthe free version of Google Analytics.
If you don't have that,I'd recommend you get that put on there and getit put on every single page ofyour website.
There are a lot of other webstatistics programs out there,but I find that that one has a free source about as good asthey come.
And it interacts really well with some of the onesI'm going to recommend as well.
Number two on the list is something calledGoogle Webmaster Tools.
You may or may not have ever heard of that.
Google Webmaster Tools issimilar to Google Analyticsin that it tells you what's going on behind the scenes, but it'skind of a little bit more in depthin terms of exactly what search phrase didsomebody use to come in andwhat links are pointing to my website that the searchengines and are there issues with search engines being ableto get around in my website,stuff like that.
So pretty important that you goout and go to Google WebmasterTools, get yourself a free account set up, put yourbusiness on there.
You'll haveto go through a little verification process so thatyou can prove that you own that site, and then kind of as a finalstep you'll actually have theability to connect that to your analytics.
So when youdo that, you're going to get a lot of good, useful informationabout what's happening on yoursite that you can then use to make changes that will improveyour visibility.
So you know we've talked aboutother ways to do that research to be able tofigure out how people areactually looking for you, and there's a number of differentways that you can do it.
Oneof the ways that I do it for our clients is we'll runa little short term pay-per-clickcampaign.
So you may have heard of GoogleAdwords.
Some of you may beusing that.
Bing has something called BingAds which runs on Bing andon Yahoo.
And basically for a very smallbudget you can go out andyou can start advertising on a few keywordsthat you know are related to your business, andGoogle will start sharing withyou all of the different ways that people search that arerelated to that.
So you may startout with 25 or 50 keywords that you thinkare pretty important, and a monthdown the road you may get information on another 500ways that people are searching for that same thing or somethingvery similar.
And you can usethat data and apply it to your website.
Sothat would be the pay-per-click.
There's also a site called Ubersuggest.
Ubersuggest,basically if you've ever goneout to Google and done a search, as you're typing younotice that the search ispopping up for you based on how other people search, andUbersuggest kind of grabsthat same information and puts it altogether for you in one bigdata sheet.
So you can typein a couple of keywords, and that service will give you back a couple hundredkeywords related to that search.
Obviously you can get it from Analytics and from GoogleWebmaster Tools as well.
How are we doing on time, Rob? [Rob]Perfect.
So from a local search standpoint, youknow we've talked a little bitabout your own website, the other thing youabsolutely need to do is you need to go out and you need toclaim your business on a site that Google is currently callingGoogle My Business.
So this has changed names a half adozen times in the last tenyears.
It used to be it started out kind of just asGoogle Maps, went to GoogleLocal.
Today it's called Google MyBusiness, and I think thatmight be changing again.
So get out there.
I think it's justgoogle.
And you'll want to do a searchfor your business there.
Andif you find it and Google already has a localpage set up for you, theyprobably have grabbed that information from somewhere,you're going to want to claimthat and let Google know I own this particular site anddomain and this is myaddress and my phone number.
And so they've got acouple different ways you canclaim it, by phone or by postcard, some of you probably havealready done that, but onceyou've claimed that, then you have the ability to go inand provide search engines with a lot of additional informationabout what category isthe business you're in, what hours are you open, whatform of payment do you take,and things like that that local businesses ispretty important stuff for them.
And so what I encourage ourcustomers to do is one of the big reasons they get outranked by their localcompetitors is becausethey haven't done a real good job with that GoogleMy Business page.
And soget that thing filled out 100 percent until it says this is100 percent complete, and make sure it's very accurate.
Spend a couple hours on thatpage, and you'll find that that can have ahuge boost in how you do andwhere your sites come up when someonedoes a local search.
One of the things we talk aboutfrom a local search standpointis your name, your address, and yourphone number, or your NAP.
And it's extremely important thatyou get that correct on your Google My Businesspage, but at the same time,you'll want to go out and start looking for other sites that mighthave listed you in kind of a directory.
So it couldbe Yellow Pages.
It could beYelp.
It might be Foursquare.
Thereare hundreds of them.
But if you just do a search foryour business name and youraddress, you'll start seeing them.
And what happens is localwebsites don't rank as well if there's a lot of inconsistenciesbetween how those sites list your business.
So some ofthem might have anabbreviation of your name.
Some of them might have theincorporated on the end whileothers don't.
Some may have your 800 number on there whileothers have your local.
And it'spretty important that you get that to a point where it's the sameacross the board.
And I knowthat doesn't happen overnight.
It takes a lot of work, so Iencourage our small businessclients to just set aside a little bit of time each week togo out and fix a few more, andwhat you'll find is you'll creep right up toward the top inthose search results as youimprove those.
So one of the other things thatcan be helpful is once you've got your localGoogle My Business pagedeveloped, to make sure it links back to your mainwebsite and vice versa.
So I just mentioned finding andupdating all of those instancesof your business.
Try to be veryconsistent.
Sometimes it'sjust a matter of.
You know I've seen local sitesthat had 95 percent consistency, or maybe if you lookat the top 30 or 40 directories they had them almost all right,but there were a couple of themsitting out there that were incorrect, and justfixing those took them rightto the top.
So you also want tomake sure that you claim all of the otherlocal listings.
So like Bing and Yahoo have alittle local listings area.
Yelp is another one that's reallybig in the local space.
Obviously Facebook andFoursquare.
You'll find every community has differentones, but where I'm at I probablyhave about two dozen that I work on and tryto make sure that people are inthe right spot for all of those.
And there are someservices that will handle that foryou.
They're somewhat automatedwhere you'll go in, and typicallythey cost right around 10 dollars a month or maybe aone time payment of 100 bucks a year, and you'll pay thoseservices to update your listings for you, and they'llgo out and try to fix as many aspossible and also find mistakes that youneed to be working on manually.
So once you've got that mainlocal.
Again, I'm assuming that we'researching on Google here, and Google's My Business pageis the one you see typically when you do a localsearch.
They're going to havethose five, six, seven, eight, even ten spots right up near themap.
Probably they'll have a littlepin over to the map locations.
So once you've got that in order,then you might want to start moving back tomaking sure your website is as solid as it can be to makesure as people come in they very easily can find theinformation they're looking forand it matches what you're saying on other sitesas well.
So one of the things I tell mybusiness clients is thatevery single page on your website needs to have a purpose.
So it wasn't too long ago that consultants were telling theircustomers you need to be blogging.
You need to be creatingfresh, original content as often aspossible and we're going to set you up ona schedule where we're havingyou add content everyday and and the search engines just lovethat.
And the reality is they do.
They do love to see that fresh new content,but it's very easy to go a little bit overboard and start tocreate content that really isn't useful for anyone, butit's more you're just going throughan exercise to try to keep churning out data, and it'snot good.
So I think as you're interacting with yourexisting customers today and hearing about what types ofquestions they're asking you, what things they maybe want toknow about your products thataren't out there today, you may be able to go out thereand even just once a week say I'm going to update somethingon our website with somefresh, new content, and if I have to create anew page or a new blog postto do that, I'm going to make sure that thatpage is very focused about thattopic.
And that's really the way searchengines like to see that.
They don't like everypage to be a little bit aboutsomething.
They want to see a page that's real specificabout a topic, and that's how they dissect thaton your website and compareit to other websites that maybe aren't doing such agood job of focusing.
And the second part is asyou're creating that content.
So I know I just workedwith a company that created a really nice video series.
And that was great, except that only the people that knew abouttheir website were really findingit.
And so they went out and theyuploaded those videos to YouTube, and we started doing alittle bit of optimization there, andit was amazing to see.
I think YouTube today is actuallythe number two place people go to search, right behind Google.
So just doing that and sharing iton their social profiles and letting peopleknow about those videos beingout there, all of a sudden other people were linking tothose videos and sharing themand adding them and embedding them on their website and juststuff like that.
So be social withyour content.
Let other people know about it.
One of the questions that I getasked early on when I'm dealing with typically a small or mediumsized business is should I even be hiring an SEOcompany or should I be trying to do this stuff myself? And it's areally good question.
And I oftenencourage customers to try to do as much of the stuffas they can on their own,because it's helpful, and I know that youhave to wear a lot of hats, but ifyou can get a few of the basics right, it could take you along way.
Whether you'regrabbing a good book on the topic from Amazon, youcan do a search on there forsearch engine optimization books and finddozens of really good ones.
But one of the links I shared herein my presentation with a littleshort code is a good article about trying todecide whether or not you're ina position where you can do some of thisstuff on your own or whether itwould make more sense to hire a professional to do your searchengine optimization for you.
And I always go back and tellcustomers who are kindof in that stage, you can learn a lot from justasking the search engines themselves what you should andshouldn't be doing.
You know soif you ask Google today should I be optimizing awebsite or should I just leave it alone andlet them figure it out on theirown, they've got a pretty good resource page that I've linkedto and that short code as wellthat you can go out and read.
You know what does Google sayI should do? And then one of thesites that I visit every day, and I share theircontent with my customers just because they'rea great company.
They're out inSeattle.
There's a company called Moz.
It used to be called SEOMoz.
They created a very nicebeginner's guide to SEO.
It's fairly lengthy to go throughall of the chapters there, but if you do what they'veoutlined there, you'll be 60 or 70 percent of the way tohaving your site completelyoptimized just by using a resource like that.
So I guess kind of as a wrap uphere, you know you kind of look at thebig picture and you think back to all of us are busy, many of us work infront of a computer all daylong that's connected to theinternet, and when we need something, you know if Ineed to purchase a product andI know what that product is, I may gostraight to Amazon to makethat happen.
If it's something that I can getand ship to my home in twodays shipping, that's a pretty easy decision.
If Ihave a question or I'm doing some research or I'm not quite atthe buying stage and I'm tryingto decide who I'm going to go with andwho I'm going to call, I typically turn to Google for that,or I may to go to Bing or Yahoojust to see what the results show there.
Andit used to be that results were so bad in thosesearch engines not too many years ago that Iwould scroll through the firstpage and not see what I wanted, I'd look at theads on the top and the right handside and I wouldn't find exactly what I needed, and I'd beat the second page of searchresults looking at the next 10, and then I'd jumpover to Bing and do a search.
Search engines have gotten muchbetter.
They have learned how peoplesearch and what they're lookingfor, and so I tell my customers that it's nolonger a goal to get them on page two of Google, and it'salmost moved to the pointwhere it's no longer a goal to get them on page one.
Youcan go out right now and do asearch for anything you want on Google, and they'll return resultsvery quickly, and they'll give youthe number of results they had to look at tocome up with that decision.
A very small number might be50,000.
For a competitive search it might be in the 5million or larger.
So if you can imagine even amillion web pages that Googlehas to sift through to come up with theanswer and you're trying toget into the top 20 or the top 10, I'm telling youyou need to get into those top 5.
So when you look at the screenwithout doing any scrolling, you're going to see that those top5 results are the ones that show up right there.
And most people aregoing to click on one of those 5 results and from there, unlessthey get to a site that doesn'thave good information, their search may be done.
If I'mlooking for something locally and I need to see achiropractor because I threw my back out on the way tothe office, and so I'm going to search for a chiropractor,and I'm going to look in the cityI'm in, and I'm going to look at those localresults first, and I'm going toprobably look at the map and say where can I get myself to to get help.
And it's the samething with most businesses that do business locally orwhether you do it on anational level.
If the result is good, you may not gobeyond that.
And that should kind of be yourgoal as well is trying to get forsure to the first page of Google for yourmain searches, andhopefully to continue to do some of thethings that we've talked abouttoday to move up so that at some point your main searchresults are in that top 5 position.
So I think that's prettymuch all I had in the presentation today, so I see we have had somequestions pop up, and why don't we see if we cango through those, and maybe ifyou guys have some, you can ask them as we're working throughsome of those.
That was great, Jeff.
We have a lot of really interestingquestions coming up.
Davidhad asked what the best use is for a website.
He's got two domains the second one isparked.
Both of the domainnames are related to commerce.
It says that he's having some troublechecking stats to see whichdomain is the better one to use.
And alsowhich is the best choice for the primary name? Doyou have any thoughts on that or do you work with clients withmultiple domains or have anyadvice for David on that? – Ya.
And it can be a little bit ofa complicated issue, David, as you're probably noticing.
I doencourage customers to try tofocus on one domain name.
So if you'renot sure maybe which domain name is the right one togo with, there are a few thingsyou might ask yourself like how old are these domainnames? So if I've got one that'sfive years old and one that's one year old, typically the olderdomain name may do better.
The length of the domain namecould be pretty important.
So ifone of them is much easier to actually type in or toremember.
You also may want to see.
Youcan go to a site like archive.
They've got a little site out therecalled the way back machine, and you can put those domain namesin there and see if there is anyhistory on that site on that domain in the past.
Maybebefore you acquired that domainname something was happening with it that was notexactly what you would havedone with it so to speak.
Do your due diligence.
And essentially what you want to do inthe end is pick one and then take the other one and actually justforward that domain name toyour main site so that if somebody does happen to comeacross the other domain namethey don't end up on your website and still see thatsecondary domain.
Youwant them to see the primary one every time.
And he did add that one of the domains isshorter, but the other one has hiskeywords in it.
That can be a tough choice.
And ultimately, it used to be that keywords were such a big factorin ranking.
So what I would recommend is if you know whatthose keywords are, and let'ssay it's about a three word search, for example, you might do asearch for those keywords and see what type ofresults Google or Bing or Yahoo are showing right now.
Look atthe domain names and say dothose domain names have those keywords in them? Becausetypically you can go with theshorter domain name and then add a folder on thatincludes those keywords and actually do a little bit better.
Cindy had asked how do we know.
Right now, ifwe wanted to benchmarkhow well our website is doing, how can wesee where our page ranks on Google? – So probably theeasiest way is to just go outand do a search.
So first of all you kindof have to know.
You may have let's say 10 different searchphrases that you say we'dlove to be there when people do this type of a search.
And sowhat I do is I go out to Google Chrome, and I open upsomething called anincognito window, which is kind of up in the top right corner.
There's three bars up there, andyou click on them and scroll down a little bit and it'll say newincognito window.
And I'dalso make sure I'm logged out of any Googleaccounts I might have beenin.
And at that point you're doing kind of a nonpersonalizedsearch that isn't going to serveup results based on something you maybe have visited in thepast.
And then go ahead anddo your searches for those 10 phrases.
And if you're not on thefirst or second page of searchresults, then you know you're far enough down the linethat it really doesn't matter, andyou need to improve on those.
– And Alan had asked do you need to get permissionfrom someone before linkingto their website from yours? – You really don't.
You know you can link out toanybody you want.
Usually they're very happy to seethat happen.
If you want to ask them first you can, but I link towebsites all day long and ask my customers if you'vewritten a page of content andthere's something on there that you've found useful yourself andyou want to share it with yourvisitors, link to it.
– Another question, this is more along the social media side,what are the top three social media platforms to be linking to yourwebsite with for SEO purposes? – Well I think they vary dependingon what business you're in.
The big twothat I focus on right away would be making sureyou have a Facebook page.
Soyou've got your Facebook for business page.
That's a huge site, and it carries a lot of weight whenyou're active on Facebook.
Oftentimes you may find thatyour Facebook page outranks your own website becausefacebook.
Com is such anauthority site and is trusted by the searchengines.
So Facebook would be number one.
A lot of mycustomers are reluctant todo much with Twitter, but that's a prettypowerful site as well.
So even if you're not using Twittermaybe in the sense that it was built to use whereyou're interacting in little short sentences and sharing links andphotos and stuff, it can still be agood site to have some links comingback to yours from.
So definitely claim your Twitterprofile.
As you set up theprofile, set a link to yourself, to your own company.
And then if you can get to thepoint where you're active on a little bit and you maybe sharing content about othersites that your followers would finduseful, but at the same time you're interjecting a little bit toalso direct those people backto your site as well.
And after that, LinkedIn is a bigone, especially for business professionals.
So Iwould go and make sure that you're LinkedIn profile is set up.
And probably to add a fourth on the list, one that I've foundpretty useful is Yelp, especially for local results, soget that.
Claim your Yelp and get that link coming backinto your site.
– And we havea couple of questions that all kind of havethe same theme, so I'm going tokind of lump them together.
What to do with websites thatare linking to your site that you don't want linking to yourwebsite or what do you do with content out there, maybe anegative review for instance, from several years ago thatyou'd like to address that may be hurting your onlinebrand, maybe not necessarilySEO reasons.
Well let's start with thewebsites that are linking toyou that you would prefer not link to you, whether itwas something you instigatedyears ago and you want to get rid of it or whether they'rejust linking to you and youwant to take it down.
Probably the first step, and it's a difficult process, because ifthere are dozens or hundredsof these types of links, it can be quite a job.
But the firststep I would take is to try to get in touch withthe web master.
Find out who owns that domain name,who controls that website, andask them in a polite email to remove that link that'scoming to your website.
Oftentimes you'll get no responseat all.
And so Google has created a system where you can go outand tell Google I don't want you to count these links anymore.
And that's all done inside Google Webmaster Tools.
So get your account set up, and in there you'll find, especially ifyou go to the help section,how to start the process of removing those bad incominglinks.
Reviews, the second part of thequestion, reviews are another area that can be prettydifficult to get rid of.
Most sites that offer the ability to post a review, and the person who posted the review may beable to do that somewhatanonymously where they logged in under some fictitiousemail address, posted a view that made itthrough whatever monitoringsystem that site has, and there it is, and it'smaybe never going to go away.
So again, you can try to go to thesite where that review is posted and you can try to ask thewebmaster if that could be takendown.
If it's on one of these big,national websites wherethere's a review, probably your best bet is to justget involved in the conversation.
So you know if you have theability to have a rebuttal to that negative review or toaddress the situation there and start out appreciating thatthey took the time to bring to your attention maybe a problemthe had with your business.
Isee this all the time in the car dealer industry.
You knowsomebody buys a car,and for some reason something goes wrong and it's all thedealer's fault, and so theygo out and they're angry and everything they can do tosay bad things about thatdealer.
And the other thing you can do if you can't getrid of those or if responding tothem isn't enough is if you can get more reviewsthat are positive, typically that will push thosenegative reviews down, maybe off the first page ofreviews to the point wherethe majority of the reviews somebody's going to read aregoing to be positive.
– And Iknow as a consumer at least when I'm looking atbusinesses online, if there's one or two bad reviewsit's not a dish off.
And I thinkmost people are more looking for that pattern like youdescribed, Jeff.
I have quite a few thatare just kind of rolling in.
So Lori asked an interestingquestion.
She's wondering if she were to use IA versus Iowa,are search engines kind of smartenough to know that that'sreally the same term, or are there some things thatshe should be aware of there?- Ya.
It's a good question.
And you can use them both.
I wouldencourage you to make sureyou have both instances on your website.
I tend to use theabbreviation when I've got a little bit of a space issue.
So ifI'm working with a title tag on apage and I know I've got about 65characters to work with andI'm trying to squeeze in the state that I'm in,I'll use IA, especially if maybe in the footerI've already mentioned Iowa.
Because Google looks at it more from a contextualstandpoint and says okaywe know this company's in Sioux City, and weknow that there may be more than one Sioux City, but we canpick up on the fact that they'rebased in Iowa and not South Dakota orwhatever it might be.
– And something too that cameto my mind when I read thatquestion, I've noticed that Google hasgotten really smart about,as you mentioned putting in those open hours andsome of the other kind ofmetadata, and it actually displays that nowin Google's search result pages.
If you do a search for a localbusiness on your phone, it'lltell you right then and there if they're open right now basedupon the current date and time.
It's pretty crazy! – It's nice, but you see a lot ofbusinesses that haven't claimedtheir listing, and their hours are incorrect.
So in themiddle of a Tuesday afternoon you'd thinkthey'd be open, and it says thisbusiness is closed at the current time and you're scratching yourhead.
And you see it all the time.
You know I know they're not closed, but they've made the mistake ofnot going out and taking thatextra step.
– Now Nicolas has a questionabout website, really contentmanagement systems it looks like.
So Square,Space, Wixs, WordPress, Joomla, these platforms, are theremore benefits or drawbacks in terms of SEO and what theyprovide? – What I find is there are a lot ofcontent management systemsthat make it very easy for somebody who doesn't knowmuch about web development,web design to make a fairly attractive lookingwebsite and to be able to add some goodcontent.
Where a lot of those sites are lacking is giving you theability to do some of the thingsthat you need to do from a search engine optimizationstandpoint that are prettyimportant.
And so the one that I use most often isWordPress.
There are a couple differentversions of WordPress.
Com or you can go out and build afree site and for free you've got to use the wordpress.
Com inyour domain.
I tend to recommend to mycustomers that they download WordPress fromwordpress.
Org and build their site on their owndomain name so that they control everything.
And youknow there's good and bad withit.
You have to stay on top of it, and you have toupdate WordPress pretty muchevery couple of weeks as well as anyplugins that you might have.
I can't remember the statistic, but I think it waswell over 50 percent of new websites built in the last 5 yearswere built on wordpress.
So it seems that.
There's a site out there, I thinkit's called builtwith.
And if you do a search for yourmain keyword and then gothrough the results and pick those top 10results and take those domain names and put theminto builtwith.
Com, you'll seewhat platform they're built on, and you'll be able tosay okay well 7 of these 10sites were built on WordPress.
There's aJoomla down there.
There's aWix site.
I think you're going to find thatWordPress is the big one.
So that would be the one thatI would choose first.
– [unintelligible] Okay so Clint.
Okay this is another goodquestion.
Small business, 20 employees,but they operate worldwide so much so that almost none oftheir business is domesticanymore.
How important are keywords inother languages, and should they be thinking about having amultilingual page? – Well international SEO is awhole other topic.
One of the things that I findpretty useful when I dostudies about international SEO is actuallywhere your website is hosted.
So you know right now yourwebsite might be hostedsomewhere in the United States, but if you mention to me that 75percent of your traffic is comingfrom Europe, for example, you might find that you do farbetter by having your site or another sitehosted actually in Europe.
It's interesting thatthat's one of those 200 ranking factors we haven'ttalked about.
So where yoursite's hosted is pretty important.
You also need to start looking atmaybe your analytics pretty closely and seewhat are people searching from.
Because in a lot of those other countries, they're usingtheir own version of Google.
So you know they might be usinggoogle.
De, for example, in Germany.
People coming infrom Canada would use google.
Ca as their typical search.
Some of them will move over to google.
Com, but I think theyunderstand that a lot of resultscome from the United States, and if that's not what they'relooking for, they may belooking at other search engines.
So I think those are the things tokeep in mind.
Where's your site at? How easy is it forsomebody to find on thoseother search engines as well, and what can you doto optimize for those? – Good stuff.
I never thought about international SEO.
Isuppose that would be awhole other thing to look at.
So we have multiple peopleasking and looking for an easy way to find who'slinked to your site.
Do you have any recommendationson that? – Ya there are a couple ofsites that offer some pretty good information forfree.
So one of them is is majestic.
Com, you can go out there right now,put your site in, and it will sharewith you some of the sites that link to you.
You canthen sign up and get a free account, and you'll get evenmore information.
And then if you want a ton of information, youhave to actually pay them.
Another one is aherfs.
That's another site similar toMajestic that offers that.
And then a thirdone that you can try is one called opensiteexplorer.
So Open Site Explorer will giveyou a list as well.
Again, mostof these have a service that gives you some of the information forfree and then asks you to payto get more.
If you have a Google WebmastersTool account and you've verified your site on there, they'll tell youevery site they know that links to you that they're counting in theirsearch rankings.
So there's another one that'sfree.
– And that would definitelybe the one you'd definitely want to check out.
ThatWebmaster Tools is reallya critical critical tool.
– Let's see.
So thatanswers several questions here.
You know, we'restill some questions about thosespam links, but I think you gavereally good advice about trying to contact the host and having it excluded from Google.
You know I wouldn't spend hours and hours and hoursworrying about those spamlinks.
What's happened is companiesmaybe took some shortcuts years ago in trying to get asmany links as they possiblycould, and what happened overtime was the search enginesfinally kind of caught onto thisand said we see what you're doing.
We tell you that links areimportant.
We see that youwent from having 500 links to having 5,000 overnight,and so we're just not going tocount those links.
They're coming from these little junkysites that have no authority.
There may be some out therethat are hurting you, but it'sprobably more the case that they're just not beingcounted.
So I think everythingelse I've talked about today I think would be moreimportant than going outand removing those spammy links.
If you get all of that doneand you've got some extratime on your hands, then ya.
Take the next step and start gettingrid of a few of those that youdefinitely don't want pointing at your site.
– Right on.
Well I think we got through allof the questions and we're getting pretty close to our 1:00hour here.
I want to put a quick thank youto all of you as attendees for coming to today'spresentation.
We sincerelyappreciate it.
And a big thank you to Jeff.
Thisguy has knowledge.
He blows me away every time.
We workwith Jeff.
We can't say enough about his incredible knowledgethat he brings on SEO andonline marketing and what great content coveredhere today.
We appreciate yourtime so much, Jeff.
On this point, I'd loveto do it again sometime.
Maybewe can talk about paid advertising next time orwhatever it might be.
That'sanother hot topic in the internet marketing industry.
– And to that point, pleaseplease please, Valyn if you could put in our survey url, goand check out and fill out that survey and let usknow if you would like to hearJeff talk on that topic or any of the others onlinerelated.
A quick other plug too for ournext webinar.
We're actually going to behosting a financing panel.
And we're going to be bringingin three different experts to talkabout what you need to look at in terms of gettingstartup or maybe a businessloan for expansion, what some of the majoropportunities are out there,and what to have prepped for that.
So that will beanother presentation to checkout.
You can register through the IA Source Linkwebsite.
So one more bigthank you to Jeff.
Big thank you to all ofyou.
Have a wonderful afternoon everyone! – Thank you!.