Author Archive

Search Engine Spiders – The Basics

March 24, 2008

The average user of the internet is familiar with which search engines they use for searches.  However most people often wonder how Google, Yahoo or any of the search engines go about determining which websites get presented on the results page.  Here is a brief overview of how it works including a bit of information on Search Engine Optimization

Spidering websites

Every search engine, such as Google, has spiders that literally crawl all the websites in the internet.  As they crawl a website they look at content only.  So for example, if your website is all flash, the spiders may find your site but leave immediately.  Without content they have nothing to crawl.   The spiders have actually over time gotten quite smart.  They pick up on specific keywords and by crawling all of the content will hopefully gain an insight into what the main theme of your site is.

Indexing websites

After they crawl a website, the information in then put in an index or database.  The information resides in this index and is ready to be utilized if certain keywords pertaining to the subject matter are used in a search.   How they get ranked will be discussed in a moment.

Does every page of a site get spidered and indexed?

How effectively the site is crawled and ultimately indexed depends on many factors.  Let’s say the architectural design of your site is poor.  Google’s spider may only crawl a few pages because it gets stalled or blocked from continuing.  Maybe the site is missing the robot.txt information in your HTML code.   Maybe there have been black hat techniques used on your site that look like spam.  And the list goes on and on….

How are sites ranked?

Just because the spiders have crawled a website doesn’t mean it will rank well.  Google alone has an algorithm with over 200 variables that are utilized when determining how to rank which sites and in which order.   In addition, each of these 200 variables is weighted differently based on importance.  Over time the variables may change and/or the weighting of the variables may change.

How to achieve good rankings

Ok here’s my plug, but with the little information shared above, optimizing your own site isn’t for the faint of heart.  Actually we’re just talking about rankings; we haven’t even begun to talk about traffic or conversions.  So we truly are at the beginning of the story when it comes to search engine optimization.  If you’re interested in gaining new customers or new business, contact Top SEO Marketing today.  Our business is to drive business to your site at the Local, Regional and National levels.  Let us take the headache out of optimizing your website.

Rebecca Ratliff
Top SEO Marketing

Managing Reviews for Local Businesses

March 17, 2008

Top SEO Marketing is a Search Engine Optimization company that specializes in optimization at the Local, Regional and National level.  Learn why utilizing a Search Engine Optimization company for managing a local campaign and reviews is so important.  Local search engines and local directories often provide users the ability to write reviews.  Great reviews can be a wonderful boost to attract new clients or customers.  However, what do you do if you receive reviews that are not flattering or just not true?

With both Yahoo and Goggle you can submit a request to have the review removed.  Here’s the catch, often times the review is only removed if it violates their guidelines.  Typically those guidelines focus on inappropriate language, offensive materials and a list of whatever they deem inappropriate.  So if you’ve received a review that does not violate their guidelines but certainly is a negative review that could hurt your business, what can you do? 

There are several options.

1.        Contact the reviewer and try to resolve the issue.   If successful, they may now refer others to your business and you may get them to either remove their review or add an additional review that discusses the satisfactory resolution to the problem.

2.       Type in your own review in response to the negative review.  There are times when you have done everything correctly.   There are those that will write negative reviews unfairly anyway.  Your only choice may be to put in your views on the situation.

3.       If the negative review is valid,  it may be time to review your business practices or policies/procedures.  Sometimes a negative review can provide an opportunity to improve your business practices and as a result gain new business and help maintain existing business.

Top SEO Marketing provides Search Engine Optimization at the Local, Regional and National level.  We can complete a local search campaign for your business to attract clients in your local area.  Let us also help you manage bad reviews or bad press by monitoring your presence on line.  Often time businesses receive a bad review and are totally unaware that it even exists.  Let us improve your presence locally and assist you in managing your business reputation on line.  Visit our website at Top SEO Marketing.

Rebecca Ratliff
Vice President of Local Search
Top SEO Marketing

  

Descriptions – Not Just an Afterthought!

February 21, 2008

Most of our labor is spent writing wonderful content for our website.  No doubt it’s worth the effort.  Sometimes we spend so much time on the content that we forget just how important writing an enticing description can be.  Search Engine Optimization has many facets and certainly meeting all the requirments of the Google algorithm is a daunting task.  But don’t run out of speed after you’ve spent all the time on content and designing your site. 

Without an enticing description, all the best content in the world will be worthless if visitors who view the SERP’s aren’t enticed to click though to your site.  So if you’ve achieved first page rankings, but aren’t seeing an increase in traffic, review your descriptions and make them irresistable. The following examples were displayed on the first page of the SERP’s for the keyword phrase “cell phones”.    Looking at the first example would encourage me to click on it.  After all many individuals looking for a cell phone are overwhelmed with the choices and sometimes complexity of types of cell phones and cell phone plans.  Hopefully by clicking on this, they’re going to make the process easy and painless. The second example seemed a bit silly to me.  Doesn’t everyone already know how prevelant cell phones are and what they’re used for?  Do I need to know more about that?  When I clicked on it I found a lot of text about information I already knew about and a ton of links to sites that sold everything from ring tones to phone accessories.  If I want to purchase a cell phone this site certainly wouldn’t ring by bell (no pun intended!) 

Compare Cell Phones AND Save Money With Cell Phone Plans!
If you’ve never bought a cell phone over the Internet before, you’re in for a sweet surprise. Shopping for cell phones is fast and headache-free
Cell phones help you keep in touch.
Everyone has their own cell phone these days. Cellphones make it possible to keep in contact even outside your house

 
Hints for Writing Enticing Descriptions: 

  1. What will the visitor find when they click through.  Make sure the page that appears matches the description.
  2. Is there anything unique about your site or business that would encourage visitors to visit your site?
  3. Determine what the primary keyword is for the page and use it in the description.  Remember use the keyword near the beginning of the sentence and make sure it reads well for the visitor.
  4. Be brief,  but descriptive, remember people scan quickly today!  Don’t use any unnecessary words.
  5. Don’t use words like biggest, best, they’re meaningless to your visitors.
  6. Review the description, if you’ve rewritten it and still aren’t seeing an increase in traffic, continue to adjust it.

Need help with descriptions or increasing traffic to your site, contact Top SEO Marketing today to manage your entire Search Engine Optimization campaign.  Our business is to drive business to your website on the Local, Regional and National level.

Rebecca Ratliff
VP of Local Search Marketing
Top SEO Marketing
www.topseomarketing.com
 

Search Engine Spiders, Let em BITE!

February 5, 2008

 For the do-it yourself types, there is one aspect of search engine optimization that is not for the faint of heart.  Real spiders have a tendency to be feared by many.  However if your site is not search engine spider friendly, they may come to visit but not stay.  IN this instance spiders aren’t to be feared. The only fear is if they come and don’t stay and take a bite.  Search engine spiders that encounter impediments to accessing the pages of your site, results in the pages of your site not being crawled or indexed.    Analysis of your website to ensure the search engine spiders are able to access all the pages on your site, takes an understanding of the structure and mechanics of your website.   Here are just a few of the considerations:

· Is the code compliant with WC3 standards?
· Is your site predominantly flash?
· Does the site have bloated code that could slow down or stall the spiders
· Has the robot.txt code been added to every page and is it setup to guide the    spiders properly
· Is the navigational structure of the site set up so the spiders can easily locate all the pages on the site no matter how deep?
· Are your navigational buttons images?
· Which pages have been crawled and how often?
· Which search engines have crawled your site?

So if you’ve spent a lot of time designing a website with great content and you think it’s going to be really appealing to your audience, your site must be found by the search engine spiders.  Let Top SEO Marketing handle the technical aspects of your website to ensure the spiders find your site friendly and inviting.  As part of a complete Search Engine Optimization campaign we’ll review your entire site and ensure that all search engine spider impediments have been removed.  Don’t let technical issues keep you from being bit by the spiders, in this case not getting bit can hurt you.  At Top SEO Marketing our business is getting you business by driving traffic to your website. 

Rebecca Ratliff
VP of Local Search Marketing
Top SEO Marketing
 

The Tail of Search, Do we Really Need it?

January 28, 2008

Search Engine Optimization encompasses many aspects to successfully get good rankings in the major search engines and drive traffic to your site.  Often clients are most interested in the primary or core keywords resulting from a competitive keyword analysis.  Achieving good rankings in the 3 majors:  Google, Yahoo and MSN should be the primary focus of a search engine optimization campaign.  Traffic generated by those core keywords is critical to a successful campaign.  However what about the tail of search keywords, are they really important?  Let’s look at a few key aspects of both core keywords and tail of search keywords.

Tail of Search Keywords

· Generally come from a more targeted audience
· Have fewer competitive pages and typically rank faster than primary keywords
· Are used closer to the buying phase of the search
· Generates less traffic than a primary keyword
· Results in a higher conversion rate

Core Keywords

· Generally come from a broad audience
· Have many competitive pages and take longer to achieve good rankings
· Are used primarily toward the beginning of search
· Generates significant amounts of traffic
· Conversion rates are typically lower due to the broad audience

OK, so it’s pretty simple to realize by looking at the above lists, that the attributes of core keywords and tail of search keywords are complimentary.  So the answer to the question is, yes you do need tail of search keywords.  However, to have a successful search engine optimization campaign, it should include both core keywords and tail of search keywords.  At Top SEO Marketing, the search engine optimization is fully managed which includes a focus on both core and tail of search keywords.  We offer National, Regional and Local Search Engine Campaigns.  Our business is generating new business for you, by driving traffic to your web site.

Rebecca Ratliff
VP of Local Search Marketing
Top SEO Marketing
www.topseomarketing.com

Search Engine Marketing Analyzing Competitors

January 21, 2008

Search Engine Marketing – Analyzing Your Competitors

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing to be successful encompasses many aspects.  Early in a Search engine campaign assessing your competitors is a great place to start.  This post gives some general ideas on different aspects of your competitors to look at.  The competitive review can actually be quite extensive, this is just a brief look at a few.

Top Competitors

After determining what the primary keywords will be for your campaign or website do a search in Google to see which companies are in the top ten.  Review some of these sites to see which ones are most similar with respect to the goods and services they offer.  Once you’ve selected three to five companies, here are a few things specifically to look at.

Page Rank

Page rank is Google’s methodology which encompasses an algorithm that determines the rank of a page based on incoming links and the quality of the referring  web-page.  The ranking from 0 – 10 is a relative measurement of the relevance of a web-page based on the keywords entered in the search.  If you haven’t set up your toolbar yet with the Google page rank, you can add it from here:

 http://toolbar.google.com/T4/index_pack_xp.html
 Click on “Install Google Toolbar”. 

This will allow you at a glance to see the current page rank for the website your visiting.  If most of the top competitors average a page rank of 8, this is an indication of what it might take from a page rank perspective to get ranked well in Google.  Improving you page rank involves not just links but those that are high in quality and relevance.

Links

Knowing the number of inbound links to a site will give an indication of what it might take to rank well in the search engines.  Here are some great tools for checking information regarding the inbound links to a site.

Inbound links from Google, Yahoo and MSN.
http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/link-popularity/

Shows who’s linking to a particular site:
In the search box type:
link:http://www.yoursite.com

Keyword Ideas

Reviewing top competing sites for the types of keywords they’re using is always beneficial.  Usually you’ll find keywords that you hadn’t considered yet. However doing your own keyword research is a must. Only you know what is important and what the goals and objectives of your site are.  

Traffic Trends

One of the best sites today for looking at traffic trends is www.compete.com.  They have many tools to allow you to compare multiple sites at a time.  See just how well the competitor sites you picked are actually doing by looking at traffic trends. 

Summary

Search Engine Marketing is not an exact science and completing a competitive review can mean much more that the brief list above.  For a start at reviewing your competitors, give them a try.

At Top SEO Marketing each campaign starts with keyword analysis and a competitive review.  Our business is to bring you business at the Local, Regional and National level, utilizing proven Search Engine Optimization techniques.  To learn more about Top SEO Marketing visit our website at www.topseomarketing.com

Rebecca Ratliff
VP of Local Search
Top Seo Marketing 

Top SEO Tips: Blogging 101

January 17, 2008

Help your search engine marketing efforts by promoting your website utilizing effective blogging.  The following covers the basics of just how to do that.

Watch Your Subject Matter

Choosing subject matter is really easier than you think.  No one is more of an expert than you are when it comes to your business.  Whether you’re selling services or products there is always plenty to promote. Try to think like your audience, what would they find of value and interest.  If your selling products think about the following to promote your website and your products.

  • Benefits of the product
  • Define known problem and state your resolution (products and services)
  • Define what’s unique about your solution, product/service
  • Announce new services offered or product releases
  • Discuss how your service or product works to provide benefits.
  • Offer examples of how your services or products benefited someone else or
  • Highlight areas where your product or service works best
  • Known industry news regarding your areas of expertise.
  • Are there crossover benefits, point out multiple department or company benefits involving your products/services.  For instance, it not only eliminates confusion with patient benefits and verifies insurance coverage but it also helps doctors offices receive payment faster because it scrubs the insurance claim automatically – allowing your office to function more efficiently, save money and be more productive.

Blog Appearance

Readers on the Internet love to scan through a page quickly and find the main points of interest for them.  Break the blog up into small paragraphs with headings.  Make the headings descriptive so the reader knows what to expect from each paragraph.  If appropriate use a bulleted list. 

Length of the blog

How long should my entry be?  Blog length is typically between 250 to 1000 words.  What’s the magic number?  Actually it should be based on the information you’re providing.  Writing a long post that has information that could be covered in a shorter post isn’t wise. 

You will do well with your search engine marketing blog efforts if you write the post to comprehensively cover the topic and no more.  There is nothing wrong with a 250-word post that covers everything your reader needs to know.    You can also consider writing a series of short posts to effectively cover a topic.  

Remember, providing quality content also promotes your website and products in a favorable and professional way.

Keywords

Select one or two keywords to focus on and include them when writing the title and blog entry.  Keep on point – focus on the subject and the keyword terms should come naturally.  Don’t force them to fit where they don’t belong. 

How many times should the keyword be used?  Here is a general guideline:

  •  250 – 500 word post use 4 occurrences of the keyword
  •  500 – 1000 word post use 8 occurrences of the keyword

Blog Titles

A blog title should accomplish several things:

  •  Be enticing
  •  Utilize keywords
  •  Be descriptive and accurate

Ensure your visitors arrive and find that the post meets the expectations of the title.  Note that the first part of the title is a keyword, followed by the specific subject matter related to that keyword. Here are a few examples for a post written about prostate cancer:

 PROSTATE CANCER – WHAT ARE MY ALTERNATIVES
 PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
 PROSTATE TREATMENT CENTERS – SUCCESSFUL OPTIONS

Spell check

OK I know it’s a small point but do complete a spell check. Remember your promoting your website and your products/services.

Add your website URL

Include a link to your website URL once or twice in the post.  Preferably at the end of the post.  It’s ok to make a reference and promote your company but do so professionally and save it for the end.  Your visitor is there to get information of interest, if they like what they read…….they’ll be back!

My Plug!

OK so if your interested in promoting your website on-line, visit our website for more information at www.topseomarketing.com.  Our business is to bring you business through National, Regional and Local SEO campaigns.

Happy Blogging:)

Rebecca Ratliff
Top SEO Marketing
 
 

Local Search Marketing and SuperPages

January 2, 2008

Local Search Marketing and Superpages.com

As part of a Local Search Marketing plan, businesses should submit to Local Search Engines, Yellow page providers and Data Aggregators.  If you’re interested in submitting your business to online Intenet Yellow Page providers to enhance your local presence within their directories as well as with the major search engines local spots, Verizon SuperPages.com is certainly one to consider.  Based solely on their own credentials, a business should certainly take advantage of the free listing within Verizon SuperPages, however you add to that some of the affiliations that will also benefit your business.

Here’s a partial listing are some of Yellow Pages-Superpages alliances and relationships that you may or may not be aware of. 

MSN
Superpages provides online Yellow Pages services to MSN.

Microsoft
Superpages.com is provided MapPoint.net from Microsoft.

Consumer Guide
Consumer Guide provides unbiased reviews for over 500 products to Superpages.

Acxiom
Acxiom is a data aggregator that provides both Yellow and White pages listings to Superpages.

Amacai
Amacai provides content to Superpages.

Mobile Travel Guide
Mobile Travel Guide provides information on restaurants, attractions and lodging to Superpages for the United States and Canada.

eStara
Superpages and eStara work together to bring the power of voice to buyers and sellers.
WhitePages.com
Whitepages.com and SuperPages.com are partners, with Superpages providing data to WhitePages.

Lycos
SuperPages.com is the Yellow Pages for Lycos and navigation portal network.  Superpages provides co-branded Yellow Pages for Lycos sites such as Angelfire, Hotbot, Tripod and WhoWhere.

About.com
Superpages is About.com’s yellow pages provider.

America411.info
Superpages.com is the exclusive Yellow Pages provider for America411.

byYellowpages.com
Superpages.com provides yellow pages services to bybYellowpages.com

Local search marketing encompasses many aspects when trying to provide good presence for a company.  Understanding relationships of some of the providers should assist you in determining who is best to submit to.

Top SEO Marketing provides SEO campaigns at the National, Regional and Local levels.  Part of our service is to keep up with the industry and the relationships within the industry.  Top SEO Marketing provides companies with the most up to date services and best performance regardless of what level campaign is chosen.  For more information please see the Top SEO Marketing Inc. website at www.topseomarketing.com.

Rebecca Ratliff
Vice President Local Search
Top SEO Marketing, Inc.
Dallas, Texas
214/605-0997

Local Search Marketing and Google Maps

December 22, 2007

Every wonder who gets picked for the first three listing when you’re doing a Google Maps Search.  Google of course has a proprietary algorithm just for Google Maps.  There’s no way to know for sure exactly how Google does it, but here are a few suggestions that will help.

1.  Put your business listing in the Google Local Business Center, this is an absolute must!

2.  List your business with the data aggregators such as, Axiom, Amacia and InfoUSA.

3.  If your site has not been optimized for search engine optimization, this will benefit your organic results as well as Google maps

4.  Using Google AdWords may or may not impact your ranking in Google maps, the jury is still out on this one.

5.  If you are a Chamber Member ask for a link to your business.

6.  Place a listing in the online Yellow Pages.

7.  Reviews are becoming more and more valuable, not just for providing inputs to those searching, but Google pulls reviews from various sites.  One of which is Yelp.  If you want to ask customers to review your business they can do so through sites like Yelp, but Google now offers the ability to do reviews in Google maps as well.

8.  Google occasionally pulls from local Vertical directories.  If there are high quality vertical directories in your area including your business there may help.

However, there is another option, use a Local Search Marketing company to manage the entire process for you.  Even if you do the above items, which will certainly help, the Local Landscape online is constantly changing.  Of course here’s my shameless plug, Top SEO Marketing can manage an entire campaign for you that includes, On-page optimization, submission to the major Local Search Engines, submission to online Yellow page providers and submitting your business to data aggregators. 

Local Search and Info USA

December 18, 2007

Keeping up with recent changes in how to best complete submissions to IYP sites requires constant research to keep up with.  It seems that on a frequent basis someone is partnering with another company, buying another company or sites are dropping out all together.
 
If you’re playing in the local search arena and submitting to various IYP sites, there’s a recent change worth noting.  If you’ve been submitting to YP.com using the form on the following page, https://signup.yp.com/  for a basic listing, they let you submit the listing, but the submission will never become live.   They now receive all of their company listings through InfoUSA.  InfoUSA is one of the primary data aggregators that feed various IYP sites.
 
Since InfoUSA feeds many IYP sites and other local search engines such as Yahoo! Local and Google Local, adding your business to InfoUSA is a must.
 
To add your business listing there are two methods:
 
1. Online Method
 
 Set up an account using the main site at http://infousa.com/
 Complete the on-line form and your done
 The listing will take from 30 – 60 days to become live
 
or
 
2.   Send an e-mail to InfoUSA at contentfeedback@infousa.com and include the following:
 
 Name of Business
 Address
 Phone
 800 number
 Website URL
 Contact Name and Title
 Primary line of Business
 Industry Classification
 
 If the business is already listed and this is an update, include the businesslisting as it exists currently and then  what  inforamtion has changed. The benefit of sending an e-mail is that the listing will become live faster than the  online method above.