February 15th, 2012
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Every marketer knows that anything “above the fold” will attract the most attention. That’s why many advertising-supported websites put lots of ads near the top of the page. Now these ads are attracting some possibly unwanted attention from Google.
You know that the search giant focuses on getting users to the sites that best answer their queries. If you’ve been trying to rank for a while, you probably also know that Google cares about the user’s experience once they arrive at the site. This fact drives most of their algorithm changes. It’s why Panda devastated content farms; the thin content these sites often provided helped relatively few searchers, and cluttered the search results with low quality pages.
Google’s newest algorithm change also stems from searcher concerns. You can read their blog post covering the issue. But you almost don’t need to read it to understand why they’d do it. Think like a searcher. You’re looking for meaty content. How do you feel when you click a promising link from a search result, hoping to find the answer to your query – only to find what appears to be a page full of ads? Sure, there’s real content on the page, but you can only see about an inch or two of it visible, and you must scroll down to make out the rest.
You can curse Internet-shortened attention spans and laziness all you want, but the fact of the matter is, that’s a frustrating experience. And Google has chosen to do something about it. The search company changed its algorithm to look “at the layout of the webpage and the amount of content you see on the page once you click on the result,” it explained in the blog post. Google has heard complaints from users who click on a result and can’t find the content: “Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see the content right away. So sites that don’t have much content ‘above-the-fold’ can be affected by this change…Such sites may not rank as high going forward.”
It’s important to note that Google is singling out sites that place excessive above-the-fold ads; they’re not trying to penalize advertising-supported publishers who use a normal amount of this kind of advertising to help monetize their content. The search giant stated that this change “noticeably affects less than 1% of searches globally.” If you believe your site has been affected, you can try out Google’s Browser Size tool to check the appearance of your site under various different screen resolutions.
Maybe you figure that this change won’t affect you; it’s less than one in a hundred sites, right? As Alan Bleiweiss explains on Search Engine Journal, “that’s a big mistake…With billions upon billions of searches taking place, that’s an awful lot of searches impacted.” Which brings up the following questions: how do you know if your site got dinged by this algorithm change? And what can you do about it?
More Google Optimization Articles
More By Terri Wells
Article source: http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Google-Optimization-Help/Google-to-Penalize-For-Excessive-AbovetheFold-Ads/
February 15th, 2012
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Nearly everyone knows about Rick Santorum’s Google problem, and how it may be tripping him up in his long race to win the Republican nomination to run for president. What not everyone knows is that he’s no longer the only Republican hopeful with such a problem. Mitt Romney just recently joined the club.
Danny Sullivan offers a run-down of the most recent events on Search Engine Land. In case you’ve been too busy to watch campaign developments, I’ll start by saying don’t Google “santorum” or “romney” unless you really want to be grossed out. It’s worth studying what happened here, however, as an example of the power of links over time – and how that may be changing.
We’ll start with Santorum’s well-known story. Back when he was simply a senator, in 2003, Rick Santorum publicly compared gay sex to “man-on-dog” sex. This angered Dan Savage, a popular and controversial columnist in the GLBTQ community. He ran a contest to come up with a definition for the word “santorum.” I won’t tell you which definition won. I don’t need to, because Savage next set up a web page with that definition on it, SpreadingSantorum.com, and encouraged his fans to link to that page appropriately.
Over a relatively short period of time, this page became the first result to come up in Google for searches on the term “santorum.” Even today, with Rick Santorum’s campaign maintaining his websites, SpreadingSantorum.com is the first result to come up in Google for a search on “santorum,” right after a sponsored ad and a Google box that lists the results for U.S. Republican presidential primaries. Savage’s site even beats Wikipedia’s entry for Rick Santorum.
Of course, it doesn’t help that Santorum has become a regular joke on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the wildly popular comedy news and political commentary programs. Sullivan provides a summary of these moments, with clips from the shows going all the way back to 2006. Clearly, this politician’s problem didn’t start overnight, and it won’t disappear overnight, either.
Before we go on, however, it’s important to note that this is NOT a Google Bomb, despite some people in the media claiming it is. A Google Bomb happens when lots of people link to a particular page with anchor text that doesn’t itself appear anywhere on the page, thus causing it to rank high in the search results for that text. This is how former president George Bush’s biographical page on the White House’s website suddenly started ranking high for “miserable failure” a few years ago. Google fixed that problem algorithmically, by preventing pages from ranking for terms in their anchor text that aren’t on the page itself. The word “santorum” actually appears on the spreadingsantorum.com page, however…just as the word “romney” actually appears on the spreadingromney.com site.
More Search Engine News Articles
More By Terri Wells
Article source: http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Search-Engine-News/Romney-Feels-Santorums-Google-Pain/
February 15th, 2012
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Have you ever experienced a sharp pain in your side or numbness in a leg and used Google to find out whether you should call the doctor? You’re not alone; in fact, so many searchers do this that the search engine giant modified its algorithm to help.
According to a Google blog post by Dr. Roni Zeiger, Google’s Chief Health Strategist,many users searching for symptoms often follow this up with a search for a condition related to those symptoms. For example, those searching for “abdominal pain” may follow it with a search for “irritable bowel syndrome.” So Google decided to speed this process up a little.
According to Dr. Zeiger, “now when you search for a symptom or set of symptoms, you’ll often see a list of possibly related health conditions that you can use to refine your search. The list is generated by our algorithms that analyze data from pages across the web and surface the health conditions that appear to be related to your search.”
How exactly is this different from what you saw before? Greg Sterling, writing for Search Engine Land, included “before and after” screen shots in his article, after noting that the after shots were provided by Google. One screen shot showed results before the change of a search on “headache.” It showed the standard links, with the top one showing the headline “Headache Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis…” with the word “Headache” in bold. That’s quite straightforward.
The after-the-change screen shot for the “headache” search brings up a box with the heading “Searches related to headache.” Below this is a list of conditions, with the start of a sentence describing that condition. The list includes migraine, tension headache, cluster headache, migraine headache (yes, that’s separate for some reason), and meningitis. The line for migraine says “A recrrent thrubbing headache that typically affects one…” The conditions are in blue, meaning that they’re linked to specific searches for those illnesses. Finally, at the bottom of this box appears the following phrase, in small type: “Drawn from at least 10 websites including nih.gov and wikipedia.org – How this works.” The last three words are also in blue, meaning that they’re linked to a page that explains, at least to some degree, how Google does this particular bit of magic.
As Dr. Zeiger notes, the data you get from this search is aggregated from sites around the web and not from doctors. It should not be construed as medical advice or diagnoses. But it just might make it a little easier to do the research before you make that doctor’s appointment. “We’re humbled by the number of people who turn to Google with such important questions, and we are working especially hard to make our search results even more useful for health searches,” Dr. Zeiger wrote.
More Google Optimization Articles
More By Terri Wells
Article source: http://www.seochat.com/c/a/Google-Optimization-Help/Google-Playing-Doctor-With-Health-Searches/
February 15th, 2012
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Google+ has crept into SERPs near you. From getting hyper-personalized results popping up everywhere to recommending people to follow or showing you results you’ve +1′d or posts you’ve made, Google+ isn’t giving you the choice to ignore it. (Unless you use Bing, Yahoo!, or another search service entirely.) Sure, there are ways to depersonalize it; but who has the time for another click, unless you’re really getting results you aren’t happy with or being an SEO super-sleuth. From author spotlights or highlights from those you’ve circled, it seems the closer you are to a keyword and its SERPs, the more intense the personalization gets.
Check out my entire page of personalized results when I search for “SEOmoz”:
As anyone knows who’s tried to do a little bit of personalization to customers, personalization is hard. There are zillions of factors and complex algorithms to work through. But we also know when it comes to conversions, personalization is a huge win-sparkle.
But Google has the employee bandwidth and some of the best minds of several generations working on making personalization happen. Despite their numerous products, search is Google’s crown jewel; 80% of searches are done there because they generally deliver better results than their competitors. (Sorry, Bing and Yahoo!, but “Google” is a verb.) In the long-run, personalized results are going to be easier for Google and provide more relevant results for users, which will keep users coming back for more.
Google+ Worker of a You-Sourced Search Engine
Have you signed up for a Google product? Congratulations, you are now a Google volunteer. No, you don’t get any benefits except one: using Google’s (mostly) free products. Instead, as you surf the web, your movements will make your own crowd-sourced engine. Or as a crowd of one, you-sourced.
When you search for “angel,” are you looking for a brooding vampire, not ethereal creatures or charity networks? Don’t worry, Google already knows because you’re subscribed to the Tumblr Angel Does Stuff and you wrote a blog post about how much you love Lilah Morgan. Not to mention, you’ve visited Angel‘s IMDB page while rewatching it with your sweetie and playing “who’s that actor?”
Maybe you’re new to a field, say it’s “SEO.” Go ahead and circle Rand Fishkin, Danny Sullivan, or Aaron Wall, SEO influencers as suggested by Google, and bam: their recommendations guide your results.
Note: Danny Sullivan, more circlers than Lady Gaga.
Got Authority? Yes, You Do.
A huge problem Google has right now is site authority and quality. Page rank and domain authority are attempts to inform rankings which sites have authority and quality content. But this doesn’t always work. Spammers and black hats have had years of perfecting the dark force to beat Google.
Last year’s Panda algorithm change was a direct assault on sites with duplicate and weak content that were squeezing into rankings. Panda didn’t happen to cause SEOs to tear our hair out. No, it was a direct punch against snake oil SERP results and results that made all of us go “meh.” You can argue that some sites didn’t deserve the hit and got caught in the crossfire, but Panda tossed out a lot of junk.
Now in combination with Panda’s tweaks, Google+ creates the ultimate SERP authority: you. You are awesome, and no one knows what you want better than you. Google+ just isn’t sending you SERPs based on your subtle hints and wish list anymore; now, it’s going directly to you, the source. And if you don’t know about it, perhaps your “circles” will.
I’ve told Google that I love Sherlock, the BBC series, and think way too much about it. Google serves me “Sherlock” SERPs completely filled with what I love. No mention of the books, other TV or film, or various businesses, services, or products using the Sherlock name. My personalized SERP kicks off 3 links that “normally” rank in the top 10. Including a pub chain in Texas, which I’m sure fought hard for that ranking.
Additionally, by giving bloggers the incentive of authority and our tiny photos in SERPs, hooking in your Google+ profile to your blogging platform creates a type of article authority Google hasn’t had before. There’s a reason Rand has a ridiculous number of Google+ followers; if he put out crap, they’d uncircle him. Now Google knows that Rand’s articles are quality content — mostly likely around SEO, inbound marketing, and entrepreneurship — Rand’s content becomes an extremely strong “safe” ranking factor to serve results on. And he gets his smiling face as a recommended follow for “SEO.”
If you haven’t started building your authority with the articles you’re writing, it’s time to jump in. You too can become a safe SERP in your field, interest, or hobby. Are you an authority on something? Is your brand an authority? It’s time to start creating content, curating content, and building up your following. If you’re considered an authority, your rankings may jump higher than they’ve ever gone before.
SEOs: No Longer a Pain in Cutts’ Butt
Google+ radically changes an SEO’s game strategy towards rankings. Good luck getting another SERP into my results for “SEOmoz” the old-fashioned way. That said, the cries of “SEO’s
finally dead” still remain highly exaggerated. Sloppy SEO and some black hat tactics are certain staked in their tracks. Your keyword stuffed article isn’t going to get my +1.
Now I don’t expect Google+ to remain ungamed. There’s a whole subset of the SEO industry who’s made their way on gaming every change Google’s made. But the amount of time and energy you’d have to put into gaming Google+ to convince me that you’re not a bot…I think you got a little bleach on your hat there.
Ultimately, white hat tactics of quality, linkbait content will prevail in the world of Google+. Whether you’re focusing on how-tos or selling jewelry, your content isn’t going to get the love of the +1 if it doesn’t appeal to the people.
Nowhere Near Perfect
Right now, Google’s crowd-sourcing is nowhere near perfect. Not enough people are using Google+ on a regular basis to make a huge impact. Yes, Google says they have 90 million users (800 million on Facebook and 200 million on Twitter for comparison), but no one’s sure just how many people are actually using it.
I know my personal information stream seems a little bare with a few heavy-weight champions *cough*SEOs*cough* dominating my results. Not to mention, my own information comes up a lot. This is great when I share out a link, and I’m trying to find it again. This is not so great if I’m say looking for an image of Doctor Who as I still have those on my harddrive. Or if I’m searching for videos of adorable baby pandas (very likely) and Google serves me White Board Friday Videos posted on SEOmoz’s Google+; no offense, SEOmoz teammates, but I’d much rather watch the bears with the giant heads.
Besides mass user adoption, the biggest hurdles left are of the philosophical nature: privacy and group-think.
Privacy, know our friend “not provided”? Know how Google Analytics went to court in Germany? Or how SOPA came about? When the non-web marketer sees their friends showing up in their SERPs, they’re going to start freaking out. I have a feeling that zombies are on the way out and Skynet and killer robots are back as the villains reflected in our cultural subconscious.
Subtle personalization has been happening for a long time. We like seeing ourselves reflected back in the mirror of advertising, and the best inbound marketing reflects what we need to see, not just what we want to see.
“I’d rather make a show 100 people need to see than a show that 1,000 people want to see.” — Joss Whedon, producer/writer of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Firefly
By giving us what we need, Google will also give us diversity of opinions and our feeds can avoid group-think. If my results are completely personalized based on my searches and my circles, they are unlikely to carry thoughts that aren’t similar to my own. Seeing only results from other liberal-minded, web marketers who are giant geeks isn’t what I need, even if that’s the feed I may want to live in.
In order to be truly innovative and understand humanity on the whole, we need a variety of ideas. I need to know that people disagree with my opinions, whether political, personal, or otherwise. And our “circles” have an inherent selection bias in that we generally surround ourselves with people like ourselves.
Not to mention, our circles aren’t experts in everything. My coworker Jen Lopez found that her circles don’t know anything about hotels in Madrid:
Google+ Personalization: Easy-as-Pie Win-Sparkle.
As Google+ builds and more people find value in adopting it as part of their social world, the SERPs will improve. And given that Google adjusts its search algorithm over 500 times in a year, I suspect there’s already geniuses working on these problems. The more Google builds out Google+ for personalization and pushes its you-sourced engine, the better the results will get and the easier it will be for Google to serve each of us what we need.
As we head into a world of personalization, we SEOs are going to focus on the creation of content and distribution of content more than ever. We’re investing in building our authority on subjects for our businesses and hobbies, and there’s nothing better than getting in on the ground-floor.
Make Google+ personalization a win-sparkle for you and your customers. Embrace better content, build your own authority, and make the you-sourced search engine even cooler.
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/nYa4VmhuFX8/google-plus-the-ultimate-you-sourced-search-engine
February 15th, 2012
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For the past decade, most of us in the field of search have relied on Google’s AdWords data (either in the public tool, the API or the tools inside AdWords accounts). It’s the best source we’ve got, but many marketers may not realize that sadly, the numbers and queries may not always match up to what’s actually happening on Google’s search engine. I’ll illustrate with an example.
An SEOmoz blog post ranks in the top 2-3 results for many keywords around the phrase “blog traffic.” Here’s a screenshot of some of those rankings:
I went into our Google Analytics account and pulled the related keywords along with how much traffic they’ve sent in the past 30 days:
Then I went to Google’s AdWords Tool and searched for “blog traffic” to compare the suggestions:
Here I got confused, because many of the terms that we receive traffic for are NOT shown above in the list… Is Google hiding them? Do they not know about them?
To be sure, I typed them into Google’s AdWords Tool manually, performing [exact match] searches only:
Holy cow… There they are. So, AdWords does have volume for these, and will display it, but only if you enter them exactly (or rather, “more exactly” – you can find them if you do sets of imprecise, but closer queries, too). I made the chart below to illustrate which terms were available from the broad reserach:
As you can see, there’s ~50% of the terms not shown in the suggestion list, which is fairly substantive and could lead to some serious missed targeting opportunities.
THE IMPORTANT LESSON: Running discovery-focused searches in AdWords may not show you all the valuable/high-volume keyword phrases connected to a word/phrase.
There are a few ways to address this challenge:
If you have the budget, my top recommendation is to buy a few, very broad keywords in AdWords, send them to a relevant landing page on your site, but realize you probably will lose money on the campaign. The goal isn’t conversions, but rather to learn by watching the keyword terms/phrases for which you get impressions. This is also great conversion-testing if you have the budget to invest, but even a week or two of data can be highly valuable for future keyword targeting.
When searching in AdWords, start broad, and then enter narrower queries and note the new phrases that come up. Make sure to use exact match, and be diligent in testing variations. Google only lies through omission.
The relative numbers of searches aren’t perfect (as you can see above), but they are relatively decent. In fact, I’d say they’ve improved in what they show vs. the actuals you’ll see compared to prior years. However,
Use your own analytics as a guide to find new terms/phrases you might be imperfectly targeting. And if you see keyword variations that have a unique or different intent, it might even pay to create a more targeted page for that query, and you often need less work to rank, since Google uses the “indented results” system to drop a second URL from the same domain directly underneath the first one on a given page.
Now I’d love to hear from you – what are your experiences around keyword research in AdWords? Are you seeing the same thing we are? You can share your thoughts in the comments and/or use the poll below (from a new service called Quipol that has some fun twists):
BTW – Given that 30%+ of our referrals from Google searches are keyword (not provided), I’d venture to guess that all of the numbers from our analytics are underreporting by about that same percent. Keep that in mind when comparing the data from AdWords vs. our analytics above.
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/seomoz/~3/YWfMvoLSA-o/be-careful-using-adwords-for-keyword-research
February 15th, 2012
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The (True) Story
It was late on a Friday night. My wife and I had been busy all day and all night. Now it was nearly 10:00pm, and we had not had dinner. I called into a favorite local place for takeout. We were both starving and were excited to have a late dinner date at home together.
When I got back home and opened up my meal (chicken), I found an incredibly small amount of chicken. I was very disappointed. In my opinion, I would have gotten more chicken in a kid’s meal from McDonalds.
The Thing This Business Did Right (Social Media Marketing)
When I was picking up the meals, I had to wait a few minutes for them to finish it up. While waiting, I noticed something on their counter, by the registers. They were promoting the fact that they were “now on Facebook,” and asking for people to come and like them on Facebook so that they could be notified of Facebook-only specials.
This was a great way to help people become aware that they were now on Facebook, and gave their customers incentive to like and follow them. To learn more best practices, see this post about best social media practices for 2012.
My Social Media Action
In my disappointment that night, remembering that they were now on Facebook, I snapped a picture of my disappointing meal, “liked” them on Facebook (it killed me to do that, but I had to), and then posted my picture on their wall, explaining my displeasure.
Their Social Media Reaction (Social Media Marketing Mistake)
I got up the next morning anxious to see if they had replied. What I found was not a reply from them, not a direct Facebook message, but that my post had been deleted from their wall! “Are you kidding me!!” I said out loud (and by out loud I mean LOUD). I am pretty sure that I startled my wife who was not completely awake yet.
My Social Media Reaction to their Reaction
Needless to say, I was not happy about them removing my post. I emphatically and rather quickly, reposted the picture with my displeasure of the portion size and then made a comment asking them to “please not remove my post” from their wall.
Their Reaction to my Social Media Tirade
It did not take them but 1-2 hours before they found my post and removed it once again. They still did not contact me privately either. No apologies, no trying to make things right and no explanation. They simply removed my post once again.
Now the Gloves were Off
Now in all fairness to them, they had no idea I knew anything about social media. However, that shouldn’t matter. The fact is there are going to be unhappy customers and you need to address them in your social media channels as well as converse with those that are happy. It could have been a simple apology, and a message along the lines of “we will contact you to resolve this.” Then everything after that could have been behind “closed doors” as it were; but that’s not what they did.
I was more than just an unhappy customer at this point, I was angry. Instead of reposting on their Facebook wall where they would likely take it down yet again, I simply went looking for online review sites to leave negative reviews for them and to tell of my experience with their “customer service”.
Lessons You Should Learn from This
- Your social media properties are an extension of your customer service. DO NOT IGNORE your customer’s complaints on these properties.
- Engagement is key to success with social media, with both good and bad experiences. Here are some interesting facts on small business and social media marketing.
- With unhappy customers, address them quickly on the “public” forum in which they posted and the contact them to handle it “behind closed doors.” If you handle it right, you will not only have a customer for life, you will have an advocate telling everyone about how professionally they handled your complaint. For the record, I have also had this experience as a customer, and I am an advocate for that business now because of the way they handled my experience.
- Addressing bad experiences professionally and promptly with social media is a great way to advertise your commitment to a high level of customer service. Every company gets complaints, so don’t feel like you have to hide anything.
- Like it or not, customers have a power over your business that they have always had – wait, did I say “that they have always had’? Yes, I did! Word of mouth has always an incredibly powerful factor in hurting (or helping) businesses. The difference is you have a chance to be part of that conversation now.
- Some customers will be angry enough to leave negative reviews on review sites, such as Yelp, Google Maps, or Foursquare, when you ignore their outburst on the internet.
If you’ve seen any similar examples of bad social media, share your experiences of social media marketing mistakes in the comments below and start a discussion on what could have been improved.
Tags: Social Media, social media marketing
Article source: http://www.seo.com/blog/business-social-media-marketing-mistake-learn/
February 15th, 2012
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Last summer my friends Suzanne and Hilary invited me to this thing they called ‘Pinterest’ and since then I’ve been hooked. We all love Pinterest and the ability to share ideas, get ideas and use it as a place for inspiration for the things we are doing in our lives. Since joining Pinterest, this social platform has exploded. I didn’t have many coworkers or friends using it when I started, but now most everyone I know either uses Pinterest or knows about it. With this explosion, I wanted to write a series on Pinterest.
And so begins our three-part series discussing Pinterest basics, along with how a company can use it to build its brand and reap SEO and social media marketing benefits.
The Basic Definition
So let’s get down to the basics: Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to share and collect pictures and videos which link back to the original source whether it’s a corporate site or a blog. If you want to join Pinterest you have to either request an invite or be invited by a friend alreadyon the network. One of the benefits of Pinterest is that it is that easy. And once you join, it becomes addicting as you see what your friends are pinning, get ideas for projects or find the next meal you want to cook.
Pins: A pin is the Pinterest word for a post. You can pin images shared by other users (repin) or you can pin an image from an external site (pin) by installing the Pinterest bookmarklet on your browser. You can also share your pin on Facebook and Twitter. This is an example of a pin:
Boards: Users pin images to boards that are organized into various categories. This can range from ‘Fashion’ to ‘History’ to ‘Home Décor.’
You can also add contributors to your boards, meaning you can allow other people to pin or repin items to your boards. If you are planning a party with other people and you want a place to share ideas a board would be a perfect place for that. Here are some examples of boards:
Likes: Without pinning an image, users can share their opinion by ‘liking’ an image or video they see.
Comments: Users can leave comments on images or videos others have pinned
Following: Pinterest, like Twitter, allows for users to follow one another, whether they are immediate friends, aesthetic contributors or Pinterest mavens. When following, the user is also given the choice to follow all pin boards or to follow a select few.
Followers: These are the people that are following your personal boards and recieve updates in their feed when you pin or repin an image or video.
Feed: As users login into Pinterest, they can see a live feed of images being pinned and repinned . Users can choose to see a feed showing everything being pinned, choose specific categories, or just see the people they are following.
A newer feature on Pinterest is now you can allow your feed to go on your Facebook Timeline.
What’s The Big Deal?
There have been countless articles and blog posts written recently about Pinterest because the number of users has sky-rocketed. The audience is mostly women right now, but is always expanding. Businesses are realizing the potential this platform has for branding or search engine optimization (SEO).
The next post in our series will go into depth on how this growing trend can be beneficial to branding and should be a part of content strategy.
Tags: Link Building, Pinterest, social media marketing
Article source: http://www.seo.com/blog/pinterest-big-deal-part-1/
February 15th, 2012
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As an account management professional over the last seven years, I have come to appreciate the power of a good analogy. Two years ago I decided to make the move from managing accounts in the world of finance to managing accounts in search engine marketing. As I began communicating with my SEO clients, many analogies were readily available for me to use. I have told my clients that rankings are like prices on the stock market; they can and will fluctuate. I have also told my clients that moving your rankings further up on page one in Google is like losing the last five to ten pounds on a diet. It is the most difficult part of a weight loss journey and it takes considerable time and effort.
Both of these analogies are effective but, for me, they fall short covering anything more than a shallow understanding of how rankings work. The further I get into my career of managing accounts in the world of SEO, the more I learn that an effective SEO campaign is not a sprint, it is a marathon. As a veteran runner of seven marathons, I want to take the time to convey just how much an effective SEO campaign is like a marathon.
Every Runner / SEO Campaign is Different
The Runner: A runner that is already running at an elite local level will have different needs than a couch potato that is taking on the marathon to regain control of their life. It is important that any runner setting out to run a marathon look for a coach or a mentor to guide them through their journey.
The SEO Campaign: Enterprise level clients will almost certainly have different needs than a small business owner. The key is to find the correct plan for both types of clients. A business that is looking to have a successful SEO campaign should also seek out the correct employee or professional SEO firm to coach or mentor them through their campaign.
A Solid Base
The Runner: No runner should undertake a marathon without establishing a proper base of training. Runners that are thinking of attempting the marathon distance are advised to be running at least 35-40 miles a week before signing up for a race.
The SEO Campaign: In an SEO campaign, your base should consist of a proper onsite optimization. Before initiating a comprehensive link building campaign, your SEO team or agency should make sure that the pages that they will be building links to have proper title tags, meta-descriptions and header tags. It is also very important to have good original keyword rich content on your page as you start your campaign.
A Variety of Training Methods / Balanced Link Portfolio
The Runner: Runners that only put in one type of training miles will be far less successful than runners that implement three different types of training days. There are base mile days, tempo run days, and a long run at the end of the week.
The SEO Campaign: For an SEO campaign to be as effective as possible your SEO team or agency cannot rely on building one type of back link. They should aim to build a well balanced back link portfolio that consists of a variety of different linking strategies. If your team or agency does this, your campaign will be far more successful.
The Runner: Any runner that wants to perform well in their chosen marathon, professional or novice, should schedule four to six months of solid training to give themselves a good opportunity to succeed.
The SEO Campaign: A company embarking on a serious SEO campaign should allow for anywhere from a month to several months of consistent link building before they begin to see synergy between their onsite optimization and building of back links. Just like an elite or beginning runner will respond differently to training, a campaign’s keywords will respond to link building at different rates based on their monthly search volume and competitiveness.
The Runner: Almost everyone has heard of a marathon runner hitting “the wall.” It can happen at any time during a race but it commonly happens between miles 20-22. When a runner hits the wall, they feel like their body is shutting down and that they have nothing left to give. Having suffered through the wall myself, I have found that if you just keep moving, your body will find another gear and you will be able to finish the race, as long as you don’t quit or stop running.
The SEO Campaign: Nearly every SEO campaign will go through its version of the wall or a plateau. This event can take place at anytime during your campaign based on your industries level of competitiveness and what your competitors are doing with their own search marketing efforts. Just like a runner in a marathon, website owners must be patient. Their campaign will be able to break through the wall and continue on to greater successes, as long as they don’t get frustrated and quit.
The Finish Line
The Runner: Many people who set out to run a marathon are awakened to a scary truth about themselves; after all the training and miles, their body craves the endorphin rush of running and they cannot give it up. Instead of going back to their old life after completing their marathon, they move on to planning their next marathon.
The SEO Campaign: When a firm or business owner takes part in a successful SEO campaign, they come to a similar realization as the new marathon runner; their business cannot live without search engine marketing as a part of its long term strategy. Business owners ask themselves what their company’s next “marathon” will be. Will they target additional keywords? Focus in on a different product category? Build up their sites blog? Just like the marathon runner, the business owner has turned a corner and the marketing efforts for their company will never be the same.
So as you can see, no matter if you are doing in-house SEO or working with an SEO agency, you need to think long term, and about the big picture… there is no way to short cut your efforts and achieve your desired results.
Plan. Commit. Succeed.
Tags: SEO Tips
Article source: http://www.seo.com/blog/seo-campaign-marathon/