Successful Online Stores | SOS | Websites For Small Businesses SEO - Search Engine Optimization Thu, 23 Feb 2017 21:23:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 WE MAKE SMALL BUSINESS WEBSITES THAT ACTUALLY GET FOUND ONLINE Sun, 26 Jun 2016 15:35:20 +0000 sos-ad

Tweets to appear in Google search results Fri, 06 Feb 2015 15:41:41 +0000 Read full article here:

Dive Brief:

  • For the first time since 2011, Twitter and Google have struck a deal that will make the former’s 140-character tweets more searchable online.
  • The deal grants Google access to Twitter’s “firehose” of data from more than 284 million users, so tweets will be visible as soon as they are posted.
  • Twitter already provides data to competing search engines Bing and Yahoo, and hopes to shore up ad rates by making its information more discoverable to non-users.

Dive Insight:

Google and Twitter are set to renew an arrangement that expired in 2011 that gives the search leader primary access to tweets from more than 284 million Twitter users. With growth in numbers of subscribers slowing, Twitter needs to increase its visibility in order attract new users and monetize content.

While the deal is not yet final, Google will likely pay Twitter a licensing fee to include tweets in its search results. Twitter has similar arrangements with Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing, but since Google handles 75% of web searches and is the number one site worldwide, the deal promises to give the microblogging platform incredible influence across devices.

Google’s Matt Cutts: Domain Clustering To Change Again; Fewer Results From Same Domain Mon, 20 May 2013 13:41:30 +0000

Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted a new video about a new change coming to Google’s search results related to the diversity of the results being displayed.

Matt said that Google is launching “soon” a new change that will make it less likely to see results from the same domain name, if you already have been shown that domain name in previous results three or four times before. Matt explained that once you’ve seen a cluster of about four results from a specific domain name, the subsequent pages are going to be less likely to show you results from that domain name.

To explain this in more detail, Cutts explained the history behind domain diversity in the search results. As Matt explained, the goal is to strike the right balance between offering diverse results but at the same time returning the best and most authoritative search results for the

The history for domain clustering within Google is as follows:

  • There was no restrictions in the number of results per domain name. This turned out to be a bad thing, as Matt explained.
  • Google added “host clustering,” that prevented more than two results per domain name to be shown in the search results. Webmasters got around this by placing content on subdomains.
  • Google expanded the clustering to show a max of 3 or 4 results per domain, instead.
  • Google then changed this to show more diversity on the first page of results but show less diversity on the secondary pages. So you’d likely not see more than two results from the same domain name on the first page, but you can see several results from the same domain on secondary pages.
  • Launching soon is a change to this to show less from the same domain, even on subsequent pages, after you’ve already seen about four results from the same domain for that query.

Google has frequently changed the diversity of domains in the search results and we expected this change as we reported earlier.

Matt Cutts did explain this most recent change was in response to several complaints, likely including our complaint about the diversity of the search results.

Here is the video:

The New SEO: How to Build an Online Presence Google Will Love! Fri, 09 Nov 2012 13:45:05 +0000 Penny C. Sansevieri

Author and CEO, Marketing Experts, Inc.


The New SEO: How to Build an Online Presence Google Will Love!

Posted: 11/07/2012 2:49 pm
With all the changes to Google many Internet gurus have predicted the end of SEO. Well, it’s not the end per se, but rather a change from the way we used to market online. The reason Google is making these changes (also known as Penguin and Panda) is to help with authentic search. For years, many of us struggled to battle the black hat Internet marketing people who always seemed to find a way to push their project up in the ranking by using tricks to game the system in their favor. Now this time has passed. It doesn’t mean that these marketing people aren’t still up to their dirty tricks, but it does mean that the playing field has been leveled and it’s becoming harder and harder to “rig” Google in your favor.

Why does this matter to you? Because you want to know how to prevent your site from getting hit by a Google update. If it does it could mean that you rarely, if ever, come up high in search results. Or, you could be banished to page 54 on a Google search and I can almost guarantee you, few people will ever dig through search results past page three. If you’re that far back you’ll never get noticed or, for that matter, get traffic.

Keywords Still Matter

The things that haven’t changed with Google are keywords and backlinks. Both of these are still important though Google is becoming more intuitive, so if you’re searching for keywords you may also want to search on a variety of terms for one keyword. As an example, the term “mobile phone” is also cell phone, iPhone, Droid, etc. Google is using a much more human touch to searches and they know that users don’t always pop the exact keywords into a Google search. They’ll pop in the keywords they are accustomed to using. When you’re creating your keyword list, it’s not a bad idea to expand the list to include this user terminology.

Content, Content, Content

The next piece of this new SEO world is content. You hear it all the time — in fact some may think that this piece of website optimization has been a bit belabored. We know that we need to create helpful, unique, insightful content but more often than not, we just don’t know how. Or we create a few posts and think, “This is great!” then the idea well runs dry.

Let’s face it, when you have to generate content it’s often not an easy process. Additionally, we all have other things to do like run a business, write the next book, or just have a life. The payoff however, is huge. Consider this: you wouldn’t want to share anything that wasn’t helpful, right? Why would you expect your readers to be any different? So incentivize your readers by offering them content they can’t wait to share. This will really help to beef up the backlinks to your website. Here are a few ideas to help you generate content:

    • This site is great. Just plug in your keyword and it’ll come up with all sorts of topics you can write about. When I plugged in book and marketing, I got about fifty new ideas for article titles, blog topics, or tweets. Often we just need the idea to spark us and this site will really help you do that. Additionally, the whole concept behind Ubersuggest is to give you insight into searches so if you’re writing blog posts that key into things that are getting high searches, you’ll end up increasing your traffic dramatically. When you see the topic suggestion on Ubersuggest, you don’t have to copy it verbatim but you should have the keywords in the title of your blog post and use them (sparingly)throughout the post, too.
    • Google Alerts: Perhaps an oldie but goodie. Keep track of trends in your market and write about them. For example when Google Alerts popped up an alert about Penny Marshall’s book only selling 7,000 copies (she was paid an advance of $800,000), I decided to write about it.
    • Twitter: Here’s a great tool I have used to generate content ideas. Go to Twitter’s search bar and type in “how” + your keyword, or question and keyword, or why and your keyword. Any of these terms will generate a list of tweets that may help spark some ideas.
    • FAQ’s: If you get any kind of reader or client feedback, listen to what they are asking. This is a great way to generate ideas that will matter to your end-user. Client feedback, questions asked at the end of a presentation, or emails you get from buyers or potential buyers offer great insights into what their needs are and what you should consider writing about.

Social Media as a Defense Against Google Updates

Another great way to prevent your site from getting hit with a Google update is by pushing your content on social networks. This is a great place to build natural backlinks to your website and “social search” is getting to be a big topic these days. Google tracks links shared on Facebook, Twitter and others. So, in order to gain the benefits from these links be sure and push your marketing to the two top social media sites, meaning Twitter and Facebook. Next, you’ll want to be sure and tie your blog into these accounts so that each time you update your blog, you’ll be sharing this via social media.

The next piece is the elephant in the room, namely Google+. Though it’s seen most of its users from the technology sector, I’ve seen numerous articles that cite that a solid presence on Google+ helps with search so keep that page updated. Generally I’ll get on there once a day on my personal page; our company page is updated more frequently. Also adding a +1 to your website is getting to be a pretty big deal. Having someone +1 your post or blog entry can help increase its visibility in search.

Ideally the traffic to your site should come from both Google searches and social media, though a good balance would be an equal 50/50 split between the two. While getting search traffic is great, you don’t want that to be your sole traffic generator. In an age of Google updates (a la Penguin and Panda) you want to reduce your dependence on search-only traffic. Don’t believe me? When Google did their Panda update some sites, like quotes and song lyrics sites, lost 94 percent of their traffic because they were solely dependent on search traffic for their exposure.

SEO Tips for your Website

Finally, there are a few things you can do to your site to help beef up the searchability.

    1. Title tags are always a great bet and often overlooked. Considering they carry some key SEO value, it’s amazing how often title tags are forgotten. Title tags tell search engines what your site is about. I recommend using keywords here or relevant phrases. Not sure where your title tags are? If you’re looking at a website, it’s the top line, above the search bar. That’s where title tags come in. Most websites say “home” or something which isn’t helpful at all when it comes to search. Also, each page on your site should have a different title tag that represents that page. Title tags should be kept to 66 characters or less. To separate out multiple key word phrases, use a “-” dash.
    2. Though I always encourage people to use keywords on their site, keep in mind that Google is now really cracking down on things like keyword-stuffing (where a keyword or phrase is used over and over again to rig ranking). So write for your user, not for Google.
    3. Duplicate content: It’s always been frowned upon, but now it can kill your search ranking, too. What this means is that you’ll want to avoid duplicating content on your website, meaning using an About You page in different places, or replicating blog posts on other pages of your site, reusing content from a press release that’s elsewhere on your website, etc.
    4. Anchor text: When linking to other internal pages on your website, use anchor text (keywords) instead of just “Click here” or something like that, it’ll help you get more keyword buzz.
    5. When linking into your site, try to not always link to the home page. It’s helpful to link to internal pages on your website. For example, when you’re linking to blog posts, or items in your media room, etc. you should use internal pages. When you link to these internal pages, try hyperlinking using keywords; again this is called anchor text because you’re essentially anchoring your URL via keywords and sending folks back to your website.
    6. Images on your blog: These days we rarely put up a blog post without images. Just be sure that you name the image using keywords.
    7. Images on your website: Each of the images on your website should be named. This is called Alt text. Using terms like 00006YT.jpg which is often how images are named by your computer (just a string of random numbers) will not help you in search. If you’re not sure if the images on your site have Alt text call it up in Firefox or Chrome. Right click over the image and go to “Inspect Element” generally if there’s ALT text it will say ALT= and this indicates ALT text. If you don’t have it, make sure to take note of all images on your website and ask your web designer to add these.


It’s a new age of SEO and what Google is doing is a really good thing. We all want to be able to find the things we need in search. The rules have changed, and knowing how to play by them will get you a site that’s not only ranking, but is Panda and Penguin-proof.

Video + Tablets: The Mobile Catalyst for E-Commerce (Watch out Amazon!) Mon, 20 Aug 2012 13:50:44 +0000 Darcy Travlos, Contributor

I cover Digital Media stocks: devices, delivery, components & content.

8/18/2012 @ 8:51AM |4,259 views
In the US alone, there are 120 M smartphones and almost 60 M tablets accessing the Internet, and the adoption is growing by leaps and bounds. IDC says that worldwide smartphone shipments will grow from 494M last year to 1.6B in 2016. And, NPD says that tablet shipments will increase to 416M by 2017. Combined, the installed base is enormous, ubiquitous and engaging with their owners. Investors, marketers, and companies want to know how to tap into these mobile devices and make money. It is an opportunity and has proven to be a double-edged sword as well. Facebook stock has been clobbered since its IPO largely on greater use of its site on mobile devices with less ability to deliver ads.

Like anything with mobile, the first cut has been to replicate (that is, miniaturize) what was done on the web for a mobile device. Websites were shrunk to fit on a smaller smartphone screen. People didn’t like it because they couldn’t see it. And the situation is even worse for those pesky banner ads. Mobile is its own “animal” and what works varies.

First, not all mobile is “created” equally. The differential in screen size amongst the smartphones (typically four inch) to the standard tables (typically eleven inch) to the newer mini tablets (roughly seven inch) affects the ability to deliver effective advertising or promotional material to users.

Second, not all media is “created” equally. The level of engagement differs substantially amongst banner ads, social networking “likes”, photos, displays and videos. And the presentation and effectiveness of each does depend on the screen size. On larger screens, banner ads are easily spotted and do not take up substantial real estate; however, on the smaller smartphone screens, banner ads are annoying and disproportionately large.

Banner ads on smartphones don’t work. But, video does. And it works even better on the fastest-growing category of “mobile”: tablets.

Invodo, a privately-held company in Austin Texas, creates videos for retailers and brands to enhance their communication to their customers. Invodo has found that videos increase the conversion rates from exposure to sales, and the conversion is even greater on mobile devices. Consider this: According to Invodo research, mobile shoppers are three times more likely to click and view the video than desktop or laptop users. Internet Retailer reports that those that view a video are 144% more likely to place that item in a shopping cart. And, 52% say that watching the video makes them more confident about their purchasing decisions (read: fewer returns).

People love to watch videos on mobile devices. Cisco reports that for the first time, video accounts for over half of all internet traffic on mobile devices, thanks to improved devices and bandwidth. And within four years, mobile devices will access over 70% of the video on the Internet. Tablets appear to be the preferred device. ComScore found that tablets users were three times as likely to watch a video than were smartphone users, and 10% of tablet users watch a video every day.

And, people prefer to shop on tablets more than on smartphones. Monetate reported that in the first quarter of this year, traffic to e-commerce sites on tablets exceeded that from smartphones. Tablet owners are a coveted audience: 38% of tablet owners have an annual household income in excess of $100K. This translates into a higher average order value per transaction on a tablet (almost $125) compared to the PC (about $100) or smartphone (just over $75).

Video on mobile devices, particularly tablets, is shaping up to be a catalyst for e-commerce. Comscore reports that e-commerce visitors who watch a video are 64% more likely to make a purchase than those that don’t. Invodo’s customers also can document that experience. Golfsmith found a 64% increase in conversion rate for those products that had videos compared to those that did not.

Herein lies the opportunity for retailers to avoid being “Amazoned.” Informal surveys by Invodo suggest that customer loyalty for sites that offer informative and promotional videos increases and customers are more likely to stay on the site and purchase.

A final interesting fact: Of the retail videos accessed on a mobile device, over 70% of them are accessed by iOS (Apple) devices.

In the ever-changing world of technology, two emerging trends have created a tremendous opportunity to level the playing field for retailers: the rapid adoption of tablets and the increased bandwidth to deliver video right into the hands of potential customers. Unlike other methods of mobile marketing where the return on investment has been difficult to determine, the results here are stacking up with compelling statistics.

SEO Isn’t What You Think It Is Mon, 20 Aug 2012 13:40:37 +0000 SEO Isn’t What You Think It Is



AUGUST 10, 2012

Updates to Google’s algorithms mean that social engagement, rather than search engine trickery, yields top results.


Marketers are buzzing from the aftershocks of Google’s recent most updates, code-named Panda and Penguin.

Panda, which launched around February of 2011, started using artificial intelligence in new ways to enforce the best practices guidelines Google had long provided to those seeking to optimize their websites.

If Panda was a wrist slap, Penguin, launched in last April, was a body slam to websites still trying to “trick” the search engines into ranking them ahead of their competition. The update emphasized the importance of quality content, originality, and overall user experience.

Both the Panda and Penguin updates contained very clear messages for marketers: stop focusing on technology and tricks and start focusing on people. If your website appeals to people, it will appeal to Google’s algorithms too.

But the Panda and Penguin messages go deeper. With them, the search engines are openly acknowledging that a website isn’t the only place on the Web that a brand needs to maintain a strong presence. The interactive exchanges that people have with each other and with the brand–online–are happening in the social media channel, and the search engines are placing an increasing importance on how these conversations influence their views on brands and how their websites should rank.

This means that a brand can no longer rely on a well-optimized website to earn Google’s attention. A brand must be a conversationalist, going where the people are and engaging them in discussion, and by doing that earn a wonderful reputation.

Smart brands are doing this by fully leveraging each social channels particular properties.

Facilitate conversations with fans on your Facebook page.
Simply announcing what your company is up to isn’t going to get fans engaging with your brand. Post information that is relevant to your brand and of interest to your stakeholders. Invite questions, suggest other reading, provide links, curate other content. The point is to have dynamic conversations between your brand and your fans.
Parmesan is a delicious example.

Share tweets about topics of interest (again–not self-serving announcements but follower-serving news) via Twitter.
The search engines are all looking at Twitter activity, at the keyword and brand-name level, as signals for which brands deserve top rankings. No one is going to be interested in miles and miles of one-way tweets about how great your brand is. Know your stakeholders: provide information that will be of use to them and they will not only follow you, they’ll retweet what you share.
Whole Foods gets it.

Uploading shareable videos to your YouTube channel optimizes your brand as well as your website.
How? When the content is engaging, people what to share it. When they share it, they often add a link to your website. Encourage more sharing and engagement with people who leave comments by responding to their comments. Remember, Google owns YouTube. Enough said.
Home Depot has a quality YouTube channel.

Pin and Repin interesting visuals on Pinterest.
Pinterest may not be right for every brand, but if you market to consumers and have a brand with visual attributes or messaging that can be supported by photos, images, and infographics, Pinterest is another option to leverage for brand optimization.
Real Simple and West Elm pin well.

Participate in groups, answer questions, and post company updates on LinkedIn.
This is less about SEO and more about putting your brand where the buyers are. Whether you are a B2B or B2C marketer, having a strong LinkedIn profile for your company, complete with referrals from customers and strategic partners, is a strong component in the brand optimization mix. While LinkedIn groups tend to be “closed” and therefore not accessible to the search engines, some are public, and therefore search engine crawlable and the conversations in those groups where your brand is referenced with links to your website can help with SEO and brand optimization too. And don’t forget, Company Pages are public and now feature status updates. is a resource on LinkedIn.

Share information on Google+. 
There is widespread belief that as Google+ gains in popularity, the conversations there will help with brand and search engine optimization. People have been somewhat slow to add yet another social media profile to their online presence, and brands have been slow to adopt Google+ too, but some brands are making smart use of Google+ now.
See what the New York Times is doing with it.

All of this social media activity works to create engagement around the brand by what has always mattered to the search engines most: people.

So rather than asking yourself, “How do I optimize my website to better rank with search engines?” ask, “How can I optimize my brand so that it’s a sought-after participant in relevant conversations?” Answering that will bring you top rankings on the search engines and much, much more.

Veronica Fielding is the CEO of Digital Brand Expressions, a trailblazing digital marketing agency that specializes in building audiences and connecting buyers and brands through context marketing solutions.

Follow Veronica on Twitter.

[Image: Flickr user Lali Masriera]

Siri changes the game for mobile search Fri, 18 Nov 2011 18:23:24 +0000 The intriguing new Siri application that comes with the iPhone 4S has big implications for local search marketing. First, Google is the default search engine used when a search is done with the voice-recognition application. Bing and Yahoo can be requested by the user, but most will stick with the default, a big win for Google. And, since a search for the keyword “ravioli” on Siri will return a list of restaurants that mention “ravioli” in their Yelp reviews, understanding the keywords that people search for continues to be crucial in local seach marketing. Siri assumes a local search by default, so a request to Siri for a list of restaurants will use location services to show nearby ones.

By: Franchise Update


New Google Search Update Could Spell More Trouble for Business Websites Thu, 10 Nov 2011 21:50:26 +0000

BY Jason Fell| November 7, 2011|


New Google SearchIf you don’t update your business website very often, you may want to rethink your online content strategy.

A little more than eight months after unveiling “Panda,” an update to Google’s search algorithm that puts a higher priority on high-quality content, the search giant has announced a new update that aims to provide users with “the most up-to-date results.”

“Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old,” Google says in a blog post announcing the big change.

This latest update is expected to affect as much as 35 percent of all searches on Google, the company says. The Panda update, which had businesses scrambling to stay maintain their search rankings, was said to affect 12 percent of searches.

Specifically, Google says the update will impact searches for recent events or “hot topics,” regularly occurring events, and searches for information that changes often but isn’t necessarily a trending topic or recurring event.

“This change better determines the level of freshness needed for each query and promotes fresher results accordingly,” a Google spokesperson says. “We’re continuously working to improve our search algorithm so that we provide users the most relevant answers to their queries.”

“It seems to me that the biggest impact on small-business owners will be that, in some industries, it will be near impossible to get visibility with a small, rarely-updated website,” says Matt McGee, executive news editor at SEO-focused news site Search Engine Land. “If the business is in an industry where there’s regular news, where things change on a frequent basis, it looks like never-updated websites won’t have much chance of being visible on a lot of queries.”

One effective way for businesses to generate fresh content for their website is to create and frequently update a business blog, McGee recommends. You can write short, informative posts on topics such as industry news or new on your business’s new products or services.

“Blogs have always been great SEO weapons,” McGee says, “and this change only seems to emphasize the value of publishing quality content on a regular basis.”

How often do you update the content on your business website? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Social Commerce By the Numbers Tue, 02 Aug 2011 22:56:01 +0000 Since social commerce facts can be hard to come by, we pulled together a few of the most important statistics and illuminating quotations about the industry. If you’ve found other great stats we didn’t include, please share with us by commenting on this post.
Social Commerce By the Numbers

Percent of brand followers that would buy directly from Facebook: 35
Percent of small businesses that use a social media platform: 75
Percent of Fortune 500 companies that use a social media platform: 79
Estimated cost of a social media campaign: $210,600
Online sales in 2010: $176 billion.
Projected online sales in 2015: $279 billion
Percent of Shares on Facebook that convert to a sale for businesses that have Facebook stores – like Jedidiah USA, pictured below: over 10%

Google Plus Business Profiles Are Coming Q3, Analytics and All Sun, 24 Jul 2011 23:02:13 +0000 By John Paul Titlow / July 23, 2011 11:00 AM

Companies clamoring to build a presence on Google’s new social network have a few more months to wait. Business profiles are coming to Google Plus around the third quarter of this year, according to a story on VentureBeat.

While Google hasn’t revealed many details about what the brand profiles will include, a Google representative told VentureBeat that users should expect “a level of analytics and measurement that you’d typically find in Google products,” hinting at the inclusion of analytics in business accounts.

Google is urging brands to wait for these official business profiles rather than set up their own, which the company said would not be able to be automatically migrated once the brand profiles launch.

The absence of business profiles on Google Plus has been a point of contention for some brands and media outlets, a handful of which decided to set up their own profiles, despite Google’s wishes. This week, Google began pulling down some of these brand pages and Mashable has decided to remove company branding and instead operate its 100,000 follower strong profile using the name and likeness of its CEO, Pete Cashmore.

“The platform at the moment is not built for the business use case, and we want to help you build long-term relationships with your customers,” Google’s Christian Oestlien said in a post on Google Plus. “Doing it right is worth the wait.”

Google has said that they will continue to disable unauthorized business profiles ahead of their official launch later this year. In the meantime there are a number of ways that businesses can make the most of Google Plus.