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Online Contact Books are Huge for Local Search

__________!!!!!!@@officeLocal business owners, get ready for the next big trend in local search. Yellow Pages created MyBook last year and announced it this year, a new feature that allows users to save contact information on favorite businesses and people. Yes, now you can have a sharable list that includes your favorite electrician and florist.
YP is investing lots of money and time into its app and advertising on MyBook. We can expect that the company is betting on MyBook as its new edge against big players such as Google and Yelp. That’s not the big news, though. I could care less if Yellow Pages becomes more competitive online. The big news for small businesses is the difference online contact books can make for local SEO.
So why does any of this matter to you? For several reasons, starting and ending with being the go-to service provider in your area.
This new online contact book could make review sites obsolete.  
A few years ago, having more positive reviews on Yelp and other sites was a big driving force in SEO. Positive reviews are still great, but we’ve witnessed the huge corruption that led Google and Bing to downgrade the effectiveness of those strategies.
MyBook makes local business into a numbers game, and that’s more trustworthy than paid-for reviews. Assuming some new contact books will require your location, more local residents will know a business is recommended by other people living in the area. Yes, if 36 friends and neighbors use a certain plumber, Bob Smith down the street will probably trust that plumber. Honest, verifiable facts have more SEO power than reviews coming from who-knows-where.
Contact books provide data on which businesses are most-often saved in your niche and location.
Even companies that aren’t number one in a market can gain valuable insight into the competition. You’ll know which company holds that top spot. And that’s the first step in figuring out how to improve your customer service and marketing.
You need to market yourself to win big on any new online contact books that pop up.
MyBook may eventually fall to another social media star (ahem, MySpace meet Facebook), but the idea of keeping public records of great businesses is convenient for busy people.
We always get our clients involved in new platforms, just in case one becomes the next big sensation. With a little research, you can be prepared for any new contact book that turns into a huge new fad.
post by Todd Herman | | Closed

New Study: Your SEO Value is Greater than the Google Numbers

Up to 60 percent of your direct search traffic is actually organic. What? Are you kidding me?

Yes, it’s true, according to a new study completed by the SEO team over at Groupon, who decided to deindex their entire site for six hours and watch the results as Google reindexed the entire thing.

A big tip of the hat from the entire SEO community for such a heroic effort. If you want to read the whole study and its methodology, the full write-up is available over at Search Engine Land.

For anyone not familiar with search terms, direct traffic comes from a user who clicks on a bookmark or types in a URL. Usually. Sometimes it also comes from social media or an email. Organic search hits come from people who use a search engine and click on a link. SEO is founded on trying to bring in more organic search.

Now that we’re on the same page, back to the study.

This new 60 percent rule only applies to long URLs, so home pages and the immediate sub folders listed on home pages aren’t included in the study. For any pages further into a site, even if Google tells you users reached it through direct search, there’s a good chance that it was really organic.

Also, landing pages with long, funky URLs are probably popping up for customers through direct search categories, such as email and social media. They’re just too complicated to type in or specific to bookmark.

So what does this all mean to the SEO community and business owners like you?

SEO is worth more than we’re being told. Google and other big search engines aren’t giving us the straight facts, so we need to be diligent about reporting studies like this one to clients. And for business owners, keep up with SEO studies so you know if Google and Bing data is more skewed because of recent algorithm or iOS changes.

Organic search is here to stay.
It sounds like blind faith, but we can assume that many people learn about your company because they have a need. Instead of asking a neighbor (lots of us don’t know the folks next door now, anyway), we ask Google. Even if Google tells you all your traffic is direct, you’ll probably see fewer customers and less money if you give up on investing in organic search. Bottom line: Go where the customers are hanging out.

Email and social media campaigns really are important. The Groupon study showed that landing pages are closely tied to direct search, in ways you can affect. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to contact me about creating a landing page campaign that gets results, and working on boosting your social media accounts.

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Law is Effective Today

No SpamOur new anti-spam law took affect today in Canada and it’s going to have a big impact. If your business sends out email correspondence of any sort, you must know and follow the law, or face paying huge penalties. We’re talking millions of dollars, not just pocket change.

This law is only effective in Canada, so businesses will need to give Canadian customers the option to opt in or out, but other contacts won’t receive the same choice. If you ask me, this needs to be a worldwide law. Spam has gotten out of control and makes a helpful tool a waste of time.

Sure, some news accounts say this new law is pointless, because most people use spam filters to ignore all the garbage messages they don’t want to read. That’s pretty standard for most of us now, and my spam box has been a time saver for me.

But without the option to say no, illegitimate companies have more opportunities to send you junk emails that can infect your computers with malware. It creates an unfair environment for criminals and wastes everybody else’s time and money.

Here’s how the new law works: if you want to regularly send out emails to contacts and customers, you need them to opt in to receive your messages. This is already having the unintended effect of piling up more emails for most people, as companies send out requests for emailing permission.

If a business keeps sending emails without giving folks the chance to opt out, the penalties are up to $1 million for an individual or up to $10 million for businesses. Businesses may receive warnings first, but with continued bad behavior, the government will take notice and give out more than a slap on the wrist.

For most of us, that kind of fine would end our business dreams.

Any business or individual who needs more specifics on complying with the law or lodging a complaint can find all the needed information here.

post by Todd Herman | | Closed

Know the Competition’s Social Media Networking Skills

I’ve been working with a couple of new clients this week on blog content, and one fact,has really jumped out at us: they haven’t been paying much attention to their competitors’ blogs and sites. That’s a big no-no in this business.
Each business that sells a product or service needs to know what it’s up against: are the other lawn and garden stores in your area on Facebook, do they update a blog weekly or daily with useful home improvement tips and are they providing top-notch customer service by answering questions directly on Twitter?
These types of questions can help you set a social media and blogging strategy to compete with other companies in your niche, by knowing the market in your area. You’ll need to use very different tactics against a company with 30,000 dedicated Facebook followers, compared with one that only has 27 fans, am I right?
Checking up on the competition once isn’t enough.
If you’re unsure where to start, here’s a quick list of where you be searching and how often. It should only take a few minutes of your time each week.
Check for updates to the company’s website and on directories. You need to know if another company suddenly starts a blog or does a full-scale website redesign that adds an online store into the mix. That can really affect your bottom line.
As for directories, you’ll want to know if the company is keeping its contact information up to date or if it’s listing a new location. You can also get good ideas on how to provide better customer service by scanning the complaints and compliments left in customer reviews on these listings.
Check websites and directories once a week, and regular blogs as often as they’re updated.
Follow the competition on Twitter and Facebook, and check for other social media accounts. You don’t have to formally follow a company to review its tweets and its mentions on Twitter. A quick search, in the search bar in the upper right corner, will reveal what others are saying about a company and what kind of content it’s tweeting and retweeting. The same goes for Facebook, although you may need to like a business page to see updates. Regular visits will help you better understand the level of social media networking you or your creative team will need to do.
Don’t forget that new social media platforms are always popping up, so do a search on Instagram and other popular sites too. You should keep up with social media accounts according to how often a company posts updates. If Bob’s Garden and Lawn tweets every day, check it every day. If it’s more like once a week, then check it less often. You’ll notice patterns as you creep around on social media.
Google and Bing searches are treasure troves of information. Social media can’t tell you the full story of a company, and neither can a website. You’ll miss a lot of updates on what other people are saying about a company, especially articles by the media and on forums. Pick a few high-quality search terms that are relevant, and search every week for popular companies, or less often for those that are less visible online.
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Good SEO is Link Building, or is it Content Marketing?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how Google has changed the conversation around SEO. The way we talk about link building, the most important SEO strategy, has changed a lot in the past few years. It’s really been turned all around and upside down.

Now we call it by several different names: SEOs still talk about link building, but marketers have started using terms such as content marketing, or online or digital marketing.

So why is the term ” link building” so controversial? It’s not a dirty word, is it? When did it get a bad reputation?

Black hat SEOs and unethical marketers built spam links and used practices we don’t see today. Google didn’t create the problems surrounding disreputable link building, but all its algorithm changes have placed a spotlight on how high-quality links are built.

I argue that “link building” is still the best way to describe what is one of the most important ways you can draw in traffic to your site. I’ll go even further. Link building combined with long-term reporting and analysis is the best way to promote your site.

When you’re considering a link-building campaign, keep these few major points in mind.

Marketing lasts for the length of a campaign, but links keep bringing in traffic. Any SEO or marketer working on a link-building campaign should help you with continued tracking that shows how many people visit your site through links. And if you only have a short-term contract, ask for help on learning how to track your site’s traffic from those new links.

Google had it right when they started demanding quality instead of quantity. Black hat methods, such as buying lots of links at cheap prices, obviously didn’t work. Google insists on quality, so don’t work on getting links from any sites that aren’t authoritative and relevant.

More traffic should equal increased future business. SEOs and marketers can turn to a number of different tools to track visits from certain links to your pages. And not just during the campaign. As you track visitors into the future, you should see an increase in sales or contacts. If you don’t, it’s time to evaluate your bounce rate and the relevancy of where your links are located.

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Google SEO: Content for New Sites with no Links

Few websites can boast that they’ve been around for decades. Yes, many older sites exist, but new sites pop up every day, created by both established companies and new businesses. These newer sites are starting from scratch, not just when it comes to content, but more importantly in building up links.

In one of his latest Google Webmaster Help videos, Matt Cutts briefly discusses SEO strategies for sites without many links. If your older site has this problem, you may need to adjust your content or focus on new strategies to reach out using public relations.

Content without links is always a big problem for newer sites, bit it’s not insurmountable. With a lot of hard work and patience, any site can catch up with the number of links pointed at its competitors’ sites.

So what should new site owners do to ensure that Google notices their great content and includes them in rankings?

Create memorable content that isn’t stuffed with keywords. This was Cutts’ main point in his Help video.

When you’re creating content for new pages, write in a natural, conversational way. Never practice any Black hat tricks. Because you don’t have links, Google will crawl your content for indicators about its subject and quality. Using the same phrases or words too many times could really sink your search rankings.

Create a big splash, right out of the gate. OK, most if us don’t have a huge budget for marketing and public relations. I know. But with good planning, you can have a game plan to announce your site and use it as a branding opportunity.

If you have a great product and content, and announce your grand opening (websites have them too) to the media, there’s no reason you can’t get links quickly.

Keep your content fresh. Your readers should have a reason to come back every week. If they do, Google will notice. Even if your page without links is static content, include some great links to your best blog posts or content. It may just become an important landing page for visitors.

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Google SEO: Algorithm Changes Only Scare Black Hat Users

In the past year, Google has been on a rampage of algorithm changes that have turned SEO on its head.

Starting with the Payday Loan Algorithm in 2013 (Google just updated it again), we’ve seen an onslaught of rapid changes that took down everyone from big spammers and black hat experts, to shopping sites such as Overstock. These huge updates go beyond Penguin and Panda updates.

That’s not a bad thing, for most of us.

Yes, the changes have cost businesses money to switch tactics and update sites. Yes, it takes more time to blog and regularly connect with customers.

But, in the end, all these changes can have a big effect on your site that you didn’t expect: increased business and more customers. If you’re a legitimate site creating powerful content, Google will reward you. Still concerned?

There are several good ways to remain worry-free when Google sweeps in with a new algorithm update.

Avoid posting black hat techniques on discussion boards where SEOs swap tips.
We already know that Google is on the hunt for people practicing black hat SEO, so why waste your time? Instead, focus your energies on strategies that we know are working: connect with customers on social media and create great content for your site. If you’re not sure how to get started, rely on a trustworthy SEO professional.

Listen to Google. Yes, Google is an unpredictable monster that we all depend on for customers. Along with social media, of course.

Having said that, Matt Cutts and the gang have provided some handy advice on how to keep Google happy and create sites that rank well.

When you create engaging content that’s updated regularly, and innovate in your niche industry, Google will reward your efforts.

Keep Yourself Busy. Winning strategies include daily social media updates, regular blog posts and new web site content that’s regularly posted. These big algorithm updates affect few English language queries (this recent update hit Turkish queries the hardest), and should be seen as a reminder to renew our strategies to outperform the competition.

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Panda 4.0 Recovery – Have you been affected?

Do you need Panda 4.0 Recovery?

Panda 4.0 Recovery  - Yesterday via Twitter, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, confirmed the new algorithm update. The search landscape changes daily with Google updating their algorithm over 500 times every year. However, Panda 4.0 just happens to be one of the major ones with an impact that can have serious implications for your businesses visibility and revenue.

Google penguin recovery

In the past, Panda updates were designed to help boost great-quality content sites while pushing down thin or low-quality content sites in the search results.

We can restore your Google rankings!

Elite SEO is the only provider to offer the Panda recovery package – allowing you to react quickly in order to save time and money.

Additionally, this exclusive offer provides you the ability to review your ranking data up to 5 times a week.

With many well-known businesses already impacted:

As the only globally trusted provider of SEO data, users can rely on Elite SEO:

 CLICK HERE TO REPAIR YOUR WEBSITE!

Don’t take the risk of assuming your site is fine. Contact us now about this exclusive offer to get a personalized rate. Sincerely yours, Elite SEO.

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TOPSEOs Complaints – FRAUD WARNING!

Shaun Anderson of Hobo Internet Marketing, Barry Adams of State of Digital…wrote a nice little SEO article of the kind of company “Topseos” really is.

TOPSEOs Bullshit!

After an extensive SEO analysis, TOPSEOs has provided SEO service companies to (former TOPSEOs clients) my clients that are not only black hat SEOs but some do not do on-page optimization.

There is no such thing as an SEO Awards, as SEO is not an accredited occupation. We hope soon that SEO does become accredited. This would pave the path for many new, up and coming SEOs to climb their way to the top instead of paying to be there like a lot of so called SEOs did.

Here is a list of some websites that reviewed this SEO fraud:

Arron Wall! - TopSEOs Review

SEOMOZ – TOPSEOs Review

TOPSEOs Review #1

TOPSEOs Review #2

TOPSEOs Review #3

TOPSEOs Review #4

TopSEOs Review #6

Thank you for reading and visit the above links to hear the real story about Topseos.

post by Todd Herman | | Closed

Two Big SEO Companies Have a Bad Reputation

Link Building VancouverWhen it comes to my SEO clients, one thing matters most to them: results. If a campaign isn’t getting the expected results, any SEO will tell you, the customer usually notices first.

Recent news shows that two huge SEM firms recently provided customers with bad service, and we’re talking companies pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars.

The two firms, Yodle and ReachLocal, have been providing poor service for years. Hundreds of complaints have been filed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, going back to before 2009.

How could these two search superpowers get away with it, you ask yourself? Because their customers had not educated themselves on the results they should expect and the steps necessary to achieve those results.

I guarantee that most SEO results don’t appear dramatically overnight (unless you were running an awful site that looked like something from 1996). Instead, they take careful thought and planning, and daily effort on the part of your SEO consultant and probably members of your team.

When you shop for an SEO, watch out for a few big clues that point to fraudulent claims and scam artists.

Huge promises. I can optimize your site to put it in front of the right people who want your services. I can even help you craft content that appeals to your niche. But I can’t promise you loads of new customers and astounding business success. That’s up to you, not a consultant.

No proven results. Most SEOs have experience in the business and can point to previous clients who saw improved website traffic and more attention on social media. If someone can’t show you past results, don’t trust him.

Lack of attention. Isn’t it frustrating when you call a multinational company and they put you on hold for 15 minutes, and then you talk to an impersonal sales representative who doesn’t care about your situation? The same goes with an SEO. Large companies have some positives, but they many times don’t provide the personal attention you’ll get from a smaller company. Everyone who pays for services should feel pampered.