Virginia Get Your Business Online | SEO Services by click-finders

Google wants you Online Virginia

You may or may not have seen an email, webpage, blog article or other news media source that Google itself is pushing out.  The crux of the message is ”Virginia, Get Your Business Online!”.  The message is a pretty simple one, Google wants all small businesses to get online and publish a website.  According to Google it’s an easy, practical and FREE way to promote your business.  Google has gone so far as to come into Virginia communities with a small team of Google representatives and met with business owners to give out this free advice.  They even point you to ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) that Host a website for one year for FREE and provide free website templates that can have even the most non-tech savvy person configure and launch a website within a couple of minutes and start to be found by the throngs of searches that are looking for the small business product or service you provide.  Everything they say is 100% true.  Of course, truth can be a relative term.

What do I mean by that?  I’m glad you asked.  You see, Google has a vested interest in having every small business create and then maintain an online presence via a website.  Have they spoke the truth though?  Is it possible to put up a live, fully functional website within a few minutes for FREE?  Yes, it absolutely is.  So if it’s true, then what’s the problem with this scenario?  Well from a distance nothing.  Google has stated the unequivocal truth and they will undoubtedly stand behind their message with a “we just want to help small business harness the power of the internet” statement.  If that’s true, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  However, as an internet professional who earns a living evaluating, fixing and promoting websites, I have some pretty serious concerns with this kind of message.  There is no way a “non-tech savvy” business owner with zero internet marketing experience is going to be able to launch a website within an hour that is even remotely visible to the search engines, not to mention actually promote it.

“Google could be starting the next great thing by helping every small business get an inexpensive website, or they could be setting themselves up for a never ending stream of paid search dollars.”

So what is Google’s motivation for this push?  Is it to share knowledge and promote the internet market place?  You see, in order to answer that question, you have to understand exactly how Google earns its revenue.  It does so by selling advertising and paid search results (the top three highlighted links returned on nearly every search).  That’s right.  If you want to be on TOP of Google, all you have to do is set up and Adwords account and be willing to pay XX amount of dollars per click that they get you on their ad and BOOM, you get your website listed at the TOP of Google.

Paid Search Results | SEO and PPC by click-finders
Don’t get me wrong, paid search advertising has its place in this world and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.  However, I will take issue with Google (or anyone) who proclaims that any small business owner can get on line for little very little cost and then be at the top of the search engine results pages without an investment of some sort.  In order to be at the top you must be willing to invest in one of the following:

  • #1 You Invest Your Time – Self education in internet and organic search engine marketing.  Expect to spend about 3-6 months just learning what to do and how to do it the correct way.  Once educated, then you can start marketing your site and you can expect to spend anywhere from 3 to 24 months on that full time effort, depending entirely on the competitiveness and difficulty of the keywords you are trying to rank for.
  • #2 Invest in Organic Search Engine Marketing – You can hire an SEO Services Company and you can invest in an SEO Services Package that will market your company and help you gain the trust and authority you need to rank well in the search engine results pages.  This assures you actually get results, that you get those results in a timely manner and that you get them in an ethical and search engine friendly manner (very important, lest you be banned from the search engines altogether for doing it wrong).  All this of course, is based on you hiring the right SEO agency to promote your site.  The benefits of a properly optimized and promoted website can have lasting affects with minimal cost to maintain the rankings once you’re at the top of the search engines.
  • #3 Invest in Paid Search Results Advertising – Quite simply you just need to open a Google Adwords account (or Yahoo/Bing account), register your site,, give them your credit card, spending limits (daily, weekly or monthly), select and bid on your keywords, select your target market segments and then write your ads and publish them.  If you have done everything correctly, you can have traffic at your site within a few hours.  How much traffic and how much revenue can you get this way?  That depends on your keywords, your bids and how good your website is.

So although it’s true, that Google can help you get online within minutes, the likelihood it will change your business that quickly is pretty slim.  Just like anything else worth something in this world, if you want quality traffic that is going to affect your business, you will have to spend an investment (in time or money) marketing it.  The question about the quality of the site, the quality of the traffic and how you market your site, is up to you.

We would love to hear what the professional web design and internet marketing community think of this Google initiative also.  So if you are an internet professional, please feel free to chime below in the comments section.  Also, if you are a small business owner and found your way here, please feel free to chime in your opinion as well.  We would love to hear what you think.

click-finders is a full service Internet Marketing firm that offers Affordable SEO Services, PPC Management, Social Media Management, Web Design and Development, Reputation Management and more.  Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation SEO analysis of your website and find out how we can help get to the top and stay at the top of Google!


 

 

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We have all heard it, read it or saw it on the news before as it relates to search engine optimization, “you should not practice ‘Black Hat’ SEO”.  But what exactly is Black hat SEO and how can I make sure I avoid those tactics in my SEO program? 

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All the SEO news for 2011

News from the world of SEO

Not even officially out of the 1st Quarter of 2011 and look what we have….a Top 5 story list!  It is certainly going to be an interesting year if the SEO community has four quarters of news like this.  In fact you could say it would be a record year of events, success stories and failures if this keeps going.  It’s hard sometimes to stay up on all of the search engine news, so we’ve taken the time to go through and pick out what we feel is the top 5 stories of the year so far and give you a little paraphrase of each one along with a link to a more comprehensive article on each of the subjects.   Enjoy !

#1 – Google’s Panda Update – Arguably the most prolific Google algorithm update in recent history.  This update sent shockwaves through the SEO community and affected an astounding 11.8% of search results.  Google admitted that some sites were caught-up in the “collateral damage” of this spam killing algorithm change, but did not apologize for it, nor did they make any adjustments to the algorithm to correct these issues.  They are leaving it up to the site owners to correct any issues they may have had that led to a mistaken identity by Google and then wait to be re-crawled and indexed.  At click-finders you can read more about the Google’s Panda Algorithm Update: How Did It Affect Your Site? .

#2 – JC Penny Scandal – Who would have thought JC Penny, of all companies, would have been caught up in a link-buying scheme / scandal such as this?  Tsk tsk and shame on JC Penny!  The fact that one of the most reputable and respected retailers in the world was caught up in a scandal like this is absurd to me.  Of course they claim to have no direct knowledge of the act of buying links and they have fired their SEO firm, my take away is they had to know what was going on, or least someone at JC Penny did.  At click-finders you can read more about the New York Times Exposes JC Penny Black-Hat SEO Scandal.

#3 – Google Launches “Site Blocker” – Have you ever done a Google search looking for a specific topic, part, article or information piece…only to click on a link in the search results to find that it is not only not what you were looking for, but also something you might never search for?  Well Google understands your frustration and has added a new feature that allows you block all “example.com” results for a bad domain.  That way that site will never show up again in your personal searches.  Read more about this new feature here at Hide sites to find more of what you want.

#4 – Social Media is a Key Element to SEO in 2011 – That’s right, you heard it correctly.  Both Google and Bing have come forward and admitted that they have been using Social Media indicators to help rank sites in the search engine results pages.  Just how much and to what extent is still unknown and a closely guarded secret, but you can be sure that every “retweet”, “like” and “comment” you receive via social media is being not only counted and indexed, it is also being applied to your overall search engine results score card.  So if you own a web site and you want it to rank better in the search engine results pages and you are not doing Social Media, you SHOULD BE!  At click-finders you can read more about Social Media and SEO: How does it affect your rankings?

#5 – Clickstream-Gate – Google accuses Bing of using “clickstream data” from Google searches conducted with Internet Explorer to place web sites in the search engine results on Bing.  The ironic part to me is that I am fairly certain all of the search engines that have developed browsers are using “clickstream data” to their own benefit, including Google.  Nonetheless, Google got a lot of free PR and media coverage out of the whole debacle.  In the end, I am not sure the general public cares all that much about the Google vs. Bing war, in fact, I would venture to say that most users are going to use their favorite internet browser and search engine no matter what they find out about “how they get results”.  At click-finders you can read more about Bing Caught With Their Hand in the Google Cookie Jar | Search Engine Wars.

So what’s your take on these stories?  Were they headlines in your world?  Do they affect the way you see these corporate giants?  Or is just business as usual and this is all just noise?  Give us your thoughts below in the comments section, it’s FREE and you don’t even have to register!

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What Happened?

On Wednesday the 23rd of February, 2011, Google struck a huge blow to content farms and spammers all over the internet.  What was this news breaking update and how did it affect some of the most known article directories on the internet?  I’m so glad you asked…

Google Panda

Spam for breakfast? Really?

The algorithm update (aka Panda) basically dropped what Google perceives as “content farms” to the bottom of the list for the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages).  The term “content farm” is well known in the SEO industry as a web site or directory that archives’ thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of articles.  Most of the better article directories (non-content farms) require a few things to accept any new article;

 They usually require an author to register with the site

They usually only accept articles from registered users

They usually only accept “original” content (being an original article or work that is not posted anywhere else on the internet including Blogs).

They usually require a mandatory and manual review of every piece submitted for publication

They require a quality check for spelling, grammar and typos (thank goodness this blog does not require that LOL)!

They usually require a 7-10 period to review all of this

If this process works as it is supposed to, then everyone wins.  The author gets published at a reputable site, gets a link back to their site from this reputable site, the directory gets fresh new content on a regular basis and their customers get to use that content in newsletters, blogs, and news related sites.

“When Article Directories and authors do it right…EVERYONE wins!”

So what a “content farm” does is exactly opposite of the above.  They accept articles from anyone, they generally have no review process, no QA process, no credibility checks, no unique content checks….they basically accept anything and everything submitted to them and post it immediately.  You might be asking yourself at this point….So What Mike?  Who cares?  Well, if you have been doing your homework and studying SEO you know that links back to your site are considered a “VOTE” by Google from one site to another.  The more votes you have the higher you go in the rankings.  So by these “content farms” allowing ANYONE to post an article with a link back to any site with no overview, quality check or human review process, I think you can see what happened. 

“Google had no choice.  The SERP’s were cluttered with Spam or non-relevant search results.  By taking the action of de-valuing the content farm links, they have effectively removed the spammy sites from the SERP’s.”

That’s right, the spammers and even some legitimate SEO’s found these sites and exploited them to an extent that Google finally did something about it.  Now, I am not saying that they are done yet.  Google still has a long way to go to clean up the search engine results, but at least this shows that they are working on it and have not just given up.

What if my site dropped due to this change?

If your site dropped out of the first page of the SERP’s on or shortly after The 23rd of February, then you probably fell victim to this update.  If you have an SEO firm under contract, you may want to give them a call and ask them about their link-building strategy.  Chances are pretty high they were rolling a lot of content for you to some of these sites and now all of these back links to your site don’t mean a whole lot to your SEO program.  In other words, all of the back links (or Votes) to your site are pretty much worthless.

“the only way to ever protect yourself against search engine swings and algorithm changes is to diversify your link building campaigns.  It is pretty rare that Google changes more than one or maybe two specific values during an update.  Diversification in your link building portfolio will prevent huge swings like this.”

So…the sites hit hard by this update have some work to do.  Try not to worry too much if you were hit.  You can get back to your previous rankings.  It will take some time and some effort, but you can get back.  Remember to diversify and also remember…there are NO easy roads in SEO.  It always takes work.  The easy way may work for a brief period, but then something like this happens and reminds us all that we are not the ones in control and if we want results, we have to follow the rules…the Google rules!

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