Register For Our Free Webinar To Learn The Top Three SEO Strategies

SEO imageThe world of small business internet marketing has changed immensely in the last five years. With the constant updates and improvements to internet marketing tools, this can only be expected. On one hand, this means that your options are constantly increasing and improving. On the other hand, it can leave business owners more than a little confused.

We know that it is often not feasible to sign up for every marketing strategy you hear about. Stretching your resources that thin is rarely a good idea in the long run. But, what do you need to sign up for? What services will get you the most results for your money?

Ajax Union Vice President Sarah Mogin and Agency Manager David Gscheidle are prepared to answer all of these questions, and more, in the free webinar they are presenting on Wednesday, April 10. The Top 3 SEO Strategies for 2013 webinar will include topics such as how to set realistic (yet, ambitious) goals for your marketing campaign, where to start, how to track your campaign’s effectiveness and conversion tips. Sarah and David will explain how each of these work, how they can work for you and why you will lose the competitive edge without them.

Mark your calendar and register now for this informative presentation. Your business’s bottom line might depend on it!

The Importance of Analytical and Monitoring Software

online marketingIf you own a retail establishment you probably take great care in the way you organize your products. You want people to find what they need but you also want to arrange things in such a way that people will spend more. Chances are you spend a lot of time watching how customers move through your store, what items are most popular, and what items people tend to buy in the same trip.

Analytical software is how you can monitor your customers on the web. What items are most popular online? How long are people spending on your site? How are they finding you online? Analytical software answers all these questions and more.

This software is not just about watching customers, it has many practical uses. If someone buys a grill on your site per se, your site can suggest they buy charcoal and lighter fluid at checkout.  Do people who enter your site using a given keyword leave after 10 seconds? Chances are they keyword is not worth investing in for your site.

In the information age knowledge is power and the driving force behind online marketing success. You can’t just put a site online and expect it to grow on its own. You need to monitor it and engineer its growth accordingly, so make sure to make software like Google Analytics, Obersvu, or Wysigot part of your internet business development.

Focused Keywords For Online Marketing

Cultivating a web presence is no easy task. In fact it is a full time job for almost anyone interested in having a meaningful place on the web. It is even more difficult for businesses intending on being more than just an also-ran with their competition.

In the most competitive fields online marketing must be even more specifically focused. In SEO terms this means finding keywords to focus on that have elements to distinguish your company in search engines. If you sell a cola chances are you aren’t going to beat Coke, Pepsi, or even RC in search engine terms nationally. As a result it is a good move to distinguish yourself with location by making keywords like “local cola” or “Brooklyn cola.” Those keywords will be effective in sussing out customers interested in a locally manufactured option and will help your ranking overall way more than attempting to throw rocks at the throne of the biggest brands.

Internet business development is now a vital option to consider for any businesses looking to grow in the modern landscape. The best thing anyone can do is to try to find keywords that target the audience they know they want and can win.

Internet Marketing Strategies: Black Hat? Not So Fast

black hat SEOLast month, GetElastic.com published a rather wonderful blog about Black Hat Tactics That Are Not Black Hat, citing some useful loopholes that certain webmasters and SEO-ers might be reluctant to use for fear of angering Google.

Highlights:

Cloaking

The definition of cloaking — showing different things to search engine crawlers and users — covers a lot of SEO strategies, many of which are A.O.K. with Google. Examples include displaying different info to visitors based on their languages or locations, or offering “first click free” content a la The Wall Street Journal, where search engines can see the whole site, but visitors have to pay for any content beyond the first click in.

Bad cloaking? Showing search engines keyword-stuffed content and then turning off the spam for your human visitors. That’s some black hat business, right there.

Paid Linking

Paying a site to link to you to boost your search engine rankings is a no-no, but add a “nofollow” attribute on that same link, and you’re good to go. This will keep your link from messing with Google’s ranking algorithm, but still allow it to help you attract visitors from your friend’s site to yours. (And, depending on who your friend is, legal paid linking can still lead to major traffic.)

Auto-generated Pages Stuffed with Keywords

Auto-generated pages just sound bad, don’t they? But whereas creating a program to post random keyword-stuffed spam all over your site is bad news, using your Ecommerce shopping engine to create said pages logically is not. For example, let’s say that “blue striped sheets” is a very popular search term on your site. Certain shopping engines, like Bizrate, will automatically create a “blue striped sheets” category page that will show up under users’ “Related Searches” and such, and that’s okay. The only problem, GetElastic warns, is if these pages are generated without listing any items from your store.

Overall, you should stay out of black hat territory if you remember Google’s golden rule: the content that you allow robots to crawl should be helpful to searchers. Stay helpful, and your hat will stay white.

Facebook Cracks Down on Breakup Notifier App, Heartbreak Ensues

breakup notifier

Facebook just disabled one of our favorite apps in recent history: Breakup Notifier, a nifty tool that sends email updates when your friend’s relationship shatter. Until a couple of minutes ago, all you had to do was add the app on Facebook, select the friends you want to keep tabs on and check your email obsessively until your crush of the moment changes their relationship status from “In a Relationship” to “It’s Complicated.”

The problem? It’s complicated. Reps from the app recently tweeted that “Facebook emailed saying that they’ve disabled us… We are working for a fix, but ask @facebook to put is back online!” — which implies that the app violated some portion of the social network’s terms of service.

Already covered on Geek.com, PCWorld, ABC News and other top outlets, Breakup Notifier is a promising — albiet creepy — app that we hope to see back in action soon.

Black Hat SEO: Don’t Pull a Penney’s

jc penney seo

The New York Times continues to impress us with their attention to the SEO biz — from their November article on reputation wrangler DecorMyEyes to last Saturday’s coverage of J.C. Penney’s SEO scandal. After monitoring the department store’s phenomenal search rankings for a litany of terms both short- and long-tailed, NYT approached Google with their findings, and the search engine giant pronounced JCP guilty of violating the site’s webmaster standards.

Specifically, Penney’s is guilty of buying links, a black hat search technique that disrupts Google’s natural order. The process is not illegal, but Google punishes violators by demoting their rankings or even removing them from the index altogether. Google began manually demoting Penney’s for various search terms after becoming aware of the misconduct.

Reps from J.C. Penney claim that the company was unaware of the link-building, although they did fire their SEO company, SearchDEX, lickety split. Is the retailer telling the truth? Many clients are clueless of their SEO firms’ direct activities, but Penney’s link-building efforts were notably more intense around the holiday season — a finding that implies the campaign had some kind of direction.

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter if Penney’s was aware of the black hat action — if you pay for an SEO company, you’re responsible for the tactics they pursue on your behalf. That’s why Ajax Union does everything above board. Can your marketing firm say that?

Hiybbprqag! Google “Bing Sting” Hurts both Search Engines

Bing Sting

Remember that old saying, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”? Google probably does.

The big G recently published the results of its “Bing Sting” — a covert op where Google manipulated its search engine results for the first time ever to catch Microsoft in the act of copying its handling of unusual misspellings. The sting focused on some crazy misspelled words like “Hiybbprqag,” which at the start returned few, if any, results on G & B.

To trick Bing, Google listed one or more totally unrelated pages as the number one result for “Hiybbprqag” — plus several other out there terms. These honeypot pages started appearing on Bing’s results for the same search terms within weeks. The search engine concluded that Bing had been harvesting its data, perhaps from the Bing toolbar.

Okay, that’s kind of embarrassing. But then Bing fired back, accusing Google of copying its own innovative features, including its travel search, social media integration and infinitely scrolling image search. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

In the end, all of this stone throwing reveals that both search engines are guilty of looking at the other’s test — Bing being the more overt case — and, worse of all, that the two sites might not even be that different. Proponents of newer search engines like the admittedly awesome Blekko have been arguing that for years.

What do you think? Let us know on the Ajax Union Facebook.

SEO News: Google Tweaks Algorithm to Fight Thin Content

google algorithm

With news of content scrapers — and generally spammy news sites — like Demand Media cropping up in SEO blogs and mainstream news sources alike, it’s no surprise to see Google taking action. The search engine tweaked its algorithm last week to cut down on the amount of so-called thin content appearing on both Google.com and Google News.

But before you start rioting in the streets, read on: Google’s primary intention, it seems, is to provide the correct attribution whenever possible. So, if you write a great article that is then scraped by hundreds of illegitimate sites, your version will show up on Google News — not the other guys’.

Worried your content won’t make the grade? Not all internet marketing companies but content at a premium, but the thing is, opting for better content isn’t a choice — it’s a necessity. At Ajax Union, we create original, informative and SEO-friendly content for every Tweet, Facebook post, blog, article, and press release — and everything in between. Can your SEO company say that?