David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

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Archive for May, 2008

A fly swatter for your marketing

Monday, May 26th, 2008

This is a poignant reminder of how the little things really do matter. It’s a story of how a $0.95 fly swatter improved Nick’s productivity by 1000%. Imagine that. No more flies buzzing around his ears, and Nick can now blog 10 times a day (although, it would appear that he has invested his newfound productivity in some other fashion).

What little irritants are getting in your way and reducing your productivity? Instead of just waving them away, only to wave them away again, and again, and again, is there a simple solution you could turn to that would remove the problem?

Now think about your website. Are there aspects that are underperforming or little impediments that are making it function less efficiently. Perhaps you ask one question too many on a form and you get fewer subscribers to your newsletter than you ought to. Or perhaps by not giving shipping charges up front, many people abandon your shopping cart. Whatever the problem, could it go away with a simple fix?

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off to buy a fly swatter.

 


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LinkedIn for SEO

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

In addition to being a great website for networking and reputation management, LinkedIn can also serve as a valuable SEO asset. Your profile allows 3 links to your websites. Use them. A few tips for making your profile rank better within LinkedIn, and most likely with external search engines, too.

  • Complete your profile to 100%
  • Join some groups
  • Build a large contact list
  • Recommend your contacts
  • Ask your friends to recommend you
  • When commenting on blogs, make your LinkedIn profile sometimes the URL for your comment

This is also a great way to create a very credible page that will rank well for your name, including great positive recommendations in your favor. See more about this in my post on SEO tactics for reputation management.

You can view my profile at LinkedIn: David Leonhardt. Note, I am only connecting to people I actually know and have worked with.

 


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Reputation Management – more than just SEO

Friday, May 16th, 2008

A couple days ago I blogged about SEO for reputation management.  Today, as I was reading Kimberly Bock’s blog, I was reminded by her It All Comes Out In The Wash post of all the work that goes into protecting one’s reputation before it ever gets to the point where an SEO defense is needed. 

Reputation management starts with communicating your values and sticking to them.  It means being the reputation you want to have.  If you want to be seen as a square dealer, you have to be one.  If you want to be known for excellence, you better have excellence.  SEO is a protection against the odd fool who will strike as the good and the bad alike.

 


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SEO tactics for reputation management

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

There is nothing more precious than your reputation. What happens when one jealous ex-lover, disgruntled employee or unsatisfied customer decides to get nasty and post something snarky on the Internet about you. And horror of horrors, it shows up #4 at Google or Yahoo when somebody searches for your name or your business name?
That’s when you need an SEO campaign for reputation management. While every campaign is unique, there are a few key steps you should take.

  1. Make sure your own website comes up first.If you have more than one website, first and second is even better.
  2. Maximize the reach of your website(s); optimize two pages on each to show up in the results.
  3. Analyze those positive web pages already in the top 20 for your name and determine which ones could have an extra page optimized for your name.
  4. Analyze which positive web pages already in the top 20 for your name and determine which ones could be pushed above any negative pages through changes to the pages or through link-building.
  5. Analyze those neutral web pages already in the top 20 for your name and determine which ones could be made positive.
  6. Analyze those negative web pages already in the top 20 for your name and determine which ones could be made positive.
  7. Create, optimize and promote profile pages at popular user-generated content websites, such as Squidoo, MySpace and StumbleUpon.
  8. Create blogs in your name. If your main SEO goal is how your name or business name comes up in the search engine, host your blog at BlogSpot and/or WordPress.

Depending on your unique situation, there might be numerous other tactics you can use, as well. This list should help you get started if you want to do it yourself, or if you wish, we can help you with your online reputation management SEO campaign.

 


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Are you blocking your customers?

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Those of you who have followed by brilliant insights and incoherent ramblings will know that I draw inspiration for the virtual world from the real world.  Today, I would like to offer a few real world situations that bear on how your website performs.

Yesterday late afternoon, by twisting my schedule around, I was able to pick up my $250.  A Japanese client sent me the money via Western Union.  It’s a piddly amount, especially since the largest part of it goes to one of our writers.  Let me emphasize this…it is not the kind of money that one wants to put any effort into collecting.  Got that?  One does not want to have to go to the bank, only to be told they can’t access the money.  One does not want to have to go to the Western Union website, only to be told there is no money waiting.  One does not want to have to call Western Union only to have a recorded voice tell you that there is money waiting…but with no instructions on how to access it.  One does not want to discover that the only way to receive the money is to drive 40 minutes into the big city, show ID, fill in a form, then drive 40 minutes back.  For $1,000,000, sure.  For a portion of $250, no way!  Never mind the time it cost, just the wear and tear on the car ate up any income we would have made on the transaction. But it’s not the amount of money.  It’s the barrier that Western Union puts up, making sure that we will never accept Western Union as payment again.

But Western Union is not the only name brand to place up barriers.  The Pizza Pizza store where I take the girls on gymnastics nights locks their bathrooms.  To get access, one must ask for the key from behind the counter.  This can take a few minutes if the guy behind the counter is busy putting pizzas in the over, sometimes beyond even our ear shot.  And by the time you get the key… “Sorry, Daddy.  It’s too late.  I don’t think I need a toilet anymore.”

And what about Giant Tiger, a store that, like Pizza Pizza, also caters to young families with kids.  I suppose an amateur videographer could have made his first hit comedy following me around the store as I desperately searched for someone who could unlock the bathroom for my daughter.  But… “Sorry, Daddy.  It’s too late.  I don’t think I need a toilet any more.

Take a look at your website.  Is it easy to use? Do you make it easy for people to compare prices and understand your services?  Do you make them go through the whole shopping cart hassle just to get information they need to decide whether to buy (like shipping costs or even whether you ship to their country)?  Do you have the tools they need when they are on  your website, perhaps links to reviews and testimonials, weather conditions, etc?  Or do you keep the bathrooms locked so that customers keep focused on the merchandise on the shelves?

The difference between the real world and the Internet is that in the real world, the audience is somewhat captive.  To go from the back of the Giant Tiger store to another similar store requires a big effort.  To go from your website to a similar website requires just a few clicks.  If your website doesn’t take care of the customer, somebody else’s will.

 


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DoFollow Blogs

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Hot on the heels of writing again about the NoFollow attribute, I though I would also write again about the DoFollow plugin.  Here is a list of blogs that have installed some form of DoFollow feature.  This list will be updated so that new DoFollow blogs can be added over time.

Due to a Script Failure, this list is no longer available

You might also want to list your blog at what is probably the most effective blog directory, at least from an SEO perspective. Bloggeries offers a listing not just for your home page, but also to the five most recent posts…helping drive traffic. This is not a free directory, but the price is well worth it. My blogs are all listed there. Submit your blog to the Bloggeries Directory.

 


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NoFollow “Neutered” Links On Wikipedia Are Now Pink!

Friday, May 9th, 2008

It was not all that long ago that I wrote how Wikipedia should be spanked for using the NoFollow attribute on all external links. 

NOFOLLOW BACKGROUND

Just by way of history, NoFollow is an attribute the search engines approved to help combat blog comment link spam.  The problem was that so many bloggers were too lazy to moderate comments, that tons of spammy links were being created in blog comments around the world and this was skewing search engine results.  NoFollow neuters any link it is applied to, so bloggers were encouraged to place it on any links they could not vouch for. 

So many blogging programs made NoFollow the default setting for external links.  For instance, this blog uses WordPress, and I had to apply the DoFollow plugin to un-neuter comment links.  Most bloggers have no clue about this and unwittingly act as agents of Web neutering.

However, the opposite problem has since happened, that billions of legitimate links have the NoFollow attribute applied to them, since most bloggers are not even aware of the NoFollow attribute.  And then Wikipedia, one of the top authorities who weighs its external links more carefully than anyone, applied the NoFollow attribute to all external links.  Arguably, by removing the most carefully scrutinized links on the Internet from the search engine algorithms, Wikipedia has skewed the search results as much as any spammy blackhat SEO tactic ever could.

And I still say they should be spanked.  :)

FIREFOX PLUGIN

Now you can easily see NoFollow links, whether created by laziness, unawareness or nastiness.  This is very helpful when deciding the SEO value of any participation on the Web.  Needless to say, SEO is a factor in much of what I do online, so these tips can come in handy. In fact there are two ways, one of which worked on my computer and one of which did not.  Both require FireFox, which is a very handy browser for SEO work.

The first way is by a handy little hack, which has worked for a lot of people, but for some reason it does not like me.  The hack is good because it can be manually controlled in all sorts of way (except, obviously, by me).  TDavid explains the Firefox NoFollow highlight hack quite well here.  Cheerfully, he seems to be even less of a fan of Wikipedia’s NoFollow chop-chop than I am!

The other way, which worked well on my computer, is a plugin called SearchStatus, which, among other handy tools, makes all NoFollow links show up pink in my FireFox browser window.  Here is a screenshot to show you just an example.  This is from a page from — you guessed it! — Wikipedia.  Click the image for a larger view.  See how pink it is?

Wikipedia, consider yourself spanked!

 


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More on Blogs, RSS and SEO

Friday, May 9th, 2008

A couple days ago I wrote about how blogs are good for SEO.  Today, I would like to offer one additional reason.

RSS.

RSS helps your SEO efforts in two ways.  First, you can submit your feed to RSS-specific directories, and that of course brings a number of links to yet another page on your domain.  That is good, especially for a new website that lacks the credibility to be referenced in blogs and portals, and lacks the link-juice most link-exchange partners seek.  One caveat is that some RSS directories will accept only tried and true feeds, so you might have to go back a year later when you have proven yourself.

In addition to the link-juice that RSS offers, if your content is good and you take your blog seriously, those RSS directories should generate traffic.  The number of people who take advantage of RSS feeds is small, but these are Internet diehards.  These are people with voracious appetites for information and are more likely to buy over the Internet than the typical surfer.   Many of them are bloggers themselves who use RSS as a means of gathering research and ideas quicker than by surfing.  Exposing your blog feed to them is a great way to build the best links of all – natural ones that your website earns because of its superior content.

Content alone won’t win the SEO battle.  But content publicized can.  And RSS is a means of publicizing.

 


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Why blogs are good for SEO

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Just a few reasons why a blog is a great tool for SEO.

  • Fresh content – the search engines love that.
  • Growing website – the search engines love that, too.
  • Multiple variations of keywords to attract highly-targeted long-tale searchers.
  • Highly relevant pages from which to link into the main pages of your website.
  • Keeps you in touch with your topic, not just the technicalities of SEO.
  • You can submit your blog to blog-specific directories, providing extra link love.
  • You can easily trade content, not just links.
  • Assuming you can generate even a modest amount of traffic for your blog, you can get links to individual posts through social bookmarking (especially if you have a tool like TheBookmarketer at the bottom of each post, as I do).
  • Blog open doors to real-people networking on the Internet, and that is always helpful when it comes to link-building and other forms of collaboration, such as blogrolls and webrings.

There are probably a few dozen more reasons why blogs are good for SEO, so why not post your favorite reasons in the comments section below?

 


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Multilingual SEO and link-building

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

This question came up on forum recently (I can’t recall which forum, sorry) and it interests me because multilingual SEO is something I quite enjoy.

 The question as I recall it is whether on-topic links in various languages or from various language websites is helpful for SEO purposes.  The answer is not clear-cut.

First, any link is a good link…almost.  That is, unless the linking website is truly despicable (Did I spell that right, Sylvester?), the link carries some value.

Second, in many niches Anglicisms creap intot he lingo.  For example, SEO is a word used in Spanish and therefore a link on a Spanish page about SEO would be keyword relevant for this blog.

Third, you can always include a bilingual link, so a link on a French page to an English page about restaurant jobs could read “Emplois Restaurant Jobs”.

Fourth, it is possible that the search engines can relate some cross language themes.  There are plenty of carpet websites with sections in several languages.  There are plenty of car accessory websites with sections in several languages.  There are plenty of hotel websites with sections in several languages.  The major search engines are smart enough to recognize patterns, such as that very often English sections of a website themed around “carpets” and “rugs” also have French sections themed around “tapis” and Spanish sections themed around “alfombras” and “tapetes”.  I am not saying that Google and Yahoo actually do this, just that they can.  They can probably also tell which sites of various languages might be similarly themed by their link profiles, for instance if the websites were both linked from a lot of directories or blogs in the same niche.

Fifth, keep in mind that there are a lot of multilingual people out there.  There are many people in my neck of the woods who would click on a link whether it is in French or in English. 

Your best bet – the most sure thing – is to seek links from websites in the same language.  But if you see a good opportunity to get a relevant link from another website in another language, don’t feel you have to pass it by.

 


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