Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Archive for the Bing Category

How Do You Get Your New Website on Google?

Google’s the biggest, but …

Google, Yahoo & Bing logosDon’t ignore Bing and Yahoo! As of last month, Americans conducted 64% of their searches on Google, 22% on Bing, at 12% on Yahoo. That comes to 98% of all the searches done in the US, so there’s no need to worry about any other search engines. But don’t dismiss Bing and Yahoo. Even at only 12%, Yahoo handles more than 500 million searches a day in the US.

Fortunately, the things you need to do to get listed on Google are pretty much the same things that Yahoo and Bing need.

How do I submit my site to Google?

You don't need to submit your site to Google to show up and move up in rankings.You don’t. It’s worth repeating: you don’t need to submit your site to Google, Yahoo, Bing, or anywhere else. Submitting to search engines is kind of a scam from the past and a persistent myth. It’s not necessary as long as you have links to your website from other websites the search engines already know about. We explain that here.

6 Steps to Get on Google

  1. Figure out what keywords you need to be found for. These are the phrases your customers will use to find what you do or what you sell. Think in specifics. The best  keywords are probably not the one or two word basic searches like limousine. That’s too broad. Better would be limousine service in San Diego or car service to O’Hare airport.
  2. 6steps to get your brand new website on Google.Make sure your website is search engine friendly. That means your pages download quickly, your site works well on a phone, navigation is easy to follow, you have a sitemap the search engines can follow to get to all your pages, and so forth.
  3. Block search engine spiders until your site is ready for prime time. Important note: this applies only to brand new websites, not a redesign of an older website. You never want an existing site to become invisible to search engines.
  4. Create lots of content. Make your pages about specific, narrow topics. Focus them on the keywords you determined in step 1, and use logical variations on those phrases. If you do or sell more than one specific thing don’t try to cover all of it in one or two pages; flesh out your site with rich, engaging and helpful content.
  5. Keep creating content. Don’t feel you need to constantly tweak your pages or freshen them up, instead add new pages. The most natural way to do that is with a blog. Be sure your blog is on your domain and not hosted separately someplace like WordPress.com or Blogspot.com.
  6. Promote your content across the web. The easiest way to do this may be with social media: write posts on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, mention (and link to) your content on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Each one of these gets the word out to a different population, and each adds a new link to your website.

Search Engine Journal has an excellent article on this topic with good explanations about each of these six steps.

That’s just the beginning …

These things will get your website into the indexes for Google, Yahoo & Bing, an essential first step to being found easily by customers. Once in the index, you should show up when people search for your keyword phrases. But if you’re showing up on page seven or eight, that’s probably not good enough. We have lots of ideas in this blog on how search engine optimization works to get you near the top of the rankings. If that’s a concern for you, this is a good place to start.

If you find you don’t have the time or inclination to do your own SEO, Rank Magic can help.

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Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Is Bing Penalizing You for Not Being Mobile Friendly?

Mobile online access and use has passed desktop use.Mobile phone use is exploding

More people now use mobile phones than desktop computers. The dramatic increase in use of mobile devices requires you to control the user experience of your website on phones as well as on computers.

Your search rankings may be affected

Google implemented its ranking penalty for non-mobile friendly sites last April. Since then, Bing has started showing mobile friendly labels in its search results and has started to roll out its own ranking penalty for sites that aren’t mobile friendly.

Bing is paying so much attention to this that they’ve developed a quick web app that will tell you whether Bing considers your web site (or a specific web page) is mobile friendly. Just copy and paste your URL into their tool here. Just for good measure, you might want to test your pages at Google as well.

If your website fails Bing’s test (or Google’s), you need to fix that now. That’s especially important if you’re a local business, but more about that another time.

Let us know how you fare in the comments below.

 

How to Disavow Bad Links

LinksWeb sites suffering a significant loss of rankings as a result of the Penguin Update last spring have been scrambling to correct the factors that have hurt them. One main class of factors is on-page keyword stuffing. The other main factor is a bad inbound link profile.

Bad Backlink Profile

If you’re getting too many links with keyword rich anchor text (the clickable text in the link that points to you) and few or none of the more generic type (your URL, your company or website name, or “click here”) that may be taken as another kind of keyword stuffing. Also, if you’ve engaged a company to get you tons of links from non-relevant websites or participated in link farms, those links can hurt you as well. Some inexpensive off-shore outfits promise hundreds or thousands of backlinks to your site from websites they own and control which were set up just for the purpose of providing those links. Others send comment spam to unrelated blogs, hoping those comments will be accepted and provide links back. Some website owners worry that people might point bad links at their sites in an attempt to harm them with “negative SEO.”

All of these bogus or artificial links carry the risk of earning you a Penguin penalty. You need to try to get those links removed or dis-counted so they don’t continue to weigh down your rankings.

Disavowing Links in Google

Google logoIf you’ve contacted the webmasters of sites with bad links to you and have been unsuccessful in getting them to remove those links, Google has a “link disavowal” tool that can tell Google you disapprove of those links and they shouldn’t count toward your link popularity. That will also cause them not to count toward a Penguin penalty as well. Google says this about the tool:

If you’ve done as much work as you can to remove spammy or low-quality links from the web, and are unable to make further progress on getting the links taken down, you can disavow the remaining links. In other words, you can ask Google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site.

Search Engine Land wrote about the process a few weeks ago and their article is worth a read. To go straight to the Google tool, click here. I encourage you also to read Google’s instructions.

Caveat from Google

This is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you. In most cases, Google can assess which links to trust without additional guidance, so most normal or typical sites will not need to use this tool.

Bing has a Disavowal Tool, Too

Bing logo

To disavow links in Bing, you can do the same thing via Bing Webmaster Tools. Bing’s instructions are here. I’ve seen no sign of a similar tool from Yahoo, but that may be unnecessary as Yahoo and Bing share the same index.

If you’ve suffered a Penguin Penalty, take a look at your incoming links and see if they may be the cause of your trouble. If you need help with that, Rank Magic can help.

 

3 Steps to Better Local Search Visibility

Local search use is way up

A recent survey shows that more than 20 percent of Google searches are for a local business and that users are gravitating toward the local listings over the organic listings. If your business serves local customers on a face-to-face basis you need to respond to that. Here are three steps to take advantage of local search to build traffic to your website and in turn build new customers for your business.

The Big Three

To start with, you need your own page at Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local to even be considered for a local listing. Once it’s set up you need to flesh it out as much as possible, with your logo, other images, information about your service area, hours of operations, payment methods accepted and more. Then the more challenging part begins: getting citations and reviews.

Sample local search listing in Google

Citations

There are lots of local directories that that people use to search, and it’s very helpful to ensure you’re listed on the most popular/powerful ones. Not only will it help your local SEO and your organic link popularity, but it also provides another way for customers (or clients or patients) to find you.

Here’s a list of the biggest general ones that you need to be listed in:

  • Angie’s List
  • City Search
  • Dex Knows
  • Express Update USA
  • Insider Pages
  • Judy’s Book
  • Kudzo
  • Localeze
  • Merchant Circle
  • Shop City
  • Superpages
  • Yellow Bot
  • Yellow Pages
  • Yelp

Reviews

Reviews from customers, clients or patients can be very helpful. For one thing, they add legitimacy to your citations and the more positive ones you have the more likely you are to be listed prominently in local search results. For another thing, if you have a lot of stars and many excellent reviews, people reading your review will be more likely to click over to your website or call you.

I recommend asking a few delighted customers to go to one of the listings that accepts reviews and write a few words about how they feel about you. Caution: don’t put words in their mouths and don’t try to phony up reviews yourself. Search engines are very conscious of the natural temptation to do that and are quite diligent about sniffing those out.

When asking a customer to write a review, it helps to provide them with a direct link to your listing page where there’s a clear “Write a Review” button.

Find this process a bit daunting? Rank Magic can help.

Yahoo & Bing May Now Require Robots.txt File

Robots.txt File May No Longer Be Optional

Bing logoIt’s come to my attention very recently that Yahoo and Bing are purging websites from their listings if they don’t have a robots.txt file. One of our clients just got a notice from Bing that their website couldn’t be crawled because there was no robots.txt file.

Yahoo logoThis used to be optional, but apparently that’s no longer the case for Yahoo and Bing. We’ve seen a couple of websites where there are plenty of keywords ranking well in Google but nothing (or almost nothing) showing up in Yahoo and Bing. Upon checking, we’ve found they’re missing the robots.txt file.

Please check to see if you have a robots.txt file, and if not then ask your webmaster to create one for you. Your webmaster will understand what that is; they’re not difficult to create.