Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

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Are Social Media Links Devalued?

social mediaThis is a frequently asked question.

We’re often asked if links from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter count less than other kinds of links. We’ve found an interview conducted awhile back by Stephan Spencer of Netconcepts with Matt Cutts (widely known as “The Google Guy”) where that question was pointedly asked.

Here’s Google’s response

Typically, our policy is: a link is a link, is a link; wherever that link’s worth is, that is the worth that we give it. Some people ask about links from DMOZ, links from .edu or links from .gov, and they say: “Isn’t there some sort of boost? Isn’t a link better if it comes from a .edu?” The short answer is: no, it is not. It is just .edu links tend to have higher PageRank, because more people link to .edu’s or .gov’s.

To the best of my knowledge, I do not think we have anything that says social bookmark links are given less weight. Certainly, some sites like (now and other people, may choose to put individual “nofollows” in and they may choose to take actions to try to prevent spam, but we do not typically say anything like: social bookmarking by itself – give less weight.

So there you have it. If this emboldens you to become more active on social sites, go for it. And if you need help with that or other SEO issues, just give us a call.

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Don’t Think Twitter’s Not For Business

I know, I know.

Lots of people consider Twitter to be “the great time waster of the century”. (As is expressed in the cartoon below from the folks at Ranked Hard.) And it’s true; lots of people post “TMI”  — what they had for breakfast, how hung over they are, and so forth.

But there’s more to it than that, especially for your business.

A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about how people look for the same things on Twitter as they do on Google, except on Twitter they’re asking their friends. “Anyone know a good plumber?” “Anyone know an experienced business attorney” “Anyone know a social media consultant?” “Anyone know a web designer?” Check out that blog post for a great trick to find out who’s looking for what you do. If anything, it works even better now.

Using Twitter for business.

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Even More Unfortunate Domain Names

Does your domain name get you ridiculed?

We’ve written before about webmasters who chose domain names without fully thinking it through. Our first article on the subject was back in 2006. It was pretty amusing, but only a year later there was a new compendium of unfortunate domain name choices.

I thought the rather widespread exposure would result in those domains getting fixed. No such luck. Many of them are back in a new compendium from BoredPanda. Some of the new ones, though are equally striking:

  1. Effective IT Management from RegencyTechnologies
  2. A French arborist
  3. Scrap metal recycling
  4. All about North Lake Tahoe
  5. A Bait & Tackle Shop
    masterbaitonline.comPay attention to your domain name selection
  6. An emotional healing therapist
  7. Educational astronomy website
  8. All about Winters, California
  9. High tech hardware from Dickson
  10. Directory of therapists
  11. Top MP3 songs
  12. A toy consignment service
  13. Travel website
  14. TV personal advice celebrity
  15. A cafe in Serbia
  16. Language teachers
  17. A bedspread company (Update: Looks like this one has bitten the dust.)
  18. Formal wear for kids

If you’re about to register a new domain …

I wrote a helpful article awhile back listing 5 rules to keep in mind. Perhaps it’s time to add a 6th rule: eliminate alternate unfortunate interpretations.

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SEO Your Grandma Can Understand

grandma-can-understand-SEOGrandmothers are known for being kind, loving and many other positive things, but their knowledge of SEO is not one of them. While you may not have a reason to need to be able to explain search engine optimization to your Oma or Nanna, we’re going to go over SEO in a way that even they can understand. This isn’t to say they’re dumb, but we want to give some tips that anyone in the world can comprehend – even if they’re not technically savvy.

SEO Made Simple

Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about search engine optimization We’ve made an effort to make sure these specific points are easy enough for your grandma to understand.

  • Who – Anyone who does business online should be concerned with search engine optimization. For the most part, search engines are the way that people discover websites. Anyone who isn’t worrying about SEO is going to be left in the dust of the competition.
  • What – Basically, SEO is a series of methods and techniques that make your content seem more valuable than all the other content available online. One of the main ways this is done by looking at what websites are linking to you. Each link to your website is counted as a vote. However, not all links are the same.
  • Why – The biggest reason you should be optimizing for search engines is that everyone else is doing it. If you don’t worry about SEO, you’re going to be passed by the competition in most cases.
  • When – SEO should be thought about before you even launch a new website. Then, SEO should always be a part of the conversation when you’re talking about doing business online. Basically, you want to always be thinking about search engine optimization and how you can do better.
  • Where – Search engine optimization should be thought about by everyone in your company. While the IT department may do the heavy lifting, every department should be aware of SEO and how it affects the business as a whole.
  • What Next – While SEO is an important part of doing business online these days, it’s actually only the tip of the iceberg. Once you have the basics covered, you want to make sure you don’t get caught in the trap of obsessing over SEO. Instead, concentrate on making your website the best designed one for people.

As you can see, SEO is not really that complicated. At the same time, it’s become more and more difficult for some websites to rank high in the search engine results. With so much competition out there these days, you really need to bring your “A Game” if you want to get noticed among all the other websites vying for the attention of consumers.

Written by: Adam Prattler loves his Panasonic tx-l42dt65b LED TV because it’s just the right size. He visits a lot of infographic sites, but he also watches a lot of television.
Photo credit: Phil Scoville

Web Design: SEO is Worthless Without You

Despite the fact that good search engine optimization (SEO) consultants seldom make good web designers (and vice versa) both are essential for any business website as one hand washes the other, SEO and web design work together synergistically. Too often companies, big and small, rely solely on SEO to attract visitors to their site, forgetting about the need to convert those visitors into customers.

Two roles helping bring you customers

The job of SEO is to bring qualified leads to your website. Once they land on your website SEO has done its job.

Then it’s up to your web design to convert those visitors into paying clients, customers or patients. It does that by:

  • Your web design needs to make a good first impression.making a good first impression (you have three seconds for that to happen)
  • providing a professional appearance
  • making sure your website looks the same on all browsers
  • making it clear what you do or what you sell
  • creating a friendly impression so the visitor will want to patronize you
  • providing intuitive navigation so the visitors can find what they’re looking for
  • providing a mobile version of your site for cell phone visitors

Your web designer helps your search engine rankings

Yes, it’s true. The design and programming of your website can help your SEO efforts even beyond the specific coding issues laid out by your SEO consultant. Some of the important things your web designer can do to help include:

  • prYour web design needs to be hold the interest of your visitors.oper URL (web address) redirects when pages change on your website
  • readable and concise URLs for when visitors type them into their browsers
  • page speed issues so that your web pages download to browsers quickly
  • easy and intuitive navigation so visitors can find what they need quickly
  • overall pleasant and professional user experience

Great synergy

Effective search engine optimization multiplies the value of your web design by exposing it to more potential customers. And a great web design multiplies the power of SEO by converting more visitors into paying customers. With both of these positive factors in play, the value of each is multiplied by the contributions of the other.

Skimp on either one at your peril.

What’s your experience been with web design and SEO complementing each other … or not? Let us know in the comments below.

Need help with the SEO half of the equation. Give us a call.