In recent research on web sites that ranked on the first page of Google an interesting common thread appeared. I want to premise this with the information that this was a small view in a local area of a few competitive industries, those being Dentists and other related searches.
We looked at results from both organic and local pack results.
The MOZ trust factor was as consistent as a ranking factor as any other. Out performing Page Rank and Domain Rank. hmmm.
“We determine MozTrust by calculating link “distance” between a given page and a seeded trust source on the Internet. Think of this like six degrees of separation: The closer you are linked to a trusted website, the more trust you have, yourself.
We score MozTrust on a logarithmic scale between 0 and 10. Thus, it’s much easier to improve from a MozTrust of 3 to 4 than it is to improve from 8 to 9.
How can MozTrust be improved?
MozTrust can be improved by getting links from other sites with high MozTrust such as government institutions and universities.
For those of us who work in the SEO field, we know getting links (earning links) from government sites and universities can be very challenging. So the question becomes, where can a business earn links that are high trust sites, or very close to a high trust site.
It should be noted that the MOZ trust ranking will change depending on what page you are listed on in a site. So you may want to take the time to see how you can have your site mentioned on a page as close as possible to the home page.
Here are some Local type sites that can add trust ranking (and traffic) to your site.
Chamber of Commerce sites. I’ve seen several high ranked sites that have primarily chamber links (6-8).
Your Better Business Bureau. On some, even the individual business pages have strong trust factors.
Your local Newspapers and T.V. channels
Those are great sites to start with. And they make sense for reasons far beyond SEO.
More to follow as we look further into MOZ trust and its value and implementation on a site.
For years there has been an ongoing discussion about the effect of having duplicate content on your web site. The more extreme view has been it was a clear ranking killer, and that you would be “penalized” by the search engines if it was found on your site.
Yesterday The SEM Post cited Gary Illyes , a Google employee, as saying at a major conference that he stressed that duplicate content is not a penalty and that it is just a myth – it is actually a filter. Read the article here http://www.thesempost.com/duplicate-content-penalty/
Bottom line is you can use duplicate content where it makes sense without being concerned that it will hurt your rankings. You should also be aware it won’t help your rankings either.
I see a pretty big surge in posting good content from other sources coming up. Many businesses are always striving to add content, but don’t have the time or resources.
I see nothing wrong with the practice as long as the original author and site gets the credit, and it has real value to your visitors, who may not have been exposed to it in the past.
So how can you use this to add content? Well, many business have old blogs on other sites, or testimonials on other sites. You can copy and “re-purpose” those old blogs that you posted on e zines or a bunch of other sites we all may have used in the past. You should update them of course to reflect what every changes have happened in the world.
You can also post a recent blog or article that caught your eye, that your audience may not have seen, adding your own take, and comments as well.
When it’s all said and done, the ultimate score card in a SEO program (or web visibility program) is quality visits on your site. Those being visits that result in some predetermined action on the visitors part.
Actions might include a request for an appointment, request for more information, to be added to your newsletter, downloading a free piece in exchange for their email address, and many other possible desired results from the visitor to your site.
This is where bounce rate can be a very interesting factor.
It’s clear that the higher the bounce rate on a site, the less valuable the overall visitor traffic is (with some exceptions). But you need to know how valuable your quality visitors are to understand how your site is performing.
That’s why we use a visitor value formula to determine the quality of traffic to a website, as well as the standard formula which is just actions as a percentage of total visitors.
The reason we look at it this way, is your site may be attracting a large number of visitors from searches or referral sites that are unintended traffic. You can’t control what odd terms Google may rank your site for if you didn’t pay very close attention from day one of the loading of your site online. So after a few years, you may be seeing a group of traffic that has low value, and is very difficult to manage.
An example of this is we have a client that ranked on the first page of Google for the term glass bar, and a third of the sites traffic came from searches for, you guessed it, “glass bar”. They don’t sell glass bars. They just happen to have a picture of one on the site that had that term in the alt. tag. So it’s not really fair to calculate those visits into a value visit. And because the vast majority of those visits end up as bounces, you will get a better picture of how a site is converting visitors (who find the site through the intended search terms or categories) by weeding the visitors who bounce out.
It’s pretty simple, and can change your perception of how your site is performing.
Calculate Value Visitors
Take your gross number of visitors in a given period (week, month, year). Reduce it by your bounce rate percentage, then use that number to calculate the conversion percentage for your site. That being the number of value visits that end up taking an action. This is the number that you want to see as high as possible, and will vary depending on the action you are calculating, and the industry you are in. For many of our clients we would like to see a 7% to 10% value conversion of the “value visitors” and for this purpose won’t pay much attention to the gross number of visitors or the conversion percentage associated with that group.
Lets use a simple and real example of two sites looking for the same result (A request for information) with the numbers adjusted to make the math easier but still reflective of the real numbers.
Visitors per month. 300
Bounce rate is 15%. Value visits = 255
Requests for Info is 20 which is 8% of value visits.
This site is hitting it’s goal of converting value visits into actions. And also has a very good over all bounce rate, indication that the content and web visibility program is doing it’s job. To be honest, we’d like to see a higher bounce rate with more traffic. Maybe the SEO is to focused and not casting a wide enough net.
Visitors per month 1000
Bounce rate is 60%. Value Visits = 400 or 40%
Requests for information is 16 which is 4% of value visits.
This site has good traffic numbers, but isn’t converting as well even for the “value visitors”. In this case you need to ask: why aren’t we getting visitors who stay on the site and view several pages, to take an action? There can be many causes, page design, no call to actions, content geared towards education and not conversions and many more.
With site number 2, the cause is actually pretty interesting. This site’s center piece is a fairly advanced cost calculator, that is intended to “weed out” prospects who don’t have the budget, or are looking for a low cost company. So in this case, even some of those “value visitors” are not the ones we want to take an action, and therefore a 4% conversion is doing it’s job.
Okay… I m started to feel like Vizzini in the Princess bride, so I will end this for the moment.
If you would like more information on how to determine how your website is performing give us a call, or feel out the contact form below. We offer free 30 minute consultations.
Search Engine Optimization is a Google Popularity Contest. (Updated 02-20-15)
Last week I was asked by a new client “Is search engine optimization really that hard?”… Well… no.
Either is building a house, or running a restaurant, or installing I.T. networks or fixing your car. But in each of those cases most people call a “professional “. The last time I put a new battery in my car I scraped my hands, and lost a nut in the motor, as well as a piece of the wrench I had borrowed to do the job. (That’s a true story). Yes, I am not a mechanic.
To understand what S.E.O. is about you need to think of your web site as a high school kid who wants to be popular. Because that’s really what SEO is… making your site popular in search results.
Make your site attractive
SEO is really a popularity contest. Your site needs to get Google’s (and Bing’s) attention. So, just like in high school the popular kids (as I recall) are attractive, unique, and stand for something. That’s what Google wants in your site. It should be built attractively with out a bunch of nonsense and clutter. Well organized and very clear about what the contents are about. In S.E.O. we call this part – on site optimization. And without it, nothing else is going to help your site win a popularity contest.
Get other Sites Attracted to your site (Play match maker)
Google needs to see that not only are you all of that, but other sites are attracted to you. The more sites that Google thinks are attracted to you the better. Then of course, Google does have some standards of who they deem popular, so they want to know that the sites that you are attracting (based on what your site is about) are also popular and trusted sites. These sites are need to be relevant to your site.
So the more friends (other sites) you have (linking or mentioning you) the more popular your site will be in search results. And those “friends” need to be popular and trusted, as well.
Host the party! Get invited to the events!
If you get all that going for you, they also want to see that you are social. I mean, you can not be popular if you are not social right? So hanging out on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and other social networks is good. And the rules about Google liking your site then apply to how impressed they are by your social activity. Who comes to your party, and do they like your party.
Be the Quarterback!Attract a crowd!
So is your site the high school Quarterback or Cheer leader? Or is it the chess club member? Or is it like I was in high school? I hung out with just about every group, got invited to a few social events, and spent most my time playing guitar in a garage with 3 or 4 other almost invisible kids. In the world of Google and search you want your site to be the Quarterback, or Class president. Every one knows what it stands for, it’s attractive has many
Friends, and is invited and does host lot’s of social events.
Now once your site is attracting the right friends, Google wants to see if they stick around at your “party” or just check it out and leave. If your site visitors like your site, they’ll stay for awhile, and you won’t see them jumping over to other sites like yours because you have given them what they want to see.
See… it’s easy! Professionals just know more about how to make a site more appealing to the robots and public, and they know how and where to get the attention of all the other sites that you want to like you.
So as you contemplate all of this, remember, it starts with your site. Good content that addresses the questions and the curiosity of your visitors. If you are talking to a SEO firm that isn’t focused on all of the above, and your sites content, your talking to the wrong folks in 2015.
If I can help you with your sites popularity please call me for a free consultation. 303 500 3053 ext 1
Just in case you are thinking of offering SEO and digital marketing, I wanted to make a quick list of the resources and tools you’ll need to be successful. A professional digital marketing company or consultant will have access to, or own most of the following. Some of these are simple resources, like time, and some are web properties like social media accounts and web sites.
Minimum Tools You Need To Do Internet Marketing (specific to Local SEO and Organic SEO)
A decent and active facebook page. To Share your content and engage others.
A decent authority and active Twitter page to share your content, engage and build relationships.
A decent authority and active Google Plus page. Same as above – share and engage.
A Blog(s) with some authority, updated several times a month with original and interesting content
If you are a local company, you will need to be listed and verified in the major local directories. Starting with Google + for business, but only after you have submitted your exact and correct information the main national “source” directories. An understanding of how the Local Directory systems work is essential.
Relationships with web masters from other related industry sites. You can’t get in to the good parties without knowing someone. (unless you’re famous)
Being famous really helps
Relationships with Social media firms.
A working knowledge of on site SEO
Time or money to research online opportunities.
Time or dollars, to engage others online through blogs, Social sites, forums, and email.
A private network of authority white hat sites is very valuable.
A working understanding of white hat SEO and linking practices for off site work.
A Google Analytics and Webmaster account
The ability to add pages and make changes to your site on a regular basis
Accounts with one of the major SEO software providers. Moz, Majestic or a handful of others.
A passion and willingness to write great content, or the ability to hire someone who can write great content.
A basic understanding of P.R. in the digital world
Professional relationships with other respected SEO’s
Why all of these? Well, today SEO is still about links and mentions just like it always has been. The difference is what we call a link or mention, and how we earn them. Note the word earn.
SEO Is Just Good Old Fashion P.R.
Because most of the easy and cheap tactics to get a site highly ranked are long gone. Today you have to earn them through good content development. intelligent and valuable engagement on social sites and forums and any where. Although old fashion link building still is utilized (and in some cases effective) the long term process of “SEO” is now much closer related to the old fashion P.R. world.
In that world, you create an event, that would draw attention from your market through the news media. Today, you create content that will draw attention through the Internet, and the “authority” or at least popular sites your market will visit. Same stuff.. different media.
Many in the SEO field use the common practice of checking on their competitors backlinks, and then adding their clients to the web pages they find that are available.
I would call that, by itself, a pretty big waste of time. So much has changed with Google over the last 12 months that many of the back links you are looking at have no value, or may even hurt your rankings with the new changes. A site that has been around 10 years and has a massive amount of backlinks has very little value to you, or anyone trying to grow their internet visibility, unless… you are looking at every site you see a back link on and doing a complete assessment to see if that page makes sense to add YOUR site to it. The only reason to add your site to a page is ____________________ . <<<<<Fill in the blank.
If you said to help your SEO and improve your rankings, well, you are in trouble.
If you said because that page and site will bring you more and better traffic. You get an A
If you said because being a part of that pages community will help your brand and increase your visibility to the market, you get another A
With the recent changes it’s more important than ever to implement SEO programs with the right intent. If you work as if Google didn’t exist, you are probably on the right track.
Here are the basic tips we are giving about the recent changes from Google and what to do now.
Content. Add lots of good content. Blog on your site
Become part of several highly respected on-line communities. Participate often and with quality.
Stop reading about linking strategies. Stop reading any SEO “experts” information that isn’t highly respected and hasn’t been around at least 6 years. Stop all the ranking checks and searches you are doing to find your rankings. Take all that saved time and write and produce great content.
If you look for an “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) Company you may find pricing from $49.00 a month to $5000.00 a month and more. It’s no wonder many of the businesses I speak with are completely confused. The truth is there is no correct answer to how much SEO services may cost, there are just too many factors that have to be taken into consideration before any professional SEO company can give you an idea what your investment might be.
It starts with what your geographic target area is, the competition for your keywords (or services), and looking at your current optimization, both on your web site, off site (commonly called back links) and social signals and mentions. If your web site was built by a friend of a friend’s cousin who did it part time to get through college in 2003 and, you have no idea how to contact that person, well, as part of the SEO process you may have to build a completely new site. Cost? $1200 to $7500.00 for the basics.
If your site was built in the last couple of years (hopefully by a web design firm and not a friend of a friend…) then you may only need to make some basic changes to the site, and in many cases this may only take an hour of your web companies time. Cost $50 to $150.00
Then it all comes down to are you trying to target searches in a certain area of a metro area, the entire metro area, a state or region, a country, or International.
A small locally target SEO campaign for a suburb or two in a mid level competitive industry may cost as little as $600.00 total. A city wide SEO campaign in a city the size of Denver will probably run at least $2700.00 or a $500.00 per month program for 6 months. A national program will run between $750 and $2000 a month and you can count on working with an SEO for at least a year before you start seeing results and frankly you will probably end up doing SEO for years (as long as you are seeing a return)
But what about those $49.00 and $99.00 guaranteed programs, you may ask. Well, they don’t work. Don’t trust me, just ask the company for three LOCAL RECENT references for the program. If they can provide them, use the service! If not, call us, or another real SEO firm. If any one reading this blog can show me an actually example of a SEO program (not PPC) working for under $175.00 a month. Please contact me. I am begging! I have had so many clients come to me after wasting time and money on these; I would love to hear of one, just one, actual success story.
SEO, in my opinion is a great value even today. The market is pushing pricing down. At the same time the number of businesses using SEO services is rapidly increasing. Remember, in every category there are only so many first page rankings and only 3 top 3. SEO is never going to cost less. It’s just too competitive, and in a year or two, because of the competition, it may start costing more than it’s worth in many segments.
Now’s a good time to look at SEO, and what it might cost.
Call us for a free assessment and investment pricing. 303 500 3053 ext1
If Google was an airline traffic controller, and your site was a plane trying to land, the communication might start like and sound like this.
(Your Site) Good day Google master controller, this is site IP 123,76.900 requesting landing on your front page under vector keyword category of “travel to Europe” over
(GC) Static: ummm IP 123,76.900, this is Google master controller……. Static…. umm we can not understand your request, can you change your meta data so we can understand you? . IP 123,76.900 recontact after changes if you like. Good day over static
Static…. Okay dokie Google master controller, have corrected the data, and all should be well. Request landing on your front page, vector keyword “travel” Over.
Long Long pause
(GC) Static……. Umm IP 123,76.900 please stay in holding pattern, we will get back to you as soon as possible. In the mean time you may want to view our help forums, Over
Static… Google master control, this is IP 123,76.900, have check the other frequency and found some help. Am making additional data changes to the site, and will be requesting landing once completed. … should note that I am running slightly low on traffic to the site and will need some visibility soon. Good day Over.
(Your site) Google master control, this is me, IP 123,76.900. Data changes made, can you check for clearance onto your front page under Travel? over.
(Your site): Google master control. this is IP 123,76.900. I am begging. Over
(GC): Static…….. IP 123,76.900, we have reviewed your data, and are having difficulties approval landing. Have a nice day. Over .
(YS) Google master controller for the love of gawd, we are dieing here. I told my boss we would have good traffic weeks ago….just give me a hint.! good day Over.
Your Site: umm Google master Controller, boss just mentioned PPC would be cheaper than me. I have check with more of your “help” forums, run a report and adjusted what I believe may have been the problem with abundant stuffing of certain words ( 19% was a little high?). Please check and approve my request to land on your front page… vector… ummmm traveling to Europe from Chicago?…. over.
(GC)IP 123,76.900, We are now reading your data. But because no one else is, we can not approve your landing at this time. Thank you, and PPC is always a good option…. over.
(Your Site): Google master controller, this is the new pilot of IP 123,76.900. Please accept my apologizes oh great and mighty Indexer of all knowledge. We have started a PPC campaign, and are now sending your family $7000. a month. I have also added significant content to the site, hoping to attract attention. Requesting clearance to land on your front page under vector, ummmm …. Static… Travel to Europe from…ummm… Paducah Kentucky? ? Over.
(GC): Static …IP 123,76.900. Sorry, Your load times are to high to give permission at this time.. Over ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Is this how it feels to some of us? Feel free to add to the landing dialog in the comments!
I recently had an email from a client asking about his Google site rankings moving a little bit over the last few days. I thought the answer might be of interest to anyone asking that same question. So here is my response. The things that impact your organic listings are:
Your site content
Your Back links
Other sites content
Other sites Back links and improvements to their sites
Google making changes to their methods of ranking sites by keyword.
So, in the world of organic listings you will see your site move a little from time to time. As we only control 2 of the factors, we can only react to the others. I never get to concerned with a ranking moving down for a week or two. We need to let things “settle” a bit before we assume what’s happening.
The monthly web managed services program will help and should, over time, continue to both stabilize your rankings as well as move them closer to the top.
Google Local has a tendency to be more stable once you’re established (at least so far). We think that’s based on the current ranking methods which are not SEO based, but specific to Local. Many SEO firms don’t even consider the LOCAL box and therefore fewer changes seem to be made to those listings.
This of course is changing every day as more firms realize how important that piece is. Google also has a test going on in CA. giving Local companies the ability to buy a simplified version of PPC and placing it above the Local Box. Seems to be little doubt this will get rolled out in one form or another nation wide over the next few months or quarters. How that effects site traffic will remain to be seen.
In general, Google would like SEO tactics to disappear, and allow what ever systems they employee to completely dictate rankings. So, they continue to make moves to discount traditional SEO tactics, and encourage better Web site structure instead. They continue to move to content being king and simple tactics like Meta tags, Keyword stuffed domain names, individual page name changes, and unrelated links becoming less important.
That’s why our monthly maintenance program makes sense. The first priority for us is to make sure we understand what’s changing every month, and then apply that knowledge to your Internet Visibility program. It’s also the reason we spend so much time on research and reporting.
For those of you interested in more information on our web visibility programs, or web managed services you can find more information on our site. www.salesjumpstart.net