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How Does “Freshness” Affect Social Bookmarking and Directory Submission?

It went somewhat unnoticed by all but the most hardcore SEOers out there, but a short while ago, Google announced a small change in the way that they valued the “freshness” of a website. This “small change” affected some 33% of search results, but it was nonetheless largely disregarded as irrelevant to SEO because it didn’t actually change the degree to which a given backlink affected the authority level of the site it linked to.

We maintain that this was a dire overnight on the part of the SEO community, in part because there is a subtle way in which authority is affected, but also because modern SEO is about more than just backlinks and authority. As content producers, SEO companies have to make the leap to being both public-relations firms and backlink gurus, because every piece of content we put out there has a good chance of either winning customers over or turning them away.

So how does the “freshness” change affect our SEO?

In terms of social bookmarking, directory submission, and other one-time, relatively content-free backlinks, it’s effect is almost nil. These links aren’t ever going to be on page one — or even page 8 — of Google. It’s these kinds of backlinks, however, that are the ‘cheap and easy’ side of modern SEO.

Social bookmarking and directory submission are so simple and commonplace that they are actually automated in some places — and everywhere else, they’re done by drones packed into cubicle farms or outsourced to freelancers overseas. That’s not to say that they’re not valuable — any backlink from a unique root domain is valuable, and in terms of value-per-effort they’re among the best — but it is to say that they’re among the least valuable backlinks that you can create. That’s because they’re the least likely to rank and they have the least amount of public-relations value (because they have almost zero content surrounding the actual backlink.)

The flipside of that, of course, is that those backlinks that do have relevant content (and thus are more individually valuable in the first place) are more affected by the “freshness” change. There’s now more reason than ever to keep up on your blog posting, turn in regular articles, press releases, and videos, and put that much more effort into your social marketing tactics. In fact, in the end, the only links that aren’t terribly affected by the “freshness” change are social bookmarking, directory submissions, and their ilk.

Expanding Your Website Internationally

Nowadays, it is almost crucial that you be able to expand your business internationally.  Technology has allowed the world to become more interconnected and therefore, this has made it much more possible for businesses to spread their wings to worldwide territories.  There are many factors you should take into consideration before you launch an international site.  Changes will have to be made on your existing website so that it better suits the needs of your international clientele.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  However, the results will be surprisingly profitable and worth your time and money.

  • Who is Your Target Audience?- First, you must figure out who your target audience is going to be.  Will you be dealing with a specific country or continent?  What languages will you have to take into consideration? If you cannot afford to have your website translated manually, you can look into features like Google Translate Tool. After all, communicating with that target audience is such a crucial part of any business plan.  Know your audience first and build a campaign around their needs.
  • Localize the Website- Once you have figured out who you are targeting, you can now figure out what changes will most effectively benefit your audience.  Aside from language, you must also adjust your content and delivery accordingly.  Take the culture into consideration while doing this! Every client or potential client wants to feel as if they are understood, so presenting a website that caters to their cultural inclinations will be highly beneficial.
  • What Search Engine?- Google may seem like it rules the world but the truth is that some countries deal with their own search engines.  Russia, for example, uses Yandex and in China Baidu is most widely used.   This is important to know because when it comes to website marketing, search engines are an imperative part of the process.
  • How Do You Want to Optimize?- Once you have established which search engine dominates the country or region you are dealing with, you must figure out which form of optimization will better serve you and your audience.  This requires research! After all, keywords and link building are only two of the factors pertaining to PPC and SEO optimization.
  • International Currency & Regulations- This may seem obvious but often, businesses do not take this into consideration when they are expanding internationally.  Currency translation as well as tax regulations are highly important.  This is especially important if your site offers shipping services.  Similarly, be aware of laws and regulations each country has as far as doing international business goes.  You do not want to end up in unnecessary trouble because of this!

Manual SEO vs. Automated SEO

Obviously, everything is easier when it is done automatically, but does it make it better? Software has made it easy for people to sit back and relax while the work is being done.  Manual SEO has been around for a good while and any expert will let you know that it is time consuming and takes quite a bit of dedication and effort.  So, like any good plight to the future, online marketing has now moved into an automated format as well! This is both good and bad because while you are able to implement the SEO without any effort of your own (save for downloading the software and clicking a few buttons), you may not be getting the same quality performance.  In essence, automation strives for quantity over quality.  Manual, on the other hand delivers substantial quality, but at a slow rate.  So which method is better?  Truth be told, manual methods will always be the better choice when it comes to SEO.  Although SEO relies heavily on beating out the competition, it really comes down to how much real effort you have put into your SEO.  Especially since the launch of Google Panda, search engines are dissecting the campaigns of all websites, ensuring that they produce quality backlinks, content and keywords.

  • Quality Backlinks- You cannot produce a quality SEO campaign without backlinks.  Furthermore, backlinks can be hard to come by.  This is why it is crucial to make this a manual process.  Automated SEO can bring you backlinks, but most of the time, these aren’t quality backlinks at all.  In other words, all those automated results can be a waste of time and money.  When you do these manually, you are guaranteeing quality because you are able to track and pick these yourself.

  • Content- Content is also a component of SEO that cannot be done through automation.  Algorithms are constantly searching for fresh content and this can only be done by hand.  Content has to be relevant to your website as well as be able to captivate and hold your audience’s attention.
  • Keyword Optimization- Knowing what keywords will be most effective for your marketing campaign requires you to not only understand your business to the fullest, but also do some research online.  You will have to view which keywords are the most searched for, which are most highly used by your competition and which will benefit your business the most.  Don’t leave it up to automated optimization to determine these things!

Article Writing and Distribution Is The First Step in Online Reputation Management

Article writing and distribution does a lot of good things for a website. It creates powerful backlinks, it drives mad traffic all by itself — and if you hire a spinner to multiply your articles, it’s a great form of affordable SEO. But one thing that many novice webmasters miss out on entirely is the ability of a solid set of articles to create an online reputation for an individual or a business.

Think about it — if you go to an article repository and you see three dozen articles by the same guy on several different aspects of the same detailed subject — let’s say it’s Italian art. Furthermore, each of these articles links to one of two pages on a website all about Italian art. You can scan these articles and find technical terms and details that clearly demonstrate that this guy knows a hell of a lot more than you do about Italian art. And, of course, the website he links to clearly indicated that he is the owner of the site and it’s attached business.

You walk away from that experience with the understanding that if you ever have a question about Italian art, that dude — and that website — are your go-to sources of information. You’ve just been hit by the online reputation building power of article writing and distribution.

On the other hand, the inverse is also entirely possible. If you submit a boatload of articles that are full of bad grammar, incorrect facts, and a childish tone of voice, you can utterly destroy your online credibility. It’s a double-edged sword. That means it’s worth a lot of time and energy to get your few articles done well — and also worth a little extra cash to hire a high-quality article spinner, and a top-tier distribution expert.

Some people have decided that the possibility of a negative impact is so great that they’d rather just skip out on the article marketing part of SEO altogether. On the other hand, if you love what you’re doing and you’re passionate enough to know the details, it should be easy for you to impress.

User Friendly Website

User friendly means a website that is for your clients to use and delivers essential information about your website. Too often, website owners do not build their websites with the user in mind.  This is vital because websites are meant to attract potential clients! If you want to build and maintain a successful marketing campaign, be smart about the way you set up your website. Below are 5 key features you want to stress on your website to make it top-notch!

  • Information & Content– This is probably the most important feature because it is what is going to attract an audience to your site.  Stock your website with information and content that is relevant and interesting.  However, don’t go over the top! No one wants to have to read an essay to understand what your website is about.  Keep it simple and informative. Break up your content so it is not overwhelming to the eye.
  • Navigation- Make sure it is easy to navigate around your website.  Include a menu that enables the user to easily go from page to page.  If possible, put the menu on the top of the page and include drop down menus if necessary.  About and Contact buttons are extremely important.  Users want to know what your site is about and how to contact you with questions or concerns.
  • Accessibility- You want current and potential customers to be able to find you easily, right? Most users will use search engines and directories to find you online.  Because of this, you want to market yourself accordingly.  Apply SEO or PPC tactics to your website so that you can be more readily visible online.
  • Website Speed- This may seem like a thing of the past, but a lot of users still have dial-up service and if your website is crammed with unnecessary junk, it may slow down the website and the user may leave the page in frustration before it even loads. Factors that may affect loading speed include image size, page size, flash features and excessive code installation.
  • Smart Links– Links are important not only to make your users experience more favorable, but for your website’s benefit as well.  Links will connect to other pages within your site and to the outside world as well.  Make sure your links are functioning! The last thing you want is for a user to come across a broken link! This not only makes it impossible for the user to access the link, but makes your website look unprofessional.

What to Look for In an SEO Company

Let’s face it, when it comes to SEO Companies, you have TONS of options.   Not only that, but they all claim to be able to work magic on your website, or in other words, jump start your business and get you the traffic and profit you are looking for.  However, it is smart to be wary of what is out there.  Not every SEO company has your best interest in mind and will tell you anything and everything to dig into your pockets.  That’s why you have to be proactive in your search and know the essentials of finding an SEO company.  Here are 5 vital things you should look for in an SEO company.

  • Make Sure They are Ranked on Search Engines- An SEO Company is supposed to get you ranked on search engines, right? If you can’t find them on the first page of any search engine for vital keywords like SEO Marketing then they probably don’t know what they are doing.  Why would you want to do business with a company that can’t even do for itself what it promises to do for you?
  • Look For Client Feedback & Testimonials- True, testimonials on a company website can be written up by anyone.  However, people leave feedback all over the internet! Be a detective and hunt online for information on the company. Type in the company’s name on a search engine and see what you can pull up. The results may surprise you!
  • Do They Practice White Hat SEO?- White Hat SEO are any and all legitimate SEO techniques used to get a website ranked online.  There are many layers to this technique and trying understanding it all may be overwhelming.  In general, you are looking for a company that promises quality traffic and inbound links, increased profit and a method of attracting potential prospects to your website.  For a more descriptive outline of what White Hat SEO consists of, search online.
  • Are They Making False Promises?- Be wary of any company that guarantees a #1 spot on a search engine or instant SEO results.  No one can guarantee #1 placement on any search engine and SEO NEVER works instantly.
  • Ask For Proof of Their Work- Why not ask for some examples of the work they are proclaiming they can do for you? Maybe they can show you a website they have successfully worked on in the past or a portfolio of their products and offers.

SEO Myths Revealed

The internet marketing world is filled with information- some of it is accurate but let’s face it, most of it is a bunch of boloney.  SEO is one of those marketing methods that continuously changes and transforms.  What is pertinent one day, can be completely disregarded the next.  This is partially due to search engine algorithms that no one truly understands.  Search engines, especially Google, give vague ideas of what their algorithms are comprised of and webmasters are left to decipher it to the best of their abilities.  This is also why there is so much mixed information online; what one webmaster may find true about SEO, another webmaster may say is false information.  Thus, SEO myths are born.  The problem lies in that innocent bystanders get affected by these myths because they believe them to be true and can often be fooled by a shady SEO company who promises them the world.  The important thing to remember is to always do some research before jumping into bed with any SEO company.  To make your research a bit easier, we have comprised a list of 10 SEO myths that most, if not all, webmasters agree on.

  • SEO Can Be Self-Taught– While SEO isn’t exactly rocket science, it isn’t easy either. There are so many components of SEO that trying to learn it all on your own and apply it would be extremely time-consuming and difficult.  Not to say that it is impossible, but if you want it done right the first time, free of mistakes, you may want to hire an SEO company with years of experience to help you out.
  • SEO Works Instantly– This is a common myth that scam artist SEO companies claim to provide to their clients.  Effective, profitable and long-lasting SEO takes lots of time to provide results, but if done correctly, can be extremely worth it.  Be patient!
  • Number of Visitors Affects SEO Rankings- Many believe that if you don’t have a plethora of people streaming into your site daily, you won’t be ranked at all on search engines.  This is not true! Google and all other search engines have no way of judging how many visitors you get on  a daily basis and do not use this as a determining factor as far as ranking goes.
  • Meta Tags Make a Difference– Meta Tags used to be a big deal but now search engines don’t give them a second look. Don’t bother trying to optimize them, in other words.
  • SEO Is a One-Time Application- Many believe that SEO is a one-time application deal and you’re set for life.  This is not the case! SEO algorithms are continuously changing and therefore, your website has to keep up or you will be left behind for sure.
  • It’s All About Rankings, Not Users– A lot of times, website owners will be so obsessed with getting their site ranked, they forget about their current and potential clients.  While ranking is important, if your site lacks appeal to visitors, they won’t be coming back to your website anyway.
  • Guaranteed #1 Placement- Bottom line, if an SEO company is guaranteeing a #1 spot on Google or any other search engine, they’re lying.  No one can guarantee this, not even the top SEO companies out there!

Just Like Food: Organic SEO Is Better For Your Health

Have you ever talked to a nutritionist about the difference between organic food and non-organic food? They’ll tell you without hesitation that organic food has a lot of things going for it that non-organic doesn’t. It’s got more nutrients per bite, which means that you don’t have to eat as much for your body’s cravings to be satisfied.

Organic SEO is very much like organic food for your website. Websites don’t get hungry, of course, but all websites compete for space in the search engine results pages (SERPs) in the same way that living creatures compete for resources in the wild. The difference is that creatures evolve very slowly — but every organic backlink your website gains is like a new boost of energy it can use to climb up the SERPs and obtain alpha status.

You might be asking what the alternative is — if organic SEO is like homegrown tomatoes, what exactly is a McNugget in this increasingly tortured analogy? There are actually a few different answers.

Pay per click advertising is the equivalent of going out to a high-end restaurant to eat every day. You’ll probably see good results, and (especially if you get a good PPC management team) you’ll see them fast — but you’re paying an awful lot for that success.

Traditional advertising is like generic supermarket food. You’ll see good things…eventually. But it’s nothing special, and everyone is doing it. Email advertisement, banner ads, and similar tactics are everywhere — you’ll never get ahead using tactics like these.

Black Hat SEO is the worst of the worst. You know those companies that put stuff like hydroxypropylmethylcellulose and bisphenol-A in their food? That’s these guys. Their “nutrition” might sustain you for a few weeks apparent online dominance, but when it fails you, you’re out of business for good.

If you want your website to succeed, give it the tools it needs to go alpha. Get some organic SEO under your belt, one way or another, today.