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Date: Monday, 06 Oct 2014 03:55

fast-five

 

I had a student ask me about video optimization this week. By video optimization, I mean SEO for videos uploaded to her company YouTube account. Naturally, she wanted her company videos to appear at the top of the search results when anyone conducted a search on YouTube for her business brand.

I referred her to a couple of my favorite video SEO resources and thought that perhaps you readers may find them useful too.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) How to Optimize Video: Step by Step Instructions by Jennifer Osborne of Aim Clear. Although this post is a little dated, most of the content is still relevant and it contains some tips you won’t see anywhere else.

2) Moz Whiteboard Friday: SEO for Video Content by Scott Willoughby of Moz. Well, Scott is just the post author, but the content is actually provided in video format by Rand Fishkin in one of his ever-helpful Whiteboard Friday videos.

3) Video SEO: A Technical Guide by Joost de Valk of Yoast. An incredibly clever guy, Joost is the creator of several uber-successful WordPress plugins and knows an enormous amount about SEO. This was the first post I found that waded into the technical concept of meta markup for video content.

4) Distilled Guide to Online Video Marketing by Cheri Percy of Distilled. These guys don’t do things by halves. Big fans of downloadable white-papers and reports, the Distilled crew have created this Guide as a PDF doc for download. It’s pitched as “a practical and expansive guide covering all aspects of online video marketing” and it totally delivers on that promise.

and finally…

5) Schema.org Markup for Videos by Some Poor Guy Who Didn’t Deserve a Name But Apparently Deserved Sub-Titles of Google. This video posted on Google Webmaster Tools Help explains how using schema.org on-page markup to describe your videos will allow Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to index and show your videos in search results.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Like to learn Search Engine Optimization from scratch? Access your Free SEO Lessons. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "fast five, seo, video blogging, video op..."
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Date: Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 20:08

fast-five

 

Lots of very interesting tech and search news this week. A couple of game changers for those of us using search channels to market products and services.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google AdWords Offers Ad Creatives at Scale for PPC by Jessica Lee at Search Engine Watch. This month, Google launched the ability for AdWords advertisers to create ads using custom parameters that you want inserted into your ads. Using a spreadsheet you pre-fill, the feature allows AdWords to retrieve product information that is most relevant to what each customer is searching for and dynamically insert it into your ad text.

2) New Panda Update Rolling Out, Google Takes Another Stand Against Thin Content by Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal. Earlier this week, an analyst at Google UK let slip that a new Panda update was in the process of being rolled out to the Google algorithm. Matt has the scoop on what you can expect from this update.

3) The Yahoo Directory – Once the Internet’s Most Important Search Engine – Is to Close by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land. This news came as a bit of a shock. As someone whose job (for years) consisted of submitting client sites to the Yahoo Directory, it was an *end of an era* moment to hear the Directory would be closing down. I’m with Danny on this one – Yahoo has cruelly glossed over the closure of the Directory that started the entire company AKA “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. So long Yahoo Directory.

4) Want to Improve Your Blog’s Conversion Rates? 11 Tests to Try by Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot. In this post, Pamela shares some logical testing formulas for improving your blog’s conversion rate. Suggested items for testing include Click Through Rate, content balance, calls to action and publishing rate.

and finally…

5) 14 Conversion Rate Optimization Tools Every Expert Needs by Steven Macdonald of Search Engine Journal. This one does exactly what it says on the label. Steven has provided a handy list of tools for testing your conversion rate, conveniently categorized by topics such as Analytics, Research and Testing. Be sure to bookmark this one.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "blogging, conversions, fast five, google..."
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Date: Monday, 29 Sep 2014 10:02

SEC-smiley-150x178There were cheers in the staff room at Search Engine College this month, when it was announced that we now teach students in 67 different countries worldwide.

The 67 country milestone was reached when a new student from Switzerland took advantage of our Study Month promotion to sign up for our monthly subscription.

Since its inception in 2004, Search Engine College has set new industry standards for online training in the field of Search Engine Marketing and we are very proud to have produced nearly 1,900 happy graduates.

Here’s a list of countries / regions where our students are located :

Argentina
Australia
Austria
Barbados
Belgium
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cayman Islands (UK Territory)
Canada
China
Columbia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Egypt
England (UK)
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong (region of China)
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Jordan
Kenya
Kuwait
Latvia
Lithuania
Malaysia
Malta
Mauritius
Mexico
Montenegro
New Zealand
Norway
Pakistan
Philippines
Portugal
Romania
Russian Federation
Scotland (UK)
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Syrian Arab Republic (Syria)
Thailand
The Netherlands
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
Ukraine
Uraguay
USA
Vietnam
West Africa

We’re already taking bets on which country will be next. I’m hoping it’s Antarctica. Oh wait, that’s a continent partly owned by several countries. Um, ok how about Greenland? C’mon you Greenlanders!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, events, search engin..."
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Date: Sunday, 28 Sep 2014 05:28

QuestionHello Kalena

My sister has just hired a SEO company based in The Philippines to provide weekly content for her company blog. As I’m a bit more web savvy than she is, she asked me to look over their service outline just to be sure she made the right decision.

Problem is, this “Google optimized content” they are providing seems to consist of copying popular blog posts from other sites in the same industry (women’s health and beauty) and re-writing them in a slightly different way before publishing. I don’t know a lot about SEO, but I am sceptical that Google would approve it. Besides the SEO consideration, this tactic just doesn’t sit right with me.

Is this a legitimate SEO tactic or could it harm my sister’s site in any way?

Thank you

Leon

————————————–

Hi Leon

You are absolutely right to be sceptical. By the sound of things, this *SEO* firm employs a technique called site scraping – where the content of other sites is copied or “scraped” and either republished unchanged on a different site, or re-written slightly and THEN republished.

Long term readers of this blog might recall my hilarious battle with site scrapers in the past and the revenge I took on them. I’ve got no problem outing site scrapers, especially when all attempts at communication have been ignored. Their tactics are not only unprofessional, but go directly against Google’s published Webmaster Guidelines.

Take BrainySEO for example. This “blog” (run by some clown called Mayank Jain in Singapore) blatantly scrapes the content of hundreds of blogs across the net, including mine. What’s hilarious is that the scraped content is run through some bizarre automated plagiarist thesaurus (I’m guessing Babel Fish) to translate it into a slightly different version of the same content as a way to avoid Google’s duplicate content filters. It is then published on servers based in the UK.

Compare these two posts:

1) My Fast Five post from week 39 (original)

2) BrainySEO’s scraped Babel Fish version (scraped)

The second (scraped) version reads like a drunk Aunty.

The service that your sister has signed up for sounds suspiciously similar. As Google re-iterates in their Quality Guidelines:

“Scraped content will not provide any added value to your users without additional useful services or content provided by your site; it may also constitute copyright infringement in some cases”.

Typically, Google and other engines will ignore or filter scraped content out of the search results for target search terms. But that’s not the only negative impact it can have.

Sites like ScamAudit.com provide a rudimentary way of measuring the trustworthiness of sites and suitably, BrainySEO is ranked as *seems suspicious*.

So my prediction is at best, the content your sister pays for will be worthless. At worst, it may impact the reputation of her business and the trust of her customers.

My advice is that she should sever the contract immediately, perhaps citing Google’s Quality Guidelines as her justification.

Let us know what happens!

——————————————————————–

Need to learn more about legitimate SEO tactics but not sure where to start? Access your Free SEO Lessons. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "blogging, duplicate content, google guid..."
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Date: Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 10:28

no-inspirationYou might be a little shocked by the time you finish this article. You might even refuse to believe me. But I’m telling you straight: when it comes to SEO, you are almost certainly over-thinking it.

Let’s take a quick poll. Are you reading every SEO article you can get your hands on? Are you constantly tweaking your page title and meta tags to see if your site moves up the rankings? Are you running daily search queries to see how your site ranks for certain keywords? Do you break into a cold sweat every time Google rolls out a new algorithm update?

If you’re guilty of one or more of these actions, you are totally over-thinking SEO and you need to stop. Right now.

I’ve been in the Search Engine Optimization business for 18 years – long before the acronym SEO was even coined. I’ve witnessed the birth of Google, the death of AltaVista and more algorithm tweaks than Yahoo’s had CEOs. With all the changes the search industry has experienced over the years, I can tell you that the key to SEO is this: understanding your audience. That’s IT. That’s all you need to know.

You don’t need to understand latent semantic indexing, you don’t need to know HTML, you don’t need to know Google Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon or any of the other latest algorithm changes. You just need to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. If you don’t know your audience you need to get to know them. Quickly. Talk to them, talk to the staff who deal with them most often. Find out what makes them happy and what is turning them off. Look at their purchase history, their feedback, their interaction with your brand on social media. Survey them.

There is a lot of talk these days about the Semantic Web and how this is changing SEO best practice. Well guess what? SEO has always been about semantics. The main purpose of the Semantic Web is to enable users to find, share, and combine information more easily. Just like it has always been, the Semantic Web of today is based on searcher intent.

Every search is a question in disguise. When deciding what web content to rank highest in search results, Google compares the content of your pages with the original search query to see if they match semantically. In other words – does your content answer the intended question posed by the searcher?

Let me give you this example:

  • Oil
  • Hammer
  • Spaghetti
  • Car
  • House
  • Toothbrush

Take these six items and mentally put them into either two groups of three, or three groups of two, based on the first grouping that comes naturally into your mind. My initial grouping was:

  • Oil / Hammer / Car
  • Spaghetti / House / Toothbrush

My justification was that the first group was outdoor related and the rest indoor related. Did you group the items the same way as I did?

Now, if you give this same exercise to someone else, their groupings would likely be different to yours. I regularly present this exercise to my SEO training workshops and the outcome is almost always different for everyone. Some people group the items based on assets and consumables, others might group based on the number of letters in the words and there are always different assumptions about whether *oil* is the edible kind or the motor kind.

What does this tell you? Everyone is DIFFERENT. Depending on what time of day you did this exercise, or even whether you were hungry at the time, it might change the outcome. What does this tell you about the way people search? Everyone searches with a unique mindset and question in their head. Different day, different mood, different mindset, different question.

So how do you identify searcher intent? How do you use the semantic web to your advantage? By understanding your audience. By studying the search terms that your target audience uses to find the goods and services you offer. Once you understand HOW they search and what questions they are asking, you can optimize your content to ensure you answer their questions. Doing that will give you a much better chance of Google, Bing and Yahoo ranking you above your competitors in the search results.

Another SEO shortcut is to create user personas for your main customers. Track what pathways they take through your site. Notice what pages they visit most often and what content they share. Publish more of that type of content. Create unique and distinct marketing campaigns for each persona you identify. Your ROI will hit the roof.

Call your best customers on the phone, buy them a coffee. Get to know them, reward them. Show them you care. They are your advocates and should be your best friends. Turn them into brand evangelists and they will do half the marketing for you.

Spend less time looking at algorithms and more time looking at your analytics and customer feedback. Publish content that your audience is asking for. Publish content that your audience is searching for. Publish OFTEN. Internal Site Search is your best friend. Don’t have internal site search? Get it fast and review what people are searching for within your content.

Re-purpose and re-package your content in different ways. That newsletter that you sent out via email last week? Publish it on your web site – and I don’t mean a PDF – put each individual article on it’s own page. Search engines love fresh content. Ask your best customers why they like your product. Write an article about that. Create a Q and A blog post out of a help-desk ticket. Publish your customer testimonials. Write a case study with the help of your favourite client. Turn your Knowledge Base into several white-papers for download. Republish your blog posts on your Facebook page. Tweet the links from your Twitter account. Add the images to your Pinterest boards. Embrace social media and cross-promote your social channels.

You can do this. Everyone reading this article can do SEO. Everyone. It is NOT a specialist skill. It takes a holistic approach, but primarily it comes down to 3 words: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

So stop over-thinking SEO and just get on with it.

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "articles, seo"
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Date: Sunday, 21 Sep 2014 22:33

fast-five

 

So it’s already Fast Five time again. This week is pretty much all about mobile marketing, with a sprinkling of Google and Facebook into the mix.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) More People Accessing Internet Via Mobile Devices by SiteProNews. Experts had predicted a massive upswing in mobile Internet usage with the birth of the iPhone and iPad, but the rate of growth has taken everyone by surprise.

2) How Responsive Web Design Works by HubSpot. And while we’re on the subject of mobile devices, this cute Infographic published by HubSpot is a handy reference about responsive design and why you need it. If this doesn’t convince you to switch your site to a responsive design template, nothing will.

3) Everything Happening Right Now on the Internet by Digital Marketing Ramblings. Regardless of the misleading title, this graphic is quite an eye-opener. It’s actually a snapshot of the Internet in real time, showing you how quickly data is generated and accounts created on some of the web’s most popular sites including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google and Amazon.

4) Facebook Working on Private Sharing App by Mashable. With their privacy protocols consistently in the news for all the wrong reasons, Facebook is reportedly working on a new app designed to encourage private content sharing. Apparently, the app will provide users with a grid-style interface from which to share private moments with friends and family.

and finally…

5) Google+ Is No Longer a Requirement for Creating a Google Account by Marketing Land. Google’s unpopular decision in 2012 to make a Google Plus account a mandatory part of the Google account creation process appears to have come back to bite them. In response to demand, Google has dropped the requirement and now made Google+ account creation an optional choice when signing up for Gmail and other Google products.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Like to learn about Online Marketing but not sure where to start? Take 9 courses in Online Marketing for just $99.

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Facebook, fast five, google plus, infogr..."
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Date: Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 20:48

fast-five

 

So I answer a lot of questions about search engines on this blog. But did you know that Google also has a Q and A site? This week’s Fast Five is dedicated to some of the more popular questions asked about Google.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Does validating my site’s code (with a tool such as the W3C validator) help my site’s ranking in Google?

2) How can I get those links displayed under my site’s listing in Google’s search results like some other sites have?

3) Is the server location important for geotargeting?

4) Why doesn’t my site show rich snippets? I added everything and the test tool shows it’s ok.

and finally…

5) Why is my sitemap file showing a submitted URL count that does not match the number of entries in my sitemap file?

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Download your Free SEO Lesson. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "fast five, geo targeting, google, Q and ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 22:17

QuestionHello Kalena

I have a current subdomain webpage that is ranking on page 12 on the Google SERP’s. I just bought a new domain name and created a new website with pretty much duplicate content so I could use that as my prime domain. What I did was re-direct my subdomain to the new prime URL.

My new site has been indexed, but not yet ranked by Google. I intend to delete the sub-domain page as soon as the new page starts appearing in the SERP’s. My question is, because of the duplicate content, is Google going to ban me for this?

Thanks,
Paul

————————————–

Hi Paul

Ah yes, the old hosted sub-domain ranking conundrum.

For the benefit of readers who might not understand your situation, here’s a brief explanation. Paul’s current website is free-hosted on a sub-domain provided by his hosting company. For example, instead of having his site at www.PaulsPlace.com, it’s currently at PaulsPlace.hostingplace.com. This means that any links pointing to his site contribute to the hosting site’s link popularity and not his own. It also means that he is helping his hosting company to rank better in search engines, rather than his own brand and content.

To avoid this, Paul has done the right thing and purchased his own domain name, transferring all his site content over to the new domain and then putting an automatic sign-post up on his current sub-domain site that redirects people to his new domain when they hit his old site or click on a link to his old site within search engine results.

Paul, provided you used a 301 redirect on your sub-domain, there shouldn’t be any problem at all with duplicate content. In fact, this is the recommended process to use, according to Google. Just don’t forget to remove the redirect (and dump your old site) once you see your pages start to appear in the search results. You can hurry this along by creating a XML sitemap for the new site and uploading it to Google via Webmaster Tools.

Hope this helps.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Access your Free SEO Lessons. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "301 redirects, duplicate content, Q and ..."
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 11:33

SEC-smiley-150x178Search Engine College has now enrolled students in 65 countries.

We’re thrilled that so many people around the world have benefited from our courses, but we’re also aware that many small businesses and not-for-profit sites don’t even have a marketing budget, let alone a budget for training.

So to make it easier, we’ve decided to offer 25 charities per year the opportunity to learn search marketing skills at no cost, to help them make the most of their limited marketing budgets.

We’d like to extend an invitation to any registered charities interested in taking online marketing training (regardless of global location) to get in touch. We’ll take the first 25 charities to respond and send them a coupon giving one staff member a 3 month  subscription to all our courses – a retail value of USD 297.

To qualify for the offer, your charity / NFP organization needs to:

1) Have a web site.

2) Have been incorporated at least 12 months ago.

3) Be listed on CharityNavigator.org, the UK Charity Commission, the NZ Charities Commission or the equivalent in your country.

4) Not have any religious or political affiliations.

When contacting us, please use the phrase “charity training” in your subject line or comments field and include your charity registration number if you have one. Please also include a sentence or two about why you think having your staff take our courses would benefit your charity.

To prevent fraudulent claims, we will be carefully screening charities to ensure they are legitimate. We’ll be announcing the beneficiaries one by one as we distribute the coupons.

If you know of a worthy charity or not-for-profit that might benefit from our courses, please direct them to this post, or tweet it to spread the word.

Thanks!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, free sem training, s..."
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Date: Monday, 08 Sep 2014 04:24

fast-five

 

The goss this week in social has been all about Facebook (or as Uncle Larry likes to call it – The Facebooks). So this week’s Fast Five is a wrap-up of all the latest Facebooky goodness.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Facebook Testing Keyword Search by SiteProNews. Apparently, Facebook is expanding Graph Search to introduce keyword search on its mobile app, which will allow members to search through old posts or pages they have followed according to keyword.

2) Facebook to users: let’s walk through your privacy settings, just in case by Venture Beat. Starting this month, Facebook will be offering a privacy check-up to its users, narrated by a blue dinosaur (I kid you not) that walks them through every aspect of their confounding privacy settings.

3) Facebook Goes After “Click-Bait” Headlines with News Feed Update by Marketing Land. This week, Facebook announced a news feed algorithm change that it says will reduce the number of misleading and vague (click-bait) headlines that its users will see.

4) 4 Recent Facebook Updates Businesses Should Know by Social Media Today. A handy round up some of Facebook’s most recent announcements and updates that affect businesses.

and finally…

5) How to Use the 15 Facebook Ad Targeting Options by Social Fresh. This is not a recent post, but I get asked about Facebook ad targeting options A LOT, so thought I would include this one in today’s Fast Five.

Happy Facebooking!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Learn SEO Online – for FREE. Access your Free SEO Lessons. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Facebook, fast five"
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Date: Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 21:14

Study-Month-2014Need to brush up on your marketing skills or get your staff trained in SEO/SEM? Now’s your chance!

Every year, we pick a month we call STUDY MONTH, during which we run special offers and discounts at Search Engine College. This year, we’ve decided that September is Study Month and to celebrate, we’ve got two discount offers for you, valid until September 30:

1) One Month Subscription for $1.

2) USD100 off all Certification Upgrades.

If you’re a current subscriber, this means that you can upgrade to Certification for any unit of study for just $195 instead of the regular $295. If you’re not yet a paid subscriber, you or your staff can take up the $1 subscription offer AND the $100 discount to upgrade to Certification for as many units as you like.

The $100 discount also applies to our Multi-Course Pathways, so if you’ve been thinking about getting certified in multiple courses, now is the PERFECT time.

To access your discounts, follow the instructions over here.

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "discounts, education/training, search en..."
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Date: Monday, 01 Sep 2014 10:50

fast-five

 

It’s that time of the week again – Fast Five time. I’m feeling quite smug that I’ve managed to consistently publish a Fast Five post every week this year to date. Blogging can be a time-consuming business, but when you follow a schedule and write about topics that educate and inform, it’s also very rewarding.

If you’re enjoying these Fast Five posts, I’d love to hear as much in the comments. Feel free to suggest some topics for future editions as well. This week, we’re going to take a look back at the five most popular Q and A posts on this blog since it was first launched.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) How much should I expect to pay for SEO services? by Peter Newsome. In this post from 2009, Pete helps a SEO start-up who are struggling to set realistic rates for their brand new SEO service offering.

2) How do I avoid duplicate content created by my CMS for product pages on my site? by Peter Newsome. Another post from guest blogger Pete sees him helping a webmaster who is concerned that his Content Management System may generate product pages that are so similar in content that they may be deemed duplicate content by search engines.

3) How do I leverage Social Media to improve my SEO? by Yours Truly. In this Q and A from 2012, I explain why social media has become an integral part of SEO and suggest several ways of integrating social media marketing into your existing SEO strategy.

4) How can I get rid of malicious spam content on Google? by Yours Truly. A Q and A from March this year saw someone contact me asking for help relating to malicious content being published about them. I gave advice on how to lodge a Request to Remove Objectionable Content.

and finally…

5) Why doesn’t Google index my sitemap? by Yours Truly. In one of my more recent Q and A’s, I help a webmaster who couldn’t understand why Google wasn’t indexing all his site pages, despite including them all in his sitemap.

If you’ve got a burning question about search or search engines and you want to see it featured here as a Q and A, submit it via this form.

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Download your Free SEO Lesson. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "blogging, fast five, Q and A"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 05:09

QuestionHello Kalena

I’ve been a reader of your blog for many years but have never submitted a question. Until now!

With Google’s recent changes to the algorithm, we have noticed a drop in traffic and rankings for our site (we sell ready-made crafting kits for kids). I suspect it might be related to duplicate content as I’ve been reading how Google will penalize sites that can be loaded with www and also without www. Our site loads for both addresses and I’m worried this means we have been penalized.

I also read that you can fix this issue by using coding called rel=canonical or something like that? I have looked into this briefly, but to be honest, although I’m responsible for the content of our site, I’m a sales and marketing person, not a programmer and I don’t think I have the coding knowledge to use this tool.

Is there a more simple way I can remove the duplicate pages or have our site load just with the www? Or will I need to pay our original web designers to fix this?

Thanks for any advice

Sally

————————————–

Hello Sally

Sorry to hear of your traffic drop, but I highly doubt it is due to your site loading for both www and non-www versions of your domain. The algorithm changes over the past 18 months have been related to more complex issues than domain versions.

Even if Google has indexed both versions of your domain, the algorithm is almost always able to distinguish content that loads on both as one and the same. In this situation, Google will usually choose one version and consistently show that version in the search results.

But if you want to instruct Google which version to use in the search results, you can do this from within your Webmaster Tools account by setting the Preferred Domain (sometimes this is referred to as the canonical domain). The Preferred Domain tool enables you to tell Google if you’d like URLs from your site crawled and indexed using the www version of the domain (http://www.example.com) or the non-www version of the domain (http://example.com).

Simply click on the gear icon at the top right when viewing your Webmaster Tools dashboard and then choose *Site Settings* and the Preferred Domain option will come up as per the image here:

Setting-Preferred-Domain-Screenshot
The recommended use of rel=canonical is on a page by page basis, to indicate to Google which version of a page URL to use, if there are several URLs leading to the same page content.

For example, imagine if these URLs all led to the same page content:

1) http://www.blog.com/blue-suede-shoes/
2) http://www.blog.com/blue-suede-shoes&id=72
3) http://www.blog.com/?p=12890

Now imagine that you only wanted 1) to be shown in Google search results. You could achieve this by adding the rel=canonical link element to the < head > tag of each of those pages, specifying http://www.blog.com/blue-suede-shoes/ as the preferred URL.

However, in your situation, the easiest thing would be to use the Preferred Domain tool in Webmaster Tools.

Hope this helps!

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Access your Free SEO Lessons. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "canonical, duplicate content, google w/m..."
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Date: Monday, 25 Aug 2014 01:31

fast-five

 

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in search and social. Some new features have been announced and some old ones switched off, with backlash in tow.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Search Marketers Tear Into Google Over AdWords Exact Match Change by Matt McGee. Google have isolated the search marketing community this month, with their announcement that Exact Match keywords will be phased out of AdWords, forcing all advertisers to use close variants. I’ve blogged about this before, when Google first introduced close variants as the default option for match types, but at least then you could opt-out of close variants. Not anymore. I’m not happy and judging by the backlash on social media, neither is the rest of the search community.

2) Google at Work on Kid-Friendly Versions of Its Products by Chris Crum. While we’re talking about Google, some more positive news. The company is apparently working on a new system that would let parents set up accounts for kids under 13 and control how they use services and what information is collected about them.

3) Buying Stuff Within a Tweet is Reportedly Coming to Twitter via Stripe by Mike Butcher. It seems there are businesses that want to sell products from inside tweets. Twitter is reportedly planning to add *Buy Now* buttons within tweets that will make this a reality, by allowing users to enter payment information without leaving Twitter.

4) The Beginners Guide to Establishing Personality and Engagement on a Facebook Page by Jesse Aaron. I really like case studies for how to use social media effectively and this article on Social Fresh contains some goodies. In this post, Jesse Aaron shares 7 neat tactics to use on a business Facebook page to drive engagement and inject some personality into your brand.

and finally…

5) 30+ Advanced Google Search Functions You May Not Have Known About by Craig Smith. This Infographic caught my attention because I like to think I know a lot about Google Advanced Search and I wanted to see how many of the 30 functions I already use. Turns out I knew most of these already, but not *location:* and some of the short-code searches like < tracking number >, < flight number > and so on. Neat!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Facebook, fast five, google, google adwo..."
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Date: Sunday, 24 Aug 2014 06:15

QuestionHi Kalena

I’d like your advice on keyword research please. I generally use the Google Keyword Tool to research keywords to use in our web site, but these are generally skewed to show just US results.

As the UK, Canada and Australia are also big target markets for us, we need to know what keywords people in each of those countries are searching for.

Can you recommend some global keyword generation tools and also suggest some unique keyword research ideas to help expand our keyword focus?

Thanks in advance

Michael

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Hi Michael

Keyword Research is a tricky business and if you target different geographic markets, you’ll understand why.

The search terms that your customers in the UK enter into search engines are often not the same search terms that your customers in the US use, even when looking for the same product!

So using keyword research tools that can provide search trends for different geographical markets can really help you to develop more effective SEO and other marketing campaigns that will appeal to each of your target markets. It’s fine to use the Google Keyword Planner, but remember that it is primarily designed for AdWords advertisers and shows data related to the advertising platform.

Here are some of the keyword research tools that I use most often and I’ve indicated below which ones provide geo-centric data:

  • Raven Tools  – Raven is always my first stop on the keyword research journey, simply because their Research Central interface combines data from Majestic SEO, Moz, Calais and Google AdWords in one easy to use tool. During the research process, you have the option of drilling down to country-specific data to compare local and global search trends from AdWords and even see what domains are currently your biggest competition for your target keywords.
  • Keyword Discovery  – This tool was built by Trellian, based out of Perth, Western Australia, so their data is definitely international in flavor. The interface is a little clunky to use, but once you get the hang of it, you can generate some impressive country-specific keyword data very quickly and export it in various formats, ready to populate your marketing campaigns.
  • Word Tracker  – Allows you to drill down to keyword search popularity in different countries. You can also buy stand-alone keyword reports of up to 100,000 keywords that are segmented by country to show keyword search history for the date ranges you select.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner  – The Keyword Planner has replaced the Google Keyword Tool and is a research tool designed to help AdWords advertisers build new campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can use the tool to search for keyword and ad group ideas, get historical statistics and see how a list of keywords might perform. The tool is useful for general keyword research, as long as you keep in mind that the data is skewed to show performance on AdWords, rather than organic search.
  • Google Trends – If you’re looking for a unique source of potential keywords to target, look no further than Google Trends. Google Trends analyzes a percentage of Google web searches to determine how many searches have been done for the terms you’ve entered compared to the total number of Google searches done during that time. You can use the tool to track the historical popularity of a particular keyword, phrase or topic and compare that performance across a range of countries or dates. It’s a marvellous way of narrowing down which search terms to target. For example, if you aren’t sure whether to focus on *cell phones* or *mobile phones* in your specific target market, you can conduct a search and Google Trends will show you which has been the more popular search term over time.
  • Keyword Eye – Another tool that takes a unique approach to keyword research, Keyword Eye uses a visual approach that adds a new twist to keyword brainstorming. You can use Keyword Eye to discover what keywords your competitors have a presence on within organic and paid search. This is done by analyzing the on-site keyword trends within the content of top ranking pages on Google and then displaying them in tag cloud format.
  • Soovle – This tool also uses a visual approach to keyword analysis, this time displaying a range of related keyword searches and word-stemming options relating to your original search term, sourced from a range of search engines and portals including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Answers.
  • Ubersuggest – This free keyword tool can instantly suggest thousands of keyword ideas from actual user queries. Enter your original search term and use the resulting search queries to get more keyword inspiration.
  • iSpionage – A must-have for those of us in highly competitive markets, iSpionage allows you to see which domains are targeting your keywords and out-performing you in Google and Bing/Yahoo. You can drill down to US, UK or Canadian data and isolate both PPC and SEO keyword data.

Hope this helps!

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Q and A"
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Date: Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 21:31

fast-five

 

I travel around New Zealand regularly, giving in-person training workshops for the Institute of IT Professionals in various online marketing subjects. My most popular workshop by far has been Social Media for Business, likely because many businesses and organizations struggle to understand how best to integrate social into their existing marketing strategies.

During the workshop, I like to show attendees a range of case studies where businesses of all sizes have successfully used social media marketing to promote their products and services and grow their customer base. Some of the biggest success stories I share come from Facebook.

Today’s Fast Five features five of my favourite Facebook business success stories:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Pigtails and Ponys – Remember the The Work Song Nanocluster episode of Big Bang Theory when the gang pitch in to help Penny with her hair clip crafting business *Penny Blossoms* and end up briefly turning it into a successful online business? Well, that’s what Pigtails and Ponys have done, but their success is ongoing. Founded in 2011, Pigtails and Ponys sold handmade headbands in local flea markets. The Indian hair accessories start-up then used Facebook Ads to grow what was once just a flea market booth into a thriving online business, with 70% of its customer base acquired on the platform.

2) Griffins Biscuits – This one is close to home for me. New Zealand based biscuit (cookie) manufacturer Griffins were surprised to find a Facebook page set up by a customer requesting that they re-instate a childhood favorite biscuit that hadn’t been produced for many years. Griffins implemented a Facebook survey to gauge reaction and re-introduced Choco-ade biscuits in response to demand. People bought over NZ $1.5 million worth in the first month, making it the number 1 selling product in the country.

3) Scoot Airlines – Singapore Airlines owned low-cost, long haul flight brand Scoot flies to 10 destinations around Asia Pacific. Scoot achieved impressive brand awareness and a 14x return-on-investment using Facebook to drive ticket sales for its Japan flight launch.

4) Michael Kors - Fashion retailer Michael Kors (of Project Runway fame) recently celebrated 5 million *likes* by launching a limited edition shoe – a zebra print sneaker, no less – for Facebook fans only. To buy the shoe in-store, fans had to quote the secret password. The launch drove a 16-point increase in awareness of Michael Kors sneakers and led to sellouts of some styles online and in stores.

and finally…

5) Visit Florida – Florida’s official tourism marketing corporation Visit Florida wanted to promote family travel to Florida during the Summer months. Through its *Sunshine Moments* sweepstakes campaign on Facebook, Visit Florida saw a 10-point increase in people’s likelihood to consider Florida as their next vacation destination, with 18,481 people submitting photos in the sweepstakes and 279 million Facebook Ad impressions during the campaign.

Are you achieving this type of success on Facebook? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Happy Facebooking!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Facebook, fast five, social media"
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Date: Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 03:45

On behalf of Search Engine College staff, I’d like to offer congratulations to our latest graduates of Search Engine College for 2014.

Students named below have successfully completed our Advanced Pay Per Click Advertising course at Search Engine College and attained official certification status (requiring a passing grade of 70 percent or higher).

Pay Per Click Advertising 201

  • Meghan Jump
  • Christine Rokos
  • Sok Khann
  • Hinoh Garris
  • Mary Milner
  • Bonnie Dalager
  • Ashley Washburn
  • Diana Weaver
  • Leona Miller
  • Brett Wohlgemuth
  • Shannon Wampler
  • Linda Ng
  • Cherish Moss
  • Thomas O’Brien
  • Andrea Taylor
  • Christina Bruns
  • Brendan Holmes
  • Artez Young
  • Cherish Moss
  • Lee Chapman
  • Monica Johnson
  • Lori Smith
  • Robert Stevens
  • Maria T Castilho

Congrats to you all! Please contact your tutor if you are still waiting to receive your hard copy certificate, Status Page or certification seal.

Don’t forget to like our Facebook page and follow our Twitter profile @secollege for College announcements such as lesson updates, press releases, new courses, events and milestones.

——————-

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, pay per click, searc..."
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Date: Sunday, 10 Aug 2014 21:02

fast-five

 

Today’s Fast Five is all about online education. Internet based training institutions and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become exceedingly popular in the past 10 years. Anyone with an Internet connection can now learn anything online, 24 hours a day. Today, we share five (six!) of the most popular online learning web sites. Here we go:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Udemy – describes itself as the world’s online learning marketplace, where 3 million+ students are taking over 18,000 courses in everything from programming to yoga to photography. Each course is taught by an expert instructor, all available on-demand, so students can learn at their own pace, on their own time, and on any device.

2) Khan Academy – is unique because they are a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better. They do this by providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere, completely free of charge.

3) Lynda.com – All memberships to Lynda include unlimited access to their online library of over 2,800 video courses. Lynda offers a variety of instructional courses for all levels, including technical skills, creative techniques and business strategies. Courses can be watched from your computer, tablet, or mobile device and you can create and save playlists of courses and even share them with friends.

4) iTunes U – So you thought iTunes was just to buy music and apps? Think again. iTunes U offers educational courses and provides a customized learning experience for both teacher and student. Teachers can create and manage their course and students can experience assignments, materials, and study notes all from the iTunes U app on iPad.

and finally…

5) MIT Open Courseware – MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. MIT OCW is open and available to the world and is constantly updated to reflect the MIT curriculum. The idea behind MIT OCW is for educators to improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective, students to find additional resources to help them succeed and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges, including sustainable development, climate change and cancer eradication.

BONUS! Search Engine College – No list of online education resources would be complete without mentioning our own ;-). Search Engine College offers online self-study and certification courses in SEO, Pay Per Click Advertising (Google AdWords / Bing Ads), Web Site Copywriting, Web Site Usability, Link Building and a range of other online marketing subjects. We have students in 65 countries worldwide, with courses available via any device, 24/7.

Happy studying!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, fast five, search en..."
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Date: Sunday, 03 Aug 2014 21:36

fast-five

 

Move over Google! This week, we’re all about Bing. Let’s get straight to the good stuff.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Bing Looks Abroad by TechCrunch. According to internal sources, apparently Bing is “embarking on the most ambitious geographic and product expansion in its history”. TechCrunch has the lowdown on what this could mean.

2) How Does Bing Choose the Title for My Web Page? by Bing Blogs. Apparently, Bing doesn’t always choose the content of your title tag to display in the SERPs. Who knew? In this post, they explain why.

3) 3 New Bing Ads Geotargeting Features Now Available by Search Engine Watch. Bing Ads recently announced updates to its geotargeting that include more visibility, control, and improved radius targeting for advertisers. This post from Search Engine Watch explains the changes.

4) Filtering Low Quality Links in Bing SERP by Bing Blogs. In this post, Bing reveals how they control the quality of their search results and the methods of spam detection they employ to keep things positive.

and finally…

5) At Five Years Old, Bing Has Come Far, Yet Has More to Grow by Search Engine Land. With Bing turning five this week, Search Engine Land looks at some of their reasons to celebrate, including market share increase and growth of the search platform across Microsoft’s range of products.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "bing, fast five, microsoft"
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Date: Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 20:10

fast-five

 

We’re all about Google in this week’s Fast Five. No Bing, no Yahoo, just Google. Let’s get straight to it.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Promoting Modern Websites for Modern Devices in Google Search Results by Google Webmaster Central Blog. Google has introduced a new feature into the search results this month. When Google algorithms detect pages that may not work on a searcher’s device Google will now indicate this to searchers within the search results pages.

2) New Study: Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness by Inside AdWords Blog. It has been suggested for some years now that when consumers see AdWords ads appearing alongside organic search results for the same company in the Google search results pages, they have higher brand recall than consumers who just see organic search results. A new study run by Google and Ipsos MediaCT has proven this, revealing that search ads lift top-of-mind awareness by an average of 6.6 percentage points.

3) Segmenting Brand and Generic Paid Search Traffic in Google Analytics by Google Analytics Blog. Last month, Google Analytics introduced a new feature which automatically identifies brand-aware paid search clicks. That is, Analytics can now identify query terms which demonstrated visitors who had previous awareness of your brand. This means that you can now split your “paid search” channel into two separate channels: “brand paid search” and “generic paid search”. This can be done both for Multi-Channel Funnels (for attribution purposes) and for the main Google Analytics channel grouping.

4) Searching For the Right Balance by Google Official Blog. The “right to be forgotten” ruling against Google in May from the European Court of Justice is causing increasingly large ripples across the search industry and even spilling into the media at large. In this very enlightening post, Google’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, explains the massive challenge Google faces in figuring out what information they must now deliberately omit from search results. He also discusses openly why Google disagrees with the ruling, calling it very vague and subjective. Drummond reveals that Google has already received over 70,000 take-down requests since the ruling, most of which have arrived with little or no context.

and finally…

5) Mirror Your Android Phone to the TV With Chromecast by Google Android Official Blog. As of this month, Nexus and Android device owners can mirror their Android phones and tablets to their TVs using Chromecast, so they can see their favorite apps, photos or anything else, exactly as they see it on their mobile device, but on the big screen.

Happy Googling!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "fast five, google"
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