1. SEO Link Bait from A to Z: Sinking the Hook 26 Different Ways

    Link BaitYou’ve worked hard to build your business.  Your website is user-friendly and perhaps you even send out a monthly newsletter.  However, despite all this, you still need more people to know about your company. What else can you do to draw the consumer’s attention? You need to use link bait!  Just as an angler uses tantalizing flies and spinners to lure “the big one” to his hook, today’s web companies are using link bait to draw more customers their site.  “So what is link bait?” you ask. Good question.

  2. 15 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Website in 2011

    With the New Year just around the corner, perhaps you are thinking about the past 12 months and what changes there have been in your business. For instance, did your sales increase? Why or why not? What could you have done to attract more online customers? Perhaps, you had planned to start a newsletter, but…Yes, there are many aspects of having a successful business, and as the New Year approaches, this is a great time to set some new goals for 2011.

    At Page Progressive we want to see your business not just survive but thrive. Our professional web designers can assist you in determining how to best use your time, efforts and energy to make your business all it can be. To get you started, here are 15 website resolutions your company may want to make for your company in 2011.

    1. Ongoing social media maintenance. Just having a Facebook page is not enough. You need to spend time each week adding comments, polls, answering questions, posting promos, etc. This helps build a following and improves your presence on the web. Whether you spend time on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, the benefits are there. Just be sure that you don’t cannibalize other productive time.
    2. Create link bait. Write (or have someone do it for you) informative articles that link to your website. Effective link bait articles can contain lists, eye catching titles that use high ranking keywords and contain useful information that others will want to link to or post on their site.
    3. Newsletters and blogs. You want people to know who are and what you are doing. Whether you opt for a daily blog post, a weekly blog post, a newsletter each quarter or any other schedule, making yourself known through newsletters or blog posts is the online equivalent of a radio or TV commercial.
    4. Implement SEO practices. Be sure your website is search engine optimized through keyword rich content, blog posts and new pages. Set aside time each month to explore additional keyword phrases you can optimize your site for. Use the new Google Instant Search or the Google Adwords Keyword tool for suggestions.
    5. Think about the future. Spend time implementing long term strategies (white hat vs. black hat, link building) with consistent payoffs rather than short term goals with big payoffs.
    6. Good Website usability is a must. Make sure that you spend time designing your site to be mobile device and local search friendly. After all, website usability by -regardless of the devices being used- will increase sales and keep your guests longer.
    7. Make your site interesting to visitors by having tutorials, videos, infographics, e-books, and other features-this is especially helpful if these features are only available on your website!
    8. If you already have a company newsletter, work on reducing your bounce rates by 20-40%.
    9. Have a holistic approach to ecommerce. Combine SEO, social media and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to improve business.
    10. Remember who and what is important. Spend time improving current projects and keeping current customers happy rather that chasing after new clients and beginning more projects.
    11. Link building is a must! Focus on getting more organic links and less paid ones.
    12. Get involved in your community, industry events, conferences, etc, so that others will know who you are and what you do.
    13. Have back up. If you don’t have a backup system in place, make it a priority. Whether you opt for external hard drives or online back-up services, having backup copies of programs, sales, client info, etc. is vital. Also make sure your web host performs regular backups of all files and databases as well.
    14. Delegation-delegation-delegation! Everyone has different skill sets. Some excel in writing, others in designing, some in programming, and so on. When people work on projects that fit with their strengths and skill set, then your company can more easily reach its full potential. If you don’t have the people to within your company, consider hiring someone else. If you don’t know what skill sets your employees posses consider purchasing the book, Now, Discover Your Strengths, (Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton) so that you and your employees can take the Gallup strengthfinder.com profile test.
    15. Pay attention to what is happening in the world of the web and how it relates to business. According to Adam Audetter, there are 3 primary focuses for business trends. Paying attention to them can make or break your business goals. These  focuses are:
    1. Prices– The Internet has made comparison shopping easier than ever and customers are moving away from brand loyalty and toward price loyalty. Today’s consumers are looking for deals, discounts, coupons, incentives, free shipping and other reasons to support a specific site or product. E-commerce sites need to do everything possible to reach and retain customers.
    2. Use visual aids– A study by comSense showed that using video as a part of online shopping made sales 64% more likely to occur and that site guest stayed at least 2 minutes longer on the site.
    3. Keep up with trends in technical SEO. Just as Google Instant was released in September of 2010, Bing is going to officially support the "rel canonical" Meta tag in January or February. Unfortunately, Bing is not likely to be able to support cross domain "rel canonical" implementations. The best tool for SEO in regards to Bing is the Bing Webmaster Toolbox. Companies who wish to have a visible presence on the web need to be aware of this and any other technical SEO changes, so they can have the greatest impact possible.

    Depending on your business, there may be other new year’s resolutions you may need to include, these are just some to get you started. It is ultimately up to you to determine which of the resolutions you will focus on. According to PC World.com the following pitfalls should be avoided in making New Year’s resolutions:

    • Having too many. Rather than setting so many goals that you can’t keep up then feeling like a failure, pick New Year’s resolutions that are actually achievable. If you have a number of goals for the year, consider grouping them into manageable sets and focus on each group over a set period of time.
    • Be sure the goal is clearly defined and understood by all those responsible for accomplishing them.
    • Assessment. Take the time-whether weekly, monthly, or otherwise to assess how you are doing in achieving a particular goal. Make notes of what is, or is not, working.

    At Page Progressive, we would love to sit down and help you assess your site and determine what your focus and goals for the New Year should be. We have the people available to see that your website meets all the latest web standards as well as writers, designers and graphic artist who would love to take your business to the next level. You can look us up on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or check out our portfolio to see what we can do to help you realize your New Year’s resolutions for 2011.

  3. How to Test the Value in Your Link Building

    Link Building 2There is much more to successful link building than implementing the steps mentioned in the first part of this series on link building. Yes, you want to develop as many links to your site as possible, but you want quality, not just quantity.  Here some things to keep in mind, if you are concerned about the value of your links.

    What Makes Your Link Valuable

    Just having links to your page is not enough. You want the link to bring the best return possible. To do that, be sure these elements are a part of the link building process:

    • Website Age – A link from an older website is more valuable than one from a new website.
    • Page Rank – The higher the page rank of a site that links with you the more significant the link. Check out the Google Toolbar for your browser to check on a site’s page rank (PR) score.
    • Link Source – Links from .gov and .edu are more valuable that links from .net or .com; however, the links from .gov are difficult, though not impossible, to get.
    • Anchor Text – Be sure your anchor text uses your site’s most competitive keywords and variations of them.
    • Link Position – Links at the top of an article are better than those at the bottom.
    • Relevance – This is a link from a site related to your own; a relevant link from a site with a lower PR is actually more valuable than one with a higher PR but of little relevance.


    Does Your Link Pass Value?

    If you want to check out your links values, then Gyutae Park of Winning the Web (Great site on Internet marketing) suggests the following:

    1. Create a link on the target location with anchor text and a unique modifier. Be sure that the word is a somewhat related keyword, but not found on your actual website. (e.g. Page Progressive + decorating)
    2. If after a time, if the page on your site that is linked with that particular term is being ranked for the term used, then the link is successful. Once it’s determined to be worthwhile, then change the anchor text on the link back to something more relevant if you can.

    How to Tell if Your Link has been devalued by Google

    Obviously, the goal of link building is to drive more traffic to your site so that your business will grow. So, with all the work you are doing to improve your business through link building, you want the work to be appreciated by search engines like Google. To see if your hard work is paying off, here are a few things you can do to see if it the links have been devalued rather than appreciated.

    1. Page rank is low; although Page Rank is not quite as important as it was once thought to be, if your site is ranked lower than expected, you want to check your site for problematic links such as obvious paid links or duplicate content on your site.
    2. Crawl rate. Thought by some to be the new PR, crawl rates indicate how often Google reads (or indexes) your sites. This can be checked by checking the Cache Rate link next to the search listing. If it is more than a month old, it’s assign that the page is not indexed very often.
    3. Location of the link makes a difference. Google prefers links in the body of page rather than the sidebar or footer.

    Link building is one of the most valuable tools in your website’s Internet Marketing tool bag. Make sure that you are using the right tools for the job you want to accomplish. If you are not certain about doing the task on your own, Page Progressive will be glad to help. You can contact us from our website or via Facebook or Twitter. We would love to hear from you!

  4. Tips, Tactics & Warnings with Link Building

    One very important component of having a successful website is the use of White Hat SEO practices.  These tactics involve the use of properly researched keywords, having a website that is user-friendly, and effective link building. In fact, many experts see link building as the SEO trump card. This is because links are the main way to have a web relationship and it’s these relationships with other sites that indicate to search engines how "reputable" your website is. So what exactly does link building entail? First, here are a few things link building is not:

    • Setting up a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter account, and then forgetting about them
    • Link exchanges with people you don’t know – they often result in "nofollow" links or become devalued.
    • While pertinent, helpful comments on blogs and forums are recommended, the reverse is that spammy, irrelevant comments work against you.
    • Automated link building – There are programs out there that promise to get you tons of links for almost nothing. Beware, those automated programs almost always mean that your content is viewed as spam
    • link buying – this is heavily frowned upon in the Google Webmaster link building guidelines. So, use caution if this is your approach. If you pay for a link to be placed on another person’s site, it should also be for that person to review your site before endorsing it. This can be a grey area, however.

    6 Ways to Build Effective Links

    There are numerous ways to build effective links and the more of them you put into practice the better. Yes, this will take time but as you see your business grow, the time invested will be worth it. Of course, you don’t have to do all of the link building on your own. Hire Page Progressive to do it for you! We will be happy to implement the techniques below to make your website all you want it to be.

    1. Get Authority links from leaders in your field. These help get links directly from sources that are trusted and related resources. Begin with major search engines and find the sites that you know to be tursted authorities in your industry.
    2. One way links are often achieved through link baiting. This is a  White Hat technique where your website content targets a friendly audience. This type of link is high on the value scale. Link bait requires you to publish a new content rich page on the web and then wait for visitors to click through to your site. The ultimate goal is for the visitors to pick up the content then link back to your site because of your valuable content.
    3. Directories are great for inbound links and do not require regular monitoring. Just submit your site to directories that give free listings, as well as to quality listings and over time others will link with your site. You will also want to tag related sites on Del.cio.us. If you add valuable content, ask friends to "tag" or share your content with other social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon or Digg so that your content will be hopefully linked to from other sites.
    4. Meme trackers and social bookmarking is comprised of writing a lot about popular ideas and linking the articles. Use an attention getting titles and summaries so that people are drawn to your post. Ask others to comment on it so that it gains popularity and visibility along with numerous links to it.
    5. Article Bio links are achieved by writing an article, being sure to add the author bio resource (sometimes called a SIG box). Send the article to top article directories; as your article grows in popularity, your website will grow in traffic.
    6. Blogging and leaving comments is an effective way to natural inbound links. Consider having a blog or forum of your own that you can link back to. A word of caution: Be sure that your comments are useful and help to create a positive online reputation.

    7 Advanced Link Building Tactics

    Understanding what you should do is just as important as knowing what not to do. Effective link building is an ongoing process. In fact, it is time consuming and requires much dedication in order to have significant returns. And, while some link building practices are standard, here are some of the more advanced methods used by the experts:

    1. Search Yahoo, Google, MSN and other search engines for each of your keywords, then make it a point to get a link from each page listed. Sometimes this can be done with a personal e-mail, other times a hand written letter and, in some cases, a phone call.
    2. Find out what sites are linking to your competitors and ask them to link to you as well.
    3. Rent pages from authority sites within your industry then add content and links on the page to your own sites. Be sure to include anchor text in the format you select. But don’t be obnoxious about it.
    4. If your budget allows it, purchase advertising on sites that will give you good click through rates for at least 6 months. Be sure to avoid advertising in places where the seller does not have useful information, has low click-ough rates and few visitors.
    5. Offer unique tools and services on your site for free. Once you have determined and put into operation the tool/services, let industry leaders know about it, write about it and ask others to use and evaluate it on forums or social media sites.
    6. Press releases containing a carefully worded title, well placed keywords and a link to your site that is mentioned in the article subject can greatly improve your ranking. Keep in mind that a well written press release may even come to the attention of the industry’s biggest players. Two of the leaders for press releases are www.prleap.com and www.preweb.com.
    7. Natural link building, though somewhat unreliable, is what drives the Internet. It involves developing the best content and providing the best tools, prices, etc. in your industry.

    2 Warnings about Paid Link Building

    Scott Moir recently wrote an article about paid link building. In it, he has two things to avoid should you opt to use paid link building. These are:

    1. If a link building company does not have a direct and serviceable phone number for contact, find someone else.
    2. Visit a company’s website (assuming they have one), if it looks outdated, is vague, has only an e-mail contact form, has an abundance of grammatical errors or does not have a "History" or "About Us" page, it is very likely that the company is not all that you thought it to be.

    Protect yourself by being familiar with the Google Webmaster link building guidelines. This will help you make the most of your time spent link building.

    Link building is a vital part of having a successful website. Of course, you want your links to have value-for both you and your customers. Look for the second part of this series on link building  to learn how to ensure the value of your link building. In the meantime, check us out on Facebook and Twitter, where you can keep up to date with the latest happenings at Page Progressive.

  5. Blackhat Versus Whitehat SEO: Slow & Steady Wins the Race

    Turtle and HareDo you remember the Aesop’s fable about the turtle and the hare? Remember how the turtle steadily plodded toward the finish line, while the hare raced along looking for easiest ways to get ahead, and then rested on his laurels once he thought he had attained the prize? Then, seemingly out of nowhere, there was the turtle at the finish line. This story reminds me of how some choose to approach SEO. Consider Black Hat (the hare) and White Hat SEO (the turtle) practices. If it is your job to provide SEO for your company, then understanding White Hat and Black Hat search engine optimization is a must.

    According to Dante Monteverde of Spiderbait.com and guest writer for Website Magazine, an awareness of Black Hat SEO is important because it allows you to:

    1. Ensure that you are not unintentionally using techniques that can result in penalization and purging from search engines
    2. Be able to recognize when/if any of your competitors are using Black Hat SEO

    There is also a form of SEO known as Grey Hat. This combines White Hat and Black Hat practices in a way that attempts to make black look white.  Grey Hat techniques could also be referred to techniques that are frowned upon by search engines but have little or no risk of penalties. However, not everyone who claims to be black/white/greyhat may be telling the whole truth. In fact, Miracle Group.com says, in many cases "Using Grey or Black Hat is the same; it’s just that Grey Hat is a safer term."

    White Hat SEO is achieved by optimizing content on websites with key search phrases, properly using Meta tags, directory submission, sitemaps and obtaining links to increase your website’s page rank. These steps can be easy to do, but they require planning, persistence and patience to do them correctly. In fact, it is a job that lasts as long as you want the website to be a success.

    Black Hat SEO is nothing new. In fact, it has a long and not so colorful reputation. It is sometimes called spamdexing as a result of its affect on SEO. While there are a variety of tactics employed in Black Hat SEO, here are 6 which are fairly prevalent, along with a comparison to their White Hat counterpart.

    Practice White Hat SEO Black Hat SEO
      Non-aggressive + low risk= Mediocre, yet long term, results Aggressive + High risk= Good short term results
    Key Words Choose a solid keyword phrase or long tail words that cue the search engine of your themes. Inserting a long list of keywords into your Meta tags or within the webpage. Search engines are aware of this tactic and will penalize for this action. Also, using key words that are chosen only for traffic and not content relevance.
    Cloaking Avoid cloaking by showing the same content to everyone. An example of allowable hidden content is by hiding a Flash only version of a website from search engines an instead show the text-only version. Hidden content or cloaking is done by showing different content to different users based on the user agent. This typically gives the reader little or no useful information. It is used to attempt to deceive the search engines. While it may work temporarily, once the cloaking is detected by search engine directories like the Yahoo Directory or Open Directory Project, there are negative consequences that could cost you in time and money.
    Link Bait When done properly, this can improve visits to your site. So, be sure that you use unique, helpful stories and articles that webmasters can use to make an informed decision as to whether or not to link to a site. Link bait Black Hat style is when stories are created that contain false information in order to bring people to your site under false impressions.
    Paid Links Writing articles to post on other websites which bring awareness of your site is invaluable. You may do this by paying someone to review your article or service or perhaps paying them to review your website and then provide a link to you in their directory. They key here is the place you are getting a link from is being paid for a service, not just a link. Paying someone to put a link to your website from their website for the express purpose of boosting pagerank. Listing your site is automated and there is no review or other related service. This is most risky when you use 3rd party link brokering services who are careless in where they get the links for you.

    A Grey Hat version of this tactic would be buying an advertisement on a website that isn’t actually marked as being a "sponsored" link.

    Doorway/Landing Pages A doorway or landing page written with useful and unique content designed to rank well for a specific keywords is a great way to improve page rank. As stated by Website Magazine’s Dante Monteverde, " Just because you might be sending paid traffic to your landing pages, there is nothing wrong with having the search engines index those same pages in order to achieve organic search engine rankings as well." Having a doorway/landing page is not necessarily a problem; but how it works is important. Oftentimes, a doorway page is created in order to rank well for a specific keyword and then funnel traffic to your site. Search engines have learned to recognize these pages and will not promote sites with high keyword density. This practice is often intentionally combined with cloaking. It should be noted that the content is usually written for search engines and not for the reader.
    301 Redirects Allowing users to get content that they are actually looking for. If you have changed your domain name and want your site guests to be able to locate your previous content, a 301 redirect page is the way to go. Using content that is not related to your site but gets good traffic and then redirecting that to your site may improve ranking for a short time but will ultimately be ineffective. In fact, the redirects are usually turned away, no links are received and the page is devalued

    There are many ways to improve your website’s ranking but one needs to be very careful when opting for Black Hat SEO practices. Implementing White Hat SEO is the best way to ensure that your website climbs to the top without risk of any penalties in ranking. As the turtle of the fable learned, "Slow and steady wins the race!" If you need help with using SEO to improve your website, be sure to talk to the Page Progressive design team!


  6. Improve Your Website’s Ranking with Twitter

    Before you can determine if your site is being indexed by search engines, you need to have something that can tell you if your site is being seen by the search engines. There are many free tools to help with this: Google Webmaster ToolsYahoo Site Explorer and Microsoft/Bing Webmaster Center. In addition, there has recently been much in the news about the effects of social media on the search engine ranking as a result of Google’s recent move to "Real Time" search. But how can you use "Real Time" search to your advantage? 

    TwitterAs you begin writing for Real Time search engines, keep in mind how they work. Remember, Real Time searches index comments and Tweets and then display them at the top half of the search results page. You want to be in this coveted spot. With this in mind, how can you make the most of your Twitter account so that your business gets the optimum exposure? Here are 9 ways to use Twitter to improve your business search engine ranking.

    1. Keywords are important. Be sure that you use keywords in the links as well as within Tweets.
    2. Tweet unique content, not just items cut and pasted from someone else.
    3. Your choice in user name, like your domain name and key words, is important. Consider a user name that has your anchor text or keywords. In addition, be sure that your brand is your Twitter name; do not use a modified name on your Twitter account as this will not generate a posting above the fold in search results. If your name has already been taken you have two possible options. You can see if Twitter will allow you to register a trademark squatting complaint and give the name to the proper owner. Or, according to rumor, if an account is not active for 6 months, the name may be re-circulated.
    4. The age of the account is thought to be a factor as "older" tweets will outrank those by "rookies".
    5. Have a common theme in your tweets. If all of your tweets contain information about painting, then you are going to be seen as an expert in that field.
    6. To improve your reputation, get external links from non-social media sites.
    7. Tweet, retweet and tweet some more. The more you post the better your chances of ranking.
    8. Close ratios between "followed" to "follow", like reciprocal links, may be seen as a red flag to Google. Be careful of auto-following.
    9. Using lists, is thought by some, to be a great way to improve your Twitter reputation, especially if the lists are designed by a reputable Twitter user.

    As you use Twitter to improve your business search engine ranking, consider your approach. There are 5 things to keep in mind in order to create a Twitter strategy for your business

    1. Choose your audience; pay attention to who in your audience has the influence.
    2. Know what people are saying about you and your competitors.
    3. Determine what you are after. Sales? Contacts?
    4. Determine your goals and use metrics to track them.
    5. Decide on your approach. Consider how formal you want to be, what your keywords will be, what your message will be and any other factors that represent your company and the chosen audience.

    Since Google, Yahoo and Bing have all opted for Real Time searches, be sure to keep these tips in mind as you use Twitter. In order to promote your business, be sure you are taking advantage of the many tools available. Do it yourself, or have someone do it for you. If you don’t know where to start, talk to the pros here at Page Progressive, we’ll be glad to help. 

  7. Tips to Test and Measure Your Site’s SEO

    If you’ve been following our last few posts, you now have spent a fair amount of time making your site search engine optimized. And, chances are, you are already seeing a bit more web traffic. However, your website SEO is not complete, nor will it ever be 100%. This is due to step four of the SEO process.

  8. How to Seal the Deal with Internet Marketing

    Most successful businesses, regardless of their
    product, number of employees or physical location, all have at least one
    commonality. No, it’s not necessarily winning personalities or state of
    the art facilities; rather, it is profitable internet marketing. Also
    known as web marketing, online marketing, I-marketing, or E-marketing,
    internet marketing strategies use website optimization to increase the
    number of consumer visits to a website. Online marketing offers you the
    opportunity to measure statistics easily and inexpensively using tools
    such as Google Analytics.

    of Internet Marketing

    effective internet marketing does not require an MBA or a degree in
    advertising, having a general understanding of the types of internet
    marketing strategies will be a definite asset. The main forms of web
    marketing are link building, search engine optimization (SEO) and
    sponsored (Such as Pay-per-click) advertising.

    Tips for
    Effective Internet Marketing Optimization

    In order to run a
    successful business, making the
    most of online marketing strategy is a necessity. If you are new to
    internet marketing strategies, or merely wish to increase and improve your
    current website, consider implementing the following techniques:

    • Don’t
      procrastinate! If you are considering
      online marketing, there is no time like the present.
    • If you
      don’t have time to focus on internet
      marketing, you may want to outsource the work. After all, it’s better to
      invest your money in having someone to manage your online marketing,
      than to lose the money you could make by overlooking its potential.
    • Use social
      media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to promote your
      product or services.
    • Put
      information on your site that begs people to check it out. For example,
      try using polls, contests, give aways, etc. to get people to come to
      your page.
    • Promote your
      product by using e-mail marketing in conjunction with online marketing.
    • Be
      focused. Choose 1-2 main
      goals, marketing groups or services and put all your energy there. For
      example, there are a TON of social media services out there. Pick one
      that you are interested in and become comfortable with that one before
      trying another.
    • If
      you have an ecommerce site, have the ability
      to track customer orders, maintain order history, and offer related or
      suggested items based on their purchases. This is an online marketing
      strategy that is effectively employed by sites such as Overstock, Amazon
      and E-Bay.
    • Consider
      upgrading your online marketing site to be optimized for the mobile
    • Become n expert in your field. Publish articles online about your expertise on sites that you feel will see a decent amount of traffic.

    Sealing the Deal with
    Internet Marketing

    Beginning your venture in internet
    means you will be increasing the success potential of your business. Of
    course, you don’t have to take these steps alone. Companies like Page
    are there to help you seal the deal through the use
    effective search engine optimization, link building through social
    media, press releases, article syndication, blogging, and directories,
    as well as pay-per-click/sponsored advertising.

    When using these strategies along with your website, an increase in site traffic
    and revenue is sure to be sooner rather than later. An effective, well-designed and easy to use website is a must if you wish to be successful
    in today’s business world.