A question I get asked time and again is “What’s the best rank checking software?” or “What’s the best backlink checker?” and time and again I explain that personally I find SEO Powersuite’s set of SEO tools does everything I need it to (and they have an excellent free version!). To help me answer these questions in future I’ve decided to put together a comprehensive review that I can just point at instead of trying to explain the pros and cons over and over (and I’ll hopefully get a few links ;-)!!)
So here goes…….
SEO Powersuite consists of four separate pieces of software or “modules” called Link Assistant, Rank Tracker, SEO SpyGlass & Website Auditor.
This is simply a matter of firing it up, entering the url of the site you want audited and hit enter. Website Auditor then crawls the … Read More »
I’ve decided to put together a list of some of the best FREE tools that are available to help webmasters, bloggers, amateur SEOs and basically any website owner improve their SEO. Before anyone starts berating me on the fact that there are much better tools out there than this bunch of kid’s toys, this list is compiled to help anyone trying to learn SEO do so without having to spend a fortune on expensive software.
So, here goes, in no particular order:
This is probably pretty obvious to most but it still amazes me how many websites I come across that aren’t verified with Webmaster Tools or have Analytics installed. Some of the privacy conscious prefer to steer clear of Google Analytics because it gives Google access to loads of valuable user behaviour data on site and if this data … Read More »
The world of local search has been buzzing the last few days with the arrival of Google+ Local on Thursday morning. It has been long anticipated that Google+ would at some stage at least amalgamate with it’s big brother Google Places. This latest development however, shows that Google+ Local is to be an entity in it’s own right and moreover, intends to lock horns with Facebook fan pages in the battle for social supremacy.
Business owners all over the country are sighing in disbelief at the thought of having to get to grips with yet another “must have” social platform. It’s only understandable that busy local business owners are at least a little frustrated at trying to keep up to date with everything that’s happening online these days. They’re getting it from all angles about local search marketing, google places, … Read More »
The SERPs are constantly changing and evolving. It is no longer enough to rank at the top of the listings to guarantee the best click through rate for your listing. The new universal search results and the widespread adoption of Rich Snippets or Microformats have opened up a whole range of opportunities for business owners to make their listings more visually attractive which in many cases can draw the user in and thus increase CTRs.
We’ve all seen rich snippets in one form or another in recent months but what exactly are they and how can you utilise them for your own website? I came across this excellent infographic on seoMoz’s blog which explains a few of the basics very well. Other excellent resources once you have the basics covered are schema.org and microformats.org.
Visual Guide to Rich Snippets on SEOmoz … Read More »
Are you still sitting on the fence waiting on someone to drag you into the world of online marketing? Have you dipped your toes in? Maybe you have a half-ass website which no-one can find, a Facebook fan page that is still wishing everyone Happy New Year or a Google Places page which hasn’t been claimed? Apologies for all the wild generalisations but these are cases that we come across all too often, especially here in rural Ireland (generalisation no.4!). I believe it is actually counter-productive to start trying to market your business online unless you have a clear understanding of what is involved and are at least someway committed to persevering with it to achieve an end goal or target.
As my dear mother often reminds us “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” (I think the more common … Read More »
Google today announced that they have rolled out their very successful “Step Inside” business photo program for local business owners here in Ireland. This is excellent news for many business owners and is perfect for anyone who would like to showcase their business premises online. Take a look at this short video of how a toy store in America has capitalised on this excellent opportunity.
(Video Courtesy of Google)
How does it work?
Google has a list of “Trusted Photographers” who have completed a specific training course provided by Google. The business owner finds the nearest trusted photographer from this list and contacts them to arrange a photo-shoot. The photographer then takes snaps of your business … Read More »
While many webmasters are still either licking their wounds or celebrating their rankings boost following Google’s latest Panda update (3.5) which rolled out on 19th April, Big G dropped another bombshell in the form of another new algo which they have affectionately labelled “Penguin”. The Penguin update (aka the Webspam update) is specifically targeted at sites that aren’t adhering to Google’s quality guidelines or are “over-optimised”. With the update, they have quoted these 8 guidelines in particular as the ones they are policing most rigorously:
Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
Don’t send automated queries to Google.
Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.
Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or … Read More »
9 Important On site SEO tips
Are you in the process of building a new website? Have you already got a website but are wondering why it isn’t ranking for even low competition keyword phrases? Here are nine very important on site SEO factors that every website owner should be aware of.
1. Canonicalisation / Well-structured Urls / .htaccess
Try to structure your site in a way that is easy to follow and create subfolders for large category items. Also make sure your urls are easily read and have a set structure, preferably one without ampersands and using full hyphenated words as the url e.g http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-url-canonicalization/ , (Good post by the way!). This not only helps the spiders to know what the page is about but it also helps the user and is a lot easier to remember.
It’s very important that your site redirects … Read More »
It has been an eventful week in the land of SEO with the latest Panda update shaking up a few SERPS and another couple of blog networks getting shot down. With these headlines dominating the SEO news sites there have been a few other interesting developments that have slipped under the radar. Here’s a few of the stand-out sites/blog posts/resources which I’ve stumbled on this week.
First up, Mike Blumenthal wrote an excellent post on the latest Venice Update on local search over at http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/04/11/the-venice-shift-from-local-pack-to-blended-results/ , drop back for my own take on how it has affected local Irish search results in the next few days.
Next up, Nicaragua blames an error on Google Maps for their military crossing the border into Costa Rica! http://searchengineland.com/nicaragua-raids-costa-rica-blames-google-maps-54885?fb_ref=sel-story-stbox
Another interesting post by SearchEngineLand explains how Google intends to improve it’s algorithm to the extent that it understands the actual meaning … Read More »
Today I’ve decided to answer a question which I regularly get asked by business owners when discussing possible internet marketing strategies….
What are backlinks?
Backlinks, backlinks, backlinks…where to start? First, I suppose, I should define the word according to the gospel that is Wikipedia….”a backlink is any link received by a web node (web page, directory, website, or top level domain) from another web node”.
In other words, a backlink is any reference or link to your site that is found anywhere else on the internet.
Ok, you get it, but what does that have to do with how your site ranks in the search engine?
Well, the best way to explain it is to think of the internet like a load of different groups or categories, and within each group is a big popularity contest. So, for example, the main group/category that I … Read More »
What attracts people’s attention when presented with Google Places local search results?
I stumbled across an excellent post by SEOMoz who were given the opportunity by Mirametrix to use their state of the art eye-tracking technology to study how and where users’ eyes are drawn to on typical search result pages. This technology follows the user’s eyes and creates an image similar to a heat map of the areas on the page where the user’s eyes are focused on most.
They used a couple of variations of a typical search query for pizza (with location settings enabled on their browser) which bring up both blended and “pure” local results.
Let’s take a look at how they got on…
Example 1: Blended Results
The “blended” local results. This query (best pizza in Chicago) returns a complete list of “blended” search results. This is a very common SERP … Read More »
SEO / Local Search Marketing for small businesses in Derry & Donegal – Is it worth their while?
I’ve been out and about with our recent flier campaign and talking to some local small business owners to get some feedback on how they view online / local search marketing. One of the most common views seems to be “Ah sure that wouldn’t be any good to me”
Being involved in online marketing myself for quite a while now, I couldn’t imagine having any sort of business without some sort of online presence. However, the general response I received from small business owners this last week or so:
Surprised me that so many didn’t think increasing their visibility online would benefit their business
Made me wonder whether or not they had a point!
Before I go any further I must point out that I was not … Read More »
Google Map Maker’s recent redesign has made it all the more simple and engaging for users to create and edit aspects of their local maps. It has caused quite a stir in the US since it’s release back in April 2011 and the rapid influx of user generated or “community” content had strained it’s capacity in the early stages of it’s release. This was largely due to the fact that all edits needed to be reviewed by Google’s staff before validation.
Take a look at this time-lapse video of how the map of Baghdad evolved…
The recent aesthetic redesign has also involved a restructuring in the way it validates community edits. Now, instead of having to review each edit themselves, Google now appoints some of the best contributors to Google Maps as delegated moderators. This has … Read More »
We’re all pretty familiar with the Google Places results we receive when we enter a local search query but who or what decides which business deserves the right to get the highly sought after “A” position? Well the answer is simple (and obvious)…Google!
There are however many factors that we know about which help influence Google’s decision…
Places page 100% complete
This may seem a pretty obvious factor and it is, but it is one that we all too often see over-looked. Each area of your Google Places page should be completed in full to provide the user with as much information as possible. This helps the CTR (click through rate) and also shows Google that you have put a bit of effort into it.
Take the time to get ten professional pictures of your business premises or staff and if you … Read More »
Well I think it’s only fair to take a few minutes to wish our old buddy Google Maps a (belated!) very happy 7th birthday today. Considering she has helped me out of many an otherwise panic-stricken situation she and everyone involved with her deserved their celebration.
Google Maps has become an integral part of a lot of our daily lives, in one form or another. I only recently had her to thank for getting me safely to a wedding in Sligo while the purpose-build satellite navigation gadget we had in the car didn’t know where we were! I’ve had her to thank countless times in Australia whilst on my travels, with the “Places” app on my phone I was never lost.
Let’s take a look at the history of Google Maps since it’s inception way back in 2005…….
In 2004 Google … Read More »
Google places step by step guide
A simple guide to starting your own Local Search Marketing campaign.
With over 65% of Irish people using the internet to find local products and services, and over 80% of those using Google, it is absolutely essential that every business has an online presence. If your business can’t be found in the search engines, it is simply invisible to these prospective clients. Add to that the fact that by the end of 2012 it is expected that over 50% of mobile phone users in Ireland will own a smartphone and it is becoming more important by the day that your business is visible in the local online search results.
Here is your simple step by step guide to setting up and optimising your Google Places page:
Claim your listing!
This is a pretty obvious … Read More »
BIA/Kelsey announced recently that over 50% of mobile phone users in Ireland are expected to own a smartphone by the end of 2012. Are we to expect this level of local online search in Ireland in the near future? I suspect not but it is worth taking note all the same! …………………
Google found that 92 percent of smartphone owners in the US seek local (offline) information via their devices, and that 89 percent of those people took some form of action after such a lookup. Beyond this Google said that 25 percent of people in the US made a purchase after a local lookup. In addition, in the US, 51 percent called a business and 48 percent actually went to the business location.
via Google: 1 Billion People Will Use Mobile As Primary Internet Access Point In 2012.
What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is basically the process of improving a website’s visibility in the search engines via the un-paid or “organic” listings.
How it works:
Each search engine (Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.) has their own individual algorithm i.e. criteria that determines which websites deserve to rank highly for the keyword or search term that it’s targeting. Understanding these algorithm’s is probably the most important factor when preparing your SEO strategy. Google’s algorithm takes hundreds of factors into account to determine which website deserves the coveted number 1 position. These factors range in their levels of importance and only Google really knows the level of importance given to each SEO factor, it is up to us to figure out what the “Google Bot” likes and doesn’t like!
Here’s some of the major factors that are widely regarded to influence Google’s … Read More »
Google Plus has finally arrived. The much talked about social layer which is aimed almost entirely at taking over Facebook’s monopoly of social networking is now here. Google are still warning of some bugs and glitches that need ironing out and have delayed it’s full release several times. I have a sneaky suspicion however that this periodic rolling out is more of a creation of suspense and publicity than anything else.
Google + will be omnipresent on it’s products, and you may have noticed the familiar grey strip at the top of all Google pages has turned black with many new features to incorporate the search giant’s latest social offering. Some of these features are very similar to those on Facebook such as the notifications tab which similarly lights up when someone likes a post etc. but Google + then starts … Read More »