But Penguins and Pandas Are So Cute! – The SEO Files

If you pay attention to whats happening in the SEO world, you know that there has been a lot of hustle and bustle in the last couple of weeks.  You may recall that just over a year ago, Google made a change to its algorithm called the Panda Update.  Here we’re going to talk a bit about Panda and the new update that rolled out just this week, Penguin.

So, first and foremost, the Google algorithm – you know about it right?  If you’re looking around confused and wondering if you’re the only one, you’re not.  Trust me.  The Google algorithm is the core of what makes Google Search work.  An algorithm is a step-by-step problem solving procedure.  The Google algorithm is what is used to scour the internet whenever anyone performs a search and bring back relevant results.

One of the most exciting or tiresome parts of SEO, depending on your outlook, is that the Google algorithm is always changing.

I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl, so to me, this is fun stuff.

Anyhow, changes in the Google algorithm means that what worked in SEO last year or last week, may not be effective now.  The foundations of SEO are quality, unique, fresh content and back links– those elements will always be good.  There is however, what is called “black hat SEO” – this utilizes tactics that Google sees as cheats.  For instance, back a few years ago people would “keyword stuff” their websites by adding keywords in white text on a white background.  Website visitors couldn’t see this trick but the search engines would recognize a keyword-rich page and reward it accordingly.  Of course, cheap tricks will only get you so far.  Google wised up to this sort of practice and through algorithm changes, was able to penalize sites that employed these kinds of tactics.

So whats all this talk about cute little animals? – It is standard practice for Google to name their official algorithm changes.  The 2 changes or updates that were recently released are Panda 3.4 and Penguin.

If you remember, earlier I mentioned that the Panda update is over a year old now.  The Panda update is an algorithm change that targets what Google deems as “low-quality pages”.  The Penguin update is more strenuous and targets web spam.  If you’ve seen your website traffic dip considerably in the last 2 weeks, you may have been hit by either update.  If that’s the case, its time to re-think your SEO strategy.  Google viewed your content and website as spam or low-quality.  That hurts but you can change it.

If you need help in getting your site back to where it was pre-algorithm changes or if your site has had no SEO work at all, we can help.  Give me a call at 1-877-99-ERGOS or email me at seo@ergos.com!

What To Look For in an SEO Company – The SEO Files

It has been FAR too long since I’ve written here and for that I apologize. I’m glad to be back! There are A LOT of SEO companies out there and each one has its own process, standards, results, etc. If you’re thinking of hiring an SEO company or consultant, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

    • Beware of Promises: There is not an SEO company in the world that can promise you “the number one spot on Google in 10 days!” SEO takes time. It takes time to build up keyword-focused content, backlinks, a social media presence, etc. Sure, with hard work and good content, you may very well be the #1 search result on Google. But your position in the search engines will invariably fluxuate depending on your output, your competition’s SEO efforts, Google’s algorithm changes, etc.

 

    • Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! SEOs are nice and we certainly don’t bite, in fact, we love when people are interested and want to understand what we do. When hiring an SEO consultant, you need to make sure that you’re comfortable with them, as they’ll have access to your website, hosting info., etc. If you’re unable to ask questions or don’t like the way they are answered, keep looking.

 

    • Ask for Results: Again, no SEO company can guarantee you the top spot in the search engines but that doesn’t mean you won’t get there if they know what they’re doing. Before hiring any SEO consultants, ask to see results from some of their current clients. Ask for client references, as well. The good guys will be more than happy to supply you with satisfied client referrals. You can see one of our client’s results with the graph below – this graph measures the website visitor’s per week.

 

SEO Client 2 Data

The above are just a few pointers to keep in mind when you’re shopping about for an SEO consultant. If you have questions about SEO or ERGOS IT Solutions’ SEO services, give us a call at 1-877-99-ERGOS. It’s time to put your website to work for your business! Feel free to shoot us an email too.

Blogs for Everyone! – The SEO Files

We’ve been writing a lot lately about search engine optimization/ SEO and we figured, why not keep the good times rollin’?

Blogs are a huge part of today’s internet culture and everyone has their favorite, whether its a gossip blog, photo blog, professional blog, you’re best friend’s online journal, etc.  Blogs are not only a great avenue for procrastination at work (don’t worry, I won’t tell your boss…) but they can also be utilized in your search engine optimization, SEO efforts.

The great thing about blogs is their democratic nature – all businesses, no matter their industry, can have a  blog.  Whether you’re a marketing firm, titanium bar manufacturer, IT services company or law firm there is an audience interested in your area of business. You might be saying “Ok, I’ll buy that, but how is my manufacturing blog going to help my SEO efforts and my business?” – Well, since you asked!  Blogs can help in your SEO efforts because they are a great source of new, fresh content. Additionally, your blog is another source of back links to your website – when you blog about something interesting that relates to your website, add a link back to it!

Another thing to keep in mind is the social nature of blogs and the blogging community.  When you produce unique and interesting content, the chances that another blogger will read it and share it with their followers is pretty good.  Blogging, like all social media, is about building relationships with your followers, customers and the blogging community.  By employing search engine optimization, SEO principles within your blog posts (keyword-focus, fresh content, back links), you’ll help your SEO efforts while building up a following.

Aside from all the SEO goodness of blogs, blogging is just plain fun.  So go on, give it a try!  If you have questions about blogging and SEO, check out our Blogging and SEO information or give us a call at 1-877-99-ERGOS.  Don’t forget you can always shoot us an email, as well.

Let’s Link Up Sometime – The SEO Files

A few weeks ago we started talking about the pieces of the SEO puzzle.  We talked about the Keyword and content building – keyword-focused and keyword-rich website content is sort of the “bread and butter” of search engine optimization, SEO.  By building content that is interesting, factual, keyword-focused and keyword-relevant, you’re giving the search engines exactly what they want! (Bonus – interesting, unique content is highly share-able, thus the power of social media.  It all comes together!)

Another very important piece of the search engine optimization puzzle is the back link.  A “back link” is when another website has a link on their website that points back to yours.  A good way to think about back links is as “votes” – search engines see back links to your site as “votes” for your site.  Say, for example, that you are a manufacturing company.  Suppose that you’ve written an article about a new manufacturing process that is more efficient, better for the environment and cost effective.  Now suppose that the Manufacturers Club of America (fictional club, at least I just made it up) sees your article and uses it as a reference source with a link back to your website.  This is a back link , and a QUALITY one at that.  An organization like the MCA would be seen as something of an expert on manufacturing – if they linked back to your site, the search engines would say “Oh hey, this MCA knows what they’re talking about, if MCA links back to your website, this other website must be something special.”

While associations, clubs, organization, governing bodies, etc. make for great back links,  a back link can really come from anywhere.  From blog posting, blog commenting, articles you’ve written, social media shares, etc.  There are back links that are better than others but they can all work together to help in your search engine optimization, SEO efforts. 

On tap for next time – We’ll talk a little bit more about the different kinds and sources of back links.  If you want to learn a bit more about back links and how to use back linking as part of your search engine optimization, SEO, game plan head over to ERGOS Technology and give our page Link Building & SEO a read.  Also, you can  give us a call at 1-877-ERGOS, our SEO team is always excited and ready to answer any questions you may have!  Don’t want to call us but still have questions – that’s OK too!  Just shoot us an email.

The Power of Social – The SEO Files

Social media is everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube, Google +, etc.  If you own a small business, you’re constantly hearing about how you should be using social media to expand your business – gain friends and followers and likes and plus-ones and you’ll be at the top of the heap and what are you waiting for?! Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Lets all just take a step back, take a deep breath and think about this rationally. 

It is true that social media has saturated the internet culture and that social media can be used to help grow your business – BUT social media is most effective when thought of as part of your overall website marketing and search engine optimization, SEO, strategy.    Here at Houston’s EBS IT Solutions, we like to use social media for our SEO clients because it is interactive.  Social media is all about, you guessed it, being social.  Social media allows you to build relationships with your customers in a very real way.  Sure, you can use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. to marketing and sell your business but that is not it’s main function. 

If you’re not supposed to sell, sell, sell through social media – why bother?  In terms of search engine optimization, SEO, social media platforms are a great source of back links (a back link is when another site has a link back to your site).  If you have really great, interesting, share-able content on your website – Link to it through your social media platforms!  If your customers, followers, likes find it interesting they’ll pass it on – thus the power of social media. 

Learn more about how you can use social media to help in your search engine optimization efforts –

Questions about search engine optimization, SEO, in general or about ERGOS SEO services specifically?  Call us! 877-99-ERGOS or shoot us an email at seo@ergos.com.com – We’d love to hear from you!

Pieces of the SEO Puzzle

It has been awhile since we’ve covered anything SEO related here at IT Technology and Services, so I thought I would take back the reins this week and go over some of the pieces to the SEO puzzle.  Search engine optimization, search engine marketing, SEO, SEM – it can seem like a bit much sometimes.  You know you should be employing search engine optimization tactics, but where do you start?

At ERGOS IT Solutions, we start with the keyword.  We do an extensive keyword analysis to find out what exactly people are searching for.  After the initial keyword analysis, arguably the most important piece of the SEO puzzle is website content and content building. The goal for the search engines is to find and return in your search results the websites that are the most relevant and most informative on any given keyword.  Having factual, accurate, engaging, unique content that is keyword-focused goes a long way with the search engines. 

Consistently building new content for your website is important because search engines will take into consideration the “density” of your website.  A website with 20 keyword-focused pages will likely rank better than one with 5 keyword-focused pages.  When building content pages, you want to produce pages that mean something – to your customer, your business.  Fluff isn’t enough.  Building content isn’t about tricking the search engines with a fluff piece that is stuffed with keywords.  Remember, the search engines want to return the best sites available – by building pages with informative, interesting, valuable content you’ll be giving the search engines exactly what they want.

The search engine optimization picture is getting clearer by the minute! If you want to learn more and you want to learn it NOW, check out our information on SEO and Content Building.

CMS – Useful or A Scam?

There are a lot of tools out there for building websites – Dreaweaver, WordPress, a website builder provided by your hosting company and many more.  One option a lot of people use is a CMS or Content Management System.  In the next couple of posts, we’ll be talking about what a CMS actually does and what potential issues, generally and in terms of SEO, they can present. 

CMS – content management systems: they can be perfectly legitimate, useful website tools and they can be borderline scams.

A CMS is a software tool that is supposed to make it easy to build website content. A perfect application is for creating a big catalog of products. You have all these products with images, prices, descriptions and don’t want to have to build and maintain separate web pages for every product. In that case, a CMS is a great application. The CMS lets you enter or import the product information into the CMS database and then the tool creates each product page the users sees in a nice display page –with the product name, price, image, description and other fields as appropriate.

However, for the text driven content core of your website what does a CMS system do for you and what are the issues?  The pitch is that the CMS makes it easier and faster  to build and maintain web pages.  So you enter your site text and images into some forms and that data goes into the CMS too’s database  on their server.   So what are the issues?

First you do not have a website – you have some data in somebody’s server.  If you have any issues with the CMS firm – pricing, control issues, need more flexibility, etc. you cannot move your website, you can only with great difficulty even recreate it.  

On tap for next time – More issues with CMS tools.

What Do You Mean “It’ll Take Months”?!

It has been awhile since we’ve written here at IT Technology and Services – but we’re back and ready to impart what wisdom we can!  So, you hear a lot about SEO and SEM and Website Marketing these days but really, what does that mean?  Here at EBS IT Solutions we specialize in  Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so I’ll focus on that pesky little acronym.

Search engine optimization is just what it sounds like – when you are engaged in SEO, you are working to optimize your website and web page content so that it is found and displayed by Google and other search engines, preferably at the top of the search results.  The foundation of all search engine optimization (SEO) is the Keyword.  When users search the internet, they use a keyword or key phrase.  Someone searching “IT services, Houston” for example, is looking for a company that provides IT services.  In order to rank well for search terms, you need website content that is keyword-rich.  Another important part of SEO, is building backlinks to your site.  A “backlink” is when another site has a link to your website.  You want to have quality backlinks which can come from any number of avenues – blog posts, tweets, articles, ezines, directories.

The thing about SEO that gets some people is that it really is a process.  SEO takes time – yes, for some sites it can even take months.  In our world of instantaneous communication this is sometimes hard for people to understand.  With search engine optimization, it may take time to build up enough content and backlinks to start seeing results in the search engines – but trust me, once those search engine rankings start climbing up and up, you’ll get glad you invested some time in SEO!

Social Networking – Facebook

“According to research from database firm Drake Direct, Facebook now accounts for 25 percent of Internet page views in the United States.” I stumbled on this reference and it certainly caught my attention! I know my two teenagers spend a ton of time on Facebook and stay in touch with friends and family. I have looked over their shoulders and seen the general drift of it, but I never logged in myself and I don’t have a page. I am thus officially a dinosaur.

Our company, ERGOS, does have an embryonic Facebook page and inspired by the page view statistic I decided to log in and check it all out. I am doing that as I write.   If you are also a dinosaur you find someone’s profile and you see their “wall” – a public listing of comments, feedback, messages. I am looking at the Facebook profile for Amazon.com for example – the comments on their wall are bashing them for carrying a Halloween costume that seems to be inappropriate.  One message: “Pull this costume off your website for good!!! Needless to say, I will NEVER again use my Amazon account and will no longer support such an idiotic corporation.”

Ok, for my first toe in the water that is a little unnerving -as a business person!  Ok let’s try Starbucks, we find:“ ooooh, mocha…yummy”  and “starbucks is the best!! im going their tomorrow.”  Well that is more encouraging.

Our ERGOS profile is just our logo and a little information about the company so far. We have made a few Houston business links. I am going to push that we build the profile up some –get more content and links and I will report on what happens we go along. How can the social networking phenomena be utilized for marketing?  That is the business question we will discuss some more.

Microsoft’s Bing Makes Waves for Google

After years of Microsoft trying to keep up with Google, they finally made some headway with the release of Bing, Microsoft’s new “decision engine”. Since the release of Bing, Google has released a pre-beta stage of a new Google engine named “Caffeine” .  Coincidence? I think not.

It is not Google’s norm to announce an upgrade release; they tend to keep the magic behind the curtains, so why the big announcement this time? Some would say it was to keep the spotlight on Google.  Now that Microsoft has come out with a “faster, better Search engine” Google wants to make sure they don’t lose their audience. Google claims not,  “Nope. I love competition in search and want lots of it, but this change has been in the works for months. I think the best way for Google to do well in search is to continue what we’ve done for the last decade or so: focus relentlessly on pushing our search quality forward. Nobody cares more about search than Google, and I don’t think we’ll ever stop trying to improve.” [1].

The new version of Google is to be better and faster, we all know Google is fast, how much faster can they make it? Well just about twice as fast! Speed is great and all, but what we all want to know is how is the new Google going to affect our search engine optimization efforts? What ranking, crawling & indexing changes will we see?

The new Google is to include more comprehensive ways of crawling the web and determining PageRank. The main goal is to return more relevant results – faster. According to Google’s Matt Cut the change is “primarily under the hood” [1] Google will still look the same but the bots will be working differently. When the new updated is released the most important words in SEO will “reputable and relevant”!

Google is working hard to get the users what they are looking for faster which means SEO’s will need to work  harder to keep up with the race.

A push in favor of reputable can only help our ERGOS SEO work  -we take the high road by helping our clients create rich content that should always be favored by the search engines.

To check out the Caffeine preview yourself you can go to:http://www2.sandbox.google.com/

[1]http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/type/googleseo/page/4/)