SEO Scams Around Many Corners: Be Careful

Sometimes you can smell a search engine optimization (SEO) scam and sometimes they’re more clever.

If you want to guard your money and avoid some headaches, keep these simple tips in mind:

1. Does the potential consultant contact you in the middle of the night through e-mail? I doubt it’s a sign of a robist 24×7 operation.
2. What e-mail address do they use? If it’s Gmail, run fast. If they’re not even part of an established business or use Gmail to conceal their business, you don’t want to give them any thought.
3. Do they offer a guarantee? I don’t know anyone who can call in favors with search engines and land the #1 position. They’re lying or deceiving you in some way. I can get you to rank #1 for all sorts of phrases that no one will ever use. I doubt that you would like search engine rankings and no correspoinding web site visitors.
4. If you can look at their web site, what do you see? How evident is their address? Do they allow you to ask for examples of their work?
5. Finally, find out if they have any standing in the industry. Check out their blog and see whther they have produced any expert articles, guides or white papers.

Search Engines Rule with Local Businesses

People have a lot of options when seeking  local businesses like bars, restaurants and clubs.

Pew Internet Project recently explored the trends and found that search engines beat out other sources when consumers start looking for what they need.

The report, “Where people get information about restaurants and other local businesses,” found that 55% of adults favor the Internet to find places to eat and entertainment hot spots. And 36% cite search engines are their favorite place to begin. Less popular options included newspapers (31%) and word of mouth (23%).

People still have confidence in search engines because they keep delivering what people want (even with new features and changing algorithms).

What’s the takeaway? While this study was focused on eating and entertainment, you can bet that people will search locally for all sorts of businesses. How visible is yours? Contact our Internet marketing firm today to get our help.

SEO Ranking Tools — Tips on Evaluating Rankings

The ambiguous world of ranking analysis tools can be overwhelming and a struggle for some online marketing consultants.

There are endless SEO ranking tools and SEO keyword tools that are available and constantly overlooked.

Here are 5 tips to help you effectively evaluate your rankings:

  1. The infinite search engines.
    Ranking No. 5 on Google has a different impact than ranking No. 2 on MSN, so don’t get too excited when you see a higher ranking on a search engine that doesn’t attract many viewers. That doesn’t mean ignore the other search engines, but if you once ranked No. 10 on Google for a keyword then you move to No.1, then that’s something to boast about!
  2. Determine a baseline.
    It’s important you don’t ignore the keywords that drop off the Top 30 list. Even though a web user’s interest drops after the first several search results, you need to keep track of the other words to determine which ones are improving. Yes, even the ones that rank 50! A baseline will help with refining words and strategies.
  3. Testing 1, 2, 3.
    When you go to test keywords on a page, be sure the page is indexed by the search engines. You don’t want to displace terms that are already ranking well for a page.
  4. Q&A with High Rankings.
    You need to keep record and think about all the different tactics and strategies you did in order to accomplish a top ranking on Google. Did you use one or two keyword phrases in the title? Should the META description be revised to include a call to action? Will adding the company name before or after a search term be more effective? Or will it cause the ranking to fall?
  5. Look for Opportunities.
    Always keep your options open and think of other keyword opportunities. Additional strong keywords can help drive traffic to your site and increase rankings. Use web analytics to your advantage when searching for new possible keywords. Look for any unusual phrases people may be using.

For more information, contact World Synergy for your online marketing solutions.

Search Engine Marketing Agencies Watch as Rumors Fly: Will AOL Buy Yahoo?

Yahoo stock surged by 15% after an article in the Wall Street Journal said AOL and several private equity firms are exploring offers to buy Yahoo.

So what does this mean for search engines? AOL currently has about 2 percent of the search engine market share, with Yahoo taking about 20% of the market share. Combined with Bing –  the Microsoft search engine that now powers Yahoo – the two take about 28% of the market share. Google still takes the biggest chunk, with 61.6% of searches coming from its site in July 2010.

The Wall Street Journal report that a combined Yahoo and AOL would have a greater ability to compete with Google for online advertising dollars. While both sites draw a large amount of visitors, neither has been able to capitalize on online advertising like Google has.

Mashable reported that the rumor mill has been swirling for days, and some say Yahoo is actually considering buy AOL. AOL’s market share is about 1/10th the size of Yahoos.

What do you think – would a new AOL and Yahoo merger be successful? Will the merger challenge Google or will Google always be king of the search engines?

Online Search Marketing: Google Says Bing is Main Competitor

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt says Bing is his main competitor in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. He said Facebook and Apple are not competitive threats.

“What’s interesting is we think of neither [Facebook or Apple] as a competitive threat…our competitor is Bing. And it’s interesting, for years, people have asked about Microsoft and everyone has forgot about Bing.”

Watch and embedded video of the interview.

Schmidt did not comment on Google’s recent partnership with Yahoo, but certainly the merger makes Bing a stronger competitor.

Search Engine Watch reported that Google takes in about 62% of the market share for search engine use. Bing and Yahoo combined made up 28% in July 2010, a slight drop from June 2010 when the two totaled nearly 33%. Ask receives a little under 4% of the market share and AOL received about 2%.