Natural Search Blog


Good Practices SEO With A Tinge Of Creativity

Search engine marketing is increasingly becoming popular with people from all walks of life and businesses of all hues adopting the web in a big way. The global recesssion has clearly thrust SEM into the spotlight as a great way to drive targeted traffic that is measurable and also making a huge difference to the bottomline of any company, the $ generated in revenue.

Search engine optimisation(SEO) and Pay per click (PPC) marketing are being accorded increasing importance as affordable means of tapping the market potential by reaching a targeted audience on the web compared to the traditional TV and/or newsprint advertising which are more expensive and the results are hard to measure. It is all the more imperative that SEO practitioners adopt more white hat creative methods to improve the visibility of their clients’ sites.

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Unique Content And Its SEO Implications

The world wide web is still dominated by content on websites though audio and video content have come to stay. There is no sign of textual content and its importance dissipating in the eyes of search engines in the future.

There is a crying need for unique quality content nowadays. Copywriters are in demand and I have come across cases where journalists in leading dailies and magazines have kicked their full time jobs and taken to writing content for the web. But the uniqueness of the content has come under the scrutiny of the major search engines.

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Local Store Inventories Might Help Yellow Pages SEO

In an article posted on Search Engine Land this morning, I outline how Google Maps are increasingly appearing for keyword searches, reducing referral traffic to internet yellow pages. In a brief companion piece, I also mention how embattled yellow pages should step-up their SEO game. If Google Trends is truly indicative of a sea-change that is hitting online yellow pages sites, then they must do something about it:

Top IYPs & Business Directory Sites
Natural Search Performance of Top Yellow Pages Sites in Google

(Click to enlarge) (more…)

Speaking at Dallas WordCamp 2009

Wordcamp Dallas 2009I’m speaking at this year’s WordCamp in Dallas again later this week.

WordCamp is a mini-convention for WordPress and blogging enthusiasts. Some of the content is WordPress-centric, but other content is applicable to bloggers in general, such as how to promote your blog and other stuff.

I’ll be speaking on how to use social image sharing services for promotion. Social media sites such as Flickr allow people to publish and share their photos with many other people, and the site is well-constructed in terms of search engine optimization, so posting images there helps get media distributed all over. Using Flickr can help one gain more attention, inbound links, and overall search rankings.

I’ve spoken on using Flickr for promotion and optimization before, and I’ve written on details of image optimization here a number of times.

I’d further recommend blogging to everyone – I first started blogging here on the Natural Search Blog as a guest, after Stephan Spencer invited me, and it eventually changed my overall career path. Be sure to check out Stephan’s articles on blog optimization, btw, since he’s pretty much the top authority out there on the subject.

There’s still a few seats left for Dallas WordCamp – sign up before they’re all gone!

Microformats Hit Mainstream!

Microformats LogoOver on SEMClubhouse I’ve written up a post on “Why Use Microformats?” which is a mild criticism of Michael Gray’s recent post on “HCards, Microformats and Address Data does it Matter for SEO“. Essentially, Michael suggests people should prioritize implementation of hCard into local info webpages as a lower-priority, back-burner project. I not only believe that Yahoo’s SearchMonkey developer platform and Google’s new Rich Snippets display are proving that the search engines consider the Microformats protocol to be important, but anything presented as a back-burner or rainy-day project for many major corporations pretty much relegates that work to never be done at all.

With the advent of Rich Snippets in SERPs, I think I can safely declare that Microformats have now hit mainstream! (more…)

Key to Relevance: Title Tags

I recently penned an article at Search Engine Land on Leveraging Reverse Search For Local SEO. In it, I describe how in certain exception cases, one may benefit from adding the street address into a business site’s TITLE tag. It’s not the first time that I have mentioned how TITLE tags are key to relevance in Local Search — I’d previously mentioned how critical it is for local businesses to include their category keywords and city names in the TITLE as well.

Yet, a great many sites continue to miss this vital key to relevance, and they wonder why they fail at ranking for their most apropos keywords. Keywords for which they’d otherwise have a very good chance at ranking upon!

Key Relevance: Title Tags
W3C calls the TITLE the “most important element of a quality web page” (more…)

Google’s Ranking Advice in Blended Search at SMX West

David Bailey at SMX WestJust a quick post here on some simple tips that David Bailey of Google advised in this morning’s session on “The Blended Search Revolution” at the SMX West conference in Santa Clara:

GravityStream Does Local SEO: Now Fixes Store Locator Pages

I’m pleased to announce that GravityStream can now optimize store locator pages for those retailer sites which provide search utilities for their local outlets.

GravityStream Compass Rose

As you may recall, I’ve written before about how dealer locators are terribly optimized and how store locator pages can be optimized. A great many store locator sections of major corporate sites are not allowing search engine spiders to properly crawl through and index all the locations where they may have brick-and-mortar outlets.

Most large companies seem fairly unaware that their store locators are effectively blocking search engine spiders and are making it impossible for endusers to find their locations through simple keyword searches. I’ve also listed out a number of top store locator providers which produce locational services like this for many Internet Retailer 500 companies.

Read on for details on our results…

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Advice on Subdomains vs. Subdirectories for SEO

Matt Cutts recently revealed that Google is now treating subdomains much more like subdirectories of a domain — in the sense that they wish to limit how many results show up for a given keyword search from a single site. In the past, some search marketers attempted to use keyworded subdomains as a method for improving search referral traffic from search engines — deploying out many keyword subdomains for terms for which they hoped to rank well.

Not long ago, I wrote an article on how some local directory sites were using subdomains in an attempt to achieve good ranking results in search engines. In that article, I concluded that most of these sites were ranking well for other reasons not directly related to the presence of the keyword as a subdomain — I showed some examples of sites which ranked equally well or better in many cases where the keyword was a part of the URI as opposed to the subdomain. So, in Google, subdirectories were already functioning just as well as subdomains for the purposes of keyword rank optimization. (more…)

Dealer Locator & Store Locator Services Need to Optimize

Store LocatorsMy article on local SEO for store locators just published on Search Engine Land, and any company that has a store locator utility ought to read it. Many large companies provide a way for users to find their local stores, dealers, or authorized resellers. The problem is that these sections are usually hidden from the search engines behind search submission forms, javascripted links, html frames, and Flash interfaces.

For many national or regional chain stores, providing dealer-locator services with robust maps, driving directions and proximity search capability is outside of their core competencies, and they frequently choose to outsource that development work or purchase software to enable the service easily.

I did a quick survey and found a number of companies providing dealer locator or store finder functionality: (more…)

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