What has web hosting got to do with SEO?

A good question with no simple answer. On the face of it, web hosting has nothing to do with web hosting. When we talk of web SEO, we mostly talk about onsite and offsite optimization. However, SEO gurus know that web hosting can help enhance your Google search ranking by a few notches. Here are a few things you may like to look into in connection with web hosting.

How old is your website or blog?

The search engine world is full of puzzles and lost trails. Google on its part plays the role of a quiz master quite well. SEO masters, on their part, have tried to find some kind of a hint or clue from the data they have analyzed. What everyone seems to agree on, is the fact the age of your website matters. If you have been there, say, for ten years, your search ranking gets a teeny weeny boost.

The longer you have been out there in the ether (internet) better is your reputation. Obviously you are not a fly by night operator. This seems to be the logic which seems to be operating. On your part, you can hardly do anything about it. One of the ways to circumvent this problem is to buy an old domain which has been out there for a long time.

How many years are you registered for?

Generally, we register our website for a year and renew it thereafter. It seems that Google factors this into their SEO algorithm. I agree that you have to pay upfront to register your domain, but I would consider it worth it. I would go for a 5 year registration to be sure.

Are you a part of shared hosting?

If you are a small site (chances are that you are) you have opted for shared hosting. It seems that Daddy Google doesn’t like people living in crowded places. If your website is on a server which has over 500 other sites, you are likely to be looked down upon. If you look at it another way, the speed of very website would be adversely affected when all the websites on your server are accessed simultaneously. Once again, you hardly have any control over the matter. You can try and fool Google by buying a unique C Class IP.

Do you have a unique C Class IP?

I am not really sure whether this works but buying a C Class IP seems to be quite a popular pastime. The logic goes like this – when you have a unique IP, you can be on a shared server and still look as if you are on a dedicated server. Anyway, this doesn’t cost much and you can give it a try.

Conclusion

Individually, these factors may not amount to much, but collectively they can influence your search ranking. You must therefore keep these in mind while looking at aspects of web hosting.

 

About the guest author: Sara Lamb is an online marketing specialist.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Protecting Your Website From Negative SEO

It’s a well known fact that Google penalizes sites that violates its quality regulations. The problem is that your site can fall victim to these violations without your doing or even knowledge. This happens when your competitors decide to attack your website with negative SEO tactics. Negative SEO, for those who do not know what it is, involves implementing black hat SEO tactics used to improve SEO rankings. Negative SEO attacks can quickly destroy the success of a website. In this post, I will discuss some of the measures website owners can take to mitigate the effects of negative SEO.

Dealing with Website Intrusion

Some unprofessional competitors can hack your site and manipulate its contents. If you think that the objective of such attacks is to thrash your website, then you are wrong. What most of these attackers do is to install malware into your HTML source code to edit your content or restrict a large number of IP addresses from accessing your site. You can protect yourself from these attacks by using the latest servers with the latest security patches. Other security measures you should use include reliable anti-virus software as well as strong passwords. You should also monitor your site to identify and repair any damages as soon as they occur.

Dealing with Bad Links

Google tracks and penalizes sites with low-quality links. This distinction between low-quality links and high-quality links became even more important for post-Penguin SEO. Attackers who decide to use this method of negative SEO on your site will create numerous (enough to tip the balance from the effects of your high-quality links) low-quality back links to your site. It is not easy to defend your site from this kind of attack, but it is possible. First, you need to ensure that your website is of very high quality. This involves linking with press releases, news mentions and others.

Dealing with Content Manipulation

There are also competitors who will make copies of your website and post them on other sites. Naturally, this shouldn’t be a problem because Google recognizes sites that had the contents first, and ranks them high. The complication arises when a website with new content is duplicated and the duplicate site is indexed before the original site. In fact, Google sometimes awards high ranks to sites with higher PageRank at the expense of those with low rankings. This means if a competing website with a high PageRank duplicates your content, it will get the benefit of the indexing. To deal with this threat, you ought to check for duplicate content regularly and report sites that have extensive copies of your content. You should also update your web content regularly.

Dealing with Fake Reviews

Fake reviews are also abhorred by the major search engines, and unscrupulous competitors can take advantage of the fact to ruin your ranking. In this case, they add fake reviews to different business listings. This means you should monitor your reviews regularly and notify Google whenever you identify a problem.

Dealing with Unwarranted DMCA Removal Requests

Unwarranted Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) request can effectively ruin your website because it targets your high-quality backlinks. It starts with the competitor sending notifications to the webmaster claiming that pages containing your links are infringe on some copyrights. If you are not careful, your pages can easily be pulled down this way. You can preempt this by establishing prior relationships with any sites you backlink to so that the links are recognized.

As you can see, negative SEO tactics can ruin your website, and by extension, your business. You need to have a strong SEO foundation for your website and monitor it carefully for any changes. You should also register with Google Webmaster Tools so that you are warned early in case your site is marked as using negative SEO techniques.

 

About the guest author: Charles Dearing is a website marketing consultant. He is constantly looking at ways for his clients to improve their SEO performance. Click the link to learn about an inbound marketing agency and their solutions.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Sure-fire SEO Tips for Small Businesses

If you are a small business owner, then what you want for your site is exposure to the several thousands of people, who are keen on buying your product. When people with an interest in the product you offer, visit your site at the right time, it converts to sales and thus revenue. Whether you are a brick and mortar establishment with an online presence or operate exclusively online, the importance of getting the top rankings on Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the like will hit upon you only when you are aware of the three factors, listed below:

  • Comscore, an Internet analytics company says that 90% of commercial web searches end up in sales at establishments outside the web space.
  • According to the statistics from Kelsey Group, we come to know that 74% searches on search engines are localized.
  • Out of the total local searches done, the output from 61% are direct purchases says Comscore.

Structure Your Website Well

Having a website structure that is technically sound is the foundation for making your small business website search ready. If your website is custom built and not based on a platform, then you should take note of the design, content placement and linking and align it to Search Engine requirements. Good SEO requires genuine websites with real content, and developing a style statement is only a secondary objective.

Search Engines prefer clear content rather than content being represented in flash. Include a site map and make the navigation easy to use. When a person on the lookout for a product comes to your business site and reads the information, the navigation process should breeze the visitor through the necessary details and prompt him or her to make the purchase or walk-in to your store, immediately.

If your business calls for a localized search optimization, registering with Google Places is a good idea. This brings visibility in localized searches and adds to the local flavor of your business. Manage your Google Places page by building the right local network and getting reviews that leave a mark.

Get Your Keyword Strategy Right

  • Brainstorm with partners, friends, family and analyze market data to come up with keywords that indicate your business and that which interested people will search. This is step one in arriving at a set of keywords.
  • Generate keywords after running experimental search queries. If the keyword chosen is ranked lower, but has very low competition, then that should be a good target. You can also get some that rank higher but relate well to your business.
  • Great care should be taken when including keywords in the content. Priority should be given to clear, precise, readable content and not stuff it with the keywords. This is a sure fire tip for higher Search Engine rankings. Keep in mind the latest Google Panda updates for developing a high quality website.

Create a Social Media Space for Your Business

Being active in Social media and involving your business in Social media marketing efforts will prove beneficial in the long-run. It also adds up to creating social signals that help improve the reputation of your business.

Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube are great places to start socializing with customers, partners, affiliates and the general public. Keep track of any comments and posts on your business, encourage conversations, and moderate. Get your satisfied customers to write testimonials and reviews about the products and services offered by you and the also about their experiences in doing business with you.

Increase the credibility of your Small Business by strengthening your online presence. This will not only help you get a good Search Engine ranking it would also result in increased brand awareness amidst your customer segment.

 

About the guest author: Andrea Walters, a freelance writer for www.satellitesales.com – The Lowest-Priced Satellite TV in America. with dish network channels

Website Builder on Web.com

In today’s fast paced economy the trend is shifting away from the corporate companies and consumer trust among small businesses is on the rise. Many small businesses fail to catch the trend at the optimum time due to lack of a well designed and well managed website. There is no doubt in saying that the internet has reshaped entire companies and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The large companies often have well maintained sites with special designs targeted to create sales. Due to a tight budget, lack of resources and technical knowhow; small businesses often give little or no importance to specifically designing a website to psychologically target their customers and generate sales.

As websites have primarily been used to marketing products and keeping customers involved and updated on business, they were not used to directly sell goods or services. Most business owners fail to see the potential for a website to be used as a tool to generate extensive sales in all sectors. In order to help small and medium business owners to improve their market reach and increase profits a company by the name of web.com came to our aid.

Their services offered are to the point and simple for even the most technologically incompetent person to use. You can get the company professionals to make a site for you. If you would like to be a website builder and create your own site, you can do so with ease taking advantage of features like the free domain name registration, unlimited web storage and unlimited number of email accounts with 10 GB of storage space. They also have more than 9500 ready templates for designs that will work best, so that you can find the one best suited to the need and theme of your business. Along with these features and many more they also give you access to a large quantity of high quality stock images which add great aesthetic value to your site.

Apart of being website builders, web.com also gives us great results in online marketing and social media marketing. Services targeted specially to handle a professional Facebook page for your company, others to give you exposure to all major search engines and social media sites. They also handle email marketing and reputation tracking services to make sure that any bad media will be brought to your attention and pushed subtly out of view.

 

This is an original review published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

SEO Tactics to Focus in the New Year

SEO work must be constant in order to properly benefit your business, and it is always evolving. While the overall goal will always be to build the authority of your websites and dominate searches for certain keywords, Google continues to update in ways that makes that job more and more difficult. The secret remains proper prioritization, and determining the right balance of social media marketing, search authority and conversion of traffic. There are always plenty of elements vying for your attention, so consider some of these SEO tactics that should demand your focus and attention in the new year.

The one task that always must top your list is optimizing your pages based on the best practices of SEO. Check out Google’s starter guide for search engine optimization, which you can download for free online. Each chapter in that guide will walk you through the most important features, and proper SEO will take each and every one into consideration. Start off by making sure your page titles are both accurate and unique, and that you’ve got the right description tags in place. But also take the time to check out the structure of your URL and your site overall, to make sure you are building upon a solid foundation. Google’s guide will help you look at form and function for SEO best practices, and the more time you spend on each section, the better results you will post in conversions and site rankings.

Social media continues to increase in reach and importance, meaning any SEO strategy for 2013 must include a quality plan for dealing with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the other sites that are important for your business. People now make browsing and purchasing decisions based on peer review through the social media sites more than for almost any other reason. In addition, you want your customers posting positive reviews about you as well. The more times your brand is mentioned or recommended online, the better your traffic will be. This is just as important as keyword dominance, so keep the requirements of a strong social media presence on your mind.

The fastest growing segment of technology today is mobile hardware and software. That means you must take mobile apps and pages under consideration. All sites you work on should be optimized for the mobile space. Chances are your sites will be viewed far more frequently on a tablet or smartphone than on a laptop or desktop computer. So if you aren’t focused on this market you are missing out. It also goes much further than simply designing your pages to resize based on various screens. All of your calls to action should include location specific references, which means GPS integration. Don’t forget to bring social network sharing into play, as well as one-click options for calling or joining mailing lists.

The next major focal point follows mobile platforming closely, and that is building out local pages on your sites. The more data on your site that describes it as a local business, the better your search results will be. Remember that most people searching on mobile devices are looking for proximity to particular businesses. So you’ve got to include things such as logos, images, descriptions, operating hours and maps that will help those nearby discover your business through searches. Remember, search engine optimisation is not an exact science, but the amount of work you put into it will directly equate to results. That means all of those man hours are a clear and definable investment, which will serve you well in the new year.

 

This is a unique article written by Sarah Harris and published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

How to Brand Your Blog and Stand Out in Your Niche

When the word “brand” comes to mind, you might think about companies like Coca Cola, Nike, and Apple, just to name a few. And the average consumer can provide you with hallmarks associated with each of these popular companies, from the fire-engine red of Coke cans to the famous Nike swoosh to the sleek, white cases that characterize Apple’s mobile devices. So how does your little blog fit in to the wide world of products and services that enjoy consumer recognition thanks to their branding efforts? How do you compete? Is it even worth the effort to try? Well, let’s just start by saying that if your blog is your business, you’d better start thinking very seriously about how to brand yourself, because anybody who wants to compete in the online arena needs to find ways to stand out within their niche, and branding is part of that strategy.

That said, branding is no easy undertaking, and it will require some thought and effort on your part. For starters, you might want to come up with a mission statement. Certainly you are already well aware of the focus and purpose of your blog. Perhaps you want to keep your readers up-to-date on the latest advances in green technology, health and fitness, or the real estate market. And if you’re monetizing your blog then you are no doubt looking to increase traffic and raise your page rank in order to attract the interest of advertisers and affiliates.

But it’s also important to understand the goals and ideals that inform your operation. What exactly are you trying to provide to the public at large and how do you plan to do it better than everyone else? What sets you apart? Is it your honesty, integrity, and devotion to telling the truth? Is it your desire to improve the lives of your readers through your posts? What do you believe in? What are you committed to? These are the questions you need to answer before you can create your mission statement and start down the road to branding your blog.

Once you have managed to suss out your core values you can begin to tackle tasks associated with creating your brand image, such as designing a logo, creating a visual theme for your virtual platforms, and perhaps even coming up with a slogan. These images and ideas associated with your brand will make it easier for customers to remember and recognize you, reinforcing your efforts towards company branding. And this, in turn, will help you to stand out within your niche and essentially become more popular than your competitors.

In a way, branding is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you create an image for your company, it informs the public of how you would like to be seen, and when they start to see you a certain way, that can help to reinforce the brand image you have presented, allowing your online presence to grow. You might not think that this is important for a simple blog, but if your ultimate goal is to reach as many people as possible in order to spread the message embodied in your blog, then branding is an essential step that will help you to remember the core values that are the basis of your undertaking, as well as relay them to your audience.

 

This is an original article written by Sarah Harris and published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Effective SEO with Legitimate PR Can Guarantee Success Online

If you own a website or a self hosted blog, there are chances that your inbox will be flooded by companies that offer search engine optimization services. The question is, is it effective and is it legitimate? Google uses an in-house algorithm called PageRank or PR, to assign a numerical vale to websites. The algorithm is a closely guarded secret and although Google encourages web masters to optimize their sites, there are certain strict DOs and DON’Ts. The moment you cross the line, Google penalizes you by removing the site from the index. Here are a few SEO strategies that will increase your PageRank in a legitimate manner and improve your online business.

Generating Backlinks

One of the most effective ways to increase your PR is by backlink generation. Backlinks are nothing but URLs of your page posted on another website or blog. Higher the number of backlinks, higher is the PR of your website. So, you need to work on strategies that will help you generate backlinks. Another aspect that you should not forget is the PageRank of websites that backlink to your site. If the backlink is from a website that has a high PR, then higher will the PR of your website be. Backlink generation legitimately increases the PageRank of your website.

Creating unique content

Having content that is unique will help you increase the PR of your website. Rather than rephrasing content that is already available on the Internet, it is wise to create original content that is well researched. When you post articles on your website, see that it is visible to search engine crawlers.

Having a dynamic website

A dynamic website is one that changes very often. The changes can be addition of new articles and even images. When you constantly add new content to your website, the search engine crawlers will often leech your site and there is a good chance that the PR will go up. Similarly, new content will attract visitors and the traffic on your website directly influences the PR.

Use of Images and Videos

It is a well know fact that majority of search queries pull up videos and images in the first page and sometimes, they top the list. So, using videos and images on your website not only improves the aesthetic quality, it is a legitimate way to improve your PR too. Since images and videos don’t have keywords, you need to carefully embed meta data. Starting from the file name, you need to use a phrase that will best describe it.

Do not spam or resort to black hat SEO techniques

Google and search engines have certain guidelines that you have to follow. If you try to trick the search engine crawlers to increase your PR, you might be successful in the short run. But when Google strikes down, the consequences are going to be adverse and there are even chances that your site will be blacklisted from the index.

These are some of the effective SEO techniques that will help you gain legitimate PageRanks and guarantee success online.

 

About the guest author: Tanya Hansen, a freelance writer for Homesecurityreviewsite.com – offers full home security to help protect your family, assets from burglary and other crimes. home security systems

This is an original article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Getting Started with Google Analytics for your Blog

As a blog owner, it’s your prime duty to check the developments in your blog every now and then if you really want to do well. Google Analytics is the best tool to tell you where your blog stands in terms of its traffic or the number of visitors coming in.

Integrated to Google itself, there is no better tool to let you know how your blog or website is shaping up or where they stand when compared to other competitors in the market.

Get to know who is coming to your site and other detailed statistics of visitors in your blog. Here is a guide to help you setup Google Analytics for your blog.

Setting up an account in Google Analytics

1)      Create a Gmail account for yourself. Gmail is Google’s version of free webmail service.

2)      Now, go to Google Analytics and select the ‘Create an account’ menu.

3)      Sign in with your Gmail account ID that you have just created. If you want to use your existing Gmail account ID, you could do so.

4)      Keep following the instructions and get signed up with Google Analytics.

5)      Copy the tracking code that appears besides Web property ID. Make sure you have copied the correct ID.

6)      Click the ‘Save’ option at the bottom of the display.

7)      Now click on Settings -> Privacy in the dashboard and ensure that it is adjusted to “Allow search engines to index this site.”

8)      Now, in your dashboard, go to settings -> Google Analytics.

9)      Paste the tracking code you have just copied and select save changes.

10)   It takes 24 hours before Google Analytics can start working.

How to get started with Google Analytics – various things you can do.

Here are some things you can do when you start working with Google Analytics.

  1. 1.       Setting  your goal

Know what you want to determine with your blog. You can determine various things like marketing initiatives, ad conversion rates, ecommerce and many more. To effectively promote your website, set goals for yourself based on the results.

  1. 2.       Learning with different reports

Explore different options and learn how to read your basic data. As a beginner, you can do more with your Google Analytics account than what you think.

  1. Making use of advanced features

a)      Using custom segments to analyze and isolate specific traffic driving strategy.

b)      Create reports using the drag-and-drop interface with your preferred dimensions and metrics.

c)       Customized email reporting by sending regular scheduled reports to shareholders within a company.

d)      Simplified tracking using Adobe Flash, AS3 content and Flex.

  1. 4.       Maximizing ecommerce and online advertising

a)      Monitoring conversions, AdWord revenue and ROI.

b)      Optimizing keywords to have better ranking and get the most of your advertising revenue.

c)       Tracking email marketing, banner ads and helping yourself with other marketing initiatives.

d)      Linking keywords with ecommerce performance and other marketing campaigns for ROI details and other information.

e)      Do you have an AdSense account so that you can monetize your website? Want to link your Google Analytics accounts and AdSense account in order to get more insight into your website’s performance? Get to know which of your referrers and pages bring in most revenue and can optimize your site using Reports from AdSense.

All this in one single solution – Google Analytics.

 

This guest post is brought to you by Sandy Coops of cabletimenc.com, a site that offers savings and current information on service from time warner.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Why Instagram for SEO is a Waste of Time

A big bunch of people don’t consider bringing their cameras but taking pictures only using their phone cameras. Such is the hype brought by smartphones. Resolutions are getting even better with the newest high-end phone models. Along with this, more apps related to photography become available in both the AppStore and GooglePlay markets. One of the top applications is Instagram. Users often share their photos of food, fashion, travel destinations, family, friends and all things they love.

You might think that it can be an avenue to leverage on your SEO. However, you might be wrong. SEO experts rather think that Instagram for SEO is a waste of time. In this article, we will discuss three big reasons why this is so.

Reasons Why Instagram for SEO is a Waste of Time:

1. It can’t be crawled.

Instagram posts are not visible in Google Search, even in Google Images. So no matter how optimized your images are to target organic searches with alt tags, locations and keyword phrases for trends, Google will not fetch your data and the information of your image is only limited to the Instagram world. People will get to see your photos and become more aware of your brand only in this site, so this is just as far as your reach goes.

2. Instagram Search Not That Prominent

With the use of hash tags, users in Instagram can create trending topics for others to locate their posts. But would you search for information in Instagram rather than in the big search engines? That’s what you have to ask yourself before considering making efforts in implementing SEO for your Instagram account. People root for specific questions to find answers and read valuable content written in text and not shown through pictures. Images may be effective to get information in the case of infographics. In contrast, what people can find in Instagram are mostly personal photos now.

3. Low Click-through Rate

Traffic can be directed to your website from the URL included in the photo caption section in Instagram. If you forgot to include important links, you can embed them still as part of the comments. However, click-through rate is expected to be given a rating of below average. Your blog and other social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogging channels are more worthwhile to develop strong call-to-action button and links. Instagram is a place where people dwell to view and like pictures. You can increase the number of followers and likes and even make it to the Popular Page. But this is not tantamount to sales conversion.

Conclusion

While Instagram is a great mobile application to promote branding by posting pictures instantly with amazing filters, it does not really affect SEO. The best you can have is engagement with your prospect clients and building of relationships with leads. The more active you are in posting great photos and the more frequent you respond to comments reasonably, the more followers you will have. You can thus attract people through personal interactions and communications in this social space but not searchers you wish to target through real-time search engines. Perhaps then you can utilize Instagram to make contests and digital campaigns. It may not be a good platform to do SEO but it can be considered as a winning Internet marketing tool.

How to Select the Best Tools for Local SEO

Search engine optimization is more than just an insider catch-phrase these days. Nearly everyone who wants to get ahead in the online arena realizes that SEO is an absolute necessity. It’s simply not enough to rely on stellar web design, word of mouth, and standard marketing strategies to grow site traffic and increase brand awareness. It is estimated that in 2011, anywhere from 250-300 million new websites were launched worldwide. That’s nearly a million a day if you average it out. And while you’re certainly not competing with all of these sites, or even a small percentage of them, you won’t be competing with anyone if you don’t engage in search engine optimization. However, you simply might not have tons of time to devote to the task. And if you also lack funding to put towards hiring a qualified service provider, you could find yourself behind the curve. Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there designed to help you monitor and analyze important stats so you can hone your strategy, saving time and money. The only problem is finding the ones that are right for you.

For starters, you need to understand that there are a variety of approaches to the process of creating a targeted SEO strategy, and subsequently, different tactics will require the use of different tools. For example, you may want to back off of link-building, which has recently become something of a dirty word thanks to Penguin (Google’s latest algorithm), and focus on social media instead. As a result, you might not find as much use for tools that compile data associated with links pointing back to your page (although honestly, you should monitor your inbound links at all times to make sure nobody is maliciously tampering with them). Instead, you may want to see data regarding social mentions, likes, and so on.

Of course, when it comes to local SEO, which helps you to focus on efforts in a specific geographic area, there are certain avenues you’ll likely want to explore, and there are a variety of tools to help you. But choosing the right ones requires you to consider several variables. For example, you likely want tools that meet your specific criteria, which could relate to functionality, cost, and issues like white label practices. You should also find out if the providers offer extras like training, frequent updates, and reliable customer service. But of course, the main considerations will likely have to do with how these tools can help your business on the local level.

In this case you should seek out tools that are multifunctional. You’ll certainly want information on local search rankings, as well as the ability to monitor local reviews. And you’ll definitely want a service that provides social media monitoring with breakdowns on local activity. These are just the bare bones of what many such tools entail, but they tend to be the most relevant these days, and all will give you the data needed to analyze the impact of your local efforts in the SEO arena. However, even the best tools can leave you with a heavy load when it comes to sifting through data in order to formulate a complete analysis. So if you have the capital available, you may want hire a Los Angeles, New York, or SEO Perth firm to see to your local optimization needs. If time is money, it might be worth the expense.

 

This is a unique article written by Sarah Harris and published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.