May 8, 2012

Greetings and salutations! I hope you are doing well and will enjoy this latest newsletter that I have written to help you gain more traction with your online marketing efforts for the benefit of all of us, as well as taking the time to share with you many of the things that I am continually learning about SEO and online marketing, which is a landscape that changes by the minute, it seems.

First of all, I want to introduce you to a couple of friends of mine:

panda penguin

Yes, these are my friends PANDA and PENGUIN, referring of course to the two most recent Google updates known respectively as the Panda update and the more recent Penguin update. You may have heard Internet marketers in forums talking about how bad this is for you and how your sites and earnings are going to tank, and all other sorts of “the sky is falling” type of tirades.

Not true at all, and the REASON that it’s not true is the basis of how many of these nay-sayers are making their online money today — by utilizing and deploying deception and loopholes to exploit Google and get more traffic than they really should have. And that is also why I would refer to the dudes above as my FRIENDS. Really? Yes really, let me elaborate.

Google is getting smarter, as are all the search engines, but let’s focus on Google here since they still control the vast majority of search traffic. (Facebook and YouTube? Snort, that is an entirely different discussion…) The core basis of Panda and Penguin is to provide the user with a good search experience, returning to the user hits that are relevant to the terms that were used to search. Yea, that sounds a lot like “mom and apple pie” but let’s dig a bit deeper into this and how it POSITIVELY impacts people that are following the rules and NEGATIVELY impacts people maintaining sites that do NOT follow the rules.

What rules you may ask? Google is not the big bad beastie that many people make it out to be; well, not for the most part anyway. If you create a Google Webmaster Tools account (which you have already if you have a gmail account), Google has DOCUMENTED and TELLS YOU what it is looking for in order to reward you with the coveted Google link juice and love. THEY TELL YOU! Why would anyone do anything differently than what Google themselves have said they are looking for??

You need to understand that Google is not stupid. The most important thing on your site that you could possibly have, bar nothing else, is well written unique and interested content THAT IS NOT OVER OPTIMIZED. Yes, Google will now penalize you if it believes you are over-optimizing your content in order to gain Google love, because they are looking more and more for naturally written and well written content.

As an example, consider the following (fictitious) sentence that is found at a T1 marketing site:

The reason your company needs a T1 line is because a T1 line will perform much better than DSL, a T1 line is faster, a T1 line is more consistent, and a T1 line provides you more benefits than anything other than a T1 line, if your company’s budget can accommodate a T1 line.

Argh!!! I certainly hope that does not remind you of YOU. Google looks at that and sees SEVEN references to the main keyword in just one sentence and consequently starts digging up the demerits. Yes that is an extreme example, but I think you can see what I mean here and hopefully this does not reflect on YOUR content at your sites. Writing like that is not NATURAL, at least not for an EMPLOYED writer…

There’s another aspect to Panda and Penguin that has changed, according to industry experts, and that is in regard to LINKS. To explain this, think back to your high school physics class where you were asked to determine the amount of deceleration that takes place when a FLY going 2 mph hits a LOCOMOTIVE going 50 mph head-on. The answer can be calculated (and I used to remember how to do that) but the pat answer is “virtually nothing”, right? Going back to the analogy with LINKS, that is also the amount of link love you get from a link to your site from something totally irrelevant. Do you have a ton of links to your TELECOM site from some quilting blogs, some blackjack strategy blogs, and maybe a few scuba diving sites? If so, the sum total link love you will get now can only be seen with a powerful electron microscope capable of seeing things at the molecular level. Get it?

Where you want to get links from is either RELEVANT or RELATED sites, or AUTHORITY sites. Yes, many of the popular “Web 2.0” sites are considered “authority” so keep up your work there. I have talked about these in previous newsletters too. Get a link from one of your Telarus buds who has a telecom site — in fact, contact them ALL because that is a RELEVANT and RELATED link. To show the value of that, I got an email recently from the web marketing firm being employed by one of our carriers asking how much I would charge them to have a link to their site on MY site!

You can do some studies in any niche or industry and find this out for yourself. Note that the listings on Google’s page 2+ in many cases have SIGNIFICANTLY more links than the sites on page 1. That is because the CONTENT on the higher ranking sites is better, and also because the LINKS, although fewer in number, are from RELEVANT and RELATED sites. It makes a difference and is worth keeping in mind as you go through your link-building efforts.

FREQUENCY of content update is also important, and one of the platforms that makes that incredibly easy, as I’ve discussed with you before, is WordPress blogs. You can throw a literal TON of content in there for new posts, and schedule them to be published on dates of your choosing, per post. Google loves new fresh content, even more so than flies love a fresh pile in the cow pasture.

Speaking of WordPress, if you are not using WordPress to get extra link juice and love to your sites, you are doing yourself a disservice. I’m loving WordPress and all the neat (mostly FREE) plugins that are available for it to make your life easier, but there are some things about the WordPress “out of the box setup” that is going to shoot you in the foot if you are not aware of it, with the biggest thing being the issue of the dreaded DUPLICATE CONTENT. Yes, we’ve talked about duplicate content before, but if you don’t take some precautions AND understand how WordPress works internally, you are likely violating the duplicate content rule unintentionally.

In your standard WordPress setup, you need to make sure you are doing good internal linking. From each post, it’s a great idea to link to other posts or pages in your site with appropriate anchor text. Google loves that.

But one of the things that Google will NOT like about your WordPress site (or ANY site) is duplicate content, and especially content that is duplicated WITHIN the same site. Oh Jon, I would never do anything that dumb. No you wouldn’t, not intentionally, but you may be doing it anyway. Say you have a post and you have the standard WordPress Archives function enabled and being followed. Then as you publish the post, you are thinking that the post is appropriate to go into three different categories you have defined. Presto, duplicate content! There are now FOUR copies of that SAME post in your site — one in each of the three categories you designated, and another one in the WordPress archives. Bad, bad, bad. Be VERY aware of how WordPress operates, only post to ONE category for a post, EVER, and setup NOFOLLOW on your archives and do NOT put the archives as a navigation link on your page.

One last tip today, and that is about video. Include video on your sites. It creates a better user experience, and if the visitor takes the time to watch the video at your site, that will take TIME, and Google uses the component of “time on site” to calculate your rankings and bounce rate. So if the visitor takes the time to watch the RELEVANT video, that will significantly increase his “time on site”.

How do you insert video? It could not be easier. Go to YouTube and do a search on a keyword for a RELEVANT video about your keyword. When you have found the one you want, click the SHARE link under the video, then click the EMBED link, and you will be presented with the following code (as an example):

<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/zlPb8vsvcoM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Take that gobbledegook and put it in the HTML editor of your site (normal site or WordPress, same idea) which then gives you something like the following:

But what is there is a link there referring the visitor elsewhere? So what if there is? The visitor is at YOUR site right now and you are providing the good user experience, so that, combined with other elements on your site that will continue to provide a good user experience, your visitor will have no reason to leave!

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238