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$1,000 if You Can Outsmart Google!

Even as the owner of a search engine marking company each day I receive countless solicitations from people across the globe informing me of how they can help my site obtain top rankings in the search listings and the latest trick to do so for only a few hundred dollars. Of course most of these emails come from @gmail.com accounts or other free email service accounts, but one common thread is that each of these individuals can outsmart Google and other SEO companies; all it will cost is a few hundred dollars. The bottom line answer is that there are no quick fixes and nobody can outsmart Google, especially for a few hundred dollars. Yet, I can see how people can easily and do fall prey to these mass solicitations. These ‘marketers’ play off of individuals’ desire to receive mass fortunes with little initial investment. The bottom line is that anyone who does ended up a victim as one of these scams not only ends up hurting their business for future search rankings, but is also essentially throwing away their time and burning their money.

Never try to outsmart Google! This is one of the smartest companies with many of the most intelligent people on this planet. Now anyone who truly believes that they can outsmart Google and know a ‘secret formula’ to obtain top web rankings is either drinking some serious cool aid or is the next Einstein. Fortunately, there is no need to outsmart Google, their playbook is open to the public, and all anyone must do is follow the rules. This is often expensive in terms of money and time, but there is no shortcut or quick fix.

I am willing to give the first person who can prove to me that they outsmarted this search giant $1,000. It is a nice feeling to know that I can offer this reward and never pay one penny. However, if anyone feels that they did, simply fill out the contact form, provide me the details, along with your address and I will personally stroke you a check from my own account.

Now most individuals reading this can likely tell my entire point is to remember that there are no quick fixes. Whether utilizing my company or any other international search engine marketing company keep this in mind. Please do not let the promise of riches in the future take away your money today and simultaneously eliminate your chance of success the old fashion way (hard work and sweat). If this article save in one business owner from turning into a victim of such a scam then I will sleep better at night. Please feel free to post any similar scams you experienced to help our readers. Or if you have that secret formula post that and I will send you $1,000!

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Relevant Content Experiment

The purpose of this posting is to experiment how the search engines interpret relevant content on the page, entire domain, and possibly votes from other sites with anchor text pointing to this domain when valuing the weight and trust placed on references to outside websites on such a page. Also, notice the avoidance of during this page of a few of the more common terms generally associated with this industry in order to potentially see if this is a determining factor. Obviously there are multiple variables in this experiment; thus further research is needed afterwards to draw any meaningful conclusions.

There are two virtual properties that this experiment will utilize. The first is a hobby property that focuses on quilt patterns, fabrics, and other associated items. The second has a wide selection of celtic jewelry and more specifically that of the silver variety. Neither one of the two properties share much in terms of comparatively relevant content to this property or each other.

Thus here and the following paragraph will include references to each of the properties with relevant content around them. Taking a look at the quilting supplies space, there are niche areas including patterns, fabrics and other items one might expect from such a place.  One focus includes quilt patterns and as seasoned visitors can now tell this is the relevant reference anchor. The primary appeal is to at home enthusiasts who like to quilt utilizing patterns, but of course other people visit.

The next property is in a different industry; the jewelry industry. A better description is celtic jewelry as this is clearly of primary relevance and focus. There are such items as pendants, necklaces, and bracelets. An area of interest for guests here are those who desire a celtic style of jewelry primarily comprised of sterling silver. The appeal for this is relatively large of late, but only time will tell if the trend continues.

The above along with this paragraph should conclude this portion of the relevant content experiment. Obviously, time is required to even have an idea of the impact this has on the related quilt pattern and celtic jewelry properties. After a generally accepted length of time passes than either this company or another can do follow up research to further address the issues outlined throughout the relevant content in this investigation of external references and their impacts.

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Google Places for Local Companies

A relatively new service that Google recently started offering is Google Places. While, it is of course the goal of this website to encourage visitors to use Agilis Marketing’s services, it would seems inappropriate for any SEM company not to make its clients aware of this new service. It is ideal for many local companies and depending upon the business model may in fact replace the need to use a SEM company.

Honesty and credibility are important for any company thus one reason Agilis is making this information available. Local store owners in smaller towns such with lower priced products or services such as barber shops, bike rental, or hardware stores are likely better off utilizing solely this service rather than paying for an SEM company to assist with their marketing. That said, local companies that offer higher priced products, or are in larger towns likely will still receive an advantage from hiring a SEM company.

Now with all those caveats most might now wonder what exactly Google Places provides. Simply put it provides an inexpensive ($25 per month) way to quickly add your business to the map results that are often displayed on local searches. While, this service is not needed to appear in the local listings, and does not guarantee and type of high placement, it does offer some unique advantages. Results are almost instantaneous, which is a crucial factor for new companies and websites as to not lose out on opportunity cost. Site owners can also clearly let Google know their exact location, which Google usually figures out anyways, but not always correctly. Another strong advantage is the ability to add tags with coupons or live updates concerning a sales or whatever else is appropriate.

The clear upside are the low cost, clear benefits, and fast placement. However, there are a few downsides worth mentioning. One, which is especially important for larger cities such as Boston, is that lack of control over where within the results a site is placed. This is something that likely will require the assistance of a SEO company. Another factor is the hidden cost. While $25 is unlikely to break any company’s bank account, over the course of a decade that adds up to $3,000. Whereas an SEM company could possibly provide a similar offering for a one time upfront fee of roughly $500 with results that are likely to last the same timeframe.

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Decoding Page Rank

Much has changed from the original usage of Page Rank and its relative importance within the search engine results pages. However, even though Google is fairly transparent regarding its value, many people misinterpret the information or do not maintain a complete understanding of its value as it relates to links, which in reality is one of the most crucial concerns to any company involved in an SEM campaign. Hence why decoding Page Rank is crucial for a site’s webmaster to understand.

First it is important to debunk a myth that is a former truth. Using the rel=”nofollow” tag does not help a site retain the value of its internal links. An example seems appropriate to explain this in further detail. During times of the internet past, webmasters could use this tag to funnel link credit to pages only within their own site; this is no longer the case. If there are two links on a webpage one with the no follow tag and one without then half the Page Rank will pass to the linking page without the tag and half will simply vanish. Not that long ago use of this tag would allow a page following the same structure to pass 100 percent of the link’s value to whichever page it desired.

Why did this change take place? Simply put, the engineers at Google became smarter and modified the appropriate algorithms. SEM companies took advantage of the rel=”nofollow” tag to horde Page Rank and not pass it to legitimate sites. This practice undermines Google’s entire goal of using links as a way of voting since it allowed webmasters to place links to other sites but not count them as votes. SEM companies could exploit this process to keep page rank within their sites and not distribute it to others as Google intended; a primary reason for the change.

Now if a webmaster uses that tag no credit is passed to linked site. That tag simply tells the search engines that that website is not vouching for the credibility of the other. It provides no direct benefit, and can hurt a webmaster if the tag is used inappropriately. The only time one should now use this link is when they are uncertain of the website’s creditability. Typically this should occur in comments or forum postings since if webmasters create the link themselves then generally it is to a credible site who deserves the recognition Google intended the link to provide.

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Online Reputation Management Revisited

It appears that online reputation management is now an official marketing niche. Agilis marketing originally mentioned the emergence of this market nearly one year ago on this blog. We continue to fine tune the strategies utilized when helping new and existing clients. Included below are a few common suggestions that almost any business owner can implement on their own to improve their online reputation throughout the internet.

Review websites are easy places for individuals to register and places information on any company. It is important to act proactively on the most common sites, post basic information, and respond to comments whether negative or positive. There are many places where consumers read reviews about a company’s products or services, but a handful is more commonly visited. Please keep in mind that specific industries often contain niche sites for businesses. As an example, any owner of a travel or tourist related business will certainly want to register at Trip Advisor. Regardless of the industry, these are a few key sites to place business information:

Google Reviews:

The simplest way to add a review is to type in your company’s name and location. Unless it is a brand new business, it is likely there are already reviews from others about your company. Take the time here to add a review and ask a few others to do the same. Make certain not to overdo it and that the reviews are realistic. If the business is newer a webmaster might first need to register their business with Google’s local listings. Still, even if it is an older site, it is smart to register it through this system since it will allow addition of information visitors may not find otherwise

Insider Pages:

This is a widely popular site where reviews are often siphoned from and displayed in the search results or on other websites. It is important with online reputation management to ensure that there are reviews and positive ones. The addition of a few at this hub is recommended.

Yelp:

Yelp is well known for its local listings. Therefore, it is especially important to place commentary here if your company serves a local market. Travelers as well as locals commonly visit this site directly to learn more about a restaurant before eating there. Thus it is smart to include a detailed review at Yelp that appeals to a business’ target audience.

While these are certainly a few key places to register, please remember this simply a primer in online reputation management, managing reviews and placement of those reviews within the search results is crucial. This primarily focuses on ensuring positive reviews are at the top of Google whereas negative search reviews, such as those often found at Rip Off Report, are hidden deep with the search results.

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New Google Tools

This post is a slight departure from the typical topics. Since Google is the primary search engine the individuals practice SEO and SEM techniques it is possibly of value to know what else the company offers. A few of their new Google tools are more related to traditional online search than others. However, the common thread among all of them is that they offer a unique way to find information that either did not exist or formerly cost money to access.

It surprised me to see that such little advertising went into GOOG-411. As one might imagine it provides the same information that paid 411 services do, only it is free. Simply dial 1-800-GOOG-411 and their automated 411 information system does not cost one penny. What makes the service unique, aside from the cost, is that it provides more information than traditional 411 services. Lately, it is the norm to also receive text messages with a business’ phone number if one desires. Now a person can also receive detailed business information about the company as well as a map with its location. If your phone is already GPS enabled than not only do you have the telephone number for a business, but you also can end up receiving turn by turn directions to reach its brick and mortar location.

Google health is an incredible tool that I did not even realize existed till working on this piece. It allows for central storage of all your medical information in one place. Google addresses privacy concerns from the onset because it hardly requires mentioning how sensitive health data is for patients. Presently this tool allows individuals to put all their medical information in one place. The company also partnered with CVS and other pharmacies so that prescription and drug information is automatically downloadable and linked to an account if one desires. Thus not only does this tool store information, but it allows for easier updating of the details. While I cannot predict Google’s future plans for this tool, it has the potential to drastically evolve doctors and patients access to medical information. Rather than filling in a medical questionnaire at each new doctor’s visit, and possibly forgetting some details, one could simply allow a doctor access to their medical profile. The possibilities for this feature are countless and potentially beneficial to all parties.

Another tool that is more directly relevant for our audience is the search based keyword tool. This Google feature is a variation of the traditional keyword tool that allows business owners to discover new keywords phrases that the other tool possibly overlooked. During the development of a keyword list, there is absolutely no reason why anyone should not take advantage of both this supplementary offering and the traditional AdWords feature, to further develop a SEM campaign. Of course there are numerous other new Google tools available, but it seemed worthwhile to highlight a few of them. It is truly amazing the technology and access to information that the company is developing. I find it exciting to see such developments taking place that help everyone better organize information.

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Giving Companies a Positive Name

Countless times a year individuals search for companies on the internet and negative information appears. The list below contains a carefully ordered set of questions to ask anyone who is or wants to help to give your company a good name online; included are trick questions that serve as litmus tests to ascertain an individuals’ actual knowledge.

  • Do you suggest submitting the Google AdWords Trademark Complaint Form? FYI: The form is located here: https://services.google.com/inquiry/aw_tmcomplaint
    Is it smart to lodge DMCA complaints?What do you propose as an external link strategy to improve my company’s appearance on the web?
  • How important is the utilization of online social networking (i.e. blogs, twitter, Facebook, etc…) for your company’s Internet reputation?
  • How does Page Rank impact the SERPS?
  • What is your guarantee?
  • What is your affiliation with SEMPO?
  • Will ripoffreports.com and other such sites still appear in the SERPS?
  • Do your strategies coincide with the terms of service and webmaster guidelines for each search engine?
  • How will the Sandbox impact achieving the campaign’s desired goals?
  • How long before results are noticeable?
  • [If asking an outside agency] What are you going to do that our company cannot do on its own?
  • [If asking an individual] Why should we utilize your expertise versus that of an outside agency?

As an abbreviated answer to the last question, as the owner of Agilis Marketing, I have over a decade of experience utilizing the internet to improve a brand’s image. Only a handful of individuals, including myself, can claim they are experienced in this niche and have expertise that dates back to the time GoTo.com existed (before Overture took over, and before Yahoo purchased that company and turned it into Yahoo! Search Marketing).

Utilizing an outside agency, combined with a knowledgeable liaison is another strategy medium to larger capitalized companies employ. However, if a company is fortunate enough to find the proper person to handle the entire campaign in-house, equal or better results are achievable at a fraction of the cost. Please feel free to ask Agilis Marketing any questions.

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Travel Sector SEO

After taking a family trip from the east coast to the west I started to understand the travel value behind SEO and all other forms of search engine marketing to any company whose target audience primarily consists of tourists. There are many people who rely solely on the internet as a means of determining where to spend their time and a company with no internet presence has little chance of over seeing these tourists’ business.

It is important to make it clear that despite the headline of this post marketing on the internet encompasses much more than simply showing up at the top of the search results for a particular phrase or as indicated: travel SEO. In fact, dependent upon the target audience of the marketing campaign, other promoting elsewhere on the internet is more profitable.

Before the trip, my father created a list of top tourist sites based primarily on recommendations from tripadvisor.com and the majority of places we visited were on that list (restaurants included). After jokingly giving him a hard time for creating such a list in the first place, I thanked him in the end since my family ended up enjoying an excellent vacation. The marketing takeaway gleamed is the value the internet has upon influencing tourists’ decisions while traveling to an unfamiliar destination. Thus it is important not only for a company’s site to appear at the top of the search engines, but also for it to appear at the top of major well known travel sites such as the one my father utilized.

All that said, one of the most common venues tourists utilize is a search engine, such as Google, when selecting a skydiving location or a restaurant to eat at after a day of activities. Hence the value of ensuring your company has a site that is optimized to appear at the top of the search engines. The same strategies are utilized with a travel SEO campaign as with any other. However, as part of the entire search marketing campaign it is crucial to hire a marketer that understands the value of other online sites that tourists frequent and help ensure that your company is listed near the top.

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