Ken Lyons Posts from the Internet Marketing Blog
If you're under the impression that you control what searchers see in the meta description snippet of your SERP listings, you're living in fantasy land. Static meta descriptions are like Santa Claus, Unicorns and men who look "good" in toupees. They just don't exist. That's because the meta description is a chameleon: always changing its appearance.
That snippet you tag to show in the SERPs is often discarded by Google for text more germane to a searcher's query. And given that Google’s goal is to return the most relevant results to their audience, I can see how personalized meta descriptions make sense. But that doesn't mean search marketers have to sit by idly and let Google dictate what an audience will or won't see. There are ways to take control of your text snipp... > Read more
Most SEOs use keyword ranking tools to track where their pages are ranking in the SERPs for target keywords. It gives them an idea how well their optimization efforts are faring against the competition as well as how well those rankings are progressing over time. Now even though rankings without traffic and conversions are meaningless, it all starts with rankings.
If your pages don’t rank, nobody finds them. And the higher you rank, the more potential traffic you can grab. Now, there are a lot of a lot of paid and free tools out there that help SEOs track keyword rankings. Some are paid and some are free. In writing this post, I did a lot of research to bring you the best keyword ranking tools for SEO.Free Keyword Ranking Tools Rank Checker Web CEO Ventio Paid Keyword Ranking Tools Ad... > Read more
SEO is rampant with misinformation, speculation and myths about SEO. But that's the nature of the game, right? Since nobody but Google knows for certain which 200 plus ranking signals comprise the Google secret algorithmic formula, we're left to speculate. However, there's gross misinformation, complete speculation and then there are theories put into practice tested and proven to return results with some degree of reliability.
With that, I've decided to address some of the SEO myths I see or hear from time to time. Most of the following SEO myths I'm attempting to debunk are controversial, meaning the vast majority of SEOs will disagree with my assertions, and I'll probably take a lot of flack. But that's okay. Feel free to lambaste me in the comments. I stand behind everything I'm profe... > Read more
Google updated their Tool Bar PageRank (TBPR) last night, October 29, 2009. I noticed the change around 9 p.m. last night, when I visited CNN.com and saw an all-green PR 10 tool bar, which caught my attention immediately. Previously, I believe they were PR 8. With the lastest update, the WordStream home page (now PR 5) and many of our top level pages have risen in rank.
So too have our blog posts, with many previous unresolved pages resolving and now achieving TBPR. Also, our take is Google is updating Toolbar PR more frequently in 2009. By my count, this is the fifth update this year, with the last PageRank update occurring on July 29, 2009. Note that in 2008, there were a total of five TBPR updates, so with this latest PageRank update, we've already tied last year's updates and may excee... > Read more
It's Halloween time again. Time for fright flick gore-arathons, Trick-or-Treaters, and...um...oh yah, bucket loads of Halloween CANDY! I'm sure many of you are stocking up on jumbo bags of fruity, chocolately or gummy candy treats for the roving bands of costumed kids that will soon descend upon your doorstep, that is unless you're one of those people who give out bags of chips or boxes of raisins as "treats," which BTW is a great way to get your house egged.
And with Halloween only days away, what better time to roll out some SERP analysis and crown the Top SEO Candy Websites. Let's find out who's doing a killer job at optimizing their on and off page elements for the Web's top candy queries. So sit back, relax and enjoy, 'cause this edition of our "Top SEO Websites Series... > Read more
Link builders often talk about competitive link analysis and exploring your competitors' link profiles to find link opportunities. The logic here is a link profile that works for one site may work for a similar site. And executed properly, this can be an effective link strategy.But I'd like to share a link building tactic you've probably never read about.
It's very effective and based on the same approach and logic as competitive link analysis. Besides analyzing links on competitor sites, you should also be examining your own link profiles for link opportunities, specifically the profiles of your best performing pages. The objective here is to replicate the success of your strongest ranking page on your weaker ranking pages.Why is this link building tactic successful?If it's working for on... > Read more
There's big news in WordStream World. We've moved to shnazzy new digs! It's pretty exciting and we all love the new space in Boston's Back Bay, just across from the Prudential Center. We're on the 16th floor of the Christian Science Monitor building and the views are incredible. What's more, our new space is a big step up from the last place.
See that "WordStream is that-a-way" sign above. Yes, that was the actual sign that greeted visitors at our previous office, so you can imagine what the rest of the place looked like. Actually, you don't have to imagine. I've taken some pics of the new WordStream office and I've also got some photos of the old space (evidence is what the police are calling them now), that way you can witness our ascent from outhouse to penthouse. So sit bac... > Read more
Continuing with the Top SEO Websites Series, I decided to turn the spotlight on Web design companies to find out which ones are excelling at SEO. Sure, these Web design firms may be able to create really slick websites, but how good are they are ranking organically in highly-competitive verticals in their industry? My previous post in this series "Top SEO College Websites" made the case that most universities get an "F" when it comes to SEO.
Here's hoping the top Web design firms in the country fare better in the search engine results pages (SERPs) than most colleges did. Top SEO Web Design Company Websites: My Process My process for determining which sites are doing the best at SEO involves three steps: 1) Identify Top 20 Searched Keywords - I used the Google Keyword T... > Read more
Drupal and Wordpress are two of the most popular, open source content management systems (CMS). Many websites and blogs run either Wordpress of Drupal chiefly because they are flexible platforms with large user support communities, and they're free. I use both Drupal and Wordpress in my day-to-day activities: WordStream runs on Drupal, while my personal websites and blogs run on Wordpress.
So I have a pretty good handle on the advantages and disadvantages of both CMS platforms. In this post, I'm going to offer my opinions on Drupal VS Wordpress with respect to: Ease of use Custom templates and free themes SEO plugins or modules CMS performance So let's dive into the Drupal vs Wordpress debate and see which CMS emerges victorious. Ease of Use Out of the box, Wordpress has... > Read more
Once again, this SEO for College Websites post comes on the heels of my popular yet somewhat contentious post on top seo college websites. I'm writing a follow up to share advice to colleges that are struggling with search engine optimization (SEO). These SEO tips should give colleges some ideas on how best to optimize their websites to rank better in higher education search verticals and attract more students though search engine marketing.
In SEO for College Websites, Part One, I covered how to conduct effective keyword research and how to create killer degree page title tags for SEO. In this post, I'll discuss how to optimize your degree page content and how to acquire some quality inbound links. Step Three: Optimize Your On-Page Content When optimizing your content for search, there a... > Read more
We got an interesting email the other day from our friend Jim Jansen, assistant professor at the College of Information Science and Technology at Penn State. If you haven't heard of Jim yet or aren't familiar with his research in search marketing and searcher behavior, read our recent interview with him here: Jim Jansen on Click Behavior and SERP integration.
Jim told me about a really cool project he and his students are doing in his PPC advertising course (BTW, how cool is a class on PPC advertising?). He and 55 of his technology and advertising students at Penn State are creating keyword advertising campaigns for eleven non-profit organizations. Apparently, the students will be implementing paid search campaigns for these eleven non-profits, as well as doing some SEO work and optimizing... > Read more
Give me someone's name, and I'll find their personal email address. Sure, it may take some extensive digging and sleuthing, but I'll find you eventually. And I'm not paying to root you out or buying your private info from a lead gen company (though sometimes that would be easier). This is just good old fashioned, organic searching, scanning and scouring the Internet like a Web gumshoe.
And not stopping until I ferret out that personal email.Methods:Google EmailsBusiness EmailsAdvanced Search OperatorsSocial MediaWhois LookupPeople SearchWhy is it important to obtain someone's personal email address?If you're sending out an important email that you really want to be taken seriously and improve your chances of getting an actual response, you need to go directly to the source. Sending an impo... > Read more
On the heels of my popular yet somewhat contentious post last week on the Top College Websites for SEO, I thought I'd do a follow up to give advice to those colleges that are struggling with search engine optimization (SEO). This Google SEO guide should give colleges some insight into how best to optimize their websites to rank well in higher education search verticals and attract more students though search engine marketing.
NOTE: This SEO for College Websites is the first in a two-part series. SEO University: Best practices for optimizing college degree pages Most college websites publish a bunch of content under a variety of topics: from administrative pages, to course catalogs, to campus news, to research lab micro sites, and so on. But the real bread and butter for universities are t... > Read more
Search engine and social media marketing are industries that continue to grow even in the face of one of the worst economies since the Great Depression. Talented and skilled SEO, PPC, SEM and SMO professionals are still in hot demand, despite the grim economic backdrop. Recently, we conducted a survey of search engine marketers and social media marketers to get an idea of the current state of SEM and SMO.
More than 100 SEO, PPC and SMM professionals participated in our survey, giving us a window into their experience level, primary fields of expertise, and more to the point how much inbound marketing professionals are earning, given the global recession. The results of our survey may surprise you. 2009 Search Engine Marketers and Social Media Marketers Salary Survey Interpreting the S... > Read more
Hey, search engine and social media marketers. We're conducting a brief search marketing/social media salary survey of SEM and SMO industry professionals. If you're a search engine or social media marketer, we'd love it if you'd take a few moments to participate in our survey. This survey is designed for: Professionals who work in search engine marketing or social media marketing Once this survey is completed, we'll publish the results on our blog next week.
So take the survey now. It's a mere five questions and will take less than two minutes of your time. NOTE: Poll is closed. But you view the results here: Search Engine Marketers, Social Media Marketing Salary Survey 2009 Thanks for participating! ... > Read more
In honor of "Back to School," I thought it would be fun to do some SEO sleuthing and determine which colleges are doing the best job at optimizing their websites for organic search. Before joining WordStream, I worked in the web office for a major university, so I spent a lot of time checking out other college websites.
What I realized was the vast majority of college websites have not yet embraced (or even acknowledged) search marketing, be it paid or organic, as an effective marketing channel. So why are most colleges clueless about SEO? Well, there are a number of reasons: Brand recognition - Many universities rely on brand power to attract prospective students, and are plenty satisfied if their site shows up first for a branded query. They're not overtly concerned with keyword rankin... > Read more
I thought I'd take the time to share some of the 10 free SEO tools we use every day in our SEO efforts. Since all of these tools are vital to our SEO, I'm uber-grateful for their existence, and even more thankful that they're FREE. And seeing that these SEO tools are in fact free, the least I can do is pay-it-forward, promote them and pass along some link love.
Now, some of the free SEO tools on this list you may know about or use already, but hopefully you'll find some new tools you can use everyday in your own SEO efforts.10 Free SEO Tools We'll Review:SEO for FirefoxMajestic SEORank CheckerYahoo Link DomainFoxyrankiGoogleGoogle AlertsPing.fmGoogle Webmaster ToolsTwaitterThe Free Keyword ToolSEO for Firefox Toolbar- This SEO tool has become ingrained in my daily routine. So much so, that ... > Read more
Love is blind. And that's no more evident than when it comes to Google's undying affection for exact match domains. Yes, Google hearts exact match domain names "4-eva." It's true. I see it every day: sites with no links, no content, no authority top the SERPs because they have query-perfect domain names.
These darlings of the Web get a free ride, and don't have to play by the same set of SEO rules as the rest of us with "regular" domain names. Basically, an exact match domain is a license to rank. Why is Google Ga Ga Over Exact Match Domain Names? Google's infatuation with exact match domain names has been going on for years, which is pretty frustrating. Because despite their countless "quality" updates to the search algo and pledge to clean up the cessp... > Read more
Want Better Keyword Ideas for Your Title Tags? Try our Keyword Tool to Generate Highly Relevant Keyword Suggestion Ideas!One of the most important pieces of copy for SEO is the title tag. Having a strong, relevant, clickable title can have a major impact on rankings, click-through rates and overall traffic numbers.
Table of Contents:Adding KeywordsAdding Action WordsAdding Secondary KeywordsBest Title Tag FormulasTesting Title TagsIn my mind, the title tag is so vital to the success of your SEO that I advocate rigorous testing of tags to find which ones work and which don't. Once you've found a winner, you should implement a title tag formula that everyone who touches SEO on your website can follow.Benefits of an SEO title tag formula:Keeps SERP listings consistent across a siteSimplifies t... > Read more
We're seeing a Google Toolbar PageRank update that happened about 20 minutes ago (July 29, 2009). Many of our top level pages have jumped in rank as a result of this latest update. Also, our take is Google has started to update Toolbar PR more and more frequently. By my count, this is the fourth update in 2009.
Note that in all of 2008, there were a total of five PR updates. So if this latest TBPR update is confirmed, Google is clearly updating more frequently and we should reach seven or eight updates by year's end. For reference, Google PageRank is a link analysis algorithm (named after Larry Page, co-founder of Google), which Google uses to assign a numerical weighting to measure the authority, value or importance of a webpage. Nobody outside of Google knows the actual PageRank of a doc... > Read more