seo

7 Evil SEO Lies

captainc2
captainc2

Greetings Digital Citizens. I’ve been around the digital planet for almost two decades now.  I’ve seen my share of good andI’ve seen my share of amazing, but I’ve also seen more than my share of evil. Yes. Evil does tend to run rampant on the Internet. Evil web sites, evil shoddy copy, evil email schemes, trickery on social media and last, but not least, evil SEO practitioners trying to deceive you and the search engines you use daily. The Contentinators® exist to squash this evil sector of the digital globe. We thrive on best practices to educate your digital audience and live to squash the forces out there trying to mislead you. I need SEO deputies, friends. I’m empowering you to join The Contentinators® in our quest. I’m empowering you to work only with SEO companies that understand ethics, best practices, and the common mission to generally do good. This is no small undertaking.  This isn’t for the weak. You may encounter evil like you’ve never encountered before. If you’re up to the challenge, please read the evil SEO lies briefing below, and remember to be ever vigilant against the dark side of SEO.

7 EVIL SEO Lies to be Vigilant Against

1.) We Guarantee Top 10 Placement. Nope. Insidious. This evil SEO promise is probably one of the worst offenses The Contentinators® encounter on a regular basis. No one can promise you top ten results in Organic search results, period. Google, Bing, Yahoo and the other search engines out there are not accepting bribes to get your content to rank above others. Simply put, it’s impossible for someone to promise you top ten results.

2.) We Work For Google. Rubbish.  If they worked for Google, they wouldn’t be flipping SEO services. Yes, Google does offer some partnerships and yes, they offer some certifications on their products, but they don’t go out and hire SEO types to sell services to get companies ranked in the search results.

3.) We’ve Cracked the Google SEO Algorithm. Um, no Captain Clueless, you haven’t. Not even close. Sure, they may have poked around a bit and had some success with rankings, but citizens, cracking algorithms isn’t what SEO is all about. It’s about feeding your intended audience with rich, compelling content. Google wants to see your business add something of value to the digital universe, not something intended to game or spoof a mathematical equation.

4.) If You Pay Us More, You’ll Get Better Rankings. Once again citizens, Google doesn’t accept bribes. Sure, you could pay your SEO company more to create more amazing, useful content, or spend some more time (hours) on your project, but at the end of the day, you can’t BUY SEO results from Google, Bing or Yahoo!.

5.) If You Change Your About Us Page 42 Times a Day, You’ll Rank Better. This is a half-truth. Having content that is fresh and changed, non-static can help move the SEO needle, but changing your homepage content multiple times daily isn’tgoing to get you to climb in the search engine results pages. What does move the needle is adding to your blog, or adding useful white papers, or creating case studies on a regular basis that educate and inform your users. Create unique content and reap the benefits within the search engines results pages.

6.) Link Building Is the Only Thing That Matters for SEO. No sir / ma'am. This is not true. This may have been partially true years ago when Google did place a lot of reliance on your site being linked all across the digital planet, but in order to squash SEO spammers, Google has relied less and less on inbound links as a gauge on how to rank sites. In fact, most recently, some key sources from Google have come out and said don’t go out and run a link building campaign if you are looking to achieve SEO results. Google wants people / sites to link to your website naturally. Create amazing stuff, and the links will be generated by others. That’s where the gold is.

7.) You’ll be Number One in Google by Tomorrow at 7:32 AM. If you’re hearing time guarantees from your SEO company, PLEASE kindly run the other way.  Much like they can’t guarantee top 10 placement, they can’t guarantee when Google will rank you, let alone IF Google will rank you. The Contentinators® can tell you that from experience, when an SEO campaign is done right, you SHOULD start to see SOME results within three months of initiation, provided that your site has no penalties, is built properly and is providing something of value to the digital planet.

Citizens, I implore you. When you hire an SEO firm for your business, make certain that they are looking out for your best interests. Make certain that they will NOT be using shoddy, shady, evil, deceptive practices to get your website ranked.  If they aren’t talking about creating and sharing amazing content in order to get your visitors excited, they aren’t the right SEO firm for you. True SEO is about giving and creating unique, amazing, rich and shareable content that your users want to read / view. SEO is NOT about tricks, gimmicks, deception, mathematical equations and technical mumbo jumbo.

To join our quest to squash evil SEO, call The Contentinators® today at 866-471-4748 or fill out our SEO / Content Marketing contact form https://TheContentinators.com/contact.

Thanks for reading citizens. With your help, we can squash evil SEO and make the digital planet a better, safer, more useful place.

Until we meet again, @CaptContent.

SEO Evolves Into Content Marketing

captainc2

captainc2

My friend Morph and I were kicking back on Friday night and sipping on appletinis after a long week of fighting Deceptor Marketing and Sentinels. Our discussion drifted into one that really hits close to home for Morph – the pros and cons of change. An odd subject to discuss with a shape-shifter for sure since that power makes him invaluable to the X-Men. Funny, we couldn’t come up with any cons. Morph and I are all about change. Change is good. It’s often hard to effect change but if we are willing to embrace the rejuvenation and spark it ignites, change is a beautiful thing. Convincing others to embrace change is sometimes a superheroes job. The needs to increase inbound marketing were once totes dependent on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which only recognized keywords and more keywords and then even more keywords (a.k.a. “Keyword Stuffing”). In its infancy, web marketing also relied heavily on poorly written content maxed out with stale keywords believing that would certainly get Google’s attention. Google started to get antsy because of the gobs of complaints that started to roll in from the content results not being immediately visible. Google became pissed off as complaints kept coming. They rolled out an update that prohibited the stuffing of keywords and the posting of poorly written content. The rules were changing to make content engage the reader. It needed to be packed with interesting, relevant info. You can scope out my original thoughts on the evolution of SEO by clicking here.

Change was looming large on the horizon. The Blogging Bastion had its job to do. Convincing businesses that writing superior content and energizing the website with more than text was the best and most cost effective way to invite the masses into their companies was (still is for some) a super-human feat. The Contentinators remain dedicated to, pardon the verbiage old friend, “morphing” the SEO purists.

Are you a hold out to the evolution of SEO to Content Marketing? Having problems identifying where you need to make the changes on your website? Not sure how to get a more user-friendly and interactive website? Need fresh and relevant content? The Contentinators are the link that brings SEO and content together for a long-lasting, kick-ass relationship, so remember to embrace the change, harness its power. Afterwards, celebrate your website’s success by pounding a few appletinis, my drink of choice, of course. Cheers!

SEO & Embracing the Change

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ink-153967_1280

As the content marketing world takes a step back from search engine optimization and focuses instead on user experience, the atmosphere is abuzz with conflicting and often confusing chatter about what was once the name of the game. “Is SEO dead?” “My company uses SEO--should we stop?” “If I’m still using SEO techniques, will Google penalize my site?” I can’t tell you how many times my colleagues and I have heard these questions--in fact, many of our brand friends are still asking them. To put it in simple terms, search engine optimization is not dying, it’s simply undergoing a significant metamorphosis. This situation reminds me of a good friend of mine named Mercury, who was a junior member of the X-Men. When she first encountered her mutant powers--namely, the ability to transform into a fluid metallic substance--she could initially do nothing more than lay in a puddle on the ground. Her parents were frightened, and no one quite knew how to accept or work with her until she joined the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning.

No, Google’s newest penalty won’t turn you into a puddle of mercury. What I’m trying to say is that extreme change can be a difficult and somewhat frightening time for all business leaders and content marketers. Rather than fighting the change, however, try to embrace these key points for your ultimate success:

Write for your audience. The Contentinators have embraced this policy since the foundation of the Blogging Bastion, and now Google is favoring it heavily. Keyword stuffing and poorly-written content are long gone. Write naturally about topics your audience would appreciate.

Prioritize user experience with your web design. This means taking a focus on clean layouts, mobile responsiveness, and quick load times. While the user of five years ago didn’t have as much insight as to good design elements, today’s consumer has become increasingly discerning.

Make your content shareable whether it comes in text form or as a video, picture, or even an infographic. The days of completely text-based sites have been cast aside for vibrant, engaging content arenas.

Demonstrate that you’re real by interacting with fans on social channels and responding promptly and engagingly to any comments. Auto-responding is no longer acceptable and is sure to cause you to lose a few followers.

Overall, making Google happy has taken a decidedly more human approach--a fact that should make business owners rejoice, as their customers are their first priority. Embrace this new form of optimization, as Mercury embraced her new form, and you’ll wind up with some powerful and creative results.

Pandering to a Panda

Pandering to a Panda You may not have realized it, but college campuses have some of the best superhero meetup groups on the planet. It was at one of these groups at Georgetown University that I met my very dear friend, Olivia Lewis, a.k.a. Menagerie of the Dynamo 5. Now that we’ve graduated and gone our separate ways, I don’t get to see her as often, so you can imagine my excitement when she said she would be paying me a visit last month.

We set the date for May 21, which was coincidentally the same day that Google rolled out its newest algorithm update. The doorbell rang and I ran to welcome her in--

And was greeted by a rather large, discontented panda bear sitting on my doorstep.

Now, what you may not know about Livvie is that she received her father’s ability to shapeshift in 2009. Keeping that in mind, I assumed that this was one of her infamous pranks, and I decided to play along. Using what I knew about Google Panda, I went about trying to make the panda happy.

First of all, I socialized with her, even though my panda linguistics aren’t very good. Just like the real creature, Google Panda is a very social animal. It pays particular attention to social networks and interactions between page owners and their followers. The more likes, +1s, and retweets you have, the happier Panda will be.

Next, I figured she must be hungry after her long trip from Washington, D.C., so I fed her some high-quality content--or in this case, bamboo. Just as rotten, chemically-altered bamboo will make a panda sick, shallow, weak, error-filled content is no good for your website. And no one wants to clean up the mess that follows a sick panda. Trust me.

Another thing to remember when feeding a panda: no spam. It might be known as a “miracle in a can,” but it’s not a miracle for a Panda (Google or otherwise). Give a panda spam and you’ll find that it no longer values your friendship.

Finally, a panda is a very clean and structured animal, preferring well-organized environments and a schedule of tasks and activities. Google’s Panda, too, appreciates websites that are clean, user friendly, and engaging, with structured articles and deep content. By giving the panda the environment she desired, I knew I had passed Menagerie’s test.

“You’re a regular panda tamer,” Menagerie said as she transformed back into her human form. Really, when I think about it, the title does fit. Luckily, Google Panda can’t make a mess on your carpet or chew up your sofa, but it can still be hard to clean up after. To keep Google Panda happy, just treat it much the same as you would a real panda: actively socialize, only generate the best content (or food), avoid spam, and keep your environment clean and structured.

Your Friendly Neighborhood SEO

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super

Spider-Man seems to get a lot of negative press.  I recently picked up a copy of the Daily Bugle that featured the front-page headline: “Masked Menace Weaves Web of Lies!”  People fear the man in the mask.  Between J. Jonah Jameson’s threats and the police’s constant surveillance, Spidey seems like the bad guy more often than not.  Yet, in person, Spider-Man is quite the opposite of what the tabloids make him out to be.  He cares about New York, values his education, and goes out of his way to help complete strangers.

If you’ve ever run into him on the streets of New York or witnessed his heroic deeds, you probably got to hear his famous catchphrase: “Just another service provided by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!”  To ease the raging tabloid tempest, Spidey wants to deliver a comforting, personable message to every person he meets.  He’s not a villain--he’s simply misunderstood.

In much the same way, local SEO seems to be misunderstood.  With evildoers like SinSEO in our midst, it’s easy to see why; you hear more about black hat techniques and Google’s subsequent punishments than you do about the benefits of a well-structured SEO plan.  But a number of business owners are missing out on the fantastic opportunities that a local SEO campaign can present.  When it comes down to it, any company that earns business from local clients should have a game plan in effect.  Here are just a few of the ways local SEO can benefit your business:

  1. Make a Name for Yourself.  You can have the flashiest neon sign and a man in a chicken suit dancing in front of your store, but that won’t make most people walking or driving by take notice of who you are and what you do.  Creating a local online presence for your company helps ensure you’re there when your customers really need you.
  2. Be Found.  When you need to find an auto repair shop, do you drive (or walk) around until you find one, or do you search for a nearby location with the best reviews?  Statistics have demonstrated that local search has increased by about 58% in the last few years.  With positive reviews from your customer base, potential clients are sure to see you as their knight in shining armor.
  3. Stand Out.  It seems like everyone’s online these days, but in truth, this isn’t the case.  Only about 10% of business owners have claimed their Google Places pages, which is Google’s local directory.  Claiming your listing is simple, and since it is a Google-based service, Google pays special attention to its users within search rankings.  Claiming your listing alone will put you ahead of the other 90%.
  4. Go Mobile.  You probably already know it by now, but users across the world are increasingly relying on their mobile devices for internet searches.  Take out your phone right now and do a web search for “Chinese food.” See that convenient map of nearby locations? You could be near the top with a solid SEO strategy.

So, it turns out that local SEO isn’t so scary.  By finding relevant local directories, claiming your Google Places listing, and managing customer review sites, you should be well on your way to establishing a firm footing in your local online market.  Instead of shying away, just remember all the great services provided by your friendly neighborhood SEO.

The Constant Battle Of Good VS. EVIL SEO.

Don’t Let Ultron Touch Your SEO

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villian

It’s funny how something created for good can come back and bite you.  Hank Pym and the Avengers have been fighting Ultron for years now (what version are we on?  Ultron-18?), even though he started as Pym’s attempt to create highly intelligent robotics.  Pym called me up and asked for my help as a consultant to research new weapons that pierce through adamantium, but it’s still been a tough battle to fight.

While trying to find ways to solve the problem, I realized just how much the Avengers/Ultron struggle parallels that of The Contentinators/SinSEO.

Believe it or not, the Black Hat Boss started out as a good guy.  In the late 90s, you could find him happily stuffing keywords into every empty space on a website--back when it was an effective way to improve Google rankings.  But as the internet marketing world expanded, Google began introducing updates that frowned upon SinSEO’s tactics, turning toward highly targeted, well-written content as the new ruler of rankings.  Instead of adapting, SinSEO became embittered and fled to Deceptor Marketing.  And here we are today.

I’ve seen countless individuals fall victim to SinSEO’s empty promises because they’ve noticed his quick results.  Eager to take that top spot in the search engines, they allow him to get his greasy fingers all over their websites--stuffing keywords in every crack and crevice, farming links, duplicating content and hiding search-friendly text on every page.  Sure, he’s gotten a number of people to the top this way, giving them their fifteen minutes of fame, but that’s where it stops.  The instant Google’s bots discover his dastardly deeds, they penalize or ban these sites, leaving their owners in a virtual black hole.

If Ultron were SinSEO, I would be able to tell the Avengers exactly how to defeat him: through the use of organic SEO.  Google’s Matt Cutts said it best when he advised, “Don’t think about link building – that limits you to a certain mindset. Think about compelling content and marketing. As soon as you think, ‘My job is to build links for search engines,’ you’re really cutting off a lot of avenues.”  Focus on assisting your customers through original content, and the rankings game won’t be so difficult to play.

When you create content for your site, ensure the following:

- Your content establishes you as an expert in your industry. - You’re not simply regurgitating a colleague’s or competitor’s message. - Your content is specifically geared toward your company’s audience. - Your keywords are worked in naturally. - Your content is created for your customers, not for the Google Bots.

Pym should have known that designing a supremely intelligent robot like Ultron could bring along devastating consequences.  Don’t follow his example.  Stop the battle before it starts by avoiding the beastly bots of black hat SEO.

Need help with your web content? Be sure to call one of my Superhero Content Creators today: 866-471-4748.

Write On, Captain Content @CaptContent

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Keepin' It Natural. SEO, Keywords & Content.

ContentInators Logo-03

ContentInators Logo-03

As Captain of The Contentinators, I not only get to wear over-sized stretchy spandex pants and a cape, I get to meet all kinds of folks who are passionate about SEO and getting their rich content discovered by their target audience. Each and every time I talk to these SEO folks I keep hearing the same SEO / Keyword related questions: How do we manipulate the content that The Contentinators creates to optimize it for search engines?

How do we dump in keywords for SEO?

How do you pick the keywords for the content?

Here's my answer.

We write natural content for human beings to love, share and comment on. We write content that speaks to the right audience, we write natural content that human beings will love to read. We ask our clients what's important to their users and more importantly, when is that particular content important?

Yes, getting your content found in Google is critical, but now, more than ever, Google doesn't want your business focusing on keywords or how to manipulate the search engines, they want you focusing on feeding your target audience with rich, meaty, natural content.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter to learn more about content marketing. @CaptContent.

Content Marketing Tip | Don't Stuff Your Content.

Don't Keyword Stuff Your Content.

If your SEO company is generating content for your web site, it's important to make certain YOU read through that content. Some SEO companies sub their content creation overseas which can result in 'stuffed' content. Stuffed content refers to content that is crammed full of keywords designed to assist with SEO placement.

Google and other search engines are paying very close attention to the quality of the content that your web site is churning out in an effort to keep their search engines clean and relevant.

Here are a few tips to help keep your content both SEO friendly and people friendly:

Research Your Keywords.

Prior to churning out some brilliant content, it's imperative that you do some keyword research to know just what your audience is searching for.

FOCUS.

This is critical. Focus your content on 2 or 3 keywords, not 30. The key to effective SEO is focus, the more keywords that you throw in there, the more mixed signals you are sending to Google about what that content is truly about.

Plan.

I strongly encourage you to create an editorial calendar for your content marketing program. Make a schedule based on quarterly sales / client needs and craft content around that calendar that will PULL your prospects to you via the search engines.

To learn more about creating amazing content and how The Contentinators can assist with your content marketing, call one of our content superheroes at 866-471-4748.

Content Marketing Rule #1 : Know Your Keywords

So, you've decided to embrace content marketing.  You've decided it's time to get your business in the Google game.  You've decided that you're going to be creating that editorial calendar and put your competition to shame.  Where do you start? Before you even think about picking up that pen (or mouse) you need some intel.  You need to know the keywords that you're prospects are speaking, NOT the keywords that you THINK that they are using.  This my friends, is mission critical to the success of any content marketing & SEO campaign.

So, how can you discover the proper keywords to target?

1.) Use existing intelligence.

If you have access to your Google Analytics account, USE IT.  Dig deep into the keywords section and note what people are already using.  Start adding those into your blogs / content to increase your SEO.

2.) Use the tools.

Google gives you one of the best free tools to discover what keywords are popular, which ones are not and even suggests keywords you've never thought of. https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__c=1000000000&__u=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS

3.) ASK.

Ask your clients in a mail chimp survey, ask them on the phone, ask them in person in your store. Ask them how they'd search and LISTEN.

Bonus Captain Tip: Keep your keyword quest down to 10 a quarter rather then trying to be all things to Google at once.

Once you know your keywords, the rest is easy, craft your content around those keywords and be persistent.