The Latest News in the SEM/SEO Industry

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How Does the 2011 Facebook Open Graph Change Affect You as an Advertiser?

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As mentioned in my original post the evening of the 2011 Facebook F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced a major upgrade to to their Open Graph API. The keynote focused on:

  • The addition of the Timeline to the profile page
  • The inclusion of less critical updates in the Ticker in the right hand column
  • A new Privileges security feature that allows you to only have to confirm authorization one time for an app to continuously post content to your profile

Mark didn’t mention how this will affect advertisers who want to post their ads on Facebook. My opinion is that there are going to be enormous benefits to advertisers, but it will expose the additional loss of privacy that users will suffer. That is why he didn’t focus time discussing it in the keynote address.

Let’s step back and take a look at the advertising model to place ads on Facebook. The primary benefit of advertising on Facebook is that there is an unprecedented level of filters you can apply to your ad to only show it to a very targeted audience.

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Posted in PPC, Social Media |

How Does the 2011 Facebook Open Graph Change Affect You as a User?

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At the 2011 Facebook F8 Developers Conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced a major upgrade to to their Open Graph API. To most users of Facebook, this might not mean much. It probably doesn’t sound like English. But today’s techie announcement will greatly affect all Facebook users, from you to your grandmother. Let me tell you why.

A little history will help explain what is going on. In the old days (3 years ago) the only information captured about you was that you were friends with someone. Then last year, Facebook allowed you to say that you Like someone or something.

facebook open graph Likes Only

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Posted in Social Media |

How to Add Facebook Comments to your Site and Receive SEO Value for the Content

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By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Facebook provides a simple snippet of code to add to your website pages so that you can include threaded social conversations on your own website and have that content also posted on Facebook to share with friends and Fans. This functionality is called Facebook Comments.

How to add facebook comments to your site

Why is this so great? Because you now have the ability to add user-generated content to your site for free. User-generated content is the best form of keyword rich SEO content you can have on your website.

  • It’s the best because you don’t stay up all night writing your own content
  • You don’t have to hire others to write unique content for you.
  • Your website peers write the content for you and you sit back and just moderate to your heart’s content.

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Posted in SEO, Social Media |

Why Does the Google Toolbar No Longer Show Up on My Browser?

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As of the of mid August 2011, Google has officially stopped supporting the Google Toolbar plugin, except for the Internet Explorer browser. So that means that your Google Toolbar for Firefox, Safari, and even Google’s own Chrome browser are no longer supported.

Google Toolbar No longer supported on Firefox, Safari or Chrome

Many Firefox users may be mistaken that upgrading to the newest version of Firefox 6 has broken the Google Toolbar. This is not the case. As stated by Google:

First of all, we’d like to thank all of our loyal users of Google Toolbar for Firefox. We deeply appreciate all of the feedback over the years that helped to make the product so useful. As we all know, over the past few years, there has been a tremendous amount of innovation in the browser space. For Firefox users, many features that were once offered by Google Toolbar for Firefox are now already built right into the browswer. Therefore, while Google Toolbar for Firefox works on versions up to and including Firefox 4 only, it will not be supported on Firefox 5 and future versions. Please see our Help Center for additional details.

Most of us assume that Google is planning on integrating this functionality directly into their Chrome browser and therefore don’t need to support a separate plugin. In the case of Firefox and other browsers, many of the same features are available in the browser itself.

However, the Google PageRank value is missing from their support pages and lists of other tools to replicate the same functionality provided by the Google Toolbar. So is this a sign that Google may be taking steps to no longer publish their Google PR to the public? What are your thoughts?

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Posted in SEO Tools | Tags: , ,

What Are the Best Social Media Plugins to Add to My Site?

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social network plugins

Social Media is the hot trend of the day. Everyone wants to have more friends on Facebook, more followers on Twitter, more +1’s on Google. But at the end of the day, do these social media variables have an effect on your website? If its not all hype, then what are the best social media plugins to add to your site?

Well the interesting news is that social media activity has proven to be a good thing for companies. Google and Bing are leading the way with incorporating social media signals into their search engine ranking formulas. So now your number of friends, re-tweets, shares, recommendations, etc all will benefit your website’s rankings.

Besides SEO rankings from social media signals, social media sites definitely drive more traffic to your website. That means that you have to be very careful to control the flow of information on social media sites, so that it is congruent with the content located on your site when they get there.

Ok now that you know social media tools help your website, which ones should you use?

  • A short list of the bare minimum ones are: Google +1, Facebook Like button, Facebook Share button (Recommend), and the Tweet button.
  • For beginners, I recommend one of the 3rd party tools like or They will save you the trouble of doing a lot of coding on your pages. They also offer consolidated click through reporting which is a nice feature.
  • For more advanced HTML programmers, you can add each one individually so you have more control over the layout of the plugins.

If you want to get more interactive, you can embed one of the Facebook or Twitter IFRAME plugins that will show recent tweets or a list of your friends who have Liked a particular page.

Learn more about social media plugins and their benefits on our site.


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Posted in Social Media |

How to Stop Google Analytics from Tracking Visits from your Own Company’s Users

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Many of us are looking at bloated Google Analtyics tracking data because it is counting visits to our website’s domain from people that are within our own organization.

There are 2 main ways to handle this issue. The good news is that with the latest version of GA, there is now a simple setting where you can exclude traffic from. After logging into GA, click on the Options gear icon in the upper right orange bar. Then Click on the Filters tab. At that point you will be able to Create a New Filter. Once you do that, you will get the screen below and you can select from 3 different ways to exclude traffic from your site:

  • A domain
  • Individual IP addresses
  • to certain sub directories

Exclude website traffic from your GA reports
Click on image to see full size version

The second way to accomplish this task, and if you’re not yet upgraded to the new version of GA, then the best way to exclude traffic is by setting a cookie on individual users’ machines. You can then use Analytics’ filter to ignore visits from all machines that has this cookie set.

1. Add the code below to a page on your website that is private, where only employees have access to that page. When a user goes to that page the 1st time, the cookie will be set on the users’ machines.

<body onLoad=”javascript:pageTracker._setVar('r7898787')”>

2. Create a new filter with the following settings:

  • Filter Type: Custom filter > Exclude
  • Filter Field: User Defined
  • Filter Pattern: r7898787 (your cookie name)
  • Case Sensitive: No

 Now you’re set. You have 2 different ways to accomplish the same goal of excluding internal company visitors from your GA website traffic.

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Posted in Analytics |

How to optimize your site for all 50 states’ keywords

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If your company sells your products or services nationally, then you face the common issue of trying to decide how to achieve top SEO rankings on Google for either national keywords or state specific keywords.

How to get ranked in all 50 states

Clearly this is the domain of lead generation websites. As an example, one of our SEO clients is a leading HGH therapy and Testosterone therapy clinic. They are located in South Florida but have affiliated doctors in many other cities across the country. So the question arises, do they focus on the general keywords like ‘HGH therapy’ or do they focus more on state and city specific keywords like ‘HGH therapy in Texas’?

As we all know in SEO, the answer is: It depends…

It depends on how competitive the general keywords are, the age and authority of the domain, and all the other common ranking signals. However, there is a strategy that, if followed, can lead to top rankings for both the short tail and long tail keywords. The strategy is the Panda friendly content is king strategy.

In the old days (by which I mean maybe a year ago) you could add each state name to the footer of your site and link it to a standard template that basically replaced the state name within the paragraphs of text. In today’s Panda world, that doesn’t fly. You must develop unique, relevant content for each state’s page.

So how do you do that? Who has time? Well one summer friendly idea is to hire college interns to write for you. Your local colleges or kids home for the summer would love an internship focusing on SEO copyrighting. I don’t recommend outsourcing content writing to India or China or the Philippines. Since this content will be on your website, it must read as your voice and be congruent with the rest of your tone.

With a dedicated page for each state, you’ll be amazed just how easy it is to get top Google rankings for your region specific keywords. But don’t forget about optimizing for those difficult general phrases. If you can rank up top for the seed keywords, your regional keywords will also benefit.

Let me know what has worked and hasn’t worked for you when it comes to state specific optimization.

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Posted in SEO |

How to Track Traffic Only from Social Media Sites on Google Analtyics

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With social media marketing playing such a big role in companies’ marketing efforts, it makes sense that the marketers need a separate Google Analytics report to traffic traffic only from social media sites.

segment traffic for only social media sites in Google Analytics

The good news is that this is relatively easy to setup. Since Google Analytics can analyze different traffic mediums such as direct vs. organic, you can add social networks as a separate traffic medium.

Here is how:

  1. Go to ‘Advanced Segments’ in your main Google Analytics profile
  2. Create a new segment and drag the ‘source’ box which under ‘Traffic sources’ to the ‘dimension or metric’ window
  3. Open the ‘Condition’ drop down and paste the following sources:
digg|aim|friendfeed|econsultancy|blinklist|fark|furl|misterwongs|wikipedia|stumbleupon|netvibes|bloglines|linkedin |facebook|del\.icio\.us|feedburner|twitter|technorati|faves\.com|newsgator|PRweb|msplinks|myspace|bit\.ly|tr\.im|cli\.gs|zi\.ma|poprl|tinyurl

Now you will have a custom segment to track only traffic from social media sites!

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Posted in Analytics, Social Media |

Bing Shares It’s Secrets of How to Achieve Top Rankings

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So ranking #1 on Google isns’t enough for you? Luckily Bing has recently provided 18 of its top tips how to rank higher on Bing and Yahoo search.

How to Rank hihger on Bing and Yahoo

While most of these items are similar to current wisdom for how to rank #1 on Google, it is nice to hear these straight from the mouth of Bing, and not conjecture from all us SEO gurus out there! So without further adieu, here are the 18 items in no particular order:

  1. Create a solid content hierarchy by doing basic keyword research and avoiding placement of your content in rich media such as Silverlight and Flash.
  2. Use a short meta title that has fewer than 65 characters and that’s unique to each page, and try to include the targeted keyword toward the beginning of that title.
  3. Make sure your site is crawlable by using an XML sitemap, a robots.txt file, and well-structured on-site navigation.
  4. Create quality content (following the guidelines Bing provided earlier).
  5. Improve your site structure by using an HTML sitemap and linking to trusted sources both within your site and outside of it.
  6. Use markup.
  7. Use a unique meta description tag.
  8. When you build links, focus on keyword-relevant anchor tags that link back to quality content on your page.
  9. Create a user interface that prioritizes the user experiences; the search perspective on things like page load time aren’t as important as how the user responds.
  10. Create an RSS feed.
  11. Encourage social sharing with the use of social buttons.

These last 7 are things you should <span class=”red”>NOT</span> do in your SEO efforts:

  1. Don’t use thin content.
  2. Don’t buy links.
  3. Don’t engage in three-way linking.
  4. Don’t duplicate content.
  5. Don’t cloak your website.
  6. Don’t use link farms.
  7. Don’t use auto-following on the social front.

If you follow these simple 18 guidelines, you should be able to get top rankings in all the major search engines, not just Bing and Yahoo.

To learn more about our SEO process, check out our SEO section of the site or our Education Center.

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Posted in SEO | Tags: , ,

Why Do I See Different Search Results on My Computer than in My Office?

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Why Do I see different search rankings than others

Do you search for something on Google and find it ranked #1 but your friend does the same search and that website is #15? Many people pull their hair out when trying to determine what number a certain keyword ranks. This is due to the personalization features implemented by Google.

Google has gone on record saying that they want all search results to be personalized to some degree. Their tone has been very strongly indicating that the more personalization signals they can find, the more personalized the results you’ll get in your searches.

Some of these personalized search signals can include:

  • Which websites you’ve visited before and how often
  • Geographic location based on IP address
  • Geographic location based on your settings on your Google account
  • Country specific domains and extensions
  • Whether or not you’re searching from your mobile device or computer
  • Inclusion of localization phrases in your searches (city name, state, country)

So how do you get rid of personalized results all together? That is a tricky answer. Luckily there are a few sure fire way, then some others that work for awhile but seem to end up getting turned off again.

One sure fire way to do a search and mask all personalization signals is to use a web browser that does all that for you behind the scenes. The SRWare Iron web browser is the solution. You can search Google for any phrase, any number of times, and you’ll see the true rankings for that keyword.

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Posted in SEO Tools | Tags: ,
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