Can a Website be Over-Optimized?

Can a Website be Over-Optimized?

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Before we jump into the main topic, let us take a moment to refresh our memory. Website optimization for search engines (SEO) is an ongoing process whereby a series of activities take place over time to improve a website’s search engine rank.

Some (not all) of the activities included in website optimization include:

-building inbound links to internal pages
-creating outbound links to external pages
-creating content that has a minimum keyword density
-utilizing meta tags to get your website seen and
-putting the same content over various web pages to create a network of revenue-generating websites.

LCT Training is inalienable for those who want to serve their local clients and grow their own businesses. Prior to the Penguin Update by Google, keyword, link and meta tag optimization was an effective way to get more traffic and drive revenue. However, ever since the Penguin update, a lot of websites have been penalized for what is termed “over-optimization”.

Now, the Penguin update wants to see unique and original content on websites that is helpful to visitors. Google is more interested in the strength of your content and can penalize you for over-optimization which can include too many internal links to drive traffic and external links that are not relevant to website content. Furthermore, Google also wants to put a stop to websites repurposing the same content over multiple web pages just to generate traffic.

A lot of tactics that website owners could get away with before Penguin are now considered to be dangerous. If your site uses such tactics to gain traffic, then it is highly possible that it is over-optimized.

One of the first things that you can do to help prevent Penguin from considering your website to be over-optimized is to continually add fresh and relevant content. If you don’t have a blog on your website, add one to it and if you already have a blog, start adding new content regularly. If your website goes for too long without new content, then Google will start to drop it in the rankings.

Fresh, new content that is relevant to your website’s subject matter is very important in keeping your rank up. You will also need to remove any content that is written based solely on keyword frequency and keyword placement – content must be written for the human reader and NOT for the search engine bots and crawlers.

As you continue to re-tool your website, you will want to update internal links and you will also want to make sure that your external links are relevant and active. Analyze the anchor text that you are using for your links and make sure use natural variations so these become part of website content and that flows together and makes sense for a human reader.

The bottom line: original content for your websites will help you avoid becoming a victim of a possible website over-optimization penalty.

Have you been a victim of over-optimization?

Write for Humans and Not for Search Engines

Write for Humans and Not for Search Engines

Why It Is Important To Focus On Your Human Visitors and Not Search Engine Bots?

In the very early days of the Internet, the content industry was quite a bit like the Wild West. At that time, specific rules had not been established and the people who could sling out the most keywords in their content were getting the bulk of the Internet visitor traffic.

Website owners who were trying to create usable resources on the Internet started to get frustrated because the search engines were falling prey to keyword stuffing and were sending traffic to content mills and similar websites instead of legitimate experts.

In response to the outcries, along with many other search engine algorithm updates, Google released the Panda Update update. This update helped to weed out websites that were using keyword stuffing to drive traffic and helped legitimate websites to drive more visitors and thereby increase revenue.

In 2012, Google released a follow-up to Panda called the Penguin update. As effective as Panda was at pushing traffic to the proper websites, one of the main reasons for the Penguin update was to weed out websites were still utilizing keyword placement in lieu of good content.

The Penguin update has placed a strong emphasis on creating useful and relevant content as opposed to trying to attract search bots with lots and lots of keywords. The Penguin update has also started to severely punish websites that cut and paste content from other websites instead of generating their own content. It is imperative to never copy and create duplicate content!

The Penguin update puts the focus squarely on the most important visitor to your website: the human visitor and not on the search engine bots. The Penguin algorithm update is an important reason to start gearing your content more towards human readers rather than bots.

But another good reason for altering your content is because people want to read content that is useful to them and content that is written in good English. Content that is based on keywords tends to be difficult to read and often offers no value to the reader at all. But when the content is written to be informative and helpful, then that will help to keep existing traffic and attract new traffic as well.

Internet search engines are evolving on a day-by-day basis. But it has become obvious that the underlying theme to the new changes is the need for better content and content that is written in a manner that makes sense to human readers.

If you want to get your website to show up higher in the new Google search results pages, then you need to provide content that is valuable and useful to human readers. If you want to retain your current traffic and entice new traffic to visit your site, then you will need your content to be easy to read and useful to all of your human readers.

Have you been a victim of the Panda update or the Penguin Update?

Affected by the Google Penguin Update?

Affected by the Google Penguin Update?

Has your website and organic search engine rank been affected by Google’s recent Penguin Update?

The Penguin update was released in late April 2012 and has impacted a significant number of web properties.

Read the official blog post on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.

Google is continually working to create a relevant and credible search experience for its users and this update continues the tradition. The main goal of this update is to penalize websites that are “spammy” and attempt to “cheat” the search engine by utilizing techniques that are considered to be unacceptable. The focus is on what is being termed “over-optimized” websites: those that are targeted more toward search engines and not human readers.

Dubbed “Penguin“, this is an “algorithmic” update and if your website has been affected, you need to take corrective action immediately. After corrective action is taken, and once the Google bots re-crawls your website, there is a good chance that it will start to rank again – as long as the offending items are corrected as needed and your approach is genuine.

Watch out for the following:

-Website content with excessive number of references to your main keywords
-Website content that appears to be developed for search engines and not for human visitors
-An unnatural link structure where the link distribution is perceived as spammy
-The bulk of your inbound links come from blog comments or forums
-Website content that is duplicated, copied or scraped from other sites or pages
-An excessive number inbound links that originate from your own site
-An unnatural distribution of anchor text tags
-Website content is stale as in old and not regularly updated
-Duplicate content across more than 1 domain(s)
-Not having enough content “above-the-fold” ie before having to scroll down
-Multiple domains with substantially duplicated content
-Doorway pages that were created just for search engines

“Spammy” Techniques – if your website is over-optimized, immediately take steps to remove as much of the over-optimization as you can. Avoid techniques such as cloaking or keyword stuffing like the plague – such techniques are sure to get your site removed from the Google Index. And, if you have an excessive number of keywords (high keyword density) in your content, Google will see this as keyword stuffing. Use synonyms if possible – the Google search algorithms are smart enough to understand synonyms and establish relevance.

Quality – focus on quality – the key is for existing customers to share your content across their properties. So take immediate action to correct spelling mistakes, typos, bad grammar and other readability problems with your content – show Google that you are interested in genuine content and do not want to be mediocre.

Content – Publish genuine & meaningful content – if you don’t have a blog, add one in short order. Establish a regular blogging frequency and no matter what, stick with it. Add a FAQs page and update it often. Add an educational content where you provide meaningful content to help your visitors.

Video – Use video strategically to publish even more relevant and meaningful content – syndicate video via sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Smugmug and others.

Social Media – Give social media the attention it actually deserves: update your social presence regularly and do it such that you really mean it and don’t be perfunctory. At the very least, build a complete Facebook and Google+ profile. And look into Pinterest, currently the 3rd largest social media network, behind Facebook and Twitter.

Google+ – this one is a given – since Google+ is a Google property, it would make sense if it received a bit more interest than Facebook, Twitter and others so create a G+ profile and regularly post content on it

Meta Tags – do not repeat keywords in your title tag, enforce the 65 character limit and enforce the 150 character meta description limit.

Think outside the box – you may not feel that social media is a good fit for your business and for the life of you, you cannot imagine how to leverage social media. Believe it or not, 9 times out of 10, there is a fit; and it generally takes some thinking outside the box. So, take the time to come up with ideas on how to be different with social media, especially within your industry.

And more than anything, if Google-got-you, don’t fret. Take genuine corrective action and before you know it, your website will be back where it was. Don’t take this as a negative update, rather, take this as a challenge and make your organization stand out even more than before by focusing on meaningful, relevant and great content!

So, was your business affected by the Google Penguin Update?

SEO Pricing Explained

SEO Pricing Explained

SEO pricing is a complex issue to tackle as it depends on many factors and needs a comprehensive seo analysis. Based on your industry, your competition, your organization’s geographic penetration, SEO can cost anywhere from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars or more.

Furthermore, the cost of SEO also depends on the project model followed by your SEO vendor of choice.

TYPES OF SEO VENDORS

Let us first look at the various types of SEO providers that are available to you:

Freelance SEO Experts – Thanks to the high-speed internet, many people now can perform these 25 best online jobs on the Internet and make a living. Most Freelancers are good but again, we suggest that you do you homework before signing on the dotted line. Remember, it is the overall approach – the team approach – that counts and most freelancers are not team oriented given that they are freelancers. Hiring a freelancer can be the most economical option.

Offshore SEO Companies – The ones that offer to “do” your SEO starting at $199 per month – a lot of these are link building factories located outside the USA. Proceed with extreme caution and make sure you check previous work and references extensively before engaging. It’s not so easy to find a good service.

Dedicated Internet Marketing Agencies – Dedicated marketing agencies will have the most expertise and will have multiple teams in-house to handle all aspects of your SEO but they can be pricey and the majority of these agencies generally prefer to work with larger clients. A lot of these will not be able to offer related and/or required services (such as performance optimization, code adjustments and similar) in house.

Web Development & Internet Marketing Companies –  Typically midrange pricing – that offer the best of the breed in expertise in design & development as well as digital marketing and are usually able to provide most, if not all, related and/or required services in-house.

SEO PROJECT MODELS

The following pricing models are common in the SEO industry.

Fixed Cost – A fixed project cost includes a specific set of activities and generally lasts a finite, pre-determined time. The cost of the project may be payable in several installments. Upon conclusion of the project, you have the option to extend, or engage in a new project.

Fixed Cost plus Monthly Retainer – Generally, a fixed, one-time cost for work such as onsite optimization followed by a monthly cost for ongoing optimization with a pre-determined duration of the project so there is no abuse such as “your rank will drop if you stop SEO”.

Performance Based – Where the charges apply once your website starts to rank at a certain predetermined position on a search engine(s) of choice and these rates go up as the rank of your website increases from the 20s to the top 3s.

Hourly – A fixed hourly rate is charged for work performed; this rate depends on how your vendor of choice is positioned in the SEO playing field.

Individual Services – Some SEO vendors will split a project into several chunks: initial audit, on-page optimization, keyword research, link building and charge either on an hourly basis, or on a fixed-cost basis for each chunk. This allows you the flexibility of engaging in one or more of the “chunks”. The type of vendor you select further adds to the pricing equation.

SEO PRICING

In most cases, SEO starts with an audit (or assessment) of your website, followed by keyword research & selection. One-time on-page optimization such as updates, changes and modifications to your website and content updates come next – these are all part of on-page (on-website) optimization. Off-website work focuses on ongoing link building and may also include ongoing social media/profile optimization. Ongoing work also includes monitoring and reporting.

Please note that the pricing model presented below is specific to our company, however, it should give you a good benchmark. Let us look at the steps of SEO one by one:

SEO Audit

Typical Effort Type
8 to 32 hours One-time

A typical SEO audit can take anywhere from 8 to 32 hours to complete and depends on factors such as the complexity of your website, competitiveness on search engines, how well the website is designed/developed and whether it has been optimized previously or not…it is also affected by the regularity of content updates, social media presence and many others.

Keyword Strategy, Research & Optimization

Typical Effort Type
8 to 40 hours One-time

A solid keyword strategy is critical for the success of SEO. Keyword research is a time-consuming affair; time should be invested in this part of the process given the importance of selecting proper keywords. Coming up with the proper keywords can take anywhere from 8 to 40 hours.

On-page (on-site) optimization

Typical Effort Type
0 to 60 hours per month Ongoing

Depending on the outcome of the SEO audit and keyword research, this step can take anywhere from 0 to 60 hours to complete. On-page or on-site optimization refers to structural updates or changes that need to be made to the website itself, hence the term “on-page” or “on-site”. Not all websites need the same amount of updates; in rare cases, zero updates may be needed.

Off-page (off-site) Optimization

Typical Effort Type
18 to 80 hours per month Ongoing

Off-page optimization depends on the number of keywords being promoted; the geographic reach (i.e. local, regional, national or international) and competitiveness of the keywords and the industry. Ongoing off-page optimization can take anywhere from 18 to 80 hours per month.

Monitoring and Reporting

Typical Effort Type
6 to 12 hours per month Ongoing

Without monitoring and reporting it would be difficult to assess the effectiveness of the effort(s). It is important to monitor visitor traffic, behavior and search patterns on a regular basis so that SEO efforts can be adjusted as needed and keywords can be changed when required. Ongoing Monitoring and Reporting generally requires 6 to 12 hours per month.

CONCLUSION

Typical Effort Type

Typical Effort Type
16 to 120 hours One-time
24 to 92 hours per month Ongoing

SEO pricing varies and is highly dependent on the agency or company you choose to work with. As an example, top SEO agencies can charge tens of thousands of dollars just for their SEO audit and an annual SEO contract can run in the low 7 figures.

There is no hard and fast rule to SEO pricing – but remember the old adage – cheaper is generally not better and at the same time, the most expensive option may also not necessarily be the best.

What pricing model has worked best for you?

SEO Update: Long Tail Keywords ROCK!

	 SEO Update: Long Tail Keywords ROCK!

As a follow-up to our blog post from March, here is an update to the SEO campaign for MCS, also posted at https://web20ranker.com/white-label-seo-campaigns/.

The website for Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS) – www.mcs360.com – is ranking at #1 on www.google.com for multiple keywords that are directly tied to their website.

AND

it is ranking in top 10 results for keywords that are not directly being promoted – longer tail keywords that are, of course, part of the content of the website.

Some examples (these searches were performed in www.google.com)

Fort Myers Abandoned Property Ordinance appears at #1

Hillsborough County Abandoned Property Ordinance appears at #5

Wilmer Texas Swimming Pool Ordinance appears at #1

San Francisco Vacant or Abandoned Building Registration Ordinance appears at #4

There are hundreds of such long tail keywords that are pulling up the MCS website in the top 10 search results on google.com! Their potential customers are now finding them not just through the targeted keywords, but also through such search terms.

This is SHEER POWER OF properly performed search engine optimization (SEO).

Arnima, a Florida SEO and Florida Web Design company, can catapult your website to the top of search engine results. Learn more on our website at www.arnima.com.