December 2012

Google Author Rank is Here…Are You Prepared?

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devenia seo company google authorrank hero 300x199 Google Author Rank is Here...Are You Prepared?

First, a Little Background

In 2005, Google filed a patent for what was at the time called “Agent Rank.”  Much like its modern counterpart, Author Rank, Google was searching for a way to measure the authority of a particular individual.  The more authoritative an individual was, the more likely people would like that person’s content, and the higher it should rank as a result.

Once Google launched Google+ in 2011, it finally had the platform necessary for tying specific web content to a certain author.  Now, Google can provide even more quality, relative results on the social web.

Factors Affecting Google Author Rank

You can never be 100% positive about which factors are affecting anything with Google because it keeps things pretty secret.  But, based on what is known about Google, you can be fairly confident these factors affect your Author Rank to some degree:

  • Google+ engagement
  • PageRank of individual articles
  • Connections to author high author rank authors
  • Comments
  • Inbound links
  • Authority on other major social platforms
  • Number of social shares
  • Inbound links

Why Increase Your Author Rank?

Whether you are planning on running the same website forever, or if your current venture is just for the short-term, increasing your Author Rank is important.  If you’re running the same site, you’ll get preferential treatment in the search engine rankings.  But, if you decide to transition to another site, you already have an Author Rank built up.  You won’t be as noted by Google when you start that new site, but you’ll be much farther ahead than you would be if you started from scratch.

Steps to Increase Your Author Rank

Increasing your Author Rank is difficult and takes time, as well as the ability to know exactly what your market wants and how to deliver what they want to them.  The first step?  Claim authorship of your content by inserting the tag <rel=”author” link=”googleplusurl”> into each page of your content.  If you run WordPress, there are a number of plugins that handle this process for you so you don’t have to manually insert the code into each page.

If you do a guest post for someone else, just include that line of code in your bio.  Google only needs to find that code somewhere on the page, and anywhere you put it is fine.

Once you are setup for Google authorship, then it’s time to create the content.

Since social signals, such as the number of +1s your content receives, are a huge factor in determining your Author Rank, the goal lies in focusing on creating content that does just that.  How do you do that?  Here are some steps to follow:

  • Have a high awareness of your niche and authoritative content sources in it (blogs, e-magazines etc…)
  • Research types of articles that do well, and write your own slant, or go completely against the grain
  • Develop relationships with the owners of those sites and offer to create content for them
  • Repeat this process until you succeed

It’s simple in theory, but difficult in practice.  You can easily get published on smaller blogs within a week or two.  But, the big-time stuff takes months or years to develop relationships and create valuable content for.  As you create content on other sites and develop your own, you will slowly gain a stronger reputation in your niche.  How far it grows is limited only by your talent and desire to succeed.  Good luck to you as you establish your digital reputation!

Dan StelterGoogle Author Rank is Here…Are You Prepared?
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5 Common SEO Mistakes You are Making & How to Avoid Them

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mistake in math on chalkboard 5 Common SEO Mistakes You are Making & How to Avoid ThemSEO is a challenging world – no one actually knows the specific rule of the game.  Google has an incredibly complex algorithm composed of hundreds of factors that no one knows precisely.  But, people do have an idea of where the boundaries lie for various SEO techniques.

It’s hard to know exactly when you are making a mistake, but if you follow these guidelines, then you will be setting yourself up for long-term SEO success:

Keyword Research

It all starts here.  You can target long-tail or short-tail keywords, but you have to be aware of the reality of targeting either.  Long-tail keywords (3 words or longer) have lower competition, are easier to rank for, and can generate sales now.  Short-tail keywords (2 or less) are much harder to rank, convert at a lower rate, but could offer much higher overall sales.

The most common mistake we see for keyword research is focusing on terms that are too broad.  A wise approach is to mix and match the two strategies.

Home Page Copy Only Focused on SEO

If your home page exists solely to “increase rankings,” it might have too heavy a focus on SEO.  Ideally, the keywords are difficult to pick out.  If you have keywords every few sentences or so, bold them to help the search engines identify them, and cram them in every subheader, they’re probably being placed in at too high of density.

Instead, the home page copy should focus on what you can do for the customer, and the keywords should be placed in where they blend in well and sound very natural.

URL Structure

It’s fairly common to see e-commerce sites with URLs like this:  http://www.test.com/gp/product/B0010WP3KY/ref=s9_qpp_gw_p23_d29_ir05?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1TWFB5B

Yikes!  Google won’t be able to make any sense of that, and it won’t help your users either.  Instead, your e-commerce site should have URLs like this:  http://www.test.com/category/product-123/  Google likes these URLs much better than others and gives them preference in its rankings, and they help your visitors understand how to find your products too.

Low-Value Links

Links range in difficult to build from very easy to very hard.  Getting one link on a site like NYTimes.com can be equal in value to thousands of low-value links you can get by posting comments on people’s blogs, opening forum discussions, and posting to spammy web directories.

If you’re not sure how valuable the link you will be building is, simply ask yourself, “How much work did it take to get this link?”  The more work it takes, the more reward you can expect.

Failing to Update Your Site with New Content

Searchers want fresh, relevant content.  Google wants to stay in business, so its algorithm reflects this desire.  No matter what industry you are in, you should have a blog and make at least 1 update to it per week.  If you think your topic is boring, it’s not.  You have customers who already love your products and services, so keep telling them how your business can help them.

Avoid These Mistakes and You’ll be Okay!

As long as you are being honest and working hard, Google rewards your efforts.  But, it rewards some more than others.  That’s why it’s not a bad idea to hire a professional or firm to assist you in your efforts.  On your own, however, you can do some basic SEO.

Dan Stelter5 Common SEO Mistakes You are Making & How to Avoid Them
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Top 5 Predictions on the Future of Google

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top 5 predictions on the future of google 187x300 Top 5 Predictions on the Future of GoogleGoogle’s algorithm features more than 200 different factors, and some SEO professionals look at it as though it is the closest thing to artificial intelligence.  Maybe Google isn’t that intelligent, but the point is that it’s awfully complex, and it does do a better job of searching through the billions of websites and returning the most relevant results than any other search engine.

Making predictions on anything is difficult, but hey, it’s fun to at least try!  Here are some of ours for 2013 and the future years:

A diverse set of links becomes more powerful.

This one is actually already in place, but it’s strength as a ranking factor will increase throughout 2013.  Links will have to come from fewer, more reputable sites.  The more of these quality links you have, the better, but they do need to be quality.  Google also focuses more on “earned” links, so the more work you do to get a link, the more value it carries.  At Devenia, we specialize in compiling and monitoring our database for the most valuable link sources.  It takes a ton of work, and it will take even more work in the future.

Your site will need to be a database of information.

Sometimes, companies create micro sites (sites with just a few pages) because it can be much easier to rank several sites for a few keywords than a single site for many keywords.  This strategy will continue to work, but to a lesser degree.  In the near future, Google’s focus on quality, useful content will increase.  That means it will want larger websites with more comprehensive information resources available.  This makes sense because after all, people want information online, and if they can find the answers to many of their questions in one place, they will stick to that source.

The definition of “quality” will increase.

It actually has since the release of the Panda in February of 2011, and this will continue.  Panda has received more than 20 updates already.  Each update has been fairly minor, with the exception of the first, but they all total up to a large difference.  Professionally-written, engaging content will carry more weight in the future.

“Social proof” will gain more momentum.

“Social proof” refers to the marketing idea that if other people like it, it must be good.  It’s similar to the bandwagon effect.  Google will continue to look at the number of followers and social shares your accounts receive.  If you’re not active on the major social media, it will eventually become necessary to have at least some presence on a couple major channels.  If you’re a local business, having those positive local reviews in Google Places and other major business directories will help also.

Remember, Google Always Rewards Hard Work

While Google  is difficult to predict, the key lies in focusing on hard work.  Trying to trick it, or building as many links as quickly as possible, simply doesn’t work.  It really is that simple!

Dan StelterTop 5 Predictions on the Future of Google
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How Does Online Reputation Management Work?

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respect2 300x199 How Does Online Reputation Management Work?Damage to your online business reputation causes more harm to your business than offline damage.  It’s true, and here’s why – the vast majority of people searching for your business, products, and services discover you online first.

What happens if your business’s name comes up with the words “ripoff” or “scam” when people are typing a search term into Google?

The effects are devastating!

Now that I have your attention, you might be wondering how online reputation management works.  Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make sure you have a great reputation, or to make those nasty results disappear.

Steps You can Take to Restore a Good Reputation

1.  Bury negative results.  If your site ranks highly for a negative search term, the best thing to do is to bury the result past the third page of Google.  Why?  98% of all searchers click on results on the first page of Google.  Ranking on the fourth page is little different than ranking on the 1000th page.

This takes a ton of work – creating good content and then getting it to rank.  It’s rarely something you can do on your own, and instead, you will need to hire the services of an SEO professional.

2.  Responding to negative mentions.  If someone says negative things about your business on your social media accounts or one of the many business directories like Yelp, respond to it.  But, make sure you respond to it constructively.  By demonstrating your professionalism and sincere concern for customer service, you can turn that negative mention into a positive one.

3.  Monitor your site’s name for mentions.  Believe it or not, monitoring your site for negative mentions is easier than you think.  Simply go to www.google.com/alerts, and type in your company name.  Type in some misspellings/variations of your name, and also include a geographic region if you are a local business.  Whenever Google indexes new content regarding your company, you will receive a notification automatically.

If you haven’t checked your site for negative search results already, you can do so by Googling your company’s name.  Search through the first 5 pages of the results, and see what comes up.

4.  Encourage customers to post positive reviews.  For some reason, it’s much easier for people to post and say negative things about any company than it is to post positive things.  When you’ve really pleased a customer, they’re typically more than happy to do anything you ask.  Ask them to post a positive review about your company on Google Places, or other reputable business directories where you are active.  People are likely to take a positive action when pleased, but they’re much more likely to take one when you tell them exactly how.

Gain Leads & Increase Conversion Rates with Reputation Management

The whole reason to do online reputation management is to keep growing your business.  And, if you follow these simple steps, you will cover the most essential methods for giving  your business a great reputation.  Keep them in mind as you move forward!

Dan StelterHow Does Online Reputation Management Work?
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