Bjørn Are Solstad

Bjorn Solstad

Bjorn Solstad is a Search Marketing Expert and Chief Executive Officer in Devenia.

How can we get more business?

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businesswoman with tablet pc 848x566 How can we get more business?When I go through the statistics from Statcounter showing what people has searched for when they came to our sites, I usually notice when there is a broad search term that is at the same time very precise in it’s wording. I just saw one like that today when I noticed a search on Baidu for “how can we get more business”. As you might know, Baidu is the biggest and the dominating search engine in China.

Enough introduction. Back to the main issue. How can we get more business?

First of all, I will list up from the top of my head the free and most obvious things you can do. Just to check if you have exhausted the possibilities that only require time, but no money.

Discussion groups

Before social media became Facebook and Twitter, it existed as discussion groups and online forums. They still do, and many people hang out in these places and lists still.

The same rule applies today as it did before: Don’t spam people with links. Be helpful and active without ever trying to push anything. You will be surprised how many client leads you can get by simply showing over time that you are both insightful and knowledgeable in your field. This is mainly how we have built up our own business. Through word of mouth and being helpful without pushing our services on anyone. This is also why we have clients that has been with us since we started the company in early 2007.

Building and maintaining trust takes time, taring it down is done in seconds.

Social media

My wife Eman has shown me that careful marketing through Facebook, Google+ and Twitter can give many leads – and it can be done without pushing your services on people a single time. Give her a follow, and ask her politely for a piece of advice about how she has managed to get a steady follower count of more than 15.000 people genuinely interested in what she has to say. Keep in mind that she has blocked more people that she actually allows to follow her, so the number is pretty impressive.

For me, I have no clue how she does it. I personally have less than a thousand followers in all social media channels combined, so there is obviously something she does right that I am not doing (oh, could it be the fact that I hardy ever say anything in social media?)

Press releases

Sending out obscure press releases about your “amazing” new product or service that nobody cares about is not gonna get you anywhere. Coming up with something completely unrelated to your business that is interesting on the other side might gain some traction and get a journalist interested enough to actually spend time on investigating what this news of yours might be though.

My point is this: Spend time and be creative about your press related activities, and you might find that the efforts is worth it. Mass-produce a “press release” that is actually just your brochure wrapped differently is waste of your, and the newspapers desks time.

Word of mouth

This is by far the most effective marketing there is – also in 2014. Why not have a calling round to your existing customers and straight out ask them if they know someone else that might want to buy your product or service?

Paid marketing

As of today, there is only one option I am positively sure is worth spending money on: Google Adwords. We, and our clients has tried using Facebook ads, Linkedin ads, Bing ads with pretty terrible results. Google ads on the other hand has performed very well for several clients. We manage their ad spending budgets, so we know pretty well what works well for them.

Your website

Oh. I almost forgot. Have you checked your own website lately? When you look at it, does it make you proud of it? If your answer is no, I suggest you have a good look at what you can do to improve the site before you even try to get people to it. Remember – your website is “you” as far as any possible client knows. If it’s not well done in all aspects, you are giving very poor signals to a possible client about what they can expect of you if they chose to become your client.

Have your say

Anything important I have forgotten to mention in this short article? Use the comment form below and tell me about it.


Bjørn Are SolstadHow can we get more business?
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Selling SEO services by spamming people

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tired sad woman reputation management 848x565 Selling SEO services by spamming people

I got another spam mail from a company trying to sell their SEO services by spamming people. I get these pretty frequently. So, I am going to quickly explain to this particular company and everyone like them a simple fact:

You company probably suck at SEO if you have to resort to spamming to sell your SEO services

If you as a SEO company can’t get clients because of your placements in the major search engines, how are you thinking you can help anyone with the very same thing? Let me explain something to you quickly: We get our clients through the search engines and through referrals from other clients. We never have, and never will resort to spamming or direct sales or any other method than the methods we promote to our clients.

I am totally stunned by how many SEO companies operate.

Here is the mail I got from


Sent from John

Title: SEO Proposal

Dear Sir/Madam,
I hope you are doing well.

I was going through your website, I must say it’s very neatly done and designed however though I see that it’s not ranking well on search engines as it should been for its keywords. I was wondering if you would like that, I mean if you like your keywords to be ranked on the 1st page so you have, Increased Traffic + More Clients + More Sales/Business.

If so, here’s the good news we are a SEO company working on a unique pay for performance model with right practices and as per Google’s guideline. We will promote your website on global platform and get you the desired results and you don’t have to pay us either until you see the results as promised.

Pay for Performance helps you with;
1) No monthly payments due until page 1 rankings are achieved.
2) Only set-up cost to start the project and next payment due on keywords ranking.

This will enable you to;
1) Keep your costs down while the campaign is in its early stages.
2) Drive additional and high value traffic to your site before any payment is due.
3) Ensure longevity for page 1 positions to achieve the best for the site.

You don’t have to worry about Google changing algorithms and rankings going down and you paying endlessly to SEO companies to get them back. If rankings go down for any reason, we will get them back and not charging unnecessarily.

We will charge one time setup fee at the beginning of the campaign. We can assure you results that will not disappoint you.

Please let me know your thoughts and I will share the complete company profile with you along with the SEO analysis report of your website.

Thank you



If you wish to unsubscribe from this email, please CLICK HERE


John, feel free to comment below.

Bjørn Are SolstadSelling SEO services by spamming people
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Yes, I sometimes Google my patients. Is this surprising?

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The Guardian writes a very interesting article about how doctors google their patients. This shows very clearly that keeping a good reputation in the search results is crucial for any business in 2014. What people find about you in search, is a deciding factor if they will contact you or not.

From the article:

Googling and gaining further information about patients has its pitfalls. If it is used for medical purposes, can the information be relied upon? Most celebrity gossip probably couldn’t. But if people have uploaded photos and personal information to a public space, then this is what they have chosen to say about themselves. Would they want their doctor to see it, though? In a world increasingly dominated by social media, I’m surprised how freely people share personal information that could backfire if others go searching.

As you can see, the trend is clear. People google each other for all kinds or reasons. The important is to make sure that they will not find anything about you or your firm or colleagues that will make them hesitate or doubt about you or your firm. Getting googled is today a deciding factor for decisions who to contact, and who to stay away from.

Have you googled yourself lately?

If you did, and would like to change what you see, check out our reputation management service. It might save your from losing your next client. And yes. It is absolutely possible to clean up bad search results.

What is your opinion?

Do you think we are all googling each other now, or is this not so important? Use the comment form below to say your opinion. Please remember to share this post with your friends and colleagues so they can find out what people are finding out about them.

Bjørn Are SolstadYes, I sometimes Google my patients. Is this surprising?
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What advice would you give to someone trying to optimise (SEO) an e-commerce website?


This question came up in one of the Google+ Communities where I am active, so I thought it would be  a good idea to share my advice here on the blog as well.

The question was originally asked by Lindshay Hopkins in the SEO+ – Search Engine Optimization / Website Design Community on Google+

From what we have experienced, the most important to optimize an e-commerce website is

  1. Make sure the system produces good, keyword rich URL’s and that rel=canonical is in use to make sure you don’t get problems with duplicates.
  2. Never, ever change the URL’s of the category pages. If you do, you will have to start all over again in getting a top position for the key words. This means you have to put a lot of efforts into planning the category structure of the site.
  3. Make sure the category pages are well described with relevant text. At least 200 words of text for each. No repeating texts where the keyword has just been replaced. Unique, describing texts.
  4. Build links to the category pages, not just to the front page.
  5. Make sure you have included social sharing buttons in very prominent and visible places on all pages.
  6. Be sure that the hosting is on a stable and fast server not to far away to keep the loading speed high.

That’s the most important ones that we have seen are repeating problems with our clients. Especially the first one repeats often.

What are your thoughts?

Use the comment form below. We will try our very best to give you a good answer. You can also circle us at Google+

Bjørn Are SolstadWhat advice would you give to someone trying to optimise (SEO) an e-commerce website?
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How important are the social signals for your rankings?

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After Penguin 2.0 was introduced in May 2013, the social networks plays a much bigger role in getting you that high ranking page in the search results.

The background supporting my claim, is that when Penguin 2.0 was rolled out, we had some serious drops in the placements for several of our clients sites, and I followed my usual routine to analyze what might have caused the drops. I was of course worried that our link building strategy had caused the drops, and was very relieved when I knew for sure that the drops in placements could not be caused by links hurting the rankings.

What I found was that Google has finally rolled out an update that uses social signals directly to determine the placements of a page, and that the actual content of the page plays a much bigger role in the rankings than before.

You can see an example of a page that supports this claim here, and here is an english translation of that page.

Let me try to explain what the above example shows

When a page is naturally being shared in the social networks, it skyrockets in the search results. It keeps the placements over time, meaning that this phenomena is not just a temporary fluctuation.

When a page is being shared in the social networks, the need for built links is very limited. This means that you don’t need to “build links” to rank well for a page that the users have a genuine interest for.

In the example above, the search word is a Norwegian single word called myggfelle. This word means mosquito trap in english. Make a test search in, and you will see that the page ranks on the first place for this term. Of course we have a number of high rankings for a lot of other terms for this site, but I will not reveal those here to protect us from competition.

The recipe for getting placed high in the search results after Penguin 2.0

Write genuine, usable copy. The text has to be good enough for someone to actually want to share it with their friends. This means that traditional, technical seo is dead. Forget key word density, header 1 to 5 or any other technical details. Concentrate your efforts on one thing: making an article that is so good that the reader wants to share it, simply because it’s worth sharing.

What I have found through my analysis so far is that themed links means close to nothing any more. Inbound links still plays a major part though . Besides getting other people to link to your content, it’s all about getting shares in the social networks.

What I predict, is that advertising agencies that are able to come up with great ideas for an article will have a bright future in the search market from now on. The traditional advertising agency is back in 2013.

Here is an example that might give you an idea about what to do:

Think through what you might know that can be useful to someone else. Then make a do-it-yourself article describing accurately how to do this. In my case above, I was lucky enough to stumble by a very good recipe of how to make a mosquito trap from a plastic bottle. So, the article had nothing to do with the rest of the content of the site.

Write the article with readability and usefulness in mind. Include a picture that illustrates your point well, and remember to name the picture with something relevant to the article. In my case, I name the picture mosquito-trap-that-works.jpg. Because of the picture getting a lot of traffic from image searches, the sharing of the article in the social networks skyrocketed.

What is your experience?

Use the comment field below to share with us, and remember to share this article with your friends.

Bjørn Are SolstadHow important are the social signals for your rankings?
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Review of Pay With A Like for WordPress

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I have been using a plugin for WordPress called Pay With A Like for a while now on one of my personal websites. So far, the results have been stunning. Never before have I seen such an enormous amount of likes on that site’s pages.

And, best of all is that the more likes I get to the different pages, the faster the traffic builds from both search engines and the social networks. WPMU that has released this plugin, has done a fantastic job with it – even if it does have some glitches (I’m currently in the process of figuring this out with their support). Update! It turns out that the plugin had no glitches at all. It was a widget on the site that caused the trouble. As soon as the widget was deactivated, it was all smooth sailing.

pay with a like wordpress screenshot 300x133 Review of Pay With A Like for Wordpress

The screenshot shows how Pay With A Like looks like on a live site I have running. I have set it to show the first 100 words of the article before it cuts the rest. The search engines sees the full text according to how I have configured the WordPress plugin.

What the plugin does, is to not allow the visitor to a page before he has liked it in one of the supported social networks. Currently the plugin supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. I am sure they will update it with other networks as they become major players in the social networking sphere.

The plugin gives a very high degree of control of how it works. You can let the plugin automatically add the social paywall to post and pages, or it let’s you make the choice on a per post or page basis.

I had the plugin running here on, and you had to click on one of the social networks to see the content at all, but right now I have turned it off. I’m basically waiting for the developers to look into technical difficulties several have experienced with it.

When you combine this plugin with a killer article that really draw attention with it’s headline and the first 100 words, you have a combination that is pretty much unbeatable. I have not seen any better way of generating traffic lately than this plugin, and we are now in the process of implementing this paywall solution on a number of sites.

A couple years ago, I would never have taken the risk of running a paywall like this simply because there was not enough people being logged in to any social networks on a daily basis, but now, when a billion people are members of the major networks like Facebook and Google+, the loss that might occur from someone not being a member of one of the 4 major networks is so marginal, that it’s really worth the risk.

So, if you are running a website based on WordPress, this plugin will definitely change the number of likes from social networks, and it might very well become your main source of traffic to your site.

What is your experience with Pay With A Like?

Have you had any technical problems with the plugin? If so, please describe it in the comment field below.

Bjørn Are SolstadReview of Pay With A Like for WordPress
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Penguin 2.0 is out

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Working on close to 4000 search phrases in a broad array of areas, I obviously get nervous when Google rolls out a new update of it’s search algorithm. This update dubbed Penguin 2.0 is no exception. So far it has not been many days since it became active, but I can already see placements repositioning and changing.

Right now, it looks like the impact on this Google update is smaller then what we expected when Matt Cutts spoke about it in the below video.

In the video, I get the clear impression that this would be a major shift in the search results, but I can’t really say I see this happening. Making a lot of test searches also shows that the spammy search results are definitely present still. For many searches it is virtually imopossible to get any relevant results.

I will post another piece on this when I get some more statistical data to look at. I guess in a few days.

What is your observations? Have you seen anything remarkable about Penguin 2.0?

Bjørn Are SolstadPenguin 2.0 is out
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The Pirate Party of Norway opens post office for The Pirate Bay

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The Pirate Party of Norway has established a network node for The Pirate Bay (TPB).

This entails that network traffic to TPB from our region of the world will pass through Norway, comparable to an electronic post office. From Norway, trafiic is passed on to TPBs servers throughout the world.  [] This is a symbolic act to support TPB, a search engine for cultural content. The Pirate Party of Norway believes that non-commercial file sharing does not constitute a major problem for society. By supporting TPB, we combat the proposed changes to Norwegian copyright law; the government has recently proposed to censor internet sites and allow massive surveillance of internet users.

In addition to its role as a search engine for cultural content, TPB has become a major promoter of new artists. Through their concept the Promo Bay, TPB offers free global marketing to artists, granting dedicated advertising space on The Pirate Bay’s front page for 24 hours. For the chosen artists the effect is immense, in the form of increased sales and global exposure.

The internet makes it easier for those who create culture to communicate with those who use culture. Also, the distinction between the two groups is vanishing; the internet democratizes culture. For the copyright industry, the new technology is a threat, and only competition from disruptive offerings like TPB will ensure sound distribution models. We would not have had services like Spotify without TPB.

In the past, Norwegian Copyright industry has tried to stop access to the TPB through litigation. Telenor, a major ISP, withstood pressure and the court confirmed that ISPs could not be forced to censor the internet. After the verdict, the Norwegian government has proposed further tightening of Copyright law by sanctioning censorship and massive surveillance. The Pirate Party of Norway will fight the proposed changes when we enter the Parliament in the election of 2013.

The Pirate Party believes that freedom of expression is more important than copyright. Our symbolic support for TPB marks the right to express oneself, and the right to communication. The postal system handles packages and letters without checking the content. We believe the same rules must apply to the internet: electronic postal offices should not check and censor content.  This is why the Pirate Party of Norway will carry the torch our sister party in Sweden ignited, and be TPB’s postman.

Technical description: The Pirate Party of Norway has named one of the IP-addresses used by TPBs network of servers. The name can be found by doing a reverse DNS lookup on one of the IP addresses returned when looking up ““. We have not installed any physical units or lines of communication. The named node is an exit node that only handles routing, and no content is stored. The Pirate Party of Norway is not an ISP.

What is your opinion of internet piracy? Use the comment form below to express your opinion, and don’t forget to like this post in the social networks.

Bjørn Are SolstadThe Pirate Party of Norway opens post office for The Pirate Bay
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How can Dentists benefit from Internet Marketing?

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Dentists, are you looking to add more clients, and perhaps more employees, to your dental practice?  Would you like to do so for just a small cost that minimizes your risk?

If so, consider SEO and internet marketing to help take your practice to the next level.  At Devenia, our goal is to help your business grow.  We help minimize your risk by:

  • Using an educational and down-to-earth sales approach that doesn’t involve hype or pressure
  • Not charging any up-front fees
  • Not charging until you reach the first page of Google for one of your keywords
  • Not forcing you to sign a contract, so you can discontinue services whenever you want

Our goal really is your success.  When you sign on to internet marketing services with us, we will help you deliver the results you desire.  We can’t promise when you will see results or what those results will be.

However, we can say with a high degree of confidence that you should see some results within 3 months.  And, we are confident that we can help you produce enough results to make a net profit after you pay us for our services.

Dentists, keep in mind that SEO is not a precise science, so any company that guarantees specific results to you is not telling the truth.

Why SEO is Essential to the Survival of Your Business

If you have heard of search engine optimization (SEO), but you’re not sure what it is or if it’s even worth doing, take a minute to learn more how it can help you.

At this point, many, but not necessarily most, dentists are using the services of an SEO company.  This is true of all companies in general.  Search engine optimization is a bit foreign, and not all realize the potential benefits.

SEO, also called internet marketing, is basically making your practice more visible to search engines.  As the search engines find your site with greater ease, so do visitors.  As you gain more visitors, you get more clients.  And, as you get more clients, your business grows!

If you get into the game now, before everyone knows it’s the thing to do, you can get a leg up on the competition.  It’s easier to maintain a certain ranking than it is to build your way up to it!

At some point, the market will be saturated and moving up the search engine rankings will be much more difficult and expensive!  So, best to do it now and put yourself in a good position for the future.

Many SEO companies are in their infancy and don’t have an exact science down.  However, Devenia has been in business for several years, and we have a precise methodology down.  In fact, it’s so precise that large firms who do search engine optimization outsource their work to us!

If you aren’t convinced or feel like you don’t have the budget to begin an internet marketing strategy, keep in mind Devenia charges no fees until you rank on the first page of Google!  You will get smaller amounts of traffic when you are on lower pages, so you get a free preview of the beginning results our services deliver.

If you are willing to give us a try,contact us today, or use the comment form below to tell about your experiences or to ask questions. We are always here to explain.

Bjørn Are SolstadHow can Dentists benefit from Internet Marketing?
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SEO Companies – Why We Help Them Rank

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For several years now, we have been helping SEO companies in direct competition with us to rank for the very same phrases we are working on ranking ourselves. I’m talking about phrases like seo company, seo, internet marketing, search engine optimization.

I am not gonna mention their names – we never talk about what clients we are working with, but you might find it odd that we are directly helping someone to beat us in the search results. My philosophy has always been that there is enough for everyone in our business. There are room for many more seo companies, and I believe it’s healthy for the seo business with as many competitors as possible. It’s good with freedom of choice for our clients, and especially in a business so full of pretenders as in ours. I also believe it keeps us alert and on the top of things when there is fierce competition.

So, when we were first approached by one of the big boys in the seo business in Europe about helping them build links to their own sites, I of course accepted. . Helping other SEO companies rank for our own terms actually helped us grow our own business in the end. We have learned tremendously much about how the business works, and how the different seo companies are working towards their clients. It has also thought us a great deal about how not to deal with clients.

What is your opinion? Do you help your competition in your field? I’d like to hear some pro’s and con’s. I have never regretted helping out other seo companies, and are gladly do it again when asked. After all – the best seo company wins the top positions. No matter how they do it, or who they have helping them achieve their goals.

Bjørn Are SolstadSEO Companies – Why We Help Them Rank
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