Recent speculation about Google Search Personalizationhas led to suggestions that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) could soon become extinct. However I am asking myself could this really the case? I’m not sure that anyone can say with any certainty just how these changes impact will on the SEO industry. What we can do is look at how the industry believes it will effect things based on the facts that are already known.
Lets start by looking into how Google Search Personalisation works?
We already know that recently Google has been monitoring searches of those users logged into a Google account and registering the types of sites that are visited in the SERPs. This means that if you search for certain types of sites while logged into your account, Google will ensure this type of site is ranked well when you are searching.
What has changed now?
For signed users personalised search has been in place for a while but recently Google introduced this to all users across the spectrum, even if not logged into a Google account.
This has led to the furore both in terms of the age old privacy debate and raising the question whether SEO is no longer going to be effective in increasing your search engine rankings. There are even some who are writing the obituary for the SEO industry as a whole.
Another raised issue regards the Google Account sign up process, and how almost by steath it includes new accounts to the personalisation and search history products. Danny Sullivans Searchengineland article entitled Google Ramps Up Personalized Search explains how when you set up a google account now you are automatically enrolled for three additional products:
Apparently you can override Search History but you will need to be pretty eagle eyed because it is not obvious.
You can thus deduce that the majority of sign ups will include this option, I agree with Danny Sullivan when I say that this should be highlighted more strongly?
So if the majority of web searchers are signing up for it, what Impact is Google Personalisation going to have on SEO practices?
Well I personally think there are going to be some disadvantages and advantages.
Firstly Consistency , how can search results be measured constantly if every one is getting a different result for the same search.
It may be difficult to get new brands or websites to perform well because the majority of web users will have visited the main sites enough for them to be unmovable. i.e. likes of Amazon. So therefore could this be another move towards weighting known brands more heavily.
Clients who opt in to personalised accounts have a false impression of how their sites are performing
PPC is likely to become more competitive and therefore expensive due to companies not achieving organic the success they require.
Offline marketing and e-mail marketing will grow in importance to drive traffic to sites to get people visiting sites.
It could kill off sites with low readership or visitors.
People will have to search deeper than normal to get alternatives from the sites they normally look at which may reduce choice and stagnate things.
It has been in place for a while already.
Google still ranks things in the same way in terms of the algorithm. It is personal delivery that has changed.
There are other search engines who are not employing this where you can build your brand and identity so you will be searched for through google.
There is evidence that most searches are different anyway depending what location you are in, what IP subnet, different PC’s in different locations.
If the site contains good content you will be found and then the personalisation will help you to get repeat clicks.
Personalisation can be disabled.
There is no current evidence that it is making such a difference anyway.
As I said earlier, I don’t know of anyone who can say for sure how this is going to affect the way we do SEO. What I can predict is change is the nature of the industry. It is always going to be fairly reactive in a way because we are constanly trying to understand what Google and its user base want from a website. I for one dont’t think this is a bad thing. One it keeps us as SEO’s on our toes and secondly it means that we are going to have to move away from the traditional technical and manipulative strategies of the past and concentrate on creating sites that have quality content and meet the demand of searchers. If this becomes the case maybe this could go a long way to really helping to make better user experience and getting rid of a lot of spammy sites whos sole perpose are to generate revenue for little effort.
So in summery I think that this is a tool in which we can all benefit from, giving searchers what they want and letting us as SEO’s evolve gain greater undstanding in how to deliver it to them. So in answer to my original question can SEO and Google Personalization co exist my findings so far are a comprehensive yes.
On a lighter note I was doing some research on Google this morning and a collegue told me to type the words ‘what are’ into the search box and look at the second suggested term that Googles query function provided. I have included a screen shot again pay special attention to the second suggested search term. Now I would really like to know how that came second in all the searches beginning with the words ‘What are’.
If anyone has any rational idea how this has happened leave us a comment below.
As I am mega busy with other commitments at the moment I have neglected this blog a little. However I am looking for some guest bloggers who can write quality articles to help me with the work load. If you feel that you have got or can write some quality articles on or around the subject of Learning SEO, Website Optimisation or any other related topic matter contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ZunaVision! It may not mean anything to you now but it could be the catalyst for advertisers to generate real revenue from video. The brain child of group of Stanford students it allows you to edit video to embed other images or videos. See the YouTube video below for a preview.
This technology allows you to place adverts or images in a space in the background of any video and even allows you to bring items from the origional video in front of it so it looks like it is part of the origional. I believe they are working on embedding code into the image so at the moment you cannot monetize from it, but this will happen in a matter of time and then it will be a powerful tool. To try this out for yourself all you have to do is sign up for free at http://zunavision.stanford.edu/ and you can experiment.
I personally believe this is fantastic for the future and I cannot wait for it to be fully released as an advertising tool.
There are some reports that a serious flaw has been found in Microsoft Internet Explorer. They suggest that this flaw couldaffect all versions of Internet Explorer and can lead to hackers gaining access to information and passwords from users computers.
In an article from BBC news it is reportedly advised by a number of security experts that users should seriously consider using other browsers such as Firefox, Opera, Chrome and safari which are not effected by the flaw until the issue has been resolved. To my mind this is maybe panic mongering and it may be more productive to advise users of things to watch out for.
The BBC article goes on to quote Microsofts statement that users should be very vigalent while they investigate and develope an emergency patch to resolve the issue. The BBC quote the Head of Microsofts UK windows group, Cliff Evans states that it is not time to switch browsers just yet. It goes on to quote that he believes this only appears to affect 0.02% of internet sites. He states that it also seems to affect IE 7 at the moment but could effect other versions in the future.
It would appear that this is serious enough for people to certainly mind their internet use. At the moment it does appear to be confined to hackers stealing gaming passwords but Richard Cox, chief information officer of anti-spam body The Spamhaus Project and an expert on privacy and cyber security and Rick Ferguson, senior security advisor at Trend Micro both appear to be of the opinion that it is only a matter of time before someone engineers this for more sinister purposes.
For my mind I agree with PC Pro magazines security editor Darien Graham-Smith in that its a pity Microsoft have not found this faster but to get this out in the public domain makes people aware of the situation and allows for vigilence. It is also true to say that it is ok to push for people to move from using Internet Explorer now but as every browser is susceptable to bugs it may be that one of the others has a fault of a similar nature in the future.
If you are struggling for ideas as to how to increase the number of links to your website or blog you may need to get creative. A great way to do this give visitors to your site some interaction.
There are various ways of bringing interaction to your website. One way could be to try starting a competition or even a quiz on your subject matter. On completion of this the visitor will receive a graphic stating that they have completed the quiz and a ranking score or some form of accreditation to put on to their blog or website. The graphic can take the form of a medal, trophy, badge, logo etc … and obviously within the alt tag you will put your anchor text.
I know a number of SEO’s who have used this technique successfully increasing website visitors whilst earning a search engine ranking boost.
On reading seomoz’s blog this morning I came across one of their head smacking tips for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). These blogposts are based on things that you really should know and do in your daily optimisation of websites but overlook. Any way this particular one was on ’Optimisation of keywords in blog titles’, close to my heart for obvious reasons, and may I add one in which laziness sometimes leads me to overlook.
It is stated how as good SEO practice you should run your blog post titles through a keyword checking tool like Wordtracker, SpyFu, KeywordDiscovery, Google Keyword Tool etc.. before publishing them. This is a good habit to get into as you learn SEO. If you think about it is a no brainer and as is stated in the blog post this will lead to you targeting people who are searching on the subject matter as well as regular readers of your blog. When this is practiced with discipline this can lead to an increase of visitors to your blog and thus more exposure. So thats it I’m going to give it a try, for the next Month anything I post will have been optimised for SEO by one of the tools mentioned above. I must admit Wordtracker is my tool of choice but I thought that it would give good balence to mention some of the others.
One other thing that was mentioned in Randfish’s article, which may be of particular interest to WordPress blog owners is a clever plugin which will incorporate keyword tools into the editorial panel when you are writing articles. This allows you to check the keywords in your title to ensure that they are words and phrases that are being searched on a regular basis. The plugin has been developed by a company called Semvoronment and can be found on the following link:
I have installed this in my own WordPress installation and it is a fantastic little tool. When you are writing a new post or even editing an existing one all the above mentioned keyword tools are listed both above the document and in the sidebar. This enables you to check keywords and keyphrases without opening another browser. It also enables you to check and compare results from the different tools.
So there you have it with a little discipline this simple little process can give our blog posts a little boost and therefore we should no longer fall fowl of our laziness. I promise that I will post in a months time to let you know how this has effected my blog traffic.
Part of my day as an SEO involves trawling through forums, websites and blogs looking for new, different and evolutionary methods and outlooks within the search engine optimisation(SEO) and marketing world. One question that I see time and time again is the issue of how much does SEO cost? It’s at this point I would be delighted to give you the definitive answer, and in the process then offer my services, obviously. However I don’t think there is a clear cut figure that can be given. What I can do is explain what we offer in comparison to other companies and explain what you should be getting for that figure.
Number 1 in Google
One thing I find very frustrating is an SEO company stating that they can guarantee number 1 spot in Google or saying that they can increase your turnover X number of times without actually explaining what they are going to do achieve this. I have spoken to numerous people and companies who have been stung by these grandiose boasts. In reality what tends to happen with some of, and I do stress some of these SEO campaigns is that you end up with your website optimised for lots of keywords and phrases which are not searched for. Yes you are number one for these phrases, so there in the SEO company in question have done what they have promised, but unfortunately this brings in no more visitors than before and certainly no dosh! This leaves you the customer with a very bad taste in your mouth and a really bad opinion of Search Engine Marketeers. This is the unfortunate battle I face every day, because when faced with a customer I will always put forward a plan of action and then explain the possibilities of this action. How can this approach compete with someone guaranteeing number 1 in Google with a 1000 percent increase in sales? The plain answer to the question is It can’t and I wouldn’t blame the customer for falling for it too. The reason for this is because when I was an IT manager and just learning SEO and SEM as a hobby I fell for it too. I was contacted by a company who wanted to optimise our website. On meeting this company I was wooed by thier promises of global website domination of Google. In reality it did no such thing. In hindsight I should have been a little suspicious when I asked what I would get for the extremely large yearly fee just for link building and the answer I received was well we can’t guarantee anything. And again when I asked what we would be receiving for the massive hourly rate they were charging for SEO and they said “ooh well its difficult to say, It’s very dependent on the pages were working on”. All I can say in my own defence is SEO was all new to me back then and I still had that ‘Google number 1 spot’ ingrained in my mind. Now I know different and this is what I’m hoping this article will pass on to you!
My SEO Campaigns
This is why whenever I look at optimising a potential clients website there are a number of things I will do free of charge. Firstly engage in a telephone conversation to elicit what the objectives of the site are and do a thorough report evaluating how the site is already performing for their current keywords and key phrases. I will also evaluate how competitive the keywords are and whether anyone is searching for them. Lastly we perform give an indication on whether it is cost effective to pursue the keywords selected i.e. is there any chance of achieving good results with the budget the client has available. After this has been completed this will be supplied to the client with a detailed breakdown on the number of man hours we recommend to achieve their objectives and detail, yes detail of the tasks we intend to complete in this allotted time. This report should contain an evaluation of at least the following:
Inbound and Outbound links and linking strategy
Once this process is complete it is entirely up to the client whether they want us to perform any work. I have to say this has worked fantastically well with the clients we have worked with and I would say all have been very happy with the work we have done. We make no guarantees, as in this profession it is impossible to make assurances especially if Google decide to introduce another algorithem mid project that turns the search engine listings upside down. However what I always try to do is show what the client is getting for the time purchased and explained how this should benefit them. This is done in writing prior to any agreement and then signed off by both parties. Therefore you know what you are getting for your buck. This, in my opinion is the very least any prospective customer should expect from any Search engine marketing company. Some do it different but I am from a background where you need to justify what it is you are spending your money on. So I don’t expect any one I deal with to get any different.
So I how much should all this cost I hear you cry, after all thats what this article is all about? Well I can only tell you what we charge and what good companies that we know about charge.
As far as we are concerned we have a number of ways of charging. Firstly we have an hourly charge which is done across the board in all the disciplines of SEO from general content work i.e. keyword reseach, Page content, meta content, site construction which we charge £100 per hour up to 6 hours when the cost changes to a day rate which will cost £650 a day. As stated each job we do will be quoted in terms of man hours so customers know what they are getting for that figure. We do also offer blocks and packages ranging from £999 for a starter package which includes optimisation on up to five pages and going to £1950 for 6 – 10 pages. Both packages include optimisation work on the areas metioned above for those pages and 1 free press release. I must admit I have seen cheaper services and definately more expensive services. I would consider anything around this price range to be worth investigating. However I must stress that you look at what is being offered.
A great sight to check for a reliable SEO company near you is seomoz.org they have a list of recommended companies for various countries around the world. I hope this article has proved useful in giving some guidence, so good luck in your quest and remember always ask what your going to get for the money paid.
I was trawling the web today searching for interesting SEO tit bits and I came accross The link speil blog on link building. The article I read gave a great insight into how you should approach link building and how planning and forward thinking about possible future events can really get you a head start on your competitors looking when looking to gain links to your site. Any one wanting to learnSEO or Website Optimisation should give the article a read. If anything it may give you some food for thought in any campaign that you are currently considering. Click on the link below to visit this site.
I came accross this article written by Arron Wall at seobook.com on how to get your new website to rank quickly. It is a very informative article which gives great examples on how to achieve great search engine rankings quickly with a new site. I think this is valuable for any SEO or SEM who are still trying to learn SEO and Web site optimisation so I thought I would post a link to it. Enjoy.