SEO Begins at Home (Page)

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Among tech TV comedies, “The IT Crowd” stands out as a stereotype of the stereotype. Besides being British, the series is also about a four-person IT department located with offices at the basement. (If you are familiar with the show, think about it and you will be able to count all four members of the department.)

The head of the department is Jen, who doesn’t know anything about computers. One quotable quote sprung on Jen is that searching for “Google” on google can break the internet.

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The reference, of course, is to the reach and power of Google the search engine. If you think about it, if Google for any reason suddenly disappears, it would seem as if the internet suddenly went balls up.

Google has become one of the biggest internet companies, and one of the most influential companies in the world. But what is search, really? How does a website get itself on Google’s search results?

First off, search is a service where an online user would enter a keyword, and the search engine would provide a list of websites which fit the parameters. To come up with a list, the search engine crawls the web and indexes websites according to the keywords it finds on the individual pages. Google has created a set of rules and guidelines for websites, which would help webmasters and web developers to comply with Google’s search algorithm. When a search is requested, Google matches the keyword with the index to provide a list of results. However, Google has also implemented some changes to improve the user experience and enhance the results. Google has filtered spam sites, and those with low value add. If a website does not have original content, the page gets a lower ranking. These and other considerations are part of Google’s commitment to provide a relevant search service.

If you have a website, and you want Google to rank your site, the first step you need to do is to see if your website follows Google’s guidelines. Download a copy of the Google Starter Guide and understand the philosophy behind it. This is a link to Google, where you can begin reading on search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine optimization is not magic. It is based on rules and how a search engine implements these rules. Each search engine would have their own algorithm, and rules. Google just makes better and faster search.

If you are in the market for a web developer ask your candidates about the Google Starter Guide, and if he has implemented it before. If you already have a website, ask your developer if your website follows the guidelines outlined in the Google Starter Guide. You would be surprised at how many website developers don’t know about the Google Starter Guide, which would explain why a lot of websites are not search engine optimized.

Only after you have audited your website, and ensured on-site SEO compliance, then you can begin thinking about off-site SEO strategies and techniques. I will discuss various aspects and strategies about offsite SEO in later posts. Suffice to say, that there is a lot of discussion and points of view about how to do off-site SEO.

If you need any help or any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

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What is Your Internet Marketing Person Doing Right?

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A lot of people and businesses have their own websites, or Facebook pages, or Twitter pages, Instagram accounts, and so on. For those who have just started an online presence, there is the belief that they have already started on online marketing. There are even some companies who believe that online marketing can be done by a single person handling Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Usually, that single person is the one in the company with the most real world marketing savvy and the biggest number of friends on Facebook, the most followers on Twitter or the most posts on Instagram. This is a good start, actually.

But what is keeping the internet marketing initiative from taking off are several things: integration, website updates, and a continuing conversation. I did not include on-page SEO, because, ironically, for most people who already have an online presence, that is a technical topic which takes too much time. Besides, it’s not as much fun as Facebook.

Integration is when there is a single social media strategy which uses all available outlets. It is not about using social media sites in a discrete manner, and for different purposes.

So here’s a person who’s tasked to do the online marketing efforts of the company because he has a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Tumblr account. He posts on Twitter maybe two or three times a day. He spends an hour or two on Facebook. He posts a picture on Instagram maybe when he has dinner at a fancy restaurant, or when he meets his friends. He takes a look at Pinterest every once in a while. He opens Google+ because he uses Gmail. For laughs, he goes to Tumblr. That is not online marketing. That is a waste of time.

food porn commonly posted in picture sharing sites

If all you have on your corporate image sites are personal pictures, you might want to rethink your internet marketing focus.

Integration is relatively simple and could be done painlessly. You only have to post once, and the post cascades to other social media and social networking sites. You post once to Facebook, and it gets tweeted, and also posted on Google+ and Tumblr. A picture is posted on Instagram, and a link appears as a tweet, with a change in status on Facebook. A person can spend an hour, and all of these can be scheduled over the course of the day.

A website update can do wonders for social networking as well as for SEO visibility. Of course, it has to be interesting. Unless something is interesting, only the bots would follow social media accounts. An interesting blog post can attract the right people. It makes them keep coming back to take a look, and see what else is new. An interesting post is something that people want to share. On top of that, assuming that the website has proper on-page SEO, updates ask the search engine to crawl the site. Again, website updates help with search engine visibility.

[At this point, I have to say this as part of full disclosure: I am still populating this site. As such, this is not yet the very interesting part. This is still the introduction. Additionally, I have not added any links to this post or the first one. That will be for later.]

An interesting thread and an equally interesting website leads to a continuing conversation. The difference between Web 2.0 and the one it replaced, is that there is feedback. Sharing posts, liking them, giving comments for and against, are the best parts of Web 2.0. It means that someone is listening, paying attention, hearing what you are saying, and acting on it. They can be spreading the word by sharing the post, picture, video, or audio. Each click on Like, means a vote of confidence, and there is an audience waiting for more of these posts. Each comment is a person agreeing or disagreeing. A discussion is being conducted on several levels. A company’s internet marketing person should be listening to the conversation. If there is no conversation, then it is his job to start one.

To start off this conversation, let me ask you this: How is internet marketing working out for you?

The Hello World Post

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The beginning is usually hard. I have been thinking about this blog for more than six months. It has been a while since I last started a blog for a specific content or business. Before this, I have never had a blog which capitalized on my SEO and internet marketing experience. But here it is.

The purpose of this blog is to be a resource for Philippine internet marketers who are just starting out. I want to promote interesting businesses. The promotion on this site will be free. I might even have giveaways on social media sites where I promote businesses and internet marketing ventures for a month. The promotions will be a proof of concept, that the things I know and will write about on this site do work.

The way search engine optimization is being practiced is usually with the use of the term “guru,” with an emphasis on the American definition, of an expert, or a leading authority. The word itself is Indian (the sub-continent of India) in origin. I just don’t know which of the Indian languages it came from. But it is also used in the Philippines, where a guru is defined as “teacher.” I have been working on SEO projects for the past five years. I would like to impart the things I have learned through this blog.

So, yes, hello world, and here, have a pie.

Mom and Tina's Banana Nutella Pie