Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category


Thursday Internet Marketing Rundown

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

In this return to running down internet marketing news, we hit all of the great and not so great Google updates.

JUST IN: Internet Sales Tax Advances in Senate

For or against, the Senate may make a final vote this week on the bill to increase of the collection of online sales taxes, which will benefit states and localities according to the NY Times. According to Internet Retailer, the White House believes this bill will “level the playing field for local small business retailers that are in competition every day with large out-of-state online companies.” The Washington Post has more on the current online tax laws and how this may change.

Don’t Miss: Google Hits Mozilla With Spam Penalty Over User Generated Content

Mozilla is pinged by Google, not as a whole, but for just one page out of 22 million. It’s a lesson for all site owners. It’s your responsibility to watch out for user generated content (UGC) even if seemingly out of your hands. More on why even Mozilla needs to watch out for UGC at Search Engine Land.

10 Second Tip: Be where YOUR audience is. Get more quick tips from Late Night host Jimmy Fallon at

Keep an Eye on: Google Testing Same Day Delivery

Internet Retailer reports Google is ready to test same day delivery. Interested testers in the San Francisco Bay Area can sign up on Google Shopping Express  and join the ranks of Staplers, Target, and Toys ‘R’ Us. Retailers are advised to charge 5 %or $10 or less, similar to Wal Mart’s same day delivery rates. (Which do you think is reasonable?) However just 9% of U.S. online consumers said same-day delivery is a top concern according to the Boston Consulting Group, compared to 74% saying free shipping would improve the shopping experience.

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Ruth Whispell

Perform Well In the SERPs, No Matter What the Algorithm Update

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

google pandaUnless you’ve been living under a rock, or under your computer desk, you’ve probably heard about Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. Released in February 2011, Panda was designed to target sites that are using duplicate content, or content with only a few modified words (also known as shallow content). The sites that were affected by Panda were previously ranking higher in Google search results than higher quality sites that could’ve been more helpful to users. According to Google, Panda affected 12% of search results.

In April 2012, Google released another algorithm update – Penguin. While Panda aimed to target sites with duplicate content, Penguin was designed to address sites that were over-optimized with spammy SEO techniques, specifically in regards to links. Sites that were affected by Penguin typically saw a significant dip or decrease in traffic or rankings. According to Google, Penguin affected approximately 3.1% of English search queries.

Since Google first released Panda and Penguin, there have been numerous updates to both. In early March, Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, announced that there would be another Penguin and Panda update coming that would impact eCommerce sites in the search results.  Google is always releasing updates to their existing algorithm to try to improve the search experience. But when these updates roll out, if you maintain SEO best practices, your site shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Here are the best practices that can keep your site performing well in the SERPs, no matter what the algorithm update.

Unique Content

All of the content on your site, whether it is section pages, product descriptions, blogs, or articles, should be 100% unique.  Some eCommerce websites use the manufacturer’s product descriptions, but it’s recommended that you take the time to write unique descriptions that provide the consumer with fresh content to read and search engines with fresh content to crawl.

google penguinHigh Quality Content

Make sure your content is high quality, and provides the reader with something useful that they can’t find anywhere else. You can identify high quality and low quality content by reviewing the page visits, unique page views, time spent on page, and bounce rates using Google Analytics. After identifying the pages that feature low quality content (i.e. something isn’t offering value), you can work to improve them by rewriting the content, deleting those pages altogether, or consolidating the content so that it makes more sense or is easier for the user.

Natural Link Building

The best type of link building is a public relations style, where you actually earn links. This can happen in a variety of ways. For some, it can mean earning links by becoming an authority in a particular industry and creating amazing content that offers value. For others, it can mean building buzz in multiple channels, including social media.  It can also mean reaching out to bloggers, building relationships with them, and asking them if they’d like to host a giveaway, write a review, or feature your site in a guest blog. Carefully choose the type of sites acquired for link building. Some eCommerce websites are too aggressive in their link building, resulting in an abundance of low and poor quality links pointing back to the website.  Any time the links are coming from a bad neighborhood, it puts the site at risk. This can damage the website’s reputation, as well as cause harm to your eCommerce SEO efforts.

With any algorithm update there is a chance that you may be affected; but when you maintain SEO best practices it’s less likely that Google Penguin, Google Panda, or another one of Google’s algorithm updates will negatively affect your website.


SEO Friendly Product Description Copy: The Secret Weapon You’re Not Using

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

When you open up an eCommerce store, there are so many things to think about. You want it to look good, you want to build a customer base, and you want to make sure the customer experience is smooth. In fact, there’s so much to think about that unique product descriptions are probably the last thing on your mind. eCommerce store owners should recognize the value of relevant and engaging SEO friendly product descriptions.

Far too many store owners take the easy route—doing little more than copying and pasting product descriptions from the manufacturer. In the long run, that’s really not going to do anything to help your traffic.

Why can’t you just copy and paste?

You should never (never ever!) use the manufacturer’s product descriptions verbatim on your website. Manufacturers send the same materials to all of their retailers. That means that, theoretically, there are already hundreds of sites out there using the exact same product descriptions.

Googlebot confused!

Search engines like Google actually penalize duplicate content. Why? Because hundreds of pages with the exact same copy makes it virtually impossible for search engines to know which one to rank first.

Having unique and original product descriptions is one of the most important things you can do to benefit your search engine listings. Outside of the duplicate content issue, you’ll also find that the manufacturer’s product description isn’t really keyword-rich. If your goal is to attract customers searching for the types of products that you sell, you need to make sure that the copy is optimized with relevant keywords.

On top of helping your organic search rankings, unique and keyword-rich product descriptions help you to have ideal landing pages in shopping engines.

What to do for good product descriptions

  • First thing is first, you need to make sure that you find the right balance between explaining the details about the product and describing the benefits to the customer.
  • Use relevant keyword phrases throughout the product description copy. This will help search engines recognize the page’s relevance to potential customers’ search queries.
  • It’s also a good practice to make sure that the product images have keyword-rich alt attributes.
  • The product descriptions themselves should be at least 80 words. This gives you enough space to address the main points and include keyword phrases without getting overwhelming.

Writing original product descriptions can be a daunting task, and does take time to master. Consider hiring a professional particularly for your biggest ticket or higher profit items first. SEO optimized product descriptions that are “bot” and human readable are always worth the investment.

After all, a confused Googlebot is no help to anyone!



Thursday Internet Marketing Rundown

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Just In: Google Analytics has separated out Data Hub Activity and Trackbacks. See inbound links to your site and what they’re linking to. It’s not entirely perfect, you can see the number of visits from that link for instance, but not sort by that or any other information.

Fingers crossed you will soon! For a full list of recently detected links detected to your site, use Google’s Webmaster tools.

Similarly, SEOmoz has launched Freshscape Explorer will allow you to do compare links as well as mentions to your domain from its 30 day index of 4.3 million feeds.

It allows for competitive research and the ability to track keywords. (FYI this tool is part of their paid package.)

Image via Google’s Analytics Advocate, Justin Cutroni

Don’t Miss: Worried about word count? Size doesn’t matter in site content. It’s what you do with it. As John Douherty explains, everything that is written on your site should provide value, be better than your competitors, and be intriguing. Content is most often linked when it is longer than average, contains video or images, or better yet both. Including easy to understand Harry Potter and donuts references, this is a must read for anyone concerned about content on Distilled.

Ten Second Tip

Want a quick and easy answer from Google? With The Short Cutts you can find a brief synopsis of a video from Google’s Matt Cutts. However, it’s not the The Clear Cutts – so while it’s the closest you can get to answer, it still doesn’t make Google’s guidelines crystal clear. More on this at

Keep an Eye on: Facebook vs Twitter #Feuds Facebook works to become #hashtag friendly. If successful, this means users will be able to see at a glance which topics are trending and being discussed on Twitter. More on this at the WSJ Online. Those of you broadcasting sales, URL’s and phone numbers in your cover image can breathe a sigh of relief. Your Business Page cover image can now legally contain calls to action with Facebook’s laxer regulations as explained in Both moves bode well for brands!

Klout Guns for Brands

If you like social media, you may want a little Klout. In response to LinkedIn’s ‘recommendations’ Klout has launched a business portal. Sign up now to make sure your brand is ready to mark out its little space in digital real estate. Read more about this move on CNN.

What Actually Matters in Meta Tags

Forget meta keywords – and not just because they carry no value – meta tags are the smartphone of business world. You can’t live without one for long. “More than 50% of businesses either don’t have a Meta Description or have one that is too long. Your first step to winning is to get in the game and follow the basic rules.” says Rivaliq.

Solid Cactus Finds
Our team discovers and share a lot of great resources every day. Here are a few great links to check out from our talented Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization team!

Other Links Worth Tweeting



Thursday Internet Marketing Rundown

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

It must be spring because there are new designs and updates blooming every day. Here’s what has sprung up in social media and internet marketing!

Don’t Miss: Expect a Google Panda update this Friday or Monday. Also, be ready for the biggest Penguin update as well by making sure your site isn’t using unnatural links to build ranking. and Search Engine Watch each have a teasers.

Ten Second Tip: Four short and sweet tips on – using your bio, price anchoring, remarketing content, non-annoying shares – and a fifth, listen to Rand! Check out the forum tips.

Consumer Buying Behavior Influenced by the Internet

Nielson reports 59% of consumers are ‘much more or somewhat more likely to purchase a new product after learning about it through active Internet research’ more so than an Internet forum (30%) or manufacturer’s website (45%). Those surveyed were also ‘much more or somewhat likely to purchase a new product after learning about it through social media (30%), a Web ad (29%) or a video posted on a video-sharing website (27%).’ Get the full Nielson report on purchasing decisions at

Just In: Facebook has a new design, but it’s tough to say if this is a beautiful bud to be excited about or another hassle. As they currently make up 50% of the news feed content images are big (and in focus I hope) in this new design. What does this mean businesses? Pages + Pretty Photos = Powerful Content.
See screenshots of the new format at The Next Web and get a few pointers for your business page.

Keep an eye on: Your Google Page. It’s updated without you knowing. Again. Your cover image real estate just went HD and will display in glorious 16 x 9. Throw in a pretty storefront or product image to blow your competitors back into analog. Local reviews are also featured more prominently in profiles – which are now easier to edit as well. goes into how this affects your local reviews. Read the Google Announcement on Google+ from Sara McKinley and download a template sized perfectly for your page at


Pinterest Analytics for Businesses

Pinterest Analytics is here! Pretty, detailed and a part of the new Pinterest look. This new tool for Business Pages is free and fantastic for judging the success of both pins from your site and on Pinterest. Also, find out how to use Pinterest as a link building tool, a ranking tool, and more from Jeff Bullas.

Solid Cactus Finds
Our team will find and share a lot of great resources every day. Here are a few great links to check out from our talented Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization team!


Other Links Worth Tweeting