One of the first recommendations I’ll make to businesses looking to increase traffic to their website is that they set up a blog. There are a number of reasons for this – it allows you to capture “long tail” searches for a start. But (assuming you are diligent enough) it also gives you a way of adding fresh content to your website – and Google LOVES fresh content!
Imagine that you’re going on holiday and you’re looking to buy a guide book. Do you buy an edition from 1995 or do you buy the latest edition? Of course, you’ll go for the latest version. The latest version has up-to-date information and you run less risk of turning up to your planned hotel and finding a load of rubble (as happened to me in Beijing a few years back!).
Google is the same – it assigns much more value to fresh, new content than to old content. If you have a blog then you can easily add new content on a regular basis. Google will value your website much more that those of your competitors that only update when they add a press release or add a new service.
However, if you don’t have a blog and you don’t want to have a blog then at least make sure that you have an area on your website that you can easily update regularly. A ‘latest news’ section is always good. It doesn’t have to be latest news about you or your business but it could just be latest news about your industry.
If you do go down this route, then make sure that each new item of news that you add is also a new page on your website. Google likes BIG sites. If you’re always adding new pages to your site then Google will like that and reward you accordingly. Your website designer will be able to add a “Latest News” section for you.
Finally, ignore Google for the time being and consider your website visitors. They will never come back to your site unless they think that there is going to be something new for them. If you provide them with something new and useful on each visit then they will continue to come back.
So, a recap:
- A blog is best. Just make sure that you update it regularly
- If you don’t have a blog, have an area on your website that you can easily add news and content to
- Don’t just think about Google. Google won’t become a client of yours but your website visitors will – write for them!
When I speak with new clients, they often tell me that they’re surprised that their website isn’t ranking well because ‘all of our meta tags are great’.
They’re then very surprised when I tell them that Google doesn’t actually look at meta tags any more so they’re wasting their time.
In fact, this isn’t 100% true – the meta DESCRIPTION tag is actually quite important because it’s usually what Google shows next to your site in the search results, so you want to ensure that your best selling point is in there. But when it comes to the meta KEYWORD tag, Google pretty much ignores it. Yahoo and other search engines DO look at it, but since they have such a small part of the search market, it’s not actually worth worrying about.
It’s true that back in the late 90s, having your meta tags optimised was important, but we’ve moved on – 10 year old SEO techniques aren’t going to work in 2009. So think about some of the more important SEO aspects – relevant links with sensible anchor text, <TITLE> and <h1> tags are a good place to start!
How about you – do you still worry about META tags?
One of our clients received this email today from a company called 3w-net.com about another company called Meiao Development Co:
Today we formally received an application from Meiao Development company. They are applying to register “**domain name deleted**” as their domain name and Internet keyword through us. which regarding your trade mark and company’s name. In order to keep other party from utilizing these domain names on purpose. we hope to get your confirmation about this issue asap:
Firstly, whether this alleged Meiao Development Co.,Ltd is your business partner or distributor?
Secondly, whether you are interested in protecting these domain names and internet keyword? (The alleged Meiao Development Co.,Ltd will be entitled to obtain them not needed by original brand name or trademark owner.)
This is a letter for confirmation. If the mentioned third party is your business partner or distributor please DO NOT reply, we will automatically confirm their application.
If you are not in charge of this please transfer this email to appropriate dept.
Unsurprsingly, it’s an email scam. I recommended that the best course of action for this email is that it be transferred to their deleted items!
If you were to follow up the email (perhaps because you were suddenly very scared that you were about to lose the domain name that you’d spent many hours and £/$ building up) then they would probably try to sell you a number of domain names to ‘protect your brand’.
I get so sick of scammers trying to confuse people and scare them into parting with their hard earned cash.
My advice to anyone receiving an email that smells a bit fishy is to do a google search on the sender or the companies mentioned in the email. You’ll very quickly find out if they’re legit or not!
So if you receive an email from 3w-net.com regarding a company called Meiao Development Co then follow my (free!) advice – delete it!
Today, I was asked the following question:
Gregor, we’re listed with ‘XYZ’ business directory but we don’t seem to be getting any enquiries through their website. Also, they have just increased their listing fee by over 70%.
However, they claim that being listed on their website is giving us a great SEO benefit. Can you check it out for us please?
You probably know that the more links you have to your website, the better it is for your SEO. So it’s entirely plausable that my client was benefitting by having a link or two from the business directory.
However, when I looked at the business directory website I could immediately tell that they were lying to my client. To the casual observer, it looked like there were a number of links from the directory to my client’s website but those links were in fact linking BACK into the directory before redirecting visitors to my client’s website.
How does this work?
A normal link looks like this:
but in this case, it looked like this:
This is OK for the casual web browser, since they will be taken to the right website automatically. But to any search engine, it looks like the business directory is linking to itself and that there are NO links to my client’s website!
So not only did this business directory fail to send any traffic to my client, but it ALSO failed to provide any search engine benefit and then LIED about the fact!
Unsurprisingly I advised my client to cancel their account straight away!
Like the recent phishing scam on Twitter, there are many ways to be scammed or misled when it comes to the Internet. If you are concerned about who you are spending money with to help your online marketing then I would recommend seeking the advice of a respected search engine optimisation professional. They will be able to identify any suspect behaviour regarding your website (such as no-follow links, redirects, nbad neighbourhoods etc) and advise the correct course of action.
Have you ever been lied to by a supplier or partner? Share your experiences in the comments below!
Darren Rowse has written a good overview about Twitter being used as a platform for a phishing attack.
It’s a shame that it’s happened and I’m not sure if I can see a way for Twitter to easily stop this happening in future. But it reminds us to always be wary about clicking link – both in email and Twitter!
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