Browsing articles from "October, 2012"

How to Do Keyword Research for SEO and Why it Matters

Oct 31, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments


Why Keyword Research?

Even if you are just dabbling in online marketing, you have most likely heard of the term “keywords” thrown about. If you think using keywords simply involves incorporating relevant words to your brand on your Web site, you would be failing to see the forest through the trees. If you are not yet ready to outsource the online marketing for your business but you would like to utilize internet marketing, then understanding the basics of keywords is well, key.

What are Keywords?

A keyword is one or a series of “key” words–search term phrases–that a person enters online to gather information on a social topic, service or business online. Like anything else when doing online searches, certain keywords are more popular which simply means more people are typing in that word or words to search. People type keywords into search engines. Almost everyone has typed a phrase like “mechanic Los Angeles” into Google to find their nearest auto shop, for instance. But there are also other search engines besides Google like Bing and Yahoo which are worth optimizing for. It’s even helpful to include keywords in posts on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. With Google’s Keyword Tool, you can enter any phrase or word and find out how many times people are searching for it per month.

How to Choose Your Keywords

A keyword strategy is vital for any business owner who wants to compete in the world of Web marketing. At this point, people are almost exclusively using the Web to search for products, stay up to date on social and news information and find local businesses. While direct mail marketing and the Yellow Pages aren’t yet a thing of the past, these methods are becoming less and less popular. So as a business owner, your understanding of how to develop your own unique keyword strategy is essential. An easy first step is to imagine that you are your most ideal consumer. How would you search for your business online? Do some research and see what highly popular phrases or words also happen to line up with your brand and have those search terms in all your content. Then, armed with this insight, take advantage of the fact that most consumers are searching online through a keyword search. Ultimately, optimize your Website and online profiles around these highly popular searchable keywords that are relevant to your business.

How to Use Keywords for SEO

So you now know where to start as far as the most basic tools to start marketing through the internet: highly searchable keywords. But what does it mean to SEO optimize your Website around these keywords? Certainly, Web developers would build your site out several layers deep, filled with landing pages, content and blogs that would be optimally written for the most popular keyword searches. In order to have a site that can truly compete to be on Page 1 of Google, having highly optimized content like this is necessary. But if you are not in a position to outsource your online marketing, there are things you can do now. It’s simple: content, content, content! Write weekly blogs including those keywords in the content. Post often on all the social media sites—again use those keywords. But a warning, don’t fill every line with arbitrary keywords. Not only does this not make for very good content and annoy the reader, but also Google and other search engines will often punish sites that “stuff” keywords in this manner.  Trying to trick search engines—pretty hard to do these days— is never good SEO strategy. Also, you want to have good content so visitors will trust your site enough to become a client and come back to the site regularly. Sacrificing a good blog-read to over saturate the content with keywords isn’t worth it. You can always have too much of a good thing—even highly popular keyword search terms.

 

Google Now Allows Webmasters to Disavow Links

Oct 18, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

Members of the Netword Plus team are at PubCon this week, so we thought  it especially important to share a recent news-worthy PubCon announcement. The head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts, spoke at PubCon announcing that Google has launched a new tool that allows you to “disavow” links. The tool is actually a submit button that you click–after significant warnings–when you ready to declare links “disavowed.”

A mere 45 minutes after Cutts spoke, Google formally announced the tool on the Google Webmaster Central blog.

Worth noting but not as widely publicized, Bing also launched its own disavow links tool earlier this year.

How to Disavow Links

While it is indeed a great tool, Cutts was also quick to warn that the tool should be used with discretion. He insists that publishers should first try to remove the links by first working with site owners, hosting sites or with the link purchaser. To remove a bunch of links, you’ll simply list the URLs in a text file, either individually or to exclude all links from a particular site using the format below:

  • domain:google.com
  • domain:yahoo.com
  • domain:facebook.com

Both formats can be mixed into a single file, as shown below in an example from Google’s blog post about the new tool:

Anything that begins with a pound (#) sign, Google ignores as these are considered comments. But the word “domain” indicates to Google that you intend on disavowing a particular link–as shown here, where it reads: spamdomain1.com. Or it can also be done on specific pages like where you see “spamdomain2.com.”

Once the file is complete, then you simply access the disavow link tool through Google Webmaster Central. You’ll select your site at which point there will be warnings as to what you are about to do, then you submit.

Disavowing Links: The Pros and Cons

Cutts warns that the process may not show immediate action.  “It can take weeks for that to go into effect,” he stressed.  He also said that Google reserves the right not to use the submissions if it feels there’s a reason not to trust them. Once submitted, there will be an option to download the file you submitted and resubmit it with changes. Conversely –because there is such a long processing delay– if you make a mistake and want to reinstate a site, it is also likely to take a long time. Understand this before clicking submit for a disavowed link. Cutts explained that the use of this tool is much like using the “no follow” feature, which allows sites to link to other sites without passing ranking credit to a competitor.

Why is Google Allowing Us to Disavow Links?

Now you might say: but who is chomping at the bit to “disavow” a link?  Well it really grew out of a response to those  impacted by Google’s Penguin Update, which penalized web sites that purchased links or gained them through spamming.

SEOs were nervous—justifiably—after the Penguin “cleansing.” Some wanted a way to ensure that they could detect bad links and keep only clean, “real” links. SEOs have always had concerns that competitors might point bad links at their sites in an attempt to harm the competitor. The Penguin update only intensified those fears, so it’s not surprising Google saw fit to give webmasters some kind of recourse.

Google’s own post about disavowing links also offers insight into their motivation:

“In general, Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking. However, if you’re worried that some back links might be affecting your site’s reputation, you can use the Disavow Links tool to indicate to Google that those links should be ignored. Again, we build our algorithms with an eye to preventing negative SEO, so the vast majority of webmasters don’t need to worry about negative SEO at all.”

Matt Cutts on Disavowing Links

If you are considering the issue of back links and how it affects your site, you might want to watch this video prepared by Cutts specifically about the Google Disavow Tool. We enjoyed hearing Cutts speak at PubCon and think he does a nice job explaining the pros and cons of disavowing links.

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Client Focus: Joel Lewinson CPA | Woodland Hills Accounting Firm

Oct 12, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

We are excited to announce the launch of our latest client website, joellewinson.com. We built this website for Joel Lewinson, a CPA in Woodland Hills. Woodland Hills accountant, Joel C. Lewinson, established his tax practice and accounting firm in 1982 and has since built a large client base in the real estate,entertainment, and medical industries. Lewinson oversees the firm and provides business accounting services and tax services. The firm’s business accounting services include business management, tax returns, financial statement analysis, and QuickBooks set up & training. Beyond Woodland Hills and the Los Angeles area, his practice has clients all around the USA, including but not limited to Idaho, Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, Illinois, Florida, and Arizona. The firm also serves a number of international clients in England, Australia, Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Italy.

Joel Lewinson is a member of California Society of Certified Public Accountants as well as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He has served on the Entertainment Committee and Real Estate Committee of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, as well as in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistant Program associated with the Internal Revenue Service. If you’re looking for a Woodland Hills accountant, be sure to check out his website to learn more.

5 Things To Do in Vegas During PubCon

Oct 8, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

I’ve never been to PubCon before, but I’m a big fan of Las Vegas. The casinos, the live shows, the restaurants, the bars… it’s a slice of adult heaven. So as where I plan to make the most of Pubcon, and network to my marketing heart’s content, I hope to have a special meal or perhaps catch one good show while I’m there.

I made a list of PubCon and non-Pubcon related activities, based upon my previous Vegas experiences and my desire to learn and connect with industry leaders and peers. I doubt I can get to all of these fun events and locales, but I’m sure going to try!

Someone in my office suggested it would be great to share my list, and I thought… blog post! I won’t give you the whole list (it is Vegas after all, and discretion is the better part of valor), but here’s a selection of 5 items on my wish list; great places to be and be seen next week during PubCon:

1)      Mon Ami Gabi

Having nothing to do with PubCon, and all to do with my love of great food. Mon Ami Gabi is a classic French bistro, with 5 locations nationally. The Vegas location resides in the front main floor of The Paris, and it’s a glorious spot on the strip. My favorite place to sit is in the patio bar, which faces the street. You can mix and mingle with other guests while enjoying the spectacular dancing waters of the Bellagio across the street. My favorite meal might be the Sea Scallops Gratinees followed by the Steak Frites Bearnaise. Not cheap, but so worth it. Add a glass of Pinot Noir, and life. is. good.

DETAILS:
Mon Ami Gabi
3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702-944-4224

2)      Internet Marketing Ninjas Charity Party

I’ve had the pleasure to meet the folks over at Internet Marketing Ninjas. They party hardy, and know their stuff. So when I heard that they were sponsoring a party, er, networking event Wednesday night during PubCon, I knew I had to be there. Gratefully, the 9pm start time doesn’t conflict with PubCon events. Even better, it’s a charity event, raising money and awareness for the World Wildlife Fund. The tagline? “Save the Pandas and Penguins.” Awesome.

DETAILS (from the Internet Marketing Ninjas website):
Cost: Instead of the usual $40 entrance price, this party will be a Pay-What-You-Will Donation.
Who: Everyone is invited, but space is limited. Entrance will be limited to the first 300 people through the door.
When: 9:00pm – 12:00am on Wednesday October 17th
Where: The Revolution Lounge at The Mirage (next door to Treasure Island)
What: Open Bar for the first hour, cash bar from 10:00 -12:00
Why:  All Proceeds will go to benefit the World Wildlife Fund. All guests will have the choice to help “Adopt a Penguin” or “Adopt a Panda”.

3)      Fogo de Chão

Okay, more good food, I can’t help it. But wow, this place is AMAZING. Fogo de Chão is a churrascaria, or Brazilian steakhouse. Yeah, the kind of place where they bring out meats on skewers until you’re fully gorged. Which in and of itself sounds like paradise to me. But for under $50, you’ll taste the most delectable meats you have ever had in your life. Truly. Filet mignon, beef ancho (rib eye), beef ribs, pork ribs, lamb, pork loin, pork sausage, and my personal favorite Picanha (top sirloin). Ask for the garlic version. If you’re a vegetarian, they have a huge salad bar (at a lower cost) with delightful items (so I hear; I never get past the meats). And get there by 9, because they close early for Vegas norms.

DETAILS:
Fogo de Chão
360 E. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89169
702-431-4500

Located in the Hughes Center business park.  Complimentary valet parking is offered during dinner hours. Free self parking is also available.

Lunch
$28.50 | (Salad Bar Only – $22.50)
Mon-Fri 11:30-2:00

Dinner
$48.50 | (Salad Bar Only – $24.50)
Mon-Thur 5:00-10:00
Fri 5:00-10:30
Sat 4:30-10:30
Sun 4:00-9:00

4)      KA at MGM Grand | Cirque De Soleil

Not a new show in the franchise, but KÀ is a sterling example of the might and majesty that is Cirque du Soleil. I doubt you could wrong with any Cirque du Soleil show, but this is a long-running favorite. KÀ is the heroic tale of twins who embark on an adventurous journey to fulfill their destinies. Featuring 80 artists from around the world, KÀ by Cirque du Soleil is a gravity-defying production featuring acrobatic feats, dance and martial arts. Select shows (usually Wednesdays and Thursdays) can be purchased for a 20% discount online. Look for Special Offers on their website.

DETAILS:
KÀ at the MGM Grand
Show Times
Tuesday – Saturday,
7:00 pm and 9:30 pm
KÀ Tickets
$69, $99, $130, and $150
(Plus taxes and fees)

5)      Nine Fine Irishmen

The first time I stepped into Nine Fine Irishmen, I thought, “Wow, pretty authentic.” I didn’t know how right I was. Everything in the restaurant – from the two massive carved oak bars to the furniture, books, paintings, and miscellaneous décor – was imported from Ireland. The final effect is warm and inviting; the kind of place where you find yourself wishing for a cozy fire in the fireplace to complete the effect despite the fact that it’s 110 degrees outside. Speaking of which, they have an outdoor patio and balcony for dining and drinking that face directly out onto The Strip. One (or three) pints of Guinness might be enough to ward off the heat. Great pub food and some higher-end delights, for a good price.

DETAILS:
Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York
3790 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702-740-6463

Google Semantic Search: The Future of SEO

Oct 3, 2012   //   by Netword Plus   //   Our Blog  //  No Comments

When creating a new website—for an existing business or when launching a start up—you may be tempted to rush through the process of creating your site URL and content. But these choices are vital to the growth of your business. Google has recently been quite candid about their ranking process, even offering tips and suggestions. They even offer tips in the form of video tutorials on how to master search engine optimization. While Google’s express instructions are essential in understanding optimization and keyword density—including keywords in your URL structure, optimizing content, coding searchable links, and meta tagging—these general guidelines may soon change. Recently, Google announced that they are slowly phasing out the traditional keyword approach, and are transitioning to a more sophisticated model of ‘semantic searching.’

GOOGLE GAINS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Semantic searching was one of many changes that came as a part of the latest “Penguin” update to Google’s algorithm. A semantic search is a way of understanding the intent behind the search rather than just matching the keywords. Previously, if you typed words into a Google search, Google would match it to the most searchable keywords you typed. Now, after Penguin, Google is able to discern the relationship between those words—in a sort of artificial intelligence—to understand what those words mean. Through semantic searching, Google understands that when certain words are placed together, the meaning changes.

The Google Knowledge Graph supports semantic searches by gathering an amalgam of information that points to possible answers for popular queries. Not only does Google “artificially” interpret the search but the Knowledge Graph gives it more contextual information about it as opposed to the former “related Web sites” option.

THE FUTURE OF SEO AS WE KNOW IT…

Through semantic searching, Google has fanned the flames of healthy competition in terms of its ability to rank competitor Web sites. While in the past it was very easy to play with keywords to give your site an edge—a very searchable term can increase your rank whether it is directly related to your business or not—semantic searching isn’t be so easy to finagle. In order to increase your rank in a semantic search, you actually have to decipher the meaning behind your keywords and create the content around it. A semantics keyword query will focus on what that person actually means rather than only the text. Subsequently, when framing your keyword content, you no longer simply have to use searchable terms, you have to ask yourself: how does this answer a query about my company?

Also because of the Knowledge Graph support system, Google no longer needs to rely on another website to provide information. Thus, the competition gets crowded because you are now competing for ranking against other companies and you are competing with Google for attention.

NATURAL, RELEVANT KEYWORDS

Maile Ohye, developer advocate on Google’s Webmaster Central Team, offers some great advice, “It’s great to have a fancy site, but try not to focus so much on site fanciness that you don’t actually have indexable and searchable text. You want to use relevant keywords naturally in your text. These keywords are like query terms that normal people would use to find your product or your business.” She also offers a valuable warning, “Don’t participate in link schemes or buying links for the purpose of passing PageRank.”

While this advice may sound clear and understandable, it is astonishing how often web developers and designers ignore it. When developing websites for our clients, we focus on including important keywords as naturally as possible, in a way that’s designed for a fluid, beneficial user experience. That way, your site meets Google’s requirements for Page 1 status, and impresses your site visitors with great design and informative writing that inspires them to give you a call or buy your products.

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