Search Engine Optimization

Rss FeedInsights, opinions and expert advise relating to search engine optimization

How do SEO companies sell their services?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 01/08/2017
find some of the sales and marketing techniques of SEO firms to be very interesting if not hypocritical. SEO firms tend to push the benefits of inbound marketing as opposed to telemarketing or emailing. Yet it seems that this industry uses both of those methods quite extensively.

How has SEO changed?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 03/24/2015
How has my company’s SEO strategy and tactics changed since Penguin and Panda? Quite a bit, but many of the basics are still the same. Below is a very brief and non-detailed before and after picture of our SEO. There are a lot more things we look at and work on, but below should give you the gist of the changes

Is your site being punished by Google?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 03/14/2015
Many websites that use to dominate Google rankings are finding themselves dropping to the second or third page on keyword phrases that they once were near the top of the first page. Often these sites were affected by major algorithm changes by Google, the two most famous being Penguin and Panda.

Top things for website rankings in 2014

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 02/19/2014
Here is my list of activities every webmaster should be focusing on in 2014:

Don’t Do SEO

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 08/26/2013
This is an interesting statement coming from a company that supposedly specializes in SEO, so I want to clarify the title.

Are micro sites effective for SEO?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 05/17/2013
One reason for a micro site was to try to get ranking on a search term quickly. In this case a micro site was a small site with a keyword in the domain name. The concept took advantage of the weight that search engines use to put on keyword matching domain names.

Advice from an SEO guy on how to pick a good SEO Company

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 04/10/2013
If you go to and put the search term “SEO” in the search bar you will get over 450 complaints listed. There are actually collection agencies that specialize in getting money from companies that don’t pay their SEO bill

Some SEO claims should be viewed with skepticism

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 04/05/2013
think the old adage: “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” definitely applies. However there is another old adage that could come into play: “there is a sucker born every minute”.

Activities that should be part of every good SEO program

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 12/21/2012
I got a comment from one visitor asking me to detail how much time that I spend on specific SEO activities each day. This is a difficult question to answer because in most cases, I am overseeing someone else doing the activities. But I think the gist of the question could be answered by detailing out what activities go into a good SEO program.

New Website for Locksmith

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 12/19/2012
We just completed a very small website for a local Locksmith.

The biggest fears of this SEO specialist

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 12/13/2012
Sometimes people ask, what does an SEO specialist worry about, are they fretting over the next Google algorithm change. Are they afraid that their sites rankings will drop like a rock?

Getting lost in the SEO weeds

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 11/23/2012
A while back one of my clients gave me a new search term and said he wanted to get ranked above his competitor on that term. When I examined the term I saw that it had zero search volume and hardly any competition. It would have been fairly easy to at least improve his ranking in that term significantly.

Use Rich Snippets to claim your content with Google

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 11/16/2012
One can protect your content by identifying it to Google as uniquely yours, by using authorship rich snippets.

Google Announces News Meta tag

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 11/12/2012
A couple of months ago, Google revealed the use of the “news Meta tag” to help news items on your site get identified as a news release and perhaps showing up in the Google news searches. The meta tag is very easy to implement, just put this code in the header of the corresponding page:

Exact Domain Name Match Drops in Importance

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 11/10/2012
At one time, your site was almost guaranteed to rank on the first page for any search term that matched your domain name. It became a common technique for SEO specialists and webmaster to buy domain names that contained a valuable search term then build a “quickie” website with it.

Did Penguin and Panda Kill SEO Services?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 11/07/2012
Over the last several months, Google has implemented a series of algorithm updates called Panda and Penguin. These algorithm updates have been aimed at low quality content and low quality links as well as unnatural link patterns and content that is “over optimized”.

Can footer links hurt your organic ranking?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 10/23/2012
A recent series of Google algorithm updates known as Penguin has made significant changes in how inbound links are evaluated. Many links have been devalued over the past months and in some cases sites are being punished for “excessive unnatural” links.

Are Micro Sites Still Effective for SEO?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 10/02/2012
Micro sites are small sites that are focused on a very narrow topic. They normally have the topic (or keyword) as part of the domain name. These have been used to try to get rankings on very competitive search terms that the existing website is not having much success in.

An example of a website that was “nailed” by Penguin?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 07/25/2012
Google’s link analysis algorithm is somewhat working. One flexible circuit manufacturer that I am aware of (but shall remain nameless) was obviously using dubious link building techniques.

Get more information on the “not provided” traffic in Google Analytics

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 07/15/2012
Google’s privacy update last October has resulted in about 15% of search traffic being labeled as “not provided” Basically the search term is encrypted for anyone who is logged into Google. Also, Firefox has announced that will be making a similar change to searches.

How to be a better Internet Marketing Consultant Part II

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/05/2012
Measuring results is a key part in assessing the effectiveness of your service. As I stated in my last blog, the client doesn’t really care about some of the metrics you study, what they care about is getting more business

How to be a better Internet Marketing Consultant Part I

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/04/2012
The one constant that I see from all my customers is this: If they are busy fulfilling orders, they are happy, if they are not getting enough business, they are unhappy.

What type of SEO Company do you use?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 05/22/2012
I tend to put SEO companies into one of three categories: 1. The pretenders 2. The black hats 3. The white hats

Why Google Actually Appreciates SEO Specialists

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 04/24/2012
Sometimes it is easy to get the impression that Google wants to drive SEO companies out of business. Certainly there are many SEO techniques that Google considers “cheating” and would like to do away with. Most notably would be link building for the sole purpose of increasing rankings. Google feels that some of the practices of link building and buying sabotages the goal of presenting content that have the greatest chance of satisfying the searchers need.

Will Google ever punish the cheaters?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 04/19/2012
I guess I should define cheating, because technically any SEO specialist that tries to improve rankings by link building is cheating. But as I said before, there is morally acceptable cheating and then there is blatantly evil cheating.

Does doing Adwords Help your SEO?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 04/12/2012
Doing Adwords does NOT directly help or effect rankings. Integrity in this area is a cornerstone of Google’s business. If this were violated it would damage Google beyond repair, not to mention a slew of legal actions. Google would never risk those consequences. Google has stated over and over that Adwords advertising will not affect rankings. I don’t always believe Google but….

What Does SEO Cheating Mean Anyway?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 04/04/2012
I have to admit that in Google’s strictest definition, most forms of link building is technically cheating. So the question is not cheating, but how blatant.

Will your site get penalized for SEO work?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 03/21/2012
Recently Google’s Matt Cutts “sort of” announced an algorithm change designed to address overly optimized or “SEO’ed” sites. No one is sure when the algorithm change will take place or if it already has.

Buying Customer Reviews

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 03/20/2012
The latest black hat seo tricks springing up are related to gaining customer reviews on your Google places site or other sites that are considered trusted review sites. There are now companies that are selling customer reviews. These are done by real people who have real Google accounts and give real reviews.

Keywords in the domain name, does it still work?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 03/13/2012
A micro site is a small site usually 3-8 pages that is focused on a very narrow topic. The most important aspect of the micro site is the domain name. The domain name usually matches a targeted keyword expression. For example the website matches the keyword expression “home health care mn” which recent data shows 200 to 250 searches per month.

Can a hosted blog solution work for you?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 03/12/2012
With a little link building and some perseverance, you can make your third party hosted blog a very effective marketing tool.

Is your site punished by Google’s Page Layout Algorithm change?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 03/03/2012
A while back Google announced that it was “adjusting” its algorithm to address a problem with some sites that carried a lot of banner advertising. Specifically, Google heard complaints from searchers about coming to a website with so many banners advertising that they had to scroll way down before finding the content. Thus Google stated it will be “devaluing” sites that carry so many banner ads that the actual content falls below the fold.

Have Your Organic Rankings Dropped?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 02/07/2012
I have gotten several phone calls lately from perspective clients that have a common theme: “I use to dominate in the Google…but my traffic is down…my results aren’t the same…” Basically the caller is very concerned because they were once getting GREAT results and now… well not so good.

How is your phone being answered?

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 11/21/2011
What happens after the potential customer dials your number? A phone call may be considered a conversion from my standpoint, but if the way the phone is answered turns the perspective customer off, then all previous effort has gone for naught.

Google Encrypts Signed-in Search Data- is the fox watching the henhouse

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 10/25/2011
Just when we are still recovering from Panda changes, Google announces a change in search. Per its latest webmaster blog:

Do not bother with the quick and dirty video

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 08/14/2011
Unfortunately, we are seeing trends where videos are posted on that have zero value to the visitor. One example is the “template” video where you can add titles and some phrases to create a video that has drumming, movement, flashing stock images but really no entertainment nor informational value to the viewer

Site structure is important for SEO

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 07/31/2011
When creating a new site, the site structure can be of some benefit for ranking.

Getting an SEO score for your Site

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/27/2011
Have you given your site one of these SEO scoring tests? Or has a sales person contacted you about your poor SEO score and wants to help you improve it. There are many of these “tests” that measure a number of different attributes about your website and most of them come up with some comparative score.

Is SEO Article Writing Dead

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 05/20/2011
Clearly things have changed and getting quality links via article writing will be more difficult. Does this mean that article marketing should be abandoned as an SEO technique? No, but it does mean that this strategy should be revisited

Four Common Website Issues that Affect Rankings

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 05/02/2011
Give any SEO sales person the chance and he or she he will find dozens (if not hundreds) of issues with your existing website. Quite frankly many of the issues are minor and may not even affect your sites rankings.

SEO is graded on a Curve

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 04/15/2011
SEO is is graded on a curve. There is not a universal standard benchmark that you have to exceed; you just have to beat your competition. That is why analyzing your competitive situation is so critical if you are going to be successful in getting your site ranked.

Improve Your Rankings by Making Your Site More Engaging

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 04/08/2011
Search engines like sites that have changing content and sites that are adding content. Here are some ideas for keeping your site content fresh.

Google is not perfect and you should be concerned

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 03/09/2011
Google is not perfect. Google strongly prefers refining or changing its ranking algorithms to find the perpetrators as opposed to manually reviewing sites. This is understandable because there are billions of web pages out there and Google could not afford to hire 100s of thousands of people to do that police work, but a computer program has no judgement for exceptions or feelings for its consequences.

Buying Links is not for the Amateur

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 01/25/2011
There is no question that getting quality links from authoritative sites will help your site rankings. In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible to get quality links by a traditional email request. Many SEO companies and link building services engage in “buying links”.

Five Musts for Improving Your Internet Presence in 2011

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 01/10/2011
The Internet landscape has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. What has not changed is that internet use continues to increase. The following are some elements that your business should strongly consider in 2011.

Using Press Releases for Internet Marketing

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 12/01/2010
As most people are aware, quality incoming links are valuable in boosting your sites rankings. There are a large variety of methods and sources for link building. One of my favorite sources is optimized press releases.

Google Offers Website Preview on Search Engine Listings

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 11/17/2010
Google just started showing a preview icon next to its organic search results. This feature was introduced the week of November 8th. When the listings show, it appears that one has to click on the icon once to see the preview, but after that, one can just mouse over the other icons.

Include You Tube Videos in your SEO strategy

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 09/25/2010
Anyone who is serious about search engine optimization needs to seriously consider video marketing as part of their Social Media and Search Engine Strategy.   Videos can generate links to your site as well as make your webpage more engaging. Anything that makes your website more interesting, useful, informative or entertaining for your target audience is good for Search Engine Optimization.
Here are the basic steps for getting started on your video marketing program:
1.        Create an informative, interesting, entertaining and engaging video. I recommend that you keep it under 3 minutes in duration. Make sure that your video includes your business logo and url at the beginning and end.
2.       Create a YouTube Channel for your business: This website gives you the basics
3.       Upload and Optimize your video: Follow these guidelines:   Make sure you have descriptive Tags, Titles and Description. Your description should include your website url.
4.       Embed the video on your website.
5.       Create a video xml site map and submit to search engines.
6.       Submit your video to a few social bookmarking sites
If the video is really good, you may wish to promote it in your blog, newsletter, email signature, facebook, twitter and other social networking sites.
What are the benefits?   It will create links to your site from a number of different sources. Also YouTube is the second most searched entity behind Google, so if you have good descriptions and Tags, if people are interested at all on the subject of your video, they will find it.   If your video is good, people will spread the word.

Will Google Instant affect your traffic

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 09/17/2010
Last week Google introduced Google Instant, a remarkable technology advancement in searching. Now when you are on and start typing in searches, Google will predict what you are searching for as you type it. Additionally, Google shows the results as you type. You can adapt your searching on the fly until you see the results that match your searches.

Consult an SEO Specialist before Revamping your Website

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 09/06/2010
There are lots of good reasons to revamp your website, make sure that you don't destroy your search engine rankings in the process.

Using Article Writing For SEO

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 08/24/2010
Publishing well written and informative articles on other websites can be a tremendous boost to your website rankings.

Is Your Landing Page Working

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 08/12/2010
If all your visitors do when they come to your landing page are frown and leave, then your SEO efforts are totally wasted.

SEO Strategy for the Long Run

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 08/04/2010
SEO is like a race, your site is competing against other sites to achieve (or keep) top rankings. Some Webmasters seem to think that they are in a short sprint, so they try to use short cuts and constant tweaking to try to improve position.

How to Get your Page to Rank Higher

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 07/15/2010
If you read all the SEO blogs, you will get lots of ideas on how to improve your rankings. Many of these ideas are out of date and simply don’t work. Other items are things that some SEO specialists claim to work but there is a great deal of disagreement.

Top Six Website Problems That Hamper Getting Search Engine Rankings

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 07/09/2010
Many sites that I see have issues that hurt the sites chances of getting any rankings. These are top problems that I frequently encounter with websites:

Creating Deep Links to Your Site Naturally

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 07/02/2010
Want to naturally generate deep links to your site? Who doesn’t? Here is the best piece of advice I can give you.

Should You Stop Pay per Click Ads When You Achieve Top Ranking

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/27/2010
The truth is that even if you have #1 organic ranking in a search term, doing pay per click on that same search term will get you more traffic and more leads

Is Ranking PDF documents Part of Your search Engine Strategy

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/20/2010
Do search engines rank pdfs? Yes, provided that the pdf is actually converted text and not scanned. Optimizing a pdf for search engine ranking is similar to optimizing an html page

Looking for Low Hanging Keyword Fruit

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/11/2010
If you are looking to increase your traffic, finding keywords that your are getting traffic from, but don’t have top 10 ranking should be one of the first places to look.

Has the Google May Day Change Hurt You

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/07/2010
A lot has been said about the Google “Mayday” Algorithm change that has the SEO world buzzing. Mind you Google makes at least one change every day to its algorithm, but this one appears to have had some significant impacts

Social Media Can be Word of Mouth on Steroids

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/05/2010
Many Internet Marketers today are trying to help their clients use social media to take advantage of the “word of mouth” potential, there is a lot of emphasis on getting hooked up and connected on all the right social media. Web pages are beings submitted to hundreds of social media and book marking sites, and promoted through a variety of channels. But if engaging content is missing, then the results are going to be pretty disappointing

Are you listening to Right SEO Person

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 06/03/2010
There are a lot of companies and freelancers that claim to do search engine optimization (SEO), and they may or may not be very good at it. But you may wonder where they got their knowledge and do they really know what they are doing.

What Does an SEO Specialist Do

Posted by: Stephen Petersen Posted Date: 05/31/2010
Let’s start by asking, “Why hire an SEO specialist?” For most businesses the answer is “to make more money.” So an SEO specialist must make money for the customer, now and more in the future.

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