Google’s Link Scheme Changes Mean Changes for Us

September 16, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                        return to JayVee Media Link LLC

When Google makes changes we all need to take notice.  And Google has recently made changes to reinforce its new emphasis on quality content creation.  In fact, its new decrees are forcing a shift away from formerly acceptable methods of traditional link building; thanks to the modification those strategies may now land our sites in the penalty box.

The target of Google’s recent changes appears to be bloggers who sprinkle their posts too liberally with keyword rich anchor text links. In the past such a practice was a good way to attract inbound links.  Writers would guest blog on other sites, or create online ad copy that was stuffed with niche related keywords.  Then they would turn those keywords into links back to their own websites.  Ideally, interested readers would click those links, and voilà!  Inbound links would be earned, increasing traffic to the writers’ own sites.

Google link building scheme screen shot

Google’s recent changes reflect a new perspective on this formerly acceptable practice.  It now apparently views the strategy as more of a scheme, and will penalize websites that use it to increase their visitor traffic.

content crownThe answer to this shift is to adjust our content to reflect Google’s emphasis on quality creation.  Google wants us to build links, but via the natural route: the higher the quality of the value we impart, the more our readers will want to visit our sites.  So we need to concentrate more on readability, word flow and informational value, and less on keyword stuffing and rich anchor text links.  We can also boost our website traffic via other Google approved methods such as our Google Plus and other social media profiles, and registering our businesses with location services.

Do you think Google’s link scheme changes will facilitate the growth of website traffic for businesses?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Building Blog Visibility – 6 Tips

August 5, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                     return to JayVee Media Link LLC

bullhorn overflowing with blog postsYour blog post is done and ready to ride the internet wave.  You used a great title; seeded your keywords judiciously; included a couple of compelling graphics; hit your message concisely.  You release it…and it is promptly swallowed up by the mind numbing horde of other blog posts released at the same moment.  How do you cut through the noise to get your content found?

The first thing to understand is that unless we are already established blog creators, even well optimized content will not necessarily get found right away.  Like so much else in the world of social media, ranking takes time to build.  It takes time physically for the search engine bots to find, crawl and index our sites and web pages.  And it takes time to build a trust factor between those search platforms and the websites they are working to rank.  Unfortunately, these factors are out of our control.

What we can do

We can work to facilitate those search bots’ discovery of our content and websites.  Here are six steps we should take:

1. Write consistently, even if it means delivering only one post per week.

2. Make sure the information shared is of the highest possible value for our target audiences, and presented in a professional manner.

3. Use keywords, but use them judiciously.  “Stuffing” our posts with them will result in rankings penalties.

4. Work hard to come up with blog titles that virtually scream to be clicked.  Titles should never be afterthoughts; they are the gateways to our wonderful content.  The more clicks our titles generate, the more search engines will take notice!  For excellent tips on creating killer titles, see Anne Reuss’ wonderful post “You Can’t Afford Not to Write Bewitching Headlines.”

5. Share widely, across all social media platforms. And include sharing buttons with blog posts so readers can easily share them as well.

6. Google authorship screen shotSet up Google authorship for our posts.  This creates a link between our blog posts and our Google Plus profiles, and adds our thumbnail profile pictures to the meta descriptions of our posts when they show up on Google search.  Rob Henry shared easily understandable directions for the procedure in his excellent post “How to Set Up Google Authorship.”

I’ll note here that promoting our posts is also a good way to gain visibility for them.  But it should be understood that doing so lends a temporary bump which ends with the termination of the promotion.  So even if we plan on promoting we must still do the SEO work to build overall longevity for our posts and websites.  Staying power is the goal, after all!

What additional tips can you add to help boost our blogs’ visibility?  Please share your ideas in the comments Google botsection below!

Google+: 6 Reasons To Be There Now!

June 3, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli            return to JayVee Media Link LLC

Google Plus has been the topic of much debate – and more than a little derision – until recently.  It was labeled a Facebook knock-off with the unfair advantage of having Google as its parent.  A large number of social media aficionados turned their noses up at the platform, predicting that it would never amount to anything significant.  It’s not often so many knowledgeable people would be wrong, but these days it looks as though that is exactly the case.  Boasting over 343 million users, the once maligned social media platform has grown to become the second largest on the internet. As it has evolved, a number of features have won the minds and hearts of many former naysayers:

1. Ranking

Google Plus profile page links boxYES, Google indexes its G+ platform’s posts for search ranking!  Instead of deriding that fact, more and more people are coming to embrace it.  Why not use the advantage it offers, considering how competitive the rankings game is?  Users maximize benefits through judicious use of niche keywords in their posts, and by including links to their websites, blog pages and other social media sites in the link section of their profile descriptions.

2. Post diversity

Google Plus hashtagged and tagged postGoogle Plus is likely the only major social media platform that supports every kind of post with no limitations.  Text, pictures, videos, even full blog posts are supported. As a nice bonus, we have the ability to format our posted text with bold, italic and strikethrough features.  Plus, downloadable files like pdfs and word documents can be shared directly on the platform. Posts on G+ are also very easy to target using hashtags and tagging.  For convenience, tagged people in our posts may respond via email.

3. Hangouts

No other social media platform offers a feature like Hangouts.  These on-air video chats allow wide ranging discussion among up to nine participants, complete with capabilities for slideshow presentations, screen sharing, and other collaborative activities via access to Google Drive.  They can be recorded for later posting, too.  The business possibilities offered by Hangouts are virtually limitless!

4. Communities

Google Plus’ Communities are fairly new, having been introduced last December.  Like groups or forums on other platforms, they allow easy connection and information sharing among people who have a common interest, business, etc.  We can join existing communities or create new ones.  Such involvement allows us direct lines of information about our particular interests, as well as an opportunity to share what we know with others who may not otherwise see our posts.

5. Business pages

Google Plus JayVee Media Link business page

Google Plus is one of the most business friendly of the popular social media platforms.  In addition to post diversity and huge cover pictures, we have the flexibility of opening up to 50 different business pages per gmail address.  This is great if we wish to feature different products or services, or even just to showcase different facets of our companies.

6. New design

Google Plus’ new interface is much more user friendly than it has ever been before.  Features are more easily accessible, post streams are cleaner (users can choose single or double column streams), and the revamped size for our cover pictures – 2120 pixels, or 16” by 9”- allows more room for unlimited visual representation than is offered on any other platform.

For all the above listed features, Google Plus is the social media place to be today.  Not having a presence on the platform is a serious liability considering all the vital tools and features available to those who establish a presence there.

Which is your favorite Google Plus feature?  One listed here, or another?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

SEO’s Death is Greatly Exaggerated

February 18, 2013

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                           return to JayVee Media Link LLC

RIP SEO tombstone“SEO is dead.”  Haven’t you heard?  Search Engine Optimization doesn’t work anymore, so we need to come up with new strategies to boost our websites’ rankings on search engine results pages.

In truth, SEO is very much alive, and as important as it ever was.  But as new website structures and online platforms are introduced, and strategies for good online presences develop and morph, SEO is constantly changing to keep up.  The folks who conclude that SEO must be dead generally cling to the old ways of working it…or worse, try to game the system.  If any death knells are tolling, it is for those outdated or unscrupulous methods.  Any internet business that desires good search rankings today needs to be vigilant with its research as well as flexible enough to adapt to the ever changing online landscape.

Today’s SEO strategies must reflect a difference in the way optimization is assessed.  The “bots” that crawl our sites are much more intelligent than they used to be.  They are now capable of identifying most if not all the system-gaming strategies that used to go unnoticed.  Hence, a drop in search rankings COULD mean whomever is doing a website’s optimization is engaging in “black hat” techniques that no longer work.

Search engine bots have become smarter in other ways as well.  Keywords are still important – both short and long tail.  But the bots are sensitive to their overuse – a black hat strategy known as “keyword stuffing.”  And they now look for relevance between those keywords and the text that contains them.  The search bots also recognize the growing importance of social media for relevance in a merchant’s field.  They now pay attention to businesses’ presence on the various platforms, and more importantly, to what they are doing on those sites.  They evaluate factors such as post frequency; value-relative-to-field of original and shared content; ability to inspire and nurture engagement; and good client relations as evidenced by GENUINE recommendations and testimonials. That means generic, “canned” testimonials composed by paid SEO specialists as well as those written by employees of the businesses being lauded are discounted… and could even lead to a penalty in ranking.

With a new emphasis on quality content, search bots take note of whether or not a website contains or is linked to a blog page. Authorship credentials are becoming more heavily weighted in the rankings game.  Also, while still very important for SEO ranking, inbound links to blog posts are now evaluated for relevance to the business field.  Those that lack pertinence will cost both the business that gives and the one that receives them.

SEO person with thumbs upAs is the case with every facet of social media, SEO is constantly evolving.  The key to maintaining successful optimization is to constantly research and become familiar with all the emerging strategies.  And remember, the only things about SEO that are dead are outdated and unethical practices.

How do you keep up with the constantly changing SEO landscape?  Please share your strategies in the comments section below.