Category Archives: ethical seo tips and techniques

Ethical SEO Tips for Local Small Business

Interested ethical seo or social media and social marketing optimization?

Here is my ethical SEO presentation at Barcamp Birmingham. Here is the black and white version of my powerpoint deck I did for the informal unconference section of Barcamp Birmingham 2009. Its not pretty, but pretty information rich (aka useful) for the introductory or intermediate SEO. Although some of the tips I extemporaneously added that you don’t get here–despite all this I got a request to post the presentation and lots of complements. Enjoy this ethical search engine optimization goodness.

Feel free to link to the presentation here on my blog and embedded the code, which is available at Slideshare on your blog. Also, check out the rest of my local seo and ethical seo posts as well. Check out my ethical link development tips for bloggers. For those interested specifically in issues of local seo, you will want to check out the fantastic local seo tips and techniques. Also knowing your search ranking factors and local search ranking factors is a must.

Matt Cutts, who is head of web spam at Google and guru of search engine algorithms suggests that unethical and whats called grey hat and black hat techniques may be gone from Google the near future.

If you need help with search engine optimization or if you are a social media or search engine marketing firm in need of outsourcing your seo needs, feel free to contact me at (615) 974-9662

Best Free SEO Analysis Reports and Tools

Quick SEO Evaluation Tools

Website Grader-pretty quick way to find out about your site

SEO Automatic Tool-tells you about on page search engine optimization factors

Review My SEO Analysis Tool

SEO Backlink Checker Tools

Google Backlink Checker

Backlink Watch

Yahoo Backlink Checker

MSN Backlink Checker

Technorati for blog specific backlinks

Competitive Analysis Tools

Spy Fu

Google Insights for Search

SEO Moz Trifecta

SEO Moz Linkscape

Other Helpful Search Engine Optimization Tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Yahoo Webmaster Tools (same link as Yahoo backcheck links above)

Webmaster Live Tools

SEO Book Link Suggester (based on similar keyword or website topic)

Free SEO Keyword Tools

Google Keyword Tool
(related keyterms & web user data)

SEO Book Keyword Tool (web stats on your key terms)

Wordtracker Question Tool (web stats on questions around your keyterms)

Google Sets (semantically related terms to your keyterms)

Quinturra (semantically related terms)

SEO Tracking Analysis

Graph of Backlinks Over Time for search engine marketing purposes.

Compete-unique user statistics over the year

Quantcast-multiple analytics on users of your site

Go Rank-key word number & density

Please remember to bookmark this SEO Resource. Thanks!

Guide to Hiring a Link baiting Content and Marketing Service

How to Hire a Link bait Content Development Consultant

One popular method of increasing traffic and search engine optimization is link baiting. When people talk about viral marketing, they are often talking about creating content that is link bait. So what is link baiting? Link baiting is just the strategic creation of interesting, funny, or controversial content in order to generate links. The second component of the link baiting process is using social media like Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Twitter, delicious, and Mixx to promote the content.

So how do you go about hiring a link baiting professional? Well here are some questions I might suggest asking:

• What kind of link baiting content do you do?
• Can I see previous link bait examples you have developed?
• What kind of traffic will it generate?
• What is the quality of traffic your link bait will generate?
• How much will your link bait increase my search engine optimization efforts?
• How much do your services cost?
• Do you offer both content development and link bait marketing services?

What questions would you ask a link baiting service?

What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

Jeff Jarvis is author of the book “What Would Google Do?” and a blogger at Buzz Machine. Jeff Jarvis gets print publication and content. I’m sure his book will provide focus for online publishers and content creators, as well as traditional print publications who are making a move to use online tools like social media.

“What Would Google Do?”

Jeff Jarvis on Content Aggregation

Certainly this post about social media marketing examples by Peter Kim shows the value of aggregation. Some of what Jarvis is speaking of may go even further to being a platform or filter that:

• Gathers
• Edits and Remixes
• Organizes
• Designs

Content in a given niche and does so in a way which is fun, interesting, or engaging. I don’t believe they have to do all four well, both those who do will likely prosper as long as they find a revenue stream to monetize their content. Also, those four characteristics, along with community, over the long run will likely form the critical differentiators for users and potential customers (and hence success). One that ultimately forms an affinity (or even further a Tribe)

If you’ve read Jarvis’ opus “What Would Google Do?”, what do you think? Agree, disagree, or ????

SEO Process | The Three Most Important Parts of Your Ethical SEO Strategy

The SEO Process: A Step by Step Guide

There are three keys to your search engine optimization strategy:

• Design and Framing
• Content Development
• Promotion, Relationship Building and Link building

Its that simple.

Of course there are ways to add complexity to your SEO plan. The next level of SEO strategy optimization is a step by step development of the tactics that form the fundamentals of the SEO process. Starting with overall business objectives makes sense:

• What are the business objectives?

• What marketing strategies do you currently have in place?

2.1 How does the online aspect of it fit into your current marketing strategy?

• What are your core products or services?

• Who are the different audiences that the site can appeal to, and provide goods or services or information for?

• What are your primary & secondary key phrases?

• How do you currently measure performance?

• How might conversions be defined for the site? Purchases? Leads generated? Newsletter or service subscriptions? Downloading of specific whitepapers or pages or software?

Online Marketing Objectives and Considerations:
• General, Short term and Long term goals for SEO.

• Who do you consider to be your competitors?

• Do you already have an “image” or “brand” in place that can be pushed.

• Any specific ideas about the type of marking you want to do? (viral, advertising etc.)

• What skills do you currently already have available in terms of web development?

5.1 If yes; What is the development or change process like, when you want to make changes, including the time that it typically takes to make changes?

• Have there been any SEO efforts recently or in the past?

• How are you driving traffic to your site now?

• Are you willing to change varies elements on your website? (Content, Structure, technologies, etc…)

• Are there any design, infrastructure or development considerations?

• Are you equipped to handle an increase in business?

• What’s the budget either monthly or total?

As you go along the SEO process, you will likely appreciate this SEO flow chart from Aaron Wall.

My Favorite and Best Ethical SEO Blog Posts of 2008 and 2009 | 16 Awesome-tastic Guides for Marketing Your Small Business and Blog

Free Ethical SEO Tutorials and Guides

How Can Social Media Help My Small Business

Mega-list of the Best Social Media Marketing Checklists

Thought leadership marketing which answers the vital question: Why Social Media?

Simple Guide to SEO An SEO Introductory Guide to Search Engine Optimization

SEO for WordPress A Guide for WordPress Bloggers Everywhere

26 Awesome Keyword Strategies for Ethical SEO

Ethical SEO for Nonprofits and Charities

Social media marketing for non profits and charities

White papers for Search engine optimization

Five Disadvantages of Unethical SEO

Local SEO for Small Business

The Best of the Best of Local SEO The Greatest Hits of Local SEO

Local SEO Interview with Andrew Shotland

SEO for Lawyers and Law Firms

SEO for Real Estate Agents

Christian Social Media and Networking: An Introductory Guide for Church and Christian Leaders

Marketing for General Contractors

Bonus: SEO Resource from SEO MOZ Linkbuilding for Kindergardeners

Bonus #2 (Old School): 66 Ways to Build Links from Brandon Hopkins [FYI: but don’t buy links]

Ethical SEO for Nonprofits | Search Engine Optimization for Churches and Charities

SEO for Non-Profits and Faith Based Organizations

Whether you’re a web developer for a non-profit, a communications guru for a faith-based organization, or an online pr and marketer for a foundation you probably already know that search engine ranking is critical to the success of your online marketing efforts. Why is search engine optimization so important? Well most users, or about 75 to 80% stop on the first page, so if you aren’t there you’re competition is flat-out husking your gourd.

Non-profit Marketing: We’re All on the Same Team
In the non-profit space there is one very important caveat: we’re all on the same team. At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team. Being human and community oriented is your goal, not winning some pointless race. Win/win strategies of collaboration are critical to non-profit success and non-profit seo campaign success.

Your Goal: Search Engine Relevance and User Centric Design
The ultimate goal of search engines is to deliver useful, accurate, and relevant content to the search queries of their customers–the end user. If you can help them in that goal by providing relevant info–you’re one step in the right direction. The focus on relevance is critical–as with the pre-Thanksgiving launch of the Google search wiki has customized and personalized search. And in the future, the personalization, localization, and customization of search will increase in order to better serve the needs and wants of individual users. For Google, a tailored user experience is a better user experience.

Organizational Guide to Implementing Search Engine Optimization In Your Organization for Your Nonprofit Website:

When you start out you its important to recognize the search engine ranking factors and Googles algorithm. After familiarizing yourself with the Google algo, this SEM for Nonprofits Guide from Aaron Wall is a fantastic for nonprofit SEO.

• Its important to recognize that strategic community building with social media and blogs is a fantastic first step in your overall seo strategy.
• The second step is creating a learning organization around your online communication and marketing strategy by investing in affordable training.
• The third step is setting up metrics on Google analytics to track your campaign success.
• The fourth step is creating a keyword and content strategy for your organization
• The fifth step is going through your website and deciding which pages are most important and focusing your links on them, so Google knows they are most important.
• The sixth step is outreach via blogger relations, online pr, and your email list to drive links.
• Remember to always practice ethical seo strategies and techniques

Questions You May Want to Ask If you Hire an SEO/SEM Company for Your Nonprofit Marketing:
There are seven areas of questions you will want to ask your prospective SEO firm in order to get a better idea if they are the right fit for your organization.

• Can you provide SEO training for a reasonable fee?
• What is your experience? What is your SEO skillset? What results can you deliver?
• What services do you provide beyond SEO?
• What type of budgets do you work with?
• What type of strategies are you going to use?
• Are you going to use paid links? Are you going to outsource any of the labor?
• What kinds of results can we expect?

Non-Profit SEO Buyer Beware:
The infamous non-profit blog Corporate Dollar suggests avoiding these black hat seo tactics and the types of seo companies that deploy them in campaigns:

Link Farms – Search engine results are influenced the number of inbound links. The assumption here is that users have placed such a high value on the relevance and quality of a website, they they create a link to it on their own website. Daisy-chaining websites together to artificially inflate search engine rankings is a short-term strategy doomed to fail.

Keyword Stuffing -Overpopulating certain portions of a Web page with particular keywords in the hopes of influencing search engine results will also fail. Google is very good at parsing out ”natural” content from computer-generated gibberish.

Cloaking – This practice involves delivering different (high-ranking) website content to the search engine spiders than is delivered to human users.

Not only do these tactics do a disservice to your customers, but they also risk harming your brand if you are outed and Google is getting better and better at penalizing or otherwise demonizing websites that practice black hat tactics.

These are not reasons to avoid SEO altogether, which would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Are you not going to bank or invest due to the recent issues in the financial sector? Is the corrupt government official going to keep you from participating in the democratic process? There are small segments of each industry that are unethical–thats why the phrase buyer beware was invented in the first place. Dave Chakrabarti points out the unique advantages SEO offers non-profits:

Nonprofits typically have advantages in several areas crucial to search engine optimization work, including value of content, value of inbound linking and references to their sites, and the ability to promote their online presence on a variety of high-value website partners, including fellow nonprofits, newspapers and other online publications, and university / college websites.

Colleges, university, print publications, and advocacy organizations all have unique advantages in terms of scope and expertise of content. Now is a unique time to seize this opportunity to connect with donors for fundraising, passionistas for advocacy, as well as related nonprofit organizations in your philanthropic niche. So if you’re re-vising your online strategy or ramping up with a new social media time, now is a fantastic time to integrate the principles of search engine optimization. Because if you don’t speak the language of the search engine, all your online work may be relegated to the silence of the third page of Google along with millions of other lonely web pages.

Search Engine Optimization Tools for Nonprofit Fundraisers and Communicators
There are tons of search engine tools, but most aren’t useful for the non-profit organization and may skew your perception of your online efforts.

Website Grader– the Website grader tool can give you a report card of your SEO efforts. While its not perfect, its one of the quickest ways to get an overview analysis of your website’s SEO
Google Keyword Tool– Great because most SEO campaigns are focused on Google
SEO Book Keyword Tool- Great because it shows results in spreadsheets. It also aggregates basic search data from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live Search, Wordtracker, and Keyword Discovery. However, the likely focus of your campaign will likely be Google, so the big bonus is the spreadsheet function. Downside: this tool doesn’t reflect the full diversity of keywords that only the Google keyword tool can provide. It does help provide some long tail keywords.
Spy Fu– Great because you can see your competitions keywords.
SEO Quake– Great way to check your competition in the search engine results
Google Grants for In-kind Donation for Advertising and Marketing
• You can use iStockphotos, Dreamstime, or Stockxchange for photos. Alternativelye, you may want to find free photos for your nonprofit seo and social media. You will probably want to supplement these with photos you take of your clients (depending on privacy issues), donors, speakers, events, and collaborators. You can post these photos on flickr and make a slideshow with Rock You.
• You creating great content, you building and facilitating a community, and organizing your content so Google’s search engine robots can easily read it.

55+ WordPress SEO Secrets for Free | Free Do It Yourself SEO Tutorial for WordPress

Discover Search Engine Optimization Secrets and DIY Tips for WordPress for Free

Everyone knows content is king. And most everyone knows relationships and relationship building are critical to successful SEO and social media optimization.

Some of my best search engine optimization tips, including how to deal with keyword research, on-page search engine optimization, and how to climb the ranks for better ethical seo. Basically everything the WordPress blogger needs to know for seo purposes. So check out 55 expert SEO tips for WordPress.

Feel free to link and share freely. I embrace the ethos of the Creative Commons. If you would like to add your own SEO for WordPress tip, technique, or resource to the list: feel free!

Five Disadvantages of Gray Hat Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Unethical SEO Tactics: Why Grey Hat SEO is a Bad Idea for Your Brand

There are a plethora of reasons why gray hat SEO is not a good idea. I will give you four simple reasons why gray hat seo should be left for gambling and credit card sites:

• Initially, it involves tricking Google and making Google look bad. Even the infamous Shoemoney has come out against making Google look bad.
• It can often destroys relevance.
• Spammy techniques hurt usability.
• If you have to resort to gray hat techniques: why not use pay per click or social media or any number of marketing channels.
• The risk of being outed by your competitors or an SEO company.

So avoid grey hat seo about as much as you would avoid the plague. While Google shouldn’t have the exclusive right to establish the rules of ethics and ethical seo on the web, it often does and you have to adjust your search engine marketing strategy to that fundamental reality.

I’m Calling Shenanigans on SEO’s and SEMs that Hate on Reciprocal Links

Putting Reciprocal Links to the Search Engine Marketing Test:

Most people site the Florida update as one which de-valued the role of the reciprocal link. Most of these people however, are SEO’s who want to charge big money to clients, SEMs who think that clients should go the paid advertising route and avoid SEO altogether, and well-meaning SEOs who don’t know better.

• However, this doesn’t mean the reciprocal link is bad or that Google will penalize you for a reciprocal link. Why else would people have blog rolls? Why else would people link to other people in their industry? Sure you need to watch how your link equity flows, but you don’t have to be overly paranoid about strategies that won’t hurt you. The alternative would create a race to the bottom of people on real estate sites linking to education consultants linking to door to door salesmen, which doesn’t provide a (fair and relevant) way for Google to assign value to links. Googles tactic was merely to stop the practice of mass spam emails (often via automated processes) to webmasters for the sole purpose of getting unrelated reciprocal links.

Second, Google uses your link based relationships on the web to determine where you belong. Here is the caveat: as long as your link is a) with a trusted site by Google b) in your marketing niche or a closely related niche c) has good anchor text, and d) is legit (ie no no follow) you should be fine 95% of the time.

Third, linking out to trusted sites actually builds link equity. This is SEO 101. And Michael at SEO Theory is the minority of one who doesn’t agree. Surprisingly, my bet is on the Aaron Wall theory of SEO here. (see also: Outbound linking for fun and profit)

I eventually want to build a site at least 1/3 on just reciprocal links to prove that these SEOs are either lying through their teeth or just not bright.

Using How to Videos for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing

How to Leverage Video for SEO and Link Building
Initially, there are two key ways to use videos to increase your search engine optimization. The first, and preferable method to use how-to videos to increase SEO is to make low-fi, but useful and short videos yourself which explain a process in an easy to understand format. The best way to create these videos is to make them a demonstration. One great example of this is the SEO Book videos, the SEO Moz Whiteboard Friday videos, and the innovative Common Craft videos. Realize, they don’t all have to be serious videos, in fact your users are more likely to spread them if they are a little funny. One example is the “Will it Blend” video series.

The Value of Videos for SEO and Thought Leadership Marketing
This can help build trust with users and establish you as an industry thought leader. To give your videos even more legs for SEO linkbuilding, consider e-mailing bloggers who could use the video on their website. This is particularly helpful if you have a series of videos, so the bloggers can pick and choose which videos are most appropriate to their audience. Additionally, there are tons of how to video community sites that will allow you to post how to videos on their website. This gets into a bit of a duplicate content issue, however I fully believe Google understands the value of 95% of these videos. (videos that get 1000’s a views a year vs. videos that only get 20 or 30 views a year can obviously be adjusted in the Google algorithm)

The second way, and less preferable way is to use existing how-to videos to help explain key concepts on your blog. Usually you will want to wrap your own content around the videos to provide more value and in-depth coverage. For instance, 10 Places to Find How to Videos.

Clearly there are lots of searches for How-to Videos:
how to video
how to video clip
how to videos
As well as…
online video how to
how to video clips

Here is the next step of the How-To Video Process:
how to create a video
• how to make video clips
• how to video stream
• how to convert video
• how to upload video
• how to sell video

Here is a great short seo video from ZDNET, including an simple explanation of siloing and themeing. And here are some video search engine optimization tips from Eric Enge at Stone Temple.