Yahoo!’s advertisers have just received an email literally minutes ago announcing that they have received regulatory clearance to become one entity as the “Yahoo! Microsoft Search Alliance”.  While at first this may seem to be only affecting advertisers that use Microsoft’s adCenter or Yahoo! advertising, this means much, much more to most SEO professionals.

While I would suggest that most SEO experts just continue as business as usual, some SEM experts are ecstatic about this new alliance because it doubles their advertising reach and will have a substantial cost reduction in the process.  For those that haven’t seen the official release, the email read;

*****************

Yahoo! and Microsoft's Search Alliance

Dear Advertiser,

Yahoo! and Microsoft have now received regulatory clearance to form a search alliance. This is a significant milestone and an exciting first step in our combined effort to help you reach even more customers with greater ease and efficiency.

What’s Ahead
There will be no immediate changes to your Yahoo! Search Marketing account. Both companies are committed to making this transition as seamless and beneficial to you as possible. Our aim is a high quality transition of advertisers and partners in at least the U.S. prior to the 2010 holiday season. However, we may wait until 2011 if we determine this will be more effective. Approximately three months in advance, we’ll begin providing you with detailed information about what to expect and how we will assist you.

How the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance Will Benefit You
Once implemented, the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance will enable you to:

Reach more customers.

Reach up to 150 million searchers1 and get approximately 62% more search volume2 than on Yahoo! alone through a new, unified search marketplace combining the Yahoo! and Microsoft networks.
To help drive future growth in search volume, Yahoo! will continue to significantly enhance the search experience on our leading web properties.

Save valuable time and effort.

You’ll log into one place–Microsoft’s adCenter–to manage campaigns, for greater efficiency and a better ROI.
With just one buy, you’ll reach users on Yahoo! and Microsoft sites, as well as other premium partner sites.

Benefit from rapid innovation.

Yahoo! will deliver new features and innovations to the world’s favorite online destinations, content, and web products used by hundreds of millions of consumers to connect to the people and things that matter to them most.
Microsoft will innovate the underlying technologies that drive high quality algorithmic and paid search results.

We appreciate your business and look forward to bringing the benefits of the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance to you. In the meantime, please refer to the resources below:

» Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance website |    » Yahoo! Transition Center

Sincerely,

Your Partners at Yahoo!

1. comScore custom data, December 2009
2. comScore qSearch December, 2009

What is your opinion on this new alliance?


seo-made-easy-book-free-seoThere are tons of great SEO tools out there that you can use to help you on your journey to top rankings on Google.  Many are really good and some are just, not.  I did my best to keep the “nots” off of this list.  Some of these are downloadable, some you use online, some are free to use, some are not.   But if you were to use these tools to your advantage, top rankings on Google is literally days away.

Google Webmaster Tools
(http://www.google.com/webmasters)

If you’re not using this tool, then you should be shot and hung.  All that’s required is that you actually own the site.  You verify your ownership by adding a meta tag or uploading a page to the root directory and then you have access to a wealth of information.  Everything from broken links, title tag issues, backlinks and more.  It’s only shortcoming is lack of competitive analysis, but it’s all here and it’s all FREE.

seoelite_boxSEO Elite
(http://www.seoelite.com/index2.htm)

This is by far the mack daddy of SEO tools to have in your arsenal if you’re expecting to make it up the charts.  I have brought companies to the top of Google without using this tool and also with it.  And I can tell you that using it makes the process not only easier but hundreds of times quicker.  It will shortcut your efforts by weeks if not months.  It shows you everything from what your competitor is doing, what keywords you should use, how to structure your code, keyword ratios, and the entire gamut.  It’s amazing and will literally get you to the top of Google very quickly. Get it.

Good Keywords
(http://www.goodkeywords.com) –
Download here
This program is limited, but it spits out some amazing keyword suggestions.  The program is free, which is even better. You type in a basic keyword you’re interested in and it displays a laundry list of alternate keywords from Google, Yahoo and others.  It does a good job of also not straining Google resources which obviously is good to avoid being banned.

ibp-boxIBP (Internet Business Promoter)
(http://www.Axandra.com)

I shouldn’t give away this secret, but I use this tool very heavily.  It has keyword tools, web optimization tools, competition analysis and a very, very cool reporting feature that spits out 50 page reports in seconds showing analysis of what the top 10 competitors are doing and suggestions about how you can fix your site to be in line with what they’re doing.  It’s amazing. One of my favorite tools on the list.

SEOBook
(http://www.seobook.com)

SEOBook is one of my favorite websites because they offer tons of really cool SEO tools that mostly are plugins to IE and Firefox (Firefox mostly) that can check your web rankings, get PPC data, Google toolbars and much more. Lots of useful stuff and most of which is, yes, Free.

ppc-webspyPPC Web Spy
(http://www.ppcwebspy.com/)

This program is designed to basically spy on your competition while you’re browsing the web.  It’s a plug-in for your browser that shows you the keywords that your competitors are focusing on which ultimately gives you an advantage to capitalize on words they’re probably missing.  It literally will show you all of your competitors ad copy for Google AdWords. their cost per click, their position, and even how much they’re spending.  In reality, this is very covert and is really a crazy amount of information to be able to get.  A very dangerous tool.  To your competitors.

Planet Ocean/Search Engine News
(http://www.searchenginenews.com)

By far, the best information you will get ANYWHERE on search engine strategies and the ongoing changes to the big 3 (Google, Yahoo, MSN).  If something changes with their algorithms, rules change, something stops working, you’re about to get ripped off on your PPC campaign, problems, changes, etc., these are the guys you go to.  Every month, they send you incredible 30+ page newsletter highlighting the best directories to get into, best deals, AND you also get a HUGE and I mean HUGE Unfair Advantage book that walk you through extensive step by step tutorials on how to get your site up to speed.  No joke.  Don’t hesitate on this one.

Keyword Pad
(http://www.goodkeywords.com/products/keywordpad/)

A pretty amazing piece of software that is also completely FREE and is literally beaming with greatness. Plug in the keyword you want and you get a treasure trove of long tail keywords that your competitors are most likely missing.  Then you can take that list and tweak it out, multiply results and much more.  Oh yeah, and it’s free.

WebTools Now
(http://www.webtoolsnow.com)

Another FREE program that does have a paid component for it, but it offers so much free content out of the gate, that it’s hard to ignore.  You can get some pretty amazing information here from keyword research, code alteration, and some very valuable tips.  And again, it’s free.

Google Keyword Research Tool
(https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal)

Google Adwords is imperative for anyone to use if you’re just starting online.  It’s even moreso to know what your competitors are doing and while the tool doesn’t offer specific numbers, it will tell you what keywords are the most competitive and that will eat you alive in click through cost and what words no one is bidding on for some reason. The new alterations give you approxiamate numbers and estimated numbers for next month. An invaluable FREE tool.

book-seo-mindsetSEO Mindset
(http://www.seomindset.com)

There are many people that talk about SEO and how easy it is.  Give me a break.  If it was incredibly easy, most of you would never see the first page of Google.  Brad Callen has an amazing insight into the world of SEO and has practiced what he preached for years.  No one has logged more documented proof than Brad of his successes and in this book, he pretty much shares it with the world.  And you can get it here.  And don’t forget the FREE book over there on the right sidebar.  Yeah, it’s free.

Cyberlink Pro
(http://www.cyberlinkpro.com)

One of the toughest things to do is to get people to link to your site.  This is a major part of the ranking puzzle and especially if you’ve found yourself trapped on the second page and you can’t seem to budge.  Enter Cyberlink Pro which for a very small fee will get you thousands of one way links.   This does actually work for that extra boost, but just keep an eye on your backlinks via Google Webmaster Tools to weed out any bad ones that appear from naughty sites.  They don’t create links on these sites, but when you have a ton of links created fairly quickly, some of these leech sites will post your site on thers without your permission.  A great service though that actually does work, and very fast.

Google Analytics
(http://www.google.com/analytics/)

For real?  If you don’t know what it is or how to use it, you are beyond help.  You sign up for free, you put a code block into your web pages and then you have a ridiculous amount of data at your disposal, for free.  Traffic patterns, what keywords you’re being found on, e-commerce, where they’re leaving from, what keywords theyre finding you on and tons more. Free.

Wordtracker
(http://www.wordtracker.com)

Wordtracker has been around forever and while they do offer a free version of their keyword tool, the paid version offers a wealth of information that will simply blow you away.  You’ll have such ridiculous insight into keyword conversions that you might actually get sick by the spinning array of data.  It is SO worth every dime.

WebComp Analyst
(http://webcompanalyst.com)

One of the most important things about ranking well on Google is backlinks.  People linking back to you.  This tool makes it not only incredibly easy to know how many you have, but also spends an inordinate amount of time analyzing them which is fantastic.

SEO Chat
(http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/)

SEO Chat is awesome.  It has tons of free tools that you can use to optimize your website and use for ad campaigns such as AdSense calculators, meta tag generators, analyzers, robots.txt generators, and just a bucnh more.  Oh and all free.

spyfu-logoSpyFu
(http://www.spyfu.com)

Ever wonder what your competitor is spending money on for their Adwords ads, what their ads say, what words they’re targeting and more about their advertising budget?  Look no further than SpyFu.  You can give it a test run but it really does not give you the complete picture compared to the paid version.

Search Engine Genie
(http://www.searchenginegenie.com)

Ever use programs where you’re trying to check your position on the web and you get blocked or it’s saying you’re not there when you know you are.  Your IP is being blocked.  Somehow, with the exception of Yahoo, Search Engine Genie’s website has been able to sneak by and even Yahoo allows it for about 10 searches. Check your position and feel good about yourself all at the same time.

Compete
(http://www.compete.com)

Yet another service that offers a free unlimited trial run that will give you a good bit of info, but the paid version gives you ridiculous analytics type views of your competitors.  You can see who is sending them traffic,  how they’re being found online, what keywords they’re focusing on and which ones they’re missing, traffic data and much more.

wordpress-pluginsUltimate Guide To WordPress Plugins
(http://www.ultimateguidetowordpressplugins.com)
While this is more specific to folks that use WordPress, the major difference between a blog that gets a few views as opposed to hundreds a day is obviously traffic (and compelling content).  And using the right plugins in WordPress is imperative to that effort.  This little guide documents the plugins that you must have by all means necessary and others that will tweak the blog beyond anything you could imagine.  And it’s cheap.

Backlink Builder
(http://www.webconfs.com/backlink-builder.php)
Web Conf’s released this very cool tool that allows you to plugin a keyword and it will spit out a list of websites that are relevant to that word that you could approach for getting links with.

Bad Neighborhood Checker
(http://www.bad-neighborhood.com/)

Have you added links to a bunch of websites and instead of leaping you’ve lunged into the ranking abyss?  Maybe because one of the websites you ranked to is viewed as a spamming site, adult site or just a “bad neighborhood”.  This site will help you track down those sites that are doing you more harm than good.

INeedHits
(http://www.ineedhits.com)

A strange but true service that allows you to submit to over 300+ search engines for only $2.99.  While most people scoff, others love the fact that they can click a button for $3 and be done with this piece of the puzzle.

Dead Link Checker
(http://www.dead-links.com/)

Nothing is worse than having a bunch of broken links on your site.  Use this tool to find them.  That is, of course, if you’re not using Google Webmaster Tools, you idgit.

Social Marker
(http://www.socialmarker.com)

Using social bookmarking services like Digg, Delicious, Yahoo, Buzz, etc. is imperative to getting good backlinks for your website.  But like many people, who in the world has the time to bookmark websites going site to site.  Enter Social Marker, a free service that asks you for the basic info one time, then you check the services you use from the list and it takes you to each website one by one pre-filling in all of the information for you. Sweet.

Google Trends
(http://www.google.com/trends)

If you’re curious as to what people are searching for right now and what’s the most popular?  Look no further than Google Trends.  A glimpse at the most common searches at that given time.  You can then use this info to write blogs or articles that are guaranteed to snag traffic.

Blog Pulse
(http://www.blogpulse.com)
This is similar to Google Trends above except that it displays what the most ppular blog topics are at any given moment.  A very good thing to know when you’re trying to figure out what people want to read about and apply it to your business.

affiliateelite_boxAffiliate Elite
(http://www.affiliateelite.com)

If you’re into the whole affiliate marketing scenario, then you probably don’t want to be without Affiliate Elite.  A program that gives you the hot products that affiliates are targeting, what they’re using to sell them, and tons more.  It’s really ridiculous and has people making over a grand a week selling stuff for other people and carrying no inventory at all.  Pretty insane stuff.

Need More?  Okay, here are some short blasts for you.

McDar Keyword Analysis Tool

Keyword Popularity Tool – Are you marketing for a keyword that’s just going to be an uphill battle?

SEO Blueprint Secrets – Download a bunch of SEO videos for free here.

Domain Age Tool

Link Quality Assessment

Keyword Strategy Guide – A strategy guide for finding the right Google keywords that will actually make you money.

Multi DC PageRank Checker

Search Engine Ranking Report

Link Popularity Checker

Dogpile Search Comparison

Online XML Sitemaps Generator

Backlink Check Tool

Check Rankings

Backlink Anchor Text Analyzer

Google vs Yahoo Graph - Top 50 display of a term on both Yahoo and Google

Keyword Density Analyzer - analyzes how much you’ve used certain keywords and terms

Multi DC PageRank Checker – checks Google multiple data centers

Alexa Page Ranking – Check your Alexa Ranking.

W3C Markup Validation Service – You’ll almost never be in full compliance so don’t kill yourself.

Browser Screen Resolution Checker - Better check that your site doesn’t go wacky when the resolution is changed.

Domain Dossier - Get background info on just about everything you’d want to know about a domain name.

Online XML Sitemaps Generator – Sitemaps are important to Google and this will make your life much easier.  Dynamic sites will get mixed results though.

Dynamic to Static URL Changer – Search engines like dynamic URL’s much better than static.  This tool can be implemented into your .htaccess file and will alter the files into static ones.  Lots of folks use this tool and for good reason.  You don’t have to, but you can if you’re trying to get a little edge when you’re right on the heels of a competitor and you need that extra umph.

Page Rank Tool – Check your Pagerank across multiple Google datacenters all at once OR

Google PageRank Prediction – Let this predict what your Pagerank will be after you make those adjustments.

Rank Pulse – Keeps an ongoing watch on the most popular and least popular keyword terms to the tune of 1000 of them. Find out what people are searching for most frequently.

Copyscape – Think your content may have been lifted? Search for copies of your content on the web by using this tool.

And every time I find another cool tool I’ll post it here.  So expect this page to be updated regularly. Bookmark it baby!  Got an indispensable tool that I missed?  Tell me about it.


The biggest issue that almost all clients who come to me for SEO help have is their title tags.  For those not versed in html coding, there is a tag in your code that says <title> then has some words and closes with </title>.  Most businesses are putting their company name in this tag and maybe a “Welcome to my website!”  The text that is in this tag appears at the top of the browser window.  The problem with this tag is that most people fill it with worthless text that doesn’t benefit their site.  Search ANY keyword you want  in Google and you’ll see that the keyword you searched for is in the title tags of everyone on the first page of the search results.  And Google even highlights them by bolding the text.

seo-tips2

Putting “Welcome to the ABC Company” in the title tag is costing you greatly.  Google looks at the title tag heavily.  SEO guru Brad Fallon used the title tag trick early on to rank for “Coolest Guy On The Planet“.  No one else had put that in their title tag and the result was that when someone searched Google for “Coolest guy on the planet“, he came up number one because he was the only one nutty enough to actually put that text in his tags.   In your case, you are probably competing for something a little more widely used like a dentist office or maybe greeting cards.  So let’s look at a couple things with the title tag.

welcome

First thing to say about the title tag is that every character is golden.   Use your title tag for keywords only.  I can’t stress this enough.  Don’t use your company name, don’t say “Welcome to..”, etc.  It’s a waste.  If they’re on your website, they will see your company name and you can use your meta tags to welcome them if you must (that will be discussed in Step 3), so again, only use keywords in your title tags.  This is one of the primary reasons why I had you download or use the free keyword programs in Step One so that you could find out what the best keywords to use are.  Hopefully you made a list of those.  So if your business is greeting cards, use those programs to look to see what people are actually searching for.  Pick out the top 20 or so and then analyze each page of your website to see where the best fit is for those keywords.

To start, if the service you provide is local, then you have a good advantage because you can use keywords like “Atlanta Dentist“, or if that’s proving too competitive, then you can use your county name like “Gwinnett County Dentist“.  But you’ll use your top 3 or 4 general keywords on your home page title tag.  So instead of your title tag saying “Welcome to my website”, it would say something like “Atlanta Dentist | Gwinnett Dentist | Atlanta Dentistry“.   This way Google knows that the page is about dentistry.

The other trick is that each of your pages serves as a “home page”.  So it’s not just that first main page that people could come to, but any of your pages.  So make sure that you do NOT copy the title tag from your home page onto all of your pages.  That is bad news and will accomplish nothing for you.   Make the title tag on your page on orthodontics contain orthodontic keywords.  Each page should be different.  For pages that are what we refer to as “no money” pages like your terms and conditions, privacy policy, contact page, etc, just use the most general keywords from your list.  Be sure to mix them up.  The other thing to be careful about is that the page actually is about what you indicate in the title tags. So if you have dentistry keywords in your title tag, make sure that page is about dentistry.  Having mention of those specific keywords from the title tag in the actual text of the page is important.

Businesses that aren’t local are a little tougher because your products can be purchased from anywhere by anyone and is not strapped to a locality.  So you don’t get the benefit of using a location in front of your keyword.  Atlanta dentistry is pretty competitive, but nowhere near as competitive as just dentistry by itself.   So you’ll want your keywords to focus on some of the low hanging fruit.  In the greeting cards example, maybe you’d want to focus on sympathy greeting cards, my first birthday greeting cards, etc.  Those are less competitive than the broad “greeting cards” which you can use on your no money pages.

Now fix those title tags people. Have specific questions?  Comment away and we’ll respond.


So when you start talking about SEO, you obviously first and foremost want to know who is giving you the information. Do they have any type of hidden agenda for giving me the information, and is it even correct? SEO is a bear of thing to explain in a “Hey, this works for everybody.” approach.  It’s just simply not true. Each case is different and each person will experience different results.  But most of what needs to be done is the same across the board.

Contrary to popular belief, brand new websites can actually have an easier time establishing themselves online in a good position if they simply start correctly and maintain good SEO and marketing habits.  The foundation of which is research, then some more research, and then top it off with a dash of research.  A website that specializes in flowers is going to have a major uphill battle as compared to someone who sells unicycle parts.  It’s the nature of the web. Older sites may have a horrid time getting onto the engines if they’ve spent years designing poorly crafted pages and building hundreds of worthless links to worthless sites, broken links or worse.  Then if you face penalties from Google, it could be a long arduous journey for you. But websites with longevity under their belt can make a huge impact on the search engines if they get their act together. You may have to hire an SEO professional to help get you on track, but it can be done.

So in response to that phenomena and the fact that SEO companies around the world seem hell-bent on offering you their latest “yes you can!” package for only $97 that is based solely on one good idea that gives you just enough information to make you crazy.  Most of what’s out there is essentially a version of something you’ve heard a dozen times before, but that’s where I’m here to help.  Would my company like to help you with your SEO?  Of course we would.  But maybe we should cover the wealth of information already out there and make sure that you have the basics covered.  I just spent the past couple of years studying under some of the biggest names in search engine optimization and marketing and then an inordinate amount of time implementing those ideas to great success.  I was the guy at the SEO helm of companies making millions of dollars every year and while I won’t divulge company secrets, the SEO advice I can offer you could change your business forever.

And that’s what the purpose of this blog is going to be.  I provide SEO, SEM and web design services all day, every day.  I have incredible success at getting my sites up to the top of the search engines, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes or that I know everything.  I can take you step by step with getting ranked well on the search engines, but you’re going to have to do your homework.

So let the journey begin. I’m going to hold your hand starting right now and if you follow these steps that I release to you, your business will benefit greatly.   To begin, I want you to go to some of the following websites and make a list of the top 20 keywords you want people to use in the search engines to find your business online.

http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com
https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
or download the Good keyword Tool Here.

Don’t have the time to spend following these steps?  Just let us know and we’ll do it for you.




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