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Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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Most of the time, SEOs are asked to come in after a website has already been built. Often long after, by which point the website may need updating anyway. And then they are expected to pull in visitors and sales to a site which may not be up to the job.

If you are having a new website built, my advice would be to invest in some SEO advice right from the start or alternatively hire a developer who actually gets SEO.

But if thats not an option, this post is a list of the most important SEO / marketing related things you need to consider when creating a website, so your new website will be truly SEO ready.

1. Simple Code

With HTML and CSS there are just about an infinite number of ways to achieve any result. But that doesnt mean all of the possible solutions are equally good. A well coded site will keep code bloat to a minimum and keep the layout as simple as possible, without using unnecessary code.

code 760x518 SEO 101: 9 #SEO Considerations When Building a New Website

You may think it doesnt matter as long as the site looks good for users, but here are a few reasons to keep your code simple and effective:

  • Simple code is more likely to work correctly in different browsers

  • Code bloat means bigger files and slower loading times

  • More code = more chance of errors = more chance of crawling issues

  • Simple code is easier to edit later to update your site

Unfortunately if you dont already speak HTML, its pretty difficult to know whether your code is bloated or not, but it is worth asking your developer what he will do to minimize it, to find out whether this is something he/she has considered.

2. Blogging

Now days blogging is practically a requirement for most businesses and doing it well is crucial. There is really no excuse for not having a blog and if you are having a new website built, it is worth using a CMS that includes an integrated blog.

Ensuring your blog is an integral part of your site is better for user experience and will strengthen your brand. And by integrated I mean:

  • On the same domain

  • The same look and feel

  • Uses the samevoice and personality

3. Consistency

A common problem I see with sites that use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)editors is that every piece of content is styled individually, often with extra bloated bits of code thrown in by the editor. This adds to code bloat (see point one), but also negatively affects the consistency of the site.

Any content you addshould have as little style coded in as possible. All styles should then be coded into the main style sheet.

If you ensure your contenthas noextraneous styles:

  • All of your content will be styled consistently across the site

  • Changing styling in the future will be quick and easy

  • There will be less chance of things breaking or looking wrong

4. Content

Content is perhaps one of the most important aspects of SEO. More specifically, your content needs to be relevant and helpful. Having a blog is an important part of that, but you can use content in other areas too:

  • Product description pages

  • Your home page

  • Landing pages

  • Category pages

  • Information pages

Consider where you will want to use content on your site so you can ensurethe site is structured correctly. For instance, if you have an e-commerce site you might want to give every product a short description, main description, and key points

If you plan ahead, you can ensure your product pages are laid out in a way that allows you to fit in all of that content without detracting from user experience, rather than falling into the trap of not having room for the content you would like to use.

5. Site Speed

Site speed is a part of the algorithm, we know this already. But site speed also impacts user experience, which can indirectly impact SEO, so speed is super important. When building your site there are lots that you can do to keep it fast:

  • Choose a host in the relevant country

  • Keep your code simple, avoid code bloat

  • Minimise HTML, CSS, and JS files

  • Avoid images where possible, use CSS3 to get the same effects

  • Use database caching to speed up server response times

  • Use Googles page speed tool to find other ways to speed things up

6. Responsive Design

Mobile is a huge part of the internet and its only going to get bigger, so having a responsive design is essential. In fact, it is possible that Google will favor sites with a responsive design for searches performed on mobile devices, so this can directly impact your rankings and traffic.

bootstrap 760x559 SEO 101: 9 #SEO Considerations When Building a New Website

A good way to create a simple responsive website is to use a framework such as Bootstrap. Such frameworks give you the tools to build simple responsive HTML layouts quickly.

Once you have created a responsive design, you can convert the HTML into a theme for your preferred CMS.

7. Navigation

As I alluded to above, user experience is arguably the most important single aspect of SEO, because if your users cant use your site, you will never earn any links, mentions, or customers. So when building a new site it is a good idea to start by thinking about navigation

  • List all of the pages/categories you need

  • Highlight which pages/areas are most important

  • Decide which pages need to be accessible from where

  • Design your main navigation accordingly

  • And then design the sub-navigation for categories, etc.

Once you know what navigation you need, you can design it to be as simple and easy to use as possible. And dont forget to consider which aspects of your navigation will remain on your mobile layout.

navigation 760x375 SEO 101: 9 #SEO Considerations When Building a New Website

The more pages and categories you have, the important navigation flow becomes

By designing your site from a user first point of view you increase the chances that once your site is built your users will be able to actually find their way around it easily and get to the content that they need.

8. Simple SEO Controls

A lot of the SEO you should be doing on a day-to-day basis is relatively simple, but the key is to ensure it actually gets done. Im talking about those things we all know we should be doing, but sometimes we forget or dont have time to do:

  • Writing a carefully crafted page title for new blog posts

  • Write descriptivemeta descriptions

  • Dont forget to add an alt tag to your images

  • Include relevant links within content

These sorts of things probably dont directly relate to the process of building a website. But if at all possible, creating a site with a simple interface for adding the relevant SEO bits to new content (or for editing old content) is a great idea because it will help you to actually do the bits of SEO that are so often forgotten or left for later.

9. Plan Your Marketing Now

This post so far has been mostly about practical aspects of designing and coding a website. But since I also often do SEO work on sites that have already been built, there is one mistake that I see very often and that is business owners failing to plan their marketing before their site is built.

When having a site built, never assume that the marketing will sort itself out. You should plan in advance how you will market your new site and how you will drive traffic to it as this is often one of the hardest parts of having a new site/business.

Start by asking a few questions:

  • If you plan to do SEO, all of the points above will help

  • If you want to use PPC, consider what landing pages you will need

  • What sites exist where you can find potential customers?

  • What content or functionality are those sorts of customers looking for?

  • How can you make your site appeal to the owners of those sites?

Your plans will undoubtedly change as time goes by, but if you at least outline your plan as part of the website building process you will be able to hit the ground running when your site is completed.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Brick Laying via Wikimedia CommonsAll screenshots were taken September 2014

 SEO 101: 9 #SEO Considerations When Building a New Website

Alex Johnson

Owner / Manager at Think Traffic

Alex Johnson is the founder of, a UK based website development and SEO agency who specialize in working with small businesses. Alex loves helping small businesses to get started online, he is also an expert in traffic generation and conversion rate optimization and loves every aspect of online business.

 SEO 101: 9 #SEO Considerations When Building a New Website


 SEO 101: 9 #SEO Considerations When Building a New Website

Latest posts by Alex Johnson (see all)

  • SEO 101: 9 #SEO Considerations When Building a New Website - September 19, 2014

  • For the Non-SEO: What is Bad Link Building? - May 20, 2014

  • How To Generate Traffic and Kickstart Content Marketing For a Brand New Website - May 13, 2014

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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Refreshing ad copy is one of those optimization tasks that I have a very bad habit of putting off. For me, writing ad copy requires a certain Zen -- a deep concentration and focused frame of mind. And let's be honest -- when you're trying to manage PPC campaigns every day, it's tough to tap into that creative mojo when you need to.

And sometimes you can struggle coming up with different ways to say the same thing. Or trying to come with a different spin on how to present your product. All within the headline and two 35-character description lines of text. It can be challenging.

But it's important to not to use the same old ad copy. Writing great PPC copy means keeping your ad copy fresh. Even if your ads have a good CTR -- you should always look for ways to make them better.

So how to come up with new ideas for ad copy? Below are 5 ways to get some creative and different ideas:

1) Pay Attention to Commercials

We often find commercials insanely annoying -- but they can be a great way to see how advertisers are messaging their products. Next time you're watching TV, pay closer attention to the commercials and see if you can glean some new phrases or tagline ideas.

2) Check Out Online Advertising Sites

Going to advertising sites can provide interesting insights on the latest ads and creative. Not only do you get updates on the latest in advertising news, but they provide some of their showcased work on their sites.

Below is an example of an ad from Adroit Digital that creatively uses its name in the ad, but also has great tag lines:


Here are some advertising sites that can help inspire you:

3) Look at Competitors

Hey - it doesn't hurt to see what your competitors are doing! In doing a search on "wedding invitations," while incorporating offers such as free shipping and discounts is important, sometimes adding another word such as "stylish" or the phrase "make it yours" can resonate more with a prospective customer.


4) Read...

Magazines are a good way to get creative ideas -- check out this example from Dunkin Donuts:

snackWhile the association of a smoothie and a scary snack isn't something most of us would connect together, it does result in a very unique message.

5) Don't forget site links and callouts

When updating your ad copy, don't forget to revisit your site links and callouts. Changing your ad copy may result in your site links and callouts needing to be changed. And incorporating callouts into your message can help create a more relevant and compelling ad.

Are you feeling more energized to write new ad copy?

The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!SES DenverSES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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Next week in San Francisco, Microsoft will unveil Windows 9 for the press. Among the features of the new OS is reportedly going to be the virtual assistant Cortana.

A range of sites are repeating some early evidence found by a German site and also a discussion onNeowin that assertCortana will be a central feature of Windows 9 experience. When Cortana was originally introduced earlier this year for Windows Phones Microsoft alluded to the idea that it/she would make its/her way across platforms eventually.

According to Neowin:

As of right now, Cortana is an app;its a simple app that opens up the personal digital assistant where you can then either type in your question or ask verbally inside a smallish window. Its not a full screen experience like you see on Windows Phone.

The app itself currently looks similar to that of Windows Phone, but takes up roughly 25% of your displaywith Cortana being in the center;Cortana maintains her circle shape and is animated too.

Apparently Cortana will (ultimately) be deeply integrated into the OS. Whats less clearis how Cortana and Bing will co-exist or if they will.

Windows Phone userscan initiate a search using Cortana, as iPhone users can also with Siri (using Bing). We would thus equally expect that Cortana search capabilityto be part of the forthcomingWindows 9.The question is whether the Bing brand will be entirely subordinated to Cortana in the new OS. The technology will of course be there in the background regardless.

Virtual assistants arethe successor toconventional search on mobile devices (call it search-plus), offering a broader array of capabilities. As Cortana makes its/her way to the PC and PC-like tablet devices does itsignal the beginning of the end of the Bing brand?

Microsoft may see Cortana as a differentiating feature and a way to inject more utility and appeal into the PC, which has suffered consistent sales declines among consumers as mobile devices have become more prevalent.

According to Gartner estimates, Android OS devices will be more than 3X more common next year globally than those powered by Windows.

Gartner projection of OS share

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from

Discover what's up in the business of marketing each Friday.

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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Android Police points out that Google has expanded navigation for Google Maps to 20 additional countries. These aremostly inAfrica, the Caribbean islands and South America.

From Algeria to Venezuela, theaddition of these 20 brings to an impressive 104 the total number of countries where Google Maps offer navigation services.

Google Maps is the fifth most popular mobile app in the US according to comScore. Howeverin some markets(e.g., UK) Apple Maps have taken traffic and share from Google among iPhone users.

Comscore mobile app data

At one point Google appeared to have a near mapopoly. However there are nowopenings for more competitors in a way that wasnt true just a couple ofyears ago. Waze (now owned by Google), Apple Maps and OpenStreetMap have helped reintroduce mapping competition into the market.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from

Get the latest news in local search marketing each week.

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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In this weeks Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more.

GoogleBot Stock In The Woods:

IMG_20140911_160725Source: Google+

Google Family Hackathon Day:

20140913_123351Source: Google+

Google Staircase Bobsledding:

IMG_0946Source: Google+

Google New Yorks Darth Vader Painting:

IMG_20140916_143130~2Source: Google+

Google Glass Canadian Regulatory Approval:

IMG_0018Source: Google+

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from

Discover what's up in the business of marketing each Friday.

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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Bing Ads has debuted dynamic sitelinks, a new annotation that are automatically created and displayed in the same fashion as standard Sitelinks that advertisers control. If this sounds familiar, its because Google introduced the same feature in July.

The engines know that sitelinks increase click-through rates, so if you havent taken the time to set up your own sitelink extensions, the engines will serve up the annotations for you. Bing Ads pulls deep links information based on the ads display URLs to give users a sense of what theyll find on the the site.

Bing Ads Dynamic Sitelinks

Again,this feature only affects advertisers that arent using sitelink extensions, which give you control over what is displayed in your ads and which Bing Ads says yields superior performance compared the algorithmically-generated dynamic sitelinks.

If you want to opt out of dynamic sitelinks entirely, you can do so by contacting Bing Ads support or your account manager. Advertisers are not charged for clicks on dynamic sitelinks.

Dynamic sitelinks are rolling out now to U.S. advertisers and will be completed before the holidays, according to Bing Ads.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from

No fluff - just the best news in paid search marketing every week.

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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Every purchase is a unique journey. A consumer starts with a need, desire, impulse or inspiration; he or she takes actions that lead toward the satisfaction of that feeling; and finally, he or she moves forward with a purchase.

While this path always has a beginning and an end, it is rarely linear. Instead, consumers navigate various forms of media both online and offline that all circle around and lead to the purchase.

A major factor in determining a consumers path to purchase is the type of product or service being bought. Each type of purchase comes with its own set of considerations, priorities, standards and products under consideration. We recently set out to understand the marketing challenges for one specific sector: insurance companies.

Our resulting white paper, Navigating the Last Mile: Insurance, released by the Local Search Association(LSA), explores how consumers consider, seek and discover insurance providers in the last mile of advertising, as we have defined the term. Yet for all the differences, theres much for any business to learn from what we found.

Here are fivetakeaways that all local businesses can apply.

1. Understand Whats Going On In The Lives Of Your Consumers

A key part of the insurance business is understanding life events that consumers experience, such as getting married, having kids or buying a home.

According to a 2013 Scarborough survey, consumers going through life changes are more likely to be receptive to insurance offers. For example,engaged couples are four times more likely than the average American to plan on buying a home in the next 12 months, and expecting parents are 79% more likely to buy a vehicle in the next year. Both purchases come along with a need for insurance.

In a study by financial services and insurance trade group LIMRA(PDF), 41% of life insurance shoppers looked for thatinsurance after a significant life event, such as getting married, having a child or buying a house. All businesses can benefit from understanding what major life changes a consumer might be going through and which ones create demand for their product or service.

A local restaurant, for example, could send a warm welcome to a new homeowner in the neighborhood. A florist would benefit from knowing the date of a local couples anniversary.

Thanks to improvements in analytics tools and access to Big Data, all companies have a greater capacity to develop a more completepicture of their target consumer. Once your company has more data on a particular customer, you can tailor marketing and advertising to that specific individuals needs and generate promising leads for new customers.

Life Events Impact Insurance Decisions

Life Events Impact Insurance Decisions

2. Develop AMultichannel Customer Engagement Strategy, Mixing Online & Offline ToolsBased On Consumer Preferences

A May 2013 survey by CEB TowerGroup Insurance(PDF) found that a plurality (38%) of consumers prefer to shop for insurance on the web, but only 24% preferred to purchase insurance online.

Most consumers prefer to finish the purchase and receive customer support through phone calls or in-person meetings.

Insurance Research and Purchasing Decisions

Knowing which marketing channels your consumers prefer is a must. Its also important to keep in mind that customers might prefer different channels for different purposes.

For example, since consumers prefer to shop for insurance online, it is important to engage in online marketing and maintain updated websites; but including click-to-call and online appointment functions would best cater to buyers preferred method of purchase.

Understanding different customer profiles is important to knowing which channels your consumers prefer.

For example, older consumers are the highest users of print directories for finding insurance products, and they also spend the most.

According to LSAs Local Media Tracking Study conducted by Burke and as reported in our insurance white paper, boomer adults, on average, spend aboutage $1,281 per year, on insurance products, almost double what young adults aged 18-34 spend.

So, multichannel marketing strategies help reach a broader audience or alternatively, may help target a more desirable audience if marketing choices must be limited due to things such as budget constraints.

3. Create AThoughtful, Engaging Website To Drive New Business & Entice Customers

Business websites are a crucial part of any companys digital presence. According to a 2013 Accenture survey(PDF), 7 out of 10 internet users reported that they preferred to use the websites of insurance providers more than any other source to review product offerings and prices.

This illustrates the importance of a company website in engaging consumers, yet many small businesses today still dont have one. A study by Google and Ipsos MediaCT in October 2013 reported that 55% of small businesses have no website.

However, having a website is only the start. A website also needs to be effective, and too often users report poor experiences online. As noted in our white paper, only 9% of digital buyers reported excellent website experiences in the insurance industry significantly below that of other industries like banking.

Websites should provide clear, easily accessible information about your business, your products and services, and your contact information. Failing to do so can have a significant impact on business as 68% of customers with positive online experiences said they would definitely return to the website compared with 21% of those who had a negative experience, according to JD Powers & Associates in a study on insurance providers.

4. Mobile Programs Are An Increasingly Important Part Of The Marketing Mix

There are now countless ways for a business to create a mobile presence including creating videos, distributing app content and using mobile ads. According to 2014 industry data from the LSA Metrics that Matter Database, mobile advertising has a history of success for insurance companies.

On average, each mobile campaign run by an insurance provider generated a 10:1 return on investment. Such data reinforces the importance of mobile marketing to todays consumer.

A business website should be streamlined and designed for mobile to allow for seamless integration between the two platforms. Mobile-optimized sites were the most important factor in creating a positive online customer experience (30%), according to xAds 2013 Mobile Path to Purchase Study.

Such a positive experience can drive new business and attract new customers; LSA tracked mobile campaign performance for 1,500 insurance agents in 2014 and found that click-through rates via mobile were 60% higher than combined industry averages.

Finally, be strategic about your mobile advertising. Consider purchasing mobile ads on the mobile websites of related businesses. For example, a moving company could purchase ads on the mobile site of an apartment search company.

Combining strategic mobile advertising with mobile optimized websites has the potential to give small businesses a significant competitive advantage that boosts sales and creates positive experiences for customers.

5. Social Media Is A Key Factor In Word-Of-Mouth Recommendations

Social media is where consumers go to praise, ask questions about or criticize a product or service. Research from the CEB TowerGroup showed that 27% of insurance customers surveyed had used social media to learn more about a product or service, and 16% used social media to better understand a recent purchase.

Businesses should be part of any conversation about their firm so they can thank satisfied customers for their praise, address the concerns of unsatisfied customers and answer any question about the business that a consumer may have.

Social media also provides an excellent opportunity to learn about customer life events, allowing business owners to better attract and serve them as described in the first point above, completing the cycle to a strong and effective marketing strategy.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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A few days ago, we reported that Bing predicted on September 15th that the vote for Scotlands independence would be a No with a 52.5% vote for NO and a 47.5% vote for YES.

The final results are now in and it was a 55% vote for No, so Bings prediction was correct and very close to the percentage count.

If you go to Bing and search for [scottish referendum], Bing wont be shy in telling you the result was 55% No and that Bings prediction on September 17th was a No vote with 51.3%. On September 15th, like we said, it was closer to 52.5% for a no vote.


Bings predictions have been mostly correct across reality TV shows, the NBA amateur draft and the World Cup. Now, Bing was correct with the Scottish Independence vote, which was very close.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from

Discover what's up in the business of marketing each Friday.

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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More and more clients are beginning to understand the benefits of content marketing. Sitting at the table, I've found I'm having a far easier time "selling" clients on the importance of creating that culture video, putting together that marketing ebook or using animation to tell stories in unique ways. Clients are riding the content marketing bandwagon, and they get it. It's great.

But as that respect for flashier content grows, the respect for the rest of the words on their site -- their home pages, their product pages, their About pages, their calls to action -- hasn't grown in suit. Six-figure websites are still being sold without an ounce of budget going to traditional content creation.

Instead, we hear the client's niece will write the content.

Or, an intern they just hired.

Or, a guy they just met on the street who seems really, really capable.

It's enough to make a grown content person cry. How can you help your clients understand the benefit of true content creation? Or, if you are a client or brand, why is this something you need to invest in? After all, anyone can write.


Content is branding.

Sure, part of the content creation process is an informational transaction. It is about getting across the important, relevant, needed information about your products and/or services. But it's also more than that. It's about how you convey this information. It's about how you position your brand, how you message it, the voice you create and the experience you're laying out.

There are a lot of great writers here at Search Engine Watch. But my bet is that you have a favorite or two. And that you can identify your favorite author just by reading the first line of his or her posts. It just soundslike them. It feels like them. Similarly, I bet you can recognize your favorite television show by the first note of its opening jingle. Or your favorite brand of coffee by its smell.

It's emotional DNA and every brand has it. Good content is filled with the stuff and it's what makes you instantly recognizable from your competitors. Anyone can write the 5Ws of who you are. But a skilled content writer can make sure you are visible, from start to finish, on every page of your website to make you recognizable in the dark to your target audience.

Content is user experience (partly).

There are plenty of designers, and even content people, who may disagree, but I believe it's a content person's job to guide the user experience process. Even if this role falls mostly inside your design department, as a content person it's our job to:

  • Consider how the words we're putting on the page affect a user's path through the site.

  • Understand how the site's information architecture conveys the company's business goals and purpose.

  • Think about how the site functions, as a whole, and how it's helpful to user and brand.

  • Evaluate how the site works on different platforms, the goals of different user types and whether they're being met.

To me, and at Overit, this is all part of the content process. It's not traditional "content creation" where we write up your products and list your service, but it's a content person's user- and brand-focused eye that makes sure your site is set up to achieve your business goals. When you leave out that process, disastrous things can happen. Like, designing a beautiful website that doesn't actually convert or lead anyone to do anything.

Content is a sales/upselling tool.

Good content does more than simply inform; it educates and sells.

The content on your website educates your customer on what they're interested in right now. It allows you to go over, in great detail, how to use that product, how to hack it, how to accomplish current goals and the capabilities of the product or service in question. This saves your support and customer service teams valuable time having to answer these questions on the phone, writing up lengthy email responses to questions (over and over again) and also gives them somewhere to point customers to help them find their answers. In this way, by writing great content you give yourself a powerful customer retention tool.

For your sales team, content helps to upsell current customers when the time comes, again giving them something to reference and giving you an ability to show how products complement one another, how a bigger need is solved and how customers can achieve more. You make your case before ever picking up the phone or engaging in an official sales call. The upselling process becomes a natural part of the site's conversion process and your customer's experience.

Content helps conversions.

Content fuels your conversion process. It does so not only in your ability to describe your products and services, but in the calls to action and other conversion areas on your site. To not invest in content, is to not invest in the profitability in your business. (See how silly that sounds when you put it in print? I know, but businesses do it every day.)

Content isn't just about the words on your page, content is about the action those words are meant to inspire. By investing in content, you set your site up for success by writing stronger, emotion-backed calls to action; by removing conversion roadblocks like excess links or images that distract; by naming buttons, tabs and fields appropriately; by building customer confidence with clear benefit statements and value propositions and by removing friction from the conversion process.

Can your intern do that? Are you really going to bet the profitability of your business on it? I wouldn't.

As a content person, I love seeing the excitement our clients have for larger content marketing efforts like video, animation and long-form content. But don't let that excitement blind you against the other uses content has on your site -- to build your brand, to increase conversion, to set up a proper framework and to sell to customers. Without them, you have the best designed, best developed website that doesn't push anybody to do anything.

The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!SES DenverSES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates extended through Sept 19. Register today!

Author: web_coder |
19 2014 |
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Controversies regardingSEO are probably as dated as the methodology itself, and performance-based SEO couldnt really make its place as an exception, not completely at least.

The problem is manyagencies whooffer performance-based SEO are more concerned about optimizing their own profit than focusing on the businesses of their clients. Also, SEO has drastically changed in the last few years,and many companiesstill resort to ancient SEO practices that are no longer appreciated by search algorithms.

Moreover, we always have a few bad apples in the bucket!

Why Do Agencies Promote Performance-Based SEO in the First Place?

The reason is actually quite simple. Choosing a performance-based SEO plan is relatively easy to sell, as prospects view it as a safe option to gain enhanced search placement.

SEO companies, capitalizing on this inherent feeling, market PFP SEO as arisk freeplan, solidifying that trust. The whole equation works in the favor of SEO companies and keeps their bookkeepers busy.

So, is Performance-Based SEO Really Risk Free?

No, performance-based SEO isnotrisk free, at least notif you fall for one of the manypseudo-SEO experts out there looking tolure innew clients. Spam-driven SEO companies will go to any length to getyou to sign on that dotted line, but their promises are seldom kept. However, if you engage a competent SEO firm that follows ethical SEO practices, the decision is almost certain to work wonders for your online reach.

Distinguishing the Good from Bad

A Few Not-So-Ethical Tactics Employed by Phony SEOs

shutterstock 90641383 760x475 Performance Based #SEO: Is it Really Risk Free?

Fruitless Keywords

To keep the money meter rolling, some spam-driven SEOs target exceedingly long-tail keywords. Such keywords have much lower searchvolumescompared to relevant ones. Therefore, it is easier for SEOsto improve your websites ranking on them but doesnt actually bring you in any business.

Hidden Costs

Besides changing a set-up fee (which in itself is an investment, though nominal), many SEO companies charge amaintenance feetoupholdtheir efforts, despite failing to produce any noticeable results. If their effortsarentpaying off, whats the point inupholdingthem anyway? Beware!

BlackHat Practices

Some SEO companies resort tounethical optimizationtechniques in order deliver results and bill clients. The listincludes butis not limited to:

  • Content spinning

  • Keyword stuffing

  • Comment spamming

  • Irrelevant directory submissions

  • Creating countless poor quality back links

All these practices clearly violateGooglesSearch Quality Guidelines. Though the results delivered by such tactics may seem fine on the surface, under the hood they can cause complete, absolute, and utter chaos.

Short-LivedImprovements: A Clear Wake-up Call!

If the results delivered by your SEO disappear as soon as they arrive on a regular basis, it is a clear sign that something, somewhere is just not quite right.

When you start optimizing a website, the initial efforts usually do deliver some improvements in its rankings. If, however, the improvements are a result of black hat techniques, these results will quickly fall off. If this becomes a trend,it is time you get into the details of what is happening in your SEO campaign and examine all activity reports with a fine tooth comb.

Many clients who are caught unaware of the atrocities being carried out on their website not only end up losing their SEO investment with little to no returns, but also face penalties by search engines for resorting to unethical means to manipulate search ranking.

Does that MeanAllPerformance-Based SEO Plans are a Sham?

No. Agreeingtothe notion will be similar to saying that all hand tools are bad because they injure people. Yes, some people do get injured while using hand tools, but this doesnt imply that the problem lies with the tools. Probably the user should have known better how to handle them. The case is similar with performance-based SEO.

Being closely involved in the search industry for a better part of my professional voyage, I can confidently say (and I am not the only one) that a lot of SEO companies whooffer performance-based serviceare notfocused on delivering performance. Their only objective is toearn as much money as possible.

This cannot be said about every company out there, obviously, but does seem to be the majority.

How to Tell if Your SEO is Scamming You

SEO is a gradual process and may take a few months to start producing results. Therefore, any company whopromises you overnight success, cannotactually deliver on its claims, and hence, is most likely trying to take you for a ride.

In addition, competent SEO agencies only offer performance-based SEO to websites that have the potential to achieve enhanced rankings within 2-3 months. To project a websites receptiveness to SEO tactics, agencies use a number ofqualifying parameters, such as:

  • No penalties in the past from any search engine

  • Domain age of at least 3-4 years

  • 3+ page rank

  • Refined website structure

  • Keyword rich content

  • Achievable projections (cant bring a keyword from 1000 position to page one in 3 months!)

If you arenot qualifyingonany of the above and are still being offered PFP SEO by an agency, you should know what they have in store for you.

PFP SEO Can Be a Risk Free Proposition,Believe it or Not!

First of all, if you are planning to employ SEO, be prepared to pay a setup fee if you wish to work with an agency that actually plans for the long-term success of your business. Simply put, the set-up fee is charged by SEOs to get the ball rolling.

shutterstock 108327197 760x619 Performance Based #SEO: Is it Really Risk Free?

Competent SEO companies actually invest countless man-hours to prepare the stage for your SEO campaign; the setup fee is charged to cover that work which includes tons of research and much more.If youare askedfor a setup fee, it is fair to request agency a comprehensive plan of how the investment will be used for your campaign.

Infact, companies whoagree to kick off your campaign without a setup fee are usually the ones who wont do much afterwards.

Now, the risk element is the money you pay after the initiation of your SEO campaign. Any serious company aiming to forge lasting ties with clients will definitely ensure there is actually no risk involved. In fact, some agencies even promise to refund the setup fee if they are unable to deliver as per the projections defined in the contract within atimeline. That is how confident SEOsare when they know what theyare doing is right.

In a nutshell, if you choose a competent agency, performance-based SEO isindeeda risk free option.

Active Participation: Essential for SEO Success

Any business that hires aSEO to increaseonline exposure needs to actively participate in their campaign. The responsibility to oversee the proceedings may lie with your companys online marketing manager, communications manager, or any other authority. Regardless,it is important to designate someone with a fair amount of SEO knowledge to closely monitor all the activities and ensure that every step is being taken as per the plan.

Areas of Focus

  • Scope:Make sure their initiatives are aimedbeyond improving the search placement of your website. SEO can do much more.

  • Keywords:You cant catch a fish if you aim for the moon! Make sure they target themost relevant keywords in order to attract relevant traffic.

  • Tactics:Make sure the agency you select doesnt resort to dated or unethical SEO practices, such as article syndication, link exchange, use of invisible text, etc.

  • Content:The qualityof content usedin your campaign is one of result-drivenfactors. Review every piece of content and ensure that it sharesusableinformation.

  • ROI:Though the reports shared by your SEO will give you a fair idea about your website rankings and traffic, you need to determine the actual impact of the results on your overall business.


Risk,an integral element of every conceivable profit-making entity, almost ceases to exist when it becomes performance-based, but only if you employ a competent agency whovalues your business and is committed inhelping you achieve your goals.Remember,your active participation is pivotal forcontinued successof your SEO campaign.

Whats your take on performance-based SEO? Share your views in the comments section.

Image Credits

Featured Image: vetkit via ShutterstockPost Image #1: Laschon Maximilian via ShutterstockPost Image #2: Edhar via Shutterstock

 Performance Based #SEO: Is it Really Risk Free?

Ruchi Pardal

Ruchi Pardal is the Director of ResultFirst, a Digital Marketing Company with a global clientele. Serving in the digital domain for more than a decade, ResultFirst has consolidated its market share by delivering high ROIs for its clients. The company offers a complete spectrum of digital services including SEO, SEM, ORM, Web Design & Development, and Content Marketing. More information about the company and its services is available at

 Performance Based #SEO: Is it Really Risk Free?


 Performance Based #SEO: Is it Really Risk Free?

Ruchi Pardal

 Performance Based #SEO: Is it Really Risk Free?

+Ruchi Pardal

 Performance Based #SEO: Is it Really Risk Free?

 Performance Based #SEO: Is it Really Risk Free?

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