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Blogs by date "05/01/12"

Local SEO Webinar for Thursday May 31st at 2:00 PM CST

The SEO and Internet marketing professionals here at OIC Group, Inc. are presenting a local SEO webinar tomorrow May 31st, 2012 at 2:00PM CST (3:00PM EST).

The webinar will underscore the importance of search engine optimization for local businesses, and will showcase many actionable takeaway points that attendees can employ on their own. Tomorrow's local SEO webinar will offer a wealth of insights for viewers in various industries and professions.

OIC Group is pulling back the curtains on many "secrets" of the trade, from techniques to optimize your website to ways on how to increase your Google Places ranking. After years of immersion, research, and testing, the SEO team at OIC Group has become an industry leader in local SEO and Internet marketing. In tomorrow's webinar, specialists of the company plan to share a number of powerful SEO techniques and specific processes.

Attendees can learn several ways to do some SEO of their own, such as:

  • How to optimize a Google Places page
  • Tips on how to keyword optimize a website
  • How and where to build quality links for SEO
  • Where to further promote your local business on the web
  • There have been a lot changes taking place in online search.

In an effort to provide more relevant, better quality search results, Google has been focusing more on the local orientation of its users. That is, Google is showing localized search results (commonly Google Places) based on the IP addresses of users' locations. These shifts have not only impacted Google's search landscape, but have leveled the playing field.

No longer is Google search solely for big-business brands with powerful websites and large marketing budgets. Now, local businesses can take advantage of an effective advertising and marketing platform that offers a highly targeted way to connect with in-market consumers.

To learn actionable tips and strategies that center on local SEO, Google Places optimization, and other Internet marketing channels for local businesses, sign up for OIC Group’s webinar. The webinar is set for tomorrow (Thursday) at 2:00PM CST (3:00PM EST). To sign up for the webinar, click here.

Local SEO Strategies You Can Do In-House

As a local company, reaching out to new customers can be difficult. Gone are the days when most people would turn to the YellowPages to find a local solution to meet their needs. In today's digital age, people are using the Web to seek a reliable local business. This makes building an Internet presence for any virtually any local company a must. That doesn't mean you have to go out and hire a SEO or Internet marketing firm to get the ball rolling. A lot of ways local businesses are found can easily be done in-house. That is, if you have an office assistent, part-time intern, or complete marketing team, you can execute a number of local SEO strategies, in-house.

Local Online Directories

One way local organizations can be found on the Internet is via directories. Most directory listings are trusted sources for information by offering customers reviews and insights about local businesses. Additionally, many popular directories are popping up in the organic search results. So what's more than being found by a person using the actual directory, is being found be person searching Google who sees your directory listing in the search results. Creating a listing on these web directories is simple. However if your business is only listed on only a couple sites, you could be missing out on some good opportunities to get seen by local, in-market searchers.

The Local SEO Value

Each online directory that you submit your business to is one more opportunity to be found on the web. Thus it is very important that you take the time build as many directory listings as possible. In addition to the increased visibility your business can have, creating listings on these sites can have tremendous SEO value. Every individual directory listing is link back to your website. These backlinks signifiy greater authority to your site and can improve your search engine rankings as a result. Also, each directory listing represents a citation that can benefit your company when it comes to local search engine optimization.

The more citations your business has around the web, the better ranking your Google Places page can have. In essence, building citations for Google Places SEO via directories has become the new form of off-page optimization for local businesses. Below we have compiled 30 of the most popular directories for local businesses. It may seem like a lot of work to go out and create a listing for each of these sites. But all in all, the ROI of doing this in-house far exceeds that of hiring a local SEO company.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, a local SEO and organic search marketing expert here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

Google's Penguin

Late last month, Google unveiled a massive algorithm change that effected the search engine rankings of many different sites. The change known as "Penguin" targeted sites that were 'over-optimized,' many of these plummeted as a result. In essence, Google has 'reset the deck' in a effort to clean-up its search engine results.

After facing a lot outsider criticism due to the poorness of its search results, the Google set out to do something about it. The primary reason for Google's results being so bad was mostly attributed to relentless SEO practices. Search engine optimizers worked hard to increase the rankings of sites that offered little to no value to Google users, and many of them were successful at getting these sites to ranking highly on competitive search terms.

In short, frustrated search engine users were quick to bounce when they came upon crummy microsite or SEO "doorway page," and their faith in Google's results diminished.

'Over-Optimized' = Unnatural Backlinks

Google's Matt Cutts and his posse of search engine gurus set out to determine why such terrible sites were appearing at the top of the search results. They pinpointed backlinks, namely 'over-optimized' backlinks, to be the culprit.

So what does having 'over-optimized' backlinks mean?

For the past few years, building backlinks to a site was the best way to increase its authority and search engine rankings. In order to attain a high ranking on a certain keyword phrase, the anchor text of its links needed to include the specific keyword target in which the webpage was set to rank for. So for a webpage optimized for "hair loss treatment," the best links for SEO would be those with the anchor text 'hair loss treatment."

Pretty simple concept that worked like a charm. "Penguin" changed all that by taking an in-depth look at the backlink portfolio of websites. Those websites that had an overwhelming amount of backlinks with exact phrase match anchor text (or anchor text that included the entire keyword target for its respective page) were consider "over-optimized." As a result, those websites fell in Google's search results and the rest is history.

How to Pinpoint 'Over-Optimization' and What to do About It

Over-optimization through Penguin's eyes is an evaluation of site's backlink ratio. That ratio looks at the anchor text of each link pointing to a site and weighs which links are keyword optimized and which appear to be natural. Optimized anchor text will include the exact phrase match of a page's keyword targets, where more natural backlinks will simply be the site's name or the URL of the page (such as "www.hairlosswebsite.com" or "Regrow Your Hair" - the name of the site).

To effectively pinpoint just how over-optimized a website is, one must run a backlink scan using a spidering tool such as SEO SpyGlass. Based on report from that scan, the anchor text of the site's backlinks will need to be thoroughly investigated. If it appears that too much over-optimization is presence, one must 'balance the ratio' with more natural backlinks.

So instead of building links with nothing but exact phrase match anchor text, ethical SEO's must diversify their backlink portfolios. Some strategies for backlink diversification include using:

  • variations of anchor text to include only some keywords, rather than always using exact phrase match (also known as "partial linking" in the ecommerce SEO world)
  • a blend of do-follow backlinks and no-follow backlinks (80:20 is a good ration here). Such no-follow backlinks include forum and blog comment links, which are rather easy to build
  • the domain name or URL of the page being linked to * relevant link sources that have similar content that reflects the backlink and its anchor text

Have you been effected by Penguin? Feed us your thoughts in comments section below.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

The Facts Behind SEO-Friendly Web Design

Peoria Web DesignIn today's digital marketplace, search engine optimization (SEO) and website design must go respect one another. Many web design companies these days are infusing SEO in the web design process.

However, many website designers fail to understand the significance of SEO while putting together a website, and neglect the SEO-friendly (as well as SEO-Unfriendly) aspects of a website during the design process.

The potential to obtain a top search engine ranking and capture more traffic is much greater with a SEO friendly web design. There are many techniques and technologies that can make a website look attractive, however many of these methods are not friendly with search engines. In essence, visually and aesthetically pleasing design elements my block or slow a search engine spiders, which can kill SEO. If search engine spider cannot access the content of a website easily and efficiently, is unlikely that the website will rank highly in the search engines.

Elements of SEO-Friendly Websites

Respecting the best practices of SEO while designing a website takes into consideration more than just essential content elements and linking. Building a SEO-friendly website needs to factor in the site's architecture, navigation, and back-end coding structure (or HTML). The content of each webpage (both on-page and off-page) is a critical component for search engine optimization.

The off-page SEO elements that are not fully viewable to users on the page (but often portrayed in the search engine results) are the page's title and meta description. These aspects of the site's content should be mentioned in the first few lines of code for each page. The on-page components of a SEO-friendly website need to be content focused. That is, content that can be crawled and indexed, and offers SEO value to a search engine spider. These elements include any parceable text, images (including the image "Alt" tag,) and videos.

Content that does not offer SEO value is flash media, which causes search engine spiders to choke on a page. Although attractive on a webpage, flash animated media is very code-cumbersome and causes the load speed of pages to slow.

CMS Considerations for SEO

For websites built around a content management system (CMS), the product or technology behind the CMS will be ultimate variable for search engine friendliness. The CMS is the general framework for which a website's design is centered upon.

A code-heavy CMS that makes use of nestled tables and other non-SEO friendly design elements will hinder SEO. For this reason, SEO-friendly content management systems have been a primary focus for some CMS product developers. A distinction of a good CMS platform for SEO is how the software generates the code for each page. Strong platforms for SEO will use stylesheets, or CSS, which is typically very spider friendly for crawling and indexing a site. In addition, the content attributes are also major considerations.

Most content management systems will allow users to customize the page title and meta description on each page. But what separates the truly SEO friendly CMS solutions from the pack is the URL. It is not uncommon for most CMS platforms to auto-generate a URL that looks something like www.yoursite.com/page?id=54321. Such URLs offer no SEO value. With the right CMS, users can write optimized URLs to include some of the primary keyword targets for that page, such as www.yoursite.com/keyword-optimized-url.html.

Moving Forward

The landscape for Internet marketing firms is filled with SEO & Web design companies that claim they handle both disciplines effectively. If you are moving forward with a website that you want fully optimized for search, be sure to learn as much as you can about the company. Often times a thorough interview with the firm's staff that brings up questions about the variables discussed above will shed light on just how effective the firm actually is. Here at OIC Group, our practices revolve around the marriage of SEO and web design, so much so that we have developed a highly SEO-friendly CMS called Exponent. With this product and our professional expertise in custom website design and SEO Peoria IL, we are able to help clients realize their Internet marketing objectives.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

The Dueling Roles of Article Marketing

Exposing articles to the right audience is a highly effective marketing tool. Articles can enlighten, inform, educate, or all of the above. They can also generate popularity in a website for search engine optimization.

In essence, your article marketing strategy can have dueling roles:

  1. market content to a specific audience, capture their interests, and compel the audience to learn more about what you can do for them.
  2. build quality links to your website for organic search engine optimization. In this post, we will depict the two primary purposes of article marketing and how you can go about fulfilling the dueling roles that this practice has to offer.

Content Marketing for Credibility and Conversions

Readers who appreciate a good article will often acknowledge the source and respect the author's authority on the content's subject matter. This can attribute the author as a respectable source for information, consultation, and/or services. Articles enable you to increase awareness of your brand by publishing content to sources where like-minded individuals will find your content, read it, and take action (ideally funneling them to your website or a squeeze page.) In essence, content marketing is the primary channel of inbound marketing.

By writing and submitting articles, blog posts, and videos on relevant sites where your consumers are browsing, you will capture real people and ultimately drive a portion of those people to your website who are looking for more information.

Building links for SEO

The second role of article marketing (or virtually any form of content marketing) is to build links for search engine optimization. Placing links within the body copy of your articles will generate "link popularity" for the webpages you want to get ranked in the search engines.

Over time, your site will find its way onto the search engine results when people are looking for phrases that apply to your business. This may mean that some articles won’t actually be read by that many people, however by publishing these articles in the correct places, the search engines will see them, follow the links within the article’s content to your website, and apply some “link juice” to your site, thereby increasing your ranking on the keyword.

For example, let’s say you publish an article on the "benefits of juice fasting." Within that article, you link a couple phrases such as ‘juice fasting tips’ and ‘juice fasting recipes’ to your website. The search engines first recognize that the article as being about ‘juice fasting.’ They will then see the links in that article pointing to your website and will add ‘points’ to your site for those keywords. So when someone searches the ‘benefits of juice fasting’ or something similar, your site will start showing up in the results. The more articles and content you publish, the more links you can build, and the higher your site will rank on relevant keywords.

The more popular the keywords, the harder it is to rank, but the more traffic you’ll realize in return. A tip to keep in mind is to ensure that article relates to the links in which you build. Like the latter example, the article was about 'juice fasting' and the links were about 'juice fasting,' so contextual relevancy of content to links is spot on. Although these are two different strategies for article marketing, they can be used in unison to achieve optimal success.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

The SEO Value of External Blogs

In today's digital age, blogs have become excellent marketing tools. Having a blog for your business can help to increase awareness about your brand or business as well as establish a greater online reputation. However what sparks the interests of many online marketers is the SEO value of building an External blog for their business.

What's an External Blog?

External Blogs for SEOIn essence, an external blog is a dedicated website to publish content. Unlike internal blogs that are a part of business's domain (e.g. www.businessname.com/blog), an external blog is separate domain outside of the company's website (e.g. www.businessblog.com). So what makes an external blog better than an internal blog? The answer to that question centers on the fundamentals of search engine optimization and SEO link building.

Link Building via Blogging

In SEO, external links (otherwise known as "backlinks") directing to a site are like measures of popularity and website credibility to the search engines. A website with several backlinks pointing to its webpages will typically be considered popular, valuable, and trusted, and thus deserving of a top search engine ranking.

The key to remember is that these links are coming from an external source, ideally via relevant content in a blog post or an article. For this reason, managing your own external blog to feed your money site backlinks is one of the most effective strategies for SEO and website optimization. Building optimized backlinks from your own external business blog is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient methods to generate "link popularity" for search engine optimization.

Best Practices Tips

You may be familiar with some of the Google search engine algorithm updates that have recently occurred. In short, Google has been penalizing websites for "over-optimization." That is, sites that have far too many backlinks with exact keyword matching anchor text. As a result, you will want to build links from you blog carefully and in moderation. As tempting as it may be to use targeted keyword phrases in all of your backlink's anchor text, it is wise to mix it up a bit.

For example: let's say you're optimizing your money site for the keyword phrase "Dallas business lawyer." Instead of linking to your website with that exact phrase each time, try using variations like "business attorney in Dallas" or simply "business lawyers," without the geographic modifier. It is also smart to link to your money site using the URL address of the domain (e.g. www.DallasBizLawyers.com) - this will make your SEO link building appear as natural as possible, and will help avoid any risk of "over-optimization" penalties from Google.

The last best practices tip when link building from you external blog is to consider the importance of content relevancy (or "contextual" relevancy of the link). This is another important factor that search engines like Google consider while evaluating the quality of your backlinks.

The practice is simple: only build links that are relevant to the surrounding content. Using the latter example, a link with the anchor text "Dallas business lawyer" should be immersed in blog content all about business law. This contextual relevancy is imperative to ensure that your link building and website optimization efforts are sound.

When you begin developing an external blog for your business, remember to build your blog with a purpose. Have goals for your external blog, and continue to keep the content fresh and focused on specific theme or topic. Blog righteously, my friends.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing & SEO Peoria IL specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

What Distinguishes Website Optimization Companies from SEO's?

Organic SEO is the process of optimizing a website to achieve higher rankings and greater website exposure in the natural search engine results. That is the primary objective for most search engine optimization companies: to help their clients reach a respectable search engine ranking. Website optimization takes organic SEO one step further.

Website Optimization Defined

Most people assume website optimization and SEO mean the same thing. Although there is some overlap in both processes, organic SEO and website optimization are slightly different. Organic SEO focuses to increase a websites rankings and promote a greater influx of traffic. The techniques used for search engine optimization include a combination of on-site work, such as SEO copywriting and web design, as well as off-site work, like link building and inbound marketing.

The process of website optimization includes the latter elements of SEO with greater emphasis in on-site navigation and conversion funneling. Strategies behind website optimization are often more intricate, research-based, and well-planned. In essence, a website optimization company will take into consideration the steps visitors take after they have click into your webpages from the search engine results. Important considerations to a powerful website optimization strategy are the nature of the target market, the products or services being offered on the website, and the overall best practices of website usability.

An Emerging Company for Website Optimization

Website optimization companies are often advocates of both SEO and conversion optimization. Conversion optimization takes into consideration the elements of a website that improve the post-click conversion rates of a website. In many cases, this applies to Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising and other forms of Internet marketing and website design.

One example of an emerging website optimization company that taking storm is OIC Group subsidiary: Web Presence Group (WPG). The experts of WPG offer more than just specialties in SEO Peoria IL and Internet marketing. They are composed of skilled team of designers, developers, copywriters, and website usability experts. The vast experience of Web Presence Group has distinguished this company as more than just a SEO provider, but full-service website optimization company.

Website optimization companies like WPG focus their efforts on making websites better for both SEO and users. To learn more about what the Web Presence Group is doing different, visit the website at www.webpresencegroup.net.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

What Constitutes a

SEO Friendly Shopping Cart for Website OptimizationThere is a lot talk in the ecommerce forums about which shopping cart software platform is the most "SEO friendly." It is a phrase that gets tossed around quite a bit, and depending on who is claiming a shopping cart to be SEO friendly, the definition can mean a lot of things. Here at OIC Group, we have years of experience in developing ecommerce shopping carts, particularly those that need to be compatible with search engine optimization. So in this blog post, we are going to highlight some of the major components that make for a SEO friendly shopping cart.

"Static" Instead of "Dynamic" URLs

One of the most important aspects to a SEO friendly ecommerce site are the URLs of its product pages. A dynamic, non SEO friendly URL might look like www.yourwebsite.com/id=12345?ref=321. In a SEO friendly ecommerce platform, you should be able to edit and choose the URL for your pages. This will allow you to include the page's keyword targets in the URL. So instead of a dynamically generated URL, you can change this to a static, SEO friendly URL like www.yourwebsite.com/keyword-target.html.

Title & Meta Tag Control

Another key component that you need complete control over is the page title and meta tags. The title of the webpage is one of the most important contributors to establishing keyword relevancy for SEO. In addition, the meta description holds some importance for SEO, and it is also crucial to blend keywords into the content of the description.

SEO friendly shopping carts will always have editable fields where you can write your own page title, meta description and keywords. There is no right or wrong way in writing these on-page SEO elements, but be sure to know what keywords you are targeting for that page and respectfully include those keywords into these fields.

 

Optimized Internal Linking Patterns

Unlike external linking, which is commonly referred to as "link building" from external sources to generate website popularity, optimized internal linking is different (and still very important for SEO.) Ensuring that your site has a well-optimized linking pattern between relevant pages can make a significant difference in your rankings Each page of your ecommerce website should be optimized for one or two primary keyword targets. For instance, you want www.yourwebsite.com/product-x.html to rank highly for the keyword “product x". In turn, you will to create links on your site that point to www.yourwebsite.com/product-x.html to use “product x” in the anchor text or link text.

But you may be asking yourself, "how does this apply to my ecommerce shopping cart software?" Consider the product categories of your ecommerce site. Almost all shopping carts for ecommerce websites will list product categories in either the top or side navigation. It is thus important to ensure that shopping cart software you use makes the links to your product categories in plain text links, and not images or the SEO Unfriendly Javascript. Because the core navigation of links is found on almost all pages of your ecommerce website, this provides quite a bit of link weight to your primary product categories. When the anchor text of these links are all keyword optimized, the results can be very beneficial to increase your rank in the search engines.

XML Sitemap Generation

Generating and submitting the XML sitemap of your ecommerce site will help search engine spiders crawl and index your webpages faster. This is an important component for search engine optimization, for most search engines like Google fully support and emphasize the use XML sitemaps. Some of the most SEO friendly shopping carts will create XML sitemaps automatically as product and category pages get updated. For ecommerce websites, this can be a great features because some online stores have thousands of pages on the website. This is ideal if you provide ecommerce SEO services or simply have an ecommerce website.

Shopping Cart Functionality

The last point to consider when pinpointing an ecommerce shopping cart with SEO in mind is the functionality, especially during the checkout stages. This aspect focuses more upon the consumer behavior and preferences, rather than the mechanics of SEO and spider crawl-ability. In fact, many would consider this to be a facet of conversion optimization or website optimization. While customers are checking out, the last thing you want them to do is bounce, or leave your site due to a cumbersome process. Aligning the stages of the checkout process with respect to the product and customer preferences is essential. Many professionals in the field of website optimization consider this aspect to go beyond SEO, however wasted traffic is as good as no traffic. Ensure that your ecommerce shopping cart software enables you to customize the steps in the checkout process. Only a few SEO friendly shopping carts can handle these capabilities without a developer.

 

This article written by Tyler Tafelsky, one of our Internet marketing specialists here at OIC Group, Inc.

Visit Tyler on Google+

 

Peoria Web Design Company Offices:
OIC Group, Inc.
Phone: (309) 680-5600

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1111
Peoria, IL 61653