How Google’s Latest Penguin 2.0 Update Affects You

penguin 2.0Google has released their latest algorithm update which they have named Penguin 2.0. According to Matt Cutts (head of Google’s web spam team), this update will have an even stronger impact than Penguin 1.0 did, so I thought it would be worth talking about today. If you own a website/blog then you need to care about this. A lot of people get a little glassy-eyed when I start talking SEO stuff, so I’m going to keep this really simple. What are some of the changes webmasters like us can expect and how will it matter.

Most of my readers are not into black hat SEO stuff. Link spamming, blog networking, etc. and according to Google that’s who ALL of their updates have targeted, but that simply isn’t true. If you are a small business owner, entrepreneur, or novice web master/blogger then you could have made tons of SEO mistakes inadvertently and paid the price for it when Google rolled out their updates. Especially because many of the strategies site owners were taught to do years ago were perfectly fine by Google and they worked, but were abused by some web owners, so the rules have changed. Penguin 2.0!

Changes to expect:

1. SPAM

Obviously first and foremost, Google is looking to eliminate spammy sites. Many web owners have complained that after their last 3 Penguin related updates, that there were still many spammy sites outranking them in the search results. I agree. I saw this too in my space on the web as well. Google is never specific about the indicators they are looking for when deciding if a site is user friendly vs spammy, but let’s hope they start with the obvious culprits. Sites that are keyword stuffed, outdated, and have no social signals.

My one takeaway on this area is that it’s important that you continue to INCREASE the freshness of your site. You do this by writing and publishing content on a consistent basis AND you do this by having social signals point to your content, share your content, or leave comments on your content.

2. PAID LINKS

Google has a basic rule when it comes to paid links, advertorials, etc. They don’t want those links passing PAGE RANK. So for example, if you have a page on your site that is quite popular and ranks well in the search engines you may get an email from a company asking if they can place a link on that page. Or perhaps your entire site ranks well and they would like a sponsored blog post. While they are not saying that you can’t do this, what they don’t want is for these links to carry page rank from your site to theirs. Most sites requesting this type of link are spammy, junky, or low ranking sites. They want your Google juice! Which will make them more important in the search engines, but not because of the quality of their content, but because they paid for the link.

So here’s how this can affect you. Say you have a content rich blog and someone wants to add a link to a certain page. The link needs to be a “NOFOLLOW” link so that essentially the only benefit that the advertiser gets is whatever traffic you send them from that page. Traffic vs. Rank. That’s the takeaway here.

3. RECOGNIZING AUTHORITY SITES

One thing that Google wants to do a better job of is recognizing websites that are an authority on their topics and ranking them accordingly. That’s great news for authors and solopreneurs who write on a specific, niche focused topic.

4. VARIETY OF SEARCH RESULTS

There were some user complaints that when they conducted a search that one site would have a cluster of results on one page which obviously knocks out a lot of other user friendly search results. Clearly this is aimed at the web juggernauts. Off the top of my head, there was a time when the site About.com would have a cluster of results for a particular term. I don’t know if that’s true anymore for this particular site, but this is the type of thing that they are looking to change. Users don’t need 6 results from the same website. They want to see a variety of search results.

5. MORE INFORMATION TO WEBMASTERS (When hacked, How to fix stuff, Etc.)

Users have claimed for YEARS that Google does not do a good job of telling webmasters when something is wrong so that they can fix it before they are bumped from search engine results. Hey…most of us don’t know the Google “rules” as they certainly do change from month to month, year to year. So one thing they said they are working on is to notify webmasters of issues.

Allow Google to communicate with you by verifying your website in the Google Webmaster Tools section which is quite easy to do. You just need to already have a Google account which you already have if you have a gmail email, are on Blogger, Google+ profile, etc. Go to your Google dashboard and search under “products” for Webmaster Tools. Add and verify your site and Google will communicate with you if there is an issue. In addition they are working on adding better documentation on what to do to fix your issue once Google alerts you of it.

6. FIX SOME PANDA ISSUES

Lastly, Google’s Panda update was a nightmare for many legitimate site owners and Google has recognized that they need to tweak their parameters for the changes that this update caused. So they are going to implement some tweaks that are suppose to be especially helpful for the little guys (like us!).

Want A Little Extra SEO Help?

If you own a website/blog and aren’t sure if you’re optimizing it according to new Google standards, feel free to hire me for a SEO strategy session.

Join The Conversation

Feel free to join the conversation and share some of your Google Penguin strategies or stories.

How To Build A SEO Friendly Blog In 15 Minutes (Or Less)

Are You Ready To Learn How To Build A SEO Friendly Blog In 15 Minutes (Or Less) And Write Your First Blog Post? Then I’m Here To Guide You One Step At A Time…

As an entrepreneur one of the most critical pieces of your success online will be building a website that has long-term success in the search engines. Consider what happens when someone searches for a solution to a specific problem online. They type in a few keywords in a search box and waits to see what results are returned. When they see what looks to be like content that will solve their problem (usually in the first 5 results they see), they click the link and go read the content. That is what is called highly qualified organic traffic. Many small business owners believe that getting good rankings involves some sort of complicated series of SEO steps, but trust me when I tell you that in today’s post Panda/Penguin world, it isn’t that difficult. You just need to know what to do and when you do you can get it done rather quickly.

In this post today (this is a long article but worth the read:), I have outlined the steps that you can take to create a really SEO friendly blog as well as write your first post and you can do it all in under fifteen minutes.

STEP 1 – Selecting A Good Great Domain Name

It use to be that SEO experts and marketers taught clients that it’s better if you pick a domain name that has your top keyword phrase in it. We did so because for years that’s what Google showed us and told us they liked. Domain names with keywords in them because it showed relevancy. Yet with recent updates affecting exact domain names as well as Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, now everything we know has been turned upside down.

So the advice now is to not go with a domain name with an EXACT match to your keyword phrase; but to purchase one with your keyword inside. So for example, if you sell blue shoes on your site, do not buy a domain name such as Blueshoes.com — what you could buy though instead is LisasBlueShoes.com or PhiladelphiaBlueShoes.com which is not an exact keyword match but still contains the relevant keyword of blue shoes.

You can also go with a brand name  (such as LisaAngelettie.com) and forget about selecting a keyword rich domain name, yet focus your SEO optimization in other ways, which we will go over in step four of this tutorial.

TIP: You will buy a domain name once and renew it annually with any company you buy it from. Most companies charge between $10 to 15 dollars per name and the same for renewals. It is best to buy a .com name as it is the most widely recognized and used. In a pinch, you could go with a .net or a .org. Do not waste your money on a .info name or a .biz. I have yet to see these do well in the search engines.

RESOURCE: Whichever type of name you decide on, using this link you can purchase one for only $5.99 with my preferred domain hosting company GoDaddy.

godaddy domain names

STEP 2 – Fast & Reliable Website Hosting

Many moons ago, I once founded and ran an article directory for coaches. It was really becoming a great niche resource in my industry until I started running into major problems with my website hosting company. They were constantly shutting me down because of the amount of resources I was using because my traffic was good, submissions were high, and the platform that the directory was built on used a lot of resources. At the time this host didn’t have any other options for me. Shared web hosting which is fine for most sites, was all they provided and I needed something a little more robust.

I went searching for a new webhost and found Hostgator. Someone recommended them as a host who had experience handling resource heavy sites like my own under a completely affordable shared hosting plan. No need for my own server and the cost of that and they were right. I’ve been with them ever since.

One of the major factors that the search engines have been warning webmasters about for months is that page load time and site speed matters when it comes to ranking our content favorably. If it’s between sites that have near identical content but one site is faster than the other, the faster one will be ranked higher. While there are many factors that affect site speed, one of the major ones is using a webhost that is reliable, secure, and speedy.

SIDE NOTE: You can also buy your domain name with Hostgator which will cost a little more at $15.00, but I like to keep my domain name registrations separate from my web hosting just in case one of them goes down. If that happens (and I have stories about that!), I can always switch the name to a new host or move a new name to my hosted site. If you purchase your domain name with a separate company such as GoDaddy, then you will need to create your new account using your existing domain name.

existing domain name

TIP: You will need a web hosting company to host your blog. Think of it as “office space” for your blog. Free WordPress hosting will not work for a for-profit company because of their terms of service which they fully execute. You will pay for your web hosting on a monthly or annual basis and packages are rock bottom cheap now (not like when I first started out:). Make sure to write down or record your username and password after you open your account and keep it in a safe place. I use 1password for my password management.

RESOURCE: You can get started with Hostgator webhosting for as little as $3 bucks a month (at the time of this writing) and you can save $9.94 on your entire package only when you use my affiliate link and special coupon code: CONTENTRICH

hostgator webhosting


STEP 3 – Installing WordPress

Once you’ve purchased your web hosting plan, it’s super simple to install your own self hosted WordPress blog. First, you’re going to log into your new web hosting’s account CPANEL area. So for instance, you’d go to the url: http://YourWebsite.com/cpanel, which will lead you to a login box. Add the USERNAME and PASSWORD you used when you created your web hosting account. (I told you to write it down earlier:)

Now you are logged into your cpanel administration area. You can and you should spend a little time playing around in your cpanel area at a later date and get familiar with it. For now, I’m going to have you scroll down and find the links for QuickInstall or Fantastico De Luxe under software/services.  This is the program that you are going to use to install your blog. If you see QuickInstall, go with that one.

wordpress install

Once you’ve clicked on QuickInstall, then you will look to the list of software programs on the left and click on WORDPRESS. You’ll see information to the right describing the version and installation size of WordPress and a button to click to continue installing the software.

wordpress installation

Once you click continue, you’ll see another box appear on the right hand side where you will input some required information for your new blog. The first thing you’ll see is a drop down menu with your domain name in it. It’s here where you decide if you want your blog to be hosted at the root meaning http://yoursite.com or on a separate directory such as http://yoursite.com/blog. If you want it hosted on a separate directory, then you’ll have to write the name of it in the box next to the drop down menu. For example: blog. You need to be sort of sure how you want to do this because to change it you would have to uninstall WordPress then start all over again.

Examples of both scenarios would look like this:

Hosted at the root: http://LisaAngelettieBlog.com [You see blog posts on the first page of my site because it’s hosted at the root]

Hosted on a separate directory: http://clickbank.com/blog

wordpress quick install

Add an administration email for your blog, your blog’s title, your first and last name (you can change any of these details later) and click INSTALL NOW. Let the magic happen:) You’ll see a progression bar and after installation you’ll see notification of its completion. Congrats!

STEP 4 – Optimizing WordPress

Now it’s time to login to your new WordPress blog. Now you’ll go to your WordPress admin area by going to the url: http://YourSite.com/wp-admin. Once there you will need to input your username and password. Before we start writing your first post, we need to tweak some things to make your blog super SEO friendly.

There are two shortcuts to optimizing your WordPress blog. You can either use a plugin such as the wildly popular WordPress SEO Plugin, or you can use a premium template to do the job such as Thesis, or a combination of both. (I use a combination.) Whichever solution you choose, these are the basics you’ll start with when setting up your site:

Site Visibility – Make sure that you’ve published your blog to the public. You’ll find the option in the privacy area under SETTINGS in your WordPress dashboard. Believe it or not a lot of people forget or don’t know to do this after setting up their blog.

wordpress privacy settings

With the WordPress SEO plugin and Thesis Template you can set up these other three items:

Titles & Meta – Set your title & meta information for your blog the way you want people to see it in a search.
Permalinks – Change your permalink settings to a more SEO friendly one such as /%postname%/.
Sitemaps – Set up a XML sitemap so that search engines can easily crawl every post and page on your site.

RESOURCES: I highly recommend to invest in the Thesis WordPress Template and to download the FREE WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.

STEP 5 – Writing Your First Post

Whew! You’ve set up and optimized your blog. Now it’s time to write your first post. WordPress is really simple to use. Go to the POSTS link and click on ADD NEW. Give your post a reader friendly title that includes a relevant keyword. WordPress will automatically use that title as the url for the post, but you can edit the url in case it’s too long. (I do this all the time).

When writing for the first time, sometimes it’s a good idea to write an introductory post which explains who you are and the types of content you’ll be writing about in the future on your blog. Some people just dive in with a really meaty, info-packed post. The choice is yours. Tweak your SEO settings for your post and then publish your post immediately or schedule it to post at a later date.

Thank you for taking the time to read this tutorial. I will be posting a series of supporting mini posts for this tutorial to take your blog publishing and optimization efforts to the next level, so be sure to subscribe to get notification of them or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Please leave any questions or feedback you have on this tutorial in the comment section and be sure to share this post with someone you think would benefit from it.

 

Why Do So Many Entrepreneurs Fail At Content Marketing & Article Marketing?

This is a frequently asked question from members of my community that I don’t think I’ve answered before on this site because it is such a “loaded” question. Yet I think that I’ve now worked with enough entrepreneurs and small business owners that I can answer this pretty confidently. So here it is…

Here are my top 5 reasons why so many entrepreneurs have trouble seeing results from their article & content marketing and what they (you too!) can do about it:

trouble with article marketing#1 – Analysis Paralysis

Many entrepreneurs do not succeed with article and content marketing because they get stuck on what to write about. If you aren’t creating content on a consistent basis, you will not see results — plain and simple. It should not take you 3 weeks to write a blog post and if it is taking you that long — then you need to see me! You are over thinking this whole content thing.

Here’s the key for consistent content creation: solve a problem! Quickly write out a list of 10, 25 or more of the problems your clients/customers typically face. Now write an article that solves that problem. Ta-da the end!

#2 – Unrealistic Expectations

I am notorious for “splashing cold water” on my clients by telling them to stop believing all this crap that many marketers are trying to sell. You cannot dominate your niche with content in a week or even a month. It takes consistency for a long period of time, but the payoff is totally worth it. Free traffic. More visibility. More influence. More authority.

#3 – No System In Place

Many fledgling article marketers typically wake up and decide at some point to write an article or shoot a video during their day, then they do not what to do with it OR they don’t create another one until the “mood” strikes. Things like this happen because entrepreneurs don’t have a system or a blueprint for what to write, when to write, where to publish, etc. in place. I use the Articology blueprint for article marketing in my business and the businesses of my clients. It really makes things a lot simpler when all the guessing has been taken out of the equation.

#4 – Not Using Enough Optimization

Okay, I’m not trying to frighten you with SEO talk but I’ve got to be honest here. One of the major ways that new traffic will find you is if they find your content through a typical organic search in Google, Yahoo or Bing. You cannot create an article or video with a “clever” title and think it will be found by people searching for information on the web. People don’t search for answers using clever words or analogies. They use everyday 5th grade language. Ex: “How do you fry chicken?” or “How can I lose weight?”

So it’s extremely important that you optimize your content for the search engines, otherwise known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I have tons of articles on SEO on this site, but if you need a tip right now: you should be writing titles for your content that contain keyword phrases that your clients/customers are searching for.

#5 – You’re Not Promoting Your Articles

I talk about article promotion a lot in Articology because it’s something not a lot of marketers or strategists are showing you. It’s not enough to publish an article and wait for the traffic to follow. You have to publish then promote that article. Tell people that it’s out there. Shout it out! Guide them with a link.

Let people know what problem you are solving for them today and where they can find the answer and they will RUN to your content, like it, tweet it, share it, etc.

Conclusion

Content marketing and article marketing work. In fact, all the six or seven figure entrepreneurs I know online ALL use content marketing in their businesses. Avoid these 5 stumbling blocks and you’re already way ahead of the game!

Keyword Research: SEMRush Review & Tutorial

How To Use SEMRush To Conduct Keyword Research

At the foundation of every piece of carefully written content on the web is research. To be more precise, keyword research. If you are a member of my training program Articology or if you’ve followed me for a while via my newsletter, you know that I talk about keyword research quite a bit and actually offer it as a premium service in my business. It’s just that important. I do it everyday.

In previous trainings, I have talked about how to conduct keyword research using free tools as well as Wordtracker and Market Samurai, but today I want to talk about a new tool that I am using called SEMRush which is a web based keyword research and analytic tool. I am LOVING this tool for a few reasons.

FIRST – I really do prefer a web based tool because I can use it anywhere and it’s not a drain on any of my computer’s resources. This is a really robust one.

SECOND – It’s really easy to use because in one click you get a variety of search results that are pretty simple to interpret because of the explanations that SEMRush provides along the way (I’ll explain more about that later).

THIRD – There is a paid and free option enabling users at any stage in their business to use the tool and reap the rewards of major keyword research.

SEMRush keyword tool

As a little background, I became familiar with SEMRush because this tool was founded by the creators of the plugin for Firefox and Safari that so many people use called SEOQuake — so I knew that they were quite familiar with keyword analytics and looked forward to seeing what their tool had to offer. As with any new tool that I test, I am doing so for myself of course but even more importantly for my community.

BEGIN THE SEARCH

SEMRush offers both free and paid research options. For our purposes, you can do everything you need to do with a free account but as with any service will benefit from more options and more query options with the paid (pro) option.

First you can start your search and get basic keyword information by typing your keyword in the top bar choosing to get either Google or Bing results. Go with the Google results as they dominate the search results.

SEARCH OVERVIEW

You will get basic Google trend information, search volume, and the cost per click for the keyword using Adwords. If you don’t know what a specific term means, you can hover over the ? image and get a brief description. This is a great feature for the new user.

semrush review

PHRASE MATCHES

The second part of your results will show something called a phrase match report. In this particular search, I researched the term “keywords” and this report includes the keyword phrases that Google found relevant to my original search term. This information opens up my options for what terms I may want to also try and rank for.

The two most important areas you need to pay attention to are the Volume numbers and the Results numbers. Volume means how many monthly searches are conducted for this keyword and Results means the number of search results (pages) that Google returned for this search term.

*So one of your goals when making a decision about what keyword is a good one is finding one that has HIGH search volume and LOW results.

If you like one of the phrase matches, feel free to click on that particular keyword to drill down your search results even further.

keyword research

RELATED KEYWORDS

The next sections of your research will show related keywords. This again is to option up options for me and shows me a variety of “synonyms” or other terms that Google believes are related to my original search term. Again you are looking for terms that make sense to your research, have high volume, and low page results.

Like with keyword phrase matches above, you can click on a particular keyword to drill down your search results even further in the related keywords section.

semrush keyword tool

ORGANIC RESULTS

This section of your report shows the top 20 results that appeared in a Google search for that term. So basically, who your competition is for that search term, which is very important to know. For example, look at my results below. Some of the websites that I’d have to compete with for the search term “keywords” are heavy hitters such as Google, Wikipedia, and Wordtracker. So chances are, I’m not going to rank well for that term. So that let me knows right off the bat, that I should look at other options.

search engine marketing tool

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, as someone who conducts keyword research on a daily basis, SEMRush is a tool that I will not only use myself but one that I feel very comfortable recommending to my community regardless of what stage you’re at in your business and keyword research experience.

Feel free to give it a whirl at: SEMRush Free Trial

Then make sure to come back to this page as I plan on digging in a little deeper on how to conduct keyword research step by step. I will post those new tutorials as I create them. Until then, feel free to ask me any questions about SEMRush or keyword research in general over on Facebook.

Updating Your Amazon Profile Page

Lisa Angelettie's Daughter

A Tip For Updating Your Amazon Profile Page

One of the first reasons why I started surfing around the web years ago was to buy my daughter’s Christmas gifts on Amazon. When I had my first daughter Autumn, I admit that I became sort of a hermit. I breastfed her for a year and then I got pregnant again with my second daughter, so I started shopping online:) I bought a LOT of stuff for the girls on Amazon and pretty early on in my online practice (GirlShrink), I completed the profile page for myself at Amazon.

Amazon’s profile page is for Amazon customers and are typically utilized by folks who want to buy and review products, books, and more. I would casually and randomly review products over the years until I realized that when someone searched for my name, my Amazon profile page would come up on page 1 of those results. The positions have changed over the years, now it is currently #8 on page 1 for a search result of my name. That position is good enough for me to pay a little more “personal” attention to my profile page.

So the other day I decided I’d update it because it really had outdated information on it from when I was a full time psychotherapist. When I went to update the profile, I ran into a glitch, and that was in the “In My Own Words” section of the profile.

Lisa Angelettie Amazon Profile

When I first added a small bio/introduction paragraph there I also added urls to a few of my relevant websites. Well, Amazon doesn’t allow that any longer but I didn’t know that. And they don’t tell you anywhere on the site (which is a little nutty)!

So every time I tried to make an edit to the section it would tell me that I couldn’t use “profanity” in the section — when clearly I hadn’t. S#!$$ :) I mean it drove me crazy! I called customer service and while they tried, the first rep I spoke to didn’t even know what an Amazon profile page was. Need I say more?

Quick Note – when you call a customer service number for many major online companies such as an Amazon or a web hosting company, you often get the Level #1 support rep. When you run into major trouble, you always need someone at a level #2 or better. Typically you’ve got to get to those people via email.

So that’s what I did. Problem solved.

Adding the url addresses in that section was the problem. Once I deleted them, all was well and I was able to update the page.

There is a place for you to add a live link to one of your sites in your profile page by the way. It’s right above the “In My Own Words” section. I’m actually going to talk a lot more about how to take advantage of profile pages on major websites in my updated, revamped, made over foundational article marketing program — Articology in early 2012.

Your Content Marketing Assignment:
So if you have ever bought something from Amazon, it’s a good idea to go in your account this week and complete your profile page. Search engines rank ’em high! So it’s great to have and add to your visibility platform.

 

Google Will Announce Duplicate Content Issues To Webmasters

News: Google Will Announce Duplicate Content Issues To Webmasters

I have written extensively about how to avoid penalties by Google a.k.a. The Google Filter,  but if you haven’t been paying attention you’re in luck. Google has recently announced that they will now notify webmasters when they have made a cross-domain URL decision involving your site.

What this means is that when similar or duplicate content is present across more than one domain, Google will choose one of the URLs to index. When this cross-domain URL decision is made, some of your content may not be getting indexed in favor of another URL. The decision is typically made in favor of the more “important” domain. (It’s more important than ever now to get your social media content game on!)

While there are multiple reasons for there to be duplicate information on more than one site, it’s never good when you’re on the losing end of the deal. This is why Google has decided to send you a notification when they need to make this decision. That’s cool right? At least we know and can make some sort of movement to make the changes necessary if we end up with the short end of the stick.

Currently, Google only sends the notification to you within Webmaster Tools. Which you will find in the admin section of your Google account. Remember that if you have Gmail, Adwords, Analytics, or some other Google product that you automatically have a Google account. So, be sure your site is claimed within Webmaster Tools and have it set up to send you an email regarding all new notifications that come in.

What Is User Generated Content & Do I Need It For My Business?

What Is User Generated Content & Do I Need It For My Business?

User generated content is any content on the web (articles, video, audio, images, social media content, reviews, forums) that has been contributed by the users of the website and not the administrators. So for example, in Amazon’s (Amazon.com) case, their product reviews are a HUGE part of the user generated content you will find on their website.

If you notice, not only does Amazon ask for you to review products that you’ve bought from them, but they’d love it if you added a video review and/or your own product images. So why do they do this? Well, it’s really simple.

user generated content

1. User Generated Content Builds Trust

User generated content builds trust between the site owner (in this case Amazon) and potential customers (you). If Amazon and another site are selling a product at the same price point, same delivery charges, but Amazon has 10 reviews on the product and the other site does not — which site are you more likely to purchase the product from? Statistics prove that most people will trust the site with the user reviews more than the site that has nothing.

2. Search Engines Love User Generated Content

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing all love user generated content. Google even admitted that they now add user generated content (such as social media content) as a factor when weighing the importance and relevance of a website. That’s BIG!

3. User Generated Content Makes Your Job Easier!

We can use Amazon as an example again. It’s up to Amazon administrators to set up the products and pages, but it’s up to users to create reviews, ratings, user lists, wish lists, profile pages and more. And let’s face it, it’s the reviews and all this other content that really seals the sale. This makes Amazon’s job so much easier. We the users make the sale for them!

Okay so we’re not Amazon, but let’s look at how we can use user generated content in our businesses. Take a look at some of the leaders in your niche. Do they have a lot of comments on their blog, do they permit guest blogging on their site, do they have a strong presence on social media sites like Twitter & Facebook? This is all user generated content and this is an area where solopreneurs have a real chance to shine.

So should you use user generated content in your content marketing plan? Heck yes! Can you do it all — probably, but it’s better to pick one thing, run with it, and do it well.

Have more questions about user generated content? Leave ’em below and let’s talk!