New multilingual content markup

Google has announced new markup that can help avoid duplicate issues when implementing multiregional and multilingual websites.

Integration of social media into search results

Nice slide on the integration of social media into search results.

SEO and Branding

Branding in the traditional sense is not necessarily achievable on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). That is, having the company name on a SERP has little or no positive effect. However, branding is the inevitable outcome of the volume of visits that SEO generates. Even better, search engine traffic improves branding in its truest sense and it reinforces the correlation between a brand and the products that a brand offers. To achieve this branding SERPs need to be thought of separately. While advertising banners are designed to heighten brand awareness by way of well-designed images and copy, SEO achieves branding by reinforcing what a brand offers and by delivering visitors to a site.

A high ranking on a search engine should not be considered a branding opportunity in itself, but rather an opportunity to deliver traffic to the place where branding is strongest – the site itself.

SERPs also offer the ability to add to the understanding of a brand. By increasing the number of search terms that a site can be found for, brand recognition is also increased. Particularly for large companies with several product ranges, SEO offers a very effective means of conveying all the products offered under a single brand umbrella.

Branding decisions on a website should be made with the priority on achieving high rankings and attracting actual visitors. Issues like company names in titles, slogans and marketing jargon should take a back seat to actually getting relevant visitors to the site, where this information can be more effectively conveyed.

Written by Bill Vasiliadis

Are Inbound Links Important?

I’m going to answer this question by sharing two experiments which I have been conducting for the past four months. I won’t give details of the websites and keyword phrases that I have been targeting, just enough information to answer the question “are inbound links important?”

Let me answer the question before I give details of my experiments, yes, inbound links are important, actually they are extremely important.

Here are the details of my first experiment. I picked a niche market, and from keyword research determined one of the most popular keyword phrases. The competition for this phrase was high, so my initial estimate was 6-12 months before achieving a Google Page 1 ranking. Mind you, this estimate based on a fully functional website undergoing an SEO campaign.

I chose a domain name which had never been registered, not matching the keyword phrase, and no SEO history what so ever. I took out a dedicated server and created a landing page. The landing page consisted only of an image, no content in the body. The only on-page optimisation performed was on the title tag, meta description tag, meta keywords tag, the canonical link tag, and an alt attribute for the image. That’s it! Nothing else.

The title tag contained the popular phrase I spoke of above. I also included it in the meta description and meta keywords tags. We know the meta keywords tag serves no purpose with Google these days, but I included it anyway. I also included the popular phrase in the alt tag of the image.

With no content on the page and the whole site consisting of just this one landing page, you don’t really expect it to rank in the search engines.

My experiment now was to source quality and relevant inbound links and monitor the rank of the popular phrase that I was targeting.

After four months of consistent and steady back links generation, the landing page is now ranked Google page 1 position 7 for the popular phrase. I have not ‘spammed’ the engines by sourcing thousands of back links, nor have I used tactics which would be considered ‘black hat’. The back links sourced are from quality and relevant sites and using the appropriate anchor text.

Keep in mind, this is a single landing page with no content, just one image.

My second experiment targeted a phrase from a very competitve industry. The website, again, was a new site with no previous history on the domain name. The domain name did not match the keyword phrase as with the first experiment. The server in this case was shared with hundreds of other sites. The site consisted of 12 pages and the only on-page optimisation completed was for the title tags, meta description tags and meta keywords tags. No additional pages were added nor any further updates made. Just a static site for four months.

By sourcing steady, quality and relevant inbound links, the home page of the site is now on Google page 3 (and improving) for this very competitive phrase.

So what can we conclude from the above experiments? The definate conclusion is that sourcing inbound links from quality and relevant pages have a ‘huge’ impact on your rankings. Steady and consistent back links growth will push your rankings towards page one. Add basic on-page optimisation and consistent content creation to the mix, and you will surely give your competition a good run towards the number one spot.

Written by Bill Vasiliadis

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