Incorporating User Experience into Web Design and overall SEO Strategy Part 2 | What is your website visitor interested in?

“You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.” Walt Disney Well, so what do they want? Too often business owners and marketers will be so concerned with our desires for immediate gratification, that we forget the most important part of the user experience is to first know what the user wants to begin with.  The User’s wishes have to be fulfilled, and this can only be done by understanding what their actual wants are.

Know Your Website Users

Some sample data and use existing models to determine what the user may want for their desired field and interests.  This is a legacy method that, while it can’t be abandoned completely, has to adapt to incorporate new, and in some cases, yet to be developed methods. Using bots and spiders to pull information can give us a decent picture of the past, but little more.  Simply assuming that what has always worked will continue to without refinement is a recipe for marketing disaster.  Instead, we need to make use of the resources available to use and to constantly incorporate the ideals of “what is next” into our user engagement plan.  Sampling data, while important, will need to continue evolving to keep up with the users of today and tomorrow. Some methods include using call and data tracking methods that will replace the antiquated methods of only a few years ago.  There are voice and ad tracking software resources now that are able to determine exact ad responses, and the tracking of those ads. One might ask, “when will a data tracking software come out where the user is able to rate the ad itself?”. This may sound like an absurd question to those in legacy mentalities, but when thinking of what the user wants, there is no better place to begin.

Content That Writes Itself

In the end, the most likely reason a user will be at your site is the content they are searching for. Ensuring that you have the right content for your target market is always the starting point of a strong User Experience Web Design and Development strategy. A futuristic idea is to eventually engage with more than just dynamic content. Some sites and developers are trying to design and develop with predictively created content in mind. No, this isn’t a reference to retrieving content predictively for an individual, but to aggregated and create content customized for that individual, based on their wishes.  Many apps and sites are trying this now, but are still locked in predisposed rules, there is some traction to developing a truly customized experience with completely original and created content based solely on the user’s desires. The option of AI responsiveness is also worth mentioning since it would be the logical step forward in producing a truly responsive development.  How long something like that will take to get here is only limited to our motivation to bring it.

Negative SEO: Have You Been a Victim Of Nefarious SEO Tectics

Recently, our Chicago SEO clients came to us with a new, and expected problem. Thanks to Google's desire to stop SEO spamming and farming, we now have a new problem. Negative SEO is happening and it’s something that can be used against your business at any time, no matter what industry you are in. This post will help you quickly identify if you’ve been a victim of negative SEO and provides tips on how to overcome it. O

Good SEO vs. Negative SEO

There’s good(positive) SEO and then there’s assassin (negative) SEO. Just like a good comic book character, the super power of SEO can be used for dark purposes; in the same way, negative SEO can be used nefariously and refers to the worst kind of SEO possible:

Negative SEO - The intentional act of over-optimizing or spamming a site in order to lower its rankings in search results.

Good SEO is a highly ethical practice and is based solely on hard work for a strong output. When it’s employed honestly, it helps quality sites with great content to establish well-deserved rankings through following developer best practices and Google’s quality guidelines. It’s also ethical when used to help well-intentioned sites overcome technical barriers such as unintentional duplicate content, crawlability, page speed and other issues.

Good vs Bad SEO

How Does Negative SEO Occur?

Negative SEO is done primarily through link spamming and farming, usually through Fivrr and SEOClerks gigs. For example, someone may pay an off-shore firm to build 10,000+ links to your site using a key phrase your site is targeting. Please note: if your current agency is doing this with the belief this is going to improve rankings, cancel immediately or you may experience traffic declines similar to this:

Negative SEO traffic drop

How to Tell if You’ve Been Targeted With Negative SEO

Spotting negative SEO is fairly obvious if you’ve never intentionally built links or targeted specific keywords through spam bombing. If you have built links manually through the years using various target keywords, then it may not be as simple. Regardless of how the links have appeared in your profile, here are a handful of things you can do:

  • Conduct a backlink analysis, focusing on anchor text using sites like MajesticSEO
  • Look for unnatural or suspicious IPs
  • Identify any unrelated anchor text (Credit Checks, Pills, Payday, etc.)
  • Check Google Webmaster Tools for Manual Penalties

Always keep an eye on what anchor text is being used to link to your site? A detailed backlink analysis should be conducted to help identify which terms link to you the most. There are a number of great tools including Ahrefs, Link Detox, Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer to help you do this but pay special attention to keyword-rich anchor text. Any links that aren't simply linking with your brand or domain name raise flags and be put on the suspect list.

If your site and target markets are located entirely in the U.S. then you shouldn’t have foreign IPs or non-US TLDs pointing to your site. Tools such as Ahrefs are handy in quickly spotting TLD distributions:

Foreign ccTLDs

Do you have any nonsense, unrelated anchor terms? This is the biggest problem in the topic and the easiest way to tank a website's SEO. Negative SEO Assassinss often take advantage of all the algorithms associated with certain industries such as PayDay Loans. If a site happens to link to yours using anchor text which includes these terms, your rankings will suffer. We have a local dentist as a client with remarkable payday-related anchor text in hisprofile:

Do you have any Manual Actions/Penalties in Google Webmaster Tools? Here’s what you’ll see if you do:

How to Recover

Future posts will delve further into the complete recovery process but where is the rough and basic path to recover from Google Penalties and the principles are the same:

  • Keep in touch with webmasters and remove known bad links (yes this makes us upset too - especially if you’re not the one that built bad links – but Google still wants you to do you best to remove them)
  • Use the Disavow Links tool (with extreme caution)
  • Submit a reconsideration request (for manual penalties only, for some penalties, it will be difficult to even know your site has penalty)
  • Contact Google through the Webmaster Tools Troubleshooter (for algorithmic penalties)

To summarize, know what links are pointing to your site and know what anchor text is being used the most. Be suspect of any anchor text that is highly optimized (focuses on your primary keywords) or especially be on the lookout for completely non-related industry terms (such as payday loans, etc.). Attempt to remove all known bad links and add all [bad domains] to your disavow file in Google Webmaster Tools. Be up front about the issue and be respectful in your communication to Google through the reconsideration request form or troubleshooter and don’t give up, even after several contact attempts.


Marketing and SEO Mistakes Chicago Businesses Should Avoid

When it comes to local marketing there are no set rules but there are some known "no no's". Each community in the Chicago Area, be it Naperville, Glen Ellyn, Barrington, or even as far as Rockford,while related is different; and each individual business has to adjust to its target customer base within that community. Still, there are some basics to marketing successfully to a specific local audience that can't be ignored. If you feel like the return on your local promotional initiatives is hit or miss, you may be neglecting some basics that can bolster your business and reputation in your community. While there are many mistakes to be made, here are five common mistakes are businesses make when it comes to reaching targeted local customers: Lack of Any Web Presence. Chicago Web DesignEven owners of a longtime, Glen Ellyn mom and pop establishments could have benefited from a simple website or inclusion in an online directory. We encountered a client who had absolutely no presence in any directory, yet had been in business in Glen Ellyn for over 30 years.  We thought something like this would be impossible, but he was an internet ghost. It is not often that a local business owner says he or she has “too many” customers(although we may switch keywords at times to keep from peeking). In addition to regular, sustainable and residual customer, a web presence brings in new clientele that happen upon sites when looking for a product or service. Many websites cost very little to create and maintain, and results-driven online directories are affordable too. If you're unsure of where to begin in building an online following, hire someone to help you or contact us today. The money you invest will pay off over time and many companies offer a flat fee to maintain the site for you. Ultimately, if you don't tap the resource, it is an avenue of growth that your business will not experience. Remember that it is not enough to rely on word-of-mouth or traditional marketing techniques to bring in new local customers. Hanging your digital shingle in cyberspace is also vital and easier than ever to accomplish. Give potential customers the answers to their questions in an immediate way in order to win their business and not lose them to more visible competitors. Beautiful Sites Unable to be Found in Search Engine Results. This point is similar to having a lack of web presence but applies beyond the digital realm. Having a website is a great start, but the having one that is invisible to the search engines is nothing more than a place for people to go when they read your business card.  One of our Naperville SEO clients learned this the hard way. He had a brilliant website, that was designed well, and written well; it was just all images and invisible to the search engines (warning, any images of text on your site are absolutely worthless). Ultimately, he brought us to his Naperville office to discuss a way to boost his Search Engine Optimization and elevate his listing in the SERPs. It took an entire rebuild of his site due to the poor decisions of his previous web designer, but we had him on the top of his 5 main keywords within a month. Location Location Location If people do not know where you are located, they cannot give you their business.  We often work start Chicago clients who don't even have access to their Google+ and Local citation sites. This data is absolutely imperative to building business in the local market. This means promoting your web location in addition to your physical address. Unfortunately, people are so programmed to find the answers to all questions immediately that they will not take the time to track you down if a competitor offers ease of information. Additionally, with the improvements in local search functions on smart phones, over 50% of local market share is now going to the top 5-10 listings in a map search.  Do whatever it takes to let people know where you exist, from web presence optimization to the signage outside your location to inclusion in web listings for your industry. Take the Temperature One of our Barrington Web Design clients was absolute in that he didn't care about what his clients thought of his services. That was, at least, until he started reading his reviews online.  He soon found that reputation and feedback management are absolutely critical in the way of local business targeting. There has never been a financial advantage to being an industry “best kept secret.” Ask customers how they found you and how you can improve your physical visibility. Those that are most loyal to your business will want to help and will be honest with you. Do not lose customers to frustration or impatience at having to track you down, instead make it easy to find you and even easier to buy your products or enlist your services. It's Hard to Acquire Community Business without Community Outreach. There is a reason that people say “the more you give, the more you get.” Find simple ways to give back to the community of your loyal clients and build your reputation for future local clients. Simple ways to get involved include sponsoring a local event, donating a product or service to a fundraising auction or volunteering at a local non-profit organization. Align your name with a cause that you believe benefits your client base and one that represents your business ideals. Not only does outreach earn you the respect of the community, but it also creates a culture of social consciousness in your business, encouraging employees to reach out when they are off the clock too. You can feel satisfied knowing that you went beyond the call of duty to help the community and build a strong image of beneficence in the process. Focus on local marketing does not have to be overwhelming. Find simple ways to reach out to your local audience through an online presence, easy-to-find location and outreach programs. By participating in just a few initiatives, you’re taking down some of the barriers that may be holding your business back.  This then allows you to increase your business and root yourself in your community.

Marketing Your Local Business Online

If you run a local business, you may be missing out on a wealth of effective and economical online marketing opportunities. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is known for connecting people around the globe with their target products and successfully promoting businesses. It's  even more well known for marketing local businesses in their communities. There is an entire  world of marketing opportunities available for location-based businesses, including search, social, and content marketing options. In this guide, we look into two marketing strategies that successful local businesses use to boost their local SEO. Follow these SEO steps to getting noticed in your local community searches. Naperville Local SEO Optimizing your website for local search is one of the top priorities.  There are a number of ways you can optimize your website for local search that will help attract local clients and customers. The first thing you need to do is identify your keywords. These are the words (usually a short phrase) that describe your business.  If, for example, you run a wedding photography business, your keywords might be “wedding photographer.” To localize your business, add the city you target to that phrase, e.g. “Naperville wedding photographer" or "Glen Ellyn Wedding Photography.” Read the Small Business SEO Guide, do some keyword research to make sure the city + keyword phrase has strong search volume, then optimize your website for the best locally focused keywords using the on-site optimization tips in the guide. Next, include a local street address and phone number (with a local area code, not 800 number) on each page of your website. Most businesses do this in the footer. This information must be on the website in text, not image format, so that search engines can crawl the information. If your business has multiple locations, the alternative is to put the primary location on each page and create individual contact pages for each location. Tip: Make sure your website has a contact page for each location that includes the address, phone number, and a map helping customers find it. Adding photos of each location on the contact page is also a good idea.   Find the right local directories to join Local directories and review sites are often referred to as “citations,” and they can help your business website rank well in local search results on Google. Here are the keys to ensuring each local directory and review site you join counts towards helping your business rank well in local search:
  • Make sure your business name, address, phone number, and website are consistent, on both your website and in local listings. Things that will cause ranking problems include having your business name listed as ABC Services in one place and A.B.C. Services in another, or having your address listed as 1500 West First St. in one place and 1500 W. First Street in another, or having your website address listed as in one place and in another.
  • Encourage (but do not incentivize, bribe, or purchase) customers to write reviews about your business on the top local directories and review sites. The more positive reviews you have, the better your business is going to rank.
  • Complete each of your local listing profiles as thoroughly as possible. If you are given the option of adding additional information, social network links, photos, and videos, be sure to do so.
With hundreds of local directories, review sites, and profile pages, choosing which ones to sign up for can be difficult. Start here:
  • Create listings on Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and Yelp.
  • Search for your business name using Google and then claim and complete profiles for any of the listings that appear on the first couple of search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Use the GetListedresource pages to find the best citations for your business based on industry and city.
To get in a wide array of listings without spending a lot of time, you can use services like Universal Business Listing. You complete a profile in their system, and they take that information and populate it across all of the local directories and review sites. You can also use tools like Whitespark to find citations for your competitors. They also offer a free review handout generator that helps you create a guide for your customers to use on how to do reviews for your business. Don’t forget about local media and organizations such as newspapers, news stations, and chambers of commerce. Many have their own business directory that you can get listed in simply by asking or becoming a member. You can also reach out to local business owners to see if they are willing to become referral partners. For example, caterers, wedding planners and florists would be ideal referral partners for a wedding photographer. Look for local businesses with partner’s pages or local resource pages.

5 SEO Tips for Launching a New Website and New Brand

You may feel that you have the perfect search strategy, but there are still more tactics to consider. Here are some basic SEO tips for launching a new website and new brand: Rebuilding a Website
  •      As you transition from your old website to a new SEO targeted Website, you can maintain the link equity in which you have invested in already. This is vital for getting your new website to rank quickly. The most effective way to achieve this would be to leave your URLs untouched. However, this is not always possible y if you make an attempt to improve your URL structure or moving to a new domain. Often, updating to a strong Database Built Web Design will result in some changes to link mapping.
  •     Images are ideal to make your new website engaging and attractive. Unfortunately, search engines have not reached a point yet where they can decode content that is image-based. The use of alt tags can enable search engines to comprehend the meaning of images; this can also be valuable for those who are visually impaired. Alt tags should be vivid and entail the same keywords for which your page aims to rank.
  •      External links can enable link authority to your website, while internal links can distribute that particular authority across your website pages. In page cross-linking, there are opportunities for appropriate referrals to additional pages with relevant data; they are typically unheeded during a redesign. Page copy can be an ideal place to link to deeper website pages with anchor text to point to long-tail keywords.
  •    Local results have taken a greater standing in the SERPs. Naturally, it depends on your brand; so, local can be your strategy instead of a small portion of your overall plan.  Keep in mind, locally focused works only if your business model is only focused locally. There are several locally relevant recommendations to consider in combination with your fresh new website launch, but most importantly, your maps should always be the focus of local SEO. Our Naperville Web Design and SEO Team targets citation listings (map directories) and locally relevant review sites to ensure for a cohesive and universal set of data descriptions.
  •      A new Google search feature in authorship is expected to increase in relevance over time. Author-Ranking is the future of authorship where pages are ranked based on the authority of the writer, as opposed to the authority of the page/website. An investment in authorship can help you not only in the short term, but the long term as well. We suggest that your content creators work on and off of your sites to develop a stronger authorship ranking.
To find out more information about how SEO can help improve your web visibility, contact our Chicago and Naperville SEO Team.

Tips to Streamline Online Marketing Budgets

Marketing your business online to prospective customers doesn't have to cost a fortune. Often times, many people waste a lot of money with online marketing that doesn't produce the results they expect - mainly because they do not have a solid marketing strategy in place. In reality, you can experience good results with online marketing on a budget. Here are six effective tips: Tip #1:Your marketing strategy will never be lucrative if you don’t have an audience that is clearly defined. Before you spend a dime on marketing, first identify your prospective market. There is no need to pay top dollar to employ a prestigious market research firm. If you have knowledge of your product, then you should be able to identify the market yourself. Tip #2:You can determine what you’re looking to gain from marketing online, whether it is increased awareness or increased revenue. It is likely you’ll have various goals, but keep track of these multiple goals to measure your achievements. When you reach your initial goals, then you can set new goals for your company to reach success.   Our Naperville Web Design team can help you monitor and keep track of your marketing efforts with our various analytic tools. This will help you with growing your business. Tip #3:Once you are aware of who your target market is and have created goals, you can plan your budget appropriately. The best thing about marketing online is that you can be a success even on a tight budget. You can determine what outlets are the most valuable for your product and have the will to spend some dollars to achieve results. Tip #4:Set yourself apart from your competitors. There is a myriad of companies making an attempt to sell products online. Thus, you need to make your brand id notable. Naturally, this begins with a first-rate website. Our web design company in Naperville, will not only build an aesthetically pleasing website, we will create a website that’s mobile friendly and easy to navigate. Tip #5:Every business owner’s dream is to have his/her website displayed on the first results page of the search engine. This can be achieved with the proper use of relevant keywords, back-linking (white hat) and SEO friendly (and human friendly) Meta Tag titles and descriptions. Tip #6:Social media marketing can also help enhance your brand identity. It’s important that you provide your audience with valuable information that will persuade them to take action. This may include visiting your website or even sharing your content with their friends on various social media outlets. Also, your website, social media sites and marketing materials should complement each other. If you need help building a website or you need to enhance an existing website, our experienced Naperville Web Designers are here to help.  Contact us today or call: 630-803-8998.

Local Business Comments

Recently, there was a disagreement in practice of how to properly utilize Google Maps for Local Business.   This disagreement stemmed from an unfortunate practice that is making the service less and less reliable.  For some time now, businesses in general have been leaving their own string of positive statements on the optional commenting spaces.  hidden linksThis is problematic in quite a few ways,and can lead to a negative response from those in web design, SEO, and the general public. While looking through the site index of our business listing, I came across several negative remarks that were coming from a group of people who were also commenting positively about a similar business within the local area.  As a web designer, I always make it a point to not speak negatively of our competitors, and in most cases, I'll not comments at all on their business unless they are the very best in the field. After reading a few of the comments, it was apparent that they were coming from someone associated with the business and from the same individual.  This persons business had roughly 20 "positive" comments about their business, but had not made the effort to ensure that they weren't noticeably written by the same individual.  Inevitably, another web designer began making fun of the scenario. This is where the self serving positive comment become a nightmare for multiple businesses.  For reasons unknown, this business owner began raging against his competitors, Naper Design included.  Since we focus on both Web Design and SEO, he assumed that all of the joking statements must be coming from our team.  Admittedly, we did have a few clients who were less than kind with their responses to his form of deception, but he only took this to mean that we were involved.  His response was to post this laundry list of negative statements about our company to the point that he'd committed slander and defamation of character. The situation was resolved with the assurance of our strong legal teams ability to sue him,  and the comments were removed within just a few minutes(proving they had been written all by him).  He still maintains a large list of fake comments on his page, and assuredly, others will likely continue to make light of the shady business practice. I referred to it as "shady business practice". I did son because that's exactly what it is.  When afforded the chance to have clients give feedback, both positive and negative, some businesses will immediately begin writing comment after comment about their own business to appear more user friendly.  While this is not one of the more hanus actions a business can commit,  it is one of deception and can be easily dtected by those reading the responses. If the comments are written in the same style and manner, if they are written in a way that shows the same character, and if they are in the same vernacular, it becomes obvious to the reader that they have been forged by one single individual. While this situation has been resolved, multiple businesses have sustained damage to their credibility and are working hard to repair the damages made by these actions.  As a web designer, credibility is something that has to be earned, not self stamped within a comment field.  If found to be untrue or being decptive in ones actions, a web design company can lose all of its business and clients from just such an action. I don't wish for this competing business to go under and hope for their recuperation after these recent events, but I do hope that they learn to not make such blatant attempts at manipulating the system.  The web design community may be competitive, but that doesn't prevent us from being both civil and cooperative.

Naper Design to Partner with Naperville SEO Inc

Recently we were invited to partner with Naperville SEO Inc. with their virgin movement in the Chicago Suburbs.  While there are several groups apparently wanting to refer to themselves by this name, there is only one recognized as having this title by the IRS and the State of Illinois. Naperville SEO just began launching the site and has asked us to complete their design now that they have built much of their source code.  It is a great honor and privilege to be working with them and look forward to this shared partnership and the rewards it brings for us and our customers.hidden links

Officially A Business

While it may be small potatoes to some, Naper Design is now an officially recognized business in the eyes of the IRS.   We filed for and received our EIN today and will be submitting our Articles of Incorporation within the next month.  The new customers we have been receiving and the welcomed response to our product and work ethic have ensured that we are a business that will stand the test.hidden links party-balloons-275x300 We'd like to especially thank all of our clients for the continued increase in business and networking.  The referal business is a testiment to the qualiity of clients that we have been continuing to enjoy. Thank you, and we look forward to moving forward with the full marketing potential of Naperville SEO IncNaper Design and Naperville Strategic Marketing

SEO Through Algorithm

Today I was approached by someone in Naperville that swore they had found the secrets to all of Google's Algorithm.  I am not one to be so distrusting of people, but this statement is always a Red Flag that something is wrong.  There are several reasons to never believe that anyone alive has completely solved Google's constantly, changing Algorithm.  It would also be safe to say, that anyone who eer could would not be working in a No Name SEO group in Naperville, Illinois. hidden links Here are just a few reasons why no single individual can solve for this Massive Equation.
  1. It is a Massive Equation.  The last best estimate assumes over 250 separate and distinguished parameters involved in the monstrous equation.  It's simply inconceivable that any lone person can at any time make the calculations needed to outsmart a constantly evolving AI.
  2. It is an AI.  While there is a dedicated team of engineers who devote their entire careers to this Algorithm, Google Bot and the Database behind it is running more of itself than external control.  With this scenario in place, there's no way that any SEO expert, in Naperville or anywhere else in the world, could conceptualize every move this AI will move to next.
  3. While we know some of Basic Criteria  that are factored into the ranking system of the Google Algorithm, SEO in any form is limited by the fact that some of it will always be a misnomer.  Certain Criteria are known, but their weight can change on a very(and sometimes daily) basis.
  4. SEO for Google can be a daily event.  Google's Algorithm has been known to change variables more than once within the same day.  While major updates usually happen every 1-3 months, the system is making constant small adjustments.  It's not feasible to collate that much data and determine ranking to the most finite detail.
There is some Good News though:phrase-identification So far in this post, I have been bashing some guy in Naperville who thought he'd found the Holy Grail of SEO.  While I seriously doubt that he thought before speaking, there's hope for him to end up ok.  We do know some of the basic building blocks that the Algorithm looks for.
  1. Domain- Domain naming and SEO through domain have a direct influence on what page you will come up if they match the specific keywords being searched for.   This is the "No-Brainer" of SEO.  Last week I noticed we did not have the number 1 slot in Google for the keyword "Naperville SEO".  The reason is that someone had set up a site with the matching url while I missed my chance to purchase it.  In passing up this option, the Google Algorithm immediately launched them to the top slot.  This will not complete the puzzle for him though.  While simple changes such as Domain and Url manipulation can help with a giant and almost immediate boost, they have no chance without durable SEO work to back them up.  I have no doubt that we will again take the first slot for the search terms "Naperville SEO" because he has done nothing more to improve the site.
  2. Linking- Inbound links from established and reputable sites is a necessity for anyone wishing to improve their site recognition, traffic, and if it matters to you, Page Rank.  Page Rank is not exactly something I care about, but what it symbolizes is.  The placement of quality links on informative sites will mean more traffic to your site.  The Page Rank is just an added bonus that can only be seen in the rear view.   Having links from high Page Rank sites will improve your ranking to an extent, but having many, many links from across many, many spectrum of the internet, will heighten the chances that visitors will find your site.  Ultimately, why are your links out there?  Do you wish to have a vanity trophy of Page Rank, or are you more concerned with building quality traffic and elevation in the SERPS?
  3. Content- If you aren't giving quality time and effort to your written content, you are not going to receive the ranking you could from the search engines. There are many services now that will even write your content for you.  Here in Naperville, and throughout the entire Chicago are, there are businesses of writers that do nothing but write content for Website SEO.  This is becoming a highly specialized career field and is one of the few areas of job growth for good and thoughtful writers.
  4. Have Fun- If you are working your own SEO, have fun with it.  If you've taken on the task of maintaining your own SEO, enjoy the experience.  The good and the bad moments can be entertaining, but if it becomes a beast of burden, turn it over to someone that can take on the challenge.  Ensure that they know what they are doing as well.
Those of us who build SEO for a  living are usually willing to offer advice or point someone in the right direction if asked.  As is, the one SEO "expert" that should not be trusted is the one who is unwilling to at least offer direction to those seeking it.  We don't give away the Keys to the Castle, but a SEO Engineer is usually willing to point the way. That being said.  Here is a list of the top 25 SEO Blogs as defined by Daily Blog Tips. -Enjoy-
#1 Search Engine Land
#2 SEOBook
#3 SEO Moz
#4 Matt Cutts
#5 Search Engine Watch
#6 Search Engine Roundtable
#7 Search Engine Journal
#8 Online Marketing Blog
#9 Pronet Advertising
#10 Marketing Pilgrim
#11 SEO Chat
#12 Search Engine Guide
#13 SEO Blackhat
#14 Stuntdubl
#15 Graywolf’s SEO
#16 SEO by the SEA
#17 Link Building Blog
#18 Jim Boykin
#19 SEOpedia
#20 DaveN
#21 Bruce Clay
#22 Blue Hat SEO
#23 Tropical SEO
#24 SEO Refugee
#25 Small Business SEM

Follow-Up on Client Protection and Care

I have been away from the key-board for a few days.  I was asked to help a few friend re-roof a house in Bolingbrook, Illinois.   A word of advice: if a friend ask you to help put up a new roof, ensure he is on the roof helping as well.  He's asked me to help with another house here in Naperville, but this time I think I'll be a bit to busy to join.hidden links I wanted to follow-up on my most recent post.  The responses to Some SEO Companies Aren’t Protecting Their Own brought so much good communication and received enough interaction to be revisited once more. A comment made to this post was key:
"Shane Gray on Saturday 3, 2009
Christian, Good topic. On the whole this was a well thought out and highly relevant piece. I have some more specific comments but they are sort of off topic and ask that you email me for a more thorough reply. It is a pressingBiggest-SEO-Scam issue you present. One of my first ever jobs was making bagels in a small family owned bakery at the end of a strip mall. The business went under because the new owner of the strip mall refused to honor the no competition clause from the previous landlord and allowed a Dunkin Donuts to open at the other end of the strip mall. What you present is the digital version of the same greedy and irresponsible behavior." We've met with several large SEO Groups in the Chicago and Naperville area recently and have been given feedback that would make some cringe.  They were highly upset that we were letting people in on the dirty secret of the SEO market.  From this posting, many thought that we had broken some unwritten code that all SEO groups should never tell the customers the truth about what we do.  I'd like to make it very clear that there is no secret handshake or code that we have with other groups and that all of our loyalties are entrusted with our customers, not our fellow marketers.
If your SEO and SEM group will not sign a "No Compete", you may wish to move on to those who will.  While this is not needed in all cases, for a local marketing campaign, it should be considered a key to success.   Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization are of no use if your Marketer is working for both you and your competition. In Naperville, this has been happening far to often and is taking away from the ability of competing sites to actually compete. The most recent meeting we had was with a gentleman who claimed that his system would democratically rotate his clients through the top pages and spread the wealth of business throughout all of them.  Many businesses who employ him have no idea that this is even occurring.  The customer only knows that they are paying to be listed on the top pages of the search engines.  Why pay for competitive marketing when there's no competition?  Anyone who thinks that SEO and SEM is not competitive marketing is gravely mistaken; were it not, it wouldn't be worth as much in cost and value as it has been elevated to. Again, I've ranted and rambled throughout this entire post, but the message and points made are key to ensuring quality customer support.  If your SEO or SEM group is not offering a "No Compete Contract" you may being throwing your money and potential business into a burn pit.  Consider how much time and money you will likely invest into a quality SEO and SEM campaign; do you really want it to be given to a group that will be supporting your competitors with the same if not more interest than your own. Please forgive the rant appeal of these two post, but for me it is still a sore issue that has a bitter consequence.

Some SEO Companies Aren’t Protecting Their Own

Feeling lost in the crowd?
Are you getting ripped off by your SEO and SEM Provider?hidden links Have you found yourself paying an exorbitant amount for SEO only to find that the company you've hired to handle your optimization is working for your competition as well? Has this left you feeling lost in the crowd of your fellow competitors? If you've never considered this, you should.  Many SEO and SEM groups will cater to a specific market without regard to their actual clients.   From even the most basic perspective, this is counterproductive.  If you are trying to get higher in the ranks than your opponent(and they trying to get higher than you), ho wins with you both competing at the same optimization vendor?... That's Right! The vendor wins twice! With both of you paying for his services, the effective outcome is for both clients to dole out more money and resources than needed and have a virtual stalemate as a result.  Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons people are left with a bitter taste in their mouths about SEO. I'm writing this post today in response to a SPAM comment left on our site.  It read "why not handle your own SEO before telling others about it?'.   I did some further research of the IP and found that it was written by an individual upset with the progress we've made with one of his former clients page rank.  I can understand that there may be some frustration with a competing group giving better results to his former client, but I don't think he understands why. At Naper Design, we have chosen to only handle One Customer, Per Industry, Per Location. We have only one Dentist in Naperville that we impart SEO for, There is only on Interior Designer in the Naperville area that we are employed by.  Yes, this does limit our clientele, but the reward is worth it.  Not only are we relieved of the burden of apposing clients, our portfolio shows a dedicated practice to a satisfied client. Like all sales, marketing, and business, everything comes down to a simple questions:
  • Will I provide the best quality service to a long term and valued client, or will I grab a mass of clients I don't care about and give them sub-par results?
When we began Naper Design, it started as a community oriented and group development project.  We never knew we were going to make a company out of an organization of people who enjoy working with others.  Now that we find ourselves competing with organizations in a higher level, we may decide to perch at the level we have obtained.  While that limits our ability at growth, we don't have to become the scoundrels that pit client against client for a financial windfall. We cannot emphasize enough the need to ensure that your SEO group have your best interest at heart.  If you find that you are only paying to the same group as your competition, one of you might wish to move to a different vendor.  Otherwise, both of you are likely to lose. Now that this rambling is complete, I'm quite anxious to see the angered SPAM from my own competitors.  I may actually let their post through this time.