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Be a more effective Google User October 24, 2015

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Social Media.
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Every time we surf the web, we use a search engine at least once. Go to your favorite search engine web site, enter a phrase or two and select a result on what you are looking for. Typical scenario, right? A search engine might even be the default web site whenever you open up a browser. While the search engines have vastly improved and have been in use a long time, are you searching beyond the basics? Are you aware of ways to improve the results, hone your search technique? Maybe it’s time for a refresher on the ways to search.

Infogrpahic GooglePowerUserWhich calls for an infographic – love the use of these to convey lots of information visually. This is a great visual from the folks at daily infographic.

A few of the search tips to be a more effective user include:

Quotes – to search for an exact phrase, use quotes around that text as in “exact phrase“.

Search on a particular site – to restrict results to a specific site, enter the search word(s) then add site: as in site:this_site_only.com.

Search for a particular file type – add filetype with a colon and then the suffix. Example : filetype:doc

Search with keywords – Insert keywords such as define, translate or movies in front of the search term.

You can view the complete list of ways to use Google search as the Guide is a great reference. Refer to that page  for more on ways to make searching more effective. Part 3 of that guide talks about search tools specifically.

Once you start to use and master these techniques, your search results will improve and search time will be shorter.

Share a favorite or two of yours and I will post a summary. Maybe you will find this post in your search results.

Happy searching!

 

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Ruminations on optimum SEO April 24, 2012

Posted by Edwin Ritter in SEO.
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Let’s agree first off that you can never fully optimize a web site. As the site changes, revising the search engine ‘spider-food‘ occurs at the same time and is always a good thing. Second, let’s also acknowledge that every so often, google makes changes to its’ search algorithm. Keeping your site visible to the search engines and aligned to the latest algorithm is all for the good.

But, you don’t want too much of a good thing. As the search algorithm changes and sites are re-indexed using the new criteria, having an over-optimized site may not provide the results you had in the past, or, want going forward. In fact, sites that are not changed may see a penalty.

I recently found this video from SEOmoz* that lists 6 ways to avoid over optimizing a site for SEO :

  1. Be authentic – simple and easy but not always common.
  2. Manipulative internal links – don’t do that.
  3. Link filled footers – don’t do that either.
  4. Text blocks aimed at search engines – yeah, don’t and what a bad user experience.
  5. Back links from non-reputable sources – another black hat technique**
  6. Large amounts of pages targeting similar links – keep it simple.

*SEOmoz is a great resource for organic SEO tips, tools and best practices. Each week, they post a video in their ‘White Board Friday (WBF)’ series.

**Black Hat SEO involves the worst practices and techniques frowned on by the search engines. White Hat SEO is good and rewarded. Always wear a white hat while practicing SEO. And, goggles.

Avoid the penalty. Put on your White hat and check if your site(s) are over-optimized.

Ramblings on Social Media Best Practices December 19, 2011

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Now that we have been practicing for some time, we are aware of good (and, bad) ways to employ social media. Opinions will vary about the ‘best of the best’. That is the beauty of the web, it always changes. From a book summary I read on social media, here are some of the best practices according to the author at this point in time. The full abstract about the book is available here. This is not an exhaustive, all inclusive list. The basics are covered and should align with your current techniques for using social media effectively.

There are multiple platforms* available for your content and they should be used relative to the target audience. Perhaps due to timing, one platform not mentioned is Goolge+. Having likeable content is a fundamental criteria for success. Get your customer to listen to you and then….

  1. Listen first, and never stop listening – You want to know what customers think. Ask and they will tell you. Next, the most important thing to do is listen. Closing the loop by acting on what your customers tell you will prove that you not only listened, but that you understand and can do something about it.
  2. Define your target audience better than ever – There are many tools that allow you can focus on your true demographics for your product/service(s). Define them and determine what will  make them ‘like’ your content.
  3. Think – and act – like your consumer – Remember, it’s about them, not you. Don’t sell them; instead, provide content this is of interest to them. Get them talking about topics of interest and find ways to integrate your wares into their lifestyle.
  4. Invite your customers to be your first fans – Word of mouth (WOM) is key here. The more likes you get, the better your credibility. Be clear about your value proposition and define what is in it for them. Remember, there is no value add if only your employees are interacting with your content.
  5. Create true dialogue with, and between, your customers – Related to listening and being genuine. Get them talking about you to leverage the WOM effect. When your customers share tips, tricks with others, it proves they are engaged. It also saves you from providing customer support directly. Help guide the discussion by acknowledging comments – and, correct where needed.
  6. Be Authentic – Get connected by being demonstrating an interest in your customers. Personalize it by including your name.
  7. Be Honest and transparent – You can spot a phony a mile away. Your customers can too.
  8. Integrate social media into the entire customer experience – Another fundamental for success and canot be stressed enough. Make sure everyone who interacts with your customers has the same message and is aware of promotions and specials. Regardless of how they find you, it should be consistent messaging. The last thing you want is a dis-connect among channels and mis-managed expectations from your customers.  If they are online, they can tell their network about you – the good and the bad.
  9. Don’t sell! Just make it easy and compelling for customers to buy – They already found your content and are engaged. Don’t insult them with a bland sales pitch. State the (relative) value proposition clearly and make it easy to ‘Add to Cart‘.

*Platforms range from Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Blogs and specialized networks (e.g. – flickr, yelp, etc.)

Having a dialogue with your customers is easy using a social media platform. I would add that you keep in mind how you want to be treated. After all, we all are consumers in the end.

Google Instant Search – It’s new and it’s improved. Is it different? September 17, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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Any time google does something, people notice. And, people talk about it. True to form, when google instant recently started a phased release, the digerati posted numerous articles about it. One amusing aspect from these is the reaction people have to this enhanced search capability. I’m sure you have seen or heard some of the exaggerations:

  • It’s a game changer!
  • It will end search as we know it!
  • There is no need to do SEO anymore!

Easy, now. This is not that big of a change. While the search experience using google instant is improved, it is not a quantum change. In fact, it is more of the same, only faster.

google instant search image

shot of google instant

One benefit with google instant that I like is the predictive set of results shown while typing. While some results are laughable, many are close, if not exactly the term sought. This is how your time is saved while searching. For searchers, the speed increase is the biggest impact – it decreases the time spent on search by a lot. But, the actual results and mechanics involved on how to get ranked for SEO terms does not change.

I think google instant will improve our search habits. It will encourage us to be more selective in terms used and symbiotically this will lead to improved results shown. We will be smarter in use of search and so will the google search index.

I saw this article that succinctly talks about the impact and what it really means for businesses going forward. Check it out and share it the next time you hear someone say google instant means we don’t have to do SEO anymore.

Currently, google provides the option to dis-able using instant. So search can be the same as it ever was. I suspect that once you get used to the increased speed, you will always use instant. And, when using other search engines, showing the results will seem s-l-o-w-e-r, zzzzzz.