Is Link Building For Your Website Worth The Effort?

In the past link building was used by online marketers to build tons of backlinks to their website to increase search engine rankings. And it worked. But, in 2012, the Google Penguin algorithm update stopped websites spamming their search results. In particular, those websites which were buying links or getting them through free link building sites designed to boost their Google rankings.

So does this mean that link building for your website is all but dead today? Far from it!

Don't Disregard Link Building For Your Website

Link building for your website has always been an important factor for it to rank well in the search engines. Links back to your website provide strong signals that your site is relevant and popular.

The focus for any website owner is now to create quality content and then build links to that from other relevant high-quality sites.

How To Do Link Building With Content

Generally, increasing the number of backlinks pointing to your website will improve your website's search ranking. To get more links, contact authoritative websites or blogs to see if you can provide a guest post or article. That post or article will contain a link back to your website.

It's much easier to build links to your site when you have high-quality content. Remember that without good content your online business has no value to your audience. It doesn't have to be a literary masterpiece, but it should be relevant and interesting.

Evergreen Content

Content can be an article, a blog post, a report, an eBook, an online course, a video or an audio. The best kind of content is that which is classed as ‘evergreen'. This means that the information presented doesn't go out of date, so in years to come it's still relevant. That means you'll still have content on your site that's worth linking to.

Social Media

It's true that Google still relies on ‘traditional links', that is, links from other authority sites. We're now seeing a shift towards Google and Bing taking more of an interest on what's happening on social media.

What social media links are great for is to reach your real live customers. This is a way to drive traffic back to your site without having to worry about what Google or Bing does. Once again, content is king. If you continually produce high-quality content, your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ will share these posts, comment on them and vote for them.

With over 150 million active monthly users, Google is paying more attention to Pinterest. It's become a major player in the social media universe. Pinterest can boost your search engine rankings and send you free, targeted traffic. Don't ignore this social media superbrand. Download your free Pinterest Marketing Checklist at:

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Google Analytics Language Codes

Here’s a reference for the language codes you will find in your Google Analytics reports:

ar-saArabic (Saudi Arabia)ar-iqArabic (Iraq)
ar-egArabic (Egypt)ar-lyArabic (Libya)
ar-dzArabic (Algeria)ar-maArabic (Morocco)
ar-tnArabic (Tunisia)ar-omArabic (Oman)
ar-yeArabic (Yemen)ar-syArabic (Syria)
ar-joArabic (Jordan)ar-lbArabic (Lebanon)
ar-kwArabic (Kuwait)ar-aeArabic (U.A.E.)
ar-bhArabic (Bahrain)ar-qaArabic (Qatar)
zh-twChinese (Taiwan)zh-cnChinese (PRC)
zh-hkChinese (Hong Kong SAR)zh-sgChinese (Singapore)
daDanishnlDutch (Standard)
nl-beDutch (Belgium)enEnglish
en-usEnglish (United States)en-gbEnglish (United Kingdom)
en-auEnglish (Australia)en-caEnglish (Canada)
en-nzEnglish (New Zealand)en-ieEnglish (Ireland)
en-zaEnglish (South Africa)en-jmEnglish (Jamaica)
enEnglish (Caribbean)en-bzEnglish (Belize)
en-ttEnglish (Trinidad)etEstonian
fiFinnishfrFrench (Standard)
fr-beFrench (Belgium)fr-caFrench (Canada)
fr-chFrench (Switzerland)fr-luFrench (Luxembourg)
gdGaelic (Scotland)gaIrish
deGerman (Standard)de-chGerman (Switzerland)
de-atGerman (Austria)de-luGerman (Luxembourg)
de-liGerman (Liechtenstein)elGreek
idIndonesianitItalian (Standard)
it-chItalian (Switzerland)jaJapanese
koKoreankoKorean (Johab)
mkMacedonian (FYROM)msMalaysian
mtMaltesenoNorwegian (Bokmal)
noNorwegian (Nynorsk)plPolish
pt-brPortuguese (Brazil)ptPortuguese (Portugal)
ro-moRomanian (Republic of Moldova)ruRussian
ru-moRussian (Republic of Moldova)szSami (Lappish)
srSerbian (Cyrillic)srSerbian (Latin)
sbSorbianesSpanish (Spain)
es-mxSpanish (Mexico)es-gtSpanish (Guatemala)
es-crSpanish (Costa Rica)es-paSpanish (Panama)
es-doSpanish (Dominican Republic)es-veSpanish (Venezuela)
es-coSpanish (Colombia)es-peSpanish (Peru)
es-arSpanish (Argentina)es-ecSpanish (Ecuador)
es-clSpanish (Chile)es-uySpanish (Uruguay)
es-pySpanish (Paraguay)es-boSpanish (Bolivia)
es-svSpanish (El Salvador)es-hnSpanish (Honduras)
es-niSpanish (Nicaragua)es-prSpanish (Puerto Rico)
sv-fiSwedish (Finland)thThai

How do I create a successful social media campaign?

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What appeals to you? What compels you to act? Peer to peer impressions have more influence now than ever before. A friend recommending a restaurant, product, service, etc. can have more impact than a paid advertisement. Think about the types of posts, information, etc. that not only appeals to your customers, but they will also want to share.

The ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge” was one of the most successful social media campaigns to date. It incorporated entertaining videos of people challenging people they know to support a worthy cause. The challenge went viral and spread like wildfire. As a result, the ALS Association not only raised a ton of money for their cause, but they spread awareness of the disease and their mission throughout the United States and beyond.

Social media was meant to be “social.” Direct selling of your product and/or service through social media is not as effective as offering something of value to your customers. Consider these ideas when developing a social medial campaign for your business:

  1. Helpful tips people will want to share
    (i.e. a pest control service may want to post tips on reducing mosquitos around your home, etc.)
  2. Entertaining videos – people love to share humor so come up with a video or series of funny, short videos that demonstrate the value of your product.
  3. Contests
    (i.e. send us a 30 second video showing why you love our product; we will post and people will have an opportunity to select their top three favorites; winners will receive a prize, etc.)
  4. Live streams – Facebook Live is an example of a platform where you can transmit live video streams. Consider broadcasting “live” content that is entertaining and informative. This new feature of Facebook – introduced in April 2016 – is gaining in popularity. Learn more here:

You don’t have to be a million-dollar company to create catchy a social media campaign that reaches millions of people. It just takes one good idea to go viral.

Immediate Notification When Someone Mentions Your Business Online

Did you know that Google will notify you every time someone mentions your business or website online?

Would you like to receive notifications each time your competitor is mentioned online?

All you have to do is set up Google Alerts.   With Google Alerts, Google will send you e-mails anytime your web page or company name is mentioned.

Google Alerts is an easy method of finding new pages and articles linking to your site or mentioning your service.

Or, for monitoring your competition.

Just go to:

What Is The Nofollow Tag; When & How To Use It

We often consult with clients about the use of the nofollow tag.  Sometimes our job is to identify whether or not a link from another website to our client's site is beneficial to our client's SEO, sometimes we offer advice on how our client should structure outgoing links on their own site.

The nofollow tag is one way that site owners tell search engines to NOT count a link to another web page as a “vote” in favor of that website.

Using nofollow can help site owners whose sites contain many links avoid problems with search engines believing they are participating in unacceptable SEO practices.

This infographic from explains nofollow quite well.

Nofollow tag

WordPress as a Content Management System

For our clients who require a content management system for their websites, we highly recommend and fully support WordPress and Yoast SEO plugins.  

Google Plus Introduces Giant Cover Photos

Google Plus introduced giant cover photos this week along with several other features in an effort to make their social network bigger and better.  The new larger photos occupy nearly half the screen.

The cover photos aren't the only changes on Google Plus. The “About” tab is redesigned, and “Reviews” now compiles all of your reviews from Google Local.

These new Google Plus improvements are still rolling out, so not everyone can see them yet.

If you need help getting your cover photo ready, just contact us.

How To Get The Most Seo And Web Traffic Benefits From Blogging

The best way to get people and search engines (which means more people) to your website is by getting relevant inbound links. If you have some great new gimmick on your website this may be easy as everyone will be linking to you.

However, with a basic, solid web page the process may be much more difficult and slower.  How do you get people to link to you?

Blogs can be great way to get visitors and develop a long term return. Blog posts tend to stick around for a long time. The trick here is to get people to blog about your website without forking over a bundle of your hard earned cash.

A great idea is to become a guest blogger. This would be where you write blog posts for other people’s blogs and include your link!

This puts you in the drivers seat for a couple of reasons. First you have control over exactly what is said. Secondly, if you do a good job you may have the opportunity to make regular blog posts. That will build an audience on the blogs for your writing and turn into more and higher quality traffic for your website.

The key to being a great guest blogger is to write short (3 to 6 or so paragraph) posts that are interesting, informative, humorous and relevant to the topic of the blog (and your website). Of course they should have a link to your website. Don’t over do the linking. Don’t make it sound like an advertisement or something you just cut and pasted from your website.

A few minutes to compose a couple of well thought out paragraphs could do wonders for your web traffic. Keep looking for guest blogging opportunities and never use the same post for more than one blog. One post could bring a lifetime of traffic.

This may well be your most effective way to developing quality web traffic and enhancing your the SEO for your website(s).

Contact us if you need help finding guest bloggers for your blog or if you want to write blog posts and become a guest blogger for others.

Over Optimization And The Google Sandbox

So, you put a lot of effort into creating a really great website only to find that no one can find it and Google doesn't rank your site very highly. You hear about a thing called “search engine optimization” and decide to give it a try. Before you go adding your keywords to every element of your pages and building links any way you can, take a step back and remind yourself of the old saying, “sometimes less is more”.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, has really taken off over the last ten years as more and more fledgling webmasters have created websites, only to find that no one comes to visit. As they search around for ways to get more visitors, most of them quickly find resources on how to optimize a web page for the search engines and go right to work sprinkling keywords everywhere and building links from any place they can get them.

This causes problems for a search engine because, lets face it, you are trying to manipulate the search results and they are trying to avoid being manipulated. After all, just because YOU think your site is a great resource on a topic doesn't mean that it is. Google has already adjusted for the webmaster that is over-optimizing their website, and its called the Google “sandbox”. The sandbox is a name that disgruntled webmasters have given to the situation where a new site that should rank well for a keyword is nowhere to be found in the rankings, only to suddenly appear one day several months down the road. What is this sandbox effect and what could cause it?

One theory is that the “sandbox” is actually more of a “trustbox”, meaning that Google looks at many attributes of your site to determine if you are attempting to manipulate the search rankings. The most obvious, and the twp traps that most beginning webmasters fall into is over-optimizing on-page content and building too many low quality links too fast.

It is believed that the newer your domain is, the less tolerance Google has for over-optimization of pages, or suspiciously fast link building. Once you trip the filter, you're placed in the holding cell (“sandbox”), because Google suspects you of trying to manipulate the results. The tolerance for over-optimization may vary based on the industry, so “spammy” industries such as pharmaceutical drugs are far more sensitive to over-optimization than most. That can cause some discouragement by many who are hoping to find fast success since those industries are already competitive enough that you NEED highly optimized content and lots of links to possibly compete for top rankings, but you can't do it too quickly or you will be sandboxed.

At a recent WebmasterWorld conference, Matt Cutts from Google stated that there really wasn’t a “sandbox”, but “the algorithm might affect some sites, under some circumstances, in a way that a webmaster would perceive as being sandboxed.” This means that avoiding the sandbox is merely a matter of optimizing your site without tripping the filters in Google's algorithm.

Ask yourself these questions to avoid over-optimization penalties:

  • Is your title a single target keyword phrase and nothing else?
  • Is your keyword phrase found in several of the following locations: title, header, subheaders, bold or italicized words?
  • Does the page read differently than you would normally speak?
  • Are you in a competitive industry that is frequented by spammers?
  • Have you acquired a large number of low PageRank links quickly?
  • Do you have very few high PageRank (6+) links pointing to your site?

In summary, the current theory about Google's “sandbox” is that it is actually more like a holding cell where the Google “police” keep your website when it is suspected of possibly trying to manipulate the search results. As the domain ages, most sites eventually gain enough “trust” to escape the sandbox and immediately start ranking where they normally would. Remember that Google is not manually ranking every website – in the end it is simply a computer algorithm and those who are able to score well in Google's algorithm WITHOUT tripping any filters will achieve top rankings and profit the most.