Ranking #1 on Google

Google SEO Advice from Banner OS Mark Cenicola

from my interview with Mark Cenicola……

socialsignals“We started our company in 1999, so we have been in business nearly 15 years now. Our original concept was one that quite frankly was a failure. The failure came from not planning properly for some of the regulations that were required to get into the business. The business we were going to start was kind of an Antiques Roadshow for the Internet. My buddy and I went out and were buying stuff at yard sales and we would buy these old books and photos and try to take it photo that we bought for $10 that was really worth $1,000 and turn around and sell it through a website.

One of the challenges we ran into was that since we wanted to maintain the inventory and do all of the purchasing ourselves, we ran up against regulations that applied to pawn shops. The local government wanted us to go through extensive background checks and at the time we are only 19 years old and we did not have a background, so we were not worried about that. But there was one thing that they required that really put the nail in the coffin for us. To try to track any goods that were stolen, they wanted us, like a pawn shop, to have a copy of a person’s ID when we bought the product from them. So can you imagine a couple of 19-year-old kids going up to a yard sale and trying to buy an old painting for three dollars and asking for a copy of their driver’s license?

We decided to let other people post their items for sale and we would compete with eBay. We thought we could do fixed price listing so it was really a classified ad site. Well, we couldn’t get any funding for it. It was that during the bust in early 2000, so our timing was terrible. One thing that we learned during this process is that we were not bad at developing technology and websites. We decided to try it as a service, and we picked up a few customers and long story short, over the next 10 or 15 years, we really built out our business helping other companies do business on the Internet.

Google has tried to make it more difficult to use automated methods to essentially game the algorithm and get to the top of Google listings. I won’t say it’s not impossible, but usually the companies that are doing that are starting to get found out and they have the disastrous situation of getting filtered or blacklisted by the search engines. Essentially you are invisible if that happens. We’re starting to see more of unscrupulous sites getting filtered out. We are also seeing an increase in social signals. The search engines are starting to use social signals to see what content is being shared. Is it being shared among high value users with respect in the community? So they are using these different signasl to determine how important the content is. So not only do you need great content, but people need to be talking about it.”

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SEO w Shark Tank Winner Nikki Pope

From my interview with Nikki Pope….

Nikki Pope

Nikki Pope

“Probably anyone who owns a business, website, or has a business phone will receive three or four sometimes calls a week from SEO companies, or it will be an automated call saying, ‘hey this is Google we want to check on your listing.’ And it is not Google. Google does not call people. We want to make sure that the SEO that we provide for people is white hat SEO. We came across this working for a different company that mostly did black hat techniques. While they gave all of their clients really fast results, when Google made an update like the Penguin update, all of those websites lost their rankings. Some of them were getting all business from that. We did not like being part of so we took all of our knowledge and left.

Stay away from pay per click advertising, because it is a money vacuum and we focus on getting our clients ranked. It is not a fast process, it can take four, five, or six months to get someone on the first page of Google depending on what they’re trying to go for.

If you have a keyword that is going to be difficult to get on the front page of Google, we also throw in some longtail keywords because they generally rank faster. If you are a printing company and want people to come to you for business cards, ‘business cards’ would be a short tail keyword. Not just because it is two words, but it is the biggest keyword that people will search for on Google. So there is more competition for that. A long tail keyword would be like ‘custom design business card.’ It’s a little bit more specific. Business card gets 4.2 million hits a month, and of course you want that traffic, but it will take a long time to get your business up there. The other only gets 600,000 hits a month and will be easier to get you ranked, and you will start to get you some traffic. If we do that over time, Google is going to say, ‘ they would probably be a good fit for business cards also.’

You always need to be updating content. What you need to do is keep in mind how people might find you online. Whatever word you think they like typing on Google to find what you do, the content that you create to your site should use those words.”



Radio Highlight: David Amerland on Semantic Search

David Amerland on Semantic Search – a highlight from my interview on School for Startups Radio

David Amerland

David Amerland

“The predicament that you are in right now is based by pretty much every business on the planet. I’ve done a lot of corporate speaking, helping global businesses or global corporations get up to speed on semantic search and although their budgets are huge, were talking 10 million a year, it’s not enough for what they really need to do. So they’re in the same boat as the small operator or medium enterprise. The good news is that gradually we are going to get to a state of affairs that if the business markets itself properly and transparently, and in a way that it helps clarify what it does, the reliance on paid search and marketing will be less and less.

So semantic search, what is what my book is about, is how you can actually achieve that at a minimal cost in terms of the money that you outlay, but obviously there is always a hidden cost. Time, effort that you invest. The good news is that we are in a position now where he can take advantage of this without a huge outlay of money and get a level playing field. It pretty much puts the smaller operator in exactly the same boat as the large operator. Which I think is great news.

You’re absolutely right, essentially if we look at traditional search, Boolean search, any type word any kind of word and  the search didn’t really understand it. The search was a series of numbers. What it came down to was that, but when you try to match that statistically with text, the search didn’t really understand. Semantic search actually understands the word, so if you type in a specific word, for instance, it understands the word and understands which words go together. And that is radical.”

See more from David here….

Radio Highlight: Getting 1.5 Million Friends on Google Plus w Lynette Young

from my interview with Lynette Young 

Lynette Young

Lynette Young

“Small business owners do not have time to add more work. This is exactly why I wrote professionally, I probably have had 14 or 15 years of experience with small and medium-size businesses, because I am one. Before that, I spent a decade and a half in corporate enterprise, so I made a switch, right. Experience that I had going, having the tools available to me in the enterprise setting, and coming out on the other side and being a small business myself, and working almost predominantly with small businesses, it gave me a really good edge on writing this book Google + for Small Businesses.

Because I know we don’t have enough time, small business owners are wearing a lot of hats, we have a lot of things to deal with, and we are also the ones that have to do all the marketing, the sales, scrub the toilets, restock the shelves. These are all on us. Which personally for myself was a huge shift, coming from a corporate environment realizing that it was now my responsibility to do all of these things. So what I did in the book, was it gives you a primer on why you must use Google Plus and other social media in general, so anyone that hasn’t had an experience using digital media platform such as Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, are you new to all these crazy things that are out there? You can get some background on social media, then I just talk about the things you need to get started. Not all the bells and whistles of Google Plus because there is tons of content in that, it is a very feature rich platform, with a lot of benefits. And then at the end of the book I actually gave you a time breakdown how you can squeeze in social media for 10, 15, 20 minutes in a week. And that is it.”

Learn more from Lynette here…

Google Page Rank Today

Are you curious about the importance of Google’s Page Rank? I came across a great post about where Google Page Rank stands today amidst the 200+ features Google considers when cataloging your page. You can read the article here.

Want to see your competitors google ads metrics?

go to

type in the domain name of your competitors and you can see each of their active ads campaign! it shows page reach, click through and even sorts it by the most successful ones.

Did you know even amazon had 1675 active ads right now? Walmart has 2365

You can also use spy fu to figure out their marketing budget.

ebay spends $24.76k – $147.52k on keyword advertising

Paid vs. Organic Clicks Per Day:
177k / 2.23M



Daily Adwords (PPC) Ad Budget:
$23.03k – $225.89k

Paid vs. Organic Clicks Per Day:
268k / 4.69M

No Follow Blog Link Building

In search engine optimization (SEO), the key is building links to your site.  The more links, the higher you rank.  One of the best ways to get links can be using blogs.  You find a blog on a topic that is related to your site, and then add a comment, with your URL, in the comment section.  You hope that the URL link you added then gets counted for SEO purposes.  Sometimes it does, sometime it doesn’t, depending on the wishes on the webmaster.

For a webmaster to insure that you get no credit for posting comments they use what is called a No Follow command.  In the code for the site, the space for comments includes that no follow tag, and your site gets no credit.  So there is really no reason to post comments on this site.

A friend of mine suggested a product called  She has had success with it.  The software allows you to input the topics of blogs you wish to find, and it find blogs only that do NOT use NO Follow.  So, it finds blogs that transfer SEO credit to you, showing you where to post.

Anyone else used this product?  If it works, could be very cool……



Changes at Google – And Its NOT Just Backlinks

I read lots of dorky technology blogs, and in summary, everyone has decided that big changes are afoot.  We have been talking about Google’s backlink backlash.  Google has been delisting, or moving, several sites that had been ranking very well. and JCPenny were both buying links to their sites in attempts to improve rankings.  It worked, for awhile, but they got caught, and now their sites barely rank at all.

In addition to that, two changes at Google.  First, it seems PageRank is back.  PR is the numerical score that Google gives every page on the Internet, telling you how important your site is to them.  Zero for irrelevant and 10 for only the super, super important sites, like Google itself.  PR scores had been stuck for months.  NO one saw any improvement for about the last year.  Now, in February we have seen some action.

Second, on January 21st, Google said, “we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content.”
(citation:  To make that clearer, they followed up with, “The new classifier is better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy words—the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments.”   What does that mean?  CONTENT MATTERS MORE NOW.

Google Rampage Continues – Latest

More about the ongoing backlink backlash!  Looks like Erik is right!  My Google guru told me it was coming, and it has: Google is fighting back against SEO efforts…   Overstock got caught using a tool we have mentioned, but NOT endorsed, in class, using links from an edu site.  From the Wall Street Journal….


Google Inc. is penalizing Inc. in its search results after the retailer ran afoul of Google policies that prohibit companies from artificially boosting their ranking in the Internet giant’s search engine.

Overstock’s pages had recently ranked near the top of results for dozens of common searches, including “vacuum cleaners” and “laptop computers.” But links to Overstock on Tuesday dropped to the fifth or sixth pages of Google results for many of those categories, greatly reducing the chances that a user would click on its links.

The incident, according to Overstock, stemmed in part from its practice of encouraging websites of colleges and universities to post links to Overstock pages so that students and faculty could receive discounts on the shopping site. Overstock said it discontinued the program on Feb. 10, before hearing from Google, but said some university webmasters have been slow to remove the links.

Read more:

More about Backlinks and JCPenny

More about my post from last week on Google and the Backlink Backlash……

by Josh McCoy on SearchEngineWatch

One of the biggest events in a long time for the search marketing world began last week with the New York Times article on bad linking practices undertaken by JCPenney’s search engine optimization (SEO) firm, SearchDex.

Google’s penalization wasn’t a big surprise to seasoned SEO veterans, considered their identified linking practices.

However, this can be seen as a wake-up call to the rest of the online world — especially large corporations that have yet to understand the severity of allowing SEO companies to engage in unhealthy linking practices.

It’s safe to say that most large companies wouldn’t let a child sit in their headquarters and play with a book of matches. Letting your search firm execute paid linking schemes is like playing with fire when it comes to your brand and search engine visibility.

Let’s take a look at how not to link your site throughout the web, as well as how you can avoid search engine ranking suicide.

Read the rest….