SEO for Beginners: Our Best SEO Tutorial

As an Internet marketer, I often find it amazing that people use search engines several times a day without the knowledge that the results are constantly being evaluated and ranked by their quality. The results, they just… happen.

Those .25 seconds it takes for Google to show you something useful rely on years of data collection, quality control, and extremely hard work from the creators of the resulting websites. Search engine optimization is the task of understanding that process and applying it to the content you create.

I’ve created this SEO tutorial with two goals: one, to give you an understanding of that process, and two, to give you ways to improve the way your website appears in the search results.

Are These Google Penalties Fact or Fiction?

When you work in Internet marketing, you tend to hear a lot of myths about Google, and the penalties they issue to webmasters. Considering how often the search engine updates its algorithms and releases new updates, it’s no wonder there are so many Google penalty myths. All it takes is one well-meaning person to misread a Webmaster Tools message or post unconfirmed information, and the rumors spread from there.

If you’re new to the concept of Google penalties, or have only read a little on the subject, you may be under the impression that Google can (and does) punish everyone for everything. You may have heard about websites being taken out of search engine results for buying links, as jcpenney.com was exposed for doing a few years ago. Or you may have heard rumors that you can be de-indexed for accidentally duplicating your own content — or for other people duplicating yours. Are these penalties fact or fiction?

In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the rumored penalties and algorithm updates discussed across the web, and do a little bit of myth-busting in the process. By the time you’re finished reading, you should have a better idea of which penalties are real, which are simply best practices you should be aware of, and which are pure fiction.

We’ll start by explaining the two types of penalties — algorithmic and manual — which should come in handy for those of you new to this subject. Let’s begin!

How to Identify Quality Keywords

Compelling content is the cornerstone of Internet marketing. No matter how strong your branding is or how beautiful your website looks, content is needed to move people through the purchasing funnel. Without content, nothing else really matters.

Getting your content to do its job isn’t an easy feat, though. I’ve written before how content has become a commodity, and is easier and cheaper to get than ever before. “Easy” and “cheap” don’t often translate into “good,” however, and that is absolutely the case with website content.

Your content needs a number of things to thrive: the right tone, the proper industry vocabulary, and effective calls to action. Most of all, though, it needs to be written about a topic that people are interested in.

Keyword research might be one of the oldest tricks in the book, with regards to SEO, but it still works and will keep your content relevant to your target market. Remember: your content is only compelling if people are around to read it. To make sure people will see it, you need to make sure your content is properly optimized for the right keywords. Here’s how to identify the quality keywords that will attract the most visitors to your website.

How to Build Your Very First Link

So you built a website for your business. Awesome! Now you just have to sit back, relax, and wait for your customers to start knocking at your door. Right?

The truth is, you could build the world’s most beautiful, fully-featured, interactive masterpiece of a website… but if nobody knows it’s there, it won’t get you any customers.

The Internet is built on links. Google uses the trust passed down through millions of websites – from government organizations to renowned colleges and universities, all the way down to your site – in order to rank and categorize your website. But if you don’t have any links, your website is essentially an internet orphan. Google’s robots won’t know where to place you in their vast index – they won’t even know how to find you! And even if you submit your website directly to Google, as more and more time passes, a lack of links to your website is a glaring warning sign that it can’t be trusted. Why else would nobody link to it?

Do any search on Google and you’ll start to see some familiar names coming up time and time again. Wikipedia. Yahoo. WebMD. CNN. These sites have achieved an incredibly high level of trust from Google, in part because of all of the links they have earned from other trustworthy sites.

Fortunately, you can pretty easily get some of that trust for your own website, too. This post will teach you how to build your first link – maybe even your first five!

Free Google Analytics Reporting Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier

Google offers us a lot of data to use with our website in one of the most important tools out there: Google Analytics. However, there is almost too much data available. Thankfully there are free Google Analytics reporting tools that give you a glance at important KPIs to keep you in the loop.

Chances are, you’ve wasted a lot of time wandering around your Analytics account just looking at numbers. It’s too easy to get lost in all the different data points that are just a few clicks away from each other. Rather than wasting my time every day or every month, I sought out a solution.

As it turns out, there are a few handy tools out there that save you valuable time to make important decisions rather than kill time by floating around your Google Analytics account. Let’s take a look!

Thin Isn’t In: How to Recover from Google’s Thin Content Penalty

Most of Google’s website penalties are fairly straightforward. But there’s one that has the potential to be confusing, and cause serious trouble for webmasters who don’t know how to properly address it.

The thin content manual penalty, introduced just last year, is one that removes websites from search results on the basis of their content adding no value to the online landscape. But what is thin content, exactly? And how can webmasters who receive this penalty take actions to get their sites ranking again?

In this post, I’ll define thin content, explain the penalty, and provide ways that you can recover from it — or avoid it, if it’s something you haven’t yet encountered. Read on to learn more.