Friday, September 9, 2016

Bad SEO Signs

Bad Website SEO Optimization methods

Bad SEO - How to get banned quickly!

Bad SEO - How to get banned quickly!

So, you say you just have WAY too many visitors – crushing your webserver and using up all your bandwidth? Put a few of these really UNHELPFUL tips into play and just watch your rankings tank. Might not happen immediately, but it will eventually. Just watch your site bomb right OFF the SERPs! And it will take forever to get that rank back! Good stuff.

Multiple Doorways – This technique involves using several pages that are optimized specifically for search engine submission. These pages usually are nothing more than huge meta tags, lots of tags containing all the search terms, text that makes almost no sense but is loaded with the search terms. Pages like these will usually then either have a javascript redirect or a page refresh that takes you to another page that wouldn’t rank very well or get much traffic on it’s own merits. If you have a site that has index1.html, index2.html, index3.html, etc, this is probably the case. This is NOT to say that you can’t have multiple versions of your page for tracking purposes. If you submit a website to Google and the URL you give is googleindex.html and you are tracking your hits via googleindex.html hits, then you are not abusing the system. Just make sure your page contains relevant information. There are other ways of examining where your hits come from, but this can be acceptable.

Script Cheats/Cloaking – also referred to as “Stealth” or “cloaking” – This technique looks at the incoming User Agent most of the time and prepares specifically created text for that search engine spider. Legitimate script techniques were heavily used when browsers were not supporting much in the way of standards several years ago. They are still used to maintain backwards compliance and to provide workarounds on certain browsers in some cases. However, if I subvert that concept to look for the “googlebot” user agent and then start feeding out a bunch of search engine spam to get my rankings boosted, that is considered a script cheat. Normally you can spot this sham by the content that is shown on the search engine brief when a search is done and then get to the site and the content isn’t even close. I lost my very high ranking once to a site that had done just that. They were selling insurance and had included my company URL in the spider spam. It included a ton of terms that had nothing to do with my company, it’s products, or anything else. They were simply usurping the power of the name and taking legitimate customers from my site by posing as an affiliated partner – which they weren’t.

Being part of or creating your OWN Link Farms – These are still ranked highly by several search engines much to my disgust. These pages are nothing more than a HUGE collection of links that provide no useful information, but have a ton of links with a tiny bit of associated text. When you have 1000 links each with a little bit of text, you STILL have lots of text for a spider to grab hold of. Search engines have gotten better about recognizing this stuff, but still I think they end up ranking abnormally hgh and provide little information. One that truly ticks me off is the Superpages site. I was looking for something the other day. I kept coming up with these huge lists of links from Superpages. Now why do I need a huge page of links? I want to visit a company that SELLS the stuff, not pages of lists. In some cases maybe huge lists is a good thing, but it defeats the purpose of the search engine as far as I’m concerned. Don’t do it. If you have links, and you should, keep them relevant and complementary to your site.

Hidden text – Some clever webmasters discovered that they could include a load of search terms in the body of their html by either making the text the same color as the background or so small as to be unreadable. While the text was unusable by web surfers, it was picked up by the search engines. By doing this these webmasters just didn’t have to worry about making their content look like they even tried. Ever get to what appears to be a long blank area or whole page that seems to have almost nothing on it? Left click and hold your mouse, drag it through the area. Most likely you see all sorts of text then highlighted. Classic search engine spam.

General META spamming – It’s important to know what terms to use in your META tags. It’s important to use only words that are related to your site. Discovering what words are most frequently searched on the web allows devious webmasters to take that information and then load up their META tags with these words – even if they are completely irrelevant to their site. That’s why searching for something innocuous can still occasionally pull up all grades of porn sites. This HAS improved over the years, but still is out there.

Dummy sites – This consists of setting up a base site and then setting up several other sites, usually on free web host sites, that do nothing more than contain a lot of spammy techniques and then redirect the visitor the actual site. The dummy site may or may not contain anything useful. Either way, if you are immediately redirected or receive a “Click here” to move onto the legit content, it’s probably a dummy site.

or Danger Will Robinson!

Be aware that using some of the spammy techniques as mentioned can actually get you dropped from a search engine. There are things that the engines look for and at closely. If a search engine decides that a website is spamming or falling out of compliance with their policies, your website very well may get dropped. You will have one heck of a time getting your website back on there. In some cases, you might find it easier to pack it up, correct your content/website, get a new domain name and start over again.

If you discover that your web design company has USED some of these spammy techniques, either demand that they change the site immediately or just flat out get a new designer to clean up the mess. Great ranking for a month or two are usually not the goal of any company. Consistent good rankings are what will bring in the customers in the long run. And the goal of any business site is to generate money. Don’t fall for a quick burst of visitors only to find you’ve been dropped from the search engines the next month.

Read more about what WILL get your website banned from the biggest search engine directly – Google Don’ts Dirty Tricks That Will Get Your Site Banned

By adhering to ethical and standard practices, a site that ranks consistently in most or all search engines is possible.

Website search engines have improved vastly in the last few years. I still have no idea some of the little nuances that search engines actually look for when they spider a website, why some web pages that seem useless rank well, why web pages that seem to have the right content DON’T rank well or even show up at times on the engines or why some sites and pages will rank at the top in one engine and barely even appear on another engine. The search engines will never give away their algorithms for rankings so we’re all in the same boat.

Google Algorithms

Search Engine Algorithms Change – FREQUENTLY!

mqdefaultSomething to keep in mind – algorithms for ranking your site are always changing. What worked 5 years ago – even 5 months ago, may or may NOT still be viable. Like any professional thing, ongoing testing and learning are vital to any good SEO company. If your SEO person is relying on practices that USED to work – they may NOT be getting the best results – and may actually be tanking your site. We still see a lot of companies using bad SEO techniques.

It’s not uncommon to see an algorithm change in Google or other search engines causing your site to shift many places in a short period of time. Some shifts are brief, but if your site goes down a few pages and just does NOT come back up, it’s time to try a different strategy – or SEO company. At a minimum, contact your SEO company to find out what’s going on and bring it to their attention. If they’re good, they already know that you’ve shifted and are working on it. If your site moves around a few places from week to week, that’s natural. Some sites though, we have to say, are so much stronger than competitors, that they generally do NOT shift out of first position. You know you’ve got something good going at that point!

Normal variances in your Search Engine Rankings

It is NOT uncommon to see specific rankings shift around from week to week – even day to day in particularly competitive markets and terms. We expect to see variances of a few spots in rankings. We see some pages drop 10 spots, but then another page on your site rises 11 positions for that same term – effectively swapping out positions on the SERPs.


Another common Google Algorithm that will affect your site is PageRank – find out about PageRank here

PageRank – Huh?

UPDATE 2016-09-09: What WAS PageRank? PageRank was an integral part of SEO for many years. Read on to learn more about what it WAS, but its time has now passed.  We haven’t really counted on it now for a couple years – quite a while.  Most SEOs refer to rankings from or or Google still has an internal mechanism for determining how much love they have for your site, but it is no longer shared in ANY fashion with the public.

What WAS PageRank?When you start talking to your SEO company, all those terms… What the heck is offsite? What is onsite? What is this and that? And then, of course, what is PageRank?

Our friends over at Wikipedia have it something along these lines…

PageRank is a link evaluation algorithm, named after Larry Page and used by the Google web-search engine, that designates a numeric weighting to each component of a hyperlinked group of files, like the World Wide Web, together with the purpose of “measuring” its relative significance inside of the set. The formula may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns for any given element E is denoted by PR (E and known as the PageRank of E). PageRank is not Google’s only formula that establishes positions in serp’s, but simply one of several elements utilized to establish ranking sites in search results pages for any specific search. Find out more at their site – PageRank Explained

In short, if you didn’t follow all of that, it’s a system named after Larry Page (one of the Google founders) to help decide just how important your website actually is based on the content, links and other various factors specific to your website. Higher is better. The rankings go from N/A to 10. It is usually referred to as simply “PR” – not to be confused with “public relations” type PR.

Quick PR Ranking Breakdown

  • N/A: Google has no clue who the heck you are. If you have been around for a while, it really doesn’t like your content – scraped or just nothing of any real note. If you’re just starting a website, this is normal.
  • PR 0: Google acknowledges your existence, but doesn’t see much value yet, but it has some faith in you. Still not a desired ranking.
  • PR 1: Now you’re getting somewhere. You have content and some value in Google’s eyes. You’re not setting the world on fire, but you have relevance.
  • PR 2: Okay, not shabby. Google likes you. You’ve got some decent content.
  • PR 3: Good for a local website – much like the ones that we create. You’ve got content that is good, and you’ve got some clout. With a PR 3 site, you can usually launch a page and get pretty quick love from Google on it.
  • PR 4: Now you’ve got some heat. PR 4 and up is pretty powerful medicine if you’re doing either backlinking or buying expired domains for reuse. This ranking indicates some good solid traffic (at some point), relevance, and a good number of backlinks – again, at SOME point.

The rough breakdown is that each successive increase in PR is an order of 10. So a PR 0 is your starting point. A PR 1 is 10x more impressive than that, a PR 2 is 100x more impressive, and a PR 3 1000x stronger. Etc.

What does this mean to MY website?

I’m sure a larger company than Lizardwebs could identify better the higher PR ranks and all that, but once you get moving up the ladder, you want to be PR 1 or higher. For SEO, PR N/A or PR 0 is crap. If you’re creating your own sites from ground up, you will have those rankings for a while. To get to the next level(s), you need to be moving on up the pipe all the time by increasing your unique and useful content, and of course, backlinks. It is NOT a requirement to HAVE a higher PR to rank for a specific search term, but it helps. If a PR 4 site puts up a new page targeting a particular term, it usually has a great chance to rank for that term quickly vs a PR 0 site.

Other terms that you’re likely to hear bandied about when chatting about PR are “google juice”, “link juice”, “google love”, etc. With each increase in PR ranking when a page/site is linked from one of these sites, the PR indicates how much “love” is being passed on to your site. Thus if I want Google to rank my site higher, with the help of some good links, I want to be using some higher PR sites as much as possible. It’s going to take about 1000 PR 0 links to do for my website what just 1 PR 3 link will do. While this is a bit of a simplification, it’s the basic idea. And a good PR 5-7 link? Heck, that can pass on the love of a whole year or two of backlinking from PR 0 sites LOL.

A lot of “splogs” – spam blogs – have the PR N/A or PR 0 designation due to lack of unique or useful content and other factors. With recent Google updates in place, it is generally not advised to be linking from anything less than a PR 1 site. Though…

I see PR 0 sites all day long ranking for keywords, so it seriously is NOT a big issue in many cases.
Additionally, while it is believed that Google does have a real-time PR value for each website/web page, they actually only release those updates quarterly or even semi-annually. If you’re PR 0 today, don’t worry yourself looking up your PR every day – you’re likely going to be disappointed 99% of the time.

Check your PR

Check Page Rank of your Web site pages instantly:

This page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Evolution of SEO and Digital Marketing

Summer is here and so is the national holiday that brings Americans together like no other, Independence Day, the 4th of July. Everyday billions of people celebrate the world wide web without even knowing it.

After more than 20 years in the digital industry we’ve seen the growth of digital marketing first-hand and there’s really only one thing we can say for certain: to the internet and beyond!

Digital Evolution: Let’s Reflect

With the advent of Gutenberg’s printing press in Europe in 1450, the ability to mass-communicate and sell gained such epic momentum that it’s barely slowed down in over 500 years. Magazines first emerged in the 1730s, radio advertising in 1922 and then in 1941, the world’s first ever ad was for Bulova watches and was broadcast on American screens in one of the most groundbreaking moments in marketing history.

When Connection Changed our World

In 1965, a computer in Massachusetts connected with another in California via dial-up and in 1973 the first hand-held mobile phone call was made by Martin Cooper (the former Motorola vice president). But it wasn’t until the early 1980s when the first commercially available desktop PCs (The Programma 101, produced by the Italian company Olivetti) started filtering into homes, that a tidal wave of new digital marketing possibilities crashed onto the scene.

Digital Moves Incredibly Fast-By the time LizardWebs Launched in 1997:

● Domain Name System (DNS) institutes the .host names we are now familiar with such as .com, .gov., .edu, etc.
● Symbolics Computer Corp., originally a manufacturer of single-user computers and software, becomes the very first registered domain name.
● Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a graduate of Oxford University and a computer scientist, invents the world wide web.
● The world wide web is open for business.
● The White House, as well as the United Nations, are now online, along with 600 other websites.
● Burgeoning eCommerce begins. Today’s eGiants, like and eBay go live.
● The “browser war” begins and Microsoft and Netscape battle it out.

Since Our Launch

● Google Got Smarter
● SEO Grew Up
● Digital PR Became Incredibly Powerful
● Social Media Keeps Us Connected
● Marketing Became Less Aggressive

Google Got Smarter

Early search engines like Yahoo!, InfoSeek, AltaVista, Lycos and WebCrawler made significant strides in the digital evolution of search but let’s be honest, the golden years didn’t start until Google launched in 1998. With the birth of today’s most popular search engine and its development of tools like AdWords in 2000 and content targeting services in 2003, everything changed online. In 2004, search engines started using advanced ranking algorithms and browsing online became more personal. The impact this had on business is immense. Being able to target browsers and develop strategies based on search patterns led to a whole new way of selling and communicating. These days a Googlebot crawls and indexes trillions of pages on the web and makes the most relevant ones instantly accessible via traditional or voice search. A brand can reach anyone, anywhere at any time, and that’s powerful.

SEO Grew Up

Optimising sites for search engines began to mainstream in the mid-90s and by 2004, SEO has become an essential marketing tool used on a global scale. In the early days, techniques like keyword stuffing, article submissions and link spamming were recommended by guys who mostly just didn’t know better. No one cared about the impact of social media and usability didn’t even come up in conversation – SEO was an island and keywords were embarrassing. But you learn. These days SEO is less of a loner and more of an essential cog in a greater machine powered by other strategies and channels.

Digital PR Became Incredibly Powerful

A long time ago traditional PRs would use media tours to do press meetings and secure exposure for their clients in print, radio and on TV, often sending out reports and questionnaires afterwards to gather info from the contacts and to find out whether they’d even be featuring their clients. Today a digital PR specialist can find out everything they need to know about a contact before even making a pitch. By working with SEO research and trends, Digital PRs are able to back all of their decisions with data, leading to better targeting and more quantifiable results.
Social Media Keeps Us Connected

In 2004 people still used MySpace. Little did anyone know at the time that Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard roommates would release a colossal giant to crush all that came before. It was the start of a new era for digital marketing. Social media stopped being a way to just chat with friends and started becoming a way to connect with brands, complain, spread news, shop and even influence other shoppers. Businesses took notice and online reputation management became more important than ever. Today, with channels like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest, with billions of users, targeted advertising and a digital landscape that never sleeps, social media has become one of the most vital parts of any marketing strategy.
Marketing Became Less Aggressive

For the longest time marketers used tactics designed to interrupt potential clients, contacted us without permission and blindly targeted everyone in the hopes of reaching someone interested. In short, communicating with potential customers hasn’t always been as sophisticated as it is today. Fortunately, thanks to better research, statistics and higher quality content and targeting, a new way of digital marketing began to find its stride. HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan was credited with creating the term, inbound marketing, and later author Seth Godin took it a step further by introducing the idea of permission marketing. Today’s content marketing is based on all these principles: understanding the consumer better so you can appeal to their interests and needs with tailor made content and information. These days, we know we have to earn attention with great content, conversations, transparency, opt-in email lists, word-of-mouth brand building and viral marketing. And that’s just one of the ways the internet changed marketing.

To the Internet and Beyond!

Don’t get left behind – speak to us about an integrated digital marketing plan to stay on top of your game and ahead of the competition. Fill out the form below or call us at (919) 404-9327.

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

SEO Spam Revisited

I was surfing through your Website and realized that despite having a great design; it was not ranking on any of the search engines (Google, AOL and Bing) for most of the keywords relating to your business.

what SEO advice are YOU getting?Oh my God. If I had a buck for every email that I have received that uses EXACTLY this same line. The lack of creativity. The cut and paste laziness. The sheer audacity of pretending to know what ANYONE is actually trying to rank.  SEO is NOT for lazy people. Some people must bite on this though or this particular email would STOP ending up in my email on a daily basis. I keep asking myself “Why?” To me, I see a copy/paste bit of blather indicating someone that has never visited my site is trying to act like they know what they’re doing. Of course, when you try to sell SEO TO an SEO company, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that they have never visited your site.

“Yes, sir. How are you doing today?”
“Great! What can I get for you?”
“Well, I’m actually here to bring you a DELICIOUS bite of our brand new Whopper™!”
“You DO realize you’re at the McDonalds™ drive-thru window, right?”

That said, I AM an SEO company and I personally have been playing in the world that would become the internet since back in 1983. At that time, I first connected to the CANDE Burroughs 3600 at East Carolina University through a 300 baud modem jacked into a Commodore 64 computer from the Village Green Apartments in Greenville NC. It was so slow that you could easily out-type the screen – tap a whole sentence in and it would take several seconds to send to the university and then come back to the screen. Long live COBOL. But I digress…

The ploys of online SEO companies – both solid/legit and your average spammer types – have evolved and changed.  Something that still remains is that someone is looking to get business from you in a so many ways.  I so love ruining a script reading person’s day.

“How about I put $100 per day in YOUR pocket next week?” (And of course, they are expecting an immediate “Yes!”)
“Oh man. Do you know the tax implications of that? I don’t think so. No thanks.”
and crickets ensue…

You can tell people that know what they’re actually talking about when it comes to legit search engine techniques when you throw them something like that. They have enough wherewithal to break out of the pitch and legitimately address the problem. The doofuses will just repeat themselves with absolutely no comprehension of what was just said. Sure, it’s probably evil on my part, but so is the amount of time in my day that gets wasted dealing with that crap either directly or indirectly.

Client: Eric, I’m not ranking real well.
Me: You’re in the maps. You’re #1 for several keywords like on your last report you got 4 days ago. #2 for another bunch. We have you on front page for EVERY keyword you’ve indicated.
Client: Well, this guy just called and said that he couldn’t find me when he searched for me.
Me: What did he search for? Tibetan llamas in Australia? We have you covering over the entire front page with your website, Google My Business, your Facebook page, your Twitter account, some misc other posts from other social sites, have a few references from the press releases we have done in the last few months. How could he POSSIBLY have not found you?
Client: Oh. Okay. Well, he said…
Me: No worries. It is what it is.

I, unfortunately, can’t say that this is a one off conversation with a client. Most of the time after a client has been ON the front page for a while, they get used to these calls and emails promising the world and ignore them. Usually people on the front page for search results are already spending money on SEO. If you can convince them that you can keep up those rankings or improve them – and save them money – then you might break them away from their current provider. It can be short-lived when the rankings drop and the true expertise of the original company shows. I actually had an old client who went price shopping on me a couple years ago standing on my back porch a few days ago and acknowledged that he had made a mistake and would I take him back. We had to straighten a few things out, but told him I would. When someone can drive you TO the top, get you in the maps (or keep you on the front and in the maps) solidly, is it worth the risk of finding out the grass is ALREADY greenest right where you were at?

It is a nice feeling though getting a new monthly search engine optimization client that is already paying too much for their SEO, lingering on page 2 and 3, getting a song and a dance from their current company, and busting them up to page one and getting those Google maps in play for them. It can make a HUGE difference for a small business. We’re about to bust loose on a website for a plumber in Selma that I suspect is going to see exactly that in a few weeks.

Want to know if the SEO Expert is legit?

So, when they tell you that you’re not ranking for the keywords you should be or they couldn’t find you when they did a search – “Then how did you end up calling me?” That is always a great one. Then there’s the ever-popular, “So what keywords did you actually search for me with?” If they were all that and a legit “I was just surfing around…”, then they would quickly know the answers to those questions.

Most likely, you will get the repeat of the statement, “You are not ranking for the keywords..” or some similar variant. Now don’t take this as throwing rocks at salespeople because we ALL need salespeople, but if someone’s going to take time out of MY day, they better darned well have a solid reason to do such.

If WE call you?

We actually will have looked at your site. We likely will poke around it legitimately and see that there is a problem. WE often even give you some ideas when we’re talking to you. “Hey, if you actually reworded the title on your home page to , you will very likely see an improvement pretty quickly for your website!” If you’re #1 or sitting above the fold on page 1 already for something relevant, then your SEO company or webmaster is already doing a good job. If you’re on page 2 or 3 for everything, then it might be something that we might call on. We realize that sales is a game of numbers for companies. The thing that’s always annoying is having to talk to people that know nothing about what they are selling.

And SEO is no different. When you need a real company, with real experience, talk to us at Lizardwebs. We’d say “wait until we call you…” but, we don’t really do much of that – could be a bit of a wait 🙂

Want to learn more about what DOES make your website good or bad? What can I do to improve my website?

Monday, June 6, 2016

How to Dominate Local SEO

Let's fly!Investing in local SEO is crucial as it helps reach potential consumers. Businesses, especially startups should start by marketing themselves locally before entering the international market. Local SEO is not very expensive, and small business can invest in it without strain by following these tips.

Hire a local SEO expert

To get excellent results, you need to hire an expert to do it for you. Successful local SEO requires proper analyzing and research when choosing the strategies to implement. Experts know how to go about these processes so as to achieve a good ranking on the search engine results.

It is possible to achieve this on your own, but you will require taking up so much training. You will spend so much time before you attain the desired results. As a result, you might end up neglecting the running of your business. It is prudent to let the experts do it for you as you focus on your business.

The local SEO expert you hire will help you in the following:

Keyword research

Keywords play an enormous role when it comes to search engine ranking. All the content you post on the website should contain certain keywords. The company you hire will do research and come up with keywords that will make your website more discoverable. They will also research on the keyword density that will be used in blogs and articles for your business.

Link building

Building links to a website is another strategy that experts will use to help you to get high rankings. Bad link building can have a very negative impact on your website. This happens if links are made to wrong websites. An expert will help you come up with quality links to the right websites.

User-friendly websites

Users have to be able to access your website well both on computer and phone screens. Our Raleigh SEO experts will help you in designing your website so that it’s mobile friendly. This will give you an advantage since search engines especially Google tend to prefer websites that are mobile friendly.

Social media

Local SEO also uses the social media to build links to websites. Use of social media improves a business’s online presence by a big percentage as a majority of the adult population log into social media sites every day.

Not sure how to get your company on top of local SERPs? Let Lizardwebs guide you through this with a minimum of fuss. Contact us today!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Taking Advantage of Social Media Marketing

Improve Your Website Search Results with Screaming BeagleThese days, to stay in business you have to diversify your marketing skills. Even with good products, most people will not identify you if you do not market yourself properly. You need to create a good website and then look for ways to expose it to the world. One of the channels that investors are using nowadays to woo clients is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn are some of the keys you need to take your sales to a new rank.

Cost effective marketing

There is no much investment required in social media marketing. Even small businesses and start-ups can afford it. It’s a project that you can do yourself if you are a media expert. However, if you are not good with words, you should consider hiring social media experts to work on your accounts. There is a need for proper content and keywords if you want to succeed in marketing. The expert you hire will help you in coming up with the right content to post on the sites.  It doesn’t cost much to employ a social media expert.

Massive exposure for your business

Almost everyone who has access to the internet visits the social media. Therefore, marketing on these platforms will give your business a colossal exposure. You will be able to popularize your products and services not only but all over the world.

It’s also a good platform that will help you collect feedback about your business. You can learn about your strengths and weaknesses from the comments that will be posted by users. It will also give you a chance to interact with existing and potential clients and answer questions that they may have regarding your business.

Find new clients

Social media retailing is the best way to find new clients for your business. It will help you get the attention of more and more potential clients.

Business loyalty

Most people are on social media, and therefore, they expect you to be there too. They are likely to be more loyal to your business if you keep communication on social media sites. However, your absence on social media sites can make people loose trust on the credibility of your business. They might even begin to doubt if you are legit. Therefore, you need to take advantage of social media marketing so as to keep the trust of your consumers.

Need help with your online marketing efforts? Websites, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Graphics, Videos, Maps, Reviews and more. When you need to make your presence count, you need to count on experience. Get in touch with us here at Lizardwebs today!