SEO Violations – How to Protect Yourself

A lot of companies, particularly small businesses on a low budget, will build their own websites and social media presence. However, they don’t really know what they are doing in terms of being found, and the result of this is that they may do things wrong. Unfortunately, the search engines are quite unforgiving about mistakes, and will class them as violations and put appropriate penalties in place. In fact, many search engine optimization (SEO) companies are first contacted because of violations and penalties. So what are the things not to do when it comes to SEO?

Shallow or Thin Content

In February 2011, Google released Panda following complaints about search results not being relevant. What Panda does is find sites that have shallow or thin content, meaning it has no substance. If those sites are found, they get penalized for not delivering information that people are looking for. With every update Google releases, this is getting more tough.


Cloaking is best described as sophisticated hiding. Essentially, it means showing a search engine one thing, and a human something else. This is the worst offense, and one that Google once even banned itself for! Cloaking almost always leads to a full ban.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the oldest technique in the book and it continues to be used today, despite heavy penalties. Essentially, it means that you use a keyword too many times for the amount of text you have. The penalties vary, depending on just how often you used the keyword.

Hidden Text

Hidden texts are often used by those who also keyword stuff. It basically means that they try to get the best of both worlds: lots of keywords to attract attention, but cloaking them so that they don’t become visible to people. Again, this incurs very heavy penalties.

DMCA or Piracy Takedowns

Pirate was another Google update, and this focused specifically on sites that infringe copyright laws. This came after thousands of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown request. This is an uncommon occurrence, but it can happen and you need to avoid it.

Top Heavy or Ads Layout

Sometimes, websites have so many ads on them that it seems impossible to find the actual content. Google has addressed this with their Page Layout algorithm, effectively stopping people from attracting traffic to and from their website through ads, without actually giving anything back for it.

Paid Links

Buying links is a big no-no. Did you know that Google Japan was banned for 11 months by Google for buying links? JC Penney was only banned for three months, as did various other companies, who also had their reputations destroyed in the newspapers. Essentially, pay for links and you will be penalized, named, and shamed.

These are just some of the things that you could do, perhaps even accidentally, that can have disastrous consequences. It is best, therefore, to always work with a professional SEO company, so that you can avoid this from happening in the first place, and still make sure that your website gets found – the right way.

Here Are the Local SEO Myths Trapping Small Law Firms

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), there is a lot of information out there, but not all of it is good. “Gurus” offer up advice on thousands of blogs, touting their follower counts and spelling out wildly varying plans to game the system. The fact is, good SEO is a process, and good local SEO is a process that involves constant work to maintain. It’s not something you can fast-track, but it is something you can plan for.

One of the best ways to make sure your SEO plan is helping your company is by knowing and steering clear of the major myths that small law firms keep falling for time and again. By avoiding these practices, you can take your time and effort and invest it in practices that will help you achieve the page ranking your company needs.

Myth #1: Posting on Google+ Will Help Rankings

While it might be a good idea to post from your blog to the network because social media engagement is desirable, posting to Google+ does not actually help individual site rankings, apart from the way the views it naturally picks up from clicks through will help. There are more efficient ways to gain those views, though, and Google+ is not a major force as a social networking site at the moment.

Myth #2: Quality Content Brings Its Own Visitors

This myth is often used to convince people with very little experience in SEO that their high quality content is good enough. The truth is, when it comes to visibility the content needs a push to take off. Quality content will gather its own momentum and spread farther than you expect it will, but you still need the right marketing practices to make sure your audience finds it and shares it.

Myth #3: Link Building is All That Matters

It’s true that at one time, links were the main method that sites used to gain Google rankings, but those days have long passed. The fact of the matter is that Google’s algorithm changes continuously to take advantage of new sources of data as the internet itself changes. From indexing social media posts on platforms like Facebook to using an advanced bot to rank the quality of the writing on a site, Google attempts to take the whole site into consideration when determining page rank, so good SEO strategists know to work on all of these aspects of a site’s visibility.

Myth #4: Service-Area Businesses Rank Higher in More Spots With a Larger Service Area

This is simply not true either. While a large service area can help you rank strongly in your local city, you need directed SEO efforts to make sure you rank in each additional city you cover. That means a larger service area might eventually pay off with much higher ranking, but only after you have done the work of optimizing your content for a variety of geolocations. There’s no magic fix.

Myth #5: Search Engine Optimization is Obsolete

This is another giant misconception. While it is true that there have been a variety of changes to search engine optimization practices over the years, SEO is very much alive and a vital part of your law firm’s long-term strategy. Without it, you might enjoy some exposure on individual social networks, but there will not be a strong central hub for your company’s online activity.

If you are working on getting your law firm locally ranked in your area, you need partners who can help you cut through the myths by providing you and your staff with up-to-date training and information about the most recent version of Google’s algorithm. That means hiring help, and it also means clicking away from the marketing “gurus.”

How Your Search Engine Rank Helps to Attract New Customers

If you want to get traffic to your website, you need to make sure that you have a good rank on the search engines. It is a known fact that 80% of all traffic to websites comes through the search engines, and that people only look at the sites listed on the first page of the search engines. To make sure you get those types of rankings, it is best to work together with a professional search engine optimization company.

Understanding Search Engines

Numerous search engines exist, although the three most popular ones are Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Each search engine has its own algorithms and rules to determine where a page is placed. Hence, just because you have a strategy that works for Google, does not necessarily mean it will work for DuckDuckGo as well. Hence, a good search engine optimization (SEO) company will help you create a strategy that focuses on at least two different search engines.

In order for a strategy to be successful, it has to be focused. Your focus should be to end on the first page of the search engines. If you can achieve that with Google and Yahoo!, you should see a huge increase in the number of visitors that come to your site. This is particularly true for Google, which is the most trusted and used search engine of all. Plus, their algorithm is the basis for most other search engines, so you should have high rankings elsewhere as well if you solely focus on Google.

Why Should You Get High Rankings?

High rankings are important to get yourself found online. However, the other reason is that it drives organic traffic to your website, and this puts you in a positive spiral of gaining higher rankings: higher rankings means more traffic, more traffic means higher rankings, and so on. If you really struggle to get there, however, you could consider paid advertising. Doing so will, at least for the duration of your paid contract, put you on the first page of the search engines, although it will be displayed as a “paid ad”. Traffic that gets to your site through that will not count as organic traffic, however.

The paid ad system with Google is known as “AdWords”. With Yahoo!, it used to be called “Overture”, but is now simply known as “Yahoo! Search Marketing”. Both of these programs allow you to advertise your site to the top of their pages, using specific pay per click budgets, so you can manage your own campaign. Organic traffic, however, is completely free and completely natural, and therefore much more beneficial. However, pay per click definitely has its benefits, particularly if you need to attract more customers rapidly, or if you are just starting up and want to have exposure for your business.

All of these things are quite complex and take a lot of time. This is why you should always consider outsourcing the work to a professional agency instead.

What Can You Achieve When You Ask Someone Else to Do it For You?

Have you ever considered crowdsourcing? It is an innovative new concept, but one that is quickly gaining momentum. However, just as with innovation as a whole, many businesses don’t quite understand it yet. They don’t know what they can achieve through crowdsourcing software. For years, we have been told that doing something properly means doing it yourself, and this goes some way towards explaining why many companies are reluctant to crowdsource. But in so doing, they miss out on a great deal of opportunities and talent.

What Can You Crowdsource?

Simply put, you can crowdsource anything you like. However, it is most commonly used for text, translation, graphic design, and solving various problems. For text, for instance, you can crowdsource:

  • SEO and editorial texts to be used on websites.
  • Product descriptions for a catalog or online store.
  • Software descriptions.
  • Instructions for video of PC games.
  • Travel reports and reviews.
  • Optimization and revision of existing texts.
  • Glossaries.
  • Responses to customer questions and comments.
  • Blog posts.

For translations, crowdsourcing is often used for:

  • Translation between various languages of existing texts.
  • Categorization and tagging.
  • Web content categorization.
  • Product categorization.
  • Archive data categorization.
  • Tagging of videos, images, and articles.
  • Finding synonyms to add to search engines.
  • Web research.
  • The electronic marketing of some of the elements on photographs and images.
  • Researching product information, address data, prices, opening hours, competitor information, and manufacturer data.
  • Tests and surveys.
  • Old fashioned market research surveys.
  • Testing services such as websites, products, software, and online services.
  • Discovering product and company names.

In terms of graphic design, more and more companies now use crowdsourcing for:

  • Website design.
  • Logo design.
  • Web banner design.
  • Poster and flyer design.

Finally, crowdsourcing can be used to solve various problems, including:

  • Search for new, innovative ideas and alternatives.
  • Creating or finding photographs and images.
  • Finding license free or cheap vectors, videos, and photographs.

How Does it Work?

Now that you can see just some of the things that you can do through crowdsourcing, it suddenly becomes clearer how powerful of a tool it actually is. The question then becomes, however, how you can crowdsource a service. This varies greatly depending on which software or platform you use. However, it usually follows the next few steps to a certain degree:

  1. You write down what your full task actually is and then break it down into smaller tasks, jobs, and projects.
  2. The crowdsourcing platform processes the entire order, enabling different online users to put forward their work and ideas based on your personal requirements.
  3. Quality controls are put in place, for instance by sending drafts to you, to make sure the job is carried out to satisfaction.

This is a very simplistic view of how crowdsourcing works, but it really isn’t much more complicated than that. You simply have to decide whether or not crowdsourcing is for you or not and, if it is, what you do and don’t want to crowdsource.

What You Should Know When Setting Up Your Startup Business

If you’re in a position to finally be able to exercise your entrepreneurial spirit, now is a better time than any. There are so many newly arrived advantages to being a first time business owner that it really isn’t possible for most to remember just how hard it was. The Internet has changed the landscape of the business world just as surely as it has left countless other indelible marks on our global culture. When it comes to setting up a startup business, it’s still very much up to you to sustain it, but it’s far easier now than ever before to get a fair shot at winning the gold.

Starting Up A New Business Is Simpler, Yet More Complex, Than Ever

Of course, while many aspects of becoming a first time business owner have gotten far more simpler, others have become infinitely more complex. The Internet has made the process of announcing and advertising your new business a far more manageable task. But if you truly want to emulate the success of startups like Hamptoncreek , you can expect to put quite a few hours of effort in. For a true entrepreneur, this should be more of an invitation than a challenge.

Where Do You Go To Get Your Business Set Up On The Internet?

If you are the owner of a startup business, your first priority will naturally be to get set up on the Internet in order to establish an official presence for your new venture. There’s a thousand ways to do so, but the best and most reliable is still the setting up of an official company website. Once you have your domain purchased and your website in place, you can begin your first online advertising campaign.

Does It Matter Where You Advertise Your New Startup Venture?

Creating a successful online marketing campaign will involve a number of variables that need to be safely sorted out before you commit yourself. For example, if you are running a food related startup, it’s important to identify the audience that you will be trying to market your goods to. If you are the owner of a business that deals with the supply of foreign cheeses to a niche audience, you can’t expect to sell your goods to the average American citizen who still has a preference for fast food. You’re going to need to define your brand and market it to an audience with a far more sophisticated palate.

Making Use of Modern SEO Techniques to Define and Market Your Brand

Establishing your brand is a matter of defining the specific personality of your company, as well as the goals you wish to reach through it. This means that, if you are engaged in the merchandising of foreign cheeses, you will need to give your company a name that suggests an intimate connection with this type of food. Beyond that, you will need to use advertising techniques that associate your company as strongly as possible with the type of products you specialize in selling. The closer you associate yourself with cheese, the better.

Daily Updated Content Is the Key to Establishing Your Startup Business

In order to accomplish this important goal, you’ll need to use the latest and most up to date SEO techniques. This means filling your blog and social media pages with plenty of informative, keyword rich content that defines your company and makes it as attractive as possible to your audience. You’ll also need to keep your official company website updated with new content as often as possible – preferably, on a daily basis. You can make use of the latest automated content marketing techniques in order to schedule content for delivery to your various venues on the Internet at the time and place of your choosing.

Increasing Your Content Means Increasing Your Daily Visibility

Increasing the amount and frequency of content from your various locations on the Web is a matter of sheer survival. There’s not much point in owning a startup if you don’t have a reliably public means of letting your potential audience know about it. Your customers want to hear from you, especially if they are a true niche audience that many other companies prefer to ignore. And you need to reach them as often as possible.

The more content you can upload on a daily basis, the more you will increase the number of clicks to your website. From there, the chances of a making a sale can only become more positive in your favor. Online marketing is the science of taking your startup from a bedroom office to a penthouse suite. Mastering these vital techniques will bring you the success you’ve always longed for, as well as the prosperity and security that you desire and deserve.

Key Elements of Reputation Management and Brand Identity

If somebody leaves a bad review about a person or a business online, it can be incredibly damaging. Luckily, through good reputation management services, they are able to mitigate some of this bad publicity so it does not irreparably damage their identity. However, this should be done by a professional reputation management consultant who has built up a large amount of experience when it comes to manage and improving their clients’ reputation and helping to create an overall positive brand identity.

The Aspects of a Positive Online Identity

There are three elements to creating a positive online identity:

  1. Marketing
  2. Customer service
  3. Public relations

Looking first at marketing, this helps a business to create a positive and clear brand image from the word go. By having that clear image, it is also easier to develop a good reputation. This is what experts do for their client. They will achieve this through blogs, social media and more. Essentially, this is about creating an identity that is desirable, setting a company up to look like an authority and go-to source for a specific niche, product or service.

The second element is customer service. Businesses must at all times be responsive to any comments and feedback their customers leave, whether positive or negative. While it is generally the responsibility of the business itself to do this, experts can take on a lot of this work or at least show how it can be managed properly. A reputation isn’t damaged by someone saying something bad. Rather, it is damaged by not responding to that comment and hoping it will simply go away on its own. If a customer sees a piece of negative feedback, but they also see how a business has tried to address that, they will be far more willing to look past the issue itself. In fact, it has been shown that some people are suspicious of businesses that have never received a single complaint. The saying that ‘the customer is king’ and that ‘the customer is always right’ continue to ring true in the ears of many people. As a result, they expect to be listened to and responded to politely and professionally, even if they are being irrational.

Finally, there are public relations. Planning this strategy properly is vital to the protection of any brand. It helps to prevent damage and it helps to rebuild a reputation if it has been destroyed in the past. Good consultants will first start by looking at what the current brand images is and will then suggests ways of improvement. Much of this is actually SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work, where they will try to make sure anything positive about a business will be found before anything negative. Each piece of negative feedback has to be addressed by using appropriate strategies. It is also for this reason that almost every reputation management company is also an SEO company.

Thanks to the internet, people can find and spread information quicker than ever before. On the one hand, this is a positive thing because it means it doesn’t take as long anymore to build a positive reputation. At the same time, however, it has made it much easier to destroy a reputation and it takes longer to build it back up from there. Unfortunately, a comment may be slanderous, it may still be seen as true and end up destroying a business.

A popular method of creating a more positive image is by engaging in excellent SEO practices. On the one hand, this encourages businesses to address any negative issues that are out there, but it will also be about promoting all the positive elements of that company, so that those are found first.

What to Look for in a Company that Will Help You Improve Your Brand Image

You can no longer get away from online reputation management. The fact that you must manage your reputation is no secret either. As a result, there are now thousands of companies that want to deliver reputation management services. So how do you find the reputation management company that is right for you?

The Company’s Reputation

If you are going to hire a company to manage your reputation, they will need to have a really good reputation themselves. You should be able to find out about how they have fared with their previous customers relatively easily as well. Again, they are advertising their own service in building their own reputation, so this should be your starting point. At the same time, however, you have to be aware that not all reviews are true, whether they are positive or negative.

The Company’s Search Engine Position

Reputation management is a key element of search engine optimization (SEO). A reputation management company should have excellent SEO practices in place as well. It should be very easy for you to find them by running a search in Google, for instance. This is perhaps even more important than finding out whether the company has good reviews themselves, as your customers will search for you in the same way as what you search for the online reputation company. If a company is able to show up on the first page of Google, they are likely to be very good. Of course, this may also mean that they are very expensive. Hence, do look into what sort of promises they offer in terms of your return on investment.

Do Real People Work at the Company?

The business of online reputation is highly lucrative and experts know exactly what you are looking for. Unfortunately, this has led to a rise in ‘cookie cutter’ sites. Those are basically websites that look really good but actually don’t offer anything. The service they offer will be one size fits all, which is pretty much useless, since every business is completely unique. You need to find a company that actually takes a real and human interest in you. Look on their website and find out who works for the company and what their credentials are. They should also have some history listed in terms of their past work experience.

Do They Know what They Are Doing?

You never know whether or not a company will truly be good at what they do until you let them actually do it. However, you can get a general idea of their overall knowledge by looking at what other materials they have made available. Good reputation management companies will post frequent articles, blogs and other such information in order to help you gain a greater understanding of who they are. This also helps them in their own SEO practices, so it is vital that they do this. What you need to do is check whether those materials are actually valid and interesting.

The unique qualities to look for in an SEO company before hiring it

Amidst the abundance of disreputable and spam companies which are circulating online, it can be an intimidating and frustrating experience to search for the perfect SEO company. SEO is indeed a long term investment and it has the power to either make or break your online image. SEO is a long term investment and if you do it the wrong way it can create enough harm to your online company. Hence, with your due diligence, you have to select the right company which can handle your SEO. There are some vital things to check out before choosing an SEO company who can work for your online business. Let’s have a look at them.

  1. Company should give you realistic offers: Although this may sound too good to be true but it is probably true. You should always look for those companies that promise to offer you realistic results and those that don’t use guarantees. SEO is nothing but an ongoing process and not even some influential can offer you the guarantee of 100% result as the search algorithms are entirely under Google’s control. So, if you find the company representative offering you overnight rankings, it should raise an immediate red flag in your mind. Beware of such companies.
  2. Company should be experienced: It is indeed a very good idea to watch out for a company which has been in business for a long time now. The length of time throughout which the company has been running indicates their level of experience. Those companies who have serviced too many clients usually have experience among multiple industries and they know what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Go through the company’s case studies: If you’re opting for the good SEO companies, they should have case studies ready for the prospective clients to check out. It is through the case studies that you can get a highlight of their work as they offer you concrete instances of their performance. So, make sure you go through such case studies in order to get a clear idea.
  4. Check the certifications of the company: Although there might not be some particular SEO certification, there are some other standard certifications which most of the legitimate agencies hold for PPC and Analytics. Bing, Yahoo and Google all have their certifications for PPC and those companies which hold such certifications can be trusted and are reliable.
  5. Companies that practice white hat SEO: Ask the SEO agencies the kind of strategies that they use and ask them to explain it to you in terms which you will understand. The companies which are ethical won’t have any big problem in disclosing it but those that are not will have issues in revealing their tactics and strategies.

Therefore, when you’re in the market to hire an SEO company, look for one that offers good SEO packages. Keep in mind the above mentioned tips before choosing the company for your online business.

Three Steps Vital to Online Reputation Management

Imagine you Google your name or your business, and you find a bunch of comments and reviews that are simply not true. You may feel like you need to run off in a blind panic. After all, what can you do now that you have a bad reputation? How do you make sure the damage is controlled and your business doesn’t suffer too mage? It may be time to hire a professional online review management consultant who will be able to assess what damage has been done, how many negative remarks are out there and what can be done in order to stop this situation from escalating. Three strategies are most important if you want to manage or online reputation.

3 Strategies

  1. Ask the site owner to remove the content about you. Send the owner an email or other message explaining that the information listed about you is incorrect. This is generally easiest if the information is also highly inappropriate or otherwise not suitable for certain viewers. Unfortunately, however, if you have found someone who actually has a grudge against you, this won’t work. And it is not recommended to threaten to sue for libel as that only makes you look bad.
  2. Address the issue directly. If a negative comment appears and you have been checking it properly, then you should be made aware of the problem straight away. This also means that you can respond to the comments in the right way. There are many different ways of doing this and choosing between them tends to depend on the comments that are placed. You could Tweet, post a blog of your own, speak to the person who left the reviews, create a video and so on. If you are working with a review management company, they will be able to advise you on that.
  3. Ignore it. This is generally not a good course of action, but it can work. If, for instance, the comment is so ridiculous, ignoring it can be a good option. It can also be a good option if you have excellent SEO (search engine optimization) practices in place. This is because if you rank very highly yourself, the negative reply could be so far down the Google search results that people simply will not see it. Another reason why ignoring can be a good option is because taking action can at times lead to a heated debate, in which you will always look bad, no matter what the eventual outcome of the debate is. As such, you could actually damage your reputation even more by engaging a disgruntled customer. However, it is vital that you understand that the ignoring option is one to use with extreme caution.

Every situation requires a response that is applicable to it. This is why it is also so important that you work together with an expert in order to have a range of strategies available to you and to know which one to use in which situation.

Five Ways to Effectively Market Hotels and Casinos

Hotels and casinos took a hit during the recession due to the number of people out of work and looking for ways to save on vacations. Though the profits of those companies are now climbing again, some find that their profits are still low. Using some effective marketing tools and ideas can help hotels and casinos increase profits again.

Use Real Photographs Online

Hotels and casinos must have websites that give guests a glimpse at the facility and its amenities. Sites that use limited photographs and give only a small amount of information have less of an appeal to those looking for a room. Using current photographs is a simple way to appeal to those looking for hotels and casinos. Those pictures should give them an idea about what they can expect during their stay, including the types of rooms available and the on-site amenities. Even if the hotel offers little outside of a swimming pool and free Wi-Fi, those pictures will show travelers the cleanliness of the rooms and the friendliness of the staff.

Offer Online Check-In Options

Foursquare and similar apps are extremely popular with younger travelers today. These apps let them check in and share information about their stay, and they can even write a review after leaving. Working with those sites is an easy way to appeal to multiple groups of travelers. Some sites even let hotel and casino owners go in and update information as needed. They can update details about the casino’s operating hours, the restaurants nearby and any special events taking place.

Host Promotions

Promotions may be the key to a hotel’s or casino’s success. Many of these companies now have their own Facebook pages and pages on other social networking sites that let them inform travelers of special events and promotions. Las Vegas casinos often host giveaways in the form of motorcycles or cars. Guests and players can enter for free for a chance to win that vehicle. Other promotions may include coupons that entitle players to free money when they bring in a copy of the coupon or a free night when they book a room on a weekday. Some hotels and casinos find success hosting promotional events on Facebook, but others use on-site promotions to encourage guests to visit the facility.

Target Local Events and Activities

Casinos and hotels often exist in cities that boast a number of activities and events throughout the year that appeal to both tourists and locals. Targeting those events is a simple way to increase business and profits. For example, a hotel owner might work out an agreement with a local tour company that lets hotel guests book a seat on that tour for a lower price. They may also highlight local activities and events on their website. Someone searching for information about a summer festival or a holiday party may come across the site and decide to book a room there or stop by the casino after the event.


Search engine optimization, better known as SEO, is a method of using keywords to encourage people to visit a page and to increase the search engine ranking of a website. Finding the right keywords can be tricky, but hotel and casino owners generally want to highlight and use words relating to those facilities and the available amenities. Geo tags, which are tags and words relating to the city, are also helpful. Those tags specifically target people looking for places to stay and play in that city. Sid Vaikunta’s blog and other similar sites have more marketing ideas and useful information for hotel and casino owners.

Marketing a hotel, casino or even a resort in the right way can result in the game floor filled with players and the rooms booked with hundreds of guests. Using keywords and photographs, hosting promotions, offering online check-in and targeting local events are just a few of the best marketing techniques.

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