SEO Tips: Modern Day “Snake Oil”

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Surprise, there is no mystical panacea to boosting your rankings. You’d be amazed by how many people are suckered into believing and buying into these ‘snake oil’ solutions towards Search Engine Optimization (or SEO).

Look, I've been there. I “didn't have the time” either, so I hired someone. They kept sending monthly reports from Alexa and Google Analytics but truthfully I didn't even really understand what I was looking at.  I thought Ling Ling died? What the hell is Panda? or is it Penguin?  I might as well have had the words “SUCKA” tattooed across my forehead.

So, about 8-months into my SEO-Odyssey, I turned to my partner and said “brace yourself we're going to have to read”. This is what we learned from spending a relatively small amount of time educating ourselves on the subject.

 

  1. No ONE can or should promise you #1 Organic SEO Rankings in Google
  2. NO ONE has a proprietary software tool that can infiltrate Google’s alogorithm 
  3. NO ONE should be submitting your web site to 293,481 directories and link exchange farms to get your rankings higher
  4. NO ONE is a sub-contractor for Google with a direct link to get your web site indexed quicker
  5. NO ONE should be able to tell you what your Key Words should be without your input

Below please find a list of resources that we have been using since firing our last SEO expert. Since our relaunch 3-weeks ago, Project Eve has risen to a top 14,000 site in the U.S. and a top 100,000 site globally (as per Alexa). I really encourage you to get your hands dirty with this stuff. I think you will feel much more in control of your own destiny (and wallet) when you do.

Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications. I kept clicking around until I finally figured out how to set this up. I watched you-tube videos, read how-to articles. Do not pay anyone to set this up for you. You are better than that.

Alexa Find and evaluate businesses worldwide with Alexa's web analytics. I love Alexa.com. It is easy to set up and incredibly satisfying.

Considered by many to be top SEO plugin available, WordPress SEO by Yoast offers a broad range of features to help you take care of technical optimization aspects and to also write better content. The plugin forces you to choose a focus keyword when writing an article to populate it throughout the content. The robust list of features for this plugin include: snippet previews, page analysis, automatically optimizing and inserting meta tags, link elements, XML sitemaps, RSS optimization, breadcrumbs, editing your .htaccess and robots.txt file, social integration, import & export functionality, Google News SEO module and much more.

Google XML Sitemaps generates an XML sitemap supported by Google, BingYahoo and Ask. Sitemaps make it much easier for crawlers to see the complete structure of your web site and retrieve more efficiently. It also notifies all major search engines every time you create a new post. You can either choose to write a normal XML file or a zipped file. In case of any errors, you can rebuild the sitemap manually. As a remark, Pingomatic can be used to ping your blog to multiple search engines and other specialized services.

404 SEO plugin gives you a smart, customized ‘Page Not Found(404)’ error message and automatically displays links to relevant pages on your site, based on the words in the URL that was not found.

SEO Friendly Image This plugin helps in making your images SEO friendly. It automatically updates all images with a proper ALT and TITLE. ALT acts as a description for your image and TITLE is the tooltip text displayed when the mouse is over the image. These attributes are one of the important part of SEO.

 

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Meridith Dennes is a co-founder and the CEO of Project Eve LLC, a leading women's lifestyle media company online including some of the web's best loved communities including the eponymous Project Eve, Getting Balance, Project Eve Moms, Project Eve Money and Scary Puppy Silly Kitty. With a digital readership in excess of 20+ million monthly uniques, and over 1 million social media followers, Project Eve provides the news and resources to inspire and empower women. Meridith also works as a digital consultant and social media strategist and has worked with several Fortune 500 companies to help increase brand awareness and improve social media engagement.Meridith holds a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business. Prior to founding Project Eve, she spent 15 years working in investment banking. Meridith currently lives in Vermont with her husband and 2 daughters and spends her free time teaching skiing, practicing yoga, hiking and snowshoeing.

7 COMMENTS

  1. You’re so right. When we outsource something so fundamental as responsibility for the return on investment of our online activities, we are willingly ceding control over our reputation. This handing over to “experts” was in some ways behind the global credit crash – just because it’s complex don’t cop out. There are many excellent sources of information – educate yourself, and you won’t be at the mercy of the snake oil salesmen.

  2. EXCELLENT and very important post! Good that you bulleted and highlighted the most important points. #3 is especially important and should be avoided at all costs, as engaging in that activity can have you permanently banned from Google. Forever eliminating your company from search results on the world’s #1 (and #2 – YouTube is Google-owned) search engine is the kiss of death. If that happens, you may as well hang the “closed for business” sign on your front door. Everyone who knows just enough about SEO to be dangerous should read this post!!

  3. Good job on this article. I have recently delved back into my analytics after pursuing more powerful content on my website, gojanenews.com. I am a firm believer that merely keyword stuffing is not the answer to helping you with your rankings. Content has to be readable and interesting.
    While keywords are still crucial by incorporating them into quality content, I have noticed an uptick in my views and other metrics. I’m at the beginning of something, so thank you for these tips.

  4. So true – SEO is such a dishonest and unethical business ‘technique’. Not to mention the incredible amount of junk that now exists on the internet just to boost rankings. Can you imagine how much more accurate Google search results would be if people weren’t padding the internet with ‘content’ that exists for no reason other than boosting rankings? It’s no surprise that many of these companies are behind the new trend of “reputation management” that is now plaguing the internet as well. Again, a technique that consists of nothing more than padding the internet with a ton of fake and useless content with the intent of hiding the real reviews and opinions people have about a company… Anyways, great article. Thanks.

  5. A bit of a glimmer of hope here. I have been avoiding the whole SEO thing. Yet, I know I need to improve my site traffic & conversions. Such a useful article & very actionable suggestions. I will apply these. Thanks for this one!