Ranking On Image Search

Source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2120682/Ranking-On-Image-Search

With over a billion pageviews per day, Google Image Search can be an excellent source of traffic. Of course, one has to ask themselves whether this traffic is beneficial or not and if so, then followup with an understanding of how to get their images to rank.

Why Would You Want To Rank On Image Search?

For some businesses, ranking for their images would mean nothing more than taking on the inconvenience of having to monitor those results for theft. For others it’s a great source of traffic and potential leads. For yourself, the first question to answer is: “is ranking your images beneficial to your bottom line?”

A lawyer for example would likely not want their images ranking for image search. For said lawyer, it is virtually inconceivable that they would attract converting traffic from images however because they have to set an example on copy and content ownership, they would have to take the time to insure that their images aren’t taken. Ranking for images then would produce a net negative ROI as they won’t reap any benefits yet have to expend resources insuring that their images aren’t used elsewhere.

On the other hand, there are many sites/companies who do benefit from ranking their images. A few examples here are:

  1. Photographers: While photographers have rightfully complained about having their work taken and used without permission, ranking images is an opportunity to get their craft in from of potential buyers.
  2. Image Sales Sites: For sites that sell images it’s obviously beneficial to get those images in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
  3. Ad Driven Sites: I learned this lesson from my eldest son who built himself a Pokemon site at 9 years old. After he asked me how he could make it generate money we dropped some AdSense on it. While the vast majority of his traffic came from image search he quickly surpassed the ad revenue generated from the Beanstalk site and attained upwards of 5,000 unique visits per day.

So think to yourself: How can I benefit from image search? What types of image-based phrases would I benefit from rankings for? And of course, how can I monetize those rankings? Once you’ve got these determined, it’s time to get them optimized.

Optimizing Your Images For Rankings

A picture displaying a variety of images as an example of Google image search variety.

Before we delve into optimizing the images for rankings, let’s first get them optimized for their size (which, one could well argue, will impact their rankings and even the rankings of your site as a whole). There are a variety of easy-to-use tools on the web to help you with this process. You can find a few of the better ones listed by Bryan Eisenberg on the recently updated Website Testing Tools site.

Now that you’ve optimized your images for size, improving their load times and reducing their impact on your server, it’s time to try to get them displayed more often. There are a few core areas that need to be directly optimized, let’s discuss them one by one.

Image Name: After downloading images from your digital camera you’ll likely end up with them alpha-numerically named with little to identify their contents. This would see them uploaded to and references from your hosting environment with location such as http://www.yourdomain.com/images/dsc000043.jpg. All this location would really tell Google is that it’s an image. If you had an image on, say, Google image search you’d do well to place it to that location as http://www.yourdomain.com/images/google-image-search.jpg. With this you’ve described the image and named it in the URL.

Alt Tags: Adding alt tags to your images serves two optimization functions. The first is to associate the image directly with a set of text. The second is to give the engines a set of information to use as quasi-anchor text if the image is used as a link.

What’s happening on your site right now?

The web is getting faster, and not just the speed of the pages, but also the speed of change. Before, it was fine to build a website and modify it only when new products were launched. All of us avid Analytics users know that’s just not good enough. We need to be constantly on the lookout for problems and opportunities.

Currently, Google Analytics does a great job analyzing past performance. Today we’re very excited to bring real time data to Google Analytics with the launch of Google Analytics Real-Time: a set of new reports that show what’s happening on your site as it happens.

Measuring social media impact
One way that I like to use these reports is to measure the immediate impact of social media. Whenever we put out a new blog post, we also send out a tweet. With Real-Time, I can see the immediate impact to my site traffic.

For example, last week we posted about the latest episode of Web Analytics TV and also tweeted about the post. By campaign tagging the links we shared, we could see how much traffic each channel is driving to the blog as it happened. We could also see when we stopped receiving visits from the tweet, which helps know when to reengage.

Campaign measurement
Another way I’m using Real-Time is to make sure campaign tracking is correctly implemented before launching a campaign. When getting ready to launch a new campaign it’s critical to make sure your measurement plan is working before you start driving visitors to the page. With the Real-Time reports you can find out in seconds whether you’re getting the data you want in Google Analytics.

5 Steps Beyond Competitive Link Analysis

Source: http://www.webpronews.com/5-steps-beyond-competitive-link-analysis-2011-10

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The job of link building is getting tougher. The introduction of encrypted searches, the series of Panda updates, and whatever Google come up with next is putting more and more pressure on us all to drop any shortcuts and concentrate on quality link building. And the proven formula for quality link building is ‘great content, well promoted, equals great links’.

Not only must we continue to create great content, we’ve got to find more quality sites from which to get links. And to find more quality sites, we’ve got to go beyond simple competitive link analysis.

For many marketers, the first thought in link building is to do a competitive link analysis and then target the sites that are linking to your competitors but not to you.

That’s a good start, but it will never bring you all you need: if ‘follow your competitors’ is all you do, you’ll only be chasing links from sites where your competitors have already succeeded and that means you’ll always be behind them.

To be really effective in link building we’ve got to be more creative and go way beyond competitive link analysis in looking for new link opportunities.

Step 1: Broaden your idea of relevance

You have got to have relevant links, right?

That’s true but it’s only part of the picture. Many people’s idea of relevance is limiting.

Take BobsRedMill.com who produce whole grain foods. As you’d expect they get links from food sites like Chow.com, Epicurious.com and VegWeb.com.

But they also get links from:

All of these are relevant links in the context in which they appear.

If you take only a limited view of relevance, you won’t even think of opportunities like these.

Step 2: Maximize your relationship with sites that already link to you

Sites that have already taken the step of linking to you, have done so for a reason. Do you really understand what that reason is and what their motivation is for going to the trouble of writing the code that gives you the all important link?

Perhaps:

  • they’ve used your products and found them particularly useful
  • you solved a specific problem for them
  • they’re compiling a resource list
  • perhaps they’re posting on a specific topic and they found something you wrote relevant
  • …etc.

Discovering the specific reasons why gives you the basis of strengthening your relationship with a site. That could lead to:

  • further coverage and links in the future
  • keyword-rich linking text
  • links to deep content on your site
  • interest in joint ventures or affiliate relationships
  • and much more…

You get the idea – linking to you is a sign that they’re interested in what you’re doing and you should follow up with something that strengthens your relationship.

Step 3: Check out who links to the sites that link to you

So you’ve looked at sites that link to you, you’ve understood why they linked, and you’ve approached them to strengthen your relationship. Now it’s time to move on and win some new links.

The sites that already link to you can be seen as an informal ‘organic link network’ that has evolved due to their interest in what you do. Sites that link to them are also sites that are likely to be interested in what you do.

For example, Footlocker.com get a link from the fashion blog [Nitrolicious.com] which in turn gets a link from another fashion blog, [ElementsOfStyle.com] – that blog and many hundreds of others could be more targets for Footlocker.com.

So find out who links to the sites that link to you and you’ll find many more linking opportunities.

Step 4: Check out who links to the top magazines in your market

Top magazines in your market can be a great source of high quality link prospects.

Magazines, newspapers and online news sites often quote and link to each other, so compiling links to the top magazine will reveal many other media outlets. This helps you build lists of target publications and identifies journalists and editors who could be interested in your company. Furthermore, bloggers will comment upon, link to and share any interesting article or news piece they come across.

So if you’re interested in ‘gourmet food’ for example, sites that link to leading food magazines like bonappetit.com, saveur.com, cooksillustrated.com, foodandwine.com and epicurious.com
are likely to be of great interest.

Step 5: Collect lists of the top blogs in your market

Link building is a tough task and you need all the help you can get. So how about getting some help from all those wonderful people out there who compile lists on the ‘top blogs’ in any given industry. Such people will probably have reviewed the sites, maybe even published some metrics that can help you identify blogs that you can target.

For example, SportsManagementColleges.net provide a list of the [top 50 skiing blogs]

And even better, you can use the top blogs that you find as I’ve used the top magazines in the example above. Blogs tend to link to and comment upon posts made by other blogs in their industry. So using them as a source for finding new links is very productive.

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Google Panda Update: Another Tweak Suspected

Source: http://www.webpronews.com/google-panda-tweak-2011-10

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It looks like webmasters recently felt the affects of another Google Panda Update tweak. Since what’s come to be known as version 2.5, Google has been making tweaks to it as promised, and these tweaks continue to help some sites and hurt others.

Search Engine Roundtable points to some webmaster discussion, indicating that a tweak may have rolled out on October 20. There are indeed plenty of complaints in a WebmasterWorld thread here. Most are calling it a minor update, but even the minor updates can be major for some sites.

User Bewenched wrote, for example, “It may have been a ‘minor’ update, but it slammed our ecommerce site yet again… down 30%”

We’ve reached out to Google for confirmation that this was indeed Panda. As you may know, they make hundreds of algorithm changes a year. We’ll update when we receive a response.

If you feel like you’ve been unjustifiably hit by the Google Panda Update, Google recommends that you let them know in this forum thread. For other resources, that may help you, we recently created this Delicious stack of Panda resources (which by the way is still a work in progress. Feel free to share other resources you think would be helpful, and we’ll consider adding them).

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Redefining “SEO Copywriting”

Source: http://www.seoptimise.com/blog/2011/10/redefining-%E2%80%9Cseo-copywriting%E2%80%9D.html

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Here at SEOptimise we’ve been thinking a lot about copywriting recently. More than usual, that is! As the person responsible for overseeing copywriting at SEOptimise, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the frankly quite lamentable state of what has become known as “SEO copywriting”.

Any copywriter worth their salt will doubtless share my opinion that so-called “SEO copywriting” gives the world of copywriting a bad name. Despite using the name “copywriting”, it couldn’t be further from this highly skilled profession. As we all know, this lesser species of copywriting has evolved because once upon a time, it was considered acceptable to throw together a quick article on “the secret to cheap international calls” or whatever, and submit it to a dozen or so article directories for a few quick links. But Google quite rightly recognised that that kind of rubbish was not remotely helpful to its users, and has been banging on about high-quality content with renewed vigour ever since.

In the light of the Panda update we made the conscious decision, as an agency, that the content we produce for our clients during the course of routine link building activities would have to take a big step up from the typical article directory fodder which has unfortunately come to be associated with the SEO world. Moving away from devalued article directories, it becomes necessary to intensify link building efforts in other areas; guest blogging is one area which immediately springs to mind, and one in which we have been met with considerable success for most of, if not all, our clients. But for this strategy to be successful, and to gain good links from high-authority blogs which have a high readership, it’s necessary to produce decent pieces of writing that bloggers will actually want to feature.

It’s just a shame that a lot of professional copywriting services seem to be stuck in the past when it comes to churning out the kind of copy regularly to be seen gracing the spammier article directories. Haven’t they heard of the Panda update? Don’t they realise that this sort of crappy copy doesn’t cut it anymore? In the past, we’ve been through a string of copywriting services and the blog posts we’ve had written have been very much of the article directory ilk – ill-thought-out, boring and, I might add, riddled with typos and fundamental grammatical errors. If you’ve read my previous posts or if youfollow me on Twitter, you may remember that I take a dim view of poor grammar, so you can imagine my reaction to finding it in the work of professional copywriters. I also recently completed a Diploma in Copywriting, and the course material for that wasn’t much better. A woeful state of affairs!

At SEOptimise our rationale is that investing more in copywriting ultimately pays dividends. An interesting, insightful piece of writing that takes an original look at a topic will quite simply do far better for your SEO efforts than the sort of lazily spun “how to” articles churned out by “content generation” companies. Not only will you have far greater success in publishing the work on decent sites, but you’ll also find that it’s far more likely to be shared in the social media networks and you’ll reach a much bigger audience. And more exposure means more links! To use a buzzword that I’m not altogether fond of (I don’t like buzzwords either), it’s pretty much a win-win situation!

So I would argue that it’s time for a rethink of how we – the SEO community – view copywriting. Rather than thinking of it as “SEO copywriting” or “content generation”, our focus needs almost to shift back to a more traditional, journalistic approach to writing, with the emphasis on tackling new subjects, providing readers with meaningful insights and embracing the limitless possibilities of the English language beyond the narrow confines of article directory spam.

And on that note, if you’d like to write full time for SEOptimise, we’re currently expanding our copywriting team:  check out our copywriter job vacancy for more details.

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Google Opens Dynamic Search Ads Program

Source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2118956/Google-Opens-Dynamic-Search-Ads-Program

Google has announced a new feature for AdWords called Dynamic Search Ads. With Dynamic Search Ads, Google will index your site frequently for changes, take the keywords from your website, and generate a highly dynamic search ad based on search queries in Google that you don’t have set up in AdWords.

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Google will dynamically generate a headline based on what was searched on Google. This would be totally separate from your other campaigns and if a keyword was searched that you were already bidding it would not be eligible to show. It would compete normally in AdWords with other people competing for that particular keyword or keyword phrase.

One important thing to note about this is that that you write the body of the ad while they dynamically insert the headline of the ad.

It’s estimated that 16 percent of search queries that happen on Google each day have never been searched before. Dynamic Search Ads helps with all the random searches each day by allowing advertisers a new way to target relevant searches to their website with dynamic ads that are generated from your website content.

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Google hopes to achieve “broader exposure” with this tactic and help you to get more targeted people coming to your website. In my opinion this is another ploy to make more money over helping people out, but it’s a step in the right direction and at least they are helping people at the same time. Google is reporting that advertisers in their pilot program are seeing a 5-10 percent increase in clicks and conversions while getting an overall positive ROI.

Lawrence Cotter, General Manager at ApartmentHomeLiving.com said: “Using Dynamic Search Ads increased conversions by almost 50% with an average cost-per-conversion that’s 73% less than our traditional search ads. Dynamic Search Ads are doing a really good job finding the right searches to tap into, creating good ads, and getting visitors to the most relevant page on our site.”

With the new Dynamic Search Ads you are in control of your ads. If you want them showing for your whole site you can. You can even drum it down to a specific page within your website.

I’m looking forward to promoting pages within the site that contain certain words that I put in there. I can basically target any page or pages with certain keywords in them.

This should help very large clients that have thousands of pages that don’t want to sift through all of them to find which pages they want to promote. Now they can give Google the keywords to look for in their site. Google will dynamically put up ads based on the content that is on those pages.

Reporting will remain the same as any other campaign. You will be able to see everything and compare it with current AdWords data. You will still be able to adjust your max CPC bids and negatives. Many third party tracking systems are supported, although it sounds like there may be problems with a few.

If you would like to sign up for the beta program, you can join by contacting your Google representative or sign up here. Doesn’t look like you’ll be able to get in right this second and as of right now no expected date has been released when they will open this up to everyone.

Save up to $400! Register now for SES Chicago 2011, the Leading Search & Social Marketing Event, taking place November 14-18. SES Chicago will be packed with sessions, keynotes, exhibitors, networking events, and parties. Learn the latest strategies on PPC management, keyword research, SEO, social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, multiple site issues, video optimization, site optimization, usability and more. Early bird rate expires October 21! 

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Brafton’s Infographic: Why Content for SEO?

Source: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/braftons-infographic-why-content-for-seo/35187/

Brafton Infographic: Why Content for SEO? explores how content is key to search engine visibility.  They also have a related post which breaks down each area of the infographic. I like this stat – “76% of marketers who have strategic SEO campaigns in place invest in content creation.

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