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26 Nov 2016 

7 Outdated SEO Tactics and What You Should Do Instead

Last Updated Apr 13, 2011 8:31 PM EDT

Search engine optimization takes time; there's no way around it. But it can be highly profitable when done right. Exactly how long it takes to see SEO results depends as much on what you do as on what you don't do. It's important to focus on tactics that have a long-term value versus short-sighted moves that can wind up hurting you months from now.

Below you'll find seven outdated SEO tactics that aren't going to fly as search engine algorithms, notably Google's, become better at detecting what websites truly deserve to rank in search results. But don't worry -- I've provided elegant alternatives to each that will be more useful in the long term.

1. Link Buying

As opposed to obtaining links to your website from other sites organically, this is when you take a shortcut and buy links from websites to improve search engine rankings. This could include paying for reviews of products, services, etc., as well as using a link brokering service that you pay on a monthly basis to purchase and maintain links on your behalf.

Why not do it? Um, remember what happened to J.C. Penney? And then Buying links is a blatant violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. It's pretty much guaranteed that eventually Google (or your competitors) will catch you in the act. The result? Search engines will lower your rankings and possibly remove your website entirely from search results.

What to do instead: Earn links organically. That means consistently create unique, quality content that others in your industry will find of interest. Infographics, videos, "Top 10" lists are all known to draw traffic and links. Join relevant online communities and become a trusted member, known for offering advice without being a salesman.

2. Publishing Online Press Releases

These days, there are lots of online wire services offering to blast out your press releases so they get scraped by other sites. The goal is to get attention online and obtain links back to your site.

Why not do it? From a purely SEO point-of-view, it's a Homepage waste of time and money. Links from low-visibility websites that scrape your press releases do not help you rank better.

What to do instead: To get high-quality links and press at the same time, start using HARO, where you can connect directly with journalists looking for sources on stories. If you are quoted in a reputable media outlet and the story links to your business's website, this is a much better way to boost your search engine rankings.

3. Article Submissions

Sounds harmless enough: Write content for various ezine websites that publish your content for free and offer a link back to your website.

Why not do it? This was not a bad SEO strategy up until Google's "Farmer Update", which essentially took away much of the SEO my blog value that the ezine-style content farms had. But even prior to the Farmer Update, writing articles only for the sake of obtaining links resulted in low-quality, barely readable content that did little to grow your brand.

What to do instead: Spend time writing one insightful article for your own website or guest blog post, rather than writing 10 uninspiring ezine articles. You will find that one high-quality article will often be picked up and linked to from multiple sites.

4. Blog Commenting (only for the sake of a link)

By entering your website url into the comment fields of certain blogs, it was once possible to improve your search engine rankings.

Why not do it? It's a waste of time. Now these links offer little to no SEO value and frustrate the very bloggers you should become friends with.

What to do instead: Leave insightful comments that other users will appreciate. Engage in conversations and be of value to other members. Rarely promote your own content, except when highly relevant. In the long-term your SEO efforts will benefit far greater than leaving random blog comments.

5. Link Exchanging

This is the antiquated practice of linking to a website simply for a link back to yours. The idea is that both parties benefit with improved search engine rankings.

Why not do it? Most search engine algorithms are able to detect unnatural link schemes, often created by link exchanging. Also, it can hurt your rankings to link to websites that have a lot of low-quality links obtained through link exchanges.

What to do instead: Find websites where you can write guest blog posts or give an interview in order to obtain a link.

6. Directory Submissions

Many online directories allow you to submit your website for inclusion, which offers a link back to your site.

Why not do it? Search engines give very little value to these content-poor directories, thus rendering links from them worthless. Don't waste your time submitting your website to any and every directory. You could go on forever.

What to do instead: Pick and choose directories. Your chamber of commerce, local directories like Yahoo Local, Google Places, and Dmoz are examples of worthwhile places to submit your website.

7. Keyword Stuffing

To rank higher, you put the same or (almost the same) keywords all over your website.

Why not do it? Since the early 2000s, most search engine algorithms have been smart enough to identify unnatural language patterns in text and when they detect the overuse of a keyword, your ranking takes a hit.

What to do instead: Use language that is intended for your users, not search engines. Targeted keywords in conjunction with their synonyms, naturally spread out throughout your text will have a much greater impact on improving your site's relevancy and rankings.

Have a question about whether or not you should try a certain SEO tactic? Ask me in the comments!

Alhan Keser is Chief Marketing Officer at Blue Fountain Media.

Flickr photo courtesy of Lin Pernille Photography, CC 2.0

© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
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25 Nov 2016 

SEO Is Now 'Search Experience Optimization'

The last few years, search engines such as Google, Bing, and even Apple, have been upgrading their algorithms and machine learning processes to account for the end-user's experience. But, since their algorithms are built upon the work completed by automated crawling bots (pieces of software that manually scour the internet), it has always been difficult for them to truly simulate the actions of a flesh and blood user. And it's not feasible for them to create an algorithm that's based on the anecdotal feedback of an army of individual users that submit their findings.

Instead the search engines have started to write logic that, to their best estimation, is what a user experience should be on a website. Some of the criteria they are now measuring are site speed, mobile optimization, site structure, content, and dozens of other signals that should give the algorithm an idea of whether or not search engine users are getting what they expect from a website.

Related: Top 7 Things You Don't Know About SEO

So, what does this mean for companies, marketers, and website owners when it comes to their SEO?

Basically what I, and dozens of other SEO industry experts, have been writing about for years has now come to fruition. We've exited the era of search engine optimization (SEO), and have now entered the new age of search experience optimization (also... SEO).

And this is great news for anyone look at this web-site that performs digital marketing correctly. It means that "gaming" the system has become less and less viable, and that groups who rely on black hat techniques are seeing their efforts become less effective.

So, how should websites be check this site out optimized for the search engines now that user experience plays such a big role?

Ask questions, provide answers.

Previously, marketers used to obsess over ideas like keyword density, meta descriptions, and link profiles. They had everything down to percentages and numbers and it all made sense when it was placed into an excel sheet. But how on earth was a website that was built from data on an excel sheet supposed to appeal to a human being?

That's the problem the search engines set out to fix. And you need to accommodate the changes they've made.

Related: Here's What Really Matters for SEO in 2016

Specifically, you need to think about your website visitors at every stage of your web design and marketing process. And this can be done easily with a series of question and answer audits you can ask yourself as you're creating your marketing campaign.

For instance, if you're designing a web page and you're wondering how to make it appear in the Google search results, you should start by asking what your customers are typing into the search engine. This sounds rudimentary, but think it through for a moment. Previously marketers would optimize for terms such as "snow tires" or "weight loss products". But search habits have become more semantic and people are no longer typing in general terms, but rather they're asking questions.

Thus, the search term "snow tires" has evolved into, "what are the best snow tires for more tips here a 2008 Ford F150?"

And it's the companies that are answering the questions for their customers that are starting to win in the search engine rankings. So, stop fretting over how many times you mention the keyword in the content you're writing on the page, and instead start asking yourself what your customers need help with.

Embrace mobile.

If you've been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you may be shocked to hear that most people use smart phones and that smart phone searches now account for a more search volume than desktop searches. However, if you've been living in the world with the rest of us, this isn't too surprising. So, if everyone is using mobile devices to browse the web, shouldn't you likewise be optimizing your site for mobile traffic?

Last year, Google made waves in the SEO community by releasing a major algorithm update that specifically improved the search engine visibility of mobile optimized sites over their less optimized competitors. It was lovingly termed " mobilegeddon" by marketers. And while it wasn't the end of the world, it did cause quite a stir with digital marketers.

Across the board, mobilegeddon caused the search results to shuffle about and it didn't just impact small businesses. In fact, over 40% of Fortune 500 websites weren't mobile optimized at the time of the update. Which is staggering when you think that this all just happened less than a year ago. So, some major brands took hits to their online presence.

Related: SEO Is So Hard That Even Google Needs Help With It

And what this taught everyone, painfully in some cases, was that we needed to start prioritizing the needs of mobile internet users. You see, mobile users don't have the same bandwidth as desktop users. They have data limits and often the speed of their internet is much lower than a desktop computer. So, if they're trying to interact with a page that has a lot of data and animations to load, it's going to take forever for them to actually see something on their mobile device. Which, as we've been discussing, is not ideal for user experience.

So, instead of building a website that is dramatic from a visual standpoint, but requires the equivalent effort of a million hamsters running on wheels to power up a switchboard to manage all of the data and bytes your site is throwing at the visitor, you should probably go with a more "minimalist" approach.

I recently sat down with Mitul Gandhi, an SEO expert and the co-founder of SEOClarity, a next-generation enterprise-level SEO platform.

"The search engines are no longer kidding around when it comes to mobile optimization," says Mitul. "Google has released AMP Pages, their tool to allow web designers to quickly optimize their pages for mobile devices, and Apple is building their entire algorithm based on the actions of mobile users, based on their massive mobile phone market share."

As Mitul mentioned, Google has recently released a product called AMP pages, which stands for accelerated mobile pages. This product is a great solution for website owners and marketers that don't have web design degrees but understand they need to make significant changes to their website in order to accommodate mobile users.

Pay Attention To Your User Experience Metrics

Once you've optimized your website content and the mobile experience, the next steps are heavily data driven. You should now begin understanding what is happening when visitors are coming to your site and how they are interacting with it. To do this, you can utilize robust tools like the one Mitul's group offers, or for those that don't have the budget, you can analyze your Google Analytics data, which is free to use.

What you'll want to look for are signals that tell you if you're providing a positive user experience past mobile speed and onsite content. To do this, look at metrics like time on site, bounce rate, pages per visit, return visitor rates, and conversions. This data will give you insights as to whether your visitors are enjoying themselves once they are browsing your site. Once you identify problem pages or sections, work on optimizing those through A/B testing.

The reason you want to do this is the search engines are now leveraging the data that is mined from people using their internet browsers. Wait... Google, Bing, and Apple are tracking what you're doing on your browser? Um, yes. Why else would they sink millions of dollars into a piece of software they give away for free. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge (previously Internet Explorer), and Apple Safari are all spying on you and reporting data points back to their creators.

Now, I can't pretend to know whether they're using this data for nefarious reasons (I can almost bet they are), but we do know that they use this data to understand whether users are having a positive user experience on a website. And the metrics I just told you to measure, are the same ones these browsers are reporting back to the search engines.

Don't Forget Social Media

Finally, you'll want to ensure that you are not just giving lip service to the idea of social media. Regardless of how dry and boring your industry is, you need to be engaging on social media. We have dozens of B2B clients in some pretty dull industries that still actively participate on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

And they're not using us because they think they're going to get a bunch of customers from Facebook. But they understand that the search engines are taking major cues from social media signals as to whether a site offers a positive user experience or not.

After all, if you enjoy something online, what do you usually do? You talk about it. And where do a lot of people talk about things? On social media. So, it's only logical that if you're trying to measure whether a site is providing a great user experience, that there would also be a social footprint signaling this.

So, make sure that you're sending links back to pages on your site when you are posting on social media. And don't just link back to your homepage, but link to product pages, your company information page, and your location pages. These are all places that should be getting signals from the social networks.

And this is also why you should be blogging, as I've talked about ad nauseam in previous articles. Not only do blogs provide great content to your visitors (read: user experience) they also encourage social media sharing and interaction, which leads to social signals, which is what I've been talking about for the last few paragraphs!

So, if you've been wondering how to get your website to rank well in the search engines and have been wondering what the secret sauce is, you can forget about some mystical equation that perfectly balances links, keyword density, and unicorn dust. It doesn't exist. And that's a good thing. Because search experience optimization is a much more common sense endeavor and anyone can figure it out with a little bit of time and effort.
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20 Nov 2016 

Air Conditioners - The Home Depot

Stay comfortable year round when you shop air conditioner products and services at air conditioner repair service The Home Depot. We've got everything you need to beat extreme temps and humidity, whether you're looking for an oscillating fan for your bedroom or a dehumidifier for your basement. 

Are you thinking about replacing the swamp cooler on your roof? Check hvac courses out our wide selection of evaporative cooling units. Adding on to your home? Mini-split systems can be a great option if your home's existing air conditioning unit isn't suitable in newly added rooms. Your mini-split can also be outfitted with a heat pump for additional heating capabilities. 

Whatever HVAC system you're looking for, The Home Depot is happy to help you choose the one that's right for you, and we'll even fix it if anything goes wrong. We've got you covered with professional installation services and air conditioner repair air conditioning freezing up for all brands and equipment models.
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19 Nov 2016 

The 3 worst things you do when you wash your face — according to a dermatologist

A dermatologist reveals the worst things you do when washing your face - Business Insider

Washing your face might not be something you think about, but you do it every day and you might not even know wedding ideas for summer that you could be doing it wrong. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes people make when washing their wedding ideas on a budget faces according to Dermatologist Dr. Erin Gilbert.

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19 Nov 2016 

Ten Questions to Ask your Divorce Lawyer

Before you meet with prospective divorce lawyers for initial consultations, it's important you prepare a list of questions to ask. This will ensure you find the right lawyer to handle your particular case.

1. How long have you been practicing family law? Determine how experienced the attorney is in family law and if he or she has handled cases similar to yours. While all lawyers have law degrees, some may be more experienced in other fields.

2. What are the steps in the divorce process? Chances are you are not familiar with the divorce process and since your attorney is there to help educate and guide you, have him or her explain the process in its entirety to you. This should include everything from filing the petition to the trial.

3. How will I be charged? When you hire a Maryland divorce lawyer, expect to sign a retainer agreement, which details how (and how much) you'll be charged. Some attorneys charge hourly, others a flat rate. You may find that you will also be charged when you spend time with paralegals or other staff members in the office.

4. Do you have payment plans? If you are unable to pay in full upfront, you may find that some lawyers offer payment plans that allow you to make payments or pay by credit card.

5. How will we communicate? Find out if the primary communication method will be by telephone or email and how soon you can expect responses to inquiries.

6. How often do you go to court? Ask about the lawyer's history; do they tend to settle cases or are the majority of them taken to court?

7. How long will the divorce process take? The divorce attorney should give you an estimation of how long your case will take depending on if you settle or have a trial.

8. Do you offer clients any resources or information? From a legal standpoint, the divorce process can be exhausting and complicated. Reputable and well-established divorce attorneys often offer clients information and resources (think reading materials, educational articles, or referrals to other professional services) that can help make the entire process less painful and difficult.

9. Can you estimate how much my divorce will cost? Based on the information you provide, the lawyer should be able to estimate the cost of your divorce. However, since there are many cost factors outside of your control, don't be surprised if the attorney is hesitant to answer. Knowing an approximate figure will allow you to make financial adjustments accordingly, if needed.

10. Would you recommend mediation? Find out if the lawyer often uses private mediation with clients and if they feel it would be appropriate for your particular case.
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