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A New Article

Inspired by a combination of an excellent research paper from Richard Stokes of AdGooroo, Google’s Q2 earnings report and the recent happenings in the now getting tiring story of Yahoo! and Microsoft – the most recent article by Beanstalk’s Dave Davies is out today. Titled, “The Search Landscape Reflected In Paid Results” it discussed some of the recent changes, how they’re affecting the search engines themselves and what we can expect to see in the paid and organic results because of this.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

SEO news blog post by @ 8:15 pm on July 17, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Beanstalk’s Most Recent Press Release

Beanstalk has changed it’s name. A slight change but a change nonetheless – Beanstalk is now formally known as Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc. as opposed to Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning, Inc. Here is the press release that has gone out with this announcement:

Top Search Engine Optimization Firm Changes Its Name

Top SEO company Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning, Inc. has formally changed it’s name to Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc. This change reflects adjustments in the popularity of specific terms used to identify the industry itself.

Victoria, BC July 15, 2008 — In an effort to further enhance their brand identity, Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning, Inc. has formally changed its name to Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc. As business owners have become more educated and familiar with the search engine marketing industry the terminology used to describe it has become more specific. Beanstalk has changed their name to reflect this adjustment in visitor behavior.

“The world of online marketing is changing,” says Beanstalk, CEO Dave Davies, “and we have to change with it. When the company was first founded back in 2004 – the terms used to describe the services we offer were varied. As the industry has evolved and consumers better informed and educated the terms used have become more solidified. A name reflects who you are – and our name needs to reflect what consumers identify with in our industry.”

When asked about the name change in relation to the optimization of their own site Dave chuckled, “Of course we can’t ignore the effects of having the ability to more easily work on some of the top keywords in our industry. That said, we already rank very well for “seo services” which is and will continue to be our primary focus. In this case, the ability to target new, more highly searched phrases than “search engine positioning” is an added bonus but not our primary motivation. Branding is the key in our current marketing efforts and associating our company with some of the top words used to describe our industry is a big part of that effort.”

The change is now reflected across the Beanstalk site, “with the exception being our SEO blog“, Dave points out. “If we wrote as Beanstalk Search Engine Positioning, Inc. in a post two years ago then it will remain that way in that post. All new posts will of course reflect the new name.”

The change will not affect clients or the services offered by Beanstalk. They will continue to offer guaranteed SEO services to their clients as well as consulting, training and link building. Sticking with their long-held beliefs, they will not be expanding services into other search engine marketing areas such as pay-per-click. “It has been and hopefully continues to be clear from our name,” begins Dave when asked about adding new services, “that what we do is organic search engine optimization. The search marketing industry is a huge one and I personally believe that our clients are better served if we provide excellence in our area and refer them to others for other areas. When we have clients who want pay-per-click or social media marketing we send them to firms that specialize in just that. That always has been and will continue to be our philosophy so no, we won’t be adding in any new services. Heck, there’s enough going on in the organic realm to keep 10 of me busy – I’ll leave paid search or social media to those who love it as much as I love the organic side rather than be second best (or worse) at all of them.”

About Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc.

Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc. is a leading SEO company. Located in Victoria, BC, Canada Beanstalk offers it’s services worldwide with the majority of it’s client base located in the continental United States.

Dave Davies is the CEO of Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc. Dave co-authored the second version of the Search Engine Marketing Kit for SitePoint.com, is the co-host of a weekly radio show on Search Engine Optimization on WebmasterRadio.fm and has spoken at numerous conferences on a variety of subjects related to organic search engine optimization.

Contact

Dave Davies, CEO
Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc.
http://www.beanstalk-inc.com/
250-370-9750

###

SEO news blog post by @ 5:55 pm on July 14, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Google Keywords & A Test Of Links & Webmaster Radio

Google Keywords

Google has just started showing the estimated monthly search numbers in their keyword suggestion tool. For the first time in a long while we’re now able to see the estimated search numbers on the engine who’s results we most want to see the results of.

As a word of warning, after using it and comparing the numbers with the click through volume for a number of phrases, the number appear to be a bit high – that’s because it defaults to Broad Match but you can select Exact Match from the drop-down and get the the numbers you’re looking for.

You’ll find this new feature added to the Google tool here.

A Test Of Links

Also, there was an interesting test run by Johannes Beusand published on the MarketingFan.com site regarding the value of multiple links to a single page on residing on a single page of a website. He basically strives to answer the question, if there are two or more links on a single page of a site and they point to a single page on another site – how are they treated?

I’m not going to be mean and note everything from the site here and steal their traffic. :) You’ll find the link to this interesting test here.

Webmaster Radio

And today on Webmaster Radio Jim Hedger and I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Ryan – the man behind SES. Kevin discussed the show, the organizing of it, and some of the great sessions that’ll be held in San Jose.

After that (and some ranting by both Jim and myself about the stupid fees we Canadians are charged for cell phones and specifically web usage on them) we had on Dave Szetela from Clix Marketing discussing the recent changes Google has made to the quality scores for it’s AdWords advertisers.

Again, I could repeat the discussion but it was based on a couple posts covered elsewhere here and here.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:09 pm on July 9, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Google Keywords & A Test Of Links & Webmaster Radio

Google Keywords

Google has just started showing the estimated monthly search numbers in their keyword suggestion tool. For the first time in a long while we’re now able to see the estimated search numbers on the engine who’s results we most want to see the results of.

As a word of warning, after using it and comparing the numbers with the click through volume for a number of phrases, the number appear to be a bit high – that’s because it defaults to Broad Match but you can select Exact Match from the drop-down and get the the numbers you’re looking for.

You’ll find this new feature added to the Google tool here.

A Test Of Links

Also, there was an interesting test run by Johannes Beusand published on the MarketingFan.com site regarding the value of multiple links to a single page on residing on a single page of a website. He basically strives to answer the question, if there are two or more links on a single page of a site and they point to a single page on another site – how are they treated?

I’m not going to be mean and note everything from the site here and steal their traffic. :) You’ll find the link to this interesting test here.

Webmaster Radio

And today on Webmaster Radio Jim Hedger and I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Ryan – the man behind SES. Kevin discussed the show, the organizing of it, and some of the great sessions that’ll be held in San Jose.

After that (and some ranting by both Jim and myself about the stupid fees we Canadians are charged for cell phones and specifically web usage on them) we had on Dave Szetela from Clix Marketing discussing the recent changes Google has made to the quality scores for it’s AdWords advertisers.

Again, I could repeat the discussion but it was based on a couple posts covered elsewhere here and here.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:09 pm on

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Jason Gambert – Oh Yes, We Trust You

Well, the story continues. Back in April we reported on the attempt to trademark the term “SEO” by one Mr. Jason Gambert. If you’re interested in the story, Jim Hedger and I also reported on the story on Webmaster Radio with our guest Sarah Bird from SEOmoz. You can listen to the podcast here.

Well the story gets even worse.

Jason has now been busted trying to manipulate Wikipedia to back his claims. He’s now been banned from editing Wikipedia at all. and this is the guy that’s wanting to trademark SEO just for the good of the community.

I won’t bother repeating the story I read to find out this info. You can read the details about what’s going on now the arteworks.biz site and you can also review the back-and-forths between Wikipedia admins and Jason here.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:33 pm on July 8, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Happy July 4th !!!

While we may be tucked away up here in Canada, the staff of Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization, Inc. would like to wish our American friends and clients (and especially those of you who fall into both categories) a very happy July 4th long weekend.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:42 pm on July 4, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

A Beginners Guide To Link Building

Link building is an essential ingredient in ranking your website highly on the major search engines. There, now that we’ve got that brilliant grasp of the obvious out of the way let’s move on to what you can do to actually create them. Before we launch into the nitty-gritty of link building, no beginners guide would be complete without a brief explanation as to why links are important and the different elements of them. Being a beginners guide this won’t be an entirely complete list but it will be enough to get you going on the right path. Understanding what you’re trying to do will help you do it better and more importantly, understanding the “why” of the situation will help you stretch your tactics outside of this and other articles on link building.

Why Are Links Important?

To put it simply: a link is a vote. Every link pointing to your site from another website tells the search engines that the other site finds your resource valuable and thus, the engines read this as a vote for your site. So it must be about getting tons of links and you’re done right? Wrong. This is incorrect as …

Not All Votes Are Created Equal

Unlike your own vote in an election, some votes are worth more than others and some votes are worth SIGNIFICANTLY more than yours (unless of course you’re a content writer for the Google.com domain in which case you obviously have the top vote). The basic factors that affect a link’s value to your website are:

The site strength – the strength of the site that is pointing to yours is a significant (and historically abused) factor in the valuation of links. In the absence of other easily-visible criteria let’s look at PageRank as a key valuation of a site’s strength. If a site with a PageRank 8 links to your site, this vote is worth significantly more than a link from a PageRank 3 site. This is because a PageRank 8 site is, in Google’s eyes, a more important site than the PageRank 3 site.

Relevance - the relevance of a site linking to you is, if anything, more important than a site’s strength. If you run a bed a breakfast in Utah a link from a PageRank 3 bed and breakfast will be worth more than a link from a PageRank 5 web design site. This area is a bit grey in that it relies on the engine’s ability to determine what is relevant and what is not however we’ve seen evidence that this area is strong at this stage in the game and is only becoming more important over time.

Anchor text - the actual text used to link to your site is extremely important. I’ve seen extremely strong sites get beaten out by weak ones simply due to the poor use of anchor test. If you’re building links to your site be sure to include your keywords in the text that links back and, if possible, the exact phrase you are trying to rank for. At the same time, you can’t make all your anchor text exactly the same – how can that possibly look natural?

Position – the position of a link on a page and the number of other links on that page impacts the value of a link. A link in the footer of a page is given less weight than a link near the top, a link in the content of a page is given more weight than a link in a list of links and a link on a page with 50 other links is given less weight than a link on a page with only a few other links. If we think about it – this makes sense. All of these things indicate whether the site with the outbound links actually intends for one of their visitors to click the link or not. From an engine’s perspective – the more it appears that a site wants a link to be clicked on, the higher the weight that link (or vote) is given.

Admittedly there are a number of other factors but this is a beginners guide. Following the considerations above will insure that as you make each link decision – you’re odds of making the right choices will be significantly higher than if you ignore them. Ignoring them may not get you penalized or banned but it will make your task far more time consuming as you secure less valuable links and thus need to build far more than following he right methods.

So far we’ve covered briefly the why of link building, now let’s get into the real-life, here’s-how-to-do-it side of things. Below I’m going to cover three of my favorite link building tactics. These are tactics that apply to virtually every scenario. The number of ways to build links is only limited by your imagination however and this should not be viewed as a comprehensive list. This is, after all, a beginners guide and I’m trying to list the tactics that apply to virtually every scenario.

Side Note: Reciprocal Link Building

I’m not going to count this as one of my favorite and so it won’t count as one of the three noted above and I’ll only touch on it briefly. There have been a number of assertions that reciprocal link building is dead. This is simply not the case. I have seen and competed against sites that were very successful with reciprocal links as their primary link source.

The problem with reciprocal links isn’t so much in their value which does seem to be a bit lower than non-reciprocal links however often more easily attained. No, my problem with reciprocal links is in the management. Unethical webmasters’ removing links after you’ve put the link up to them, sites expiring and not being renewed, sites getting penalties of their own due to their bad tactics are all inconveniences the reciprocal link manager must deal with.

As an SEO company, a huge issue we faced was leaving our clients with this task after a campaign was over if they decided not to go on a maintenance package. Non-reciprocal links may be a bit harder to attain in some cases however that issue is much easier to overcome than the sum of all these issues.

And now on to the top three …

Articles

If you’re paying attention as you read this you’ll probably have guessed that I’m a fan of article writing as a link building method. If you look to the “about the author” section you’ll notice a link to the Beanstalk site (and if you don’t, well … let me know as somebody’s stealing it without permission). While I genuinely enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with others – the purpose of getting the article distributed is primarily as a link building tactic, secondarily as a great source of qualified traffic and thirdly for my own enjoyment.

You are an expert in your field. Who knows more about your business than you? So share. Writing an article may not be easy but it is rewarding. If you can’t think of a topic, think of what you get asked. If you’re asked common questions repeatedly then chances are, it’s a good topic for an article. I often get asked about link building, and you’re reading the result.

Once the article is completed you need to get it syndicated. Using an article submission service is a simple way to get your article out to a large number of publishers quickly. On top of this you’d do well to seek out specific sites in your field using one or all of the major search engines to find highly relevant sites that accept articles and submit to them.

And oh, don’t forget an “about the author” section. :)

Directory Submissions

Directory submissions are likely the most painful of the link building tactics you’ll employ. Why? Because it’s tedious and time-consuming work.

To be done right directory submissions must be done manually, the titles and descriptions must be tailored to the specifications of the directory in question and often, you’ll have to decide if a review fee is worth it.

While there are a good many directories that accept free submissions there are also a large number that’s require a review fee. The fee can range from a few dollars to a few hundred. If you see that a directory has a low PageRank, is general in it’s nature (i.e. it isn’t about your specific field) then it likely isn’t worth more than a couple dollars if that. If the site is strong, and strongly related to your site then it’s obviously worth more.

There is no hard-and-fast set of rules for how much a listing is worth. I’d recommend to start your hunt for directories (don’t forget the topic and/or region specific ones), submit to all the free ones and make a list of all the ones that require a fee. After you’ve gotten a solid number in you “needs to be paid list” you can get a general idea as to what’s out there and what you can get and for how much. This will enable you to make solid choices knowing what all your options are.

Forum Posting

I just know I’m going to get a couple comments and/or emails for listing this as a link building tactic but if it’s done right there’s nothing wrong with it. Forum and blog posting got a bad reputation as a link building tactic when it came under huge abuse by unethical webmasters spamming forums with useless garbage just for a link. They even went so far (and still do) as sending out spiders to automatically submit posts. To this end, I have to agree that it’s a bad tactic however …

If you’re seeking out forums related to your site, reading the threads and responding with solid advice or with questions and not just firing off some sales-pitch then you’re doing what you’re supposed to be. Another perk to this is that, like articles, if you do this right you’re gong to see traffic as well and what more can you ask from a link building tactic than traffic as well as links.

Conclusion

Above we’ve covered the basics of link building. As I’ve noted repeatedly, once you’re done reading this and applying some of what you’ve read you’d do well to read other articles, forums and blogs. This isn’t a complete breakdown of everything link-related (that would be a full book) but it will keep you out of trouble and save you countless hours of wasted time getting poor links that haven’t held value since 2003.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:02 pm on June 29, 2008


 

Two New SEO Articles

Two new SEO articles came out of Beanstalk today.

The first article, titled “>1 Is the Lonliest Number” doesn’t so much cover SEO as is intended to help Internet Marketing providers to survive the current economic climate. In a time when competition for dollars is at a high, insuring that you attain and maintain clients is critically importance. This articles outlines how we’re surviving it and notes some common trends in companies that aren’t.

The second article is more SEO focused. The article, titled “A Beginners Guide To Link Building” is just that. In it we explain why link building is important (from the search engine’s perspective) as well as covering different aspects of links that are factors and a few of the more important link building methods. A good read for those just getting their feet wet in SEO and link building.

We hope you enjoy.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:36 pm on June 27, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Firefox 3 Sets Records, and Breaks Extensions

Early estimates for Firefox 3 adoption which started yesterday June 18th, 2008 show that between 8.3 and 11.07 million copies were download in the first 24 hours. Mozilla claimed its servers gave out about 83 terabytes of data in the 24-hour period, with one mirror sending data at speeds of 20 Gbps.

However for most geeks these numbers mean nothing – all they care about is, “Will my current Firefox extensions work?”, and the answer seems to be maybe. So here is a list of my extensions that work, and those that don’t (with a few left out that do work). Originally there were even more non-functioning extensions but several have been updated and are now in the working category.

Working: ColorZilla 1.9, fireform 0.6.3, FireFTP 0.99, IE Tab 1.5.20080310, IE View 1.3.7, SearchStatus 1.25, User Agent Switcher 0.6.11, Web Developer 1.1.6, and Zend Studio Toolbar 2.1

Non-Working: del.icio.us 1.2, Firebug 1.05 (1.2 beta 3 does work, but its only a beta), Google Global 1.0.2, and infoRSS 1.1.3

Total Working: 11 (2 Unmentioned ones work)
Total Non-Working: 4

As for new features Firefox 3 is a real gem. First its way better at memory management and overall speed / responsiveness. Secondly, now you can now drag and drop images from websites to your desktop (saved in original format). Thirdly, when your typing stuff in your address bar the auto population data now has Page Titles making it easier to find those obscure websites you visited. Naturally there are a lot more updates then this but these ones are just cool and I don’t have time to dig through massive release notes.

If your interested in monitoring the Firefox 3.0 browser usage check out this page.

You can download Firefox 3 here.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:42 pm on June 18, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

Come On Google …

There’s been a lot of shuffling around in the SERPs on Google over the past few days as many of you have undoubtedly noticed. I got my first wind of it 2 days ago from a client who dropped from #4 for his primary phrase to #5 (then to #6 – then back up to #5). Others have witnessed larger moves and this update seems to coincide with a recalculation of PageRank (visible) for many sites.

The Beanstalk site felt the affect starting yesterday when I first noticed that we dropped from our #1 spot for “seo services” to #2. Of course as an SEO I just had to spend a large part of the evening trying to get to the bottom of it and unfortunately I did. On the down side, I don’t like the update (and not just because of where we ended up) but in large part due to what I found. The page that took over the #1 spot was www.bitwiselogic.com/website-optimization-services.aspx (I’m sure you can appreciate that I’m not going to hyperlink that URL. ;)

We’ve always tried to follow the best practices of link building using ethical methods. It’s generally slower but it kept us in the #1 spot for well over a year. So what had changed?

When I looked into the keyword densities I found that the BitWise site had abnormally low densities for the targeted keywords (hovering at around 1%). So we know it isn’t keyword density. Their internal linking was good, I’d go for higher densities but this revealed that what it was coming down to was links. So where are their links coming from? (I asked myself in hopes of some great revelation of a new and superior link acquisition tactic)

A counter. Ugh.

BitWise had managed to get a counter that linked back to them put on thousands of sites. No anchor text – just an image link with an alt tag, likely (though not necessarily) established through either building blogspot templates that included the counter or “sponsoring” one.

And so I have to say to my friends at Google, there was once a time when we would jockey for #1 with WeBuildPages. Jim Boykin and crew are talented SEO’s and link builders and I could feel OK with being #2 (though of course, worked hard to take back the #1 spot when we slipped to them). But this? Somehow being beaten by a hit counter just doesn’t feel right. Something is wrong with this update.

So What Changed?

Now, while I don’t love the effect, the cause shed great light on the current update. It is obvious that Google is giving weight to sheer link numbers. There were definitely some good links in the BitWise mix including a couple .edu sites but overall the quality of the links was low so it’s pretty clear that they’re winning by sheer volume. The new algorithm favors volume.

So What To Do?

What are we doing about it? Very little. Knowing that Google can and will occasionally weigh volume more highly is a good reminder that for ourselves and our clients we need to take this into account when we’re doing our link building however an algorithm like this can’t hold. It’s too susceptible to sp@mming and thus, it must be readjusted.

So if you too have watched your site fall to a competitor that appears to have poor backlinks I would recommend to take our lead, build links – that’s always a good policy – but don’t panic (as hard as that may be – trust me I know). There will be another update. If we were to follow the lead of the site that jumped to #1 we’d build thousands of low-quality links overnight and drop our keyword densities down to 1%. And where would we be a few weeks from now?

SEO news blog post by @ 12:44 am on May 16, 2008

Categories:Uncategorized

 

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