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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.

July 8, 2009

Dude, where’s my site?

Has your website been swallowed by the Google SERPs? You may have noticed your page’s rank (as opposed to PageRank) jumping up and down like a yo-yo without reason?

There are a number of confusing theories as to the how and why. We here at Beanstalk are playing “Sherlock” trying to make sense of all this. Look for an article tomorrow regarding this SERP dance that has been making a buzz.


SEO news blog post by @ 6:04 pm




July 6, 2009

Bing Toolbox

Last week on Webcology on I had the pleasure of chatting with some of the fine folks at Bing to discuss their new engine Bing. I got a followup email from Brendan Blandy from Waggener Edstrom (the marketing folks for Bing) with some useful links for those interested in Bing.

If you care to follow Bing (and you should) then here’s where to go first:

See you there !

SEO news blog post by @ 6:02 pm




July 2, 2009

Who can afford to give free advice? (Why Write Articles)

Companies who give free advice often get benefits of recognition and media attention. These days that is more often via social media the likes of blogs, stumble upon, and digg, all of which are modern forms of “word of mouth advertising”. But they surpass word of mouth in that references from online social media may stick around years longer than a customers memory can recall things clearly. Information also moves so much faster in our modern world. A reference to your site online whether good or bad can generally spread a lot further a lot faster than good old fashioned “word of mouth advertising”. Not to mention that the references stick around a long time and continue to be viewed by more and more web surfers as time goes on.

So why not take advantage of that and publish all manner of resources to garner some attention? At first glance for a businessman it might seem a bit strange to publish resources on say fishing if you’re a fisherman. Or if you’re the best jewel smith you would think you should keep your tips and tricks to yourself. However the reality is most of the people who see this information and think “it’s cool” are never going to be at a level of expertise to become your competition. They still would need thousands of dollars in training and tools to match the quality your business already offers. Not to mention that most of your tips and tricks are probably known among industry professionals so you’re not really divulging any secrets that could affect your customer base are you? If anything a few amatuers might try your advice and find they’re unable to achieve the quality you are. They’ll be able to appreciate your companies workmanship even more.

If authors were worried about competition text books would only be written by retired professionals. Instead active industry professionals are often the one’s writing new resources because it gains them respect and a reputation in the industry. Online that respect and reputation can translate to your businesses website being a hot topic and resources you publish have a chance to spread among social media attracting all kind of buzz in your direction. The question is will you be ready to keep up?

Free tools, tutorials, howto’s and various other resources and gadgets really are the way of the web. Domaintools? MXtoolbox? Tizag? Howstuffworks? All of these services monitize themselves in some way. Some of these monitize themselves with advertisements but others are built by a particular business strictly to promote themselves or their partners.

Customers love when you give them things for free. You might be a bit aprehensive the first time your business is asked to publish free advice. But consider advanced fields like the software industry or web design and think about how long it took you and your employees to get where you are? Did it happen overnight? Unlikely. It probably took years of your spare time learning your trade either at home in your coding cave or at College or University.

Don’t be a protectionist in a time where free tips are the the norm. Your contributions may help people with their coding hobby. (some of which will go on to be professionals after years of dedication) Most people are likely to realize they can’t compete with the level of quality your company can produce in such a short time. Then there are those who fiddle around and find out at some point that they don’t have the time to do it themselves. Meanwhile your real competitors already know the score themselves so your free resources probably won’t help them any.

Out of the few prodigies that can turn a professional product from your tutorials and other resources have you really lost any business? This person obviously had the time, the talent, the ambition and the desire to do things themselves. Were they ever a potential client?

There are already many do it yourself programming and web design communities and resources out there. Why not add to the pool and get your name spread around blogs, twitter, instant messages, discussion boards, and more?

SEO news blog post by @ 3:19 pm




Google Update

For those of you who haven’t noticed – there’s an update going on over at Google. It’s lasted about a week and I first reported it back on Tuesday.

What appears to be happening is that they’re trying to react to some aspect of backlinks but unfortunately the house of cards is teetering and cr@p results are climbing to the top for many search queries. I liken it to pulling a loose thread on a sweater only to find that that threat was holding together the entire cuff.

Basically – it appears that a small adjustment in the algorithm has created undesired affects elsewhere. Let’s use an example of how this happens though admittedly – I don’t know or even have a good guess yet on what they changed in this case – this is JUST AN EXAMPLE. I am NOT suggesting that this is the change or even the logic behind the change, In fact, I can guarantee it’s not.

OK – now that that’s out of the way – let’s say for example that Google wanted to decrease the value of reciprocal links and in doing so setup an internal filter that checked for links to domains and from domains and where there was a positive match that the domains each linked to the other – that in such a case the value of those links would be zeroed out. This seems like a logical way to negate recip links HOWEVER if a Harvard professor find a thesis document posted on the MIT website valuable and links to it and an MIT student in their blog finds a research paper on the Harvard site to be relevant to their subject – should these links be negated and if we devalue both the Harvard and MIT websites – will the results for queries relevant to these studies be better?

This is just an example but a clear one as to how efferts to address one area can have undesired affects in others and of course – at this stage in their evolution they’ve got far more subtle aspects to their algorithm and so very many of them that a tweek in one area can have totally unpredictable affects on other areas.

At the end of the day however the results are worse than they were previously and thus, a change will come. I will put myself out there and predict further updates this evening or tomorrow (Friday) that will likely last through the weekend as Google works to address whatever issue they were originally working on but reducing and/or eliminating the undesired results in the form of lackluster sites improving in the rankings.

I will be monitoring and blogging about this update as it unfolds.

I should also note that I don’t get an email from Matt Cutts letting me know when these updates happen (no really – it’s true). My guesstimates are based on past patterns and thus – I may be off by a bit but Google tends to follow a similar pattern about 70 to 80 percent of the time.

Enjoy the ride and have a great long weekend !!!

SEO news blog post by @ 1:16 pm




June 30, 2009

Happy Canada Day !!!

I just wanted to make a special notice to all our clients and website visitors that we will be closed tomorrow for the July 1st holiday. It’s Canada Day up here in the great white north (which isn’t all that white now as we hover around 21 degrees (that’s about 70 degrees to those of you south of the border). :)

So to our Canadian friends – Happy Canada Day and to our American friends – we look forward to serving you upon our return.

SEO news blog post by @ 7:01 pm




Trust Not What You See On Google – Or Firefox

Just wanting to put out a general head’s up that there appears to be some massive fluctuations going on in the Google SERPs and from what I can see – at least some form of the algorithm is garbage producing, to say the least, entirely lackluster results.

As we all know – this happens from time-to-time and I can’t blame them, they have so many updates that sometimes it’s just not going to work out. So – before madly ransacking your results and tearing apart your site based on the current results (never a good idea anyways) just wait a couple days. We’ll let you know here also when it appears to be stabilizing.

Also – don’t download the new Firefox update just yet. A lot of the extensions aren’t working on the new version yet. And sorry to Daryl here for having to be the guinea pig. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 11:56 am




June 25, 2009

Google And … Of Course … Bing

In preparation for today’s show on Webmaster Radio I did my obligatory ransacking of the web for SEO news. Of course – I do this on a regular basis but on Thursdays I dedicate a solid couple hours to just this one task as opposed to the “when I get a chance” aspects of most other days.

Today I found a few interesting stories and so rather than report of something we’ve discovered or putting my spin on some news I’m going to simply list of a number of interesting news stories, perhaps a bit of a summary on why they’re important (in my humble opinion) and a link to the radio show where I discussed them in more detail.

First – let’s look at Google.

Didn’t get to this on the show (week-after-week we run out of time) but they’re pushing hard to get broadband into more regions of the world and get fast wireless access to cover more areas.

Of course they’re only looking out for us right? Wrong. As Greg Sterling rightfully points out over at Search Engine Land in his post, “Google Wants The Web To Go Faster“, Google’s motives here are purely driven by self interest. That said, their self interest coincides nicely with the interests on most tech companies and with consumers so it seems that having the budget and interests on Google on our side just might get things rolling in our favor.

And for those of you who might have missed it the first 83 times they said it – here’s a video from Matt Cutts (Google Guru) on quality directories vs paid links:

All right – now on to Bing.

Our regular readers will know that I’m getting sick-and-tired of reporting more positive news on Bing. Well today I get a mixed bag which is better than nothing.

On one hand – Bing’s share of paid links has increased by 13% since it’s launch. Let’s remember – this is where search companies make their money so this statistic is HUGE. You can read more about this on WebProNews.

Now the fun part for me – SE Round Table has brought a discussion to light that Microsoft has increased the traffic they’re sending in the form of bots looking for suspicious websites. Alright – that sounds good HOWEVER this traffic may well be skewing their referrer stats that all the previous good news is based on. The amount of traffic to some sites is up ten fold since the switch to Bing which is huge for traffic and could well amount to much of the search market share increases being reported.

I haven’t looked far into this at this time and so I don’t really have a side of the discussion however it’s definitely a story to follow. You can read the article and follow a discussion on the subject over at SE Round Table here.

Obviously there’s a lot of other news out there. Today I high recommend visiting Search Brains. They’re always good but today I was especially impressed with the quality and diversity of news.

SEO news blog post by @ 2:32 pm




If All Three Report It … It Must Be True

If all three search engines agree … it must be true right? If that’s the case then Beanstalk SEO is composed of the nicest staff and people you’ll meet. For our regular blog readers you’ll remember that last Friday I decided to run a test when I found that “polite seo” was actually a searched term to see how long it would take us to rank. 3.5 hours later it was ranking top 3 on Google for the phrase, then disappeared and early in the week the page was ranking #1 (woohoo … WE ROCK … secured a #1 ranking for a phrase with ~1 search/day :)

Well I just checked today and now we’ve got #1 on all three engines which means (since they can’t all be wrong right?) that Beanstalk SEO is the most polite of SEO firms. That’s all for now my good ladies and gentlemen. Please do excuse me whilst I end this blog post though I do hope you don’t take it as an insult that I’m not taking more time. I must sleep to serve you in the manner you so richly deserve.

With sincere best wishes and kind regards …

SEO news blog post by @ 12:21 am




June 23, 2009

Who needs a mobile website?

I’ve refrained from joining the plethora of mobile web users so far due to the fact that I’ve never wanted to surf the web on a squished cell phone screen at near dial-up speeds, but online hand held devices are becoming larger and more user friendly all the time with bigger displays, better software, and increased network speeds. Meaning that the time is “now” to catch the wave (and the gravy train) of the mobile web boom.

We’re already seeing incredible growth in the number of people using mobile devices to surf the web all around us. I think this is just the foundation for the exponential growth that is going to take place over the next few years and it will be one of the next great booms and revolutions of the internet. Entrepreneurs will find new services for mobile web surfers that we didn’t know we needed.

Up until last week I would’ve probably asked the same question many of you will ask. “Who needs a mobile website?” Who would surf the web on that tiny screen with that clunky interface at those terrible speeds?

That is until I heard that Panago (a pizza shop here in Victoria BC) has their menu on a cell phone friendly webpage and that if I were driving through an unfamiliar town I could find some good grub without even pulling over to find a phonebook. Even better, wouldn’t have to go to the restaurant or find a wireless access point for my laptop to even look at a menu? Alright, you’ve sold me. Now the question is, “Who doesn’t need a mobile website?”

Imagine you go into Walmart and have a look around but wonder if Target has the item for cheaper. Well if you’re one of the current mobile web surfer geeks who is ahead of the curve you’re going to be frustrated that the rest of the world hasn’t caught up with the convenience and services that businesses could be offering you online via mobile-friendly websites. But in a short time you’ll be able to walk down the isles of one store and on an impulse, pull out your smart phone and compare prices with other nearby stores.

In the near future providing mobile websites and services for your customers will be a must. There will be new conveniences to offer and new expectations from consumers. Businesses that don’t keep up with the conveniences may find themselves losing customers to more tech-friendly competitors. Businesses that do should see a lot of extra attention considering it doesn’t cost much to build and maintain a mobile website in comparison to daily business operations and advertising expenses.

I imagine this will be the next big .com style boom. The borders of yet another digital land of intrigue and opportunity are in front of us. Welcome, once again, to the Wild West.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:07 pm




June 19, 2009

A Polite SEO Test

I’m going to be honest, in playing with some Firefox extensions for an article I’m writing on, well, Firefox extensions I clicked a link to the search results for “seo” and discovered (to my surprise) that “polite seo” is actually a searched phrase. Now, I don’t know if I’m polite by the standards of the Queen (I’m Canadian so that reference some how comes up in the context of our parents’ lecture, “Be polite – would you eat that was if the Queen was at the table?”)

The answer – of course not however they probably wouldn’t have made leftovers either. ;) Sorry – that’s not polite either.

Now the point of the story – I decide to run a quick (and polite) SEO test on fruit that hangs that low to see if I could rank a simple blog post for such a phrase with no external link building.

Sincerely I’m hoping that I’m not stepping on any toes and that there isn’t someone out there trying desperately to rank for “polite seo” to capture the 30-odd searches/month it gets. The competition seems pretty low and I don’t really get who’s searching for it. Are there really that many SEO’s out there that are so rude that an entire industry may spring up for polite SEO’s. I know the domain is registered. Maybe someone will start an organization of polite SEO’s. :) Of course – when I went to it I got a very un-polite popup for so …

At any rate – I will stop rambling but I will check back to see if this page ranks for “polite seo” anytime in the near future. :)

Note: When checking for this post to be cached I discovered that the page ranks #3 on Google for “polite seo” after just 3.5 hours. Not very competitive I suppose. :)

SEO news blog post by @ 5:27 pm




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