Tag Archives: SEO

Google reviews MUST include text

I tell my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) clients that “Five-star Google reviews are like gold”. One client listened and encouraged customers to write reviews . . . which his customers did. Unfortunately, while they scored my client as a five-star vendor, their reviews included no text. None.

These five-star reviews with no text are, as far as I can tell, worthless. Google places them at the end of review lists, and seems to give them no value. They seem to provide no SEO benefit.

Moral: To receive SEO benefit, ensure that your customers include some text when they create a review of your business. A review of three or four sentences is fine.

Websites 101

When I’m asked about creating a website for a business, I recommend that the owner first “buy” (it’s actually a lease) a domain from a domain registrar such as Network Solutions or Godaddy.  If the domain name is longer than ten characters, buy an abbreviated domain name as well.  You can point it to the full length domain;  it will be easier for visitors to type.

Think of your website as the hub of a hub-and-spoke system for your business.  Links on the spokes should point inward to your website. The more spokes, the stronger your website’s web presence will be. These spokes are called backlinks.

Your website should describe what you do and provide a phone number and alternative ways of reaching you.  Each page should contain your phone number.

SEO: Search Engine MarketingUnlike the movies, if you build it they will not come.  You have to drive visitors to your website. Create a big footprint on the web by ensuring that each web document that you create contains an inbound link to your website.

Install Google Analytics or Statcounter on your website so that you can count visitors and analyze their on-site behavior.

Where can I create “footprint” documents with inbound links?

  • answers.yahoo.com
  • youtube.com
  • Discussion forums for your industry
  • Directories: local, generic, and industry-specific
  • Google Plus. It’s becoming more business oriented each week.
  • Social networking sites
  • Blogs. You can create a free blog on WordPress.com, blogger.com, blogspot.com, and other hosts. Your blog’s home page and its articles should contain links to your website.
  • Article publishers. I like ezinearticles.com.  Write articles about your industry and create a link to your website in each block of information about its author.
  • Press release publishers. Write press releases about your business.  Each should contain a link to your website.

This is just an outline.  If you become obsessed with any one task, step back and make sure that you’ve paid attention to all “spokes” of your hub-and-spoke system.  If so, then they will come.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Google search has changed again.

On May 22, Google began using its new Penguin 2.0 search “algorithm adjustment”. According to Google, it closely examines a site’s links’ quality and emphasizes its social links. One result is that Google now lists only one article by a single author, regardless of how many articles he’s written, on a WordPress site.

Google continues to change the rules as the game progresses. On a few occasions over the years my website has suddenly fallen from number 1 for a given search phrase to oblivion for many weeks, and only slowly recovered. In the meantime, I lost business. There was no explanation from Google.

Google giveth and Google taketh away.

The occasional wild swings in Google search results makes me suspect that the algorithm may have gotten away from them: too many cooks.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

SEO is like gardening.

Wheat plantWhen I told a client at a Fort Lauderdale body shop that he wouldn’t see the results of my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for weeks or months, he replied, “I understand. You’re planting seeds, which need time to grow.” He’s right: optimizing meta tags, placing links, etc is just like planting seeds. Then we wait.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Is SEO tantamount to “gaming” the search engines?

Endless Amusements, or, The Art Of Legerdemain Made Easy To Young Persons (publ 1846. Author: Theodore Abbot, Illustrator: Abel Bowen)
Is SEO just WWW sleight of hand?

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been spending many hours recently on SEO (search engine optimization) for clients. Luckily, I believe in my clients and their products and services. However, by analyzing the SEO results of competitors, I’ve become aware that just because a website appears at the top of a Google search results page, means neither that the product nor service is popular, nor even that it’s worthwhile. What it does mean, in competitive search categories, is that the website owner spent time and/or money on marketing. Nothing more.

So if you’re visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma and suddenly need to find a dentist to attend to your toothache, don’t assume when you search for TULSA DENTIST, that the first few search results will be the best dentists in Tulsa. All that it means is that those few dentists at the top worked on their SEO. They simply had a PR budget. They may or may not be good dentists.

Is this what Google and the other search engines intended? I doubt it, but that’s what we’ve got.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Caveat emptor: AT&T Advertising Solutions

AT&T Advertising Solutions uses the tactics of used car salesmen.


illustration by Russ Bellew

Within the past week, my suspicions about the way that AT&T Advertising Solutions handles SEO (Search Engine Optimization) were confirmed by the experience of a new client. When AT&T Advertising Solutions creates and hosts a website, they deliberately request that Google not add that website’s pages to Google’s index. (This is probably done within a website’s robots.txt file.) This prevents the website from being found via a Google search for keywords that are contained within the website’s pages. Your website can’t be found by searching for your keywords!

Then AT&T Advertising Solutions tries to upsell their “SEO Services”, which consist of, at the onset, merely allowing Google to add the new website’s pages to Google’s index. (A website administrator could do this in minutes by deleting one slash character “/” from the website’s robots.txt file.)

Sleazy used car sales tactic

The amazing thing about this is that, by default, Google would have eventually discovered and indexed the new website. Instead, AT&T goes out of their way to prevent Google from indexing your new website. This is like removing the windows from a car, selling that car without windows, and demanding more money when the customer asks, “May I have the windows, please?”.

What are your experiences with AT&T Advertising Solutions?

  • Update, October 2015: This shady operation was spun off by AT&T in 2012 and now is named YP LLC. It uses the trade name YP Marketing Solutions. Same sleazy tactics. Numerous consumer complaints.
Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Google is reshuffling the deck.

Google is doing something with search results.
Sometime in June, I noticed that Google’s search results began to change. For one thing, relevant keyword searches no longer found russbellew.com, and more irrelevant sites appeared in Google’s search results for a number of other keyword searches. I was sure that this was just a hiccup and that soon Google’s searches would improve. However, Google’s irrelevant results continue to appear, though the ranking of the irrelevant pages changes from day to day. It’s obvious that Google is tinkering with something, but aside from mentioning the project name Caffeine, they’ve not revealed much about it.
You can try a Google pre-production version here: http://www2.sandbox.google.com/  If there is a link at the bottom of the page that’s labelled "Dissatisfied?", you may provide feedback to Google. (I’ve never seen this link.)

logo: bingo.com
In the meantime, I’ve begun to use Microsoft’s Bing search engine (http://www.bing.com), and feel that it returns better results than Google. (There, I’ve said it.)  Webmasters and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) masters are trying to discern exactly what Google has done, but so far I haven’t read anything definitive. Here’s one conversation: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3963910-3-30.htm
It looks like Bing’s recent entry into the search field has lit a fire under Google. I just question whether Google is now running in the right direction.
Again, compare their results, side-by-side: http://www.bing-vs-google.com/
Have you noticed a change in Google search results over the last month or two?
Visit my website: http://russbellew.com