Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship

You may have noticed a trend emerging when you perform a search in Google. Every so often, you’ll notice someone’s face comes up next to their post. At first, you may think, “Wow, they must be an authority. Google is even publishing their face!” Once the star-struck awe wears off, you may then wonder, “How did they do that? Can I do that?”

For authors, bloggers, podcasters, video personalities and content producers, the answer is, “Yes, you can!”

Google—in their tireless effort to serve and encourage rich Internet content—has produced something called “rich snippets,” which offers content producers and marketers an opportunity to stand out using “Google Authorship” markup code.

The Google Authorship process, however, wasn’t terribly clear for me. I ended up needing about five different resources to successfully navigate the Google Authorship process. Therefore, I’ve taken the time to reproduce a step-by-step process for getting that pretty mug of yours into the Google SERPs.

Step 1: Set Up Your Google+ Profile

If you don’t already have a Google+ profile, go to Google.com and select You+ from the navigation bar at the top. As you move through setting up your profile, pay close attention to adding content for the following fields:

  • Introduction
    • Keep this short and sweet; one to four sentences. A little about you and where visitors and followers can find you.
  • Profile photo
    • Use a clear headshot. This will be reproduced as a small thumbnail if it’s placed into the Google search results. (Google is sure to repeat “if” and “no guarantee” numerous times on your Authorship journey. Be prepared: Your face may not show up in the SERPs for months, if ever.)[image of intro and photo]
  • Work Email
    • Preferred: Select an email address with the same domain name as the one you will be linking from (i.e. your email address is yourname@yourdomain.com and your website is yourdomain.com.) If you can’t do that, any email address you control will do.[image]
  • Contributor to
    • This is where you tell Google what sites you post to, or—in cases where you have been a guest author on someone else’s site or blog—what articles you’ve had published. If a guest post, link directly to your post on the other site; not the main homepage.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile

Step 2: Link to Your Google+ Account from Your Posts

There are a couple different ways to add Google Authorship markup code to your site, but I’m going to focus on my favorite: the rel=author parameter. Why is this my favorite method? I feel the rel=me parameter you would add to your blog’s “about me” page is too broad to be targeted, whereas the rel=author parameter you add to specific links, giving you much more control. You may say, “Matt, that seems like more work!” but I would say, “Not if you do it the way I’m about to teach you!”

Your goal now is to add the code to one place: the bottom of your posts. If you don’t already have one, begin by writing your “about the author” blurb. Here is mine:

Marketing Ideas Author Matt SchoenherrWritten by Matt Schoenherr
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on , Twitter and Facebook. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com

As you can see, I’ve included links to some of the other social media channels I use, the same headshot I used for my Google+ profile (this could be any picture; I’m just being consistent) and a little about myself.

Pay close attention to the Google+ link here. This is the format you want to use:

<a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/u/0/111111111111111111111?rel=author“>My link to Google+</a>

Change the 1’s to your Google+ profile ID. To find your profile ID, make sure you’re logged out of Google+ and

  1. do a search for your profile from the Google+ landing page (Google.com, then select You+.) You may see your profile posts come up on the left and believe you just found your profile.
  2. Don’t be fooled! This is not the right address!
  3. You still want to select your profile from the list that appears on the right.

Marketing Ideas Google Plus Profile ID

Now you will see your actual profile and will be able to capture the URL address properly:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/posts

Strip off “posts” and now your URL should look like:

https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363/

Once you have your “about the author” description created, you will add it to the bottom of your posts. If your website is built on a content management system, this may be easy. With Joomla, you may simply add a custom HTML module to the bottom of those pages. In WordPress, you may use a wonderful plugin called “Post Footer” and drop your “about the author” blurb in. If you need help with this, ask your web guru. Here is what my code looks like:

<img src=”http://marketingideas101.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/marketing-ideas-author-200-150×150.jpg” alt=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” title=”Marketing Ideas Author Matt Schoenherr” width=”150″ height=”150″ class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-1465″ /><strong>Written by Matt Schoenherr</strong><br />
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on <a rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/106370176252356730363?rel=author” title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Google+</a>, <a href=”https://twitter.com/#!/mattschoenherr” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a> and <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/marketingideas101″ title=”marketing ideas” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a>. Creative <a href=”http://marketingideas101.com/category/marketing-ideas/”>marketing ideas</a> and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.

Step 3: It’s Alive!

Google has provided a slick little tool that tells you whether you’re on the right path. It’s called the Rich Snippets Testing Tool and you can find it here: http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

To determine if things are working properly, place the URL address for one of your posts carrying the Google+ link into the top box and select the Preview button.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Testing Tool

An example of what your post will look like in the search results will appear. If you see your picture, great news! You’re done! If not, the Rich Snippets Testing Tool will tell you what errors it found. For me, I was told I hadn’t verified my email address, so once I added the work email address to my Google+ profile and verified it, my “Extracted Author/Publisher for this page” section looked like this:

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Verified

Afterglow

Per the search engine marketing agency, CatalystOnline:

“The results over a few weeks proved the quintessential SEO theory that Rich Snippets do increase CTR and as a result greater traffic. According to Google Webmaster Tools, clicks to the site dramatically increased by +150% and this improvement resulted in an increase of visits and page views (see chart below).” (Emmanuel, 2012.)

Marketing Ideas Rich Snippet Results

True, it may take a little time to get Google Authorship markup installed and functioning. Still, if your posts begin displaying your profile picture in the Google search results, you stand to gain considerable advantage over other content authors whom have not made this effort. As of today, I will begin watching to see when (if) my profile picture begins appearing alongside my posts. When (if) I see this occur, I will come back here and post an update to let you know how long it took.

In the meantime, if you work through these directions and you discover something was unclear or missing, please offer some clarification in the comments below and I’ll update this post.

In support of your efforts,

Matt

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Update, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well, it seems Google caught my Authorship submission today!  Fairly quick turn-around at exactly a week. Nice. So, what did we learn? It’s possible and it can happen quickly. We also learned your photo won’t show up next to everything you’ve written. See below.

Marketing Ideas Google Authorship Results

As you can see, a search for “marketing ideas 101” shows four listings (page 1, positions 1-4) for the Marketing Ideas 101 site but only one entry in the search results shows my Google Authorship image. Still, every little bit helps. In the meantime, I see I need to address the meta keywords and description for my pages, as my resource box content is being displayed instead of the page description. Ah, good times.

If I notice any other updates, I’ll post them here!

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References

Crestodina, A. Google Authorship Markup: How to get your picture in search results. Retrieved from http://blog.kissmetrics.com/google-authorship/.

Emmanuel.E. January 19, 2012. CatalystOnline. How Rich Snippets Can Improve Your CTR. Retrieved from http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/2012/01/how-rich-snippets-can-improve-your-ctr/.

Google. Author information in the search results. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986&expand=option2.

Google. Rich snippets not appearing. Retrieved from http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1093493.

Google. Rich Snippets Testing Tool. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets.

Jamieson, E. How Long Will It Take For My Face/Logo To Show Up In The Search Results? Retrieved from http://www.authorsure.com/514/how-long-will-it-take-for-my-facelogo-to-show-up-in-the-search-results.

To Market Online, Know Your ‘Why’

Marketing Ideas Know Your Why

Question: When marketing online, I have always focused on marketing only one of my many services. Should I market something else? How should I market my business online?

Answer: Many folks wonder how to market businesses online. I believe your starting point depends upon where your heart lies.

If you’re in love with one particular element of your business, focus on that. For instance, if you’re a photographer who favors working weddings, I would recommend staying focused on ‘wedding photographer’ as a keyphrase. Then add your target location (where you want to work these jobs.)  Your keyphrase would then look like ‘wedding photographer Detroit’ or ‘wedding photographer Chicago’.

Yes, if you’re a talented wedding photographer, you probably do well photographing other events. If you prefer photographing sporting events, sure, follow that. However, know that maintaining a singular focus over time will yield more singular results than a dispersed focus (better position in the search engines, more qualified traffic, therefore higher conversions to paying wedding photography jobs.) When choosing keywords during your online marketing activities, take aim at your singular idea—your one thing—and charge after that.

At the time of this writing, MarketingIdeas101.com is only about five months old. Judging by the domain name, it’s safe to guess ‘marketing ideas’ is one of the coveted keyphrases. Well, it so happens there are lots of top-dogs ranking well for that keyphrase, nationally and globally. When the Marketing Ideas 101 site first hit Google, it was on page 2 for ‘marketing ideas 101’ and between pages 13-17 for ‘marketing ideas’. For ‘marketing ideas’, that’s a position of 130-170 out of the approximate 196,000,000 results found by Google. Who is going to go to the 17th page of their search results? The site may as well have not existed!

It took only five months and now Marketing Ideas 101 dominates ‘marketing ideas 101’ (top four positions when I looked this morning) and is now on page 3 for ‘marketing ideas’, surpassing even an Inc.com page. During this time, Marketing Ideas 101 has been grown from a single page to over 50 pages, most of which have ‘marketing idea’ or ‘marketing ideas’ in the title and URL.

(Note: Don’t think for a second I believe there are throngs of people looking for ‘marketing ideas 101’ as a keyphrase. This phrase—which coincides with the domain name MarketingIdeas101.com—was simply one of the smaller milestones I used to gauge progress. Now that the top position for the full phrase has been captured, we’re continuing on after the big fish on the national and global levels; those who sit atop the ‘marketing ideas’ search results.)

The off-site marketing of the MarketingIdeas101.com site has not been aggressive. Maybe there has been a blog comment every two weeks? Maybe there has been a broadcast for new post or article to Twitter and LinkedIn about once a week? More importantly, there are 2-3 new posts every week. Plus, most these posts carry titles based on low- to medium-competition keyphrases with higher search volume.

The aim is to reach folks who have specific marketing questions on topics that have been under-served. Combine this with broadcasting new posts through Facebook, Twitter (automated), LinkedIn groups, and Pinterest (my photographer example should definitely be using Pinterest) and Marketing Ideas 101 moved up to an average daily volume of 50-60 visits each day. The Marketing Ideas site cleared 100 visits in a day last week. Yes, these are still small numbers, but for many small businesses and nonprofits operating at a local level, it is targeted traffic at this volume that begins to make the phone ring.

Again, the only aggressive effort here has been in the delivery of solid content. This content was designed to provide answers to current marketing questions, assisting as many people as possible (e.g. where to find Google Analytics report templates, what’s hot in social media, why you don’t care about building a mobile app, etc.)

Make no mistake; claiming page 1 positioning may take a couple more years even though the Marketing Ideas 101 site jumped to page 3 after 5 months. I can be patient. I understand this is a journey. As long as I’m serving others with the goal of making a difference for as many people as possible, I’ll keep after it. You must know your ‘why’ though; otherwise you may find it easy to become distracted or frustrated when you occasionally lose position to a competitor (or the latest Google update,) or when you lose a client, etc.

My goal for this project is to serve as many folks as I can by providing great content, tools, instruction and support. The intent is to help my followers and students 1) gain the competitive edge in their marketplace and 2) see their dreams through to fulfillment and expansion. Ultimately, my ‘why’ is to fortify or restore hope in the entrepreneur, the small business owner, the freelancer, the nonprofit–anyone who would have more from life from the status quo. Then I arm them with a set of the tools by which to do this.

Knowing your ‘why’ will help you focus your direction and your dedication. Then you can begin selecting your keyphrases. Then you can really get into your online marketing strategies.

So my question to you is this: What is your ‘why‘? Why is it you do what you do? What does driving toward your mission fulfill for you and what does it fulfill for those you support?

What is your ‘why’?

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Update, Saturday, July 14, 2012

It appears the Marketing Ideas 101 site has jumped to page 2 in at least one of Google’s indexes (Google has at least two I’m aware of.) Since this original post 20 days ago, I’ve produced three light posts and two full-length articles. Additionally, I had an online article publisher offer to publish this article and Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture into Google Search Results. (Read more on article marketing.)

Page Position Marketing Ideas

I’ll report back once I’ve achieved a first page position for “marketing ideas”. Until then, go forth and conquer.

Matt

Perspiration Precipitates Performance and Other Marketing Lessons Learned

Marketing Ideas Douglas Criticism Quote

The following is a letter I received from a dear client, John Douglas, who also happens to be a talented local photographer. Over the past year, John has undergone the rigors of becoming an SEO-savvy entrepreneur. John is a model student; eager to learn, invested in his own success and quick to pick up the strategies required to build success, both online and offline.

I asked John if I could share his letter with you. I feel his experience may resonate and help normalize others who may feel as he did as they attempt to break into their local marketplace.

As I mentioned to John, it is wonderful to see yourself progress toward self-confidence as a business person and professional. Yes, it’s hard to teach such things without the frustrating mechanism of time and the roller-coaster of the success/failure continuum. Take pleasure in recognizing your inner growth. Lessons like these are learned not just intellectually, but also at a cellular level, through life discovery. This means such valuable lessons become truly yours, adding onto the wisdom you already possess. You are richer today–both in the spirit and in the material–as a result.

In support of your efforts,

Matt Schoenherr

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Hey Matt:
It’s been close to a year since we started working together. I thought I would share some observations with you. I have been seeing increasing activity and interest in my work as manifest by the number of requests I am getting now. Am I as busy as I’d like to be? Absolutely not, but I’ve learned to be patient. Some random thoughts:

  • Success is measured incrementally, and doesn’t happen according to your prescribed schedule. I have learned be comfortable with even modest gains. As you are well aware the last year has seen some frustrations on my part, largely because I was focusing on the success of others and not on my personal successes. I have learned to focus on myself and my abilities and not be concerned with the success or failure of others.
  • Don’t evaluate your success on the short term. It has taken me a while to assimilate this, and I’m sure you’ve told me this a number of times. Being an engineer, I plotted a linear regression of where I expected to be in a year with regard to web traffic. Am I going to reach my goal? I don’t know. Do I care? No.
  • “P cubed”. Perspiration precipitates performance. Gains are not achieved without some hard work and drudgery. I never imagined it would be so difficult to to get top ranking, and to hold on to decent ranking.
  • Web design is fun, but web maintenance is boring and mundane. The website design looks fantastic, and I am still happy with it today after nearly a year.
  • Word of mouth is the best advertising. I firmly believe that reputation trumps any search engine rankings or website designs. SEO is a way of getting your foot in the door and establishing yourself as a credible resource.
  • Does top ranking mean you are the best? Absolutely not. I have learned that you have to have faith in people and recognize that they will make decisions to hire me based on their criteria, and not my criteria.
  • Learn to see the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Appreciate the constructive, ignore the destructive.
  • Has it been worth the time, effort, and money? Absolutely! I would not be seeing the interest I am seeing without decent ranking on keyword searches. Thank you for your efforts.

Lastly, thank you for being patient with me in the last year. You have been my technical advisor, mentor, and (at times) my spiritual and psychological counselor.  =)

I am very appreciative of all of your efforts and assistance in the past year.

John Douglas
Photographer

Social Media Gone Bad: I’ll Like Your Page, if You Like Mine

Marketing Ideas Social Media Backliking

An interesting thing happened to me the other day. In the course of performing routine search engine marketing tasks, I received a message from someone who had just “liked” one of my Facebook fan pages, Marketing Ideas 101. The message read:

“Hey, I just liked your Facebook fan page! Please like mine back!” ~ Random

Now, I don’t know about you, but every time this happens to me, I feel awkward. What if I look at this person’s page and determine it’s junk? What if it’s spammy? What if it holds little value in the world at all? The burden! The obligation! All from a single note from someone I’ve never met!

Gasp. What if I don’t like their page?

I try to bring value to my websites. I try to inject interesting content, helpful tips and a wealth of wisdom in my contributions to the Internet community.

In addition, it takes a lot to “wow” me. I’ve never just “liked,” or “followed,” or “retweeted” someone just to be nice. Oh, wait..that’s not true.

In The Beginning

In the world of search engine marketing (SEM, commonly and erroneously referred to as SEO the same way everyone insists on calling all facial tissues “Kleenex,” there is a technique referred to as “back linking.” Back linking (spelled backlinking, back linking or back-linking, depending on who you talk to) is an activity whereby you add your website to niche directories, submit articles, post videos and podcasts, post blog comments and more – all of which include one-way links back to your website.

Of course, the result is simple to guess. The more conduits leading back into your website, the more traffic you have, and the more conversions (sign-ups, comments, calls, sales, etc.,) you should receive, right? That’s the theory, in a nutshell.

Well, humans are ingenious beasts. It wasn’t long before people figured out you could swap links and accomplish similar results. Google caught on, slapped everyone, and reciprocal link campaigns lost their value.

Then came link farms, where links between sites were less direct, placing sites in a circular chain of links. Google figured that out too, mostly.

During all this, social media was blooming. Blossoming. Exploding.

One booming social channel was called Twitter. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Personally, I resisted Twitter at first. The notion of a glorified text messaging system seemed a faddish time-eater to me. As a business owner and father of four, I am busy enough as it is. Eventually, I gave in, signed up and thus began my fall from grace.

I Blame Twitter

From day one, I began to see the “if you follow me, I’ll follow you” phenomenon in Twitter. Being new to Twitter country, I took this virtual exchange with random strangers to simply be part of the Twitter culture. “This is what you do with Twitter,” I said to myself. To play the game, you must first learn the rules and I figured following random people (especially if they followed you) was how you played the game.

Occasionally, I would see a Twitter account that did not follow this pattern. Usually, this person was a celebrity, so they would have a million followers in contrast to the five people they were following. These examples were not the norm, however.

Enter Facebook

Born two years earlier than Twitter, Facebook was all about connecting friends. As time passed and dreams of monetization increased, fan pages were created. As fan pages were created, people and companies began to realize the power of “likes.” This power – similar to Twitter, whereby a broadcast became more powerful with the growing size of the fan base – was a real turn-on to anyone who understood the marketing principles of exposure and amplitude. Want to extend your reach on the most popular social network on the planet? Get more “likes.”

How do you get more “likes” you ask. Provide greater value. Increase your engagement. Maintain dialogues. Be entertaining. Be remarkable. “All that takes work, Matt!” you say. “What if we just trade ‘likes?’ That sounds easier.” True.

Welcome to “Back Liking”

I see a problem with reciprocal “like” campaigns. For one, social media is supposed to be about connection and engagement; not spamming. It’s similar to getting spam on your cellphone. Your cellphone is a very personal conduit into you, like your Facebook news feed. Who wants it junked up with spammy broadcasts and solicitations? Yuck.

Another problem with “like” reciprocity campaigns is the dilution of your “like” power. How can anyone trust you as a person of influence if you “like” 3,000 pages and many of them are junk or of little value. If you have “liked” 3,000 quality resources, that’s another matter; good for you.

Afterglow

This brings me back to my initial point. “Liking” someone back out of pure reciprocity and not from a place of belief in them or their message:

  • squanders your influence (a currency advertisers pay social networks handsomely for),
  • soils your news feed (and your attention) with posts and ads irrelevant to you, and
  • fails to reflect you and your tastes accurately.

I believe one of the best ways we can shine in the world – including the virtual world of social media – is to show integrity in our communications with others. Our daily challenge is to bring that integrity to every corner of our presence, both online and offline.

The next time someone asks you to “like” them back, make sure you can do so with a true heart and a clear conscience.

In support of your efforts,

Matt


Matt Schoenherr is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.

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Reference
Photo cropped from the work of Justin Blanton, http://hypertext.net/photos/112.

Dispelling 7 Common SEO Myths

Marketing Ideas SEO Myths
(Excerpt from Ideas Online, as seen in the Marketing Ideas Academy, Module 4, Online Marketing.)

Let us begin by dispelling a few myths about the art and science of search engine optimization (SEO).

Myth #1: If you purchase a new domain with maximum information per square inch, you’ll rank higher in the search engines.

Answer: Yes and no. Domain names are the first things a search engine looks at, so if you have the name of your product or service in your domain name, kudos to you. Google, on the other hand, uses what’s known as an “aging delay” for all new domains. This allows Google to weed out many of the fly-by-night’s and give priority to the sites that have remained staples the longest (thereby making Google a more valuable resource to those who use it.) This is just one of over a hundred metrics used by Google to ascertain where your site shows up in the search results.

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Myth #2: If you pollute your website with your targeted keywords, you’ll propel your site to the top of the search results.

Answer: Maybe. You may also be blacklisted by the search engines, causing you to plummet in rankings or disappear altogether. For months. Or years. Sound worth it?

You must strike the balance between optimizing your website for the search engines and optimizing your website for your target audience. Yes, construct your content with keywords and search engines in mind, but always write for your customer. What keywords are they going to use to find what you’re offering (read: What are they looking for?) The keywords your customers are using are the ones you want to target, so once you know those keywords, work them into your site. You will do this a number of ways:

  • Domain name (if the opportunity makes long-term business sense)
  • Your title (specific to every page)
  • Meta tags (description, keywords, et cetera, built into each page’s code)
  • Copy (your content about your, your services, ideas, etc.)
  • Your links (use descriptive links instead of “read more” or “click here”), and
  • Your image “alt” tags (which tell the search engines what the picture is)

While these are some important staples, there are still more items to consider. More about those later.

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Myth #3: Pick the top words for your keywords and stick with them, regardless of whether you ever see those keywords generate any traffic for you.

Answer: Continually refine your keywords. You must know what your customers are searching on. It doesn’t matter if you sell the best widget in the world. If your customers call your widget a thingamabob, they will never find you. Worse, they will find your competition who may make a very fine widget as well, but they refer to their widget as a thingamabob, which brings them up in the search engines in front of your prospective clients. To see what people are searching on, use keyword research tools such as the Google AdWords keyword tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.) Create lists of the most relevant keywords and key phrases for your website and choose different ones to embed on each page (in the meta data and content.) The more specific you are, the more qualified your visitors will be to buy from you.

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Myth #4: We can save all this keyword optimization mumbo-jumbo until the end of our web project and just add our keywords in later.

Answer: Construct (or reconstruct) your site with your keywords in mind. Once you know what your clients are looking for, now you can ensure your site offers it in the way they would like to see it presented. For instance, if we go back to our earlier widget example, you might consider that people may be looking for a particular brand of widget, type of widget, size of widget or widget genre. The more you know about how they’re searching, the better you’ll be able to set up your site to show them what they’re looking for. When applied properly, your keywords will affect what you name your images, files and folders all across your website, so settle on them as much as possible prior to breaking ground on that big website overhaul.

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Myth #5: I made my site in Adobe Flash. It’s really killer. Whoever lands there will be really impressed.

Answer: Maybe, but they have to find you first. Back to optimizing your site for the search engines. There are certain things most search engines choke on:

  • Flash
  • Frames
  • JavaScript links and menus
  • Image maps
  • Dynamic URL’s

Search engines also can’t read graphics, so without descriptive alt tags and file names, the graphics may as well be ignored.

When search engines get caught on these things, years ago they would simply stop indexing your site and not dig any deeper. Obviously, this didn’t win you any visitors. Search engines are smarter these days and most can sniff past troublesome areas. You can certainly use these technologies on your site, however you also need to ensure a search engine can find what it’s looking for. Using text links, linking images to web pages (and using appropriate alt tags), including ror.xml and robots.txt files in your website’s home directory, and using sitemaps will help search engines make sense of your website.

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Myth #6: See? I have the same keywords at the top of all my pages. This should work, right?

Answer: Only if you’re in a very small niche or your local competition is just as lazy as you are. Make every page title unique. It’s terribly easy to use the same title for every page as you’re constructing a website. Take the extra time, however, to vary the title, meta description and meta keywords for each page. Ensuring each title is different and uses the keywords used within that page will take you further than relying upon the same title, description and keywords for every page on your website. The search engines rely heavily on page titles, so use them wisely. The title will be what the search engine presents as a link to your site (providing your site appears in the results at all.)

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Myth #7: Okay! I’ve optimized my site! I’m done! Right?

Answer: Not quite. Search engine optimization and marketing is a journey; not a destination. Even if you make it to the top of the first page in the search results, you’ll have to contend with other sites jockeying for the same position. Fostering backlinks to your website is a very important strategy for achieving search term dominance and maintaining it. How do you do this? There are a number of ways.

First, ensure people want to link to your site. If you’ve worked to make your site helpful, informative or just plain cool, you may earn the links from other websites that will increase your standing with the search engines.

What if your site is lame? Well.. it’s likely your search engine ranking will be as well. Don’t be afraid to approach other webmasters with an offer of “link reciprocity”. If your websites compliment each other, a reciprocal link campaign may be just what the doctor ordered to help drive traffic and rankings. Just be sure to link to only the best and the brightest; your links are a reflection upon you and your site to your visitors and the search engines. Other ways to grow backlinks may include social bookmarking, article marketing, news release sites, and posting your link when commenting on blog sites. All these methods need to be handled responsibly and maturely, otherwise you risk rebuke by the Internet community. Strive to provide value in whatever you post and you go a long way toward keeping your reputation in good standing.