Indianapolis Web Content Management

Our website has moved but we've left our old posts up here. Please visit http://www.marketpath.com/

Indianapolis Search Engine Optimization

Google's New +1 Feature Bridging Gap Between Social and Search?

Posted 5:30 PM by

Google's +1 LogoOver the next few weeks, everyone that uses Google will begin to see its new "+1" feature showing up in search results and across the web.  This new feature can be thought of as the Facebook "Like" button, as it is simply a recommendation for whatever type of content the +1 icon is attached to.  Once activated, the button will change colors, letting you know that you have "+1'd" the article, ad, webpage, image, or video (and on and on).  If one of your friends or contacts happens to come across that particular piece of content that you "+1'd", they will see your name as someone who recommends that information.  Each time you "+1" something, you're basically leaving your mark to all that follow that you trust this piece of content, and that it is worth checking out.  It's a much more passive way to recommend something to your network than sending an email, or a tweet, or posting on Facebook.


We've seen Google dip its toes into the "social pool" before, often times with failed results.  Google Buzz, which was launched last year, didn't really ever gain traction compared to Facebook, Twitter, and 4Square - all of which it was trying to compete with or replace.  Google Wave was another foray into the social collaboration world that crashed and burned.  On the other hand, the new +1 feature might have some added benefit in the search engine optimization world, which would make it a very enticing new avenue to pursue.  It is far too early to tell, however, how Google will utilize these "+1's" in its algorithm, but I would fully expect Google to factor the data in at some point.  There is already plenty of speculation out there about what Google has up its sleeve, like in this article from CMS Wire, or this one from Search Engine Land.

With so much attention being given to social media these days, it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out in the corporate marketing world.  Will we soon see TV ads ending with "Like us on Facebook AND +1 us on Google?" Will the social media experts out there begin to measure how many "+1's" you have and try to assign a monetary value to it?  Or, will this be another failed attempt at seamlessly bridging the gap between social media and search?

link
e-mail
| comments (0)

Google Instant and What it Means for Search 

Posted 5:51 AM by
So, it has been about a week since Google Instant was debuted, which is about how long it took for me to write down my first impressions of it.  It has been an interesting week of reading blog articles and tweets, as there has been no shortage of content on both sides of the argument.  Here is a recap of the week and the things that I have learned.

1. Snap judgements around the web community initially said that "SEO IS DEAD!!!", while Google quickly refuted that point, saying that their algorithm hadn't changed.

Now I wouldn't say that SEO is dead, but it has definitely changed in my opinion.  While the most sought after keywords are still going to be the most sought after keywords, I think there will be an interesting shift away from long-tail searches that were easier rank on page one.  Since Google is constantly trying to interpret what you are searching for and suggesting your next word, unique searches will begin to taper off.  I'm not saying that Google Instant and the Google Suggest feature will turn us all into robots, there will still be unique searches, but I feel like in smaller numbers.  Only time will tell on this one.

2.  I Use Google Chrome, so I don't really interact with Google Instant

For many Google Chrome users like myself, Google Instant is only applicable if my first query doesn't return what I am looking for.  Since the URL Box doubles as a Google Search box in Google Chrome, I can type in my query and press enter without having to go to the Google Homepage.  Once I am on the results page, I can then refine my search using Google Instant, but not before.  I'm not sure if Google has plans to roll out the Google Instant feature to Google Chrome, we'll have to wait and see on that one.       

3. We've noticed a definite shift in the Organic Rankings "Screen Real Estate", especially on local searches
.

This was an interesting realization.  Now that Google Instant has the Google Suggest box underneath the search box itself, it pushes the organic rankings down to almost below the fold.  As you can see below, there are three Pay-Per-Click listings for this search, displayed first, then the Google Local map, and then at the very bottom of the image you can see the 1st organic listing (that is actually being cut in half horizontally).  Google didn't change the way that these three sections are displayed, but adding more content underneath the search box like they have done, definitely reduces the strength of a page one organic ranking for these local terms.  It will be interesting to see how the data shift of people clicking on paid advertisements changes over the next couple of months since they aren't immediately served up organic results.  

Google Instant Screen Capture


4. The overall strategy for ranking well hasn't changed.

Creating good, relevant content is still what makes a website an authority on any given topic.  Making sure that your site is searchable and incorporates search engine friendly title tags, URL's, and other on-page features is still at the foundation of Google, whether it is Instant or not.  Just because they have changed the way they are displaying information doesn't mean there is a drastic change in the information itself. 

As always, creating good content attracts links back to your website.  Attracting these high-quality (not quantity) links should be the goal of any content publishing.  

I'm sure that Google Instant will change some things in the search world, or even the world itself - as Google Instant would claim that at the time that I am writing this to have already saved about 1 million hours worldwide.  Ironically, only more time will tell us what the impact of Google Instant truly is.  


link
e-mail
| comments (0)

Marketpath CMS Adds Site Search and Sitemap Generator

Posted by

Marketpath's development team has just finished its latest addition to Marketpath CMS - Integrated Site Search and Automatically Generating XML Sitemaps. These features are now available and highly recommended for all of our customers, not only for general usability purposes, but for search engine optimization best practices, as well.

Integrated Site Search 

Site search gives your website visitors the ability to seach for specific topics, pages, or products within your site by simply typing a search query into the new site search box that will be incorporated into your site. Upon searching, your visitor will be directed to a results page that ranks each listing based upon relevance, dramatically helping your visitors find what they are looking for. This is a crucial feature for websites that are constantly growing and changing.

Automatic Sitemap Generator 

Google highly recommends incorporating XML sitemaps into any website so their robots and spiders can more easily determine the site structure, helping your website rank higher for your targeted terms. By utilizing the new site search feature explained above, Marketpath has built an XML sitemap generator that automatically populates based upon any page that is linked in your menu.

link
e-mail
| comments (0)

Google Announces New Search Engine Index

Posted 2:32 PM by
Yesterday, June 8th, Google announced on their blog that they have completed "Caffeine", their newest search engine index.  This is a major step forward in providing searchers with the most timely and relevant results possible. 

To really understand the difference between the Google search we are all used to, and Caffeine, you have to understand how search originally worked.  Every time that you (or anyone) would search on Google, they would be provided back a list of websites that Google thought were most relevant.  Google would index these pages every few weeks to ensure that they are still relevant, but that isn't good enough in the Twittering, Facebooking, constantly updating world we live in today - and Google knew it.   

Google Caffeine - A CMS User's Best Friend

Enter Caffeine, the world's first continuously updating search index.  No longer do site administrators and authors have to wait days or weeks to get their content to update in Google's index.  This is great news for web authors that are using a content management system.  Simply adding keyword rich and relevant content to your site could possibly have a dramatic effect on your overall search engine ranking, giving you the power to market your site the way you know how.  Blogs will become an even more effective way to increase traffic organically.

It is difficult to say if anyone will notice a true difference in their search engine rankings - only time will tell.  While we are waiting though, you might as well get out there and keep creating that relevant content that matters so much.   

(If you haven't done it already, read their blog post as there are some seriously amazing statistics that put this new Google endeavor into perspective)

link
e-mail
| comments (2)

Improving Your Google Local Search Ranking

Posted 3:59 PM by

Recently, in an effort to combat spam and false listings, Google modified the way they are ranking sites within the Google Local results pages.  Many of our local customers ask us "How do I get my website to show up on the map?  Well, here are a few easy tips that will help increase the chances of being indexed.

1.  Submit your site to the Google Local Business Center.  This is a profile that allows you to fill out, among other things, the name, address, hours of operation, billing options, and categories (catering, doctor, dentist, etc) of your company.  Google will verify the information you provide, so be thorough, yet truthful.  Also, don't create your own categories for your company.  Custom categories can be viewed in a negative light by Google, so stick to their suggestions.  

2.  Submit your site to FREE local directories:
               - InfoUSA - submit site here
               - Insiderpages - submit site here
               - SuperMedia - submit site here

Each of these directories help Google index their local listings, each one is free, so there is no reason to skip out on any one of the services.

There is one important note to keep in mind, do NOT add keywords to your business name in any of these sites.  What I mean by this is if your official company name is ACME, Inc., then use that as your name.  Do not add keywords to the end of this.  For instance, if you sold pet rocks, do not make the business name ACME Pet Rocks, Inc.

All of these steps take only a few minutes and can be very important in the overall visibility of your site.  Take advantage today!   

link
e-mail
| comments (0)

Marketpath Storefront Syncs with Google Product Search

Posted by
After a few head-scratching attempts, Marketpath's developers have succeeded in the goal of providing an automatic submission feed for a catalog of products to the Google product database.  In other words, if you have an e-commerce site that is utilizing Marketpath Storefront, your products now have the chance to show up in the "Shopping" listings under Google results.  This will lead to an increase in impressions (the number of people that see your products), and it should ultimately lead to more site traffic and sales. 

Marketpath Syncs with Google Products

The great part about Google Product search is the ability to look for something extremely specific.  Potential customers that are using this service from Google usually know exactly what they are looking for, making the purchasing decision even easier.


link
e-mail

Basic Search Engine Optimization Terminology

Posted 9:08 PM by

Lately, everyone that Marketpath has developed a website for has requested some sort of search engine optimization.  Some of these cutsomers know quite a bit about SEO, while others are simply requesting the service because someone told them they needed it.  Since there is such a discrepancy in SEO knowledge for our end users, I decided I would list out some of the terminology that is used and describe each part in simple terms.

Title Tag - The most important area on a page that keywords can be placed.  Each page has its own title and it should be unique to each page.  The title tag can be seen at the top of the browser window and is also the physical link that is displayed by search engines.

Meta Description Tag - This is a great place to describe (with keywords, of course) exactly what each page is about in more of a conversational manner (what services do you provide? What makes you unique?, etc).  This text is displayed by search engines underneath the blue link.  That is the only time this text can be seen by your website visitors. 

Meta Keyword Tag -  The importance of this tag has diminished drastically over the past few years.  It is a common agreement within the industry that the Meta Keyword Tag is completley ignorned by search engines and therefore a waste of time to create. 

Alt Image Tag - These tags can be used to describe what a picture is about, since search engines can't gather information visually.  A simple 2 to 3 word phrase that describes the image can go a long way.

H1 Tag - The H1 tag stands for "Heading 1".  Each page should have an H1 tag that best describes the overall topic of that page.  Each page should only have one H1 tag. 

There are other factors that go into ranking highly on search engines of course, but the foundational elements listed above can go a long way.

For more information about keyword placement and to see a great example of an optimized page, check out this article

link
e-mail
| comments (0)

Marketpath demystifies SEO for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitor’s Association

Posted by

Friday, February 27 - PR pros from ICVA organizations such as The Children’s Museum, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana Restaurant Association, Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Indians gathered at Conseco Fieldhouse yesterday to hear our very own Adam Brand and TJ Furman demystify search engine optimization (SEO). The discussion was targeted towards a public relations audience, but the broader message is relevant to anyone interested in SEO. We have made the materials- SEO for Pulic Relations available and welcome you to view them.

If you have ever searched for information about an event, restaurant or ticket sales in Indianapolis, you can appreciate why this group was interested in SEO. There is a lot going on in the Circle City and in a way they are all vying for a piece of our shrinking attention span. Stop updating your Facebook status! On Thursday, Adam and TJ explained how SEO makes content more easily found through keyword searches. No smoke and mirrors or complicated lingo. Nothing to be afraid of- SEO is our friend!

For example, I did a Google search for ‘Indianapolis St. Patrick’s Day’ to see what appeared first in the search results. It was: Indy Sports Foundation. They are promoting several events related to St. Patrick’s Day, but the company’s mission is to support amateur sports in central Indiana. This first page may give you all the St. Paddy’s Day parade information you were looking for, but you may stay and click around to learn more about the Foundation (I did). Being that first search result is important and SEO will help you get there.

The participants at the ICVA talk on Thursday had questions ranging from basic to advanced which demonstrated a range of experience. Regardless of your comfort level with SEO practices, intimidation should not be a factor in getting started. There are endless resources available to learn about SEO and once you get started you’ll be glad you did.

While it was only a 1 hour discussion, Adam and TJ laid building blocks for all of the PR pros in the room to begin thinking about how they can each create a foundation of SEO-based communication strategies that will work for their organization. If you are interested in learning more about SEO and how it relates to what you do, contact anyone at Marketpath and we can start a conversation.

link
e-mail
| comments (0)

Is the Blog the perfect search result?

Posted 8:17 PM by

Well is it?  At last weekend's blogINDIANA conference Chris Baggot of Compendium Blogware argued that the blog is the perfect search result.  He argued that it is in google's best interest to provide information that people want.  Now I love to blog.  I find it fun and therepudic and extremely enjoyable, but I don't necessarily believe that a blog entry the most relevant organic result on any given topic.

That's not to say that I'm angry.  I'm glad that my old friend google loves blogs so much, because it helps me rank for many of the terms that are relevent to my business, but I have to think that if I were searching for 'indianapolis corporate blog software' that I would rather be taken to a page that had definitive information on the topic, not some random blog entry written by someone like me.  I know that google's love affair with the corporate blog is good for marketers, but is it good for the consumer?

With that in mind, how long can google's blog obsession last?  How long before blogs are relegated to the types of specialty blog searches of the past and what will those who have invested heavily in the blog as a marketing tool do if it someday goes away?  I don't have the answers to these questions, but for now I'm glad that my blogs are tops for search.  I'll rest easy knowing that a full featured content management system with blog technology is doing its job by positively impacting my marketing stra 

link
e-mail
| comments (3)

There is a New Player in Search

Posted 1:14 PM by

As I was sifting through all of the usual news stories on CNN this morning, I came across one that piqued my interest (thanks, Dave).  There is a new search engine in town.  Started by a couple of ex-Googlers, 'Cuil' has launched in the recent days and has a new, and perhaps better, method for indexing and ranking websites.  Cuil's idea is that popularity of a website shouldn't be the dominant factor to whether a site can be found or not.  Their philosophy is this:  relevant content matters. 

They aren't tracking users, counting links, or being picky about who gets indexed and who doesn't.  They have indexed over 120 billion pages so far, and you can expect that number to grow pretty quickly.  Cuil has the idea that the internet has grown, search should too. 

If content is in fact becoming king, then it has become very apparent that having a way to manage that content is extremely important.  An easy-to-use content management system can take away any frustration that updating a website can cause.  No longer does it need to take an hour to make a change, with the right system (Marketpath CMS, hint hint) it can take only a few seconds.  If I have said it once, I'll say it again, providing relevant and up to date content can be the difference in driving traffic to your website.      

link
e-mail
| comments (0)

Searchable Flash

Posted 2:13 AM by

Flash and SEO - Marketpath Content Management Solution IndianapolisUsing Adobe Flash within a website at one time was the bane of search engine visibility.  Although Flash sites were often dazzling, highly interactive, and dynamic, they were not adequately being indexed (if at all) by the big search engines.  Here's a flashback article from 2003 on this topic. 

Adobe has just announced a plug-in available to Google and Yahoo that allows their search engines to act like a user clicking thorugh a flash website.  This seems to be the latest effort at indexing Flash sites but some say that obtaining a high search position willl still be difficult because of the inability to provide direct links within the flash site. 

For example, if a blogger finds a page in a flash site that is several clicks deep she will not be able to link directly to that page in her blog.  Instead, she would have to link to the front page (the page that loads initially) and instruct the user how to get to the deeper level page.  Yuck!

So, if you want to build a highly interactive website, use AJAX and Web 2.0 technologies instead of Flash.  You can still use Flash movies embedded within your site but don't let the Flash handle your website navigation.  I'd like to caution, though, that AJAX and Web 2.0 have their own issues which I'll tackle in my next post.

link
e-mail
| comments (0)

ServerPartners - FileEngine

Posted by

10/18/2007 - Servers Partners, maker of the easy to use office file server FileEngine©(http://www.fileengine.com), has chosen Marketpath CMS to manage their website content.

Marketpath has a strong relationship with Server Partners that has lasted many years.  We build custom applications and more to help Server Partners grow their business more effectively.

link
e-mail
| comments (1)