Zen and the Art of Search Engine Optimization

There are literally thousands of SEO blogs, a handful of SEO books, and almost a lifetime of SEO tidbits that might make your site preform better in the Search Engines. In this post, I’d like to distill everything you’ll ever hear about Search Engine Optimization. I’m going to pare it down to an easy-to-understand picture so you can easily cut through the fog of Search Engine Optimization. Whether you are looking to hire a stellar SEO, want to do some SEO yourself, or just want to get an idea of how Search Engines interpret their results, this should help in your endeavor.

Search Engines are getting better everyday and giving better results. Slowly, Google and the gang are getting better at knowing if your site is authoritative, unique, and worthwhile to their searchers. We don’t know how they determine it, or quantify it, and we likely never will. But they know, and they are getting better at filtering the good and bad with each and every algorithm tweak.

Everything in SEO falls into two camps: On-Page SEO factors, and Off-Page SEO factors.

-On Page SEO Factors Include: Links around your own site, title tags, meta tags,your written content, etc. and optimizing all of this to give a clear picture to the Search Engines about your subject matter.

-Off Page SEO Factors Include: All the links to your site and their anchor text, all the buzz about your site, people remembering your site or message, viral linking, linkbait, and everything else that the creative marketers think up to get links and headspace.


Cafe Apropo in Victorian Village for laptop chilling… wine… and coffee.

About a year and a half ago, I was in Columbus visiting family. I was living in New York at the time, and was tired of the East Coast mentality.

Stopping into Cafe Apropo in Victorian Village was the turning point for me. It helped me decide to come back to Columbus… even if it did take a year.

And it’s funny. When I was here 1 1/2 years ago, I imagined myself doing web design and seo… living “downtown” (at that time, I didn’t even know enough about Columbus to distinguish Vic. Village from the Short North, Italian Village, or Grandview… it was all “downtown”… lol) and working at a bar to meet people. My daydream also included biking around town and catching up with old friends. (more…)

WordPress Consulting for Everyone!

WordPress consulting by brad spencerLet’s collectively cut through all of the “Consultant” red tape.No matter who you are, what your budget, or your knowledge of WordPress, I am happy as a clam to work with you to make your WordPress site kick butt.

Check out my page devoted to WordPress Consulting and let’s get started on your project this week!

Have a website? Use this Broken Link Checker tool.

It happens to all of us. No matter how much you try to keep up with your website, some links can get old and die. Maybe that cabbage recipe you love and linked to last christmas, or maybe it was the link to your friends website about being a single mom (actually, this link is very much alive… and it’s good enough to interest anyone, even if you aren’t a single mom), sometimes links go bad.

And that’s why this little tool can be super helpful:

Dead Links Checker

This website will spider through all of your pages and let you know if any of those links are broken. I also use it to see how many pages are on my site from time to time… right now there are a shade over 250 pages…

Best of all, it’s simple and free.

How To: Get More of the Right Traffic to Your Website (Part 1)

This is a follow-up to my last post that was a rant on all of those “Get More Traffic Today!” advertisements you see out there. (You can see that post here: Get Less Traffic Now!).

What I’m going to explain is that what you really want is more targeted traffic. Now, sometimes when you work toward more targeted traffic, you get discouraged because you are getting less traffic. You start to think that you are doing something wrong, and then all of the sudden you realize that your bottom line just tripled.

We all get caught up in the traffic fever at one time or another. We post a comment on a comment board and get 200 hits that day and think: “If I could just do that everyday, I’d be rich!”. Well, the problem is that not all traffic is created equal. Getting 200 targeted prospects from a mention in an industry magazine is totally different than getting 200 browsers coming by your site because they liked your comment on how great Quantum Leap was as a show. But when your analytics software tells you that you got 400 hits that day, all because of a comment, you can forget simple principles like that.

One of my most profitable investment websites is Fulltimer Blog. This site is for people who live Fulltime in an RV and travel around. This is a very small group of people, and the site has little pizzazz. It consistently brings in money, every month, despite what I do. The traffic to this site is a trickle… usually only 10-15 people a day. When I first started working with this site, I tried a bunch of methods to get traffic to the site… sometimes bringing in 100 people a day, sometimes 20, sometimes 300. But, over time, I realized the the same number of products sold either way. The same 2 or 3 people that came to the site were interested in buying an ebook or membership. They were the right traffic I was after. Everybody else was just wasting their time, because they weren’t interested in what the website sold, so I stopped working to get those hits.

I remembered that it was my bottom line that I wanted to see improve, not nessesarily the number of hits on my site or the number of subscribers to my email.

In the next post, I’ll explain how to start finding your right traffic by doing keyword research. Keyword research is just going through the Google database to find out what your searchers type in to find what you offer. There is usually a pretty big disconnect between the words you use to describe what you have, and the words your clients use to ask for what you have. Bridging that gap is what Keyword Research is all about.

And remember that if this interests you, you can always contact me for Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and a myriad of other Web services. If you live in or around Columbus, Ohio, we can sit down for a face-to-face. How many people can offer that?


Get Less Traffic NOW!

A Rant:

Does an advertisement like “Get More Traffic NOW” sound familiar? Doesn’t everybody just LOVE the idea of more, more, more traffic? Jeez, wouldn’t everything just be great if there was MORE traffic to your website?

Let me tell you something: More doesn’t cut it.

I don’t mean to be the guy to spoil the “More Traffic Party”, but it’s not more traffic that you want. It’s the RIGHT traffic you want.

You don’t see restaurant owners going out begging for just anybody to be in their restaurant… they aren’t looking for people just milling around with no money getting the rugs all dirty and getting in the way of the servers and what not. A restaurant wants the RIGHT kind of traffic too, in this case someone who is a)hungry and b)willing to pay what it costs to eat there. The 85% of the population who is either not hungry or has insufficient funds isn’t invited. That’s how you should be thinking about your website too.

What is the right traffic? Well it depends on your site, but usually the right traffic is someone who wants to buy your product, will click on an ad, or wants to hire you for a service. Too many webmasters are out there working for and paying for traffic that’s getting them NOWHERE.

How do you decide what traffic is the RIGHT traffic for your website? Well, that’s a good question, and one that doesn’t get a lot of attention sometimes. And it just so happens to be one of the best questions you can ask yourself.

And, it’s also a big enough question to justify an entirely new post. So until then, just remember that it’s not MORE you want, but the RIGHT traffic.

(The follow-up to this post is the first post in the How to Find the Right Traffic to your Website series. Click here to see it.)

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A Lesson from Wired Magazine about Sustainable Websites

Today I was sitting in Northstar (one of my favorite places to grab a bite to eat and a good cup of overpriced coffee in the Short North) and decided to pick up some of my secretly favorite magazines. No, not the magazines you are thinking of. Nerdy magazines. Like Wired.

Within Wired, somewhere deep in the back of the magazine, there is an article about web scraping and how it’s a dangerous business to get in because the sites you are scraping from can shut off your access to their data anytime. And then, like David Copperfield making a yacht go “buh-bye”, you’ll find the value of your site and the fickle traffic that payed your bills before have disappeared.

-If you have no idea what I’m talking about with scrapers, then head over to the Wired Article (here) and brush up.-

What can we learn from this? I mean I haven’t had one client yet, ever, ask me to make them a web scraper (or bot), so how could this possibly teach us anything? It’s easy. When you are creating a sustainable website, there are no shortcuts.

Creating a sustainable website, one that will stand the test of time, Content Is King. Your content has to be:

1. Interesting
2. Unique (meaning you can’t copy&paste or just reword something that everybody already knows)
3. Well-written
4. Linkable (meaning that other people will read it, and want to link to it)

When I first started creating websites and trying to get tons of traffic, I thought that Quantity beat Quality anytime. Over time, it seems that the opposite is true.

On the other side of the computer screen is always a HUMAN BEING spending their time reading what you’ve written to meet some need that they have. Maybe they want to know how to build a better website, make their website more SEO compliant, or in the case of this article, trying to learn what the article from Wired can teach us.

And, for 99% of websites, that means writing great content or hiring someone to write great content for you. Without good content, your website doesn’t offer any value to the visitors, and no short-term fixes (including SEO) will make your site take flight.

So what does all of this mean in terms of how ACTUAL sites look?

Well, I’ll show you from some pages that I’ve written myself.

Cheating Page:

Review Website Launched

Why: OK, this is a page from my own site. See, we all do this sometimes. The reason this page doesn’t work is because it doesn’t really offer anything of value to the user… You. just because you are at my site doesn’t mean you care at all about another site I’m launching. I can’t image anyone reading this page and saying… “Wow, knowing about this site launching sure is interesting. I think I’ll link to that and tell me friends about it.” Honestly, not going to happen. Why don’t I erase the page? Well, it give’s me a link to the site, which helps the Columbus Restaurant Review Site in the Search Engines. (But if I had the time, it’d help MORE to write a more compelling page.)

Good Pages:

Penguin Guide to Domaining

How To Dominate Your City in Google

Why: I wrote both of these pages over time. You know, I opened up Word and wrote and edited and edited and added and fact-checked and researched and all of that. It took time. It took energy. Heck, it was hard. But it paid off. People read these and comment, link, and somehow the Search Engines know that these are good pages and they give them prominent positions in the Indexes… which means more traffic and more money.

Do I walk the walk? Let me know if this article that you are reading write now is fluff or “stuff”. Leave a comment below about what you thought. And if you do think it’s stuff, why not let me take a look at your site and see if we can’t make some moves for you or your organization?


Shifting Focus Toward Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starting in 2008

While 2007 has been a truly interesting, exciting, and altogether great year, I’ve made some decisions about where the future lies for this business.

Based on the desires I’ve heard voiced from my clients, and the profits I’ve seen from my own investments in the Internet, it seems that Search Engine Optimization is without-a-doubt the best place to invest my time and energy.

SEO (short for Search Engine Optimization) is the part of Web Design that I’ve always enjoyed the most and had the most innate talent in. SEO is really the reason I was attracted to web design in the first place.

And, the more conversations I have with webmasters, the more I realize that what people really want is to get their message out… not just to have a pretty website.

So I’m going to focus on SEO starting in 2008.

I’ll still be accepting new Web Design clients on a per-client basis if the project seems like a good match. Each web design will have a growing emphasis on built-in Search Engine Optimization characteristics. Please contact me to see if we would be a good match for a web design.

And, of course, I’m interested in hearing from anyone that would be interested in seeing how SEO can help their bottom line. Read more about SEO or contact me today.

SEO Proof: Wow, what a surprise this is!

So lately I’ve been wondering why all of these emails I’ve been receiving about my SEO Consultations have been filling my inbox. I mean I know it’s my JOB to be good at getting free traffic, but it’s always a pleasant surprise to find that Search Engine Optimization works time after time!

Anyways, because objective proof can be hard to come by in SEO, take a look at this:

seo WordPress consultant proof

(You can also click here to see the big image.)

As you can see in the image, my Internet Marketing Consultant page ranks #1 for “WordPress SEO Consult”, and there are just shy of 1 million people competing for that spot.

I Love this Business!

Anyways, I’d love to do the same thing for you and your site… if you want to get in contact with me, swing by my contact page and let me know if I can help you!

By the way… I cover exactly how to do this and more in my ebook called WordPress SEO Blueprint which I feel like I’m just giving away at less than ten bucks.

Now Offering: Search Engine Optimization Exclusively for WordPress Websites

After recently released the WordPress Search Engine Optimization Blueprint I’ve received a lot of very positive feedback. I’ve also found that there are as many goals as there are Webmasters and Blogs.

With that in mind, it became clear that offering WordPress SEO Consultations would be valuable to the WordPress Community.

A Typical WordPress Search Engine Optimization Consult would include the following changes:

  1. Unique SEO Title Tags for each page
  2. Unique generated Meta keyword, and description tags
  3. Plug the holes in your pagerank leaks by adding “rel=nofollow” to pages on your own blog
  4. Solving duplicate content issues by using excerpts instead of the full content and “noindexing” categorie and date-based pages.
  5. Conducting a “PageRank Audit” to move your pagerank to your most valued pages
  6. Encourage linking to your blog
  7. Cleaning out the bad links, pruning non-productive links, and adding relevant links where nessesary
  8. Fix the Heading Tags on your blog to comply with Google Webmaster suggestions
  9. And Much More!

Your blog will likely have at least a few big problems that can be easily solved. I can easily enter your WordPress Install, make the changes without any involvement on your part, and you can start seeing results in a few days to a few weeks.

And, best of all, most blogs can be completely re-done for as little as $150.00.

Get your blog the traffic it deserves. Contact me using the form below for immediate info.


WordPress SEO Blueprint is Now Available for Download

If you know about Search Engine Optimization, you are likely in love with WordPress. I am.

WordPress can be made to work well for so many diverse applications. It is simple to use for the common blogger, and is also extensible and customizable enough for someone who likes to dive into the code.

In light of all this, I wrote WordPress SEO Blueprint. WordPress SEO Blueprint literally gives away many of my SEO secrets in a sustainable, ethical, and painless manner. The ebook is written so that anyone, even someone with no knowledge of code or WordPress, can plug-and-play the information and see drastic results.
If you have a WordPress blog, and could benefit from more traffic, click here to learn more about the WordPress SEO Blueprint.

All the Best,


Columbus’ Newest and Best Review Site Goes Live Today

As a couple of you might know, one of my first loves is food. Yup, I live for food, taste, and am a hopeless epicure. I’ve also had a bit of culinary training at Hyde’s Park’s premier Culinary school before leaving to pursue my love of Web Design. Fortunately, I’ve found an outlet for this addiction (and finally a way to write-off all of those dinner’s out…)
I am exceptionally proud to introduce you to my newest project. Working side-by-side with an amazing Coldfusion Developer from Utica, New York, Pete Freitag, we have extended Pete’s previous design for MVNY dot org into a Dynamic (and beautiful) Restaurant, Bar, and Entertainment Review Site for Columbus.

The new website can be found at YumYumColumbus.com. Swing on over and check it out by clicking here: YumYumColumbus: Columbus Ohio’s Newest Restaurant Review Website

And just so everyone can take a second to dreul over Pete’s awesome Coldfusion skills, here’s a screenshot of the site:

yum yum columbus

And if anyone wants to contribute some reviews of their favorite places, or suggest some places for me to review myself, just leave it in the comments!


How to Dominate Your Field in Google for any Given City

Many of the websites I’ve made in the past have been geared specifically for a local area. In making a site for a landscaper (for instance) you want that website to be seen in Google, Yahoo, and MSN for that local area to make that business get the new clients it was hoping to receive.

I know that sounds obvious, but many web designer and developers drop the ball in this area.

Since my business as a web designer, consultant, and developer is also at least partly based on my geographic location, I thought I’d explain how to make your site Dominate the local listings for your business. If you don’t understand exactly what I’m about to explain…. it’s OK. And, if you have a business that could use some help with dominating the local listings, then I’d be happy to work this same magic for you.

Anyways, without further ado, this is How To Dominate Your Field in Google for any Given City:

What I did since I am based in Columbus, Ohio is to find all of the suburbs that my potential clients may be typing in to find a Web Designer. For instance, although Columbus is the most likely candidate for their web query, they may also get a bit hyper-local and search for something like “Dublin Ohio Web design firm“.

So what we have to do is find all of the suburbs that people may be searching for and make a page for each one. The best place to find them in my opinion is Wikipedia. For Columbus, you scroll to the bottom of the Columbus, Ohio page and it looks like this:

columbus ohio web design wikipedia pic

So what I did was just copy and paste the whole list of suburbs and made a page for each one that I wanted to optimize for, which ended up being like 10-15.

You can see some links to the pages here. This is just a screenshot of my sitemap.

columbus web design sitemap

Now the difficult part of this process is making each and every page a bit different so that the search engines don’t think they are duplicate content (if they believe the pages are duplicate content, they aren’t going to send people your way). And, since the pages AREN’T duplicate content, and we really ARE providing users value, then making sure the Google realizes this is primary to our purposes.

What I do to make sure google realizes that these are all different pages is:

1. Write a unique title for each page

2. Write a unique meta-description for each page

3. Give each page a good url with the cities name in it

4. Write unique meta-keywords for each page

And, to boot, I always have my meta-description show up as the description of the page on Google, so if someone was looking for a German Village Web Designer, they would come see this with a nice little description beneath the link too.

german village ohio web design

And the last trick to all of this is to get Google to index these pages for you without having to use the links on your sitemap. So, you need to give links to these pages from a more high-profile part of your site. For my purposes, I’m going to link to those pages from here:

Columbus Ohio Web Design

Now once you do all of this, you get about 10-15 more pages indexed in your site and the value of each of your site-wide links do up because your site has gotten bigger, fatter, and more powerful. All and all, it’s a grand reason to make your site optimized for your local area.

Visit: Japanese Translation Company Blog

German Village, Ohio Web Design and Website Development

Since I’ve officially moved into German Village, Ohio, it seems like a good idea to make sure anyone looking for a Website Designer in German Village finds a great one (I’d like to think… me).


FURTHER UPDATE: Localized Seo Study Success

This is the 2nd update to our Localized SEO Case Study. You can see the earlier posts here to get some background on the project:

Local SEO Study and
Local SEO Study Update

The great news is that after posting our press release, the website we made and optimized is now showing for Google Position 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. That is HALF of the screen (the Google results page defaults 10 listings).

And for your viewing pleasure, I’ve added a screenshot. Proof that it’s possible!

SEO Screenshot Proof Columbus Ohio

So if you would like to have your website dominate Google for your keywords, please Contact us, check out our Columbus Internet Marketing Services, or start fresh with a brand new Web Design.


SEO Tip: Build a Squidoo Lens for an Online Business Card

UPDATE:  As predicted in the article below, Google has, in-fact, turned down the Search Engine Optimization knob on Squidoo.  Some bad people took advantage of the service and now Squidoo isn’t getting the results it used to.  Seth Godin, the guy who made Squidoo, is working to fix the problems.  When they are fixed, Squidoo should (hopefully) be back to it’s old self again.  I’ll let you know when that happens!

Squidoo is a very cool website that allows you to make a one-page webpage on the subject of your choice.

Since Google loves Squidoo(currently really loves Squidoo, but who knows how long that affair will last), it can be a great idea to make a page for yourself as a business card.

I just made one for myself last night. Feel free to take a look and see what I mean…

Columbus Web Design and SEO Consulting on Squidoo.


Brand New Design

It was time for a new design, and after doing a spa day this morning, I had the energy to redo the whole thing.

What do you think?  Feel free to leave a comment below if you’d like.


UPDATE: Localized SEO Study Success

If you look back on this post from August 20 (nine days ago), you’ll see what the plan was to get my friend as #1 in google for Ithaca Life Coach.

Anyways, the good news is, the site went from non-existence to #1 already. All it took was a well designed and SEO’d WordPress site and a well-placed Press Release with a high PR backlink.

It’s easy when you are focused on just one niche and everything you do is related and furthers that one niche.

And, if this is something that could help you or your business, please feel free to hire me for columbus webdesign or hire me for columbus search engine optimization.


New Restaurant Review Site for Columbus

Since I have a love for fine foods, I decided to make use of my SEO, Webdesign, and gluttony and make a new website devoted to crass, truthful, and downright honest reviews and recommendations on Columbus eateries.

In case you didn’t know, I also have a bit of a background in this area- being that I dropped out of the Harvard of Culinary Schools (The Culinary Institute of America).

Anywho- you can find the new site right here: Yum Yum Columbus.

It’s brand new and still very much in development, so don’t expect too much for the next few weeks at least…


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