Everything you need to know about reverse engineering Google algorithms

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New Media Knowledge magazine Created on: August 8th, 2011

If you understand how search engines work you KNOW that there is nothing to know about how to reverse engineer a search engine’s algorithms. It is impossible to do and a total waste of time and money. More importantly, wasting time on such fruitless tasks keeps you from doing the things that WILL make you competitive on the web. By Amy Munice.

EVERYTHING (!) you need to know about reverse engineering Google Algorithms?
Yes—In this short article you will truly learn “EVERYTHING” you need to know about reverse engineering Google algorithms.

In fact, this could be an extremely short article, because “EVERYTHING” you need to know about reverse engineering Google algorithms–or any search engine’s algorithms, for that matter– is NOTHING.

Please allow me to de-code this statement for you so that it sounds less like a Zen logic enigma.
Search engines are changing ALL THE TIME. Every time you or I or your colleague, your competitor, your uncle or your aunt goes to the search bar and seeks information they are CHANGING the database that web crawlers feed upon. These web crawlers, or more accurately the engineers who design them, just want to find out how people (all of us and each of us) are seeking things and what they seek.
That ever-expanding knowledgebase helps them get smarter. By “smarter” I mean it gives potential to change the algorithms at work to help speed searchers along the road to find what they seek. It’s a big communal effort—we each pave the way for the next searcher. So if you are trying to “reverse engineer” Google algorithms, ask yourself first—which ones? Today’s algorithms, yesterday’s algorithms, or tomorrow’s algorithms, or the day after that and so on. The World Wide Web is a very dynamic place— constant only in that it is constantly changing. Or, as the oft-quoted Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus is said to have put it, “..you cannot step in the same river twice.”

If you concentrate on trying to reverse engineer Google algorithms for search engine optimization—whether you call it that or not—you are simply wasting your time, and/or someone’s money.
“But wait!” you say. “I have followed the suggested course SEO professionals have prescribed (e.g. increase phrase depth, add to page count, etc.) and we have gotten documented improvements in our traffic. How do you explain that?”
That in fact should be the case half of the time even if the SEO consultant advising you or you are flying blind. In other words, half are going to be lucky—predictably.
Why do I say “half”? Because on the web, your page or site is ALWAYS graded on a curve. Moreover, this “curve” is only in the wee part of the WORLD WIDE WEB where you truly compete. If you are selling tires the requisite inbound link text or keyword text proximity or ANY on-page or off-page factor is bound to be in quite a different mix than the web page that is trying to sell mobile phones. The suggestion that there is some elusive magic formula for mixing on-page and off-page SEO factors that works for everyone should go where the pseudo-science of alchemy went.
If this sounds facile to you may I respectfully suggest that it might be timely for you to learn about natural language processing and update your search engine optimizationknowledgebase.

Amy is on a mission to clear up widespread misunderstandings of how worldwide search engines work that affect her 20+ year PR firm’s clientele and similar companies that sell B2B services and products worldwide.

Getting up to speed with search engines

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Getting up to speed with search engines from European Cleaning Journal

25th of November 2011

In the first article of a new series written exclusively for ECJ, Amy Munice of ALM Communications in the USA offers advice for businesses on making the most of their internet activity. Here, she focuses on marketing and search engine optimisation.

You own or manage a business devoted to cleaning or cleaning supplies. Your task list to manage the business is already miles long. Do you really need to think about web marketing? After all, it’s not your area of expertise and your business success has been largely based in hiring reliable staff and/or outside consultants who do know what they are doing. Why wouldn’t web marketing be in the same category?

Don’t kill the messenger, but the sad news I have to deliver is that web marketing is in a different category for two main reasons.

•Businesses – all businesses – now will live and die in large part by how well they tame the internet to their business needs. In the old days, poor decisions on where you placed advertising would impact your bottom line, but rarely did they deal a death knell. In contrast, web advertising done the wrong way can quickly bankrupt your company. Similarly, search engine optimisation and website development pursued blindly or worse can be an enormous drain on
time resources – above and beyond the financial toll.

•Sourcing web marketing talent has become more difficult because there is a lot of hot air posing as know-how. And if you choose to go down the route of building in-house web marketing staff you need to know that the universe of information and best practices they need to remain current in is constantly growing and changing. This usually means that it is only the largest companies that can afford to keep such an in-house team of web ‘experts’ up-to-date as required.

Actually this brings up what could be called the third ‘reason’ on why you need to know a bit about the web so you can hire and manage talent wisely. First and foremost you need to know enough about the web and how it works today to also know what it cannot do for your type of business—a subject that web marketing experts rarely bring to the table.

Source up-to-date talent

For the lion’s share of companies in the cleaning industry, the answer is to invest in bringing the internet knowledge base of those sourcing talent up-to-date so they can not only source intelligently but manage the team they have enlisted with the modicum of web knowledge required.

Without doubt, the single largest problem when it comes to search engine optimisation is that out of date search engine optimisation (SEO) practices are widespread and accepted as conventional wisdom.

Let’s take the example of the subject line of most of what I call ‘SEO spam’. Because I am on the other side of the pond where online marketing had become a major factor a bit earlier and because I sign up for web marketing courses, etc to keep in the loop, I probably receive more of such SEO email spam than you or most. But perhaps you too have received an email with a subject line (and usually the body of the email itself) that promises you, as it does me, ‘top search engine rankings’.

“What’s wrong with that?” you say. “That’s exactly what we want, isn’t it?”

The problem is that ‘top search engine ranking’ is more or less fiction. The way today’s internet works (to use the geeky terms – ‘personalised search algorithms’, ‘local search algorithms’, weight of social media rankings, etc) means that the search results your universe of prospects will see when they ‘Google’ (or whatever search engine they use) will vary. What one prospect’s search page number one returns to them will predictably vary from what another prospect’s results will return.

Let’s call that example red flag number one of out-of-date search engine knowledge.

Red flag number two of out-of-date SEO is probably ‘keyword metatags’. Take a look at the page source of your company web site and that of all your top-of-mind competitors.

Whenever I do sampling, at least at the time of this writing, my sampling shows me again and again that more than half go to great pains to list ‘keyword metatags’.

“What’s wrong with that?” you ask, as I was recently by a highly paid SEO advisor. Firstly, Google’s official spokesperson, Matt Cutts, tells you not to use keyword metatags. He did so in 2009 – and those who watch Google closely will tell you that when such announcements are made the changes have been in existence for quite some time.

Then I ask: what’s with the laundry lists of unrelated keyword metatags – all the same on every web page – with few of them having anything to do or being mentioned once in the body of the web page? You find words like ‘sale’ or ‘service’ or ‘reliable’. These are tell-tale signs that understanding is lacking – even pre-2009 – on what keywords were and are. Did somebody really think that a person would go to his or her search bar and type in ‘service’ to find their company’s offerings? That is what a ‘keyword’ is – the word or phrase you expect someone to type into their search bar to find you.

The bigger problem – and a topic to be elaborated on in great detail in a later article – is that these listings of keyword metatags, while at best doing nothing for your search engine optimisation efforts, are like a poker player showing their hand to all opponents at the table.

While keyword metatags do not ‘count’ in helping your site be found on search engines they do tell a savvy competitor a lot about what your business is up to. Doing anything that aids your competitors’ abilities in web competitive analysis are the absolute last things you want to do because web competitive analysis is the main thing that does matter on today’s web.

Some other tell-tale giveaways of out-of-date knowledge on search engine optimisation to be heeded by those sourcing SEO help…

•Continuing with keywords. What does it mean when your SEO consultant tells you, rightfully so, that keywords and key phrases are very important? Then they politely ask you what your keywords are without suggesting that they will do keyword research to augment and strategise your site’s keywords throughout the site.

To me it means that they have absolutely no idea that choosing the best keywords today depends on having the best maths-based search engine optimisation tools at your disposal that will identify these best keywords.

Fresh content critical

Call it out of date, call it clueless – it will not help your business get ahead.

Red flag number three – your web designer presents you with a turnkey site that he or she has created and declared as ‘optimised for search engines’. Then they give you no means to add to or change the site.

It is true now and has been true for quite some time that adding fresh content and having the means to do so is critical to any search engine optimisation strategy. Giving you a static non-expandable website is delivering to you a product that is obsolete upon the day of delivery.

Red flag number four – when you ask your SEO consultant what their support will include, they show you the free Google reports that are readily available, perhaps packaged with their SEO company’s logo. Then, they put a high price tag on what are essentially one-click reports.

You can pay them to do so, but why? As a business person, do you think it is a sign of integrity to take advantage of someone’s ignorance by giving them an item freely available and charging them a small fortune for it? This is obviously a rhetorical question but I believe it’s a very necessary one.

Red flag number five – when you ask, the SEO consultant cannot tell you how the local search algorithm, personalised search, social media, or mobile devices should figure into your website design or verbiage, and they more or less avoid the question. And in fact, the usual way to avoid this question is to give blanket assurances that they will get you ‘ranked number one’.

There are many more red flags of out-of -date SEO knowledge. Knowing what not to purchase does not tell you what to look for. That will be the subject of the next article in this series.

•Amy Munice is the founder of ALM Communications.

domain-b–Internet marketing: the myths and the reality

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08 July 2011

Over the last decade, it has become clear that for nearly every business of any size and type – be it business-to-business (B2B), business-to-customer (B2C), global or local – internet marketing is likely to be its most critical IT investment.

Whether you keep internet marketing in-house or outsource it in toto or something in between, your business survival is closely intertwined with your internet marketing programmes. A business owner can no longer afford to remain illiterate about how today’s search engines really work. In my experience, here is where people go wrong:

Every week I seem to speak to one or more business owners or marketing
directors who tell me that their business does very well in search engine rankings – they check by ”googling” their keywords and invariably find their company on the first page.

These business owners or marketing people are making a big mistake. They fail to realise that the search engines learn your personal preferences (personalized search ) and they try to display your preferred sites on the first page of what you seek.

The search engines also favour local companies (localized search), so you are far more likely to find your company on that first page than a key competitor from afar.

–by Amy Munice, President, ALM Communications Inc.

Don’t spend blindly on internet marketing efforts – from domain-b magazine, India

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Don’t spend blindly on internet marketing efforts
07 December 2011

Continuing her exposition of the common pitfalls and misconceptions encountered during online marketing, Amy Munice of ALM Communications Inc points out the importance of adapting

Is online marketing strength enough to win? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. For some companies –especially locally-based companies in parts of the world where e-commerce is well developed – it is often all that is needed.
But for other companies, often trying to reach consumer markets that are often not fully ”online”, approaches need to differ. This is and especially true for B2B companies serving niche markets worldwide.
So how you need to approach internet marketing and whether, if, or how to assign a significant portion of your budget to offline marketing is often a complex decision.
As a simple example, if you are selling computer accessories in Mumbai or London or New York – whether to businesses or consumers – your customer prospects are highly likely to be sourcing information about your products online.
It will vary though in these diverse locales, in terms of how much or how little and which social networks will be reaching them on the web and how these online social networks will be affecting your site’s visibility to online searchers.

Social networks are reported to be more important in terms of the ever-changing brew of the way search engines determine how they display information on searchers’ pages.
Social networks tend to be more local. Twitter, Facebook, Google – yes they extend beyond borders, but people’s connections are usually more real-world geography-bound.
To the extent that your business is seeking out local customers and to the extent to which your can assume your customers are into internet sourcing, local search algorithms are helping you enormously; as are free services like Google Places.
In Mumbai as in London as in New York, there are markets that simply do not use the internet to source any information at all. And there are markets and places where sourcing of information is rapidly migrating to mobile devices.

Then – if your company is in any way selling on a global scale – you need to appreciate that you have a different set of problems to solve, largely because of the local search algorithm built into today’s search engines.
These can bias search results to local companies; thus it may often happen that places where your competitors are headquartered will crowd your company off of top search pages.
This can matter a little or a lot. It is very industry dependent and location dependent; and again affected in the first place by how internet-”hooked” your prospects are.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) companies that promise to gain you profile by translating a page or two of your content can do that if it housed on your country-specific local domain, but tend to over-promise over what they actually deliver.
If your company can afford country-specific domains aplenty, do it. That is what works – being found locally; especially if you use best supporting linguistic theme words in the language of that country that make your pages in that domain almost instantly ”culturally-literate”.

A better spend for a company that sells globally is to first and foremost look to ways to spend marketing budgets that transcend all local search algorithm tilts to provide optimum focus in the niche verticals you target.
This might mean, for example, making sure that you have global news release distributions to online publications that have entrée into local search results that your company cannot as easily achieve; and also a ready well-developed local readership audience.
Better yet look into not only advertising with these publications but providing editorial of value (white papers, articles, blogs, etc) that will showcase you company, and in many cases provide direct links to your company website.

Similarly, global directories for particular vertical niches, and especially those maintained by reputable trade media – from medical devices to energy companies to nanotech technology developers – may absolutely be the best advertising dollar spend.

Google advertising (and display advertising mixes) that are very pinpointed geographically are absolute musts for developing tests for web pages geared for particular audiences.
If you are selling locally or globally and especially for big ticket items, don’t ignore the many free tools that now exist to find ready leads for what you sell. These might include signing up to follow Facebook, Twitter and similar pages of companies that sell products that make your products needed as a follow on.
For example, a client of ALM Communications’ marketing/PR firm that manufactures digital cutting machines now reports that in the US at least, they can source leads just by following companies that sell digital presses.
Before there were Twitter hashtags, there were Google Alerts, and they still work to give you the head-up on similar news – as do free online trade publications and business publications that tend to print news along the lines of ”X company bought Y company technology” (such as domain-b).

In summary 
You have to know how your prospects are finding you today;
You have to know that how they find you at some tomorrow in the not distant future will be different; requiring you to keep a pulse on this information very specific to your market/s and your business.
Reading generalized reports about migration to online or mobile is not all that real. People selling to construction companies in the US, for example, might not think of the themselves as dealing with a cutting edge buying audience; but even a casual observation will tell you that most construction managers in the US and any similar managers who are comparably mobile have long ago switched to smart phones and similar devices as their primary information sourcing tools.
You have to assess if local search algorithms have a positive or negative impact on your sales and if the latter, choose among the many ways to get around these impacts.
Is there still a place for off-line marketing spends? Yes, and another article in this series will elaborate on it.

Internet Marketing— What to Keep In-House and What to Outsource – Part 1

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from domain-b, India 
17 June 2011

A Dozen ”Web” Things Every Business Owner, CIO and VP of Marketing Needs to Consider Before They Lock In A Model for Their Company’s Internet Marketing
by Amy Munice, President, ALM Communications also doing business as Global B2B Communications –www.globalb2bcommunications.com )

1-First and foremost understand that for nearly every business of all sizes and all types (B2B, B2C, global, local)-internet marketing is likely to be the most ”mission critical” IT investment for your business, whether you keep internet marketing in-house or outsource en toto or something in between.   A decade or so ago that was not the case. Today, businesses live and die on the web.  Your business survival is closely intertwined with your internet marketing programs. 

2- Every week I seem to speak to one or more business owners or marketing directors who tell me that their business does very well in search engine rankings and that they check by ”googling” their keywords and without fail find their company on the first page.  These business owners or marketing people are HIGHLY mistaken.   So are the people who google, find themselves on the first page of results and think their work is done.   They are HIGHLY mistaken. 
Why? The search engines learn your personal preferences (personalized search ) and they try to display your preferred sites on the first page of what you seek.  The search engines also favor local companies (localized search ), so that you are far more likely to find your company on that first page than a key competitor from afar.  There are math-based search engine optimization tools that allow your copywriters to overcome these obstacles and begin by giving you real-world information on your site’s rankings.  First things first-a business owner can no longer remain illiterate about these basics of how today’s search engines really  work.

3-The complexity of that part of internet marketing dealing with ”organic search” and search engine optimization , without exaggeration, increases every day.   Search engine algorithms are changing daily-not just when headlines appear about major changes such as the recent spate of publicity regarding ”farmer algorithms” and content farms.  Every time anyone ”Googles” (or uses Yahoo, Baidu, etc.) to find something it feeds the underlying mathematics that drive these search engines in their attempt to mimic and anticipate human behavior.  Search engines are seeking to optimize  ”natural language processing”, a sibling of computational linguistics.  In the real world this means that an in-house IT person handling internet marketing must be given ample time to keep their skillset up-to-date.   In most cases this would require weeks of study each year, at the minimum.    To the extent that budgets allow, bringing outside SEO consultants in who live and breathe internet marketing every working hour as adjuncts to in-house IT staff has a high return –on-investment IF the SEO consultant is skilled and up to date.

4- Unfortunately, sourcing qualified SEO consultants is often easier said than done.  Many SEO consultants recycle myths about search engines that are not real.  MOST of what you will find on the web about search engine optimization is out-of-date; some of this material was erroneous from the onset.  Even if search engine optimization is totally outsourced, IT staff will need time budgets to become educated buyers of such services.  For example, ” keyword and description metatags” have zip bearing on search ranking but MANY SEO consultants still talk about them a lot. 
Another big red flag of out-of-date SEO practices are static rules of thumb on how web copy should be written in terms of factors like ”phrase depth” or ”page count” etc.  Because the web is a very dynamic entity there are NO static rules.  The things it will take your company to succeed in its unique competitive landscape are quite different from what would be required of another company, and what works today will not necessarily work tomorrow. 

5-Paid search –pay per click advertising-used to be straightforward enough for in-house IT managers to handle.  This is not the case any longer.  Google AdWords and the like continue to get more complex.  A poorly run pay per click advertising campaign can be extraordinarily expensive and with low return.  A well run AdWords campaign can have orders of magnitude higher return-on-investment for a wide swathe of companies.  Today, to the extent that budgets allow, bringing in experts who do AdWords every working hour and who have seen campaigns that work and campaigns that don’t are the recommended route. 
However, totally outsourcing AdWords for all time is prohibitive for the lion’s share of small and medium-sized businesses.  What is usually affordable is a periodic checkup of campaigns with AdWords experts or a thorough consultation on how to synch ad copy with web and design  so that landing pages for ads really work.  The good news is that success or lack of success is totally straightforward and measurable.

6-Google offers a free service to help you set up your first AdWord campaign.  Foxes will offer to build you a hen house too.  Your goals and a source for paid advertising (Google, display ads, Yahoo, etc.) are not identical.  Forget that and you pay for it— perhaps significantly.  Google’s guides may know more than your in-house IT person about Google AdWords-but that doesn’t mean they will serve your company better, especially if you sell highly technical products or services that require a nuanced understanding of niche market targets.  ”You get what you pay for” is another adage worth considering as you weigh the value of Google’s ”free” service.  A day of independent pay per click advertising experts is a far better spend on time and money budgets.

For the next six tips-see part two of this article in the next issue.

About Amy Munice-
Amy Munice is President of ALM Communications Inc.

How to reverse engineer Google algorithms – from Domain-b magazine

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12 August 2011

Don’t try to be smarter than Google, or Bing, or Baidu, or Yahoo – it is a waste of time and money, says Amy Munice, president of b2b consulting firm ALM Communications

Please excuse the trick title – but the answer is – it is both impossible and a waste of time and money to try to reverse engineer Google algorithms-or any search engine algorithms, for that matter.

When, like me, you have distilled the instructions of more search engine optimisation (SEO) consultants than I dare to count, they typically suggest in one way or another that you try to do just that – reverse engineer algorithms. Following such SEO instructions may appear to help 50 per cent of web sites, and leave the other half at the bottom of the heap, or more accurately, the curve.
It’s impossible to reverse engineer search algorithms mainly because the worldwide web is aconstantly changing entity. Every time one goes into the search bar seeking out something and landing somewhere, staying there, and going somewhere else, etc, that activity adds to the growing database that ‘web crawlers’ mine for insights on how people think and search.

These web crawlers are trying to get smarter at natural language processing, a sibling of computational linguistics, and they do get smarter, every day – and not just when Google or another search engine company makes major announcements on things like the Panda algorithm.

Perhaps in the real world these web crawler ”smarts” are increasingly dumb and blind to global business-to-business (B2B) companies’ online marketing efforts, but that’s another story.

If your company is presented with a static list of target ”phrase depth” or ”title counts” or other on-page or off-page factors as a to-do list for search engine optimization that are purported to affect every site on the web the same way, you need to know that this list is pure fiction.

First, it is fiction because the web is never static. This means that if there was some magic formula for website optimisation yesterday it won’t be making the same fit with the web today because today’s web is different from yesterday’s and tomorrow’s web will be different again.

Second, a static one-size-fits-all SEO to-do list is fiction because every page and every site is in a unique competitive landscape on the web. What works for Tata Steel in terms of website optimization is very different from what will work for Bharti Airtel because they reside in a unique landscape on the web.

Third, even in the very small corner of the web that a ‘giant’ like Tata Steel occupies, the competitive landscape of the web is in a constant flux. And because so many factors are at play – eg a recent report by Google said they considered 200 factors – that affect how one or another competitor for a certain keyword shows up on any particular person’s search, the competitor rankings are not linear.

Fourth (and perhaps most germane to why the static lists of SEO to-do tasks seem to work about half of the time), on the web and in the corner of the web where your web page/s compete you are always graded on a curve. How ”good” does your site need to be? It only needs to be better than the other pages and sites you are competing against.

Do inbound links matter? In reality, to some web pages they matter not a whit. To others, all other SEO factors pale in comparison to the number of inbound links, the ”authority” of these inbound links, the title of these links, etc.

So why do SEO consultants give you the same set of instructions that they give to all their other clients? This rarely is because the person giving you this list is trying to trick you. Rather, it’s just a reflection of how out-of-date and out-of-reality many ubiquitous SEO notions are.

Take a look at the websites of some of the biggest companies in India (or any country) and what you find may surprise you, if you are up-to-date on how search engines really work.

As an example, consider ”keyword metatags”. Pick say 10 companies for a start. Using the Mozilla Firefox menu ”view” option and selecting ”page source” you can take a quick look at the code for the web page you are visiting. Take a look at the homepages of the 10 companies you selected. Then, see what they list for ”keyword metatags”.

Then, read up on the announcement that Google made in 2009 indicating that keyword metatags did not affect search – http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/keywords-meta-tag-in-web-search/.

Since keyword metatags do not count towards making your site visible on search engines but they do supply competitors with quick information about your website optimisation efforts, perhaps the wiser course may be to just take keyword metatags off your site.

In fact, your page may actually be downgraded if / when you include lists of keywords that do not have anything to do with the verbiage on that page.  In my experience today, the 10 pages that I pick at random are likely to have a majority that make this keyword metatag mistake.  This is a good example of how out-of-date SEO practices are.

The bottom line is: don’t try to be smarter than Google, or Bing, or Baidu, or Yahoo. If you waste your time and money trying to reverse engineer search engine algorithms, the bigger cost is that you are not paying attention to putting the type of B2B content on and off your site –keyword rich– that makes the difference.

Going Global without billions to spend

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DMI–”Going global without billions to spend”
June 23, 2011

Amy Munice , says it is possible.

You have a small business, an even smaller marketing budget, but desire to reach a truly worldwide market? Is that possible?

It is doable, in large part thanks to the World Wide Web. But, in order to get the global reach you want, you first need to know how today’s Internet really works and how the rapidly shifting landscape for web marketing creates both new opportunities and unprecedented obstacles to overcome.

There is both good news and bad news about the circa 2011 Internet that bears on your ability to succeed worldwide.

Let’s talk about the GOOD news first: making a website is NOT a budget buster.
Creating a website is not necessarily the big ticket spend it used to be. In the ancient web history of about eight years ago, many companies either hired full-time web developers in-house or farmed out their website development to an often pricey web design firm. The coding that created user-friendly content management systems was typically cobbled together by programmers in idiosyncratic and proprietary ways. If your website needed to grow because your company changed (and all do, eventually!) or to keep up site rankings (see below), it usually involved even more expense.

Now, there are several open source website development frameworks such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal that are FREE. Better yet, there are many ready-made web design templates using open source web development frameworks that often will fit the bill and can draw upon the ever-expanding libraries of FREE add-on widgets or ready-made code plug-ins in the public domain. What do these websites look like? Take a look at our company site –www.globalb2bcommunications.com – price tag US$1200. (Full disclosure – of course, the pen that brings you this article also was the free SEO copywriting source for the site and I happen to know a thing or two about web copy and global lead generation.)

Good news! Search engine optimisation (SEO) is affordable, too!

But now let’s talk about some cautions.

Beware: ALL search engines now favour local companies.

If you and I both typed into a Google search bar ‘Thai restaurant’, our results page would look entirely different. That’s also true if you or I ‘Googled’ (or Yahoo’d or Baidu’d) for ‘direct marketing consultant’. In their efforts to make search engines more user-friendly, all the search engine developers began using localised search algorithms that favour local companies in any search, so local companies now tend to take up the prime ‘real estate’ of first page listings. This shift in how the Internet works that has enormous impact on small companies’ online marketing capabilities, came at about the same time as the global recession – which may be one reason why it has been underappreciated. This could mean a little or a lot to your company, depending on your location, your competitors’ locations, your prospects’ locations and the particular service you are selling as reflected by your various keyword choices. Localised search is here to stay. You need to heed it and deal with it (see below).

Beware: Personalised search algorithms are impacting your site traffic, too.
Every week I seem to have a conversation with a company president of VP Marketing that thinks they can simply plug their keywords into their search bar, see where their company falls, and know their true site ranking.  Alas, that’s not how it works.  In fact, even if you turn off “personalized search” in a browser like Chrome—because you probably have signed up for some Google account at some time—Google knows that it is YOU and not me /Amy that is doing that search.   What you get and what I get will be different, even if we were sitting side by side in the same room but using our own computers. (Note: there are some techie ways to bypass this- but chances are 99.99%+ that your prospects do not know them so they are irrelevant.)
Good News! Personalised search algorithms can become ADVANTAGES and not obstacles!
The real key to understanding ‘personalised search’ is that the term is a misnomer. Actually, what the search engines are doing is finding the various ways that people tend to search and typing you or me or anyone as X kind of searcher. If you understand that this is at work, the good news is the same low cost, artificial intelligence tools for search engine optimisation that dynamically map your company’s unique competitive landscape can mathematically grade your web copy in terms of how well it is doing in transforming personalised search algorithms from obstacles to opportunities.

Good News! Publications moving online open new doors to get your company’s story told.

Although it varies from one continent to another, most publications are moving online and innovating new ways to turn online publishing into monetary opportunities. From the perspective of someone who has run a successful global public relations firm for decades, I can report that the opportunities this migration of publications from print to online offer are almost unlimited. Always one of the highest return-on-investment approaches in the marketer’s toolkit, global PR is for many companies the key to the link-building needed to make Internet marketing a success.

Amy Munice is president of ALM Communications Inc

ALM Communications Inc. · 1714 North Honore, Suite 3 · Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.