How to Dominate the Entire First Page of Google

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Your online reputation can impact virtually every aspect of your digital marketing program from the conversion rate on your pages to your click-through rate in paid search. Controlling the conversation around your brand is critical to upholding and improving reputation.

In the long-term, monitoring social activity and proactively combating sources of negative sentiment while engaging the positive is a core strategy.

While long term strategies are great, board members and C-suite executives aren’t known for their patience, especially when it comes to the online perception of their brand.

So what can savvy digital marketers do in the short term? Dominate the entire first page of Google for brand related search queries.

Dominating the first page of Google requires an understanding of the various data types Google displays and how to take advantage. Let’s look at how you can monopolize all brand real estate on the first page of Google.
Paid Search

While it seems obvious to buy your brand terms in paid search to acquire more real estate, many additional tactics exist to maximize this space. The following are ad extensions available in Google that increase the depth of your brand listing:

Location extensions
Call extensions
Offer extensions
Sitelinks extensions
Product extensions
Social extensions
Dynamic search ad extensions
App extensions

Keep in mind that you can combine multiple extensions to take up the majority of the premium ad space. Below are two big box home improvement retailers that are capitalizing on some of these extensions. Note how the Home Depot is utilizing sitelinks and how much additional real estate they gain. Also keep in mind that both retailers could be combining more extensions from the above list.

Home Depot Google SERP


Brands that have verified Google+ accounts can capture side rail real estate for brand terms by utilizing rel=”publisher”. This works similarly to authorship but is tied to Google+ pages as opposed to individual accounts. The result is a rather large piece of real estate that includes your follower count and a link with image to your latest post.

For more information on how to set up your publisher profile, check out this Google+ starter guide.

Google Images

Optimizing key images on your site such as your logos is another great way to take up potential search engine results page (SERP) real estate. Image search has the potential to drive more incremental visits than you might expect.

In order to optimize your logo for your brand term make sure to include your brand in the image file name, URL where the image is hosted, alt attribute, and title of the image.
YouTube & Other Video

In an effort for Google to continually promote their own properties, videos from YouTube are becoming more prevalent for a variety of different search queries, including brand terms.

Having branded YouTube videos is a great way to own your brand terms. In order to take advantage you need to have at least one video hosted on YouTube. Ideally you have a branded channel, however, this isn’t necessary.

In order to rank higher for your brand, make sure your brand is included in your YouTube username, the name of the video, and in the meta tags of the video. There are many more advanced tactics necessary to rank YouTube videos in Google SERPs, but for brand terms, the above should be enough.

If you want an extra boost, try to solicit comments and votes on you video. Embedding videos on other sites and Google+ 1’s for your video will also help.

Finally, if you have a branded YouTube channel, link to it from your site in the footer.
Google+ Local

Local presents another great opportunity to occupy additional brand real estate. Make sure you have a verified business listing and your feed is optimized.

If you have multiple locations, it’s important to have Google+ location pages link to the corresponding local landing page on your site. This will result in Google merging your SEO landing page and your Google+ local page in the SERPs.

Even if you don’t have multiple locations, you can still take up right rail real estate as seen below.

Google Shopping Ads – PLAs

Product listing ads hit the scene late in Q4 of last year, generating impressive results thus far due to low CPCs and competition.

PLAs are another great way to take up brand real estate for an ecommerce business that sells its own branded merchandise, for example. While this ad type rarely shows in the SERPs for brand terms today, it’s extremely likely that it will in the near future.

Regularly syndicating press releases can increase your brand real estate if universal news results are showing. While you can’t directly control if these listings display in the SERPs, having a press release calendar will put you in a position to take advantage if and when they do.
Organic Search

Last but not least is organic search. Obviously you are going to rank for your brand terms, so what can you do in addition?

For your brand domain, head over to Google Webmaster Tools and audit your current site links. While you can’t specify which organic site links will display, you can choose not to serve individual pages.

The most difficult part of owning your brand terms on the first page of Google is getting other domains outside of your official site to rank organically.

The following properties have the highest likelihood of showing up for brand terms: Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Make sure you have branded accounts and pages on all of these sites.

For the social properties, increased volumes of activity will increase your rankings. Linking from your main site to you social properties with followed links also greatly increases the visibility of these properties on the SERPs.

Finally, any links that you build to these properties will help tremendously. An easy way to accomplish this is through press releases. Add a link to one of your social accounts in the boiler plate of the release. You can also include links from your Wikipedia page to your social profiles.

Owning brand conversation in the digital landscape is critical to converting customers from all marketing channels. Dominating the first page of Google for your brand terms is the first of many steps to achieving this. In recent months, Google has made this task even easier, by reducing the number of organic results for brand terms to only 7.

Taking advantage of the above tactics will help you engage more customers, convert more customers, and build your online reputation.

top 10 SEO resolutions for your 2014 success!

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

1. Drink Less SEO Kool-Aid

In the SEO world, there’s a fire hose of information. It’s easy to drink the Kool-Aid of popular industry experts.

Although there are some folks who are worthy of quoting and following, I’d lay off the hard-liquor-high until you’ve actually tested “expert” recommendations and seen the results for yourself.

It’s easy to get intoxicated with the SEO practice du jour, but it’s sobering when you’re trying to justify a bad outcome to a client by saying, “but [enter SEO expert name here] said it worked for [enter big brand website name here].”
Eat Healthy SEO Fare2. Eat Healthy SEO Fare

The Internet is fueled by great content, and the healthiest of content is unique, valuable, authoritative, and share-worthy.

Google’s Matt Cutts said recently that 25-30 percent of the content on the web is duplicate. Although that might make you feel a little peckish for some long form articles, you need to focus on the best in healthy snacks; link-inspiring user-generated content, educating prose, expert opinion, multimedia munches and share-demanding content desserts.
Get a Better SEO Education3. Get a Better SEO Education

With great resources like Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Land, Moz, and Google themselves, there’s no reason not to better educate yourself as to the trends and updates in the SEO industry.

Set up an RSS feed of your favorite resources and spend the first 15 minutes of the day reviewing, interacting, asking questions, and learning a little more about the constantly evolving landscape of search, social, display and paid search.

The future is cross-channel attribution, and learning more about more is a sure way to stay on the cutting edge and in demand.
Get Your Site Fit Lose Excess Code Weight4. Get Your Site Fit, Lose Excess Code Weight

2014 is sure to (finally) be the year of mobile, right after the year of mobile that was 2013. And if your business relies on localized, mobilized, and focalized customers, then a mobile optimized site is a necessity!

To get your site fit, focused, slimmed down, and ready for a mobile push, get implementing responsive web design, a specialized mobile site, or app based experience. Whichever you chose (and Google recommends in most cases a well-engineered responsive site), make certain to trim excess code, optimize images, squeeze scripts, and lighten server loads to deliver the best (and fastest) mobile experience you can.
Manage SEO Stress5. Manage SEO Stress

As SEO professionals, I’m not sure we’re ever not stressed with Google updates, client requests, deadlines, and migrations where redirects were “overlooked” by tech teams, but that leads to the best stress management recommendations: stress testing every recommendation and implementation! Twice. At least.

SEO isn’t an exact science, but it is something that requires technical savvy, sophistication, and strategy to ensure alignment with search visibility goals.

The best way to manage technology stress is to test, test, and keep testing, everything from user site engagement, to site usability, to server stress tests, to guarantee an optimal onsite experience.

Managing stress is easy… you just have to plan to do everything perfect.
6. Give Up Bad Habits

Everyone has vices, easy “go-tos” when the going gets tough; the link schemes, overseas outsourced content, or short cuts for short-term gains. Now’s the time to resolve to “never puff again” by implementing long-term strategies via sustainable tactics to ensure online success.

Go cold turkey and you’ll find the world of fresh thinking (and fresh air) opens up, and you can return to the fundamentals of:

Understanding the customer’s journey.
Creating content that connects with individual intent.
Leveraging engagement to drive loyalty, visibility and discoverability.

Give up the bad habits, and adopt a fresher, longer-term outlook!
Reduce Reuse Recycle7. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The popular resolution to “reduce, reuse, and recycle” might very well be made for eco-friendly reasons, but applies equally well to your website content strategy.

Panda bought us thin content awareness, and recent messages in Google Webmaster Tools underscore the need to reduce or remove content that isn’t user-focused, user-useful or share-worthy.

As for reusing and recycling, for content that connects with core intent (and context), your focus should be on intelligent repurposing of content copy, content elements, content themes and content ideas, to create unique and aligned articles, rejiggered for different platforms, mediums, formats and audiences.

No piece of written content is an island. If you aren’t promoting worthy content in the most appropriate formats across your social channels, then 2014 may not be your year!
Save SEO Money8. Save SEO Money

Many folks look to the New Year as a time to be frugal, put some cash away for a rainy day, and generally be more careful where they spend.

The goal for SEO professionals isn’t to save money. Rather, it’s to leverage data, metrics that matter, and broad analytics to spend smarter and/or justify budgets and efforts.

Although the initial outcome may be more less money in the bank, investing in data-informed areas of opportunity will almost definitely pay off in the long term, through additional revenue, valuable insights and happier customers.
Take a Trip9. Take a Trip to an Industry Conference

I can’t put a value on the information, networking or camaraderie I’ve experienced through some of the great industry events I’ve attended (including SES conferences!) It’s one of the easiest ROIs in SEO to return from 2 or 3 days of intensive learning and impart the knowledge gained to work colleagues and your boss.

Taking a little trip doesn’t have to be expensive either. With conferences that offer East and West Coast venues (and everything in between), inexpensive airfares when you book in advance, and advanced conference ticket deals, you’ll find the value of taking a learning trip gives you the tips, knowledge, and tools to help both your site or your clients sites succeed.
Help Other SEO Folks10. Help Other SEO Folks

It’s simple. Give back!

For those starting out in search, you have a unique perspective and valuable insights in the questions you ask. For those seasoned folks, it’s important to realize that your experience has value to the industry as a whole.

Some of the best information I’ve learned has been from both these groups, beginners asking hard questions, and SEO pros sharing a trick I hadn’t thought of. In a season of giving, write a blog post, conduct a webinar, share some survey results, or take an SEO newbie under your wing to share the wealth of knowledge!

Link Building; Competitor Analysis

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Link building is something anyone can accomplish. There’s no great secret, just hard work, creativity, and determination to get links that matter.

When you’re looking for some practical link building opportunities that will help you find and acquire quick, yet quality, links, there are five “quick wins” you should explore at the beginning of a link building campaign:

404 Pages and Link Reclamation
Competitor Analysis
Fresh Web Explorer/Google Alerts
Local Link Building
Past/Current Relationships

Competitor Analysis/Backlink Profile

Competitor analysis is an integral step in any link building campaign. Why? Because running a backlink analysis on a competitor:

Teaches you about the industry:
Gives you a sense of which sites within the vertical are providing links
Helps you understand your competitors, including:
Their link profile, and why they’re ranking
Their strategies used to acquire links
Their resources that didn’t acquire many links

Gives you a list of obtainable links (if they can, why not you?)

Competitor backlink analysis is great – you get the initial research into the industry done, it helps you understand the competition, and it gives you a tidy list of high opportunity links.

So, let’s dive into the how of competitor backlink analysis:

Make a list of competitors
Industry influencers
Those ranking for industry money keywords
Watch fluctuations – who’s winning and who’s losing
Take those competitors and run their sites’ through a backlink tool previously mentioned (OSE, Majestic, Ahrefs, CognitiveSEO, etc.)
Backlink Analysis
Download the top 3-4 competitors’ backlinks into CSVs. Combine into a single Excel sheet, removing duplicates, and find obtainable quality links already secured by competitors.

Step 2 and 3 were previously covered in “Link Building 101: How to Conduct a Backlink Analysis”, and step 1 is pretty self-explanatory.

To recap the advice for these steps:

Don’t phone-in the list of competitors. Spend time doing research and investigation, giving yourself a well thought out and understood list of potential competitors.
Information you should be examining in a backlink analysis:
Total number of links
Number of unique linking domains
Anchor Text usage and variance
Fresh/incoming links
Recently lost links
Page Performance (via top pages)
Link quality (via manual examination)
Additionally, think creatively while looking through competitors’ backlinks. Think about:
Which resources/pages performed well
Which resources/pages performed poorly
Commonalities in competitor’s link profiles
Differences in competitor’s link profiles
Strategies likely used to acquire links

How to Find Obtainable Quality Links

So, that takes us to Step 4: downloading competitors links into CSVs, combining in Excel, and drilling down into the data to find worthwhile links and insights.

Honestly, SEER has done an amazing job of writing a very easy to follow guide for Competitor Backlink Analysis in Excel.

To summarize their steps, you:

Download CSVs of competitor’s backlink portfolios (‘Inbound Links’ will give you a list of all the pages linking, ‘Linking Domains’ will give you only the domains).
Note: if you’re unfamiliar with your own (or client’s) backlink portfolio, you may wish to include their backlink portfolio in this process for reference.
Using OSE don’t forget to filter to the whole domain:

Pages on this root domain export to CSV

Open the CSVs and combine (copy and paste) all the data into a single Excel sheet.
Filter down to clean URLs, keeping the originals intact.
Move Column J (target URL) to Column P (to be the last column)

Move Column

Delete Column J (the now empty column)

Delete Empty Column

Duplicate the URL and Target URL columns on either side

Duplicate URL Target URL columns

Remove http:// and www. from both column A and column P – select the column, click control+H (find and replace shortcut), type in what you want to find (http:// and www.) and replace them with nothing (by leaving the second line blank).

Remove http and www

You might want to rename column A and P at this point – call them bare URL and bare target URL, or whatever you so desire (in the SEER article they were called ‘clean’).

Remove duplicates

Remove Duplicates

Make sure it’s only for column A (bare URL) and P (bare target URL)

Remove Duplicates URL

Notice the check mark on “My data has headers”. This is important to keep your data from being jumbled up. Anytime you’re removing duplicates make sure this box is checked.

This will give you a complete list of stripped URLs next to the full URL linking (along with the rest of the important information provided by OSE) and a list of full target URLs next to a complete list of stripped target URLs.

Note: you’ll still likely have a lot of duplicate URLs in column A (the linking URLs) at this point. This is because there’s multiple links on the same page going to different landing pages – which is potentially important information (shows a competitor acquired multiple links per page).

If you’d like to delete these multiple link pages/URLs to reduce data noise, highlight column A, and run ‘Delete Duplicates’ again – making sure to have the ‘My data has headers’ box is checked:

Remove Duplicates Bare URLs

Now, you’ll be down to unique URLs (pages, not domains if you’ve used Inbound Links) linking to competitors. If you’re looking for only referring domains, you should start back at step 1 and download a CSV of referring domains, as opposed to all links.

At this point, you’re still dealing with a lot of data, so you’ll want to filter it further. I recommend filtering by domain authority to see the most authoritative links first.

Filter Domain Authority

This will make your list ordered from highest domain authority to lowest – pretty useful information. Keep in mind however that the domain authority is thrown off by any subdomains hosted on a popular site –,, etc.

So, don’t take the domain authority as absolute – you’ll need to verify.

There’s also a few other filters you can use to find interesting data:

Page Authority (PA)
Anchor Text
Number of domains linking (shows best ranking pages – don’t get stuck on home pages)

Take time and play around with the data. Look through the top DA’s (manually excluding anything artificially inflated), then PA’s, check out top performing pages via number of domains linking, and even play around with filtering the anchor text.

This should be the fun part – the analysis. You’ve filtered the data down to a semi-digestible level, and should start taking advantage to find insights and understand your competitor’s links.

Remember, any links your competitor has should be considered fair game for yourself. Once you’ve determined quality links from domains you haven’t secured, look into the link and pursue it appropriately.
More Insights

If you’re looking for an even better (and more advanced) deep data insights you can move all this information into pivot tables. Simply select all rows, click over to the insert tab, and select ‘Pivot Table’:

Insert Pivot Table

Once here you have the option to choose which fields you’d like to further examine:

Pivot Table Fields to Add

Playing with this data should reveal potential insights, although we’re getting a bit beyond Link Building 101.

Furthermore, if you want to really dive into pivot tables (or excel in general), I can’t recommend Annie Cushing enough. Check out her Moz article “How to Carve Out Marketing Strategies by Mining Your Competitors’ Backlinks”.

How Does Website Loading Speed Affect Google Ranking?

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

If you need more battery life from your iPhone then there are a number of battery cases available for Apple’s latest devices, which serve to provide a boost when you’re running low.
I ordered the optimus at Optimus and it was well worth the money.

I bought a waterproof iPhone case on this website waterproof iPhone case and love it.
We found the iPhone 5s waterproof case from iPhone 5s waterproof case and bought two of them.
We ordered the iPhone 5 battery case from

Another Google Algo Flaw

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Looks like G admits that bad links hurt websites. And if a webmaster isn’t signed up for Google’s tools and watching them all the time then their rankings can drop big time without them knowing why. Looks like Google is broadcasting the instructions on how to waste a competitor’s time. Or, more importantly, a way that Google is wasting our time due to flaws in their algo. See Video