Category Archives: Blog


Negative SEO Without Warning | What To Look For & Why

The end of 2013 is near and negative SEO is on the rise. Yes, I said negative SEO and I’m not happy like the rest who work their butts off to make progress in search for their clients websites. It’s no surprise that others can negatively impact someone else’s hard work when it comes to building up a websites rank nowadays.

Black hat negative seo issueBack in the day their was a lot of talk about negative seo and nobody truly believed it until now. This year a lot of people said that SEO was dead, well think again. Over the past few months I’ve seen numerous of reports about sites getting hit by Google for reasons like, excessive low quality backlinks, large amounts of exact match anchor text links, geo targeted anchor text links, large amounts of backlinks from multiple irrelevant directories/sites and much much more. If you’re not familiar with anything that I’ve just mentioned, I’ll do my best to explain each so you’ll know what to look for if your site has been affected or loses rank overnight.

Starting with the first item that can negatively impact your websites rank and possibly have a manual filter applied to it by Google is excessive low quality backlinks. Large amounts of low quality backlinks is a flag raiser when it comes to their algorithm. Google is very smart but dumb when it comes to dealing with this situation.Bat to the face, negative SEO

Let’s say you’ve had your site for awhile now, you’ve been doing everything by the book and every external link pointing to your site has been created naturally. Then all of a sudden you see a huge increase in backlinks within your websites link profile and next thing you know it, your site has stopped ranking as well as it used to. Grrrr… That’s the sound that us SEO’s make when crap like this happens. So how did this happen, why wasn’t I informed, and why has Google applied a filter to my site? This is why I say Google is smart but dumb at the same time. Google is smart enough to pick these things up but their not smart enough to detect who’s in the wrong, so they automatically assume it’s your fault  and punish you for it. Not cool right? Google is not handling this issue fairly for the ones that do things the right way and would never attempt to manipulate their algorithm. It’s disturbing to know that Google is not reviewing these foul actions against site owners or confronting them before applying any manual filters. This is a good reason as to why they call it negative SEO. Shame on the people doing this to others and shame on Google for letting this happen to our trusted websites.

Now I was going to touch on the other items I had mentioned earlier, but I figured what’s the point? All items fall under the same category and cause the same damage to each website. Actually on second thought, I’ll go over anchor text links. When low quality links are applied to exact match anchor text, these can and will hurt individual pages within your site and affect your overall ranking for specific keywords or phrases. Excessive overly optimized anchor text links are bad all the way around. Back in the day they worked well but today they work against you, so don’t do it. Lately there’s been a lot of talk about businesses attempting to sabotage their competitors with this tactic to gain leverage in search and to push their competitors down or completely out of the query space they once ranked in. Grrrr all over again. Its not surprising that this happens and if your site has been affected by it, get ready to work your butt off to fix it. I’d love to talk about ways to correct and fix websites that have been hit by negative SEO but that’s too much for one article. Maybe in my next post I’ll revisit this topic and touch base on link removal, disavowing links, reconsideration request, etc. There’s plenty of resources online that have a full breakdown on how to bring a website back to life. 

Closing words
Pay attention to your site, monitor your link profile, act fast when things look off in your analytic’s, and do not wait to the last minute to fix things.  That’s all, leave your comments below.


SEO High Quality Content vs Low Quality Content | SEO Help

Over the years and the endless change with Googles algorithm and other search engines, site owners struggle to find the answers about high quality content vs low quality content. Some just struggle about writing content in general.  Due to the hype and recent changes a lot gurus in the SEO industry tend to steer people in the wrong direction. As an SEO myself, I see numerous of other SEO’s online spinning up their thoughts, theories, tests and whatever else they can come up with to feed people bad info. Nowadays it’s wise to do your own research and not give all of your attention to what others may say or do when it comes search engine optimization. I only say this because they’re just like you and me, we’re all human and we all make mistakes and learn from them. Just because Joe Shmo the SEO says what works, doesn’t mean you should do it.  You should be doing things your way and the best way you know how. Some info shared online might be correct at times, but you should really depend on your own efforts and knowledge to become better and more successful.  So how does this relate to the topic of this post? Keep reading.

As SEO’s we all know that content is king, but I don’t think that’s entirely true in order to have a successful website. A lot of site owners struggle to develop lots of unique content, not everyone has the time nor do they have the resources. Look at our blog and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Now although our blog is small, it works. I take the time to write unique content and honestly, I don’t really like to write. Strange isn’t it? Not so much. There are tons of people just like me that have a hard time but what they do not realize is the effect it has on ones website. I strongly believe that you do not need to write long articles of 1200 words or more just to gain traction in search, especially when it comes to a local business. I could sit here and write for another hour but I won’t because this mid level article “will” get the job done. If you’ve read this far you’ll see that it has worked.

High quality content is great and if you can deliver it, more power to you. Now if you’re serving up low quality content under 600 words, you’re most likely just wasting your time. I think most would agree that a few high quality articles will definitely have a bigger impact on your website than a handful of low quality articles. Overall when you write, make sure that you’re writing for the readers and not search engines. I had the hardest time breaking this habit but as you can see I’ve learned from it. Recently I wrote a small article about “Page One Defense“, it was useful, short, and very simple. I didn’t spend hours writing and I didn’t burn out the topic because I wanted to have room to revisit the article or add to it later in a separate post. Again, I hate writing and I rarely have the time to do it. Either way the content that I write adds value to our website and that’s what’s important. Not all articles will be shared; not all articles will be useful; not all articles will get top rank; but by writing good content you’re able to develop trust with your readers and build up your site by adding more value. My advice: Do things naturally, be yourself when writing for your readers, and focus on adding more value to your website/brand. The rest will follow.

Thanks for reading my personal thoughts about high quality content vs low quality content. Feel free to voice your thoughts and opinions below in a comment.


Defending Your Brand In Search – Page One Defense

How important is your brand? Do you worry about competitors chiming in on your organic traffic? Do you ever worry that a bad review might impact your sales or stop you from generating new leads? These are all valuable questions that every business owner should have and worry about in today’s digital marketing. Keeping your brand or name in the top of search results is important as well as protecting it too. Now the big question is, how do you protect your brand or name in search? You protect it by page one defense.

More about page one defense and what you should know.

Page one defense is nothing new but most business owners are either uneducated or unaware of it and how it works. To easily define page one defense, it basically means to build a wall on page one in search engines. In almost every search engine, search result pages usually max out at ten organic results per query. If it’s a branded query then most likely it’s always ten with your brand being at the top. If your brand isn’t in the number one position for your exact match query, you have a problem and should contact us or your web manager immediately. All brands or businesses should show in the top of search for exact match query spaces.

Developing your strategy for page one and how to push down your competitors in search.

Now that you’ve been educated a little about page one and where your name should be, let’s talk about defending it. To properly defend your brand in search, you’ll want to do some research and develop a strategy. The first thing you should do is research your brand name and its query space. Look to see where you stand vs competing websites, other competitors, etc. Check to see how many spots you currently have listed on page one for the given search to get an idea for what’s needed next. Be sure to take notes and write down all competing results that are visible in your query space. When you have finished doing the following research, make a list of the current local websites, directories, and social networks that you currently have accounts with. Separate the most popular sites you have accounts with to determine what accounts you do not have. This is important.

Put your page one defense strategy to work and start building your wall in SERPs.

Now that you have a list created for all of the most popular sites you have accounts with, check your brand query to see which of them show up. This will help you to develop your page one defense strategy and improve your marketing efforts for the future. After all of the above has been achieved you should be able to get an idea of what’s needed to push down your competitors. In most cases, local businesses should already have the following accounts/listings setup on the following list of websites below. This list consist of some of the most popular and strongest of resources to help strengthen your brand or business name organically for page one defense. Some of the following websites may not apply, but you get the idea.

  • Yelp
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+ Local (was Google Places)
  • Any Reputable Local Directory (like news channel websites, etc.)
  • Pinterest (does not apply to all businesses)
  • Blogger (“possibly” favored by Google and best used if your current site does not have an existing blog integrated)

If you have read this far, you should have a good understanding of where we’re going. If your business or brand is not listed on any of the following websites that apply to you, do it now. Just make sure that whichever websites you choose to list on, be smart and only list yourself on the sources that are relevant and make sense to be on.


Protect your brand and take control of your query space. Leave your comments and questions below the following example of good page one defense.

Trusted Heart photography   Google Search


WordPress Front-End SEO Plugin – Titles, Meta Descriptions & H1’s

After weeks of researching available WP plugins catering to SEO, I found that no such plugin existed in the community and so I decided to develop one myself. Between all of the highest in quality SEO plugins for WordPress, none of them seem to have any user friendly front-end editing options and all share similar features. When it comes to adjusting a WordPress websites SEO it can be a time consuming process because you have to visit each page or post on the back-end of WP in order to make your edits. As web developers we appreciate tools that enable us to work faster, smarter and not harder. With that in mind, I created the first ever stand-alone front end, Ajax driven, SEO editing plugin for WordPress websites.

With my new 2013 SEO front end WordPress plugin, you have the ability to edit post and page meta information when directly viewing the page. This saves you half the amount of time it takes to edit your sites SEO if you compare it to your natural habits of optimizing in WordPress.

WordPress Front-End SEO Plugin

Now let’s dive into how it works.
After installing and activating the plugin you will notice a green tab that will appear across the front-end of the site labeled “SEO”. When clicking on the new tab a popup form will appear, showing you your current meta title, meta description and main page or post H1 title. Currently this plugin is defaulted to work directly with the Yoast SEO plugin but don’t worry it can work with any other WordPress SEO plugin that is supported by meta keys. If you already have Yoast SEO installed you’re ready to go out of the box and may begin editing your SEO instantly. If you’re not using the Yoast plugin, open up the plugin file and change the current Yoast post meta keys to match your current SEO plugin meta keys. That’s all!

Download The Newest Version – 2.1
*Some themes and plugins may have conflicts.

Change log 3/28/13 1:30am v2.0:
*Fresh new look
*Freshened up Ajax and Jquery
*Compressed CSS and removed inset borders
*Now in a mobile friendly and responsive design (Edit your meta on the go, woohoo!)
*Added live character count for meta title and description.
Meta Title: 76
Meta Description: 145


Download the plugin and test it out!

If I’ve made your optimizing life easier,  leave your comments. 


Jetpacks MiniLeven – Use It, Customize It & Be Transparent

Reaching your customers and visitors on mobile is a must these days and I’m going to show you how you can easily take advantage on your WordPress site using the Jetpack Mobile Theme called “MiniLeven”. In this overview, I will be going over some simple how-to’s, how to customize the MiniLeven theme and go over why it’s important to be transparent between desktop and mobile devices. Now let’s get mobile.

How-To Activate & Install Jetpack MiniLeven Mobile Theme

Activating the MiniLeven theme is quite easy, all you have to do is install Jetpack, enable it, and then click activate on the mobile theme option as seen below. Don’t worry too much if your visitors happen to see the default design when active because I’m going to show you how to fix that in a matter of minutes. After you have activated the mobile theme pack you’ll want to check things over from your mobile device and make sure that everything is being displayed properly. When I say properly, I mean check to see that the correct menu items are showing, posts, pages etc. If you have a custom theme installed Jetpack mobile might not work to your advantage, a simple click on deactivate will fix that and put your site right back to normal.

MiniLeven Jetpack Theme

After you have done all of the above and everything looks kosher, let’s start digging into improving the current setup and go over the basic items that are integrated out of the box.

How To Improve The Jetpack MiniLeven Theme

Improving this theme is quite simple and there’s only few items that you may want to consider adding to it. Out of the box, MiniLeven offers a clean crisp look and has all the standard features that we’re all accustomed to using that WordPress has to offer. Remember if you’re using a custom theme MiniLeven will not support items like custom sidebars, custom post template etc. Knowing that this theme might not give you everything you want, it does make your site more user friendly and will help improve the transparency and quality of your site.

One of the first things you will notice that needs improvement is the use of custom menus. This theme currently does not support custom menus but there are ways to fix this and one of them is by using the “Exclude Pages” plugin. The Exclude Pages plugin will allow you to remove any pages from the default page list that WordPress uses to create menu items based on the order of your pages. If you’re currently using custom menus for your desktop version this plugin will not effect it and will not remove any menu items that you have already created. Now I know I just mentioned installing a plugin and if you read my last post about Speeding Up WordPress For Better SEO then you already know that I do not recommend installing a lot of plugins. After you have tackled this small improvement you should look things over once again from your mobile device(iPhone, iPad, Android etc.) just to make sure that your menu items are exactly the way you want them and that you’ve got a good handle on how to setup your menu for mobile.

As you can tell, I only went over one thing on how to improve this theme and do you know why? The answer is “Simplicity”. You do not need to get carried away and stuff every addon or feature known to man on the mobile version of a website. Think about your readers. Do you think your mobile readers/visitors want to see a lot of unnecessary content or ads, most likely not. With a smaller screen, it’s wise to take in consideration of what’s really needed on mobile and what’s not. Save your custom goodies for the desktop and serve your pop up ads and social widgets there. To me, mobile sites are even more for the reader than desktop and they should be easy to read and easy to follow. Another thing to consider is speed and factoring in mobile SEO.

Customizing The MiniLeven Theme & Mobile SEO

Customizing the MiniLeven is just as easy as modifying a basic WordPress template. You do not need to be pro in order to make changes, you just need to know the basics in CSS and HTML for most of it. If you want to add custom features like a different comment tool or social integration, this will require some knowledge of the WP codex and minor php.  Now let’s start diving in and customizing your MiniLeven theme to match your desktop site.

Changing The Colors To Match Your Branded Site

  1.  Download and open the following file located here: /wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/minileven/theme/pub/minileven/style.css

The first thing you’ll want to do is change the navigation, highlights, border colors etc. to match your current desktop theme. All color changes will be done using CSS only in the style.css file.


Below are some of the basic and common styles that you’ll want to change first to help get you started with styling your mobile theme. All you have to do here is change the color hex to match your desktop theme.

.page-title{color: #666}
.menu-search{background: #222}
.search-form #s{background: #222; border: 1px solid #00587f }
#access ul.nav-menu{background: #fff}
.main-small-navigation .menu{background: #f9f9f9; border: 1px solid #e9e9e9}
#access ul li{border-bottom: 1px solid rgba( 0, 0, 0, 0.1 )}

Pretty simple right? If you’re happy with the way things look after making these changes you’re ready to move on to the custom stuff. Before I dive in and teach you how to implement custom features and addons, backup the entire MiniLeven theme that you have just made changes too and save a copy to your desktop. Always play it safe and keep a copy of your work just in-case you need to revert back to your most recent major changes.



Over Thinking SEO – Your Company Or Brand Name In The Title?

SEO has become quite the topic lately thanks to change. Over the past few months questions about SEO have become more and more popular because people are either eager to learn or want to make sure that they’re approaching things correctly and doing them safely. It’s understandable that everyone wants to do right by Google and produce great results at the same time but there’s one small issue. It’s called over thinking. There’s not one day that goes by that I’ll see someone ask a question all because of over thinking. Now don’t get me wrong some questions may not be that way especially for beginners in SEO. Just yesterday I came across a question that is almost a perfect example of over thinking.  Before I discuss anything, I’d like for anyone reading this post to know that these are merely opinions and other SEO may see things differently.

Over thinking search engine optimization

Now let’s get to the question shall we?

As I mentioned earlier, I came across a simple question and provided a simple answer.
This tends to happen quite a bit unless the question is coming from one SEO to another.

The person asked… What’s the latest on the old Include Company Name in All Page Titles vs. Don’t question? Where do you stand? 

Now I said this was almost the perfect question, but let’s go ahead and break it down. The person wants to know about including your business name in a website title and wants to hear reasons about why you do it or don’t. Now I would considered this to be over thinking because the person seemed to already know the answer to their own question and wanted more clarification. We’re all human, right? Had this of been a little more in depth or a more sophisticated question, I would have looked past this as over thinking.

Now the answer to this question was…easy.  In regards to digital marketing, including a company or brand name in the title is ok but when is it really needed? That would have been a better question. Including company or brand names in the title doesn’t really impact search if the name already exist in the domain or url. To me the title is valuable real estate in search engine optimization and I don’t think adding your name to the title is beneficial if it already exist in the url. Now sometimes it’s ok to include the name if you’re not worried about ranking specific pages throughout your website. These types of pages could be dynamic, landing pages, testimonial pages, 3rd party frame-ins,  etc., pretty much all of your pages that aren’t getting attention. I don’t think it’s wise to waste the opportunity to optimize a title for SEO. You may feel that it’s easier or useful to find your pages in search, but that’s one less keyword or phrase you could have scored in SERPs. You may agree or disagree and either way, I’m only here to help people learn from my own experience and to give opinions on the topic.

When do you think the company or brand name should be included in the title and why?
Leave your comments and answers below, I enjoy hearing what others(SEO’s) have to say.