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Get Ranking Juice for Your Business from the “News”

The Hearst Corporation’s San Francisco Chronicle has found a way to make money from its news service web site which I’m recommending to my clients. Here’s the program and why I like it.

First, let’s remember how Google looks at the universe of Internet sites .  Google knows that the Chronicle has developed one of the most popular news websites, SFGate.com.  Because that site is very popular and contains a lot of quickly updated news, Google crawls the site frequently and considers it an authority.

An authoritative site’s pages generally are put above those of non-authoritative sites in search results.  So, the pages of domain sfgate.com are likely to show up high on Google result pages. Google will check sfgate.com pages frequently because the contain changing news. Finally, links from an authoritative site to your web pages result in your pages showing up higher in Google search results. After all, Google figures, an authoritative site thinks your web pages are valuable.

Now, the Chron has created way for businesses to appear on sfgate.com. They’ve created a sub domain, local.sfgate.com.  The homepage there is a directory of businesses, and you’re able to buy a page for your business in the directory.

SF Gates's Business Directory

SF Gate's Business Directory

I doubt that many people will search this directory to find their accountant,  lawyer, or care repair service. Maybe some people will interrupt their reading of news to click on tiny link at the bottom of the front page of SF Gate that says : “Advertising services…. Local Business Directory”. But, not many.  And, that’s the only way I see to get at this directory.

That’s the problem with directories (online Yellowpages and their ilk): no human uses them.

Google Listing for a Local SF Gate Page

Google Listing for a Local SF Gate Page

In the case of SF Gate, though, I don’t care.  Google reads the SF Gate directory and loves the pages in it.  Each business gets its own page in the sub domain local.sfgate.com with search engine optimized text and other unique content, and Google eats it up.  Google is placing pages in SF Gate’s local business directory at the top of web sites in search results.

The example search SF Gate’s sales staff is telling people to run is “San Francisco auto smog”.  One of their pages shows up in Google’s results right after the map pages.  Pretty good.

In addition to showing up in Google results, each business’ page has a link to the company’s own web site. This means Google is being told by an authoritative site that there’s something important going on on that web site.  This vouching will help the main web site’s pages to rank more highly in search results.

But, wait!  There’s more!

One package of services which the Hearst folks are selling includes the writing and distributing of of press releases for your business via PRWeb.  That’s another news source read by Google, and properly written press releases are both search engine optimized AND have links back to pages in your main site.  Both good things in helping your main web site gain visitors.

I am recommend a trial of the Hearst Corporation’s services to my clients.

Of course we’ll need to watch the ROI and we’ll also need to watch for material changes in the program.  Google could decide suddenly to treat the “local.sfgate.com” sub domain as worthless instead of treating it as part of the valuable news site.  Too many businesses could crowd into a directory category making the too much competition for attention. Or, the Hearst folks may prove impossible to deal with.

We’ll see…  I’ll report more in a couple months after a client goes live.

By |2010-11-22T08:27:52+00:00November 22nd, 2010|Google|0 Comments

How Many Number 1 Pages Do You Have in Google?

A friend said he was recommending me to one of his contacts for Search Engine Optimization. The contact asked, “How many #1 positions does Ozdachs get in Google?”

I was stumped. I produce reports for clients saying where they show up in various search engines for different phrases. But, I have never thought to aggregate the #1 positions for all clients and come up with a number of #1’s for bragging.

Frankly, I don’t think the gross number of top positions is a good metric. I work with my clients to track:

  • Referral sources for prospects who contact them.
  • Hits to their web site, including the search phrases used by the visitors.
  • Search engine result positions for selected phrases in the major search engines.

Tracking the number of #1 positions in Google for a site may be a good marker for success. Or, it that number could be a useless statistic that can be gamed by a Search Engine Optimization company.

I can get almost anyone the #1 position in Google results for a lot of commercially meaningless searches. The easiest example is your company’s name. Your web site is probably already #1 in Google for your business’ name. Search Google for “Ozdachs Consulting” and my site comes back on the top of the list… and I have not done SEO on my own site. My client “Sterck Kulik O’Neill accounting group” shows us #1 when you search for “Sterck Kulik O’Neill”.

These #1 positions aren’t important. If someone knows your business’ name and searches for it, they are already your clients or at least know about you and are considering buying from you.

Search Engine Optimization is most valuable when marketing your site to people who are looking for what you sell but don’t know that your business exists. Those are the prospects who find you when they search Google for terms such as “San Francisco CPA”. Sterck Kulik O’Neill comes up #1 in Google for this search, and that’s a #1 that means business!

How many of those type of #1’s do I have? Not that many. The reason is simple. It takes time and money to earn number one rankings for terms.

For instance, you can optimize each web page for only one search phrase. So, if you want to score well for several phrases, you need to have separate pages tuned for each phrase. “San Francisco CPA” is not the same as “San Francisco accountant”. To have both phrases show up #1 in Google, you will have one page tuned for each phrase and unique content for each page. Then you have to find authoritative sites to point to each of these keyword pages so that Google knows to take each and every one of them seriously.

Most of my clients decide that it’s cost effective to try for one or two top rankings in Google. We identify the most important money-making phrase and tune the home page for it. Tuning more pages for other phrases isn’t too much work, but to get them to rise to the top of the search results requires promoting them and having other sites link to them. To do it right, we really should set up separate web sites — or at least unique sub-domains — for each money term.

I’m up for the task, if my clients want me to spend the time. But, in my space most clients are very happy with having one page show up near the top of Google. When other tuned pages in the site show up reasonably well, they’re ecstatic.

So, how many number 1 pages do my clients have in Google? Enough to keep them happy with my services!

By |2010-04-07T16:56:03+00:00April 7th, 2010|Google, Search Engine Optimization|0 Comments