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Hiring an In-house SEO: Is It a Good Idea?

Hiring an In-house SEO: Is It a Good Idea?Decisions relating to employing people are pretty challenging. Hiring decisions are particularly tough when SEOs are in question. You need to come to a concrete decision regarding whether to hire a specialized agency or opt for employing an in-house SEO. Both have their own distinctive advantages and pitfalls. You need to make a smart decision that fulfills your requirements and helps you to attain your business goals and objectives. However, we would be discussing why hiring an in-house SEO may not be a wise option.

Your Site May Not Be Requiring a Full-Time SEO
If you have a website that comprises only a few pages, you do not actually require the services of a full-time SEO. This does not imply that SEO is not that critical to your website. SEO is very much important, but it would be less time-consuming to optimize and maintain optimization of a relatively smaller website. However, huge websites that consist of thousands of pages would need numerous in-house SEOs as well as some agency assistance.

A Full-time In-House SEO Could be Pretty Expensive
As per some reputed sites the average salary for full-time SEO professional is about $76,000. Additionally you need to spend on taxes, healthcare and training to keep him/her abreast with the latest technology. However, cost is just a factor in the decision-making process. You must more importantly consider the results. From results point of view, an agency comes up with better outcomes, even though you end up paying lower or at best, equal fees. Just keep in mind that cost is only one among many other important considerations. Join a reputed SEO training academy to gain adequate knowledge for making robust SEO decisions.

The In-House SEO May Be Lacking in Skill set
SEO specialists need to be multi-faceted. SEO today entails a wide range of activities. It is almost impossible for any SEO professional to possess all the requisite skills for taking a comprehensive approach toward a particular business’s search marketing strategies. An agency would be providing you comprehensive services as a broader skill set could be utilized and accessed.

There are basically three broad categories of SEO skills:
Onsite SEO: The on-site SEO is highly skilled in handling content that gives a tremendous boost to rankings. They are in total control of the back-end relating to content optimization from optimization of title tags to effectively tracking down 404s. Additionally they are incredibly proficient in keyword mapping and keyword research.
Technical SEO: This sort of SEO specialists are extremely tech-savvy and are capable of optimizing even the most cutting-edge features or attributes of site speed, fine-tuning your SSL and optimizing code-to-text ratios.
Link SEO: it is an acknowledged fact that backlinks play a pivotal role as far as search rankings are concerned. This SEO expert is regarded as a link-genie. He is the one assisting sites in escaping link penalties, building strong backlinks and a wonderfully optimized link profile.

The fact is, it is in very rare cases you would find an individual SEO, who is competent in fulfilling all the above three roles. An agency generally hires enough SEOs for ensuring all three categories are fully covered.

May Not Be Competent Enough to Come Up with Effective Search Strategy
A full-time SEO may not be adequately equipped to create a truly comprehensive SEO stratagem. An agency on the contrary is capable of resetting and defining search strategy of any business.

Strategy is vital to organic search. The strategy has to be really flexible as search trends are constantly undergoing changes. While making the hiring decision, you must keep in mind factors such as strategy, flexibility and continuity.

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Fernandina City and the Port are Working Together

Fernandina City and the Port are Working TogetherAccording to the Fernandina Observer, the Fernandina Beach City Commission entertained the Ocean Highway and Port Authority in a working session which parties agreed was the first of its kind.

The Port’s Commercial Director, Val Schwec, indicated that 2011 was the best year yet for the port. The value of goods flowing through the port is about $400M, and 99% of the tonnage is export cargo.

Of Florida’s 15 deep-water ports, Fernandina ranks 8th.

Also…

The Fernandina Observer has been well received with many positive responses hitting their “in-box”! Susan and Doug are excited about the growth of their subscriber base.

“The positive responses to this Journal of News and Opinion are very gratifying.”

Read the complete story on FernandinaObserver.com.

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Seven Simple Tips to Improve Your Website’s SEO

Google Keyword Tool; searchamelia.com

Understanding what people search for most is the trick to keyword selection

It seems that Search engine optimization is on many business people’s mind, yet most business owners with websites do not have a clue and mistake it for a social media presence. They think a Like or Business page on Facebook is SEO or at least part of it. It has absolutely nothing to do with Searchengine optimization. In this new and exciting cyber world, if you know what you’re doing, SEO can change the way you do business. If you don’t, however, what you don’t know could hurt you, or worse, put you out of business.

By now, most people realize that the Internet is a very important part of business, any business. If your customers move on the Internet, you need to be there. Period. An Internet presence is vital if you want to make it in today’s world, and consequently search engine optimization is something that just about everyone with a website needs to know something about. If you run a business, it’s important that you understand how your website or blog is to be optimized.

Search engine optimization isn’t just about adding keywords to your website content and blog posts; there’s quite a bit more to it, in fact. If you really want to be successful and reach the front page of the search rankings for your essential keywords and phrases, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Research is Key

Most business owners are aware that they need to have keywords, but they don’t know just how to find the best ones. Since the entire SEO campaign depends on selecting the right keywords, this is a very important step and one that cannot be taken lightly. Don’t just guess at your keywords, take the time to research them thoroughly.
You can use the Google Keyword Tool to help find good keywords with plenty of searches. Simply type your keyword into the search box and let Google give you suggestions. You want something that will bring in plenty of searches each month. Try using several keywords with lower searches if you can’t find one with less competition. Then click to Google and search for the keyword phrase with quotation marks on either end to see just how many other websites are optimized for the exact same phrase. You want lots of searches and very few competitors.

2. Less is More

At first glance, it might seem like the more often you use the keywords in your content, the better. However, thanks to scammers who used a technique called “keyword stuffing,” that’s not a good idea. You can actually end up penalized for using too many keywords in one piece of content.
The key here is to be natural. Don’t stuff the page full of specific words; instead let the information flow freely and insert the keyword phrases wherever they actually fit. This will result in much better content that search engines will love.

3. Label Your Photos

Photos really add a lot to a blog post, but they can’t help your SEO unless you make full use of titles and ALT tags. Using your keywords in these areas will give your page a nice boost. It doesn’t hurt to name your photo something SEO friendly either. Instead of labeling it DSC234.jpg, go with something like Florida-beaches.jpg.

4. Drop the Flash and Java

Flash might make for a funky website, but it is useless when it comes to search engines. HTML is far cleaner and readable for search engines, so the worst thing you can do is have a Javascript or Flash intro page to your site. Google and the other search engine spiders won’t be able to register the site easily nor read the content embedded in the fancy Flash.

5. Add Regular Content

This is one area that is more important now than every before. Good content has always done well with the search engines, but since Google changed the rules in early 2011, it’s even more important. Regularly updated pages with quality content are treated very well by the search engines, so it makes sense that blogs, rather than fixed sites with static content, are doing very well these days.
While your content should contain keywords, keep in mind that the most important thing is to offer quality information. It should be written more for human eyes than for search engine spiders.

6. Try Deep Linking

Getting links from other websites is vital in boosting search engine rankings, but what many people don’t know is that deep linking is also very important. Deep linking means linking to other pages within the same website. For example, Searchamelia is a site on news and entertainment info and an article like this one links naturally to a story I did on choosing the right keywords back in June of 2011.
This type of linking should be done on a regular basis and goes hand in hand with providing regular content. Whenever you write a blog post, check back to see if there’s anything relevant to link it to.

7. Too Many Backlinks is a Bad Thing

If you’re online, you’ve heard of back-linking. This is the practice of getting links from other websites. When you use the right anchor text, this can be very helpful in boosting your search engine rankings. However, it is not something you want to overdo.
Getting regular links from various locations looks a lot more natural than one article directory linking fifty times to the same page. Try to spread your back-links out, a handful here, a few there, and keep them trickling in at a steady rate to ensure the best results. If you have 10,000 links come in one day and then nothing for the next four months, the search engines will know something is up and will rank you accordingly.

There is a lot more to SEO, but the foregoing will for now get you ahead of your competition. SEO is a combination of common sense along with some careful tricks. As long as you are putting out excellent content on a regular basis with keywords naturally mixed in, you can expect to see an improvement in your rankings. If you want to know more about correct SEO, you may want to join us for one of our monthly free Social Gatherings. The next one is scheduled for March 21 at the Amelia Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast.

Brand Loyalty often Misunderstood

Social Search is ready for take off

Social Search for Personal Branding is Ready for Take Off

Having Brand Loyalty is a hugely important advantage when you’re in business, but often misunderstood. Loyal customers are a business’ lifeline in tough economic times. But brand loyalty is often wrongly attached to the product or service. A typical example is a TV product called Two and a Half Men, which faced that reality last week when most of the record 27.7 million viewers of the revamped show with Ashton Kutchner replacing Charlie Sheen, came to the conclusion that Sheen-acting-Sheen was probably the entire attraction of the show, in spite of being surrounded by a myriad of funny actors playing off his persona. Of course we will give Chuck Lorre’s writers another chance or two before switching to another channel, as brand loyalty will slowly reveal that it is not the product but the person delivering it, that creates the loyalty. Charlie Sheen’s brand on Cable channel Comedy Central in turn commanded an aggregate 10 million viewers that same evening with the Charlie Sheen roast, making it the most-watched roast on the Cable network ever, and the most watched show of any kind with the targeted audience of viewers between the ages of 18 and 49. That’s brand loyalty for Charlie Sheen, who apparently still is “winning”, settling his $100 million lawsuit amicably.

Marketing experts have known for a long time that people were never really loyal to individual products or services, even though they often say they are. It’s the brand that they are loyal to and the brand is always the person that represents the product or service. Service companies have known this for a long time and through non compete clauses and other tricky legalese tried to restrict their top people when leaving the company. To the customer they are the brand. If you drive Ford or Chevy for many years it’s most often the dealer who is the brand’s face. It has always been like that and to prove it just think how easily we claim “ownership” of people that do something for us with the phrase: my handyman, my gardener, my mechanic, my dentist, my postman, my webmaster, my doctor, my financial adviser or my broker. We don’t become “possessive” with the use of the word “my” unless there is a degree of loyalty involved.

Corporations know this. Communications and Insurance companies, Grocery stores and Supermarkets, home improvement giants like Home Depot, Lowe’s and even Wal-Mart have turned their branding efforts to people.

You are a Social Search Brand

So here is a suggestion for all of you out there who have websites. Pay very close attention to where video shows up and will show up in the next 10-12 months. Brands are moving much more rapidly through video !
For example, when you order that Best Seller on your Kindle or iPad watch what changes are coming your way! It’s likely that you’ll see a new “Special Embedded Video” edition rising up. What does this mean? It’s an amazing version of the entire book with multiple embedded videos scattered throughout the pages. Research Dave Ramsey’s book “EntrePreneurship”. Right on iTunes you’ll find a Special Embedded Video Version, which brings you even closer to his brand…. which is essentially, himself.

And the changes keep coming…
As I have watched Apple roll out their iAds it’s become quite obvious that we could literally be entering a time when there will be no use or need for web browsers as we know it, even though Facebook’s changes last week were all aimed at becoming a player in SEARCH. But think this through… if you’re on your iPad or Smartphone it’s not likely you’ll even USE your browser like you might have if you were on a laptop or desktop computer. You might start browsing Facebook on an App, move over to Hootsuite to check your Twitter feeds, mosey over to read a book and if you do need to use Google, it’s most likely you’ll do so through….. you guessed it, an app! And you’ll do it following people, messages, personal contact… not products or services! It’s called Social Search and the term was coined in 2009, waiting for the technology to catch up on what people want.

Things are changing and it’s so important that you not only begin to understand, prepare and ACTIVATE for these changes, but you need to get your brand’s message right. Mobile marketing demands even more now than ever that your BRAND be wrapped around who you are and what you do.

Plain English? People want to see YOU and YOUR face and what you stand for on their mobile devices, not a glorified overly done flashy website.
When thinking through your brand, it’s important to ask yourself “Who Am I?” but remember, the answer to this question must lead to what people view you as. This might be a bit different than how you see yourself!
If you’re a professional and are used to being called “Dr So and So” or “Vet So and So” that is not going to work with branding. What you DO for people is where the focus needs to be.

This information will be hard for some to swallow but your college education, degree and investment into that Ivy League University means NOTHING when it comes to your brand, long term.

What does matter, what is BIGGER than that, is what do people want YOU for ahead of all others?  Do you make people well quicker? Do you make them money. Is your advise helpful in their custom circumstance?  Can you improve their health, their skills, their lives, their happiness, their income, their self confidence? This is part of your brand. If you’re a naturo-physician or therapeutic masseuse, do you treat people breaking all rules of traditional medicine? Than this would be a great brand-leading message. What result do you bring people? What are YOU an expert at? This is your brand. This is what people will know you as and remember for. Before the world wide web, you could not afford any profiling like this, but today it is at your fingertips or smartphone camera.

It’s important to not wrap our brand around our product or service. Always remember that people are never loyal to products or services. To get your brand into the minds and the hearts of the right people, my friends… wrap your brand around Y-O-U. That is why Facebook last week announced a number of ground breaking changes that all deal with emotional attachment at the center of the issue. Social Search is the Word of the Year. Watch Google’s Matt Cutts explain the essence of real content and in the process become the Face of Google.

Do I hate stupidity!

There are really people that have some sort of brain deficiency

Click to enlarge - It is dumb

As webmaster of SearchAmelia and having multiple sites that I manage as administrator, I recently have gotten the most horrendous and ignorant “SEO Service offers” via the contact forms of at least 9 different sites from multiple different people claiming to work for an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) company to get all my administered websites ranked on page number one of Google. They even “dare” to “guarantee to get me on the first page of Google“. What is really interesting is that most of them “Proudly Announce” YAHOO.COM as their website URL (Address) to give it credibility! WTF!

Yahoo wants to help me getting Ranked on Google’s Prime spot? Strangely they do use a gmail e-mail account and this is how most of these offers read:

Name:     John Jones
 Email:    john7890@gmail.com

Website:  http://www.yahoo.com

Subject:  SEO Services

Message: SEO Services
We would like to get your website on first page of Google.
All of our processes use the most ethical “white hat” Search Engine Optimization
techniques that will not get your website banned or penalized.
Please reply and I would be happy to send you a proposal.

***Note the “white hat” mention? How absurd to do so in spam!
And that it’s spam is absolutely obvious. I’m not sure if it is automated or manual spam, but it remains spam.

Now the question is “how valid is the claim”?

Unfortunately is is very valid. BUT… They don’t mention on WHAT page your website will be ranked on the first page of Google and let me explain how simple it is.

Scenario:

Google page ranking

Just be lonely and you get to page number one on Google

I invent a keyword such as “Helecoptee” and Google will try to correct it in the current indexing of keywords to for example “Helicopter“. However if I “insist” in an article that it is a word Google will most likely create a new index for the word “helecoptee” and the article / home page with that keyword(s) will be listed on the first page of Google. And most likely that page/website home page will be the ONLY one listed!!!

Now did I misguide you while making you $3,000 poorer. No, I did not since I kept my promise of getting you onto page one of Google. Is it white hat (meaning that your website will not get penalized)… Absolutely!

Does it get you traffic? Will it EVER get you any Search Traffic? Most certainly not!

It doesn’t matter if I know the first thing about Google and search technology, but foremost it’s about relevancy. Relevancy and frequency of people that search for that keyword or key phrase and let me tell you that if you run a Hotel or Restaurant or even a Deli, nobody but absolutely nobody will get you ranking on the first page of Google within a reasonable time and with reasonable resources (financial and otherwise) for the words “Hotel“, “Restaurant” or even “Deli“!

This brings me to another related topic. If you do a search on Google, Yahoo, Bing or Ask looking for a hotel on Amelia Island, would you type in the word “Hotel” to find one on Amelia Island?

Most likely the answer is “NO” (I hope) because if you do you may as well take a couple of weeks off from work to wield through the 100 million+ search results. People have learned very quickly to narrow their search by using long tail key phrases such as for example “Beachfront hotel with pool on Amelia Island“. This way at least Google will return “only” some 69,000 results and with high relevancy on the first couple of pages.

Let’s return to the “contact” e-mail in your and my inbox.

First off, the content is so dumb written that it can only strike anyone as “you want to take me for a ride?”. Obviously, spam continues to be written by idiots and for ignorant people. Personally I don’t believe that anyone with a half functioning brain, having their first Java brew while opening up their e-mails, would ever fall for such wording and on top of that take action other than looking very fast for the DELETE button.

Secondly, putting Yahoo as their website URL, while promising you to get number one page ranking on Google, is not only an insult to Google and Yahoo but strikes me as the people who wrote the content of the e-mail and those that lend their hand in sending it to us, as having sub zero IQs.

Now I could write a full dissertation on what criteria would peak my interest in taking action, even if it were a spam e-mail, but why make them wise to it because it would take me longer to identify their competence. No please keep on sending me ignorant dumb ass messages so I can quickly hit that delete button.

I really hate stupidity!