Articles

How to Write a Killer RFP (Request for Proposal) For Hiring An SEO Firm

February 21st, 2008

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Originally published in Search Engine Land

Over the years I’ve seen quite a few Requests for Proposal from companies seeking to buy SEO services. If your RFP is not written well, it hinders the SEO firm’s ability to understand and define your needs and to scope and price your project. This in turn leads to a disconnect in expectations for both parties. A lousy RFP can discourage a busy SEO firm from even respondingâ??a very unfortunate outcome, since it takes the best firms out of the running.

Many companies intuitively “know” what they want but are challenged structurally to “ask” for it in a way that is clear, succinct, informative, and constructive. If written properly, an RFP will facilitate the sales process and ensure that everyone involved on both sides gets to a shared understanding of what the purpose, requirements, scope, and structure of the intended engagement are. By following a few, key steps in the beginning of the RFP process, you will be able to rest easy, knowing that you are going to get what your company wants in the way that is best for you.

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Chicken Soup for the SEO Soul

February 13th, 2008

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Originally published in ClickZ

In this article originally written for ClickZ, Netconcepts Director of Natural Search Consulting PJ Fusco tackles some of the negative press that SEO has received recently. Her article addresses some of the reasons why SEO professionals get a bad rap. Simply many SEO professionals, even the ones who work here, at Netconcepts, can’t discuss the successful results from client implementation strategies.

If you haven’t had the luxury of working with an SEO expert who operates in complete transparency within the strictest current best practice guidelines, then you know that some SEO practitioners over-promise and under-deliver. That’s why these critics have lambasted and lampooned our industry. Yes, they did throw out the baby with the bathwater to make a point, but the point remains.

One of the big problems the SEO industry faces is clients who won’t allow us to name them publicly and discuss their results. We have one e-commerce client that’s showing 39 percent growth in year-over-year organic search engine referrals. Natural search results are driving more traffic to its site than ever before.

PJ addresses this issue more in detail in her full article at ClickZ. To read the article, click here.

How to Get on Google Maps Without an Address

February 11th, 2008

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Originally published in Search Engine Land

One of the top issues in delivering up local search results in a map-based format is what to do with businesses which have no street address. During the SMX Local & Mobile conference back in October, Dick Larkin asked Google Earth VP Michael Jones a question about this very thing: "What should we recommend to local businesses which do not have a local street address—how do they get into Google Maps search results?" Michael’s answer was surprising. I’ll give you his answer in a moment.

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Choose A Platform And Blog, Blog, Blog

February 4th, 2008

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Originally published in Practical eCommerce

Search engines also love fresh content, and blogs, by definition, are constant sources of new content. If written correctly â?? or more specifically interestingly â?? blogs can also provide wider link bait and garner links from outside the blogosphere. Search engines, of course, reward for good, inbound links regardless of whether theyâ??re from other blogs.

Jeff Muendel, Natural Search Analyst for Netconcepts, recommends that eCommerce sites take full advantage of WordPress, a blogging platform that offers a host of SEO-friendly options to allow for excellent search engine optimization. To read more about Jeff’s expert advice about WordPress and plug-ins, like the Yahoo! Shortcuts for WordPress plugin, visit the full article on Practical eCommerce.

Five Getting-Started Blog Questions

January 30th, 2008

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Originally published in ClickZ

Do you want add a blog for your business but have no idea how to get started? In this article written by PJ Fusco, lead strategist for Netconcepts, she covers the common questions online retailers have as they think about the benefits and drawbacks of joining the blogosphere and offers her expertise.

One of the questions she covers is: Will blogging really help?

If the blog is optimally created and maintained, with a transparent, sincere voice and a commitment to using it to build relationships as well as links, then, yes, it will help. How much? That depends on how much the company is willing to invest in developing relationships with customers and prospects in the blogosphere. The only time blogging can really hurt is if the bloggers are insincere and dishonest and ignore their audience, or if your company has a god-awful online reputation in the first place. If you’re in a war of attrition over your company’s online reputation, it’s going to take a heck of a lot more than a simple blog to fix the mess you’re in.

For more about this topic, visit the full article about getting started in blogging at ClickZ.

Think You’re Successfully Flying Under Google’s Radar? Think Again.

January 24th, 2008

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Originally published in Search Engine Land

Have you been trying to “fly under the radar,” engaging in activities outside of Google’s guidelines but subtly so as not to get caught? More and more SEOs are moving into this dangerous territory as the guidelines continue to broaden (prime examples of which being the expanded definition of doorway pages and the addition of link buying to the list of no-nos). Buying links in “stealth” mode still works, as many SEOs will attest. But what if Google is archiving your efforts for future review, to uncover what it can’t right now due to current limitations? Do you really want to be profiled retroactively as a spammer?

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The Wonderful World of Widgets

January 16th, 2008

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Originally published in ClickZ

Do you know what a widget is? Do you know how to design a widget that is based on SEO “best practices”? PJ Fusco, lead strategist for Netconcepts, shares her expertise on this popular topic.

If you want people to add your widget to their desktops, mobile phones, blogs, or social media applications, such as Facebook or MySpace, keep these commonly held best practices guidelines in mind:

  • Make your widgets useful, contagious, simple, and genuine.
  • Make your widgets easy to use, reliable, and ready to be shared.
  • Make your widgets accessible on multiple frameworks and multiple formats.
  • Make your widgets measurable.
  • Make your widgets a big part of a global SEO campaign.

For more about the wonderful world of widgets, read the article on ClickZ.

Google Knol Looks To Take On Wikipedia

January 2nd, 2008

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Originally published in Practical eCommerce

A few weeks ago, Udi Manber, Google’s vice president of engineering, announced the advent of Google Knol, a program meant to challenge Wikipedia, the popular user-generated encyclopedia. The idea, like Wikipedia, is to let anyone create a page of information on a specific topic, and all of those pages will be organized like an online encyclopedia. Google has not announced when Knol will launch.

Jeff Muendel, Search Analyst for Netconcepts, writes about how this upcoming feature from search giant, Google, may affect eCommerce.

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Adventures in Searchandising Part 3

January 2nd, 2008

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Originally published in ClickZ

In part one of this series about searchandising, PJ defined this term to set the stage for what this innovative concept is, how the search engines and online customers respond to it, and what retailers can do about it. Part Two described the effect of guided navigation and extreme pagination on the search engines.

As the finale of this three part series on searchandising, PJ Fusco offers her recommendations on how:

…you can enhance the contextual relevancy of critical category pages within a complex database-driven Web site by understanding what keywords and phrases drive your revenue. But you still need to contend with that wonky pagination scheme that’s killing your crawl equity.

For more expert advice from PJ, lead strategist for Netconcepts, on this topic, visit the conclusion of this three part series on searchandising.

Sculpting your PageRank for Maxiumum SEO Impact

December 20th, 2007

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Originally published in Search Engine Land

If you are a large online retailer, you’re looking at thousands upon thousands of pages that have the opportunity to get crawled and indexed in the SERPs (search engine results pages). You’re also looking at near infinite choices for how you interlink all those pages. Out of all those permutations, there is one configuration that is the most optimal from an SEO perspective. That’s because it maximizes the flow of link juice (e.g., PageRank if you’re speaking purely in Google terms) to your most important pages and minimizes (or cuts off completely) the flow of link juice to your least important pages. The most important pages are the ones that have the most potential to rank highly for the targeted keyword themes, to compel the searcher to click, and to drive that visitor toward a “conversion event” such as completing a purchase of one or more high-margin products.

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