Magazine Pro

The WordPress theme of the month from StudioPress is Magazine Pro.

With the top stories featured right next to the stunning photographs, nobody will miss the important and effective content that shares the latest and greatest information. Magazine Pro has four color styles, six layout options, custom menus, custom header, featured images, fixed width, HTML5 mark-up, and theme options.

Put the content front and center with Magazine Pro, and the audience will continue to come back for more.

CJ Affiliate Named Top Affiliate Marketing Provider

Independent survey recognizes CJ Affiliate by Conversant as the top affiliate marketing provider.

CJ Affiliate has been recognized by Internet Retailer for operating the most highly regarded affiliate marketing network and delivering a wide range of pay for performance-based solutions. This is the second year in a row that CJ Affiliate has made the top spot, being named No. 1 in 2013 “by a long shot” by Internet Retailer.

Read more.

Matt Cutts Talks About Unique Content

Matt Cutts – SEO : Find the Right SEO Agency And SEO Predictions for 2013

Stay on Top of Search Results

Google has stated that in its search algorithms it currently uses over 200 unique signals to help determine the best results. I have always had an interest in monitoring the changes in the search results to analyze the direction that Google search is taking. In the last week, one of the factors that seems to have been negatively affected more so than in the past, are EMDs and PMDs. An EMD is an exact-match domain  while a PMD is a partial-match domain.

Some SEOs talk about a penalty for EMDs and PMDs. I prefer to think of it as less weight will be given to that signal. Think of it like a college test. The old tests relied on 80% multiple choice and 20% essay questions. This year the tests are 50% multiple choice, 30% essay, and 20% true/false questions. You won’t be penalized for being good at multiple choice questions but you do need to work on the true/false area and improve your essay skills to stay on top.

Continue to work on the positive things that will improve your site.

Penguin 2.0 Released

Matt Cutts announced the release of Penguin 2.0, the next generation of the webspam algorithm, which will affect about 2.3% of Google’s English-US queries.

If you have been following my recommendations to add original relevant content to your site and built natural links with a variance of  anchor text , the only thing you should notice with this Penguin update is an improvement in your rankings and increased traffic as more blackhat sites are punished for their indiscretions.

 

 

Analytics and Game Theory

There is an excellent article on analytics that was posted recently on the seomoz.org blog. Joanna Lord breaks down analytics into three types. They are the descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics. She explains in her article that most marketers focus on the descriptive analytics while avoiding the other two.

Earlier in my life I use to play tournament chess and tournament backgammon. Both games were analytical and while I couldn’t explain it, I would see patterns that seemed to make sense out of the chaos. When I began doing SEO, those same recognition skills allowed me to look at the search engine results and reports where I could see the patterns and by doing further analysis I was able to take the actions necessary to benefit the sites on which I was working.

I used to read every backgammon and chess book that I could get my hands on. Just one ah-ha moment in a book could make the difference between winning and losing a game in a tournament. Joanna’s article on analytics was that SEO game winning ah-ha moment. She reminded me that there is a little bit of marketer in all of us so it is necessary to remember that to be most effective as a SEO analyst you need to look at the complete picture. Enjoy playing with the data.

To learn more about the differences between descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics, be sure to read her entire article here.

And if you happen to see Joanna, give her a big hug from me. She loves hugs!

Search Quality Rating Guidelines Released by Google

I spent quite a bit of time looking over Google’s newest interactive infographic, How Search Works. In the section The Search Lab, they provide a link to the Search Quality Rating Guidelines. I had the opportunity in the past to see leaked versions of the evaluator guidelines but this is Google’s first public release. The Google document is dated November 2, 2012 and in the preface Google states that this document is only a “Cliff Notes” version.

The official Google released document is labeled Version 1.0 and consists of 43 pages.The last leaked document was labeled Version 3.27 and was 161 pages. Google explains this discrepancy in their preface saying that the raters’ version includes instruction on using the rating interface, additional rating examples, etc.

For affiliate marketers, be sure to read Part 3: Webspam Guidelines 4.1 Thin Affiliates.

Dana is Back and Better than Before

I apologize to my regular readers for having been gone so long. I have been involved in other projects which kept me from being actively focusing on my true passions which include search engine optimization, analysis of current trends, and affiliate marketing. My goal is to provide you, the reader, with informative articles that will have you thinking about the future direction of SEO and affiliate marketing and not dwelling on what worked in the past.

The key lessons from this brief post is to stay focused on your passions. When you notice that you’re no longer on the right path, it’s time to change your direction. I made the mistake of abandoning my goals, and recent circumstances forced me to refocus. Mistakes that you make in life can be an opportunity in disguise. Learn from your mistakes and you will strengthen your opportunities for the future.

I am reminded of a poem that I learned back in grade school and it has never been more appropriate then it is for me today. I include it here for my readers.

 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost

 

The Best Local SEO Keywords

Powered by Search has an article about choosing relevant keywords and keyword phrases,utilizing free online tools, and determining keyword value. It is important to understand the importance of using long tail keywords to better target your audience.

The first step in an effective SEO strategy is choosing keywords and keyword phrases that are relevant to your niche. Targeting keywords that deal with health won’t help if you’re selling automotive products.

Also, you don’t want keywords which are too general or broad in their scope. Although “automobiles” may be a high ranking keyword, it won’t do much good for your automotive product business because such a search will result in too vast a selection of sites for customers to draw from. You can localize your keyword list even further by using phrases such as “automotive parts in St. Louis” for example. Choosing keywords and phrases which deal specifically with your product or service and your target area are what you’re after.

Source: Powered by Search

Local SEO Tip: Google’s Keyword Tool will help you select the keywords and key phrases that you should be targeting. Also, don’t overlook Google’s autocomplete for more ideas.

 

 

Local Ranking Opportunities

A recent article on Search Engine Watch discusses a study of geo specific keywords in a domain name. From my own analysis, I’ve noticed a correlation between domain name and ranking even though the site’s PR and the number of external links would suggest that the site should be much lower in the search engine results.

Most local search professionals will tell you that citations and site relevance to the target geo are the keys to ranking in local search engine results pages (SERPs).

Testing and retesting old methods is part of maintaining SEO strategies so it seemed a smart choice to take a closer look at one of these key onsite factors and conduct a small study on the weight of domain names in rankings. The goal was to evaluate the performance of a related series of keywords in 10 different geographic locations and put them head to head against a term directly associated with the domain name.

Source: searchenginewatch.com

 

Local SEO tip: Look for a domain name that references the area that you are targeting.