417 Marketing Blog

What Should I Include On My Homepage?

A homepage is like a storefront. It welcomes your customers, persuades them to come inside, and showcases important information. Although all websites are different, the homepage is generally the most highly-trafficked section of your website and as such, it should be thoughtfully designed and attempt to both satisfy visitors and pique their interest. “So what should I include on my homepage?” you ask? Read on to find out.

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Google Hummingbird’s Effect on Local SEO

We discussed Hummingbird, the most recent update to Google’s algorithm, back when it arrived on the scene in October. A month later, we delved into its misconceptions and truths, concluding that the flighty little bird really hadn’t changed the tried-and-true rules of SEO. Quality content and relevant, authoritative links are still essential to SEO efforts, we decided, and there is no reason to fear this new update. But what has Google Hummingbird’s effect on local SEO been?

Last month, SEO expert David Mihm announced that Google Hummingbird’s effect on local SEO has been significant. His observations of Google Hummingbird’s effect on local SEO reveal that (contrary to many SEOs’ original reactions) local search results have lowered in quality since Hummingbird arrived on the scene. The results are noteworthy and (for some) could even be game changing.

Let’s dig right in.

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The Google PageRank Update

Before you start digging a grave for Google PageRank (which we reported as being on its death bed just two months ago), you should know that Google updated the Toolbar PageRank values about two weeks ago, on the morning of December 6. This was a shocking turn of events not only because many SEOs predicted PageRank’s imminent death, but because even Matt Cuts, Google’s head of web spam, tweeted in October that he “would be surprised” if there was a PageRank update before 2014 (source).

You may be wondering what this means. Has the Google PageRank update made the ranking system more relevant? Why would Google choose to spend time updating a program that’s been slowly fading away? Is it still on its death bed or it has jumped out of said bed and gone for a jog? Let’s find out . . .

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How to Optimize a WordPress Blog Post

Just about anyone can create and write a WordPress blog (your eleven-year-old cousin, your elderly neighbor, your doctor, your grocer, you!), but very few know how to optimize a WordPress blog post. It’s a simple process that too many bloggers overlook or ignore, but if you want your blog to be read by more than just your family and friends, optimization is essential. And I’m pleased to say that anyone can do it with the right plug-in and a bit of SEO knowhow. So if you’re interested in learning how to optimize a WordPress blog post, stick around. This will only take a minute, I promise . . .

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Simple Web Design: Why It Works

They say that “less is more” when it comes to graphic design, but is simple web design really best? To put it simply: yes. And while I’m tempted to leave it at that, a grand statement is useless without the evidence to back it up. So . . .

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SEO Terminology Glossary

As an SEO, I sometimes throw out complex SEO terminology in the middle of a conversation with a client. While I am cognizant of the reality that most people don’t understand these terms, my irrational human tendencies cause me to sometimes use them (without an explanation) anyway. Fortunately, I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing the puzzled look on their faces, stopping, and either defining the term I just used or making some kind of analogy. In other words, I’ve gotten pretty decent at explaining SEO in a way that the average person can understand. This has helped 417 Marketing immeasurably.

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SEO Is Not a Commodity

When you eat rice, are you able to tell who grew it by the taste? Of course not! Unless you are given more information, it’s impossible to say. Rice is rice. It’s a commodity. Like wheat and oil and copper, rice doesn’t change based on who produced it, and because of this, its price is determined by the market as a whole. Some people believe that this is true of search engine optimization (SEO) as well, that SEO works the same way regardless of who produces it, but this is far from the truth. SEO is not a commodity and if you treat it as one, you could be putting your company and its website in great danger . . .

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Google Hummingbird Update: Misconceptions & Truths

Each time Google releases a new animal from its zoo, some SEOs take the change in stride and others panic, fearing the worst. It happened with Panda and Penguin, and (not unexpectedly) it happened again in late September when the Google Hummingbird update was released. Considering how shy Google has been about Hummingbird, SEOs’ overreactions and anxieties make a lot of sense. Google never mentions the update in its official documents and prefers not to give away details of the algorithm. With so little to go off of, it’s no wonder we’re often left anxious and confused, digging for all those undisclosed details.

To help clear up some of the confusion, let’s take a calm and rational look at the Google Hummingbird update, separating fact from fiction and hopefully laying some of your fears to rest.

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What Is the Semantic Web?

When you break it all down, the Internet is essentially a retriever. You tell it what you want and it blindly brings it to you, if it can. However, that may soon be changing with the introduction of the Semantic Web. Instead of just copying and mimicking our words, the Internet will understand what we’re trying to say. Crazy, right? Google Hummingbird, which uses a quick and precise algorithm based on semantic searching, was a major step toward shifting the algorithm toward a Semantic Web. But what is the Semantic Web? How does it work and how will it affect you?
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Is Google PageRank Dead?

I’m sorry you had to hear it from me . . . but it seems that Google PageRank is dying. Though not yet dead as a doornail, it is almost certainly on its death bed. PageRank’s support has slowly been waning over the years. Google doesn’t offer it on most web browser toolbars anymore and it hasn’t been updated since February. Most recently, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam, replied to a follower on Twitter who asked, “Will there be a PageRank update before 2014?” His answer? “I would be surprised if that happened.” By all accounts, it appears that PageRank is fading away. So is Google PageRank dead? Not quite, but its public display may be soon.

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