SEO Process and Google Penguin

Thursday, May 24, 2012 by David McElyea

Google, Google, Google.  In search of an ever better mouse trap Google released the Penguin update to their algorithm on April 24, 2012.  I don't fault Google for improving their product in fact I applaud them for it. Sadly, after suffering through the Panda update with an online retailer I know first hand the financial pain and resource suck these updates can cause.  So hear is the scoop from Matt Cutts at Google.  The update is designed to go after sites that violate Google's quality guidelines.  Specifically they are ranking sites lower that are keyword stuffing as well as sites with unusual link patterns.  If links on a page are unrelated to the content then penguin may not assign much value to those links.  The update has been referred to as an over-optimization penalty.

A solid SEO process should be a part of every website.  Beyond ranking well in organic search traffic for your market better SEO practices make your site more usable for your customers and easier for search engines to send you traffic.  If you stay on top of current SEO trends you will find less work awaits you when big updates roll out.  The guiding principle of all sites though should be to create a site that gives your users a unique experience in your marketplace.  Good original content in addition to a well thought out layout and design will produce not only loyal customer but potentially consistent search engine rankings as well.  Build a site for your users first and the search engines second.

Feel like poking the penguin? Check this out.

Happy Social Media Week!

Thursday, February 16, 2012 by Richard Allen


social media week












As some of you may know, George is out and about in San Francisco scooping up on all the great info -- how the social web will impact search and the real-time web, the future of social tv, the future of sharing and so much more. My head is spinning...

Here are some very interesting facts and observations from Social Media Insider.
A lot has changed since last year, when I wrote about why Social Media Week should be every week. That feels so quaint. By now, Social Media Week really is every week. In case you’re not convinced, here are 52 reasons why:

1)     Facebook will soon have a billion users. A billion is cool.

2)     Facebook will soon have half a billion mobile users.

3)     Search and social are becoming more intertwined. It’s messy now, but Google+ and Bing are starting to figure out when it works.

4)     Pinterest can become one of the biggest social media properties without any help from “typical” early adopters of male teens and twenty-somethings.

5)     Tumbling is the new blogging.

6)     Blogging’s still as important as ever.

7)     No one remotely sane thinks social media is a fad.

8)     Scrabble and Boggle addicts can play similar games with their friends through their mobile devices without ever worrying about lost game pieces.

9)     You can’t help sometimes checking out your friends’ pictures of their kids.

10)  It’s so big that whenever two or three people say they stop using a massively popular service, The New York Times publishes a “trend” story about its demise.

11) “Social media is a messy, magical gift. It's the unexpected that creates value for both the brand and customer. Done well, social media brings customer and the people of the brand closer together.” – Toby Bloomberg

12)  Wikipedia.

13)  Shaq has always been and will always be one of the best things about Twitter.

14)  Social media gets people to turn on the TV for live events.

15)  It gets people into stores.

16)  In those stores, retailers and product manufacturers can incorporate social content digitally and physically to educate, empower, and excite customers.

17)  Friends’ endorsements sell products.

18)  People get crowds to fund their passion projects…

19)  …and charities…

20)  …while refining their product ideas.

21)  Brands do this too.

22)  “We are the nation… of Google and Facebook.” – President Obama

23)  Are there any weeks where there aren’t social media-focused events?

24)  Job descriptions for people with at least five years of experience focused on social media are looking less ridiculous.

25)  Thanks to Skype, Google+, Apple’s FaceTime, and others, the “Jetsons” vision of video telephony has become real.

26)  Spotify and others have reminded us that music is better with friends.

27)  Social media works best when it brings people together in real life.

28)  It makes professional collaboration far easier and richer.

29)  It has become an essential part of R&D.

30)  “People will tell you social media is some kind of unicorn, but it’s really just a horse.” – Jay Baer

31)  Amazon’s Kindle and Goodreads prove that some social media users have the attention span to read books.

32)  Thanks to Reddit and MetaFilter, even guys who should be ironically over social media by now are non-ironically into it.

33)  Memes are social. And occasionally brilliant.

34)  Social media doesn’t create democratic revolutions, but it helps get people together to change the world.

35)  “People publish. Instead of denigrating user-generated content… marketers need to understand that this is what we care about.” – Seth Godin

36)  There are still a few great social services and apps that haven’t been acquired and subsequently shut down by Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter. At least, that’s true until Facebook’s IPO.

37)  A few years ago, a presidential candidate was lambasted for being a community organizer.
Now community management is one of the hottest professions.

38)  We’re getting closer to figuring out this whole ROI thing.

39)  Foursquare Day is April 16 (think about it). And it was started by a fan.

40)  Brands don’t always have to create; they can curate.

41)  Organizations like Kiva, (RED), and CharityWater keep finding ways to use social media to improve lives.

42)  Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube. Whether or not you like him, accept that the kid’s ridiculously talented.

43)  We have events like the Suxorz to prevent us from staying too full of ourselves. Even if the event’s during Social Media Week, nominees come in all year long.

44)  Super Bowl comments jumped nearly sevenfold in a single year.

45)  There will be more Tim Tebows and Jeremy Lins.

46)  Some people do care about what their friends are eating.

47)  We’re exposed to more cute animals than we ever were before. That has to elevate our moods enough to reduce healthcare expenditures.

48)  Craigslist, breaking every design rule there is, remains a top 25 website.

49)  The sites ranking higher than Craigslist include strictly social sites Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Wordpress, Answers, Blogspot, Blogger, LinkedIn, and Tumblr, along with socially driven properties like YouTube and Huffington Post.

50)  LinkedIn has proved that social media services can be successful even if they don’t depend entirely on advertising.

51)  “Social has no regard for silos, business units, or geographies. It transcends all of those. The question then isn’t ‘How does social media fit into my organization?’ The question is, ‘How do we adapt our organization’s realities to the realities of social media?’” – Jeremy Epstein

52)  Try going a week without social media.

Landing page optimization.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 by Rachel Jensen
A landing page is a web page that is displayed when a potential customer clicks a link from an ad or email. This web page displays content that is directly relevant to the online ad, link, search result, or a specific promotional URL. More relevant information is presented and possibly an offer. It's a step towards persuading a visitor to become a customer. If you run email marketing campaigns, landing pages are critical. Landing pages are critical to organic search engine marketing, press releases, and just about all Internet marketing.

A landing page must build trust, and persuade the visitor with relevant content.

Ideas to help the visitor:
• Keep your landing page focused and simple.
• Easy to scan copy.
• Help the visitor digest what you are offering quickly and easily.
• Short form. Don't ask for information you won't use.
• Use short paragraphs and bullet points.
• Call-to-action
• Make it clear "What do you want me to do next?" 

Blogs are the ideal acquisition tool.

Friday, April 16, 2010 by Leslie Gabriel
Organic Search Engine Marketing
First, consider that 44% of all web visits begin with search (Harvard Business Review). More and more, this is how individuals are finding what they're looking for. That's why organic search placement is so important — it's the perfect way to acquire new customers since it's precisely where people are looking for you. Contact us today if you're ready to learn more about organic search engine marketing.

Bruce Mau - words of inspiration...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 by Hans Walor
Maybe you feel stuck in a rut with your current blog template design, social media marketing plan, or innovative email, and you just can't seem to get out of it or find any inspiration. Some words from Bruce Mau might just snap you right out of that funk. Take a look at the Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. Written in 1998, the Incomplete Manifesto is an articulation of statements exemplifying Bruce Mau’s beliefs, strategies and motivations. Collectively, they are a good way to approach almost any project. 

Bruce Mau

1. Allow events to change you.
You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

2. Forget about good.
Good is a known quantity. Good is what we all agree on. Growth is not necessarily good. Growth is an exploration of unlit recesses that may or may not yield to our research. As long as you stick to good you'll never have real growth.
3. Process is more important than outcome.
When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we've already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.
4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.
5. Go deep.
The deeper you go the more likely you will discover something of value.
6. Capture accidents.
The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.
7. Study.
A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.
8. Drift.
Allow yourself to wander aimlessly. Explore adjacencies. Lack judgment. Postpone criticism.
9. Begin anywhere.
John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.
10. Everyone is a leader.
Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge. Learn to follow when it makes sense. Let anyone lead.
11. Harvest ideas.
Edit applications. Ideas need a dynamic, fluid, generous environment to sustain life. Applications, on the other hand, benefit from critical rigor. Produce a high ratio of ideas 
to applications.
12. Keep moving.
The market and its operations have a tendency to reinforce success. Resist it. Allow failure and migration to be part of your practice.
13. Slow down.
Desynchronize from standard time frames and surprising opportunities may present themselves.
14. Don’t be cool.
Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort.
15. Ask stupid questions.
Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.
16. Collaborate.
The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential.
17. ____________________.
Intentionally left blank. Allow space for the ideas you haven’t had yet, and for the ideas of others.
18. Stay up late.
Strange things happen when you’ve gone too far, been up too long, worked too hard, and you're separated from the rest of the world.
19. Work the metaphor.
Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.
20. Be careful to take risks.
Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.
21. Repeat yourself.
If you like it, do it again. If you don’t like it, do it again.
22. Make your own tools.
Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.
23. Stand on someone’s shoulders.
You can travel farther carried on the accomplishments of those who came before you. And the view is so much better.
24. Avoid software.
The problem with software is that everyone has it.
25. Don’t clean your desk.
You might find something in the morning that you can’t see tonight.
26. Don’t enter awards competitions.
Just don’t. It’s not good for you.
27. Read only left-hand pages.
Marshall McLuhan did this. By decreasing the amount of information, we leave room for what he called our "noodle."
28. Make new words.
Expand the lexicon. The new conditions demand a new way of thinking. The thinking demands new forms of expression. The expression generates new conditions.
29. Think with your mind.
Forget technology. Creativity is not device-dependent.
30. Organization = Liberty.
Real innovation in design, or any other field, happens in context. That context is usually some form of cooperatively managed enterprise. Frank Gehry, for instance, is only able to realize Bilbao because his studio can deliver it on budget. The myth of a split between "creatives" and "suits" is what Leonard Cohen calls a 'charming artifact of the past.'
31. Don’t borrow money.
Once again, Frank Gehry’s advice. By maintaining financial control, we maintain creative control. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s surprising how hard it is to maintain this discipline, and how many have failed.
32. Listen carefully.
Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine. By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions, we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.
33. Take field trips.
The bandwidth of the world is greater than that of your TV set, or the Internet, or even a totally immersive, interactive, dynamically rendered, object-oriented, real-time, computer graphic–simulated environment.
34. Make mistakes faster.
This isn’t my idea – I borrowed it. I think it belongs to Andy Grove.
35. Imitate.
Don’t be shy about it. Try to get as close as you can. You'll never get all the way, and the separation might be truly remarkable. We have only to look to Richard Hamilton and his version of Marcel Duchamp’s large glass to see how rich, discredited, and underused imitation is as a technique.
36. Scat.
When you forget the words, do what Ella did: make up something else ... but not words.
37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.
38. Explore the other edge.
Great liberty exists when we avoid trying to run with the technological pack. We can’t find the leading edge because it’s trampled underfoot. Try using old-tech equipment made obsolete by an economic cycle but still rich with potential.
39. Coffee breaks, cab rides, green rooms.
Real growth often happens outside of where we intend it to, in the interstitial spaces – what Dr. Seuss calls "the waiting place." Hans Ulrich Obrist once organized a science and art conference with all of the infrastructure of a conference – the parties, chats, lunches, airport arrivals – but with no actual conference. Apparently it was hugely successful and spawned many ongoing collaborations.
40. Avoid fields.
Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.
41. Laugh.
People visiting the studio often comment on how much we laugh. Since I've become aware of this, I use it as a barometer of how comfortably we are expressing ourselves.
42. Remember.
Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is merely novelty. History gives growth a direction. But a memory is never perfect. Every memory is a degraded or composite image of a previous moment or event. That’s what makes us aware of its quality as a past and not a present. It means that every memory is new, a partial construct different from its source, and, as such, a potential for growth itself.
43. Power to the people.
Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can't be free agents if we’re not free.

Better SEO - Why blogs are different/better than static websites.

Monday, March 8, 2010 by Leslie Gabriel
Search engines put high value on pages that are frequently updated. The more recently the page has been updated, the better. This is an area where a traditional Web site just can’t compete with a comprehensive corporate blogging strategy. Many sites are updated once a year…good sites are updated (on some pages) monthly.  Blogs are updated as frequently as several times a day. This is yet another reason why search engines love blogs. 

A blog is a way to easily publish to your community without technical skills. Gone are the days of relying on that one IT guy.

A blog is written in a much more personal voice than a website. Websites tend to be written with a cold corporate polished voice. And a corporate website usually has teams in the marketing department, sales department, and IT department analyzing every word on every page. 

So keep on blogging. Search engines love blogs. Keyword-rich content, linking, and age of the blog are all big factors when it comes to how search engines rank their results. 

Almost all blog traffic looks like this.

"Organic search traffic is the most critical metric I track."
— K Feller, Social Media Manager - Intel


Business growth is just an email away...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 by George Moore
Budgets are tight and your boss is asking you to generate more leads for the company. You are out of innovative marketing ideas and promotion concepts. Someone suggests that you try to increase leads and sales revenue from your website. But you know that conversion management is not something that the company does well. In fact, your marketing group rarely looks at the website analytics. And certainly things like "Search Engine Optimization" or "Organic Search Marketing" are foreign concepts to you beyond what you have read. What to do?

Well, if you have an email list, that's a good starting point. Most of those people have had some sort of relationship with your company -- previous buyers, subscribers, or just visitors that have questions. Is there a way to begin a dialogue with those people and get them back to considering your service or product? Yes, email campaigns.

Think about how many emails you have received with promotional offers that you have actually opened? Emails work. And they are another way to move a visitor down the path to becoming a customer. So dust off your email list and begin a conversation with those people. It doesn't have to be a hard pitch or promo. Share information that might be of interest to them. If you do a good job in those conversations, eventually they will become a buyer again.

No juniors here.

Friday, November 13, 2009 by Leslie Gabriel
Let's face it, your marketing firm is only as good as the people who work on your campaign. Airways has assembled teams of experienced marketing, creative and technical professionals representing the most relevant experience today.

So if you're looking to improve organic search traffic, design smarter email, or need some coaching on excellent offer planning we've got the team you've been looking for.

Our teams design, execute and manage high performance marketing solutions serving many vertical markets. We create maximum customer value from our client's marketing investment. No juniors here.