Hi, Good morning, internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. Today is Thursday, January 29th, 2015, therefore, it’s Internet Marketing Thursday. As usual, I have the wonderfully talented Virginie Dorn from Business Website Center on the other side. Good morning, Virginie.

Virginie Dorn: Good morning, Ryan. How are you?

RP: I’m doing wonderful. We were talking off-air about…

RP: Oh, I did it again.

RP: Sorry. I don’t know why I can never forget to turn this stuff off. Alright.

VD: Is that your Facebook?

RP: No, it’s actually the YouTube link I have going live. So as soon as we go live, my YouTube link goes live, and I gotta remember to turn that off, and for some reason, I keep on forgetting to do that. But I will figure it out, I promise.

VD: Okay.

RP: We were talking about, before we went live, HTML… Flash, actually, because it’s one of the conversations… We’re going to talk about Flash and why it’s really not good for your SEO. It’s just bad all the way around. And you were talking about how you really love HTML5 and you got kinda giddy when you talked about it, and I’m like, “You’re such a programmer” and I say that with the absolute love, and it’s a total positive thing. But just so you all know out there, Virginie Dorn is the true coder because she really loves when things work right. And so, it’s just funny… It’s fun talking with you because I am not a coder, and so I don’t get excited over things like HTML5, but I’m glad you do because that’s how you make fabulous websites.

RP: So, with that being said, today’s topic is going to be SEO no-no’s and how you can protect your ranking on Google. We’re going to give you five tips today. Now, these are not necessarily the top five tips. There’s plenty of tips out there. In fact, we’re going to go maybe one or two more episodes. We’re going to continue this simply because there’s so much information. And since I already brought it up, let’s talk about Flash. Flash used to be really cool, I don’t know, four or five years ago, and it was really cool with all the ways you could animate your website and just make it look fantastic. The only problem is it’s actual code that Google cannot read essentially, therefore, it doesn’t offer any value and today, it actually can hurt your ranking on Google. And so, let’s go ahead and start there, Virginie.

VD: Okay. So you’ve mentioned what not to do for ‘Search Engine Optimization’, number one, don’t use Flash. If you have any part of your website or your entire website made out of Flash, which is a type of coding, you really need to change that. So it’s not only not working on a lot of devices, you’re being penalized now by major search engines like Google, and have been very vocal about the fact that you will get a minus point in your Google ranking if you have Flash on your site. So, again, they have made no secrets out of it. Most importantly, it doesn’t work on a lot of devices like, especially Apple products have refused to work with Flash. And probably that’s the reason why it’s been going away and it’s a matter of years, if not months, before Flash stop working altogether in the new versions of browsers. So don’t use Flash, it would hurt your SEO rankings.

RP: Right. And the easy way to find out if you have Flash is to do a right-click and look at your code. Do a right-click on your website, and if you just do a control F or a command F to do find, type in Flash, and if you see anything Flash-related in that code, talk to your webmaster and go, “Hey, is this wrong?” Or if you have some really fancy animated graphics or words, visuals, those are all good signs that you probably have Flash and should not be using it.

RP: Let’s get back to some old, old school SEO techniques. So number two is going to be keyword stuffing, and it’s not Thanksgiving time so why are we talking about stuffing in January?

VD: Yes, keyword stuffing, which is an industry slang we all use, is stuffing as many keywords as you can into your webpage or website. It’s just a big no-no. It used to be quite efficient, I’m saying maybe five years ago, but Google and all other search engines have caught up to the technique. Now, you actually can be penalized for having too many keywords or related keywords on a page. So if you’re selling red high-heel shoes and you’re repeating “red high-heel shoes” 50 times on the page, not only you’re going to be penalized, it’s most likely you’ll be red-flagged and not found at all. So it really can have a reverse effect on your ranking, so we call it “keyword stuffing.” But it is important to include keywords on every page of your site, you have to do that, but there’s a limit on how far you can go.

VD: So if you’re unclear what the balance is, the ratio between text and keywords and images, talk to an experienced programmer, they should be able to tell you what the new expectations are for search engines. So, again, no keyword stuffing, please.

RP: Yeah. And, for me, there’s two parts to keyword stuffing. There is the tag side, which is a part that we code in. The keyword tag itself really doesn’t have any relevance these days; however, I’m still surprised at the number of websites… These are websites that may have been built five to three years ago where, in the keyword tag section, it’s got anything and everything related to a business.

RP: It might have 50 keywords just on this one page, when what Google really wants to do is they want to say, “Look, what is this individual page? Not your website as a whole, but what’s the… This single individual page of your website about?” So as an example, if we take an estate attorney who does estate plans, probates, elder law, typically, also, instead of having a single page just called “services” and list all the different services that you do and then you tag it with all these different things that you do, and then plus in the text under probate, you talk about probate, “I’m a probate attorney and I am a probate attorney in Petaluma, and I do probate and this is why you don’t want to do probate,” that’s kind of keyword stuffing. But the other thing is making sure you have those individual pages separate.

VD: Yes.

RP: So that estate plan should be on its own page and then in the title on the back and your title tag should talk about estate plan. It shouldn’t talk about probate at all, and to me, that part of keyword stuffing also is when you are putting keywords that aren’t relevant to an individual page on that page.

VD: Yes.

RP: So if selling blue widgets on the blue widget page, just talk about blue widgets, and for me, my rule of thumb has always been as far as content that is visible on the page, I typically like to see four the… Two to four percent of it keyword related and so let’s… Two to four times I’m going to see the word “blue widget” for every hundred words. Now that doesn’t mean that I can’t use other versions of blue widget. Maybe it’s a widget that’s blue in color as an example, but at the same time you don’t want to over do it because Google is pretty smart these days, and they’re going to go “No, no, no, you are obviously just trying to achieve ranking by plugging these words in,” and on the flipside, your end user… Really doesn’t make for good reading for your end user and ultimately, I would much rather write for my reader than write for SEO.

VD: Yes. I think you are right on the money on that one, and when it comes to keyword stuffing, there is an extension of a big no no which is hiding keywords. So people are trying to stuff keyword and hiding them so that again an old web masters’ technique and is no longer viable was to perhaps put white font on white background so you could put 50 keywords, make it all white, and hide it in your background. The visitors will not see it, but the Google would be like “Oh my God. Look at all those keywords” and also another technique was to place the word off the screen on the very bottom right corner. But so far off to the right that most screen size will not see the text so that we call this Z and X. There’s all those techniques of hiding keywords and is also the what not to do for SEO because if the search engines finds out you are using that technique you will be heavily penalized, so it’s not just that it doesn’t work, it’s even worse than that. You will be penalized.

RP: Right and these days as hard as Google is cracking down on websites that are very thin, don’t offer a lot offer value. You really need to think about SEO ranking and visibility as a long-term gain. If you are only going to be in business for another six months, SEO may not be the best marketing tool for you. However, if plan on being in business for another five, 10, 15, 20 years then SEO, done correctly, is going to be very powerful, but it’s kind of a… It’s gradual thing. You cannot expect instantaneous results in most cases.

VD: Yes.

RP: Okay. So we’ve talked about some really old school stuff. Flash is old. I think the white on white text is old, keyword stuffing should be old, but I still see it all the time, and I don’t know why. Let’s talk about the kind of some modern SEO, and this is something, gosh, what’s it been? It’s been two years now… Two years ago now, Google really cracked down on content that was very thin, what we call “scraped” where a bot actually goes out, and let’s say you are a dentist website, and you’re like, “Oh content marketing, I got to blog in order to get ranking. I gotta create all this content around teeth whitening and being a new dentist and dentures and all the different services, but I can’t afford to hire a writer to to write my own original content.” We would hire some company, I don’t know where, but typically it wasn’t local; we might spend $50 and we’d get like a 100 pages of content. So let’s talk about thin content, plagiarizing, and scraping and all that kinda good stuff.

VD: But don’t steal content; it’s a big no no, just it’s unethical to begin with, and again, another penalty you can get on your SEO ranking. And you’re right, some especially service-based companies like dentists, will, and they still do, hire companies that will deliver content for them because the site owner or his employees don’t have time to come up with this genuine, fresh content every single week. But what they don’t understand is that content is being sold to thousands of dentists around the nation, so that content is duplicated. And as we all know, duplicated content is really bad for Google. So don’t commit plagiarism; don’t steal content; don’t use duplicate content, and if you’re unclear if the content on your site is being duplicated elsewhere, it’s quite simple, you could copy and paste a part of a sentence or even a full paragraph and search for it. So, you put it in your search engine bar on your browser, and if you get a 100 websites related to dentistry that are using the same paragraph, you know that paragraph is being overused, and you will be penalized. So, that’s the fourth big no-no of what to do for SEO.

RP: Yeah, and the other thing I want to say is that this is part of that long term approach and part of that long term approach is going, “Look, you know what? I have a limited budget, man, so I am not going to spend $50 to get 100 articles and instead, for that $50, I might only get two articles.” But at least it’s original. It should be written well. It should be targeted to your local audience. If you’re a dentist in Santa Rosa, you should be talking about other activities that are relevant to Santa Rosa than just dentistry, as an example. We want to talk about the fair that’s coming up, the Country Music Festival, other local activities that are relevant to your audience which are regular human beings with families. They have husbands and wives and kids, and they’re not just curious about how to floss their teeth correctly; they want to know what’s going on in their community.

RP: And so, being community related is part of that long term process. The other thing I wanted to talk about as far as not copying and plagiarizing, also has to do with images. And you don’t want to bring images into your site that you just copied and pasted off of Google. I used a Dollar Club and it’s a buck an image. I get a high resolution image. It only costs me a buck. The other thing I wanted to talk, you mentioned to check and see if your content’s original, you can also check out Copyscape. I believe it’s copyscape.com. And you can take a blog post as an example. Copy your URL for that blog post, put it in Copyscape, and it’ll go out there, and it’ll search and see if it finds. And it’ll tell you, 2% of this copy is identical or 5%, or 50% or God forbid, 100% of it is duplicate content.

VD: Yes, I like that site too.

RP: But, I think that was four of them, and we’ve got a minute left. So, what was the final number five for today?

VD: Farm linking. Don’t do it. Yes, farm linking is when you pay someone and typically overseas, to link thousands of websites that are completely unrelated to your industry to link back to your site. Those incoming links are poor quality. Some of them are really bad. They could be pornographic sites, you name it. And Google has caught up to that technique and now the penalty is huge. And once you are red flagged, it’s very hard to get off the bad list from Google and Yahoo and Bing. So, just don’t farm link.

RP: Right. Yeah, that kinda comes back to, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And if you went back three years ago, farm linking was something you had to do because it was all about back links. Whoever had the most back links typically won. And so, you had to get them as inexpensively as possible but when Google, I believe it was pan… Was it Pandor or Penguin? I forget now.

VD: I think, Penguin, it’s called.

RP: When they rolled out Penguin, man, there were a lot of sites that got hit hard by back linking through farms. I was going to say… Oh, check your Google Webmaster Tools. If you’re not sure, if your ranking has dropped significantly in the last year, year and a half, go to Google.com/webmastertools, and if you don’t have an account, get that set up because they will let you know if there’s an issue with your website as it relates to back linking and if you’re being penalized.

VD: Yes, great point. And Webmaster Tools, by the way, it’s free of charge for anybody with a Gmail account and doesn’t require coding knowledge.

RP: Yeah, it’s an absolute must. If you’re doing SEO at any level, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, those are two accounts you must have. Alright, Virginie, with that being said, next week, we’re going to continue this conversation. We’re going to pick another five items that are SEO no-no’s that will affect your ranking or at some point, let’s put it that way. It’s amazing that some of these older techniques still work. However, they’re typically very, very short term. The long term results are very horrific, and you want to stay away from it. With that being said, we’re a little bit over time, so I gotta let you go. I appreciate your time as always and hope you have a wonderful day.

VD: You too, Ryan. Take care.

RP: Alright, bye.