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Google Marketing - What You Need To Know Before You Get Burnt
(A Well Seasoned Marketer Gives His Take Direct From The Rotisserie Roasting Pit!)

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  • Sooner or later, everyone gets burnt by Google. The trick is to get less burnt than your fellow webmasters. A candid look at online marketing in the age of Google.

    If you're a webmaster or an online marketer, Google will be your greatest nemesis and your greatest benefactor. It is this dichotomy which has given webmasters countless sleepless nights and endless days worrying about what the most important search engine in the world will do next.

    And there is an even greater dichotomy when it comes to discussing Google.

    When a webmaster/marketer mentions Google, he or she is usually referring to "Google - the search engine". However, when the general public mentions Google they are usually still talking about the search engine, BUT it also emcompasses "Google - the most respected company in the world" and all the numerous free products and services it offers.

    Even for webmasters, this view is not cut and dry, as a full time web marketer I have long separated my dealings with Google the company (Adsense, Adwords, Google Analytics, Google Maps...) and Google the search engine. I don't believe there is a more reputable and reliable company than Google operating on the web or even in the world for that matter. I certainly haven't come across any as good or as professional as Google.

    However, the discussion here will be mainly dealing with Google the search engine, which has given most webmasters and online business owners the roller coaster ride of their lives - whether they wanted it or not. Going back into history, this BackRub has given webmasters a very bumpy ride mainly due to its ever changing Algorithm, the very complex mathematical formula Google uses to determine its all important rankings.

    Obtaining Top Keyword Rankings Is Your Main Objective With Google Marketing

    Webmasters and marketers learn very quickly, it's getting those first page Top 10 Listings in Google for their targeted keywords which will make or break their marketing efforts. Plain and simple, top 10 placements in Google means more traffic, leads and sales.

    Since Google controls over 80% of world's search traffic, we are not talking about small change here, in the recent Google Panda Algorithm Update - it is estimate that over a billion dollars shifted from sites losing or gaining rankings within Google. If you're a webmaster whose site slipped in the rankings, you could be out thousands or even millions of dollars in lost sales and leads.

    If you're an experienced marketer you will know just moving up or down a few notches on Google's first page will make a difference in how many sales you receive. It is this direct clearly observable impact on your bottom line which makes Google your saviour or your devil, whenever they make changes to their Algorithm. Considering that Google has done countless major updates over its short history, we can plainly see why the dichotomy angle is very appropriate.

    While I don't ignore the other search engines or marketing outside the search engines - I have always referred to my web marketing as Google Marketing. I mainly use Google and it is my top rankings in Google which bring in the most leads and sales.

    Being a former teacher, I do everything by the book. I use strictly Whitehat techniques and follow Google's directions and Guidelines, such as those provided in such places as WebmasterTools. I also have Google Analytics on all of my major sites, so Google has total access to my information. I also use Google Adsense on many of my pages.

    Early on, around 10 years ago, like most successful webmasters I realized that "quality content" is the first key to getting top rankings. No surprise there, but I also realized the next important factor was "quality one-way backlinks" flowing back to this high quality content which largely determines what rankings you received from Google.

    The Google User Experience is Paramount

    I also realized Google's main objective is giving their search engine users a positive experience. The happier their users/customers are, the more pleased Google will be with your content. Keep in mind, Google is just a company supplying a service or product; the quality of their search results are paramount to Google's success.

    From the beginning, I created my sites and content with the end-user in mind. What are the major benefits for anyone viewing my content? What will they receive - helpful information, quality reviews, informative videos, amusing content... from visiting my site?

    Most importantly, I learned to directly tie my web content with popular keyword search terms and made sure my content solved the question being asked. Relevancy is the key to getting the most targeted traffic which converts into a lead or sale.

    How Google Really Judges Web Content?

    Another major point with Google Marketing - we are talking computers and mathematical formulas judging the quality of web content. Supposedly, no human eyes see this content, so Google has devised around 200 ranking factors to determine the quality of your content.

    Many of these factors, Google has already told us about... load times, speed of your site, time spent on site, number of backlinks and their quality, site navigation, onpage factors... and the list goes on.


    Page Speed Has Become Very Important To Google

    So here is the Google Page Speed Tester.

    If you want to find out more about this issue and how you can fix some of these speed problems, go here:

    Google Page Speed Tester - Use It to Improve Your Site.


    Recently, with the popularity of social bookmarking sites like FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter... where each "bookmark", "like", "re-tweet" can count as a vote for your content. Along with backlinks, these bookmarks are important when Google judges the quality of your content.

    I also believe that certain factors like "time spent on site", "bounce rate" and "pageviews per visitors" are crucial indicators to how valuable your content is perceived by Google. These factors must be worked on and improved if you're going down the Google Marketing route.

    Recently, Amit Singhal on Google Webmaster Central Blog gave those webmasters who were affected or just worried about the Panda Update these 23 questions for judging the quality of your content.

    Google Guidance on Building High Quality Content

    1. Would you trust the information presented in this article?
    2. Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
    3. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
    4. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
    5. Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
    6. Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
    7. Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
    8. How much quality control is done on content?
    9. Does the article describe both sides of a story?
    10. Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
    11. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
    12. Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
    13. For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
    14. Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
    15. Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
    16. Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
    17. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
    18. Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
    19. Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
    20. Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
    21. Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
    22. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
    23. Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

    Can You Believe Google?

    There are those in the SEO field that studies carefully what Google tells them and does EXACTLY the opposite. That may be stating it a bit harshly, but if you're a full time marketer, you will soon come up against webmasters/marketers who have gone over to the "dark side" and use blackhat techniques to achieve their top rankings in Google.

    These techniques can include keyword spamming, link cloaking, comment spamming, content scraping and re-hashing... as Google implements ways to stop the obvious trickery, these dark forces come up with new ways to fool Google. This has been going on since Google started and will continue as long as Google is the dominant search engine in the world.

    In very competitive niches, you will also come up against webmasters and companies who do "unlimited link buying" to quickly and easily get to the top of Google. While this is more of a "grey" area, Google is against this undemocratic manipulation of backlinks and have tried to crack down on this practice, but link buying can be hard to detect and remains very rampant on today's web.

    Google Marketing And Your Overall Strategy

    As we can see from the discussion above, obtaining top rankings in Google will come with a lot of pitfalls and roadblocks... these obstacles keep popping up every time Google does an update and changes their Algorithm. So what should be your overall marketing strategy so you or your content doesn't get burnt every time the Golden Dragon sneezes?

    I have always taken a two-step battle plan when it comes to Google. First, I make it a point to "intertwine" my content into the whole mix of what's happening on the web. You must get your site or content into the whole "discussion" on the web. Instead of just placing content on the web, you actively promote it with videos, articles, free reports, forum posts, blog posts, pdf downloads... and bookmarks in all the popular social network sites like FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, Linkedin, Digg, Reddit... and the list goes on.

    If your content/site is part of the overall discussion in your niche, it will become so relevant that it can't be dismissed by members of your community or by Google. Because of this importance and total involvement, your site will be seen as an "authority" site, especially by Google.

    This is the second strategy to conquering Google, you must be perceived as an expert or authority figure in your subject area. Your site or content must be perceived as an authority site and you will reap the benefits with more search engine traffic from Google.

    However, just because you become an authority site, doesn't mean you can't get burnt by Google. With the recent Panda Update, many perceived authority sites were hit hard by the changes - Ezinearticles comes readily to mind. But one can't imagine the damage if Ezinearticles wasn't such a premier authority site in its niche. Besides, in this case, it might not be the quality of content but its uniqueness which was questioned by this Panda Update.

    After 10 years or more of marketing on the web, it is my firm belief, that sooner or later, every webmaster will get burnt by Google. The real trick is to minimize the damage by having easy-to-navigate unique content which benefits the visitor. Content of such a high quality that it will naturally be bookmarked and recommended by your visitors.

    Of course, when it comes to Google Marketing, praying real hard doesn't hurt either!

    The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author who is a full time online marketer. Everyone is profiting from Google, why not you? Google Marketing. Titus Hoskins Copyright 2011.

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