White Hat SEOs: Be Proud of the Value That Your Company Offers

Seven months in to 2013, I thought it would be a good time to offer some commentary on an occurrence that I have seen happen on multiple occasions over the past few years. That being said, I am sure that I am not alone in the search marketing community on this. The issue comes down to the key driver of all of our businesses… the client/customer. After dealing with current clients, old clients, and clients that opted to not go with our firm, the obvious has become even more so – you get what you pay for when it comes to online marketing.

SEO Piggy BankLet’s take a look at a couple of situations. The first one I will go over involves a prospective client. Early on when I was trying to get my first clients partnered with us here at Vegau, I spoke to a nice lady about her business and she conveyed her needs and goals to me. I reviewed her case and offered her a quote – as any SEO would. Being that I was most interested in building a client list at the time, I offered her firm a very favorable, low-ball price. When I told her the quote over the phone, there was a little bit of shock in her reaction. My low-ball price for SEO ended up being double what she was wanting to pay.

Here I thought I was ready to sign up one of my first clients – and once I gave a quote the call ended less than 30 seconds later.

black-hat-seo

Obviously being a white-hat SEO, I know the value that I offer and I do the very best I can to convey that to all new clients. Unfortunately, for the low dollar amount the woman was willing to spend, she will most likely not find an agency to help her business. Even worse, she could find a questionable agency to do the work. However, for the price, many of the services offered would most likely be outsourced, black hat trickery. Rather than just going with no plan at all, an internet marketing package from a shady agency can be far worse in this day and age – as Google and other search engines have no problem doling out penalties to those who try to manipulate the results.

Another situation I will touch on has a much happier ending – at least I am pretty much certain it will. A while back, a prospective client had contacted me about doing their optimization work. At the time, he decided that he did not want to pay an outside agency to do the work, so he opted for one of his guys in IT who said they “knew” SEO. I could go on here about these types of situations but that’s enough material for an entirely new blog post – which may very well be my next… so let’s get back on track. Time passed by and earlier this year we received a call from the same business owner. He was looking for a website design with SEO.

white hat SEO

After taking on the project and seeing what work had been done to the existing website by his IT department, it was clear that little, if any optimization efforts were implemented. While it was the cheaper way to go, the business owner had realized that the path he chose simply did not produce the results that he needed. As of today, we are finishing up his new website that has all of the benefits of SEO built in to it. We are almost as excited as he is to see his newly optimized site climb in the search rankings and we can not wait to move forward with his internet marketing efforts.

In regards to SEO agencies, I will end with why I have provided these examples above. If your firm produces quality work that doesn’t manipulate the search engines’ algorithms, you are already well on your way. Make sure that your clients know the value of your services and you will have a better chance in building some wonderful relationships. It goes without saying that black hats who promise “number 1 on Google” and offer ridiculously low prices not only lower their own company’s value, but they are also hurting the search engine optimization industry as a whole. If you practice white hat SEO, be proud and ask for rates that you deserve. Your quality of work will speak for itself when your clients keeps renewing your service agreements – because they will no doubt realize the value you are offering in comparison to in-house or oftentimes outsourced alternatives.

SEO marathon

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

The firms and clients who take the long view will be the most successful in the end.

A Review of Apple’s WWDC 2013

Apple WWDC 2013
Last week at Apple’s WorldWide Developer’s Conference, the company announced some cool changes and additions to its lineup. iOS 7, iRadio and new Mac Pros all hit the stage, so here’s my take on what went down.

I’ll start with iOS 7 – which made massive, almost shocking, visual changes. But did they introduce anything “new”? Not really. Just another evolution of iOS, or more touting of fluff features that no one will use. There’s some nice new eye-candy features, but nothing mind-blowing IMO.

So what would have been mind-blowing? User accounts, true multi-tasking, side-by-side apps, maybe a hardware dock to dock it up, wireless charging, better syncing features, better battery usage because the OS is so slim and sexy.

The only real new ‘feature’ is background usage, or how the OS utilizes apps that are in the background, is nicer, but it’s still not true multi-tasking (like Blackberry and now Android 4.1). They made massive upgrades to the stock camera app and that’s real nice, so yeah, I like that.

One big thing is that there’s no iOS 7 love for iPads… yet. iOS 7 ships in the fall, which means I can’t test iOS 7 out on iPad for a bit. That’s BS. I’m sorry, but iOS 7 beta should be available for iPads, ‘today’ like the iPhone’s is. Why? Because the iPad is supposed to be this great mobile device slayer-of-traditional-PCs and they don’t have its new OS beta, filled with a bunch of new “features” (

Apple iradio WWDCNext up is something I really did like… the introduction of iRadio!!! And the price!? FREE! (with ads) and FREE with an iTunes Match account which has no ads, (25 bucks a year). That’s just huge. I like how Siri is bigger, integrates with iRadio, and hopefully she’s better. As documented in other pieces on this blog, I have an iTunes Match account… and I’ll certainly be enjoying this.

Now on to the new Mac Pro… and finally, they brought out a new form factor. After ALL THESE YEARS they bring out a new form factor and… it’s BS. What in the hell were they thinking here? I mean, it’s almost like Apple said, “G4 Cube, meet the Intel Cylinder”. HA… BS. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s something else that really gets to me about this. It’s not the form factor, or its guts, but it’s what it doesn’t offer. If you want to “expand” your ‘tower’ or ‘desktop’, you have to go ‘external’ peripherals. BULL. SH*T.

Apple new mac pro WWDCOkay, so tell me again what is the difference between the new Mac Pro and a Mac Mini, other than massive video and processor etc.? Nothing. I mean that’s a silly statement sure (the hardware pales in comparison), but geeks like ‘desktops’ because you can expand them and add upgrades over time. This new cylinder is garbage. Apple is forcing me to buy an extremely limited and expensive ‘Thunderbolt’ connected external devices to match the current internal speeds of these said devices. BULL. SH*T.

That brings the score to: Design, 1 – Useful Needs of the Consumer, 0.

It is the exact same crap they pulled with the iMac, etc.

At this point, your best bet is a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air (at least with the Air you know you’re buying a throw-away laptop). I guess their angle is that they took the ‘traditional’ desktop and made it (nothing but) a Mac Mini on steroids. What really happened was that they took the ‘PC’ and killed its form factor, neutering any internal geek love. The iPad didn’t kill the PC, Apple just did. Now if I want to upgrade, I have to build it at checkout, and that is going to be über $$.

Speaking of their notebook line, I LOVE the MacBook Air I have. I absolutely love it. The new MacBook Airs will finally be on the cutting edge, shipping with the brand spanking new Haswell chipset from Intel. This is huge. If I were to own a new Mac, for my dwindling usage of a ‘PC’, I’d own a phat new MacBook Air, hands down.

OVERALL… I’d say it was a half-decent event. I give them a solid ‘B’ today – ‘B’ for, yup… Bullsh*t. I’m sure some out there might still wonder, “Why so harsh, Aaron?” Well, I’ll tell ya. It is because they are the second richest company on the planet, and all they gave me today was a new UI for stock apps on my iPhone and iPad. BFD.

Apple iOS 7 WWDCI mean, this new interface must be the greatest thing in the world to develop. I mean, it must be the hardest most expensive thing in the world to have done – and not have done for the iPad (today). I mean, truly a new UI borrowing features from existing competitive companies, introducing new ‘features’ that have been around for years with other phones, and hacks, etc., must have been so expensive to develop – OF COURSE that’s all we get! Cupertino… start YOUR copiers. At least Redmond designed something different (sucks, but different).

Apple Inc. is the richest tech company in the world, and Google (bless their privacy stealing, sometimes pathetic apps, and wasteful, black hearts) are running circles around them. Why can’t we have built-in ad blocking in the new Safari? (I know why BTW) Why can’t OS X have received a UI overhaul to match iOS 7? Oh, because they needed ALL their resources on iOS… bullsh*t. Developers have redesigned UIs for years now (I used to for both Windows and OS X) and it’s not ‘that’ hard.

Apple is the richest tech company in the world… how about they hire more people if this is all they can put out?

Two-Factor Authentication Breaking Through To Social Media

linkedin securityEarlier this month, Aaron Hahn wrote about Apple finally adding two-factor authentication. With tech giants like ‘The Fruit’ & Google implementing the added security measures, it was just a matter of time until social media got involved on a larger level.

Just last week, Twitter officially announced their own two-factor authentication. So who would be next?

That answer came earlier today as LinkedIn announced their two-step verification.

So, of course, the question becomes… who’s next?

10 New SEO Changes At Google Coming This Summer

On Monday, Matt Cutts (the head of search spam at Google) broke away from tradition and pre-announced some changes Google will be making regarding SEO and webspam later this summer. He briefly touched on ten or so changes that will be coming to Google’s algorithms and search results in the “next few months”.

As always, Matt added the usual disclaimer that priorities and timelines may change between now and then – but this is what is scheduled currently. Here’s a quick summary of the ten points followed by the video:

(Another) Major Penguin Update
Advertising Spam
A Harder Look At Spammy Queries
Going Upstream At Link Spammers
Higher Quality Link Analysis
Improvements On Hacked Sites
Authority Boost In Algorithm
Panda To Somewhat
Adjustments To Domain Clusters In SERPs
Improved Communication To Webmasters

Now more than ever, Google seems to be listening to feedback from webmasters. What other changes would you like to see regarding search results, web sites and web spam? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Finally, Apple Adds Two-Factor Authentication to Apple ID

phone security

Just a quick note on something Apple was actually behind on…

Google has had two-factor authorization for a little while now, so Apple finally got up to speed with it. Here’s the “how-to”:

 

I just did this for both of my Apple accounts (iTunes & iCloud), as a little more security is never a bad thing.

The key to take away is… you get  a recovery number. So… DO NOT LOSE THIS NUMBER… or else :)

In my opinion, the entire world should move towards two-factor authentication.

This ends today’s public service announcement.

New Mobile OS’s Will Be A Future Trend

google android flawEarlier this month, a story surfaced about Google asking journalists to tone down the story of a massive Google Play security flaw.

Personally, I am not surprised since this has been going on since 2008. This is yet another reason why I loathe anything Android (and a good chunk of Google, in general).
This is very serious stuff, and I feel like it falls on deaf ears when I bring it up. My mind just cannot comprehend the populous’ decision to purposely lose their privacy and be a money-making whore for a faceless company.

It is of my opinion that in the coming years, Google will start experiencing the same backlash much like Apple is now.  Android has reached its saturation point (similar to Apple’s iOS) and other ecosystems beyond Android and iOS will be coming. Samsung (the biggest Android provider) is starting the switch with its Tizen OS. I was a tad shocked to see Samsung moving off of Android and starting their own, but it makes sense when it comes down to business. In the years to come, I foresee more hardware companies that will opt to go in this same direction.