What Is "Labour Camp Management Software"?

labour camp management softwareI ask this question because "labour camp management software" was one of the top search terms for my blog today. Yes, it came with the British spelling of the word, "labor". I typed the search term into Google myself, and the first page is full of websites about "camp management software." Camp management software is something I understand. I can see the need for a camp of some sort to need software so that it can manage all of campers, programs, tasks, finances, and staff much more easily. But, labour camp management software?

There IS a Market For It

Yes, North Korea has several labor camps and perhaps Kim Jong-Un and his officials could use a little help managing everything that goes on in those camps. But, why would they want software for that? It leaves a digital paper trail of all their activities, creating more proof of the human rights abuses that happen behind those walls. It would also mean that North Korea would have to get its country Internet, and if North Korea got Internet access, then the entire dictatorship would crumble. I don't know if North Korea could handle labour camp management software. I mean, I don't think there's a strong technology industry or tech-focused education in North Korea. Training people in how to use this software would be such a hassle since you might even have to train them in how to use a computer.

Perhaps I'm Thinking About This a Little Too Hard

I mean, it's very possible someone typed in this keyphrase by accident. It's possible that his/her first keyphrase started with the word, "labour". After that search, this person wanted to do another search, but managed to delete everything but the word, "labour". The next search happened to be "camp management software", and hence the funny top search term for my blog. But, if it was a mistake, then why click the link to my blog? Why pay attention to the results of a keyphrase you didn't intend to search? This reasoning makes it seem more likely that the search term was intentional, which leaves me wondering what the hell labour camp management software is and who would want to purchase this software.

Camp Management Software that Also Managed the Labour?

That's much more plausible, and if the search term were spoken into Google Hummingbird, then the search engine might have interpreted the phrase this way. Better search terms for that would be project management software, or maybe recruiting software, or something like Basecamp. Basecamp is a popular project management software brand, so it would make sense that people would search for Basecamp or something along the lines of "camp", and "software", and "management." I certainly like Basecamp a lot better than labour camp management software. I've only heard great things about Basecamp. I've only heard terrible things about labor camps.

Well, I Don't Have Labour Camp Management Software

I wouldn't have anything on this blog that would support such a product, or would support the ventures and people that would use this product. The only reason why my blog might have come up for this search term is because of the Chinese labor camps action that I wrote the other day. Supposedly, China closed its labor camps, but many aren't sure if that was just something the government said for positive press, or if the camps are actually closing, or if it's a mix between the two.

There was an article that I remember reading (but now I can't find it) that discussed North Korea's labor camps. The article said that satellite imagery showed that one or two of the camps looked deserted, and experts wondered what happened to those camps and the people in them. Perhaps that's another reason why North Korea would be a bad customer for the software: the software would document what happened to those camps and the people, and the country probably doesn't want anyone to know.

photo credit: juhansonin via photopin cc

8 Factors in Search Engine Rankings You Probably Don't Know About

I just found out from a colleague that Google uses over 200 ranking factors when determining which pages go where in the search engine results. I knew there were a lot, but I didn't realize there were that many and how they impacted the search engine rankings of my website and the sites of my clients. The link is above if you want to review 200 yourself, but here are eight Google ranking factors that I didn't know about, and you probably don't know about either (until today):

  1. Exact Match Domains - An exact match domain is a domain name that's an exact keyword, such as or Exact match domains have always been a Google ranking factor, but they have lost strength in the last few algorithm updates. However, if your exact match domain offers high quality content, then it should still give you an edge, but more so because of the content and not because of the exact match.
  2. Page Loading Speed - Yes, it is a direct ranking factor. If your page takes too long to load, then it could hurt you. Google considers page loading speed, and several other factors, as part of the user experience. The better the user experience, the increased likelihood that the website offers quality content and is regularly maintained and updated, which is essentially what search engines want to show people in the search results.
  3. Image Optimization - This is one that's worth noting as its a Google ranking factor that may business bloggers and online publications miss. Google can't see images, so it "reads" them according to things like the caption, description, title, file name, and alt tag. When including images on your blog posts and web content (and please include images), include the keyword you want that page/blog post to rank for in each of those sections for the image.
  4. Contact Us Page - Supposedly, if your contact page actually has information on it (and isn't just a form), then that will improve your rankings. Although, it could just be for that page, but at least this is one more reason why a contact form isn't good enough for a contact page.
  5. Guest Posts - Guests posts, especially the backlinks, are very valuable for search engine rankings. However, links in the author bio aren't as valuable as those within the context of the article. This may be a little difficult to achieve, since some online publications are picky about the links that can be included in their blog posts, but it's something to keep in mind if guests posts are a big part of your online marketing strategy.
  6. Wikipedia Source Links - Bad news on this one! All Wikipedia links are 'no follow' so none of them count as part of your search engine rankings. As great as it is to have a link from Wikipedia, it does not count as part of your Google ranking factors. This also means that creating a Wikipedia page about your company may be good in that's in one more thing that can come up when people search for your company, but the links you include in there won't mean a thing.
  7. Word Count of Linking Content - A link from a 1000-word post is more valuable than a link inside ofa 25-word snippet. Who would have thought? This is a good reason to publish longer, more comprehensive content, as it boosts the value of the backlinks you provide to others.
  8. Brand Signals - This one actually encompasses several factors, but Google does like pages and social presences that indicate that your company or your website is, in fact, a brand. Make sure that your company has strong, fresh, and active brand signals, such as an official LinkedIn company page (using a personal profile is against the site's policy, so stop that if this is you), brand name anchor text, a Google+ local listing, and the number of blog/RSS subscribers you have.

Not only are there eight more ranking factors (well, more actually, if you count brand signals as several) to be aware of, but hopefully there's an additional understanding of things you can do to improve your SEO strategy. Keep in mind that search engine rankings aren't just based on one or two big things, but on a huge conglomerate of things that contribute to the user experience and what you have to offer a web visitor.

Why Did I Drop in Search Engine Rankings?

search engine rankingsIn a discussion with one of clients over the weekend, they mentioned that they had dropped in search engine rankings about six weeks ago. They were on the first page for several crucial keywords, but noticed over a month ago that they had been bumped back to the third page. They didn't know what happened, and neither did we. We couldn't think of any major Google updates that happened over the past month, so we decided to look into it and to figure out why our client (and maybe others in a similar situation) may have suddenly dropped in search engine rankings:

Detection of Low Content

Search engines will penalize your website if there is a lack of content, a lack of quality content, or if there are too many adds. We do not think this is the case with our client, although we could create more content on a regular basis to help with keeping our top search engine rankings when we do have them. We don't think this is the case because some of the websites that are ahead of us in rankings are not creating new content (one site is a blog that hasn't been updated since October 2011) or were news articles and web pages that were published in 2009 or 2010. Many factors go into search engine rankings, but it is confusing as to why these older sites that haven't been updated at all are getting priority.

Google's Panda #25 Update

It turns out there was a major Google algorithm update that happened right around the time our client complained about dropping in search engine rankings. We were able to find only one article that explained the specific changes and how they could have impacted our client's site. According to the article, older sites regained their search engine rankings, and many of the changes gave priority to older sites. These changes include favoring older backlinks and correlating older sites with a stronger trust factor. This explains why some of these older sites that haven't been updated have overtaken our client, where the blog is only two years old, so those backlinks and those blog posts are younger than the sites that are currently on the first page of our target keywords.

Future Search Engine Algorithm Updates

However, part of the announcement about this update is that all future Panda and Penguin updates will be less transaparent (rolling updates instead of a one-time comprehensive change), so it will be tougher to know when they happen and how they will affect your website. To accomodate this update, and all future updates, it looks like we'll just need to continue practicing good SEO practices and creating content.

Malware or Hacking

Fortunately, this wasn't the case with our client, but if your site does get hacked and/or does end up spreading malware, then your search engine rankings will drop. It's also possible that the search engines will blacklist your site until you have the malware removed, and once you do you will need to notify the search engines that your problem is fixed. A malware infection or a hack can happen at anytime, so pay attention if you see a drop or if someone reports a problem with your site.

Search engine rankings are a constant struggle. If you aren't giving the search engines reason to keep your website on the first page of results through tactics like content creation, website audits, and keyword research, then you are opening up the opportunity for a competitor to take over. It's good to monitor your seach engine rankings regularly, as well as see what websites are competing for your keywords, as you might find misinformation or a negative review of your company competing with you.

3 Things Google Says About Great Business Blogging

great business bloggingGoogle has made 500 algorithm changes in the past year! Most of them we've never heard of, and didn't make much difference to our search engine rankings and to our organic search traffic. However, there were two in the past two months that may have made a significant difference: Panda and Penguin.

The changes affect your business blogging because these updates affected how your content ranks. By favoring higher quality content and white hat SEO techniques, those that don't deliver will be punished. To avoid a drop in rankings, here's what Google itself says about great business blogging (it's worth a listen, since this is what the search engine giant likes to see when ranking posts and pages):

  1. Keep Each Blog/Page to One Topic - Google doesn't like keyword stuffing (which should already be a given). The best way to avoid that is to keep each page or blog post to one topic and to include the ONE relevant keyword throughout the copy of that page. This ensure that the page is well optimized for that keyword, while also avoid the overkill of keyword stuffing or coming across as something written for the search engine instead of human beings. Plus, it's incredibly difficult to have one page rank well for multiple keywords.
  2. Do Something Cool! - Find a way to stand out from the competition, whether that's including video, creating an infographic, or publishing remarkable content more often. While doing so, watch our for duplicate content. Google does not like duplicate content, so be weary about copying and pasting your own pagers, or republishing old posts, whether or not they are great content.
  3. Have a Value Proposition on Every Page of the Website - This ties in with number one, but make sure that every page provides something unique i.e the value proposition. The best way to sell this value proposition is with the meta description, the 150 words that shows up in search engine rankings. It's also a great place to include that relevant keyword. Essentially, provide value in your content and create a great experience for the user. Don't put up pages and articles for the sake of getting found online.
Overall, focus on your web visitors, not on the search engines. Your web visitors will eventually be the ones who will become your customers. Don't worry so much about keywords and being on the first page of every single one. If you just have an excellent business blog and you produce great content marketing offers for your target market, they will find you one way or another.
To find out how well you're already doing on Google and your online marketing, sign up for our free web assessment! This assessment will tell you how you fare against your competition, and what you can do to improve:

How to Blog: Utilizing Internal Links

internal linksInternal links are links that lead to other web pages on your site. Although internal links aren't as powerful for SEO as inbound links, internal links can definitely help in optimizing your site for certain keywords. It's important that internal links are used correctly in your business blogging and search engine optimization, so those links are useful to you as well as the reader.

Internal links are great for business blogging, as they can be used to link to related posts, service pages, or even some of your landing pages. Internal links are also completely in your control, so if they don't work, then it's something that your not doing right. The key to making them work is to have the anchor text (the words that are hyperlinked) be those keywords or phrases that you are trying to optimize.

Internal links also work well when linking to popular pages and when the linking is consistent. This means consistency in the anchor text as well as where the internal links are located. By location, are you going to link in the on page text, in the navigation menu, from blog posts, or a combination thereof. If you're trying to rank for the keyphrase "online marking and promotion," then best thing to do is to create a page around that keyphrase, and then link to that page from other pages using that keyphrase as the anchor text. This ensures that this specific page will rank for that keyphrase.

Internal links also work best if you try to connect to more than just your home page. You can't expect your home page to rank for every single keyword you wish to optimize. It's better if you create a page to rank for every single keyword or phrase you wish to optimize (page could also mean blog post too), or to find a page that has content that's really relevant to that keyword, and link to that. This way, you can have more pages rank for more keywords, and you can also ensure that the content people find is incredibly relevant.

Internal links count as a vote for yourself in the eyes of the search engines, so it's a great way to start building your search engine rankings if you don't yet have any inbound links. If done strategically, they can really make a difference with your business blogging and search engine optimization.

If you aren't sure how your internal links are working, then sign up for our FREE website assessment. This will tell you what's working and what's not, and how you can improve. Click the button below to sign up:


Getting Found Online is Only Half the Story

Getting found on search engines is what everyone wants. Getting tons of web traffic is everyone's goal. Got these two things and you've succeeded in online marketing, right?


I suspect that there's a prevailing misconception that if you get tons of traffic to your website, you will also have tons of people who will buy your product or service right then and there. This is simply not true. When was the last time you went to a company's page for the first time, and bought something right away? Probably never. However, many small businesses aren't prepared to do anything with this web traffic once they get it, or to provide something of quality to those who find them online.

Getting traffic and getting found online is only have the story. The other half of the story is the provision of quality content, of something to engage and to interest these web visitors in your brand and in your product. The best way to create that engaging, interesting, and quality content is through business blogging. Business blogging, a subset of content marketing, is the best way to fulfill both haves of the story.

After all, what's the point of tons of traffic if you can't retain it or turn it into leads? What's the point of getting found online if you're only found by those who already know you? What's the point of ranking for generic keywords or only for your company name, when that might not be giving you the best traffic anyway? Getting found and getting traffic may be great, but only if you're getting found by those who don't know you, and who could turn into sustainable traffic by becoming leads and customers.

Getting found and getting traffic are just half of successful online marketing, just half of the story. Small businesses need to write the other half of the story by creating quality, engaging content through business blogging and content marketing. The point of marketing is to generate buzz as well as customers. The way to do that online and with your website is to create remarkable content that tells the other half of your story and has an ending of providing the solution to solve the problems of your customer.

Getting traffic and getting found by be what you want as a business, what does your customer or web visitor want? THAT is the other half of the story.

How to Capture Leads from Your Business Blog

leads business blogCapturing leads from business blogging is vital to demonstrating a return on all that hard work. After all, that's the long-term goal of business blogging: to generate leads from your readers and to make sales from your leads. So, just how is a small business to turn those blog readers into leads? The way to do so is with calls to action. A call to action is a suggestion of what a blog reader or web visitor ought to do next. For example, here are two calls to action that I've used at the end of two of my own blog posts: