Lynden and Anacortes

We have a couple of new pages for our cities of Lynden and Anacortes.

We offer all of our services to small businesses in both of those cities.

And, since we live so close to them, we are always happy to get together with those business owners, sit down, have a cup of coffee and discuss things.

Here are those pages:

Lynden Washington
Anacortes Washington

New Mount Vernon Page

We have put up a new page about Mount Vernon SEO opportunities and options.

We hope to help out some local businesses around Mount Vernon, WA, if they are looking for some free advice on growing their business.

I think we have some pretty good tips and guidance to offer them.



New Ferndale Page

So I live in Ferndale, Washington, and I realized that I didn’t have a page that discusses the work I do here.

I solved that today by uploading a page about Ferndale.

You can check it out here.

Seattle and Everett

So we decided to extend our services down to the cities of Everett and Seattle.

We have put up a couple of new pages to talk about it.

If it wasn’t obvious, our Everett SEO firm page and Seattle SEO agency page are where these pages are located.

Personalized Search Mistakes

When you run a small business you need to make a lot of decisions.  Hopefully, if you consistently make more right decisions than wrong decisions, your business will continue to exist and perhaps even thrive and grow.

I’ve made both good and bad business decisions in my time.

Rather than talk about the good decisions, I want to discuss one of my bad choices.

I was wrong on personalized search.

I didn’t get it at all.

It didn’t make any sense to me that people would give up their online privacy and anonymity for a little browsing convenience.

Why would someone want to sign in to a browser and have that browser track their every move? No one is going to that — or so I thought.

Individual site cookies I understand. You visit a website and they drop a cookie that tracks and usually improves your experience on that site. I get that. But why would someone want a browser to know and share so much about them and their web usage.

As someone who made their living from the search engines, maybe I was just too paranoid. I really didn’t want any of the search engines knowing too much about me. What if they found out something about me they didn’t like and used it to punish my websites?

The mistake I made was to take my own opinions and preferences and project those over the rest of the online public. I was just sitting in my office thinking about how everyone else was going to think just like I was thinking. I was really wrong.

I didn’t understand how important speed and convenience was to the average online user. ¬†I also completely missed the future connections that personalized search would have with social media. And my mistakes with social media — well, that deserves a long post all on its own.

In retrospect, being wrong on the importance of personalized search and how it affects search engine results pages and individual search behavior wasn’t really a big deal. But I still think about it from time to time and I try to remember this mistake so that I don’t make a similar judgment mistake in the future.


Who is Really Hurting

The SEO world has always changed rapidly.

But I was thinking today about which website owners have been hurt the most with the various changes that Google has introduced in the last two years, and I think the people who have been hit the hardest are the website owners and affiliate marketers who are in the middle of the black-hat/white-hat spectrum.

The hardcore black-hat marketers are still doing fine. They operate at such a high speed and campaign velocity that Google can’t really keep up with them. Granted, Google will usually catch on and fight back, but it takes them weeks, if not months, to find the offending pages and domains.

And white-hat marketers and the big brands are still doing fine as well. Big brands are pretty much immune to search engine changes now. Granted, Google tries to publicize the occasional punishment of a big brand’s website, but that is just for show.

And the people who have one old site that they work on every day, who are known well in their online community and work the social media angle well, gosh, they are still doing okay.

But the people in the middle, the guys with five or 10 websites, the guys who are what we would have to call gray hat, these are the ones that have been hurt the most these last 24 months.

Most gray-hat marketers try to put up reasonable websites. The content is decent — it’s original and written pretty well, maybe not at a professional writer level, but it is written by an English speaker and it isn’t spun. The pages are set up logically and the articles make sense.

They don’t have a database of media editors they can call up and pitch stories to. They don’t have the money for press releases through PRWeb. They don’t have the cash to outsource incredible, one-of-a-kind content.

So they do what they can. They do article marketing. They do guest posting. They try to comment on posts on relevant websites. They try to build reasonable backlinks on related websites any way they can.

Unfortunately, these are the types of activities that Google has really come down on. And these are the types of site owners who have really gotten beat up lately.

Google can do what they want. And they will.

But I wish they would concentrate on the black hat guys and the adware promoters, and not spend so much effort on the part-time site owners who are spending their weekends sitting in their basements, trying to make a few extra dollars.


First Post

As you can probably tell, we didn’t exactly recover from the server crash very smoothly.

We lost most of the previous content of the site, so we decided to just start the website all over again on a new domain and a new server.

One good thing about losing old posts and pages is that I don’t have to feel sheepish about some of the stuff I wrote a long time ago that didn’t age very well.

Normally, I wouldn’t advise any of my clients to start an established site all over, but we thought it, if nothing else, would be a good experiment.

I’m not saying this is the best plan or anything, but it’s what we decided to do — so here goes….