San Diego Web Design Blog
San Diego Web Design
October 1, 2012 by Mark Lauzon

About The Author


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Author and owner of San Diego Webworks LLC. I am a Web Designer, Developer and SEO service provider.

I attended the Art Institute of Seattle from 1985-1987. Graduated from The La Jolla Academy of Advertising Arts in 1989. I worked as a Graphic Designer until 1997 Then moved into the field of Web Design. I started my own company “San Diego Webworks” in 1999 and have been designing websites for the past 13 years.

Some of my clients include: DELL, Oracle, Sears, SDSU, Websense, and ESET.

 

San Diego web designer, developer and Web marketing by San Diego webworks

Full-Service web design, development and marketing to companies in San Diego and around the world

San Diego Webworks is a professional web design company based in Southern, California. Our award winning web designers specialize in best-in-class custom web site design, website development, flash multimedia, corporate identity, and SEO Services.

We have launched many successful projects for clients such as DELL, Sears, MADD, San Diego State University, Meadsdurket Advertising, Memec, Websense, Kintera, La Mesa RV, ESET, Spartan, HK Plastics, and many others. We have appeared in the news, The View and many publications such as The New York Times, Union Tribune, Seattle Times, and information Magazine.

San Diego Webworks integrated business-driven approach separates us from typical web design companies. Top designers, big-picture thinking, personal attention, competitive prices, and real world results – Give us a call to learn more about us.
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August 11, 2012 by Mark Lauzon

Web Designers Get your Free Download: UI Kit

Printed in Free Resources

Today we’ve got an excellent gift which will be utilized in your own web style projects. This UI kit was designed by Michael Reimer of BestPSDFreebies and it’s options a mode of straightforward class that may make it helpful for a large type of varieties of websites. The set comes in an exceedingly layerd PSD files and includes parts like buttons, rating parts, tags, media player buttons, radio buttons, check boxes, and more.

Free Download: Fine UI Kit

The resources enclosed during this UI kit are free to be used on personal and industrial sites, no attribution needed. Please see the “readme” file for transfer details.

Download (zip file)

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June 19, 2012 by Mark Lauzon

How to Get Rid of Google’s Unnatural Links Penalty

I have been a web designer and SEO professional for the past 12 years and have seen many trends and changes over the years with Google rules and algorithms, but I have never seen as many changes as there have been in the past four months. I am constantly monitoring my website positions, as well as customers’ and competitors’ website positions. The search positions are all over the map. Some of them have stayed at the top and never moved but a lot of the websites are changing daily.

In April of this year I started getting calls from people who received the dreaded message from Google about unnatural links detected on their website. Some of them were penalized within a few days of receiving the message. I realized that since Google was enforcing their new algorithm and moving websites back several pages, and in some cases de-indexing them, these people will need help. In order to help I knew the first thing I needed was a way to identify where the unnatural links were coming from. Were they on their website? Coming from other websites?

If you look at the definition of unnatural links Google has on their support pages it’s kind of hard to figure out, especially for a normal business person who does not know anything about SEO. I knew I had my work cut out for me. I started looking into what Google provides in their webmaster tools to find out where the links could be coming from. Google does provide a pretty good picture of where your links are at but unfortunately they don’t tell you which ones are bad. Personally I like Google and all their tools, but in this case I think it is a bit unfair to give someone a penalty without revealing where the penalty came from. I could go on and on and complain up the yin and yang about this subject but that is not going to fix anyone’s problem.

So my next step was to find a company that could provide the kind of information I was looking for. I searched on Google and found three companies (SEOMOZ, MajesticSEO and Blurbpoint) offering link data analysis and signed up for their initial SEO audits. I was a bit disappointed with each one. Although they did do a good job of finding links and showing me things like page authority, anchor text, and broken links, they did not show me which links were considered unnatural or even suspicious. I needed something that would take all the guesswork out and make it easier to distinguish which links were ok and which were bad. I needed something an ordinary customer could look at and see where the problem is.

Finally I found a company that could provide me with the kind of data I was looking for.
Google website SEO Audit Report

I signed up for an SEO link audit and they were able to give me a report that made sense and had the data that pointed out where the bad links reside. I have since partnered up with this company and I am now able to help my clients with their troubled websites. If you or anyone you know is also lost and can’t find a solution, sign up and get a FREE link audit at www.unnaturallinkrepair.com. They will provide the proper data and in conjunction with my company San Diego Webworks we will provide a full service solution to cleaning up your links and helping you get your business back on track. Every day that your website is not on the first page of Google is another day that you will lose business.

Here is a video I think may be helpful:

If you are looking for a full service solution for cleaning up your website’s unnatural links, contact Mark Lauzon at San Diego Webworks.

E-mail: webmaster@sdwebworks.com

Website: www.sdwebworks.com

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May 12, 2012 by Mark Lauzon

There is hope for SEO recovery

I recently read this article in search engine land.
After weeding out all the BS I pulled what I thought was important.
HOPE! for all of you that have been recently hit with Google’s latest Panda and Penguin changes and now sit in nowhere land.
Please see this.

How Can You Recover?

One of the most difficult things with this update is telling people how to recover. Anyone hit by Penguin was deemed to be spamming Google.

In the past, if you spammed Google, you were told to file a reconsideration request. However, Google’s specifically said that reconsideration requests won’t help those hit by Penguin. They’ll recover naturally, Google says, if they clean the spam up.

However, one of the main reasons I’ve seen when looking at sites hit by Penguin seems to be bad linking practices. People have used sponsored WordPress themes, or poor quality reciprocal linking, have purchased links or participated in linking networks, such as those recently targeted by Google.

How do people pull themselves out of these link networks, if perhaps they don’t have control over those links now?

“It is possible to clean things up,” Cutts said, and he suggested people review two videos he’s done on this topic:

“The bottom line is, try to resolve what you can,” Cutts said.

Waiting On Penguin To Update Again

If you do clean things up, how will you know? Ideally, you’ll see your traffic from Google recover, the next time Penguin is updated.

That leads to another important point. Penguin, like Panda, is a filter that gets refreshed from time-to-time. Penguin is not constantly running but rather is used to tag things as spam above-and-beyond Google’s regular spam filtering on a periodic basis.

Is Penguin a site-wide penalty like Panda or page-specific? Cutts wouldn’t say. But given that Panda has site-wide impacts, I think it’s a fair assumption that Penguin works the same.

What that means is that if some of your site is deemed Penguin-like, all of it may suffer. Again, recovery means cleaning up the spam. If you’ve cleaned and still don’t recover, ultimately, you might need to start all over with a fresh site, Cutts said.

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May 2, 2012 by Mark Lauzon

Googles unnatural links policy can kill your business

Here is an article that I think every website owner and webmaster should read.

 

Advice and Confessions from a Reformed Link Network Spammer

There was only one time when link building was the easiest, least challenging part of my SEO work. I was a link network spammer, relying upon services with names like “blog networks” and “article networks.” These services allow paid subscribers to post their content to a network of sites for the sole purpose of building links. Because the sites aren’t meant to be read by people, many networks accept and actively encourage spun content. The resultant content quality is absolutely horrific.

Sodium Body of water Town - Uhhh, you mean Salt Lake City?

I pulled this example from an active blog network site. “Sodium Body of water Town” is spun garbagese for “Salt Lake City.”

Using blog networks, I had multiple sites penalized, re-included, and, once I had learned the ropes, I even had a few that gained rankings and escaped unharmed. I ultimately gave up my spam-content ways because it became clear that it was not an effective long-term strategy. The writing was on the wall – Google was getting smarter, and I was at risk of losing any time I invested.

And the writing was, and still is, on the wall. Google rolled out Panda, which dealt a heavy blow to some blog and article networks that had paid almost no attention to users. Starting this year, blog networks, both private and public, starting dropping. In one of the highest-profile incidents, Google crippled BMR’s blog network.

Webmasters began receiving warnings in Google Webmaster Tools around the same time that now strike fear into the hearts of those using manipulative or questionable tactics to build links:


Google WMT Warning Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links to http://example.com/


Dear site owner or webmaster of http://example.com/,

We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely,

Google Search Quality Team

In short: you’re caught – the game is up. Some sites received this warning without penalties, and some sites were penalized immediately. In either case, the links need to be taken down to retain or regain rankings. So what now?

Identifying Posts from Blog Networks

There are plenty of webmasters, site owners, and SEOs who have no idea what Google is talking about when they receive the warning. For example, I recently spoke with a friend from a reputable SEO agency who had the bad lack of taking over the same week his client was penalized for the previous SEO firm’s work. In any case, the first step to fixing the problem is finding the links in question. We can use tools like Open Site Explorer and Google/Bing Webmaster tools to find bad links.

Because BMR’s sites have already been outed, penalized, and rendered useless for the foreseeable future, we can use an old BMR site as examples of what to look for:

BMR-spam-blog-example

That’s right – you can get misinformation about water shoes, Dubai shopping, and constipation remedies – all in one place! BMR posts actually had limited quality reviews, making them higher quality than most existing blog networks.

The identifying marks of a blog network post are as follows:

  1. Terrible content and a boring template; you find yourself asking, “Why would anyone ever subscribe to this blog?”
  2. Topics are jumped, unrelated to the site’s theme, and categorization is poor.
  3. There is rarely an about section, author name, or means of contact.
  4. Lots and lots of exact-match anchor text seemingly pointing to sites at random.
  5. Posts tend to be 400-500 words with 2-3 links per post – generally all to the same site.

If you have recently received an unnatural link warning, there’s a pretty good chance that you have a lot of links like this in your link portfolio. You will also wish to look for footer/blogroll links, especially from irrelevant sites, and any other links that were clearly not intended to be viewed by visitors.

Fixing and Recovering From Unnatural Link Penalties

There is a way back to Google’s good graces, but it’s not going to be fast, and it’s unlikely that your traffic will reach the same heights it once did if you relied heavily on link networks or paid links to gain rankings. Once you’re caught, you must sacrifice all paid or spammy links, submit a reconsideration request, and develop a legitimate backlink portfolio.

Removing Penalization-Inducing Links

The removal of links has to be thorough, or the reconsideration request will be denied. If you rent links on a monthly basis, the obvious step is to stop paying for the links and request their removal. If your links were built by an external company, contact them and see what they can do about taking any links from blog networks offline. For BMR users, I recommend clicking the following link, which BMR was professional enough to offer:

Take them all down! Now leave the site without exporting those low-quality posts that you won’t need, thanks to the fantastic new link-building strategy you’re going to develop. Other link networks often provide simple solutions to taking down your links – speak with the person who put these links up if you don’t have access.

In the case of paid links not submitted through a blog network, you may have to contact the site directly and request removal of links. It’s a tedious process, but a reasonable effort has to be made.

Submitting a Reconsideration Request

If your site hasn’t been penalized yet, but you received the warning, you can skip this step. Do not skip the step above, as you will eventually face into a penalty if you don’t clean up your act and link portfolio. In a blog post on 6 Ways to Recover from Bad Links, Dr. Pete offers some advice for reconsideration requests:

  • Be honest, specific and detailed.
  • Show that you’ve made an effort.
  • Act like you mean it (better yet: mean it).

You have to explain that you have changed your views and your strategic focus. A good way to show effort is by including a link to an accessible Google Doc spreadsheet showing the bad links, which ones were removed, and which ones you made unsuccessful efforts to remove. Be specific, and touch on everything requested on the reinclusion request form:

Tell us more about what happened: what actions might have led to any penalties, and what corrective actions have been taken. If you used a search engine optimization (SEO) company, please note that. Describing the SEO firm and their actions is a helpful indication of good faith that may assist in evaluation of reconsideration requests. If you recently acquired this domain and think it may have violated the guidelines before you owned it, let us know that below. In general, sites that directly profit from traffic (e.g. search engine optimizers, affiliate programs, etc.) may need to provide more evidence of good faith before a site will be reconsidered.

Be open and specific about what you were doing, what you changed to comply with Google’s guidelines, and what you will do going forward. Right now there is doubtless a long line of websites requesting reinclusion, so make sure you’ve done a good clean-up. The last thing you want is to have to go through the whole process again in a few months. You’ll also have to be patient, especially if you’re a smaller site or lesser-known brand. In the meantime, though, we will develop a legitimate link-building strategy.

Build a Legitimate Link Portfolio

Under most conditions, Google appears to assess link penalties algorithmically. Most of the sites that I have seen receiving warnings about unnatural links have serious problems with the over-optimization of anchor text and links from low-quality sites.

Link penalties - exact match over optimization and spammy sites

Low quality sites, in this diagram, refers to sites (and pages) that have little or no relevance, few incoming links, unnatural link portfolios of their own, and few branding signals. Having too much exact-match anchor text from legitimate domains is a hard thing to do, but it has happened through things like widgets with unnatural anchor text.

Building links from legitimate sources is hard, and in competitive and boring industries it take a lot of creativity and work. Some have taken this as a license to manipulate rankings and build spammy links.

In competitive and boring industries; however, the online world looks very much like the real world. The secret to success in both is a unique selling point (USP): what makes you different or better than your competitors? Your USP can be customer experience, site interactivity, prices, or content resources. Online businesses will profit in much the same way that offline businesses did and continue to.

It is time to start thinking of ways to build links and attract users in a way that is scalable, effective, and long-term. Building links manually is boring, difficult, and often unrewarding. There’s a reason a lot of industry leaders have been talking about content marketing.

New Questions and Concerns

There’s a lot of change in this industry, and we’ve become good at adapting and changing our roles. As with all significant changes, there have been a flood of questions about what to do. First, I do not think that this was related to Google’s reported semantic search or the upcoming over-optimization penalty. The later was was pre-announced after large numbers of sites had already been pummeled my something else entirely.

My Blog Network is Running Strong. Should I Stop?

Yes. Those who have not received warnings for using blog networks should recognize that blog networks are not a sustainable long-term strategy. You’re spending time building bad links instead of relationships and branding. Additionally, Google has hit several blog networks, and it’s likely to continue. Standing and waiting for the hammer to fall is strategy at its absolute worst.

Couldn’t I Hurt Competitors?

The last defense for the link spammer is a fallacious line of reasoning: “search engines can’t penalize me, because I could do it to my competitors.” Yes, in theory, you could trigger a link spam penalty on a competitor site. You will find; however, that companies with strong branding signals who have built real editorial links – usually the companies that actually rank highly – are nearly impervious to link spam attacks.

Yes, you can do horrible things to other people – but why? Ethics aside, it just doesn’t make sense in this industry to waste effort tearing others rather than building a site up. Restaurant owners don’t go around attacking nearby restaurant owners’ stores, because it takes a lot of effort and, even if you do temporarily close a restaurant, it doesn’t really bring new customers. There are a lot of restaurants in the city – and even more sites on the internet.

Note that there may be legal ramifications if you successfully harm a competitor with link spam. Once the subpoenas start falling, the invincible feeling of anonymity disappears quickly.

Strategies for Agencies

One line in the reconsideration request stood out to me:

“Describing the SEO firm and their actions is a helpful indication of good faith”

People rarely describe a company without mentioning its name. What actions might we expect from firms mentioned in multiple reconsideration requests? Direct action is unlikely, but companies who relied on networks to build links to clients’ and their own sites may be wise to worry, devise a new strategy, and stop publishing crap.

I have absolutely no interest in the obnoxious and mostly-imaginary “war” between white hat and black hat SEO. Whether you care about adding value to users – and at the world of link penalties and Panda, it’s insane not to – it’s time to drop tactics and schemes like blog networks. The links have been low value for a long time, but now they carry with them an unacceptable risk.

About Carson Ward —    Carson is an SEO consultant with Distilled. He has worked for several years in in online marketing fields such as SEO, affiliate marketing, and paid advertising.
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February 6, 2012 by Mark Lauzon

Seo

So you want to SEO your website. You and thousands of others. There is no magic potion or tricks to SEO. I hate to bore you but SEO is just math. If you know how Google does their math to rank websites then guess what? Your on your way to the first Google search results page and an increase in sales big time.

I found a few websites that are extremely helpful to the internet marketer and website owner. If you are having a problem with your website not showing up in Google search for your products, then you might as well not even have a website.

Does your website get minimal traffic and you don’t know why? There are a lot of questions on this subject, but I am not here to answer them. I will refer you to the experts and the best online sources where I learned my SEO skills.

I will also be telling you about how I increased traffic to my website by taking a couple of online Google Adwords and Article Marketing classes.

You can take a Google Adwords Class or a Article Marketing class online in one evening for the condensed version of the course.

I don’t want to overwhelm you so I will give you three things that will improve your knowledge on this subject beyond belief. Later on when I update this article I will be offer more info on improving your ranking on Google.

The top things I recommend you do first is to help your ranking:

  1. Take the Article Marketing Course & Adwords Pro at WA by clicking here.
  2. Watch this SEO Video
  3. Stop back by the website and leave your feedback and let us know what you thought. If you found this article helpful please say so to let others know.

Bookmark this article now. It will be updated often.

You will see future articles on:

seo services

I wish you luck and hope you stop back by for updates and to leave your feedback.

Thanks

Google I/O 2010 – SEO site advice from the experts Tech Talks Matt Cutts, Greg Grothaus, Evan Roseman A perfect opportunity to get your website reviewed by the experts in the Google Search Quality team. Attendees can get concrete search engine optimization (SEO) feedback on their own sites. We’ll also answer real-life questions that affect developers when it comes to optimizing their websites for search. For all I/O 2010 sessions, please go to code. Google. Com


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December 5, 2011 by Mark Lauzon

What Will Google Think of Next?

We are rapidly approaching the new year and so much has changed in 2011, you may predict a quiet 2012. Think again! The search engines (and today I will focus on Google) are always changing in order to better the “user experience” to deliver a better quality product. And by deliver a better product, I mean of course deliver a better investment to their share holders. I will break down some of the most significant changes and why I believe them to be important to keep an eye on.

Google Analytics Premium

New Development: Analytics has always been a free offering to webmasters in order to provide data on who is visiting a site, from where they come, what they are doing on the site, and when they are returning. Google has raised the stakes by beefing up the offering with support, enhanced analysis, and guarantees for data collection and accuracy.


Impact: By monetizing a once free product and slapping a 5 figure price tag on it, it is apparent that Google is looking to recoup their investments across the board. With the ongoing hardware battle for supremacy in the mobile and notebook verticals raging, Google has looked inward to find more money-making opportunities. This trend doesn’t end with reporting data though…

“Secure Search”

New Development: The official Google Blog lays it out plainly but the premise is quite simple. Those users who are logged into a Google account (Gmail, Google+, Youtube, etc.) will not have certain data recorded into a site’s Analytics reports. Google claims this is an effort to “[protect] the personalized search results [they] deliver” as more results are geared towards their personal usage and increased web access from unsecured networks.
When you look through your Analytics data, particularly under “Organic” in the “Traffic Sources” section, you will notice a new line item making up a percentage of your traffic. In between keywords you may recognize (in Best Rank’s case, “search engine marketing company” or “internet marketing company”) a new phrase appearing that will at first seem out of place. “Not Provided” will soon become part of the SEO vernacular as this recent change suggests.
When you see a result for “Not Provided,” that tells us a user was signed into a Google account when they found you organically. It also means that whatever keyword they used to find you is now protected to secure their privacy.
Impact: For the time being, this will skew a relatively small percentage of your organic data as you won’t know what keyword search led them to your site. Reports have come out that this may impact between 7% and 14% of your keyword traffic and that number may increase over time. However, this change will not affect AdWords (PPC), so you will continue to see accurate reports on keyword search data.
What this signals to me is that Google is more interested in providing you data that is geared toward their monetized endeavors (Display Ads, Content Network, PPC) as opposed to the “free” or organic results. I expect this trend to continue where Google will increase our access to data supporting paid efforts (Mobile Ads) while increasing the difficulty of tracking or even seeing organic efforts (More Paid Ads).

“Fresher Results”

New Development: On November 3rd, Google announced a change to their algorithm and likened it to our preference for “warm cookies right out of the oven.” Google infers that we prefer our food fresh, and while this strongly ignores my love for day-old, cold pizza, they went ahead and made the algorithm change anyway. In short, Google has come to understand that we use the web these days not only to locate goods or places, but to stay informed on breaking news.

 

They use the example that most people searching for the Olympics are probably looking for the run-down on 2012 in London, not the first Olympics or their origins. Google predicts that this will impact 35% of searches and will aid in delivering the up-to-the-minute news we apparently crave.
Impact: This change along with recent updates to Local Search results are having a dramatic impact on what we see seconds after entering a keyword search. Results above the fold (those you don’t have to scroll down to see) are frequently featuring paid results, local business results (Places Pages), and now recent results, which may include pieces from social media channels and news organizations.
With Places currently being offered for free, we still have “organic” results at the top. However, Google had once monetized these profiles with the now defunct Tags and I would not be surprised to see the new Places go the same route. Google has been working hard on their own social network (Google+) and many are seeing the monetization markups on the wall. If we continue to see these trends, we may soon live in an era where those results above the fold are predominantly paid results.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN???!!!

Google is a public company with billions of dollars and millions of daily users. Through the years, they have continued to innovate with hardware, television outlets, social networks, etc. But what they always come back to is their bread and butter: search. As their other business ventures have been met with fierce competition, government investigation, and sometimes utter failure (Google Buzz, anyone?), they have to understand the value of search which started it all. Based on the changes we’ve discussed and their interest in growing profits, don’t be surprised to see their paid services increase in familiarity, exposure, and use.
Posted by drew on Tue, 11-15-2011 at 08:50 am to Google
Story posted in Best Rank
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September 18, 2011 by Mark Lauzon

Welcome to the new San Diego Webworks blog

San Diego web designer, developer and Web marketing by San Diego webworks

Full-Service web design, development and marketing to companies in San Diego and around the world

San Diego Webworks is a professional web design company based in Southern, California. Our award winning web designers specialize in best-in-class custom web site design, website development, flash multimedia, corporate identity, and SEO Services.

We have launched many successful projects for clients such as DELL, Sears, MADD, San Diego State University, Meadsdurket Advertising, Memec, Websense, Kintera, La Mesa RV, ESET, Spartan, HK Plastics, and many others. We have appeared in the news, The View and many publications such as The New York Times, Union Tribune, Seattle Times, and information Magazine.

San Diego Webworks integrated business-driven approach separates us from typical web design companies. Top designers, big-picture thinking, personal attention, competitive prices, and real world results – Give us a call to learn more about us.
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