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WordPress as Subdirectory of Another WordPress Installation (Two WordPress Installations One Domain)

This proved to be much more of a challenge than I’d anticipated, so I’m writing a blog post to help out anyone else looking to do the same thing. Here’s the situation, I’m starting with two WordPress installations and each has it’s own directory and own domain. I want both installations to be accessed on the same domain without having to move any files. I don’t want to reconstruct the second site to be part of the first site, since I want to maintain two independent installations of WordPress.

STARTING POINT:
http://www.SiteOne.com   /www/public_html/SiteOne
http://www.SiteTwo.com   /www/public_html/SiteTwo

FINISHING POINT:
http://www.SiteOne.com   /www/public_html/SiteOne
http://www.SiteOne.com/Sitetwo   /www/public_html/SiteTwo

STEP 1:
The first step is to create a soft/symbolic directory link inside the SiteOne root that links to SiteTwo root.
Symbolic: /www/public_html/SiteOne/SiteTwo
Target: /www/public_html/SiteTwo
Here’s a resource on how to do this, or have your hosting company do this for you: http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/creating-soft-link-or-symbolic-link/

STEP 2:
Replace the default htaccess file contents of SiteTwo with the following below.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /SiteTwo/
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /SiteTwo/index.php [L]

Credit moshu: http://wordpress.org/support/topic/two-wordpress-installations-one-domain-name-and-host

At this point the configuration will not be working because the .htaccess directives at /www/public_html/SiteOne/.htaccess with be controlling all aspects of the URL so the directives at /www/public_html/SiteTwo/.htaccess will have no bearing.

STEP 3:
The final step is to modify the default WordPress htaccess directives to be conditional, so that they will have control in for all variations of the URL except for http://www.SiteOne.com/SiteTwo/*

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^SiteTwo # If any part of the URL after the domain includes SiteTwo then
RewriteRule .? – [S=4] # skip the next four lines
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ – [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

STEP 4
Now we need to redirect any queries for http://www.SiteTwo.com to http://www.SiteOne.com/SiteTwo
We will add the following directive to our .htaccess file for SiteTwo

# redirect from mbstrategic.com to dinelogik.com/mbstrategic
Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(.*)mbstrategic.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.dinelogik.com/mbstrategic/$1 [R=301,L]

Let me know how this works for you.

Ted B.

The Pitfalls of Automated Link Building

Search Engine algorithms have changed considerably over the last few years. But one factor remains important, links. Perhaps not as important as they were, but without a solid link profile it can be challenging to be successful online.

The problem with link building, however, is that it has not kept up with the changes in the algorithms to any great extent. Instead, many link builders have focused on more links gained faster and faster to make up for the ongoing drop in value of those links. As with most things that have a diminishing value, the only way to continue to gain any benefit from them is to automate them to take the labor factor out of the equation.

The value of a link

As link building became more repetitive, programmers stepped in to create ways to automate the process. This further lowered the value of the links being gained. To better understand how this can be, it helps to understand a little about Pagerank, the original foundation for Google’s ranking algorithm. (http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html)Pile of LInks

Google has always presented Pagerank in their toolbar as a green bar from 0 to 10 which lead people to say things such as, I have a PR4 website. In reality, the toolbar PR is an extrapolation of actual Pagerank. In its simplest form all of the links on the entire internet add up to one. If there were only 50 links, they would add up to one. If there were 1,000 links, they would add up to one. So every time a link is added, all links loose just the smallest bit of value. And when someone automates link building and is able to create 10,000 links an hour we see a lot of value lost forcing you to create even more links just to maintain your place.

The problem with automated links is that they get surrounded by more and more automated links. A simplified way to explain how links pass value is that the total value of the page is divided among the links on that page. So, if a page is worth 10 points, and it has 10 links on it, then each link is worth 1 point. If the page is flooded with automated links like we see in directory submissions or blog comments, then we have a page worth 10 points that has 100 links on it making each link worth just .1 points.

Another issue that link building automation creates is that it pushes links further and further from the home page. The best place for a link is on the home page. Almost all home pages are the most powerful page on any website. Look at your Facebook news feed. If you have a small number of friends you may see a status update on your wall for a day or more. But if you have hundreds, or thousands, of friends that update may be on the wall for a few minutes, or seconds. The same thing happens with automated link building, as more links pile on top, the ones below tend to be worth less as they get further from the home page.

Automated Link Types

To combat link building automation the search engines began to devalue certain types of links. Generally any link that a website owner can get on their own or can be automated has been devalued. A short list of these types of links includes:

  • Directory Links: Originally one of the most popular links, submitting your website to link directories allowed you to gain hundreds, or thousands, of links with the anchor text of your choice. These links tended to be free, but could be paid for to increase their value. They were also some of the first automated links where products such as DigiXmas or Roboform making it easy to submit your website to hundreds of sites an hour.
  • Blog Commenting: Next in the list came blog commenting. Like directory links you could post your link on multiple website quickly and easily with your chosen anchor text. Automated blog commenting and spam commenting led to the creation of the nofollow attribute for the rel tag. This told the search engines to not count that link as a valid link and became the default setting on many blog platforms such as WordPress.
  • Generic Guest Blogging: Guest blogging became a very popular method for getting in content links. However, the weak value of the posts themselves, added to the speed that they move off of the front page of the blog makes them far less useful that they have been in the past. When blasted across a blog network they are pushed off the front page even quicker.
  • Social Bookmarking: Social bookmarking became all the rage when Digg and Delicious became popular. Once again, automated bookmarking tools evolved to make link building easy. Add to that the inexpensive labor being used to submit these bookmarks and you have hundreds, if not thousands, of sites being flooded with submissions.
  • Paid Links: Paid links have been around since before there were search engines. We used to call them advertising. But since the algorithm cannot distinguish between paid links used simply to increase a page’s Pagerank and links paid for advertising, the search engines declared them illegal. This does not change the fact that they easy to buy and easy to get. With paid links you could pay for a link on a website’s footer and instead of getting one link, you would get a link on every single page that site has. Potentially thousands of links at one time.

As these types of links have lost more and more value many link builders have simply escalated the process and where they formerly built 100 links, now they build 1,000 links. This increases the problem and forces them to build even more links like these to get the same effect. Eventually this process spirals out of control.

Should I still chase these links?

There is still a place in your link profile for these types of links even though they lose value very quickly after being created. In small niches with little competition they can be all that is needed to get your site listed on page one of the Search Engines. They can also give you a quick boost that can’t be achieved with other types of more durable and evergreen link building. Just be sure that you understand that the negative effect of these links is that if they are all you are relying on, when you stop creating them your rankings will begin to drop in a very short amount of time forcing you to reinvest over and over with no end in site.

Steve G.

Top 10 Marketing Tips for Dentists

Don’t let plaque grow on your dental website! To make your site really sparkle, there are several simple improvements that can help attract new customers and bring them through your doors. Take a look at these Top 10 Marketing Tips for Dentists to make sure you’re getting the most out of the Internet’s marketing power.

1. Improve website copy on your five primary pages: Homepage, About Us, About The Doctor, Contact, Office Tour. These are the top 5 pages on most all dental websites. Keep the following points in mind: Website copy should be engaging and personal. It needs to answer the questions that visitors are asking, “What’s in it for me?” and “How will this benefit me?”

  • Emphasize “comfort” and “pain-free.” Everyone is nervous to go to the dentist, so emphasize how comfortable you make people feel.
  • On the “About The Doctor” page, people want to know more than just credentials. Make sure the copy answers the question “What’s in it for me?
  • Incorporate testimonials throughout the website and especially on the five most visited pages
  • List awards or special mentions on homepage using eye-catching graphics

2. Build a tour page if you don’t already have one and incorporate real pictures of staff and your office on tour page. People who are considering coming to your office want to see images.

3. Include specials, coupons and other promotions on the homepage to hook website visitors. Coupons and promotions need to have a sense of urgency such as, “Through November, enjoy $49 teeth cleaning…”

4. Encourage patients to leave positive comments through Google Maps or Yelp. To assist them, you can consider leaving an iPad in the waiting room. Their comments are important for improving online rankings in local directories.

5. Improve the look of your homepage by including a large image in the body area in order to break up the paragraphs of text. Take a look at this San Diego dental implant specialist’s website as an example.

6. Include a testimonial and doctor interview video on the homepage. Pictures are worth a thousand words and online video can be worth much more if done well.

7. Create an e-newsletter that includes promotions, specials and coupons.

8. Implement a referral program, such as one in which clients receive $50 off their next visit if they refer a friend.

9. Help secure loyal customers by creating a follow-up system for patients. This can allow you to send personalized check-up reminders and also birthday cards and holiday greetings, via email or traditional mail.

10. Create a fan page on Facebook and other social media sites. As suggested earlier, providing an iPad in your office can allow customers to leave comments and even suggest you to their friends. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool, and social media is the way to make the word spread.

When it comes to marketing, it’s important to keep your message fresh and compelling. Customers are increasingly using the Internet to help make critical decisions about products and services they need and careful attention to your web site can make a huge difference in strengthening your dental practice.

If you are interested in professional marketing services, please contact us today.

Shailesh T.

M.B. Strategic Supports the Del Mar Rotary Club

Del Mar, California – M.B. Strategic came out to support the Del Mar Rotary Club this weekend as a sponsor of the annual Chili and Quackers event at Powerhouse Park on the beach.

The release of our new RestaurantConnect!, digital marketing platform for the restaurant industry has made a few waves of it’s own. We were happy to give away a free website using the new platform to the winning restaurant of the Chili competition. The event took place downtown in the park and there were a few hundred people who came out and enjoyed some nice large bowls of chili.

The winning restaurant: Jimmy O’s in Del Mar

The brand new Jimmy O’s website will be launching before Christmas this year so keep your eyes open!

Melissa M.

Increase of 332% in Keyword Traffic Leads to Success for Virgin Website of The California Implant Institute

When The California Implant Institute came to us with an interest to expand their online marketing efforts, the majority of their new clients were coming from print marketing materials, magazine advertisements and word-of-mouth. Dr. Al-Faraje, owner of California Implant Institute, hired us to expand the Institute’s online marketing efforts and tap into the vast number of prospective clients conducting searches online.

Highlights:
Search Traffic Increase = 207%
Keyword Traffic Increase = 332%
Inbound Link Increase = 79%

We began this campaign as we do every other with a comprehensive website analysis to determine the target areas for improvement and really gather baseline data so we can accurately track the success of the campaign.

The California Implant Institute was a “virgin” optimization client, never having done any previous SEO and so there was plenty to get done to lay the foundation. We completed a full keyword analysis, created optimized meta tags, descriptions and keywords for all main pages, and re-wrote much of the content on the main pages to include targeted keywords.

Link Build and Link Build Some More
Link building served as the core of the campaign, as always, and we ultimately increased the quality links to the California Implant Institute website by 79%. No one can argue the power of high quality links and they really came in handy for Dr. Al-Faraje and his business.

The Numbers Have Spoken
The campaign for California Implant Institute also endured a significant algorithm change by Google, which created some unwanted fluctuation. However, the campaign ended with some substantial results for the business. We increased the search traffic to the California Implant Institute website by 207% and by the end of the campaign they were ranking in top 10 for all of the chosen keywords.

Melissa M.

M.B. Strategic Sponsors TEDxNASA@SiliconValley and Develops Cutting Edge Website

TEDxNASA websiteSan Francisco – M.B. Strategic paid a visit to San Francisco this past month to debut the new TEDxNASA@SiliconValley website and represent the event as a sponsor of both the TEDxNASA and the national NASA IT Summit. The event on August 17 culminated with more than 3,500 visitors to the website from 114 countries around the world.

In the months leading up to the event, we worked closely with NIA and NASA to create a cutting-edge website that is also user-friendly and accessible to all people including those with disabilities. The website was developed and rigorously tested to be Section 508 compliant, an important government regulation prescribing broad-accessibility for the disabled on all government websites. The main challenge: to create a website that matched the innovative and intriguing nature of the TEDxNASA conference, while also being accessible to everyone by government standards. We were certainly up for the challenge.

The TEDxNASA@SiliconValley website includes a compelling and innovative engaging design, integrated social media features, TEDxNASA websiteanimation and parallax scrolling technology commonly used in video games. Many of the website’s more advanced features are rarely used on accessibility compliant websites because of the unique challenges of integration with the needs of screen readers and other assistant technologies. The website presents visitors with a complete guide to the event, including registration for those who would like to attend, reviews of speakers and the venue, and a live streaming video feed of the conference that will be available on the day of the event.

Additionally, we had a booth at the event as a sponsor of the NASA IT Summit scheduled for the three days before the TEDx event at the Marriot Marquis in San Francisco. We were honored to have been a part of both NASA events and have had the chance to meet many of the volunteers working to make the event a huge success.

The full press release on the event and M.B. Strategic is available online at www.prweb.com/releases/2011.

Melissa M.

Strong SEO Foundation and Search Engine Marketing Increases Client’s Keyword Search Traffic by 219%

Orange Restoration’s Vice President of Operations, Bella Dosovitsky, was looking for that extra boost in effective SEO techniques and long-term benefit for her company. When we first started working with Bella, she told us that she’d worked with multiple companies and had done everything there is to do for SEO, but they still weren’t seeing the benefits they were looking for. It was up to us to figure out what the piece was that was missing from the puzzle.

Highlights
Search Traffic Increase = 98%
Keyword Traffic Increase = 219%
Inbound Link Increase = 272%

“We just finished an SEO campaign with M.B. Strategic and in the last six month’s we’ve seen our search engine traffic double. They’ve been very reliable and based on our results I can strongly recommend them. We’re beginning a second campaign with them shortly. Feel free to contact me for information.”
      -Bella Dosovitsky, VP Oper.
      Orange Restoration

Laying the Foundation
Many years ago when SEO first became popular the technique of “stuffing” meta information and website pages full of keywords was an effective strategy. Nowadays, Google and most other search engines are too smart for that. Correcting and optimizing the keyword densities on Orange Restoration’s website to remove the keyword stuffing was one of the first steps we took in laying the foundation for their website’s improved search engine visibility. Another main issue that we came across was duplicate content. Over time, content from a website is often copied and used on other websites; this creates an issue with duplicate content and is a major obstacle for search engine rankings. We helped Orange Restoration to re-work some of the content on their website while targeting specific keywords within the text to help them to rank as an authority with search engines.

Link Building is a Key Ingredient
The link building portion of any campaign is a key ingredient in the secret sauce for a successful campaign. Orange Restoration began their work with us with a total of 155 links to their website. At the end of the 6 months we had increased their total number of links by 272%, which gave them a huge advantage and dramatically increased their rankings across all of the keywords they were targeting. Of course, we hold firm that it’s not only about quantity but also the high quality of inbound links that are most important in search engine optimization. Orange Restoration is now one of the authority websites in the flood damage and mold restoration industry within San Diego.

Staggering Results and More to Come
The first six month campaign for Orange Restoration endured a significant algorithm change by Google, which affected their website in many ways. However, the first campaign also brought incredible results for their business and a newfound realization of the potential that high quality search engine optimization can bring to their company. M.B. Strategic increased the search traffic to the Orange Restoration website by 98% and by the end of the campaign they were ranking in top 10 for the majority of their keywords. Check back to our website for an update on campaign #2, which is currently underway.

Melissa M.

Top 7 SEO Copywriting Tips for Any Business

Are you thinking of tackling some of the copywriting for your business on your own? Though we offer professional SEO copywriting services to all of our San Diego SEO clients as well as our website design clients, we know that sometimes businesses want to handle this in-house. Take a look at some of our Top 7 SEO Copywriting Tips that will ensure that your new content helps to boost your rankings.

  1. Use variations of your targeted keywords and/or phrases within your subheadings. This includes mainly H1, H2 and H3 tags.
  2. Your Meta titles and Meta descriptions should of course include your targeted keywords! The Meta titles will be the linked text that shows up in the search engine results. The Meta title must be no more than 74 characters including spaces.
  3. The Meta description must be no more than 156 characters including spaces. Be sure to include those keywords in your content also to avoid the spam filters.
  4. “Sprinkle” in some synonyms of your keywords into the content on the page.
  5. Utilize your targeted keywords in the website copy in a compelling and unique way that will make people want to read on and encourage people to use that same text when linking to you. Unique and valuable content is the first and foremost concern for every website. Search engine’s place high value on this if you can provide it to your users.
  6. Each website page should ideally include at least 450-600 words.
  7. The ideal keyword density for each keyword phrase is 1.5%-2.5%.


If you are interested in professional copywriting services as part of our organic search engine optimization packages, please contact us today.


Lindsay J.

If You’re In a Hurry, Don’t Read this Blog

If you’re bored, come stay awhile. If you’re in a hurry, skip reading this post and flip through a slideshow on internet marketing stats and trends that will blow your mind: It’s Time to Transform Your Marketing

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • 78% of internet users conduct product research online
  • 24% of adults have posted comments or reviews about the things they buy
  • 9/10 internet users visited a social networking site each month in 2010
  • 40% of Facebook’s user base is 35+
  • Web based email usage is on the decline (so is the effectiveness of email marketing)
  • 70% of links that search engine users click on are organic – not paid

What does all this mean? It means that we need to start spending more time creating value to bring people to our websites naturally rather than interrupting them with irrelevant advertisements and spam. What was once a push market is now a pull. People have a voice online now, and if your website and internet marketing materials don’t give them a soap box to share that voice then they’re going to go somewhere else.

Ted B.

The Woes of eCommerce Shopping Cart Abandonment

Imagine you’re shopping at Fashion Valley in San Diego and 65% of customers waiting in line to checkout suddenly drop their bags and walk right out of the store. If you were the owner of the store, would you be concerned? The fact is that it’s no different on your eCommerce store. The five year average cart abandonment rate for eCommerce stores is 65.06% as measured by several reputable data collection agencies. You can ask yourself, have you ever abandoned a shopping cart online and if so why did you leave?

The fact is that a lot of checkout processes are just plain lousy. So many eCommerce store owners put hundreds of hours of work into getting just the right design, product descriptions and pictures but then they figure that once the customer is sold on a product and have added it to their cart they’ll walk to the end of the earth to get the system to charge their credit cart. Unfortunately, getting the customer to put an item in the cart is just half the battle.

The first step in reducing the fall-off rate (cart abandonment rate) of an eCommerce website shopping cart is to make it simple and intuitive. It’s great if a repeat customer can log in to their own account to expedite the process, but you don’t want to force them to create an account. Not only will it take extra steps but a lot of people just plain don’t like to have accounts all over the internet, myself included. We’ve seen client websites in which the checkout process not only requires that the customer create an account, but that they actually have to confirm it by logging in to check their email and click a link! Simply removing this step alone can have a significant impact on cart abandonment which means a significant impact on your eCommerce website’s bottom line.

Along the same lines of creating an intuitive checkout, it might as well be all on one single page. You can think that every time a user has to scroll to find something or click a continue button there’s a chance of losing them. So don’t make them scroll and don’t make them click. Essentially, as the adage goes, don’t make them think. Try adding a product on the 4-rth sustainable fashion eCommerce store where we’ve build a customized one-page checkout system. Pretty slick huh?

If you can get customers to want to buy your products, don’t prevent them from doing so with a shopping cart that just plain old doesn’t convert.

Ted B.

Increasing Profit for your eCommerce Store by Maximizing Conversions

The first thing people usually think of when they decide they want to increase sales on their eCommerce store is “How can I get more people to come to my store?”. There’s no question that the more people that come to your store the more likely you are to have purchases. But that’s not the only way to increase sales and if you haven’t looked into optimizing your conversion rates you may be missing one of the the biggest opportunities to grow your business.

Imagine a clothing store that is buzzing with people looking at items and talking with sales people. The store is packed and so the sales people and owner are pleased with how things seem to be running. But there aren’t more than a few people in line to checkout and the people that are there only have one or two items. This is a classic example of a store that has plenty of exposure and traffic but is suffering from a low conversion rate.

The conversion rate on your eCommerce store is the ratio of visitors that come to your site as compared with the number of visitors that actually make a purchase. The global average for websites is 2-3%. For more exact metrics based on your industry, you can check out the Fireclick Index. Increasing your eCommerce website’s conversion rate from 2% up to 3% might not seem like a big deal, but that’s a 50% increase in the number of visitors that become purchasers of your products and that means a 50% increase to your bottom line.

It’s easy to measure your conversion rate. Simply count the the number of sales you’ve had over a given period of time, say a month, and divide that by the number of visitors that have come to your website as recorded by your choice of website analytics systems.

There are hundreds of variables that effect your eCommerce store’s conversion rate. Some are very complex and involve website flow and click analyses with heat maps (shown above) and landing page testing and tuning. Others can be as simple as increasing the size or changing the color of you “Add to Cart” button. But in the end, if done correctly, it all adds up to a 30-80% increase in your conversion rate which means a 30-80% increase in your bottom line.

Matt D.

Redesign and Advanced Features Increase Website Conversions by 43%

When the founder of the Los Angeles based 4-rth Sustainable Fashion, Doug Donahue, came to us looking for some help with his website we saw that he had a great design but that problems with the user experience were impacting sales. The product images were small and difficult to discern, the checkout process was cumbersome leading to lost sales and there were no sorting features or other amenities to help customers find what they were looking for. In short, the 4-rth website looked great but it just wasn’t driving sales.

“M.B. Strategic built our website and streamlined the checkout process. The website looks and works amazingly, and more importantly, our sales have increased significantly as a result of their work. They were great to work with, organized, and were always very attentive to details.”
     -Doug Donahue, Founder
     4-rth Sustainable Fashion

OSCommerce: Gone Like The Wind
A large number of the eCommerce stores built five or more years ago used a platform by the name of OSCommerce. Cutting edge for the day, it’s now based on a foundation that’s 11 years old and lacking many of the modern features that online buyers look for. M.B. Strategic set to work doing a complete rebuild of the 4-rth Sustainable Fashion site using a the most advanced open-source eCommerce platform on the market, called Magento.

Magento: The Beast That Drives Sales
The system provides a myriad of behind the scenes administrative tools that make the store easier to manage and offer new opportunities for customization. But what makes Magento the option of choice for high-end online stores is the features on the front-end that create a fantastic and memorable experience for online shoppers. A few of the 4-rth site’s new features include hovering image previews on the catalog pages, a Flash based magnifying glass image-viewer, up-sell product recommendations, customer account management tools, blogging platform, one-page checkout for decreased fall-off rate, and sorting functions for color, size and product type.

The Numbers Say It All
Now that the site has been live for a few months the results are in and they’re fantastic. The rate of website visitors who make purchases is up 43% and the average total price at checkout is up 114%. So those are great numbers but what do they really mean? It means that 4-rth is helping more shoppers find products they love and founder Doug Donahue is enjoying an improved bottom line.

M.B. Strategic, LLC

Google Boost: Your New Local “Adwords”

It is no surprise that Google Boost emerged, given Google’s recent focus on local searches. If you haven’t heard yet, Google Boost is now your local version of Adwords. Studies show that nearly all consumers will research online before buying locally. Essentially, local business owners now have the opportunity to run paid advertising campaigns through a much simpler system than Boost’s predecessor Google Adwords. Boost was designed for the hurried business owner who really doesn’t have time to manage a large advertising campaign online through the regular Adwords.

So, how does it work? You pay per click and are able set your own budget (i.e. $100 per month). Google will then select keywords for you (unlike Adwords) based upon your Places account set up and categories. That means you’ll need to go right now and set up your Places page if you haven’t already. It’s a must. Your ad will show up in the Sponsored Links section with a different colored pin, also displaying review ratings, phone number, address and a link to your place page. This is what the local business owner all across the nation has been waiting for. It’s time to go set up your Boost account! Here’s a great video to learn more.

Melissa M.

New Changes to Google Places: Combining Organic & Local

If you’re in a frenzy over the recent changes to Google Places and your local listing, don’t worry. There are things you can do to be prepared and capitalize on the changes before your competitors do. If you didn’t know that there were changes to Google search results, well then tisk-tisk.

First, the infamous “7-Pack” (top-right) that we all became accustomed to is on it’s way out.

Now, Google is displaying only organic results in the middle of the page (bottom-right). This means the easy days of popping up first without any type of organic SEO work are over. The local map is still there pushed to the right side of the page above the sponsored links. Now, here’s the big news: the algorithm has changed. Google is combining organic and local. Take a look.

A couple more things to think about:

  1. Fully finished Place pages will assume much greater importance now.
  2. Your Place page will greatly impact your organic rankings; especially the reviews.
  3. Google will scour the internet and combine all the reviews about your company on all other sites.
  4. Local searches will increase.
  5. Google Boost is Google’s new local version of “Adwords.”

In summary, you can’t get away with leaving your Places page unfinished or not optimized properly AND you can’t get away with ignoring the on-page optimization for your website. BOTH will greatly impact your rankings now.

Melissa M.

301 Redirects for Dynamic URLs to Static Pages with htaccess

Setting up a comprehensive list of 301 redirects in htaccess when migrating a high traffic website to a new platform can be time consuming and tricky especially if you’re working with dynamic urls.

We were recently migrating an ecommerce store with several hundred dynamically generated pages from osCommerce to Magento. All of the pages on the new site are using keyword rich static urls so we had our hands full. For basic instructions on how to set up a dynamic to static url redirect in htaccess you can find a great article here: 301 Redirects for Dynamic URLs. But if you’ve got several hundred dynamic to static redirects you’re looking at an entire afternoon of copy and paste.

We created an excel spreadsheet so you can just copy in the full list of dynamic URLs from your original site and static URLs on your new site and it will output the exact code you need. Just copy and paste into your .htaccess file and you should be good to go.

Download the Tool Here: 301 Redirects from Dynamic to Static Generator.

If you’re having any problems make sure you have “RewriteEngine On” at the top of your .htaccess file. Please leave a comment to let me know if this helped you or if you ran into issues.

UPDATE 1: When you copy the redirects from the spreadsheet to your code editor, they may come with double quotation marks wrapping each condition/rule pair. You should use a hard replace to delete all of these before posting to your site.

UPDATE 2: The original tool linked above was created for use in creating server redirects for a website hosting with Bluehost. More recently I ran into the same issue needing to create bulk dynamic redirects for a website hosted with Rackspace. I’m not sure what the exact difference was in server configuration, but the original tool wasn’t working. I created a revised tool that can be downloaded at the link below. The condition query is the same except that [NC] was added meaning “no case” to accept regardless of capitalization. The first portion of the rewrite rule represents the exact match portion of the URL to be rewritten. The question mark ensures that the dynamic portion of the URL (after the question mark) will not be tacked on to the end of the URL.

Download the Revised Tool Here: 301 Redirects from Dynamic to Static Generator REVISED.

Ted B.

Google Places: Powerful and Free Online Marketing

With more than six times as many searches conducted through the Google Maps service as the yellow pages, if you’re a local company you can’t afford to not have your company listed in Google Places. It’s completely free to sign up and you can draw in huge numbers of qualified visitors to your website. As an example, there are more than 130,000 searches every month for attorney services in the San Diego area. If you’re ranking high in the Google Places listings you can expect to draw as much as 40% of all search traffic to your website. That’s a whole lot of visitors! Watch our video to learn more about Google Places and how it can be a powerful (and free!) service for promoting your company online.

Ted B.

Subject Line for Your Newsletter: Why Short Is Sweet

You’ve worked hard to build a clean opt-in email list for your company newsletter. You’ve got great, relevant content ready to go. Perfect. Now let’s make sure that people open it. Spam is still on the rise and people are opening fewer and fewer emails that reach their inbox. There’s no secret recipe to ensure that someone opens your newsletter or promotional email but there are a few things you can do to better your chances.

The most important thing is to keep your subject line short and to the point. Some of the most widely used webmail services including AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail display 47 or fewer characters of the subject line. The rule of thumb is to keep email subject lines shorter than fifty characters. A study by Lyris shows that emails with subject lines that are fifty characters or fewer had 75% higher click-through rates than emails with those of greater than fifty characters. Just a few characters might mean the difference between your next potential client opening your newsletter. No need to count by hand. You can use this character counter to make sure you’re on target.

Ted B.

Instant Domain Search: Making It Easy on You

When we’re searching for new domain names for a client there are two main tools that we work with. The first is the Domize Instant Domain Search tool that lets you instantly search domains and displays the availability of .com, .net, .biz, .org, and .us results at once in addition to all roots of the domain phrase you searched. This tool is especially good for searching domains when you’re brainstorming on the fly.

The second tool is the Godaddy Bulk Domain Search tool that allows you to paste up to 500 unique domains and search their availability all at once. This is a tool that we use especially when searching through hundreds of SEO keyword combinations using spreadsheet brainstorming.

Matt D.

Digital Asset Optimization: The SEO 2.0 You Need To Know

Simply creating a website just won’t cut it anymore, and pretty soon neither will SEO. Digital Asset Optimization (DAO) is the next step in making sure that search engines pick up ALL of your content. That extra content can include videos, maps, message boards, animation, podcasts, and images.

Video stands almost a 50% greater chance of ranking on page one of Google and now every search engine offers media specific searching for users. More and more people are searching, finding and watching videos online, whether it is a video ad, testimonial or interview. In fact, in a recent study, 62% of surveyed consumers said they saw an online video ad, up again from last year.

But, surely the question to ask is what that really means for your company’s bottom line? Well, a lot. In fact, of those who said they watched an online video ad…

  • 47.3% said they subsequently visited the advertiser’s website
  • 19.1% asked for more information about the company’s product or services
  • 16.9% made a purchase.

Everything seems to be headed towards digital assets. But, business owners beware. Less than 20% of marketing companies that say they are doing DAO, actually insert keywords into the filenames of their videos and even fewer create keyword-rich captions, both of which are necessary for DAO. The bottom line (for your bottom line) is that digital asset optimization needs to be part of your online strategy. If it’s not, then it’s time to rethink it. Get started now and check out these 5 basic tips for DAO.

Melissa M.

Website Analytics: Discover Your Return On Investment

If you’re running an advertising campaign, search engine optimization program or doing any other promotion of your website you’ll want to know what’s effective and what’s not. In the old days you had to wait for a client to call and then ask them where they heard about you. Those were the old days. When it comes to marketing your website you can use powerful website analytics tools to evaluate everything from the location of a visitor as they view your website to the specific advertisement or other website that referred them to your site. We build every website with an advanced analytics system that will keep you out of the dark and make sure you’re putting your resources in the right places.

Josh R.

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