When you are hiring an SEO firm, remember that the firm's own Google ranking may not be earned, but rather achieved through a series of tricks and cheats. The well-publicised Panda and Penguin updates have had a significant (and in my view, positive) impact on the discipline of SEO. You can do this using a free tool like Moz's Open Site Explorer, or some other external link-based search system. Major problems might need a different approach, including getting a second SEO opinion or going back to the research phase.

Actionable tips on local search and Twitter

Fresh content has always been an SEO mainstay but it becomes increasingly important as the years tick by. While it's easy to find "experts" you may want to reach out to, it's important to remember that not everyone responds positively to such requests. Search engine algorithms are based on a system of positive and negative weights or ranking factors as designed by the search engine's engineers or architects. Links may very well become "democratized" as they become less representative of the overall sentiment of the online world. A very small percentage of internet users has ever published a link on a website or blog.

Consistent doesn't mean identical. when you're discussing link exchanges

Using a variety of free online tools such as Google AdWords, Keyword Keg and Bing Ads, website owners can easily find research which words are being searched for most frequently in a number of search engines. It's why no SEO strategy is complete without some kind of link building strategy. The individuals or businesses within the market segment should be similar in nature, with the same needs, attitudes, interests, and opinions. Any authoritative link can be valuable in boosting your domain authority, so a business in Houston could theoretically increase in rank thanks to an inbound link from a Detroit newspaper (provided it's relevant); Google won't confuse you for being a Detroit business, but you won't gain any Houston-specific relevance.

When your use of web 2.0 becomes obsessive

Ever had a client claim they just can?t see what they?re getting for the dollars they?re spending with you? Generally speaking, backlinks are considered to be a "vote" of confidence for the content that's being linked to on your domain from outside sources. Search Engine Optimization requires the inclusion of popular (highly searched) or profitable (highly searched just before buying) words into headlines, copy, and other page elements. We asked an SEO Specialist, Gaz Hall, for his thoughts on the matter: "Forming strategic alliances and friendships is the long game worth investing in, when it comes to link building."

Things to avoid when dealing with dynamic pages

Analysis of meta sets/keywords, visible text and code to deter f you want Google bots and users to find your site easily, it is imperative for you to use LSI (Long Semantic Indexing) keywords. Currently, tailor-made websites accompany many direct and email campaigns. It's critical to understand as much as possible about the website, past SEO efforts and industry as possible.