The Blog

Google To Potentially Rank Secure Sites Higher

Posted Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

HTTPS-Sites-To-Rank-Higher-NorthcuttIf Matt Cutts could have his way, it would be so: apparently the Head of Spam at Google is vying for secure sites (https sites) to receive better rankings than their counterparts (http sites). The reports could be viewed as speculation, but they are based on supposed private conversations that have (maybe) been taking place within Google. The impetus for these conversations? The recent Heartbleed Open SSL debacle. According to Search Engine Land, over half a million websites were impacted by Heartbleed, the bug that has been considered one of the worst Internet catastrophes offering easy access for anyone to sensitive and private information.

Speaking at the Search Marketing Expo (SMX West) in March 2014, Matt Cutts openly said that he would like it if all websites were migrated onto SSL or https, and he would also like it if Google were to openly reward these sites in rankings. While not a confirmation of any change, it certainly could be an indication of things to come, brought to us in true vague and cryptic Google style.


Why Penguin Comes in Different Degrees (And A Myth Persists)

Posted Monday, April 21st, 2014 in Link Building, Search Engine Optimization by .

Matt Cutts recently tweeted something that gives us a peak under the hood of Google’s Penguin algorithm, an algorithm designed to discourage spammy link building practices. This is what the tweet said:

The fact that you can have a “mild case of Penguin” indicates that Penguin is not an on/off switch. This is further emphasized by a later tweet:

I don’t find this surprising at all. In fact, it actually strengthens some of my assumptions about how Penguin works, and it brings us back, once again, to what may be the biggest misconception about Penguin.

Let’s talk about what this means for SEO, and why you should care. (more…)

5 Resources to Post (That Aren't Blog Posts)

Posted Monday, April 14th, 2014 in Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing by .

(Just a heads-up, I’m not going to be mentioning infographics in this post either.)

Blog posts are great. You know it, I know it. But they can get redundant after a while. You site can get stagnant. Followers can get bored. Blog posts are hard to get shared. You need them in order to provide the deep, static content that a large portion of your core audience craves, but the internet has a lot more to offer.

Try mixing things up with the following 5 resources. I expect most of you will find results that are more than worth the effort. (more…)

Interesting Link Building Strategies for the 21st Century Marketer

Posted Thursday, April 10th, 2014 in Link Building by .

FiveLinkBuildingStrategies-NorthcuttFor many people, link building is as close to a clinical and scientific process as you can get with online marketing, but when placed in the right hands it can become an art. There are a number of exceptionally brilliant minds out there who have taken the art of link building to another level, Jon Cooper is the first one who comes to mind, with Michael King close behind. I look up to these guys with admiration as link building celebs because they always manage to think of those incredibly simple ideas that seem so obvious that you or I can't see them until they're pointed out to us.

Using their manner of thinking, it's clear that there's no limit to link building and the ways in which we can attract links using organic means. Razvan Gavrilas featured a great article recently on Search Engine Journal that verifies this truth. Although the methods he discussed are nothing new, his angle shows fresh perspective on an ever-popular topic.

Here's a summary of what he had to say.


March Resource Round-up: The Best of SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing

Posted Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 in Resource Roundups by .

girl readingWe're not claiming to be scientists, but it's hard to miss the correlation between the weather getting warmer and people going outside more often. We also realize with less time to search the depths of the internet looking for the best articles, your chance of missing a great one will surely increase. So in that spirit, we gather up the most interesting and informative SEO, social media, and content marketing articles that we come across each month. As these are the subjects we know best, we feel like we have a pretty good eye. Here are the articles from March that we think you'll find useful, but feel free to share anything we may have missed in the comment section. If you want the same great content the rest of the year, join us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook. Enjoy!


How to Write Brilliant Headlines for SEO, Social & Your Readers

Headlines. We’re bombarded by them on a daily basis as online publications vie for the most pageviews. What’s the magic formula for the world’s best headlines? Is it long or short? Positive or negative? Clever or straightforward?

Rankings Aren’t All That: How to Really Track SEO Improvements

There are LOTS of people out there that don’t understand what SEO is and how you do it. I wish I had a dollar for every time I was told to go do my “SEO magic” by a client.


5 Overvalued SEO Tactics "Experts" Have Done to Death

Posted Monday, April 7th, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

I’m going to be blunt. These 5 tactics are valued too high and heavily abused:

  1. “content marketing”
  2. guest posting
  3. link building (*gasp*)
  4. links from niche experts
  5. social signals

Yeah, all of these tactics have some value and most deserve some place in SEO, but they aren’t as valuable as “experts” make them out to be.

Here's why. (more…)

Why Responsive Design Is Good For Your Business

Posted Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 in Northcutt by .

ResponsiveDesign-GoodForBusiness-NorthcuttWhat we know about the world of technology is that more people are moving to smartphones and tablets to conduct everyday business and Internet related tasks. This isn’t going to change and the mass of users is only going to increase in volume. A lot of businesses have adapted to the change by making their websites responsive for all platforms. But there is a chunk of them that are still in denial; tightly clutching to their desktop websites that they’re sure look “pretty fine on mobile devices too”.

While they may, mobile sites and responsive sites that have been designed for easy rendering look better and they operate with a smooth efficiency that cannot be achieved with desktop sites displaying on mobile.

That should be the end of the post. If you haven’t made the change, do it. It’s for the good of your brand, the happiness and satisfaction of your users and the profitability of your business. The end. Oh wait, but there’s more… there are a few other reasons why you should adopt responsive design (even over separate mobile and desktop sites), and we’re going to let you know what they are.


3 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Boost Email Open Rates

Posted Monday, March 31st, 2014 in Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing by .

From split tests, to creative direction, to influential relationship building, marketing is, well, hard. But not everything in this industry has to be that way. I just came across these 3 simple changes you can make to your email subject lines to make sure your subscribers actually open them.

Let’s take a look. (more…)

Just When is an Embedded Link Okay?

Posted Friday, March 28th, 2014 in Link Building, Search Engine Optimization by .

As you may already know, Getty, the massive image licensing company, recently shifted strategies away from legally pursuing  copyright violators. Instead, they now allow anybody to embed the image on their site, with a link back to Getty.

This is good news for us bloggers, SEOs, and content marketers, who need visual content to keep posts visually appealing, and who can’t always pay the price of admission for licensers like Getty. But, as SEOs, it also poses a question.

When is an embedded link not a link scheme?

At SMX West 2014, an attendee asked Matt Cutts if Getty’s policy change counts as a “link scheme.” Matt Cutts explained that if an embedded link is used as an honest way to give attribution, it’s not against the rules. In this case, no, Getty’s embedded image links don’t count as a link scheme. They’re attribution.

But where do we draw the line? (more…)

5 Examples Of Evergreen Content That Attract Traffic and Links

Posted Thursday, March 27th, 2014 in Content Marketing by .

Evergreen-Content-NorthcuttWe’re back to the content discussion and how to make the most of it to get users and traffic into your site. It’s all a matter of having something to offer, a little piece of information that people need or that fascinating piece that is always a point of reference. However you look at it, determining what content is going to draw the numbers and keep the flow of traffic coming in weeks and months down the line, is always a great point to ponder. But ponder no more! We’re here to detail a number of different content types that will have users knocking on your website door, hopefully in droves, maybe in trickles, but they’ll definitely come a knocking!

The thing with “evergreen” content is that it offers a purpose long after it’s been published with only small updates and amends to keep it current as time goes on. I think of this article I read years ago on how to claim Google Authorship and implement rel=author. It was written long before there were any other resources and it was the most helpful piece of information I had read on the subject. Years later, Blind Five Year Old has kept the post going with updates as and when they are relevant. He also still responds to the number of comments her receives and it’s still shared widely across the web.

This is what we mean by evergreen content. It’s still relevant, it still comes up in search results as a solution to a problem, and it still assists in that area.

So how do you come up with evergreen content for your niche? Here are some great examples of how to tackle that problem.


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