I'm Paula Allen, senior technical writer at Bruce Clay, Inc. I joined BCI in 2008 after 12 years managing documentation and marketing for an application software provider. Once at BCI my Internet marketing education really took off, assisted by formal training from none other than Bruce Clay, and by informal knowledge-sharing among the search community and the talented people I work with.
An English teacher at heart, I enjoy working in a room where grammar is frequently discussed and in an industry where there's always more to learn.
When I'm not writing about marketing, I teach ESL and have gotten to know many wonderful young people from around the world. My family, church and (last but not least) two dogs also get their share.
Posts by Paula Allen
May 5, 2016
Your business is on the field of one of the most competitive games of all: organic search rankings. If you play by the rules, you have a chance of making your website visible to searchers and winning site visitors. If you don’t follow the rules, you have no chance of scoring those goals if there’s a referee on the field.
Search engines play the role of referee in the search engine optimization game. For business owners, that means ethical SEO conduct pays off.
This week Google published a report titled “How we fought webspam in 2015” chronicling what they discovered and accomplished last year. This latest report from Google is important for online businesses to be aware of because it points to trends in webspam and identifies red-flag digital marketing tactics to avoid.
December 17, 2015
Search engine marketing grew up a lot in 2015. Advertisers began looking beyond Google desktop PPC ads to mobile ads across Google, Yahoo and Bing, as well as new sponsored post opportunities on many major social networks. New ad formats targeted the mobile user specifically, and verticals for automotive, hotel, insurance and other industries sprang up, each with its own specific ad types. Remarketing ads (which display to people who previously clicked on an ad or visited a web property but did not convert) became more prevalent; for instance, remarketing in Bing ads became possible for Search and Shopping campaigns.
Our livebloggers captured news and lots of in-depth information from top paid search experts throughout the year. Here we present the four most popular of those to bring search marketers up-to-speed on 2015 developments in pay per click.
December 7, 2015
Google’s latest update of its Search Quality Rating Guidelines shows a shifted focus at the search engine, and consequently, for SEOs. For years, the buzzword for search engine optimization has been “relevance” — making your site the most relevant result for a searcher’s query. But as Duane Forrester, our new VP of organic search operations, observed: “It’s all about usefulness today and moving forward. The goal of the search engine is simple: increase searcher satisfaction. That’s why ‘useful’ is the new watchword. Previously we said ‘relevant,’ but really we all meant ‘useful.’”
Google annually updates its internal guidelines document that tells hired human quality raters how to evaluate sites as part of Google’s ongoing experiments. The guidelines are not the algorithm. But they do show what Google’s focusing on, and that’s worth paying attention to. Here’s our checklist for making sure your SEO campaign aligns with Google’s priorities.
Review the 2015 Search Quality Rating Guidelines Checklist.
November 3, 2015
It’s becoming clear that mobile friendliness is more than a responsive website that gets a passing grade on the Mobile-Friendly Test.
The concept of mobile friendliness covers increasingly advanced digital media territory:
- Mobile apps: Do you have a mobile app? Is it indexable by Google?
- Mobile conversions and personas: Is mobile traffic failing to convert? That’s to be expected if mobile personas, mobile-specific conversions and calls to action haven’t been identified.
- Mobile advertising: Are you utilizing mobile search PPC features like call extensions and call-only campaigns?
At the two biggest search-industry conferences this fall, SMX East in New York and Pubcon Las Vegas, search engine reps and renowned speakers covered the full range of Digital marketing topics, especially mobile issues — everything from Google’s mobile-focused features to app indexing to mobile ads. We published 46 sessions and keynotes from these conferences on the BCI blog. Here we distill the most important news and advice related to mobile.
August 27, 2015
Backlink analysis is a much-needed SEO skill today. Our SEO analysts spend hours analyzing backlinks for clients — whether they came to us specifically for help removing a Google penalty or not.
These days, all webmasters need to keep an eye on their backlink profiles to identify good links to count as wins and bad ones to target for link pruning. Here we’ve outlined our internal process for analyzing SEO client backlinks to judge which links to keep and which to get rid of. You’ll find recommendations along with resources to help with your own backlink cleanup including:
- Criteria for judging backlink quality
- How to nofollow links
- A handy Backlink Evaluation Flowchart
July 22, 2015
19 Fresh Thoughts on Link Building & Disavow Shared by Top SEO Minds from John Mueller to Neil Patel
Among search engine optimization folks there are a couple questions that continually spur on conversation, and one of them is: Link building — is it black hat? The last few weeks have seen a surge of articles and online chats on the topic of link building and its proper place in search engine optimization. Recent discussions about links bring to light the battle-worn wisdom of knowledgeable, go-to search engine optimization minds, like John Mueller and Neil Patel, whose advice has been indispensable in the two years since we first were introduced to Google’s Penguin algorithm update.
We’ve harvested 19 fresh thoughts on link building, link cleanup and disavowal, covering:
- Link building today — its current definition and role
- Natural vs. unnatural links — staying in Penguin’s good graces
- Disavow files — tools and techniques for backlink cleanup
June 10, 2015
How to Set Up Google Search Console – Free Search Engine Optimization & Webmaster Tools for Your Website
If you have a website, then you ought to know about Google Search Console. Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, this free software is like a dashboard of instruments that let you manage your site. Seriously, unless you prefer running your online business blindfolded, getting this set up should be any webmaster’s SEO priority. Follow the step-by-step instructions (with screenshots) for how to set up a Google Search Console account.
April 20, 2015
Google announced two more changes last week to the way URLs are displayed in mobile search results:
- Mobile search results no longer show the actual page URL, but instead show a breadcrumbs-like format of the URL structure. This is rolling out worldwide.
- The breadcrumbs-like information can show the site name in place of the domain name. This is rolling out in the U.S. only for now.
You can specifically control how the breadcrumb URL for your search results will appear if you add Schema.org markup to the HTML on your pages. Read more of Google’s New Mobile Breadcrumb URLs: Making the Most of Your Site Name & URL Structure
March 30, 2015
The SEOToolSet® is a suite of organic optimization tools built by SEOs, for SEOs. We created these tools to help us do our jobs better and we hope, in turn, they can help you do your job better, too.
Today we’re launching SEOToolSet 6, the sixth generation of our tools. From the first-ever web page analysis program that Bruce Clay himself wrote in 1997 until now, our SEO software has always had a singular goal: Give SEOs the tools they need to increase a website’s visibility in search.
The SEOToolSet is unique because it focuses entirely on search engine optimization. See how these tools help solve the challenges SEOs face every day, such as:
- Have reports that monitor and prove SEO progress.
- Figure out what’s “natural” among top-ranked competitors.
- Efficiently find missing meta tags, duplicate titles, and problems with canonical elements.
Read more of Oh, the Challenges SEO Tools can Solve …
December 11, 2014
How the FTC’s New Disclosure Ruling Affects Social Media Marketers & Influencer Marketing Strategies
Reaching out to influencers is a public relations tactic as old as time. But a whole boutique marketing industry has cropped up in the last few years as more people gain niche Internet celebrity status, opening opportunities for agencies and brands to get endorsements from online social influencers. Who is and isn’t an advertiser used to be pretty black and white, but these days, understanding who is compensated for their endorsements requires an eye for shades of gray. The FTC wants to remove that ambiguity.
There’s a new sheriff in social media. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission settled charges against ad agency Deutsch LA for Twitter use that violated disclosure-in-advertising rules. It’s the first such case the FTC has settled, so it’s groundbreaking news for social media marketers.
How do the full-disclosure guidelines impact marketers? In Twitter, does it mean that even within the limited 140-character space of a tweet, an ad must disclose in a “clear and conspicuous” way a financial relationship with what you’re endorsing? Failing to do so might result in prosecution and penalties for your company.