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
March 5, 2014
The local search algorithm is so complex that a good local SEO has to look at almost every aspect of the business’s marketing, from the website and ads that the business controls to external citations, links, social media, online directories, and more. Customer reviews and ratings are essential items in the SEO’s tool belt, especially when optimizing local businesses.
Ratings and reviews hugely impact conversions by increasing the trustworthiness of a search result. But recent innovations in search engines, such as the latest Google Map Search layout, have created new reasons that SEO-minded local businesses need reviews and ratings.
This article draws from a conversation between some of the most respected marketers in the local SEO field. Focusing on why customer reviews are important today and how to do them right, here are 12 tips for getting reviews in a way that’s search engine friendly and SEO-approved.
February 24, 2014
For many ecommerce sites, sites with hundreds of mostly duplicated pages, and others, fixing thin content may seem like an impossible goal. Thin content is the opposite of the “unique, quality, relevant content” that search engines want to show on their results pages. What’s worse, thin content can hurt a website’s SEO and revenue.
Many websites have felt the sting of Google manual penalties for having “Thin content with little or no added value” or sudden drops in search traffic due to an algorithmic hit.
What can a website do to fix thin content? This recap of an ISOOSI Tuesday Chat between experts Carlos Fernandes, Ammon Johns, David Harry, Terry Van Horne and Bill Slawski covers how to fix four common “thin content” scenarios:
- Boilerplate location pages
- Filtered ecommerce pages
- Manufacturer content on product pages
- “Me too” SEO posts
February 14, 2014
The top minds in PR today are pushing some progressive ideas. Like press releases are a thing of the past. Like, to do PR in this new media world, a brand needs to be telling stories. And like, if you don’t apologize for your company’s mistakes and mean it, the social media backlash could kill your brand.
They share these insights for everyone to see in Google+ Hangouts on Air. This week, in the debut episode of the monthly event “Power Talk,” respected search-industry speaker David Amerland, Alex Coté (cofounder and CMO of Cloze) and PR expert Steve Martin discussed how PR needs to become two-way conversation, how brands can be authentic and engage online, and from-the-trenches tips for startup businesses.
Their discussion provided a strong example of what your brand’s PR needs to do now: give business a human face.
February 3, 2014
Content marketing: everybody’s doing it. In fact, a survey last year by Content Marketing Institute found:
92% of marketers use content marketing and
Close to 60% of marketers (both B2B and B2C) had plans to increase their content budgets in coming months.
While it’s you’ve likely heard of “content marketing” by now, the challenge facing businesses and marketers is how to make one’s content stand out, especially in this competitive age of content overload.
This was the topic of a Google+ Hangout last Thursday hosted by Eric Enge: “Thriving During the Upcoming Content Marketing Glut.” With Eric, guest speakers Peg Fitzpatrick and Marilyn Moore tackled a tough challenge for today’s small business owners and marketers: if everyone starts doing content marketing, how can my brand stand out?
Read more of How to Stand Out in the Upcoming Content Marketing Glut.
September 23, 2013
After almost 3 years away, I’m back. The world of SEO sure didn’t stand still. But beyond the expected search engine updates and technology advances, the industry itself has changed in some fundamental ways.
Playing Rip Van Winkle for nearly 3 years has given me a unique perspective. Here are the 4 most striking differences I see between the search industry of 2010 and now.
July 19, 2013
Bruce Talks Importance of Content for SEO with Search Engine Journal: “SEO is Becoming Much More Content-Centric”
Low-quality content is to be avoided — no news there. But there are some news-worthy insights revealed as SEO veteran Bruce Clay gives Search Engine Journal’s Murray Newlands an exclusive interview, discussing the increasing focus on content within SEO. Bruce calls for “better content — great content.” Quality content is a critical part of SEO success.
December 15, 2009
My name is Paula, and I’ve switched from Google to Bing.
Last week was a bit mind-blowing for anyone watching the search industry. Google’s new feature announcements kept coming, fast and furious. It started with their policy change to track and personalize search results for all users, which they sneaked in past the Eastern close of business the Friday before. Monday morning’s Web Search Evolution event cranked the fire hose up to full blast as Google demoed real-time search, Google Goggles, real-time language translation, voice recognition-powered “What’s Nearby” searches for mobile users, and so on.
And the innovations show no sign of letting up, with glimpses of the future Google phone and a new Google URL shortener making news already this week.
Normally I would think, “Woohoo, more search power! Free stuff! Go, Google!!!” But their no-warning expansion of personalization had left me with an eerie feeling that this gift horse might be trying to eat my shoes. When Google CEO Eric Schmidt explained away people’s need for privacy on the Internet, I was glad for the decision I’d made: to switch my default search engine to Bing. (Note: I wasn’t the only one.)
Here are a few of my observations and criticisms as a new Bing user.
Read more of Making the Switch to Bing.
November 10, 2009
I admit that I’m not always on top of the latest technological innovations. I still haven’t built a Twitter list, customized a Google news section, or finagled an invitation to try out Wave. (Fortunately, Susan and Virginia usually have this stuff covered and I learn by sitting between them.) So it didn’t surprise me to […]
May 14, 2009
It’s day three of real estate week here on the Bruce Clay blog. We don’t typically focus on a single industry in our coverage of all-things-SEO, but the current controversy over whether Google should be allowed to “scrape” listing information from IDX Web pages is a golden opportunity. It’s timely, too, because this week thousands […]
May 13, 2009
I’m feeling game today. Not having a snake pit to jump into or a wild animal to tame, I thought I’d venture onto the blog and dive right into the center of one of the messiest, most controversial issues confronting the real estate industry today. Why? Because it relates to SEO. And because it sounds […]