7 Useful Advanced Search Operators for SEO

darth vaderHere are some of the advanced search operators that I find most helpful when working on SEO.


Shows number of pages indexed in Google.

keyword site:www.yoursite.com

Searches for a keyword on a specific site.

keyword * keyword

The star acts as wildcard for your query.


Finds related or similar sites.

allintitle:keyword phrase

Searches for pages with the keywords in the title tags.

allinurl:keyword phrase

Searches for pages with the keywords in the URL.

“keyword phrase”

Searches for the exact use of the phrase.

allintitle:guest post online marketing

Additional Resources:
The Professional’s Guide to Advanced Search Operators SEOMoz

Advanced Link: Operator to Explore Your Competitor’s Backlinks Search Engine Journal

Google Operators Cheat Sheet GoogleGuide

Creative Commons Photo by Charles Sipe

“The Great Diet Coke Delivery” Continued

After delivering Diet Coke to Ian Lurie of Portent Interactive on December 7th in what has been called “The Great Diet Coke Delivery”, a lot of cool things have happened.

Ian Lurie wrote about the story on Conversation Marketing: How Social Media Works

I wrote an article about the experience and submitted it to SEOMoz’s YouMoz blog and unexpectedly it was promoted to the main SEOMoz blog: How I Got The Attention of One of the Top SEO Bloggers With Diet Coke

Ian followed up with a great article in response to a commenter and discussed why being nice is a good marketing tactic: Being Nice Isn’t a Marketing Tactic. Or Is It?

A marketing agency in Brazil also wrote an article telling the story in Portuguese.

Jon Cooper from Point Blank SEO mentioned the story in his post Link Building Strategies – The Complete List

Ed Fry referenced the “awesome Diet Coke story” in his Moz article, Building Awesome Relationships For Links, Likes, and Love.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive and I was even contacted by a director of marketing in the medical field who offered me great feedback on my company website. The comments on SEOMoz were really supportive and I’ve been able to meet some great new people in the SEO community.

Finally, as I noted in an update to my SEOMoz post, Diet Coke sent me an interesting note via Twitter:

I finally received the package from Diet Coke today: A week’s supply of Diet Coke and a nice note.

diet coke

The note says:

Hi Charles,

We loved what you did for our fan @portentint on Twitter. In fact, we loved it so much that we wanted to follow your example of social media savvy and give you a Diet Coke surprise of your very own.

Please feel free to enjoy it yourself, or use it to surprise other extraordinary Twitter fans in need of Diet Coke.

Thanks again and stay extraordinary.


Diet Coke

Thanks Diet Coke!

What Can Cause Your Search Rankings To Drop?

While there are many reasons that your search rankings can fall, some common reasons are that the website has not been updated recently, there are few links to the page, or the page has been penalized for manipulative tactics.

Part of Google’s algorithm is QDF or query deserves freshness. Sometimes a newly published article will get a boost because it is very timely. News is one example of this. However news from a year ago often becomes less useful and relevant for users so they can fall in the rankings. Additionally, if there are long time gaps between additions of content to your site, Google will not send their bots to crawl your site as often, which often results in fewer of your pages showing up in the Google index or a decline in the rankings of individual pages.

Another major reason is that the page lacks links. Having a strong domain can help boost individual pages of your site, but if an individual page has no links, it will probably rank lower than a competing page that has a couple more links (all other things being equal). Additionally if another page has higher quality links they can outrank you as well.

Thirdly your site or page may have received a penalty for manipulative tactics that are against Google’s terms of service. Using “black hat tactics” such as link buying can have this effect and it can be a lengthy and difficult process to have the penalty removed.

Send your SEO questions to csipe84(at)gmail.com

2 Methods to Estimate ROI of SEO

seo-roiOne of the key indicators that an SEO campaign is moving the needle for your business is the return on investment. According to Investopedia ROI is calculated by the formula:

(Gain from investment)-(Cost of investment)/(Cost of investment)

While it can be difficult to measure the exact amount of value that is generated from a specific SEO campaign, there are several ways to get an approximate measure of the value generated, which can help determine if an SEO campaign is worth the cost.

1. Return= Annual Traffic Increase X (estimated value of a visit)
If you estimate the value of a visit at worth 10 cents, you can multiply this by the annual increase in traffic. Say that you increase traffic by 1,000 additional visitors per month (12,000 additional visitors per year). The value could be equated to $1,200 per year. It is important to note that the effects of an SEO campaign can last years. If you assume that this traffic growth remains for the next 5 years, then the return over 5 years is $6,000. If the campaign costs $3,000 the ROI would equal 100%.

The value of a visit could be much higher if you are in a competitive field. Say that the cost per visit for a Google Adwords campaign is 75 cents. Since organic traffic tends to convert at a higher rate, you could estimate the cost of a visit as $1.00. This would increase the ROI to equal 1000%. If you are in an ultra-competitive field like college loans, a targeted visit could be worth $25 or more.

2. Return= Annual Leads Generated X (estimated value of a lead)
A visitor who comes to your site through Google search should be encouraged to fill out a form to provide their contact information. You can offer incentives like a free whitepaper, a free webinar, a free email newsletter, a free trial, etc to convert a visitor to a lead. You can estimate the value of a lead by determining the lifetime value of a new customer divided by the conversion rate of a lead to a new customer.

Say the lifetime value of an average new customer is $1,000 and you convert 10% of your leads into new customers. Then the estimated value of a lead might be $100. If you can track that an additional 100 leads were generated in one year by visitors coming from search, the value would be $10,000. If you assume that the rate of new leads is maintained for five years, the value would be $50,000. If the campaign cost $10,000, the ROI would be 400%.

It is important to note that any single metric like ROI can be problematic. According to Dr. Pete:

We just have to remember to never get so enamored with one metric that we neglect the big picture. Every web metric that has ever existed or ever will exist is missing some critical piece of information for some set of situations and has the potential to lead us astray.

This post has been republished from Sparkplug Digital, a Seattle SEO and online marketing firm.

10+ Reasons Every Business Should Have a Blog

1. Having a blog helps you create more content on your site, which often leads to more pages showing up in Google search results.

2. Every new blog post is a potential source for inbound links to your site.

3. Blogs give you a platform to speak directly to your customer.

4. Blogs are a place to publish content that solves problems of your buyer persona (the types of people who are likely to buy your product)

5. Blogs allow you to cover a wide range of topics related to your industry, which takes advantage of the long tail effect in Google searches (About 75% of searches are for unpopular phrases).

6. Blogs encourage direct feedback from your customers.

7. Blogs encourage you to think deeply about your field and continuously learn so you can write insightful articles.

8. Blogs allow you to give free gifts (in the form of valuable content) to potential customers which can develop a relationship with the potential customer.

9. Each blog post is a potential landing page for potential customers to learn more about your company.

10. By frequently updating your blog, Google will send its search bots to your site more often. Google often favors sites with constantly updated and fresh content.

11. Blog articles, when written in a casual voice, can show customers that there are real people behind the company and it’s not just a soul-less corporation.

12. Business websites that blog tend to get more traffic to their site. See Study Shows Small Businesses That Blog Get 55% More Website Visitors

Can you share additional reasons why every business should have a blog?

Article republished from the Sparkplug Digital blog

Fighting Negative Perceptions Of SEO

There are a lot of misconceptions about SEO and many have a negative perception about the SEO industry.

For instance, the latest TWiT (This Week in Tech), host Leo Laporte said that he thought SEO was all snake oil. They went on to discuss that SEO is hurting users of search because SEO manipulates search results so legitimate sources are being pushed down.

I would disagree that SEO hurts users. Optimizing your content to include keywords that people are likely to type into Google will help relevant content show up in search results. In fact Matt Cutts of Google recommends that you think of keywords that searchers would use and include this in the title of your article. Google is constantly getting better at filtering out the sites that try to manipulate the rankings with tricks. Part of good SEO is generating remarkable, useful, and interesting content that people want. This is good for users who are seeking information or entertainment.

While there definitely are a lot of bad apples who will break any rules they can to get ahead, there are these in every field.

However, it is very difficult to change perception once it has been established. The best thing good SEOs can do is educate people on how SEO can be a powerful and legitimate tool for companies to cost effectively market their product or service.