Archive | July, 2010

Orlando Internet Marketing Consultant speaks about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Have you ever received an email from a complete stranger offering you amazing search engine rankings? or that claim to have a special relationship with Google or can make you #1 on a Google search?

I have seen hundreds of emails from pushy people offering search engine optimization SEO, PPC pay per click and or other online marketing services.

Rule #1 If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
Rule #2
A reputable SEO consultant will never blast you an email out of nowhere.

Here is an actual email I received and I want to share it with you.

The actual email is in RED

Hello, Google has approved YOUR company for the TOP spot on the FRONT page of your local business sites. Increase your bottom line, and start booking business NOW by getting phone calls daily from new customers who want your service. This is a brand new program and is ONLY offered to one business, per city, per industry. It’s either you or your competetor. Call now for a FREE quote and to speak with a certified Google professional. Thank you. Jessica Heaton (949)226-8550
leadmarketing2010@gmail.com

That email or similar emails should be a RED FLAG to look the other way.

SEO scammers are almost everywhere from other countries  to your own town and are usually fly-by-night operations. Many will promise you SEO – Internet Marketing Miracles and will take your money and outright rip you off.

I disabled most of the clickable links in the google article because I do not want you to get distracted and wander away from this page without first reading this to the end.

I found an article written by Google on their webmaster guidelines page and want to share it with you.

After you read this then you can visit the original article by clicking the link on the bottom of this page.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by Google webmaster central

SEO is an acronym for “search engine optimization” or “search engine optimizer.” Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time, but you can also risk damage to your site and reputation. Make sure to research the potential advantages as well as the damage that an irresponsible SEO can do to your site. Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners, including:

  • Review of your site content or structure
  • Technical advice on website development: for example, hosting, redirects, error pages, use of JavaScript
  • Content development
  • Management of online business development campaigns
  • Keyword research
  • SEO training
  • Expertise in specific markets and geographies.

Keep in mind that the Google search results page includes organic search results and often paid advertisement (denoted by the heading “Sponsored Links”) as well. Advertising with Google won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Webmaster Tools, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search. Many of these free sources, as well as information on paid search, can be found on Google Webmaster Central.

Before beginning your search for an SEO, it’s a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work. We recommend starting here:

  • Google Webmaster Guidelines
  • Google 101: How Google crawls, indexes and serves the web.

If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site. That way, you and your SEO can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.

Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:

  • Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
  • Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  • Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
  • What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
  • What’s your experience in my industry?
  • What’s your experience in my country/city?
  • What’s your experience developing international sites?
  • What are your most important SEO techniques?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate our guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider:

  • Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.

Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:

“Dear google.com,
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…”

Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.

  • No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.

  • Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.

Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.

  • You should never have to link to an SEO.

Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of “free-for-all” links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don’t affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines — at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.

  • Choose wisely.

While you consider whether to go with an SEO, you may want to do some research on the industry. Google is one way to do that, of course. You might also seek out a few of the cautionary tales that have appeared in the press, including this article on one particularly aggressive SEO: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002002970_nwbizbriefs12.html. While Google doesn’t comment on specific companies, we’ve encountered firms calling themselves SEOs who follow practices that are clearly beyond the pale of accepted business behavior. Be careful.

  • Be sure to understand where the money goes.

While Google never sells better ranking in our search results, several other search engines combine pay-per-click or pay-for-inclusion results with their regular web search results. Some SEOs will promise to rank you highly in search engines, but place you in the advertising section rather than in the search results. A few SEOs will even change their bid prices in real time to create the illusion that they “control” other search engines and can place themselves in the slot of their choice. This scam doesn’t work with Google because our advertising is clearly labeled and separated from our search results, but be sure to ask any SEO you’re considering which fees go toward permanent inclusion and which apply toward temporary advertising.

  • What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter?

One common scam is the creation of “shadow” domains that funnel users to a site by using deceptive redirects. These shadow domains often will be owned by the SEO who claims to be working on a client’s behalf. However, if the relationship sours, the SEO may point the domain to a different site, or even to a competitor’s domain. If that happens, the client has paid to develop a competing site owned entirely by the SEO.

Another illicit practice is to place “doorway” pages loaded with keywords on the client’s site somewhere. The SEO promises this will make the page more relevant for more queries. This is inherently false since individual pages are rarely relevant for a wide range of keywords. More insidious, however, is that these doorway pages often contain hidden links to the SEO’s other clients as well. Such doorway pages drain away the link popularity of a site and route it to the SEO and its other clients, which may include sites with unsavory or illegal content.

  • What are some other things to look out for?

There are a few warning signs that you may be dealing with a rogue SEO. It’s far from a comprehensive list, so if you have any doubts, you should trust your instincts. By all means, feel free to walk away if the SEO:

owns shadow domains

puts links to their other clients on doorway pages

offers to sell keywords in the address bar

doesn’t distinguish between actual search results and ads that appear on search results pages

guarantees ranking, but only on obscure, long keyword phrases you would get anyway

operates with multiple aliases or falsified WHOIS info

gets traffic from “fake” search engines, spyware, or scumware

has had domains removed from Google’s index or is not itself listed in Google

If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.

In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/ and click on “File a Complaint Online,” call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:

Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240
Washington, D.C. 20580

If your complaint is against a company in a country other than the United States, please file it at

http://www.econsumer.gov/

Click here for original Google webmaster central article

Posted in Google, Internet Marketing, Search Engines, SEO, SEO0 Comments

The Definition of RAID and the Most Common RAID Levels Explained

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive (or Independent) Disks.

I prefer to call them Redundant Array of Independent disks because they use to be very expensive.

A RAID array is a set of multiple hard drives that make up a data storage system built for redundancy or business continuity. In most but not all configurations a RAID storage system can tolerate the failure of a hard drive without losing data however this ultimately depends on how the RAID array is configured.

Different RAID Levels and Their Common Uses

Each RAID level have pro’s and con’s and it is up to a network administrator to decide which RAID level is best for a specific situation. There are many factors to be taken into consideration and it boils down to Speed – performance and budget.

Here are some examples of some of some common RAID configurations or RAID levels.

RAID Level 0

RAID Level 0 provides no redundancy whatsoever and is completely foolish to use in a business environment for storing critical data. With a RAID 0 configuration if one hard drive dies the entire RAID array dies and you can kiss all of data on the RAID array goodbye when this happens. RAID 0 is usually popular with computer video gamers that only take performance into consideration and RAID 0 is usually twice as fast as other RAID levels. Re read this paragraph before considering using RAID 0 it to store your precious data. RAID Level 0 splits or stripes the data across drives, resulting in higher data throughput. Since no redundant information is stored, performance is very good, but the failure of any disk in the array results in total and complete data loss. Raid Level 0 is only used to increase hard drive performance.  A RAID 0 configuration uses 2 hard drives and you get the storage capacity of both of the hard drives. Example if you have 2 100 gig hard drives then you get 200 gigs of NON redundant storage space.

RAID Level 1

RAID Level 1 is usually referred to as hard drive mirroring AKA a mirror. A Level 1 RAID array provides redundancy by duplicating all the data from one drive on a second drive so that if one of the two hard drives drive fails, no data is lost. RAID 1 is very good for small businesses because it is affordable and reliable. A RAID 1 configuration uses 2 hard drives so if you have 2 identical hard drives you get the storage capacity of 1 of those hard drives. Example if you have a pair of 100 gig hard drives then you get 100 gigs of redundant storage space.

RAID Level 5

RAID Level 5 stripes data at a block level across several drives and distributes parity among the drives. No single disk is devoted to parity. This can speed small writes in multiprocessing systems. Because parity data is distributed on each drive, read performance tends to be lower than other RAID types.

The actual amount of available storage is about 70% to 80% of the total storage in the disk array. The storage penalty for redundancy is only about 20% to 30% of the total storage in the RAID 5 array. If one disk fails it is possible to rebuild the complete data set so that no data is lost. If more than one drive fails all the stored data will be lost. This gives a fairly low cost per megabyte while still retaining redundancy.
A RAID 5 configuration uses 3 or more hard drives. If you have for the sake of an example, 3 100 gig hard drives then you get approximately 200 gigs of actual storage capacity.

RAID 1+10

Raid 1+10 is commonly known as RAID 10 and is a combination of RAID 0 and RAID 1 – mirroring. What this means is you have 4 hard drives, 2 sets of the hard drives are each on a RAID 0 configuration and are then mirrored together on a RAID 1 configuration. Data is striped across the data mirror which provides both high performance and redundancy together. Any one of the hard drives can fail without data loss as long as the data mirror is not damaged. The RAID 10 array offers both high speed data transfer (write speed) advantages of striped arrays and increased data accessibility (read speed). System performance during a RAID rebuild drive is also better than that of parity based arrays, since data does not need to be regenerated from parity information, but is copied from the mirrored hard drive to another.

Now that you know what RAID is and what common RAID levels are used today never ever assume a RAID system is a backup solution because it is not. An Orlando computer consultant can help you decide which RAID level is best for your business or organization. Don’t ever just blindly purchase a server without the guidance of a professional network administrator. Without professional guidance you may go overboard and waste money on a RAID system that you don’t really need or you may wind up getting a RAID system that offers no data protection at all.

Posted in Computers, Data Storage, Hard Drives, Hardware, RAID Levels, What is?0 Comments

What is a Microsoft Small Business Server? and do you need one for your organization?

What is a Microsoft Small Business Server?

What is the difference between a Small Business Server and a single role server?

Here is a simple non technical explanation of what a Microsoft Small Business Server is and is not.

After reading this article you will have a better understanding so lets get started.

Larger companies such as fortune 500 or fortune 100 companies have many servers that do different things.
Examples are:

  • Multiple Domain controllers / file servers
  • Multiple SQL / database servers
  • Multiple Exchange servers
  • Multiple web servers
  • Multiple DHCP servers
  • and so forth…

Let’s pretend that “some big company” has 40 servers and each server has its own role to do something specific for the computer network. In theory this would mean that this company has 40 separate physical servers setup in a room to control the computers for this company. In today’s world this would be consolidated using server virtualization but that is getting off topic so I’m not going to get into that in this article.

Now let’s pretend you are a small business owner and you need a file server + a SQL database server + an exchange server. Ok so this means you would need 3 physical servers + 3 different server operating system licenses and many of other things and this can get expensive quickly not to mention an experienced network administrator to design, configure, deploy, test and manage this for you.

Now with a Microsoft Small Business Server Operating System you get 1 physical server that has multiple server roles built into 1 nice neat package. So you can have that file server and that database server and an exchange server and that web server all combined into 1 neat little package. This can save the small business owner money IF the server is properly configured and maintained.

Microsoft states the SBS – small business server will support up to 75 computer users / workstation computers. In theory this will work but in the real world if you have 75 computers connected to a SBS server you can expect very poor performance.

From my experience I will say that Microsoft SBS servers are pretty cool IF they are properly configured with the right hardware and software. I have seen many small businesses have an SBS server that were NEVER configured correctly or are just being used as a simple file server. In such a case the SBS server isn’t necessary and is a waste of money for the business owner.

So without getting into technical details this concludes what a Microsoft Small Business Server does.

If you are thinking about purchasing a new server for your business get to know an Orlando computer consultant and find out if a Microsoft Small Business Server will benefit your organization.

Posted in Computers, Data Storage, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, What is?0 Comments


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