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For those that don’t track Google algorithm changes like we do, it’s been a messy spring all across the country, not just Northeast Ohio. Like the Weather Channel naming the biggest storms, search engine insiders name Google search engine updates. So let’s recap two major storm systems that moved through the area to cause chaos for websites big and small.


The impact of the Quality Update has been far more significant across the Internet than Mobilegeddon because it affects desktop search.

Google officially rolled out this massive cold front on April 21st. This change affected search rankings for sites that are not mobile compatible. The result is that Google’s mobile search engine for cellphones now attempts to display mobile-friendly sites ahead of sites that are not responsive. Google says this change provides a better experience for cellphone users. Just like other algorithm changes, if it’s better for the user, it’s better for Google. 

Fortunately, this change doesn’t affect search rankings on desktops and tablets, so in many B2B and industrial markets, most search traffic hasn’t been impacted too much.  

Now that some time has passed since the algorithm took effect, it’s time to review your Google Analytics account to see if there is a noticeable difference in mobile traffic.  If so, it might be time to re-build your site with a responsive design. If you only seeing a modest drop in traffic, you can put off this investment for a little while, but you should plan a move toward responsive with your next big website update as mobile search use continues to grow.

Quality Update aka Phantom Update

Google spun this low pressure system out in early May. This wasn’t a tweak to the previous Panda and Penguin updates. Instead, Google rebalanced a wide range of quality factors. But, the impact of the Quality Update has been far more significant across the Internet than Mobilegeddon because it affects desktop search. Sites with low quality content, errors, broken links, etc., were affected. 

Today SEO is all about quality and redefining quality.  Are you still providing your audience with a positive experience? Is your content informative, more useful than peer sites, credible, engaging and up-to-date? If you’re unsure, then it’s time for a website audit. Some of you may be surprised how dated your content and design have become and agree it’s time for a refresh.

Companies that participate in Pilot Fish’s ongoing SEO programs are well-prepared to weather Google’s changes. Clients receive detailed quarterly SEO reports with recommendations and strategies for success based on the latest algorithm.

Spring is gone and summer is here. Is your website facing gloomy days or lots of sunshine?

For more insight into how Pilot Fish monitors its clients’ sites and keeps them performing to Google’s latest algorithm, call877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

Tagged in: SEO
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Nearly 400 SEO practitioners – including Pilot Fish – participated in a survey measuring the importance they placed on each factor.

Search engine optimization, like everything else in life, works best when you’ve got the right tools.

One of the niftiest tools we’ve encountered over the years is the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors, just released this month in its third incarnation by Search Engine Land. As its name suggests, the table is laid out like the scientific table of elements, but instead of helium, argon and thulium, the SEO table lists factors like content quality, meta descriptions and links.

Altogether, the SEO table lists 37 elements considered most important in how well a page ranks on the search engines. Like its scientific predecessor, the SEO table organizes the elements into families and provides a weight for each factor, based in this case on how much the element is considered helpful or hurtful for SEO purposes.

Originally introduced in 2011, the chart is a great visual reminder of how complicated good SEO can be, and it’s also a useful indication of how the larger search engine optimization community views its life’s work. This year, for the second update of the chart, nearly 400 SEO practitioners – including Pilot Fish – participated in a survey measuring the importance they placed on each factor and soliciting posssible changes to the chart.

The 2015 table, which is divided into on-page and off-page sections, added three new elements and changed the weight of four existing factors, based on a combination of survey answers and research performed by the chart’s creators.

It’s a testimony to the enduring nature of search engine optimization that only a handful of changes were needed.

Of course, knowing the table’s 37 elements is only the starting point of a successful SEO campaign. The real key is to find a search engine optimization company that knows your industry and can expertly apply those elements to create a website that achieves your goals.

For help with that process, contact us at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

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We were there at
the forefront and
continue to offer
our clients SEO
expertise derived
from many years of
practical experience.

My, how time flies when you’re having fun!  Pilot Fish is celebrating the 20th anniversary of our parent company, Polysort LLC, founded in 1995 as the first online portal for the plastics and rubber industry.

I’m proud to say that I was one of the portal’s founding members, along with other former staffers from trade publication Plastics News.

We felt that the Internet was the perfect medium to build an industry resource that, in comparison to print, would free us from the limitations of deadlines and space. 

It also created the need for a different business model than reliance on advertising revenue.

Very few companies had websites in 1995, so helping plastics and rubber companies build their online presence became our revenue model,which exists to this day.

Our original site, www.polysort.com, continues to provide an extensive directory of plastics and rubber companies, including raw material companies, machinery companies, processors and related services.

Pilot Fish became our website development and SEO arm, providing Internet marketing services not only to plastics and rubber companies, but also to other industrial businesses in a variety of markets, including medical, packaging, woodworking, construction products, chemical, machinery and more.         

In addition to website development, our company provided ‘online promotion,’ which with the launch of Google in 1998, introduced a whole new marketing segment called search engine optimization. We were there at the forefront and continue to offer our clients SEO expertise derived from many years of practical experience.

Read our press release for more information about Polysort/Pilot Fish’s 20th anniversary.

Learn more about Pilot Fish’s custom SEO services for industrial businesses or read testimonials from our clients.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

Responsive web design is a great solution for creating a site that is adaptable to any device, large or small. However, since there is less real estate to work with on smaller devices, some additional measures have to be taken to in order to make your responsive design uncomplicated and user-friendly while still getting your message across.

Fortunately, there are some decisions that you can make about which website elements are visible and how information is arranged for the smaller devices. And, this can be accomplished without compromising the integrity of the site in large, or in small format.

A beneficial aspect
of responsive web design is that it allows you to decide on the sequence of your site content.

So, if you are ready to make the switch to responsive design, here are some of the things that you should consider as your site transitions from a large screen to a small screen.

Reducing navigation
Navigation bars and buttons are commonly duplicated on websites that are made to fit larger screen resolutions, but, for the responsive website, you will have the option of hiding redundant or unneeded navigational elements to conserve real estate on the smaller screens. You may also consider including collapsible navigation bars as another option for conserving space.

Prioritizing content
A beneficial aspect of responsive web design is that it allows you to decide on the sequence of your site content. You can choose which text, images, and media take the highest priority so you can have those elements appear first, second, third, etc., on the page.

Hiding content
Just as you can hide navigation bars, you can hide redundant or lengthy text, images, excess videos, and other elements that are not crucial to your message in order to create the optimal experience for visitors. 

Breaking content into additional pages
If you are concerned about oversimplifying your site by removing too much content, secondary pages can be created to compensate for this issue.

Using bullet points
On websites built for desktop viewing, bullet points are an easy way to break up information to attract attention to pertinentdetails. This is no different when making content decisions for small devices. Deciding how many bullet points and which to keep or remove is up to you.

Don’t forget: With responsive web design, each of the items mentioned above can be achieved without affecting the content as it appears on larger devices.

For more information on taking the responsive approach, contact us at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

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Posted by on in B2B SEO

Many of our manufacturing clients have websites loaded with PDFs to share product literature, technical information, articles, and manuals. These documents can be the cream of the crop from an SEO standpoint if you know what you’re doing. To ensure search engines can index and rank your PDFs, here are 5 SEO tips to make them even more accessible:

  1. Content is King - Whether it’s a standard web page or PDF, your content needs to incorporate keywords important to your business. Take a quick glance at any PDF you use on your site and ask yourself these questions: Have you done your best at incorporating keywords within the content? Does your title contain those keyword phrases? If not, fix it.
  2. Save your PDF with keyword rich file names - This means no more naming your files with your internal product codes like PE984098.pdf. It just won’t cut it these days. Take the extra time to use a keyword rich file name like 5-SEO-tips-for-PDFs.pdf. The search engines use filenames as a signal, so use it. 
  3. Your PDFs should start from text based documents - Even with search engines using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), it’s much easier for search engines to scan text-based documents. Unless you have no other choice, it’s recommended to keep these documents text-based so that the search engines don’t have to work too hard to read, interpret and rank your information, especially when other text-based PDFs competing for position on similar keywords might already exist in the search results.
  4. Complete the document properties - Simply open up any PDF document, click on File/Properties/then Description and complete the fields. Be sure to use your keywords to help the search engines learn what the PDF is about.
  5. Include your URL in the header or footer of your optimized PDF - There’s nothing worse that clicking on a PDF from the search results and having nowhere to navigate. 

SEO is all about execution. Follow these 5 SEO tips for optimizing PDFs and you’re more likely to be rewarded.   

Tagged in: SEO tips
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Done right, a website redesign can accomplish a wide range of important goals:

  • Make it easier for site visitors to find the information they need
  • Illustrate more clearly the web site owner’s strengths and mission
  • Provide an opportunity to update information, ranging from product offerings to company history and contact details
  • Offer new features/online services for customers and prospects
  • Take advantage of the latest advances in website technology

ATL, a longtime Pilot Fish client, achieved many of those goals and more with today’s launch of its redesigned website.

It had been seven years since its last site redesign, and ATL, a manufacturer of custom flexographic labels and disposable medical devices, knew it was time to update its website to better match the company’s changing product lines and services.

The new design, featuring an open, clean layout and simple, clear navigation buttons, properly allows site visitors to more easily find the information they need and also improves the site’s readability.

Importantly, the updated design underscores the Wisconsin company’s leadership role in the industries it serves and reflects ATL’s growing influence in the disposable medical device market.

Despite the different look and feel, the site still offers all of the features ATL’s customers and prospects have come to expect, including:

At the same time, the redesign allowed ATL to take advantage of improved blog software and to realign its search engine optimization with current industry practices. The company expects the redesign to:

  • Improve productivity by making the site easier to update
  • Boost site users’ satisfaction with the website and the company
  • Increase leads and sales

If you’re ready to take the next step in redesigning your website, Pilot Fish can help -- contact us at 877-799-9994, ext. 2102, to learn how.

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You see it in the news with more frequency, another major retailer, health care site, or insurance site has reported that they’ve been hacked. Over the last few years hackers have commonly attacked these consumer sites to obtain sensitive information like credit cards or key personal data. In the end, these hacks cost companies millions and even worse, the loss of consumer confidence.   

So you have a B2B industrial site that is informational, with no sensitive or personal data. You’re site is safe, right? Think again, here are just a few reasons why hackers want a piece of your site too:

  1. Malware Attacks: Hackers need a site, any site, small or large to hide malicious software. In fact smaller sites are often easier targets because they tend to be less secure. Once the malicious software is hidden in your site, the computers of the site’s visitors (including your internal company users) can become infected, which can lead to identity theft or use of your computer as a proxy server. 
  2. Improved Search Performance: If you know anything about SEO you should know by now that backlinks are part of search algorithms. These hackers enter your site though vulnerabilities and add pages with spammy content that provide links back to their site. Just like that, they increase the number of back links, thus increasing search engine signals and possibly new traffic to their site.   

In the past, many site owners were unaware that they have been hacked. That’s no longer the case with Google’s watchful search bots. Sites that are hacked usually will get an e-mail notification from Google and are usually flagged in search results with warnings like “This site may be hacked.” Search users aren’t likely to click on a link in Google that says “This site may be hacked,” so, it’s important to take these notifications from Google seriously and fix any problems right away.    

So what should you do to avoid hacks? First make sure you are working with a web host that is taking steps to prevent their servers from being a target. Second, keep your website up-to-date with the latest versions of the CMS or plug-ins that have been installed. We suggest a quarterly check as a good rule of thumb. 

Minimize your risk and keep your website secure. Preventative measures may cost a bit up front, but sure can save you headaches in the long run.  

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Google’s announced a “significant” algorithm change that will prioritize mobile-friendly sites in its mobile search beginning April 21, and 99% of web marketing folks are wringing their hands over the possible fall-out.

But I’m more interested in how much of an impact this will really have in many B2B segments where few, if any, companies have or care about mobile sites.

When the announcement came out, our team went into full gear to try to assess the potential “damage.” What we found was that most of our industrial B2B clients get very little traffic from mobile, most under 15%. So, does that automatically mean that all those clients will lose 15% of their traffic on April 22?

No one really knows – yet. What will be interesting to see is how well received the new Google mobile-friendly rankings are received by site users. 

Up to now, Google has told us that it ranks websites in order to provide the best, most relevant content to users, using a complex algorithm that measures site content, architecture and back links. 

Mobile device use continues to grow, so it does make sense to discuss WHEN is the best time to transition to a mobile-friendly site.

So, if mobile friendly becomes a significant part of the algorithm, what happens to all the really good websites that aren’t mobile friendly? They just disappear or go to the back of the line behind mobile friendly sites that don’t have good content?

And, what happens when very few or none of the websites that meet a specific keyword search are mobile friendly? Will Google just not deliver any results, or will it be forced to revert to its original ranking based on content and back links?

As part of our effort to quantify the potential effect for our clients, we did some keyword searches for terms our clients use and found that in most cases, in the industrial space, there are few mobile-friendly sites.

We went back as far as five pages of Google results, and in only one case did we find nine mobile friendly sites out of the current Top 50. Now, if Google moves all nine of those to the first page, that could certainly be a problem for that one client. But, in most cases, there were far fewer mobile-friendly sites.

Does that mean we can ignore this altogether? Probably not. Mobile device use continues to grow, so it does make sense to have the discussion about WHEN is the best time to transition to a mobile-friendly site, based on company budget, age of the website and necessity once we see the true impact of this ranking change. 

In the meantime, it’s important to remember Google hasn’t been infallible when it comes to rolling out algorithm changes – in fact, it’s rolled back changes in the past when reaction was very negative or they found that the change didn’t improve the user’s experience. So, this one could go through a few iterations before they’re satisfied they’ve gotten it right.

So, rather than panic, we’re just telling our customers to keep a watchful eye. Just as we will be doing.


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