Breaking Down the Basics: What is SEO Anyway?


Did you know that the heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, often abbreviated as Cat or CAT, ranks above the domestic animal of the same name, as well as the insect, in a search on Google for the word “cat”?

How can a company that has been around for little more than a century outrank an insect and a feline that have been around for thousands of years? There’s always something else ranking higher than you on a Google search results page. That, my friends, is the awesome power of search engine optimization, or SEO.

So, What Is It?

As the full name of the abbreviation implies, SEO involves the optimization of online content to appeal to various guidelines, standards, rules, and preferences used for displaying search results to Internet surfers, searchers, and shoppers.

People use search engines, primarily Google, to find things on the Internet. If you want to be found, you either have to give your website address to each individual personally (which is impossible), or you need to optimize your content so the search engine will find your site worthy of being included in a result list.

Why Should I Care?

The goal is to have first-page ranking because studies show that many people don’t even look beyond the first page. Even more so, such as in the case of Caterpillar, you want to have the No. 1 rank, because 33 percent of search traffic goes to that coveted position.

Some things search engines like to find on websites when considering them for search placement include the following:

  • Contextually relevant keywords and key phrases within the site copy that pertain to the search terms, including long-tail and geo-targeted keywords for niche and location-specific searches.
  • Content that is original, valuable, and meaningful. Duplicate content can get penalized by search engines.
  • Authority, content that’s back-linked on relevant expert sites, and a large quantity of social shares.
  • Optimal site performance in terms of page load times, functioning links, bounce rate, and easy navigation
  • Log into your control panel at

basics of seo

There are also things search engines do not approve of, like keyword stuffing, duplicate or “thin” content with little substance or value to the visitor, back-links to questionable sites, and the use of coding tricks to superficially create visitor or search engine appeal.  Some of these techniques are referred to as “black hat SEO” because they are unethical, improper, or frowned upon by search engines and marketing experts.

When you’re ready to take your online marketing to the next level and gain the exposure you need to achieve your marketing goals, start thinking about SEO. Ensuring that your site is properly optimized for search engines is an essential requirement, and there are plenty of tools to help you along the way.

For more information on web hosting that makes implementing your SEO processes easier than ever, check out our selection of affordable web hosting plans.




A Gift from the Heart



You know, we’ve always said we LOVE our customers, but with February 14th fast approaching, we get to prove it!

That’s right, Valentine’s Day is coming, and since digital candy doesn’t exist yet, we thought of another way we could spread the love and convince you to be ours.

So, light the candles and open the red wine, because IX Web Hosting is going to woo you with some seductive savings this Valentine’s Day.

Starting February 7th, on our popular Expert Plan, we’re taking 55% off our original price of $6.95. The lovely new price is a stunningly low $2.96! Not only that, but we’re offering almost 50% off all other shared hosting plans!

That’s better than a mediocre dinner at the bistro and a handful of chalky heart candies, right? Just remember, this dreamy deal ends the day after V-Day (February 15th), so stop dodging Cupid’s arrows and check it out now. We guarantee it’ll be love at first sight.

Keep us in your heart!


heart IXOXO Web Hosting heart




Three Thousand Dollars!


IX Top Converter Affiliate ProgramNow that I’ve got your attention, let me explain why I’m dangling obscene amounts of cash under your nose.

This month, IX Web Hosting is holding our very first Top Converter  Affiliate Contest.

The prize? You guessed it. Three thousand dollars. Oh yeah.

What’s that you say? You’d like to get involved? It’s easy. Become an IX Web Hosting Affiliate.

Here’s how it works: Affiliate Marketing is recommendation marketing, which means, whether you’re a customer of  IX Web Hosting or not, you recommend our hosting service to your website visitors, email list, you name it – and get compensated for every purchase they make.

In other words: You place ads (we have a huge collection!) or links on your sites, and, for every prospect who follows your link to IX Web Hosting and makes a purchase, you get paid.

You can earn up to $300 for each customer you refer to us. Some of our top affiliates are making thousands of dollars every month!Businessmen Jumping Hurdle

If you’re already a registered Affiliate or a Commission Junction Publisher, don’t worry – you’re automatically entered in the Top Converter Affiliate Contest.

At the end of February 2012 the affiliate with the highest improvement in conversion rate will be proclaimed the winner, and given the cold, hard cash. Of course, should you be the big winner, your prize money will be paid in addition to your normal monthly commissions.

Interested? We thought you would be. All you have to do is sign up here.

Sign up today!

IX Affiliate BannersClick the ‘Start Earning Today button and get in on the action! The registration only takes a few minutes, so you can start making money right away.

Remember, the affiliate with the highest conversion rate increase will win the $3,000 – so merely placing a banner on your site will not be enough. You’re going to want to sell, sell, sell.

Try adding a paragraph or two about the quality of our services and support. If you’re already a customer, tell them how great your experiences have been with IX Web Hosting. Mention our special promo rates. Tell them about our 30-day money back guarantee and our helpful, friendly, 24/7 call center in Columbus Ohio.

The more customers you drive to our site, the higher your chances of getting your hands on the $3,000 prize for being our Top Converter!

So what are you waiting for? Sign up, start promoting, and good luck!


Why Google+ Is a Game-Changer in the Social Media Space


So you just started getting the hang of how to promote yourself and your business with the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Now, this little startup named Google goes and tosses a monkey wrench into the works by introducing their very own social network, Google+. I mean c’mon, really? Who do they think they are? It’s not as if we don’t have enough things to do without being distracted by some shiny new object.

Should you be an early adopter and dive in headfirst while it’s still in test? Wait to see if it catches fire before committing your energies? Why waste your time investing in a platform that will never go anywhere, right? Facebook is already a juggernaut. It’s been going unchallenged for several years now, and it’s not like Google hasn’t had their share of missteps – with the failures of Orkut, Google Wave, and Google Buzz.

How Is It Going to Be Different This Time?

The quick and simple answer is: Circles. Google+ changes the way we share information with each other. Unlike Facebook, where both parties have to be connected in order to share or re-share information, Google+ allows you, the user, to decide which information you want to share and with whom. While you can do this with Facebook, the Graphic User Interface (GUI) is simply not very intuitive. With Facebook’s GUI, it takes too many clicks to get where you’re going, so even advanced users get frustrated quickly. So most people share information shotgun-style, without targeting who gets it.

In A Perfect World…

In a perfect fictional dream world, there would be one piece of software that does everything you want it to do, quickly, easily and for free. But face it. It’s a myth. Rather than strive for that Utopian technology, Google, as well as others, realized that the path to success is focusing on best-in-class offerings. Bloated, feature-rich interfaces are so 20th century, and were a contributing factor to the failure of Google Wave. The adoption and implementation of clean back-end coding, cloud computing, and HTML 5 has re-energized and propelled technology creators to the next level when addressing end-user wants and needs, and Google is at the forefront. Google+ is just the latest offering.

The Quiet Revolution

Over the last several years, Google has quietly evolved from being a just search engine into a “Software as a Service” (SaaS) company with an a la carte ecosystem. Their software works beautifully, with interfaces that get out of your way, so you can do what you need to do and get on with your day.

Some examples of recent Google innovations:

  • Gmail to compete with Yahoo and Microsoft’s Hotmail
  • Chrome to compete with Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox
  • Maps to give us an alternative to Mapquest
  • Places to compete with Yellow Pages
  • YouTube to compete with television, radio, Netflix, and Hulu
  • Docs to compete with Microsoft Office and Open Office
  • Translate for communicating with your global teams or customers
  • Checkout as an alternative to Paypal and other merchant services
  • Reader to compete with traditional news services
  • Voice and Talk to compete with Skype.

Google+ adds:

  • Hangouts to compete with Skype
  • Huddle to compete with GroupMe and Beluga

Google+ brings this entire system together and makes it the one-stop shop for your social commerce, business collaboration, and entertainment needs. Overlapping these traditionally siloed business functions and online consumer behaviors will lead to hybrid and hyper real-time engagement/interaction, while getting Google back to their bread and butter: answering questions. Remember Quora?

In the near future, Google’s ecosystem will embrace the burgeoning mobile market (Android, anyone?) with these additional innovations:

  • Google Wallet to decrease the amount of plastic in our pocket.
  • Google Offers to compete with Groupon and Living Social.
  • Google+ Hangouts will expand to compete with WebEx and GoToMeeting.
  • Google Docs will expand to compete with 37 Signals and ZoHo offerings.

Are You Starting to See a Pattern Forming?

You should. Google is looking at Google+ as the next logical step for taking Google, the business, to total domination of not only the internet, but the ways people and businesses interact with each other. Google+ is changing the way we do business – period. And the growth of Google+ will only strengthen the staggering statistics of the Google brand and its products as a whole.

Google Is Free, and Free Is Good

Most of Google’s products are free, a perfect example of what Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson calls the “freemium” model. Their revenue comes from having the maximum number of eyeballs on-site for the longest amount of time, while increasing the number of return visitors. You could even say they “have an app for that” in yet another useful product, Google Analytics. Okay. It really isn’t that simple, but time spent on site or decreasing the bounce rate influences where decision-makers in the advertising industry spend their money. Google+ creates the ultimate demographic tracking grid for marketers and advertisers to pull from a ready-made Management Information System (MIS) to drill down their target audience without the necessity of a focus group. Creator of MySpace (and huge Google brand advocate), Tom Anderson, reinforces that sentiment in his article: How Google+ will succeed and why you’ll use it whether you want to or not.

The Sleeping Giant Under Our Noses

Sure you have Twitter and LinkedIn, but they have continued to coexist because of unique offerings to the niche consumer market place. However, Google+ is big news because it directly competes with Facebook for the most active users and eyeballs that marketers want to influence. For the last several years, tech industry pundits have been asking, “Who will be the next Facebook?” Guess what, it’s right under our noses. Everyone, especially Mark Zuckerburg, should have seen the writing on the wall when Google subtly announced that they would start including social engagement from the aforementioned social networks in its search results. Now, much like Facebook’s “Like” button, Google+ has the “+1” button, which populates organic search results when an end user types a query into Google, the most popular search engine in the world. We are already seeing these results show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Not So Fast

The fact of the matter is, Google+ may still be in the shiny new object category. There is plenty of room for improvement. Two major hurdles remain:

  • Google+ hasn’t made business pages yet (coming soon)
  • Google+ disallows anonymous profiles.

Google is getting a lot of pushback from users who want to create Google+ profiles with pseudonyms, as opposed to using their real identities. (Because political dissidents, domestic violence victims and others could put themselves in danger by using their real names.) Google chairman, Eric Schmidt sums up the policy on anonymous profiles succinctly, saying: “G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It’s obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn’t use G+. It is meant as an identity service for reputation management.”

This is actually a sentiment that has long been popularized by personal brand advocates like Dan Schwabel, in his book, Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success. Currently the only other network that has a system to verify profiles for authenticity is Twitter. Google is slowly rolling out its own verified profiles.

In my opinion, the pseudonym issue is a moot point, but I agree with Silicon Valley writer Mike Elgan who writes, “Google’s window of opportunity for Google+ to succeed is very small and closing if not made a free sign-up service for everyone, very soon.” Fortunately the project team led by Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz is very responsive to user feedback, rolling out changes to current features and implementing new ones. They are doing a great job considering that the name on the door is Google, but people need to keep in mind it is a massive undertaking. I would even go so far as to use a cliché and say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Social Media Is Not Going Away Any Time Soon

Conversational content marketing is extremely important to an online strategy. Because, no matter the tools, end users are looking for value-added information to consume and or convert. This blog post will probably be a dated, irrelevant pile of drivel a year from now because the specific tools and platforms will have changed, but content publication cycles will stay the same.

As a consumer or business owner it is important to understand human behavior and adapt to proven technology trends rather than put too much focus on the tools themselves or any one channel of engagement opportunity. Angela Hausman, an Associate Professor of Marketing at Howard University, gives her take on popular blogger and author, Jay Baer’s commentary on whether or not technology is ruining the online community. There are literally hundreds of new tools and open API driven plugins, using the freemium model, being released every day to compete with Google and for your attention.

If you keep this mindset, and not skillset, in your box of ammo you will undoubtedly reach your goals and grow your business and or personal brand. Let the cream rise to the top.

So I have one question for you… Where do you go when you’re not sure of the answer to a question?


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Your Dedicated Support

At IX, we take care of our customers. And dedicated support is one of the ways we prove to you again and again that we are here to help you every step of the way, regardless of your skill level. With IX dedicated support, you get a support technician personally assigned to assist you. You get their name, number, email, social media connections, and work schedule! It's just one more facet of our service which proves our deeply rooted belief that being a great hosting provider requires more than just cutting-edge technologies, but the best in support and service.