Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ten SEO Tips

1. Research your keyword phrases extensively. The phrases that people are typing in the search engines may be different from those that you think they are searching for. To find the optimal phrases to optimize for, use research tools such as Keyword Discovery, Wordtracker, Google AdWords, and Yahoo Search Marketing data.

2. Integrate your keyword phrases into each page’s unique Title tag. Title tags are critical because every search engine gives them a lot of importance. Remember that the information you place in this tag is what will show up as the clickable link to your site on the search engines.

3. Get relevant incoming links from pages and directories as soon as possible. Relevant links are links from sites within your neighborhood of topics. Of most importance are theme relevance, age, quality, and spread of links you get.

4. Do not participate in link exchanges with sites that have non-related content. It is recommended to not participate in link exchanges at all. Search engines assign higher relevancy if the incoming links are from relevant directories, vendors, clients, business partners, business directories such as Yahoo and City Search, and local sites such as the CVB sites.

5. Update the content on your site regularly. This will encourage more search engine spider activity and faster updates of your site.

6. Use Google Sitemap and Yahoo Site Explorer to monitor your site to see how often the spiders are coming to your site, how many pages are indexed, and to analyze the links to your site. Knowing how many pages are indexed is another important stat you can retrieve from Google Sitemap and Yahoo Site Explorer. This data indicates how good your site’s internal structure is and whether your site is crawled extensively.

7. Work towards building incoming links to your site and submitting your site to local, regional, national and niche directories in a gradual and continuous manner. You can find out relevant links to your competitors by imputing competitors URL at

8. Make sure your site has a site map, which is linked to from every page on the site. This will help the search engine robots find every page with just two clicks.

9. Program your site to be “crawler-friendly.” This is important because search engines cannot search your site, read JavaScript links and menus, fill out forms, and interpret graphics and Flash. You can use all of these things on your site; however, you need to provide alternate means of navigation on your site, such as via HTML links in the main navigation on every page which link to the top-level pages of your site.

10. Avoid buying multiple domains for one site. Multiple domains do not help you at all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Top 5 Common SEO Mistakes

So you built your website, with hopes and dreams of internet riches, and the site looks great. But no one's coming to it! Then you start learning SEO, and you're feeling a little bit more confident about it. Here are a few easy mistakes that people make when learning SEO, to look out for as you start doing more SEO work for your site:

Mistake 1: Keyword Stuffing

Before explaining why it's a bad idea, let's first define keyword stuffing as overfilling your content with your targeted keywords/keyphrases. By way of example, if you're targeting the phrase "navigation system," then keyword stuffing your content might read something like "Buying a new navigation system is something most customers do regularly as their old navigation system often fails to function in the proper way that a navigation system should..." and so on. It reads like a fourth grader's essay, and the search engine spiders pick up on the unnaturally high incidence of the same phrase repeated over and over.

While every SEO expert has a different opinion about keyword density, a safe but effective range might be considered 4-9% density. This makes sure the search engines correctly categorize your site for the services you offer, without them penalizing you for blatantly stuffing it with keywords.

Mistake 2: Link Farms vs. Directories

What is the difference between a link farm and a directory? It sounds like an easy question, but it's deceptively difficult. The reason is that directories and link farms share almost everything in common, so instead of a black and white difference between the two, they basically fall on a spectrum, and usually somewhere in the grey middle area.

That said, a working definition of link farm might go something like "a page of links with no other purpose or benefit to the visitor other than to provide backlinks to other pages." And why are they a problem? Search engines will not only disregard them as useless, they will often penalize the linked sites as well, by de-indexing them or demoting them in the rankings.

So how do you tell the difference between a link farm and a directory? Here are a few things to look for: 1) What's the Google Page Rank? 2) How well organized is it? 3) Does it have useful content other than links? 4) Is it visually attractive or otherwise made to be appealing to visitors? Be sure to ask these questions before submitting your site to an online directory.

Mistake 3: Duplicate Content

There's a lot of buzz going around the internet about duplicate content; quite simply, it's the same content appearing on more than one page on the internet. The search engines have been known to devalue pages that they see as duplicates, since the implication is that a site is simply spamming by putting automated content out on the web.

However, unlike link farm penalties, duplicate content isn't actively penalized, but merely disregarded sometimes by the search engines. If you're worried about it, well, write new content!

Mistake 4: Overbidding for PPC Advertising

Pay per click advertising (PPC) and SEO are NOT the same, but they're related enough to warrant a mention here. Amateurs often overbid for their PPC advertising, which not only costs them unnecessary money but drives up PPC prices elsewhere artificially. As with so many concepts in business, start low and go slow, which in this case means opening the bidding around 5-10 cents per click, and raising your bids as necessary to achieve your desired results.

Mistake 5: Investing Too Much Time in SEO Education

Serious webmasters devoted to online businesses and internet marketing would be wise to learn as much as possible about SEO. That said, the overwhelming majority of online business owners would probably be better off using their time to expanding their client base, or developing new products or websites, rather than spending tedious hour after tedious hour learning the minutiae of SEO and internet marketing. If you're capable of earning $45/hour while aggressively working your business, and can hire someone to handle SEO for you for $20/hour, then it's a no-brainer: hire an internet marketing company and get back to running your business.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

8 Quick Steps to SEO Success

To many, Search Engine Optimization can be a confusing and frightening process. If you’re a newbie, it can be difficult to understand the do’s and don’ts of SEO and effectively applying them.
Here are 8 steps that can get you started on the right track, but know this: SEO must always be applied to a site, it’s not a process that you do only once and then forget about. It requires constant attention.

Step1. Do proper keyword research. Find keywords related to your site, which receive good traffic but have little competition. Use those keywords in your site’s title, description, links, and H1 tags.

Step2. Write content on a regular basis. The search engines, especially Google, love sites that publish fresh quality content on a regular basis. It is crucial for that content to be original!

Step3. Send news stories about your site to social networks like Digg. Social bookmark the articles you write for more traffic and incoming links.

Step4. Work on one way link building. Make helpful comments on related blogs/sites and live a link back to your site, using your main keywords as the link title.

Step5. Send articles to article directories. These can be the posts you publish on your site, or totally new and original articles created especially for distribution. Make sure you write good resource boxes and use the main keyphrase for the link title.

Step6. Submit a press release. Write a good press release regarding your site, or pay someone to write it for you. Include a link to the site, and see all the search engines publishing your link above the search results - in the news section.

Step7. Do link exchanges with similar sites. Although not as powerful as one way links, reciprocal links can still help your site a lot so don’t ignore them.

Step8. Create a sitemap. It is very important that every site has its sitemap as search engines use them to easily rank all your pages.

There you have it. 8 simple steps than can go a long way for your online business. Just remember to apply them on a regular basis, and the traffic will come - in large amounts.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SEO - The Basics You Should Know

What is it?

SEO is a carefully created method of improving the probability of your web page appearing on the results page of a search engine query. The nearer the top of the search engine results page your web site appears, the more likely that searchers will click on your web site link and go on to purchase the product or service you represent. You can perform search engine optimization yourself, or hire an expert to do it for you. There are approved ways to improve your standing and ways that can get you banned. It’s important that you do the optimization correctly to avoid getting your web site shut down.

Who needs it?

Any small business owner with products or services advertised online should make the effort to optimize their web site so as to achieve the best results when the search engine spiders visit your site. There are SEO algorithms that are used that are generally proprietary and different search engines look for different components in order to determine the rank of the specific web page. Naturally, each web site owner wants to achieve the highest possible page ranking for the products or services that are displayed on the web site. Getting your page ranking as near to the top of the search results as possible gives you more web browsers seeing your link.

How to get the best results ?

The best results for SEO is to determine the specific algorithm used by a particular search engine and write your web site to use the best possible mix of keywords, links, and placement so as to improve your ranking. Attention should be paid to using the keywords or keyword phrases correctly. Not only the number of times they are used, but in what context they are used. Even the placement of keywords on the page is important for best results. Another factor that is important is that of links to other web pages.

How does SERP apply?

SEO best results are returned on the SERP or Search Engine Results Page. When a searcher on the internet uses terms in a search engine query box, the search engine returns results on a page called the Search Engine Results Page. This can be a few links up to thousands of links, but few searchers look beyond the first page or two of results, since the results often are less relevant as you move further down the page. The ranking of your web page up toward the top of the list is what can increase your sales significantly.

Page rankings

Page rankings are the somewhat arbitrary number assigned to web pages based on the SEO results identified by the search engine spiders or robots. Each major search engine relies on a different algorithm for ranking, although there are similarities between the three major search engines, MSN. Yahoo and Google. The goal of search engine optimization techniques is to have the web page appearing on the first page of search results for the specific query.

Optimization techniques and resources information can be found at SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the goal of each business and web site owner in order to increase the sales revenue for the product or service.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Top 20 Search Engine Ranking Factors

1. Title Tag:

Type your targeted keyword phrase in ANY search engine and notice how 9 of the top 10 sites have that targeted phrase somewhere in their title tag.

*Learn from your competitors and remember keyword density and prominence.

2. Heading Tag Structure

H1, H2, H3, H4 and no more. Remember H1 is what the whole page is about and the other 'sub' H's are explaining each section under that heading. A good way to look at this is to look at it in a standard outline format.

A. = H1

--- a. = H2

------ i. H3

--- b. = H2

------ i. H4

------ ii. H3 & H4

--- c. = H2

------ i. =H3

--------- 1. H4

3. META Description

The META description is there to describe the page. So describe the page. Remember your page is about your targeted keywords. Make sure those keywords are scattered throughout the description of each page. Also, sometimes the search engines will display your description under your listings on the SERP's (Search Engine Results Page). Therefore make the description captivating enough to make the visitors want to click on your website and not your competitor's.

4. Age of Site

Arguably, this is the deciding factor when picking between 2 sites with great stats. Search engines trust websites that have been around for a long time. This is because if the site wasn't valuable, it would not be on-line any longer. Even though this factor is a huge factor, it's only a factor for old active domains. Old, yet active domains that have history of constant updates and consistently acquiring links are the hardest sites to beat.

5. Total Pages Indexed

The total # of pages indexed is very important because usually the more pages indexed the more keywords you will be targeting. This is not always true, however considering this is USUALLY true; this is definitely a factor in search engines' algorithms. The more pages you have, the more chances your site has to get found. Furthermore every page linking within your site (if done right) could build strong internal page rank.

6. Anchor Text of internal Links

It's important that the links within your site that leads visitors from one page to another describes that page with the keyword it's targeting.
IE: Get directions to our San Diego Location

7. Total Backlinks

YES, the amount of back links still matters. The more links you have, the better. BUT, it's the more relevant links from the greatest variety of sites, the better. You need links from blogs, forums, authority sites, educations sites, local area sites, industry sites, etc. They all must be relevant to you. The more accurate the relativity, the more closer you are to being the most relevant site to the searcher's query. The more (relevant) links, the merrier.

8. Anchor Text of Incoming Links

Originally if someone linked to your site, that someone was a different person with a different website giving you a link titling your company name. So if someone Googles your company name, you'd be the first to show up because other sites said that's who you are. But, new potential customers aren't looking for your web site. People are searching for your services. So you have to find ways to get links describing the services you offer.

This way other sites are vouching that you are "men's clothing". The SERP's already know you're Men's Ware House.

9. Average Time on Site

One factor that helps Google determine if your site is a site that will give visitors a pleasant user experience is to record how long visitors stay at your site. The longer you can keep a visitor on your site the more likely you are providing that user with an experience worth sticking around for.

10. Bounce Rate

Like Average Time on Site, Bounce Rate is a metric that measures the worth of your page. Do visitors come to your site and click the back button more often than not? Normally if 80% of the people visiting your site are clicking the back button, that site is not relevant to what they were searching for.

11. Strength of Competition

To be honest, this really isn't a factor in its own. The strength of the competition is probably the backbone of every factor. Ranking results are based on a comparative scale. Meaning the number 1 site is more relevant then the number 2 site based on ALL of these factors. Good ways to measure the strength of the competition is analyze their Alexa Rank, Total Pages Indexed, Total Backlinks and their Google Pagerank.

12. Total Character Count

The more content you have, the better chance you have at satisfying your visitor's query. Google looks for special keywords within your content to back up the keywords you are targeting.
If you are targeting men's clothing, Google looks for terms that will answer every visitor's query. Like pants, shirts, prices, location, xl, discounts, customer service, socks, fitting room, fabric, fashion, etc. Usually to cover all of the visitors' possible questions, you need to provide a lot of unique and informative content.

13. Page Rank

(Ceterus Paribus) Yes, page rank still counts. Many "SEO's" will tell you that this doesn't matter. But, the core of Google's algorithm is based on Page Rank.

14. Keyword Placement

Where amongst all of your content and web pages is your target keywords located? Keywords should have prominent placement in paragraphs supporting their matching headings. Naturally placing your keyword in rich related content the right amount of times is arguably the top ranking factor.

15. Types of Media

Have you noticed videos on the SERP's ranking higher than you?
Or, have you ever ended up at a site through a picture?
Having a variety of media types shows that you are presenting your targeted keywords in various forms, this is most likely pleasing a variety of visitors.

16. HTML Validation

Content : Code ratio is a ranking factor. It must be easy for the bots to run through your site. Also when spiders run through your site, it's necessary that you prevent any traps that could prevent the spider from crawling your site completely and finding all of your content. Broken links are also a big no, no. The bots hate getting led to nothing.

17. Navigation and Architecture

How your site is built and themed is very important for spider indexing and visitor navigation. The paths your visitors take are being recorded. So make sure the pages you want to rank well are easy to find for the user. Having your targeted keywords categorized and your page structure in a siloing format is best. Also add a site map to your website so the spiders could have a one stop page to your whole domain.

18. Click-through-Rate on SERP

Google wants to provide results the visitors want. And to help them determine what they want is to record how many times out of a 1,000 impressions do people click through to your site. If your listing has the highest click through rate it must be because your title, description and or brand are what the users was most likely looking for. This is why title tags and META descriptions are 2 of the other 20 factors in ranking well on the SERP's

19. Total Search Queries Conducted After Leaving Site

If the user searches for that same term over and over again, they must not have found what they were looking for. Your site should answer the visitors query by proving data to the engines that proves that visitor don't need to look any further.

20. Percentage of Return Visits

The higher percentage you have of returning visitors, the better. High return rate means people who have visited your site before enjoyed their visit and found your site valuable. This factor is used in helping Google help others find a site that the visitor may find interesting. So if your site is relevant to the searcher's query and everyone that visits your site returns, Google will use this as a measure of a relevant and interesting site, thus leading to search engine higher rankings.