Basic SEO Techniques Westerham :
A few basic SEO techniques:
- View Google’s cache to see your page the way a search engine sees it. If you can’t see an element of the page in the cache, the search engines can’t see it either! This means that content isn’t gaining you any search traffic.
- Be sure your page is reachable. Crawlers don’t perform searches, they travel by links. This means your page has to be viewable by clicking on a link on another page or crawlers won’t see it and it won’t be searchable.
- Be sure you don’t have metaframes preventing your page from being crawled. Many Westerham webmasters use metaframes to prevent rogue bots from crawling their page and don’t realize that these metaframes will also prevent search bots from crawling their pages!
- Don’t let your links get lost in a sea of links. Pages with hundreds or thousands of links may not get crawled thoroughly in order to prevent spam and skewed rankings.
- Use specific keywords. General keywords will have lots of competition. By using more specific keywords, a webmaster can reduce competition and increase rankings.
- Don’t abuse keywords. Use your keywords in natural speech. Optimize your page for one or two specific keywords that searchers might use when looking for information available on your page. Be sure your keywords are relevant to your content.
- Don’t use keywords in link anchor text pointing to other pages on your site. (This is known as commiting keyword cannibalization.)
- Be sure your keywords are plain text HTML. Add ALT text for images, transcripts for videos and audio clips, and put captions with java or flash plugins or images. Although crawlers are improving, many are unable to process anything besides plain text.
Be Aware of User Experience
Increasing the usability, accuracy, and visual design of the website will also increase your search metrics. Search engines use search metrics and backlinks to determine the popularity and user-friendliness of your page. These factors play an important role in SEO. Always seek to create content that is pleasing for your reader.
Search Engines use Engagement Metrics to determine user satisfaction. Time spent on a search result means the user found the result much more helpful than a user who immediately hits the back button to look for another search.
The Panda update allows google to use machine learning to rank websites on quality and user friendliness. In 2011, human evaluators ranked thousands of websites based on quality and then implemented machine learning that mimicked those evaluators. This update changed more than 20% of search results.
Things to consider when selecting keywords:
- The Keyword’s relevance to your page. Will the people using that keyword in searches be satisfied with the content on your page?
- The Keyword’s specificity. Would a narrower keyword or keyphrase attract an audience that is more interested in your content than the audience of the broader term? On the other hand, is your keyword so specific it won’t be searched?
- The Competition on that keyword. Can you compete with the current top ranked websites for your keyword?
Where to Put Keywords:
- In the Title: as close to the beginning as you can put it
- At the Top of the Page
- Several times throughout the body of the page
- At least once in the ALT text
- In the URL
- In the Summary or Meta description tag
Optimizing Title Tags:
- Titles should be between 45 and 55 characters long. Titles that exceed 55 characters in length may not show properly in google searches.
- Keywords should be placed near the beginning of the title
- Consider putting your brandname at the end of the title
- Don’t sacrifice readability and emotional impact for keyword optimization
Visit https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag to see how the title and summary of your page would show up in a google search.
- Keep them short
- Be sure your reader has an idea of what he will find on the page when reads the URL
- Use plain text links
- Use hyphens to separate words
- Use keywords
How Links to your Page Effect your SEO
- Are a wide variety of websites created by a wide variety of webmasters on a wide variety of topics linking to your site?
- Are many sites on similar topics linking to your site?
- Are the ranking sites for your keywords linking to your site?
- Are sites linking to your page using your keywords in anchor text to link to your site? (Anchor text is the blue text that shows on a webpage instead of the URL to the link)
- Are you getting links from trusted sources?
- Have you refrained from linking to spammy or poor quality websites and websites that link to your page?
- Have you been accruing new links?
- Is your page being shared on social media?
If you can answer yes to the eight questions above, links to your content are doing their job and helping increase your rankings. If you can’t answer yes to each question, devise strategies to remedy your answer.
Creating good, quality content that related pages will naturally link to is one of the best ways to get links. Another great way, is through Manual Outreach. Don’t under estimate the traffic that a well placed link can generate itself. Target specific websites who cater to similar audiences, preferably websites with few links, high credibility and high rankings for your keywords, and invite them to link to your page. Be sure to explain how linking to your page is a benefit for them, and not just an act of charity for you. You may also use this tool to see your competitors’ backlinks. Finding sites who have linked to the top ranked sites for your keyword gives you a list of sites that whose links would be of value to you. Avoid self-created links on lower quality websites. While they may help rankings a little bit, they may also hurt your rankings. If you pursue this option, proceed with caution.
Search Engine Webmaster SEO advice
SEO advice from the major search engine webmasters includes:
- Be sure all pages can be reached by static, plain-text links. (Links of the form: , as opposed to links buried in images, java or flash.) These links are easier for crawlers to find.
- Don’t “cloak” your work, or try to present different content to the search engine than you present to the user. Make sure your page is optimized to be found by a search engine when a user searches a relevant query. Don’t try to cheat the crawler’s and their index.
- Use accurate, descriptive, clear language with appropriate keywords in your titles, subtitles and ALT text. (ALT text is text that appears when an image cannot be displayed.) On hubpages, photo captions are ALT text and are therefore an extremely important part of search engine optimization.
- Create content filled with relevant keywords.
Check for Errors
To check for crawl errors see Google’s Webmaster Tools.
5 Ways to Handle SEO
Is your business trying to reach potential customers who search for information online? Of course it is.
But be sure not to neglect those who use mobile phones -- used by more than 90 percent of U.S. households today, according to CTIA, the wireless industry association. That compares to home Internet usage estimated at about 74 percent, according to Nielsen Online.
The CTIA also says data usage on mobile phones has surpassed the amount of voice data in the U.S. for the first time last year. Along with using mobile versions of Web browsers, on-the-go Internet users are increasingly turning to social media and specialized apps to help them find what they're looking for.
In the era of mobile Internet commerce, businesses need to re-evaluate their search engine optimization strategies. Here are some tips on taking advantage of this shifting trend from computer to smartphone from experts in the field.
Drop .mobi, but limit Flash
"The recent and continued advancement in smartphone technology has brought mobile browsing and search engine optimization (SEO) much closer to standard web SEO practices," says Dustin Ruge with the SEO Consultant Firm, based in New York City. "Previously, companies would pursue the creation of mobile sites (.mobi), with much lighter content and faster load times to support first generation mobile browsers, but today, mobile browsers are becoming much more 'normalized' in nature and tend to perform similar in results to standard Web browsers."
That said, Ruge still suggests to utilize XHTML formats, limit excessive load times (i.e. Adobe Flash) and make sure critical information -- such as phone numbers and addresses -- is prominently displayed and readable in mobile applications.
Test is best, click to call
Amber MacArthur, a new media strategist and author of Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business (2010 Portfolio), agrees with Ruge's last point.
"To ensure that consumers get what they want when searching on a mobile phone, companies need to ensure they have mobile-friendly websites," says MacArthur. "Businesses don't simply have to check their sites on one device, they should test across multiple smartphone platforms, such as the BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android."
Smartphones with these three dominant operating systems allow users to call phone numbers listed in their Web browsers with a single tap or click, which then launches the phone function of the device. You'll know if a phone number or email address can be used as such if they're underlined in the browser.
The most significant change to how consumers are using smartphones to find companies is the widespread popularity of mobile apps."To put this into context, Steve Jobs recently said that there are now more than 200,000 Apple mobile apps," says MacArthur. "In other words, individuals are no longer going through a browser get information, such as restaurant reviews and product recommendations -- this means that traditional SEO placement tactics are less effective."
Ruge acknowledges mobile apps are "exploding in use," but he feels it might be too early to develop any concrete conclusions about its effectiveness in user search. "Based on learned user behavior, I suspect that standard browsing practices through the traditional search engine interfaces will not be threatened anytime soon," says Ruge.
Social networks, too
Customers are also relying on their social networks to find what they're looking for, reminds MacArthur, who says she uses Google less and Twitter and Facebook more."The tipping point for me was a couple of years ago when I went online to Twitter to ask my network where I should stay in the D.C. area. Within minutes, I had dozens of recommendations and links, which was a lot easier than sifting through pages and pages of random search results on Google."
According to MacArthur, about three quarters of cellphone users are using mobile phones to frequent social networking sites. "With such a high penetration of users on Facebook, Twitter and in other online hangouts, it's key that small and mid-sized businesses put time and effort into social networking strategies."
MacArthur suggests businesses consider a free Web service called HootSuite. "Not only will this tool allow companies to post to multiple accounts at the same time within an easy-to-use dashboard, it makes networking with the people on these sites easy and it also makes it a cinch to monitor your brand's reputation (and respond when necessary)," adds MacArthur.
As for the future
Both Ruge and MacArthur were asked about location-based services.
"This is a very difficult issue to address at this point since there are ongoing privacy related issues dealing with mobile browsing and GPS," says Ruge. "Recent privacy issues dealing with Facebook should be a shot across the bow to any unauthorized future use of personal online browsing coordinated with GPS data; the technology is certainly there for some amazing capabilities but Americans are very particular when it comes to privacy issues," he adds.
MacArthur is more optimistic about its immediate future. "Location-based services are exploding as a key marketing platform for many businesses." "For starters, setting your company up on a site like Foursquare won't cost you a cent, giving businesses an opportunity to bring their online relationships with customers offline."
MacArthur also says "augmented reality" tools that add informational layers on top of what you see through your smartphone's camera, "is about to change the way most of us get information." "For example, imagine walking down the street, pointing your phone's lens at a restaurant, and then seeing live links to menu item reviews online."
Although augmented reality is a hot trend, "it's somewhat more complicated to develop, compared to location-based apps and GPS tools, so companies are a slow to jump onboard," says MacArthur.
Search Engine Optimization: Part 2 Specific SEO Suggestions
Search engine optimization (SEO) is fast becoming a must-have body of knowledge for business owners. Nearly 91 percent of all Internet users resort to a search engine to find information, according to a recent survey by the non-profit Pew Internet and American Life Project. The question is: how easily can they find your business?
You already could be making costly mistakes, such as a home page that is almost all images and little text, causing your site to have unnecessarily low rankings and little traffic. Or worse, you could be using hidden text and winding up with an every more onerous problem because some search engines ban sites that use tricks to improve rankings.
Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or you use an outside SEO firm, the more you know the more effective and successful your business can be online. I’ve assembled the five best categories of resources for business owners to learn about SEO and search marketing. To help with this article, I interviewed Jennifer Laycock, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Guide, a website designed specifically for business owners and entrepreneurs.
Conferences and seminars
Attending search engine conferences is the fastest way to learn because it immerses you in the subject. When you are starting out, choose events designed to give well-rounded instruction in basic principles, such as Jill Whalen's High Rankings seminars.
Don't go to advanced events intended for industry experts until you first learn the basics -- trust me, you will just feel frustrated. However, there is one good reason for a newbie to attend events targeting industry professionals, such as Search Engine Strategies conferences. That’s to find and interview SEO vendors. At no other venue will you find so many search professionals in one place at one time.
There are a few excellent eBooks -- downloadable PDF documents -- suitable for beginners. The best eBooks typically come with a package of extras, such as lifetime updates, private forums, sometimes even money-back guarantees.
Aaron Wall’s SEO Book is widely acknowledged as one of the best.
Laycock’s own Small Business Guide to Search Engine Marketing is another I would recommend, because it focuses on SEO from the perspective of a business owner who is not a search expert.
Printed books, another possibility, are less expensive ($15 -$30 for printed books versus $75 - $100 for eBooks). The disadvantage is that printed books can get out of date quickly because search constantly changes. Tactics accepted several years ago, such as doorway pages, today may get your site dropped by search engines. If you opt for a printed book, make sure it is reasonably recent.
Newsletters and blogs
One of the great things about the Web today is that we are lucky to have so many excellent free newsletters and blogs on search. Among newsletters, Jill Whalen's High Rankings is notable, because she answers real-life questions from readers.
Among blogs designed for business owners, a particularly helpful one is Small Business SEM. Carston Cumbrowski also has a helpful page of resources for SEO beginners.
Search Engine Land featuring search guru Danny Sullivan, is a good one to add to your reading list later on as your knowledge builds. It is industry focused, but has the advantage of experts who write on specific topics such as link-building and contextual advertising -- not to mention its excellent blogroll of search sites to explore.
As you begin to learn some of the basics of SEO, you will have questions. Head to discussion forums to get answers. Discussion forums are excellent sounding boards to bounce ideas off of others. Try Webmaster World and Digital Point Forums.
When you first approach a new discussion forum, read and observe for a while before jumping in to participate. Every forum has a “personality” all its own -- make sure you feel comfortable. Observing also helps you learn which participants’ advice to trust. Some participants are more knowledgeable than others.
No article on search for newbies would be complete without mentioning some of the excellent free or low-cost tools available. I have learned a great deal simply through using tools such as:
- WordTracker keyword tool -- Using relevant keywords in your site content and when purchasing search ads can make all the difference in attracting visitors who actually buy. You may already know the obvious keywords, but WordTracker helps you broaden your choices to identify non-obvious terms. A free trial or a single day’s subscription costs around $8.
- Analytics programs -- These help you understand which parts of your site visitors use most, such as which navigation links they click on most. Armed with that knowledge, you can make changes to your site to emphasize the most important elements to increase sales and newsletter signups. Google Analytics is a robust free analytics tool. For those who run Google AdWords campaigns and do not like the idea of giving sensitive site data to the same company you purchase ads from, ClickTracks is an alternative. ClickTracks offers a free version called ClickTracks Appetizer.
- SEO Moz page strength tool -- This interactive tool gives you a quick snapshot of some of the factors search engines consider when determining site rankings. Don’t take it as the complete word on ranking factors, but do have fun with it.
Anita Campbell is a writer, speaker and radio talk show host who closely follows trends in the small business market at her site, Small Business Trends.