Basic SEO Techniques Pratt’s Bottom :
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 Pratt’s Bottom 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.
Quick Website Traffic Boosting Tips
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.
Application SEO: The Most Common Mistakes When Indexing Apps in Search
SEO is constantly changing. It's changing because Google wants to improve the user experience. This past January, a core algorithm update was quietly implemented. It's now March and people are still not quite sure what this update did and how it's going to alter the SEO landscape.
It made me think about how SEO has changed and how it will continue to change going forward. I approached Scott Cohen, the CEO of 180Fusion, to talk about this issue.
AJ: Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to speak to me. Before we launch into SEO, could you tell my readers about what 180Fusion does?
Cohen: 180Fusion is the leader in performance driven digital marketing that specializes in helping companies increase sales by driving online traffic in a profitable way. The platform and services support all aspects of SEO/ SEM, including local SEO, content marketing, PPC, and Enterprise SEO campaigns. Our goal is to help our clients go from being "in business" to "succeeding in business online."
AJ: To start with, what do you think is the general trend hitting SEO today?
Cohen: I think the trend is exactly the same as it has been for some years. Google wants its results to reflect relativity and genuine popularity. First of all, if you are not opting for completely white hat SEO techniques, you are making a massive mistake. Even if you are using grey hat techniques, Google is going to catch up with you one day.
But genuine popularity is the key. If you can produce content that people actually want to read, as opposed to just generating a link, then you are going to achieve incredible success.
AJ: You mentioned relativity. What do you mean when you say 'relative'?
Cohen: Relativity has changed. Previously, it was about making sure that you are being ranked for the right keywords. Google has made it practically impossible not to rank in the correct category because their technology has come so far.
Relativity is about laser targeting your audience through using long-tail keywords. Over half of searchers are using search strings that are more than four words to get the right results.
It goes further than simply using long-tail keywords. Local SEO has become prominent because of Google's habit of providing personalized search results. This means that two people can search for entirely the same thing, but get two sets of results based on their geographical location. There's also the potential for hyperlocal SEO to become a thing as Google's algorithms become more accurate.
AJ: Moving on to the mobile revolution, this can be quite confusing for people who are new to the SEO arena. How would you make sense of this?
Cohen: I would say the newcomer to the field needs to keep in mind that they absolutely have to be optimized for mobile searches. The customer experience is the most important thing here. Take this statistic as an example: 55% of customers would pay more for a guaranteed good experience.
You can give them that good experience without them having to pay more. Responsive design is a must because it impacts the user experience directly. It's why Google has used the Mobilegeddon thing to penalize websites that don't cater to mobile users.
You should go even further in catering to mobile users by creating content specifically to them. This is what I mean by relativity in SEO. The way people access the Internet is changing.
AJ: What would you say the state of content marketing is?
Cohen: The state of content marketing is always an interesting subject because there are always groups who say that it's dying or already dead. I smile because every year content marketing is stronger than ever before. As the saying goes, content is king because users crave good quality content. Despite the importance of social media, there's still room for long-form content.
If you are answering commonly asked questions and directly addressing the issues of users, you are going to win in the SEO race.
Google has said many times that it wants companies to cater directly to the needs of users not SEO. Companies that have heeded these words have been rewarded by Google. By creating relevant content on a consistent basis that customers actually want to read, they have seen their rankings skyrocket.
It can take some time to build up a solid content marketing base, but when you do you are in a great position for success.
AJ: I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak to my readers today about the direction SEO is moving in.