Basic SEO Techniques Spitalfields :
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 Spitalfields 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.
Search Engine Optimization: Part 2 Specific SEO Suggestions
Search engine optimization (SEO) may seem straightforward on the surface, but in practice, there are hundreds of interlocking pieces that must be monitored and adjusted in order to see positive results. The process is even more complicated for e-commerce sites, which operate under a unique set of circumstances and must adhere to a distinct set of best practices. All the fundamentals still apply: publishing great content, earning quality inbound links, and maintaining an ongoing social media campaign. But in addition to these, you'll need to pursue these specific e-commerce strategies.
1. Create unique product descriptions for every product. This is extremely important. It's tempting to use a manufacturer's description for your products, or to repeat sections of content for similar products, but the best strategy is to create a completely unique description for each of your products. It's a lot of work up front, but duplicate content can severely hinder your campaign, and all that extra unique content will pay off immediately.
2. Encourage user reviews. Encourage your users to post reviews on each individual product page. Amazon executes this perfectly, so look at any product page on Amazon.com for a great example of how to implement user reviews. Google loves seeing unique, value-adding content, and with an e-commerce site, you have a key opportunity to generate free content from your user base. Plus, you'll boost sales by giving people more insight into the quality of the products you sell.
3. Establish easy site navigation. This is crucial for both attaining higher search engine rankings and improving your site's user experience. Organize your product pages as intuitively as possible, separating them into easily searchable and easily understandable categories. Make your site map obvious and easy to follow, and design your site in a way that pleases the eye and immediately directs users where to go.
4. Optimize your site load times by reducing the size of your images. It's important to have high-quality images on your product pages, but don't go overboard. Having too many high-quality images on one page can slow down your site, which is bad for SEO. Instead, reduce the size of your images, or build a feature that allows users to "zoom in" to see a larger version. This will keep your load speeds in check while still giving your users the quality they need to see.
5. Link between pages wherever possible. Google prefers websites with value-adding internal linking. The fewer clicks a user has to make in order to get to any given page on your site, the better. Improve this by linking each page to several other similar, relevant pages in your domain.
6. Optimize your site for mobile. This is essential for any site, but especially an e-commerce platform, which would otherwise be nearly impossible to navigate. Give your users a smooth mobile experience, either through a responsive design, a specific mobile design, or an interactive app that allows for a better mobile experience. This will become increasingly important in the coming years.
7. Integrate your product pages with social sharing. In addition to basic social integration, your product pages should have social-share buttons so users can pass on information about your products with their friends and followers. This is a good business practice in general but it's particularly good for SEO because Google may use social signals as a measure of authority.
8. Keep your out-of-stock and discontinued item pages up and running. This might seem counterintuitive at first. After all, if you're no longer offering an item, why bother keeping the page up? It's worthwhile because it gives you more permanent pages, and a greater base of indexable content for Google bots to scour. All you need to do is add a headline or some other indication that the item is no longer available.
9. Create seasonal categories to maximize seasonal attention. Seasonal items tend to have lower keyword competition, with the trade-off being a shorter period of relevance. To get the most out of your seasonal items, create specific seasonal category pages such as "Halloween Decor" or "Best in Fashion 2014."
10. Add a community forum and encourage growth. Another major content option for e-commerce platforms is a community forum where users can exchange information about their favorite products and make recommendations to one another. It will increase brand loyalty amongst your participants. Encourage community growth by starting conversations and responding to questions and complaints whenever possible.
11. Include pictures and videos for every product. E-commerce platforms serve as a perfect medium for visual content, which is growing in importance for SEO. Include videos and several high-quality pictures for every product you offer, tagged with relevant metadata, so each image has a chance of showing up for a relevant image-based search. Just keep them stored in a way that doesn't interfere with site loading times.
12. Make your site secure. It's always been a best practice for e-commerce sites to have HTTPS encryption for user security. If you don't have it, get it now. In addition to providing an extra layer of user security, it also provides a significant ranking signal to Google.
13. Build deep inbound links. Link building for e-commerce sites presents a significant opportunity: ample material for deep linking. When engaging in a link-building campaign, focus on attaining links to the deepest pages on your site that you can (such as niche product pages).
14. Regularly check your pages for errors. E-commerce sites can grow unwieldy fast, since they usually have a huge (and growing) number of pages. Perform routine checks to make sure none of your permalinks are generating 404 errors, and that all of your links to external content are still functional. You can do this using Google Webmaster Tools and a site-crawling tool such as Screaming Frog.
15. Build relevantly titled URLs. Every URL on your e-commerce platform should be unique, relevant to the page, and keyword optimized. If you're using an automated means of page creation, you might be left with a URL ending in a long series of numbers and letters--change these immediately. For example, if you're offering a large red umbrella on a specific product page, end your URL with /large-red-umbrella-v1 rather than /10031490314180.
16. Use catchy meta descriptions for your products. When a page appears on a search engine ranking page (SERP), the meta description appears as text under the hyperlink. Use this to your advantage by writing compelling copy for each of your products' meta descriptions. Your goal should be to immediately catch your user's attention, and draw him or her in.
17. Optimize your site's internal search functionality. It's important to realize that Google isn't the only search engine you need to be thinking about. If you want your users to keep shopping on your site, you need to build and refine an internal search function that can efficiently scour your site and provide the most relevant results to your users. This means building an algorithm that can handle misspellings, offer predictive searches, and sort through every page on the site. It also means optimizing your product titles and categories to be searchable both internally and externally.
Put these strategies into effect immediately, and make regular updates as your business grows. E-commerce sites have unique challenges and differences from other websites, but with proper best practices, SEO doesn't have to be difficult for them. If you're looking for more help with online marketing for your e-commerce site, grab my eBook, The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online.
Will New Top Level Domains Matter in 2015?
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.