Seo for Beginners
All web-designers in Essex need to optimize and rank their websites high on Google’s results page: This is so, since Google tops all other search engines on the internet in terms organic traffic generation: Ranking high on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is not difficult if Google SEO is followed.
On the other hand; ranking high in SERPs is not enough; you need to optimize your Essex site for human consumption; so that your website gets the traffic and conversion rate it deserves when users are convinced to click-through into your website to find specific information or product.
So; what does Google recommend for starters? Google looks for a number of signals to determine the quality score of a website/web-page before showing relevant results in the SERP; and content is among the most important ranking signal it considers.
After all; you built that website to provide a given information or product to the internet users; and not Google’s search engine: It will be needless to work hard on your SEO to rank your site high; while the content it contains is irrelevant and insufficient to those who need it.
Even if such websites with irrelevant and insufficient content ranks high due to some black hat SEO techniques; or by just effecting other ranking signals; they will always have a high bounce rate which also among the ranking factors Google considers: As users find your content useless for their needs; they click-away from your site and find another website with relevant information they need.
But; how exactly to you work on your content to get the favor from Google web crawlers??
This starters guide is broken into various parts of web-seo; both on-page and off-page SEO techniques that you need to perfect during site optimization process before embarking on extensive content marketing for high conversion rate.
A) Basic Search Engine Optimization
1. Unique and Accurate Page Titles
Web crawlers start understanding the content of your web-page right from its title: Ensure that your titles are original and accurate; stressing on the main point or idea you want to put across.
On the other hand; include researched and high ranking keywords in your titles for search engine consumption; while still making your titles catchy; having it in mind that your content is for human use.
2. Use Meta Tags and Descriptions
Meta tags and descriptions will show in the search engine results page; these are the summary of your page’s content.
Your meta tags should include the main keywords you are going to exploit on the body of your web page; so that web spiders can crawl and index your page appropriately.
On the other hand; use clear and precise description to summarize your content for the humans; so that they know what to expect on your page before actually clicking through to your content.
B) Working on Site’s Structure
1. URL Structure
The url structure of your web-page should be descriptive; including the main keywords: Web crawlers should be able to understand the content of your web-page form the url of that page; so that they serve the relevant web-pages to the internet users depending on the search query they use.
On the other hand; meaning full urls have a significant impact on the conversion rate; since humans will be able read them and understand the relevancy of the content; and consequently being converted into a visitor.
If you are using a content management system (CMS) such WordPress; ensure that you edit your permalinks to read exactly what the page is talking about.
Finally; your website URL should also include the main keyword in it; so that if you are a PC retailer, your website will include a PC retailer somewhere.
2. Site Navigation
Make it easy for your website’s visitor to navigate around: Provide links to all your pages using relevant anchor tags; so that your visitors get more information concerning relevant topics you have written about on other pages.
C) Content Optimization
1. Offer Quality and Unique Content
Having it in mind that content is king; strive to offer original and quality contents that cannot be found anywhere else.
Before creating your contents and publishing them; ensure that you do sufficient keyword research using keyword tools available on the internet such as the Google Keyword Planner found in AdWords account.
While creating your content; be sure to use your researched keywords naturally throughout the page to maintain a good flow; and also to avoid spamming the search engines.
2. Use Anchor Text
Using your keywords as anchor text; provide links to the pages within your website; with relevant topics as the anchor text.
On the other hand; if necessary, you can provide links using these keywords as anchor text linking to other relevant sites; with good reputation and quality content to offer more insight to your visitors
Avoid linking to irrelevant sites with low quality content as this will hurt your web-page ranking; or even worse the whole website ranking.
3. Optimize Page Visibility Using Images
Web crawlers are in love with images; utilize images on your web-pages so that they are fully optimized for search engine consumption.
Use image description and caption text boxes to describe what your web-page content is all about; ensuring that you include all the necessary keywords you expect to rank high for.
Use quality and large images on your web-page as these are always doing better in search engine results page.
On the other hand; be sure to use your own images; or buy from sites selling images online; or otherwise find the rights to use free images from sites like Google Images offering images and photos for free use.
4. Make Use of Headings
Separating your content into different heading has a significant impact on both search engine and human optimization.
Provide headings and sub-headings with quality and relevant keywords depending on the topic of that heading or sub-heading.
If you are using plain HyperText Markup Language (HTML); utilize in your content page the H1, H2, H3 and so on; so that emphasis is made depending on the importance of the keywords on your titles and sub-titles.
D) Optimize Your Site for Web-Crawlers
1. The Robots Exclusion Protocol (Robots.txt)
Web-designers/developers use this file to direct the web-crawlers on how they should crawl and index their web-pages.
However; using robots.txt needs sufficient web-development expertise; as it can extremely harm your web-pages visibility if not used correctly.
Ensure that you locate robot.txt files in the top-level directory of your web-server for it to function as it should; otherwise, you will compromise your site’s crawling by the search engine robots.
2. Using rel=”nofollow”
Similar to Robot.txt; using rel=”nofollow” requires extra care. This nofollow attribute is used to direct web-crawlers on which links not to follow and crawl on a web-page.
Some web-designers use this attribute to discourage spamming; or if the content of the page is not for public view.
Whichever reason you use it for, ensure that you counter-check your links so that you don’t use nofollow attribute inappropriately and prevent search engine robots from crawling your important web-pages.
E) Mobile SEO
The majority of internet users today use mobile phones and other hand-held device to access information from the internet.
You need to notify Google crawlers of the mobile version of your website so that it is optimized for the users using mobile devices to search for information through the search engine.
On the other hand; ensure that you use mobile friendly images; and give clear directives on how to use the site with mobile devices.
If you are using a CMS like WordPress; ensure that your website is responsive by using WordPress themes that are mobile optimized; and can re-size to fit on small screens as well.
F) Promote and Analyze your Site
1. Content Marketing
Now that you have satisfied Google’s SEO recommendations and most probably your site is enjoying high rankings; embark on extensive content marketing to promote your website’s contents.
For you to convert more visitors into leads, so that your site’s conversion rate remains high every time; taking your site to the top in SERP is not enough; and without effective content marketing strategy; your site’s performance will be compromised.
2. Website Analysis
Analyzing your site’s performance will assist you to calculate your return on investment (ROI); whether your SEO efforts are rewarded effectively.
There are a number of website analytic tools out there; Google Analytics being one of them with a number of features to analyze your site’s performance.
On the other hand; utilize free Google Webmaster tools to get more insight about your page visits; and a number of data that will help you evaluate your ROI.
Getting your SEO right for high Google ranks is that simple: And since Google is the biggest search engine in the internet; all major search engines such as Yahoo and Bing will like your content and rank your website higher.
Meta Tags & Optimizing Metadata for SEO
Printable Promotions has only had a blog on its site for a month or so. But it's already made an impact on the company's search engine rankings. 'I did a Google search on ‘reusable folding grocery bag,'' says Stacie Long, the company's operations manager. 'The YouTube video of our product that we posted on our blog came up third or fourth.'
For many small business leaders, blogging can engender feelings of envy and frustration -- envy over legendary blogs that draw thousands of daily page views and frustration from the sneaking suspicion that no one out there is reading their own postings. Search engine optimization (SEO) can change that.
'Blogging is a great way to drive users to a site,' says Kelly Cutler, CEO of Internet marketing firm Marcel Media. 'It can also help with stickiness, which is an important goal these days. It's too easy for users to bounce away from your site before they've done something valuable like sign up for your newsletter or fill out a form.'
How can you improve your blog's ranking on search engines? SEO is a complex science, but here are some principles that will help:
Make it crawler-friendly
Search engines dispatch software called crawlers (or sometimes 'spiders') to roam the World Wide Web in search of sites that might be of interest to searchers. One important SEO strategy is to have your blog be easy for the crawlers to find.
'Make sure the software is set up so that posts don't get buried ten levels deep in your site,' advises Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings, an SEO service. 'They should be easy to reach so search engines can crawl them.' Whalen also advises using SEO-friendly blog software. 'WordPress is probably one of the best for that,' she says.
It's also smart idea to include links in your posts, both to your own website's product pages or other information, and to outside websites as well. Why? It's links to your site, not from your site, that drive search engine rankings -- but, Whalen notes, one often begets the other. 'It's a good way to get linking back and forth,' she says. 'Other site owners usually check who's linking to them, so they get to know who you are.' When linking to outside sites, make sure the links open in a new window or tab so that users don't automatically leave your site whenever they click on a link.
To keyword or not to keyword
Since all searches start with keywords, it seems obvious that including the pertinent keyword as many times as you can in a blog entry should help bring traffic. Not so fast, experts say. 'Don't force keywords into content where they wouldn't normally be,' Cutler cautions. 'That creates a bad user experience, which means people won't use your blog, and then Google won't index your blog.' In fact, Marcel Media usually refrains from even telling client bloggers what the top keywords are for their sites. 'Blogs are usually better done without that kind of research in mind,' Cutler says.
Instead, she tries to identify blog topics where preferred terms come up naturally. 'One of our clients is a hospital and we've identified specific areas they want to focus on. We've invited doctors who specialize in those areas to participate in blogging. We're not trying to build content around keywords, but because those doctors work in those areas, we know the keywords will be used.'
If you do decide to do keyword research, Whalen recommends Keyword Discovery or Wordtracker to find what keywords your customers are searching. She also notes that Google's AdWords offers information on keyword searches that is free to use, even if you're not an AdWords customer.
But, she advises, don't just go for the top terms. 'Very competitive phrases probably have many sites optimizing for them,' she says. 'So you want a phrase that's less competitive, but still has some people searching it.' If that phrase is specific to your business's unique value proposition, optimizing on it can be a very powerful tool.
Content is king
'A mistake I've seen a lot is that companies think Web 2.0 is like regular advertising space,' Long says. 'They treat it like a billboard.'
Instead, make sure you're providing content that will entertain, amuse, or inform your readers. One way to build traffic is to comment or react to the news of the day as it affects your particular business. 'If you're a bookseller, you might blog about the current lawsuit by J.K. Rowling to block publication of a Harry Potter Lexicon,' Cutler says. If you use this strategy, she adds, 'Keep it short, to the point, and keep it opinionated. Don't just republish news.'
Understanding the connection between blogging and search rankings can inspire busy executives to take the time to blog, Cutler notes. 'What I like about blogging is that it stays in the spirit of the Internet, but lets you accomplish SEO goals in the background,' she says. 'Content and linking are two of the most powerful Internet marketing tools --and blogging lets you use both in a non-advertising way.'
SEO for Blogs: If You Build It, Will They Come? -- search engine optimization -- High Rankings -- Keyword Discovery
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.
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