Archive for category SEO

Google Do’s and Don’ts

Do's and Don'ts for SEOHere is a well written article about what you should and should not be doing on your website to be smiled upon by Google, from The Moral Concept. Everyone wants to be ranked well by Google; they want to know what they need to do to get ranked higher, or what they need to avoid doing. Sort of fun putting it into a ‘moral perspective’ too, calling out Google for their lack of transparency on the matter.

Anyways, the parts that jumped out at me are;

Do

  • Usage metrics like bounce rate, or others that imply a good user experience
  • Authoritative outlinks on your content (how many people actually do that?)
  • Robust info for your ‘about us’ page, contact info, mission statement, etc.
  • ‘Date Last Updated’ on every page

Don’t

  • Duplicate titles, descriptions, tags, etc.
  • ‘Aggressive’ search phrase keyword use on site, over-stuffing the pages
  • Old or outdated information (keep the content fresh)
  • Reading level is too low (!!!)
  • Poorly maintained website; broken links or images

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Ready for HTTPS?

Like it or not Google has updated their algorithm to give a preference to secure websites; one that use the https encrypted connection. Normally you only need to encrypt your pages having sensitive data, like payment checkout pages. But because of all the privacy concerns in the world today, Google is encouraging people to make their whole website encrypted!

Is this something you should do with your website? Well I like to say there are “pros and cons” to everything – so lets take a look at that:

  • Con: it requires you to purchase an SSL certificate (cost ranges anywhere from $20 – $150, depending on what type you need)
  • Con: encryption can slow down the loading speed of your site
  • Con: https doesn’t stop the hackers into your website or otherwise protect your web files themselves.
  • Pro: your data flow between your PC and the web server you are connected to is encrypted so no one can intercept transmitted data
  • Pro: the connection to your site is encrypted! No one can keep tabs on your website visit.
  • Pro: having a secure website can lend your site credibility. You get one of those little green icons at the top of the browser page – yee hah!

I’ve updated a few websites so they are completely private, including my own. Just another day at the office…

Here’s an additional article that talks about HTTPS and explains this even more.

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Business Listings

Finding good backlinks can be such a chore, right? Well we are now offering a really nice business listing service that will:

  • Get your business listed in over 50 important local and national business directories.
  • Allows you to control the listings from one spot which avoids any mistakes
  • You can include advanced content to many of the listings, like a restaurant menu, your personal bio or team, even your daily special or coupons
  • Monitor what people are commenting about your business – get notified when they do it

Follow this link to the business listing service page to get a current status of all your listings as they are right now. Find out what you already have, what you are missing, and any mistakes it may include.

 

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Keyword Privacy?

As you may or may not have heard, Google Analytics is no longer going to report statistics for organic search traffic. You may have seen some gnashing of teeth by the SEO community already bemoaning the development. Apparently “online privacy” is so important we are no longer supposed to know (the rumor is that Google wants to push more people into their paid traffic platform Adwords)

Anyways, thought I’d pass along a little nugget of information about what can be done about it, because there is a method to still the activity. Two ways to see the keyword data:

  1. Connect your Google Analytics account with Google Webmaster Tools. Once you do that go to Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries
  2. Or you can use GWT directly Site Dashboard > Search Traffic > Search Queries (though it doesn’t give as much control as GA does)

The query table shows which keywords are being queried in Google search that is getting your website listed in the search results. The table is great because it not only shows which keywords are triggering your website, it also shows you the number of impressions, clicks, its average position, and its click thru rate (CTR). Wow, right? Each column can be sorted, so you can see which keywords are getting the most clicks. Here is what it looks like:

google-search-queries

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SEO Cheat Sheet

Click the below image to download the latest SEO cheat sheet from MOZ. Four pages full of useful info about SEO related things; like important HTML elements, canonical meta tags, and other social media.

SEOCheatSheet

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How to Increase Traffic to Your Website

The question that inevitably comes up is how to increase the number of website visitors you have coming into your website. Especially now with this struggling economy. So what can you do about it? First understand that all website traffic can be placed in one of four categories;

  1. Search traffic – otherwise known as SEO traffic. This is the free traffic coming from the search engines (Google) and what is most sought after by people. If you don’t already have a SEO plan, then this is the first place you probably should look to fix.
  2. Direct traffic – this is traffic coming from book marks, or they are typing your web address into the browser. They probably know you already, or maybe they found your web address in the newspaper or a flyer, etc.
  3. Referral traffic – this is website traffic coming from another website. This could sometimes be more SEO traffic, since it is traffic coming from the backlinks you have been getting.
  4. Paid traffic – this is traffic that you get from pay-per-click advertising, from banner ads you purchased, from email campaigns you ran, etc.

Here is what you should do:

This is a list of things I have found to be effective in increasing website traffic that results in sales. Read further down for methods that will increase traffic WITHOUT sales.

  • Set up an account with Google Adwords (paid traffic). If you need traffic now, this is one of the more attractive options because it is so immediate. If you are selling doohickeys, then Google can place your ad in front of people searching for them.
  • Optimize your website for SEO (search traffic). Everyone should already be doing this, because it is for free website traffic. This is a long-term option, because it takes time to build up.
  • Get other websites to link to you (referral traffic, or search traffic). This is easier said than done, unless you are paying someone. Not only will it bring you website traffic, but it can also help you with your SEO (backlinks).
  • Email campaigns (direct traffic). You can send emails to potential customers if you have an email list. If you don’t have a list, you can sometimes purchase them.

Here is what you should avoid:

  • Social media (referral traffic). Social media is such a crock when it comes to selling stuff for your business, I recommend against wasting your time. If you don’t care about selling anything, it works great though! You can get Facebook pay-per-click ads and get lots of traffic that won’t sell product.
  • Links in directories (referral traffic). There are some directories you want to be included in, but that is for their SEO value.  Basically, no one looks in a directory, and I am not aware of a single one that is worth the time, effort, or money.

If I can think of others, I’ll add to the list later…

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Backlink Strategies

Once you create a website, one of the most important things you can do to market your site is to get some backlinks (someone linking to your website, from their website). Why? Because Google cares, that is why.  Google uses the number of backlinks that you have (among others) as a method of measuring your ranking. And the higher you are ranked, the more web traffic you should get.

But getting backlinks can be difficult if you don’t have a strategy. So with that in mind, I recommend you get out pen and paper and read The Complete List of Link Building Strategies that was created by Point Blank SEO. And remember, getting one good backlink will outweigh a hundred lousy ones – so think ‘quality’ and ‘relevancy’.

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Long Tail Keywords

The importance of optimizing your website for long tail keywords cannot be overestimated. Because while the top searched keyword might individually get you the most traffic, it is the sum of all the long tails that gets you the big traffic levels. You can see this to be true just by looking at your website traffic statistics, where you maybe get 50 visitors from your top keyword – but you get a thousand from the sum of all the others.

How do you pursue a strategy to get more long tail keywords to your site? It is easy – you make sure you use keyword ‘themes’ when you optimize your page. Don’t get hung up on just a single keyword, too narrowly defined. Don’t just use the one keyword, you use it plus all the other similar meaning keywords.  You group your keywords into ‘themes’ and then you use lots of them in the content, tags, and links.

I read a nice article on the subject that explains well – it is recommended reading.

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How to Monitor Your SEO

So maybe you have been trying to improve the SEO values of your website, and you now want to check to see if you are being effective.  Or even better maybe you are paying someone else to do your SEO for you, and you want to get an unbiased status of how they are doing. What to do?

Some people simply open Google and do a search using their main keywords, to get a feel for how they are doing. But this is a bad idea since Google is giving you skewed results because your setting say you are living in Idaho. Doh!  So you turn the location setting off, and now you get better search results, but then you can’t remember what your ranking was last time you checked.

So what you really need is a tool that will 1) check the keyword ranking for all the search keywords you need, and 2) keep a history of it all over time, showing you the trend lines.

But wait, there’s more!  You also need to know something about your backlinks coming into your site. 1) How many do you have, 2) what are they, and 3) are the backlinks any good.

Anyways, the point I wanted to make is that you need a good SEO ranking tool – and I just happen to have one. The service is online so you can check your keywords any time of the day. And here is the price list for the service, click to get more information:

ranking-price-list

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Reciprocal Linking

Is reciprocal linking bad? This is the practice where you place a link on your site, in exchange for someone else doing the same back to you from theirs.  I think the answer to this question depends on your site, how well known it is already.  Because if you have a new website with few or no backlinks coming to it, then getting reciprocal links can help you to get started, to help you create your ‘web presence’.

On the other hand if you have an older established website that is already decently ranked by the search engines, then reciprocal linking can be bad. By linking to other sites, you lend your good credibility to them and can thus dilute what you have.  So as your site moves up the ranking ladder, you don’t want to be linking to sites of lesser or questionable value.

And if you do create a link page on your site, here are a few rules to follow:

  1. Give it a good name like “Partners” or “Sites We Recommend”.  Don’t call it your backlink page.
  2. Place links on the page that really will be helpful to your website visitors.
  3. The links should be helpful to your customers, relevant to your industry, and be quality sites
  4. Include not only sites that are linking to you – also link to sites that don’t. Magazine sites about your industry, trade groups, and any other sites people might consider ‘helpful’ to them.

Having nothing but a bunch of links to bogus sites is bad, it identifies your site as nothing but a spammer site engaged in a linking scheme. Google says this about it:

“some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites… and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results”

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