Archive for January, 2007
Wednesday, January 31st, 2007
While doing research for our SEO clients we come across a variety of intersting and unique sites. This is one such site, particularly for the domain name: http://www.modestapparelchristianclothinglydiaofpurpledressescustomsewing.com/. Now that is one long url (64 characters) and certainly one of the longest I’ve come across.
I then found this self-proclaimed site with the longest url along with a letter from Guiness World Records.
In today’s internet world where brevity and catchy domain names are the rule it is odd and a amusing diversion to see asite such as Lydia of Purple.
I do find it humorous that the site states the following: “Be sure to bookmark our site or place it in your favorites for future easy reference. If all else fails just remember to search for ‘Lydia of Purple’”.
Monday, January 29th, 2007
Before you read this post you may wonder what is (or was) Googlebombing? Technically, a “Googlebomb” refers to a prank where people attempt to cause someone else’s site to rank for an obscure, meaningless or insulting search query by pointing large amounts of links to the site with the term in the anchor text link.
So does this mean George Bush is no longer a miserable failure, according to Google it does. An amusing story for clients has now bit the dust. Googlebombing no longer works which means massive amounts of links to a page without the term linking to it on the page are no longer going to be ranked for said term. Cases in point, if you searched for the term miserable failure you were given George Bush’s bio page as the number one search result. Try it now and you will see search results talking about George Bush and fact his page used to be number one for the term miserable failure.
So finally Google has corrected a long outstanding “bug” in their search algorithm. Good for them and good for all of those ranking for term miserable failure.
Google also states this has been done without any outside or hand manipulations so it would appear a page must now have the term on it before it can rank for that term.
In other words, the anchor text in links is not longer sufficient to rank for these terms. It must be found in conjunction with on-page usage.
Read all the details in a post by Matt Cutts on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.
Friday, January 26th, 2007
While linking is key to success in the SEO game, deep linking is what will set you apart from your competitors.
Be sure to acquire links to all your important pages, not just your home page. It looks odd to the search engines when they notice so many links all pointing to your home page – it isn’t natural. Besides you want visitors coming to the page that will most likely convert them from a visitor to a customer and usually the home page isn’t the best page to accomplish this.
You will have the added benefit of having two pages show in the rankings which always attracts more attention and aids your click through rates. Here is an example. Notice how Big Oak is the shown in the first two listings and the indented listing is more targeted on the search term “seo richmond”. Here is a screen shot in case the link no longer shows the same results.
Deep linking also alerts the search engines to the fact that you probably have good, targeted content if people are linking to your interior or sub-pages. It gives your site a vote of confidence to the search engines to have links pointing throughout your site. If all your links come to your home page it might give the impression your site has little value or its rankings are being inflated unnaturally.
While it is tempting to concentrate links to your home page, you will have many more visitors if you spread the links around. Linking to sub-pages will help those pages rank well, giving your visitors a better chance on finding what they were looking for with one click.
Find a new SEO Tip Every Friday.
Thursday, January 25th, 2007
The home page description says it all about the search engine, so let me quote:
Your visual Internet search engine.
Recommended: broadband, large monitor, mouse with mousewheel.
If you have a large monitor to see the search results in their full glory take a shot. But beware, you need a least a 19inch monitor to appreciate it and fast connection to the Internet.
This may change the way we search forever…or at least for a few minutes. They even have a feedback link for you to make suggestions.
Without further ado, please visit PageBull and try a few test searches. It appears to by powered by Yahoo! so we will assume the results are similar to Yahoo! results.
Friday, January 19th, 2007
Should I really use a META tag for Search Engine Optimization?
I deal with many questions from curious website owners everyday. One question I have a new answer for is, “Should I use META tags on my site when do search engine optimization?” Old Answer: It couldn’t hurt, but don’t worry about them, the search engines ignore them for the most part. New answer? Read on…
The new answer is yes, you should use META tags on your site. The keyword META tag is still not used by search engines but when submitting to directories, a valuable use of time by the way, the META keywords are used in many cases to automatically fill in the keywords for your site in that directory.
Even more amazingly, the META description tag has soared in importance. How so you ask? Google has started showing the META description in its search results when certain criteria are met.
The criteria being used appears to be very simple, unlike many of the other things Google does. When the keyword or search terms appear in the META description, the META description is used instead of the snippet of text containing the keyword on your page.
For example, if you do a search in Google for ‘Big Oak SEO’ you will see our site in the first listing and the description used is our META description tag. All three words being searched for are also in our META description.
If you do a search for ‘big oak client’ you will see the first listing is pulling a snippet of text from the page itself. Since ‘client’ is not in our META description, it uses a snippet of text from the page where all three words can be found.
Where should you use a META description tag?
Every website should use a META description tag on the home page at the very least. This way you can say exactly what you want and not worry the snippet of text being used is not best choice for your message. What this really means is Google is giving us some measure of control.
And now that we have this knowledge and control, how best to use it? This allows us to take off our search engine optimizer hats and don our search engine marketer hats. Think of what you can say in the brief sentence that will entice a user to click your link rather than the one above or below. You can put your phone number in the META description for starters or how about being really creative and offer a discount or advertise a sale. Tell them your unique selling proposition. It should be a one sentence phrase already in your head. The only caveat to remember is that your META description will only show if the search term is in the META description. While this can be tricky, it can be done with some forethought. You can do this for all of your targeted pages and have dozens of marketing messages.
Use the META description wisely: target your market and entice your customers. Do not abuse this control and put outlandish, untrue or slanderous statements as I am sure Google will be watching; and if this technique is abused the META description may have seen it last search result this time.
All web sites should use the META description tag. If you have too many pages to add it to, at least put it on your home page and any core pages that bring in search result traffic. Google will use the META description you place on your site if the user searched for a keyword that exists in the META description. Google is giving us some measure of control.
How best to use this you may ask? You need to think like a radio advertising writer. What can you say in one brief sentence that will entice a user to click your link rather than the one above or below. A little sensationalism never hurt.
A brand message can help or you can put your phone number in the META description. Think out of the box; how about a offer a discount or advertise a sale. Be careful though, if you put a sale message and when the sale ends your message might still display until Google updates your site listing. You don’t want your text in the search results still announcing a sale that is over. Ultimately you should tell searchers your unique selling proposition.
Remember that your META description will only show if the search term is in the META description. While this can be tricky, it can be done with some forethought. You can do this for all of your targeted pages and have dozens of marketing messages.
Wednesday, January 17th, 2007
Rather than lose these wonderful idea sites for link building I figured I’d create a blog post I can access from anywhere at anytime. I may post more or accept links from other posters but this is as good a start as you could ask for.
Many pros have put their two cents in and more than a few “creative” ideas. Let you imagination run with these link building ideas. Thanks to all of the sites and authors who took the time to put these together.
- 10 Creative Ideas for Link Building
- 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity – SEOBOOK.com
- 101 Web Marketing Ideas
- Advanced Link Building Strategies – SEMOZ.org
- Out of Link Building Ideas?
- 21 Link Buidling Ideas
- Link Development vs. Traffic Development and Staying with the Times
- More Linking Ideas
- Link baiting – Thoughts by Matt Cutts
- Link Building Guide
- Bonus:Link Building Wiki - sorry,this was too good not to include.
Friday, January 12th, 2007
In hind sight, I should have put this SEO Tip first but better late than never. You must do keyword research before you start optimizing your site, that much is obvious, but what tools should you use?
There are two excellent keyword research tools that I can recommend as professional tools. They are Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery. Both are great and both are different. At Big Oak we started with Wordtracker and move over to Keyword Discovery after a year or so. We felt KD had an easier interface and liked they way it worked us. This is not to say Wordtracker didn’t do a fine job for us, because it did. It was really just a matter of preference. You may find Wordtracker better for your method of research.
If you are just getting into the game you may want to try something else that is free to do your initial research. You can use Overture’s keyword search tool, but it is limited to one month of keyword searches and often isn’t working because too many people are trying to use it. You’ll want to move to the pay-for-use programs quickly if you are truly serious.
In any case, do not overlook this important step and don’t assume you know how people are searching for your product or service. If you optimize a site with the wrong keywords you may end up with a high ranking site but won’t convert your traffic! Correctly identifying the best keywords and search terms using a keyword search tool will help your odds of success and give you a fighting chance to target prospects who are more likely to turn into clients.
My colleague, Holly Rodriguez has written about choosing keyword research tools on her SEO copywriting blog, SEOScribe.com. Check it out if you would like more information.
Tuesday, January 9th, 2007
Social media optimization and marketing has become the hot-button topic for 07, especially when it comes to effective strategies to promote your site. The following video contains some incredibly valuable information from two social media gurus – Neil Patel and Todd Mailcoat.
Neil Patel and Todd Malicoat know a thing or two about Digg. As active members of the Digg community (in addition to their roles as leading SEO consultants) they’re afforded a unique perspective on the market. Having recently met with Neil and Todd at Search Engine Strategies, WebProNews had the chance to sling some burning questions.
Friday, January 5th, 2007
Blogs can be helpful if correctly used. But, blogs will not guarantee high rankings.Blogs provide an easy way to add new and hopefully unique content. Search engines love new content and they love original content even more. Blogs are a great way of adding new information to your site because if search engines know a site is adding new articles or posts on a continual and frequent basis, they will come around more often to index the site. You can add a blog internally to your site directly (http://www.sitename.com/blog) or as an external site (http://sitename.blogspot.com).
Think of your blog as a way to reach potential clients on a more informal basis. Your blog will also allow you to tap into “lower hanging fruit” keyphrases that you use in your posts. You will be surprised at the keyphrases typed in the search engines that will bring users to your blog. It may even inspire a new Internet marketing initiative.
I recommend WordPress as the blogging tool of choice. Easy to set up, very powerful with the ability to add plungins and it has a great support network.
Monday, January 1st, 2007
We’ve made a commitment in January, 2007 that we would post one tip every week. We’ve read many tips myself and I’ve often been surprised at the number of low quality search engine optimization tips that are floating around. So rather than list tips that are uninspired have have no examples to back them up, we have decided to create SEO tips that are meaningful and we have actually used. You will see SEO strategies that we employ successfully with many of our clients and we’ll even let you in on the behind the scenes work from time to time. And we will try to do it once a week. So please forgive us if we are late occassionaly, remember we are running a SEO company in our spare time.
Feel free to send in any suggestions, questions or encouragement as we do this for one year!
Update: So far so good, although we have been late a few times, the SEO tip has always been up by Monday. We try to post on Fridays.