Archive for March, 2007

Graphic Headlines Can Work for SEO – SEO Tip Week 13

Friday, March 30th, 2007

52 SEO TipsThis examples in this tip are no longer online. The recommendations are still the same. Using graphic headlines are still okay if you use the title and alt tags.

This week’s tip is for those sites which are graphically heavy or rely on a specific typeface for their headlines. While we at Big Oak SEO always prefer a HTML text headline, we understand that sometimes the client or designer would really prefer to use a typeface that isn’t available through HTML. Instead of being heavy handed and insisting the site be changed to all HTML text we have gone with another, simpler approach.

Let me clarify this: I would prefer to see HTML text used and with all things being equal HTML text will always be better than any techniques applied with graphic text.

As I have written in the past, I feel that examples are the best way to learn and we have applied this technique to Grote Consulting, a long-time client of Big Oak.

You can view the Performance Appraisal page we will be using in the example.

We used the following HTML code to place a <H1> tag around our graphic text and allow the search engines to read it as a heading:

<h1><img src=“/images/headers/performance-appraisal.jpg” alt=Effective Employee Performance Appraisal Toolstitle=Effective Employee Performance Appraisal Toolswidth=“750″ height=“96″ /></h1>

The key is using both the alt tag and the title tag within the image source HTML code. Matching both tags with the same text is helpful. The search engines may devalue the alt and title tags, but when they conform with the HTML text and title of the page they can contribute to higher search engine rankings.

Further using this web page as an example I have provided a link the the Google cache for this page. The H1 header is clearly identified even though we used graphic text on page. And finally, to prove that Google respects the proper use of this SEO technique I did a search for the H1 header ‘Effective Employee Performance Appraisal Tools’ and the example page is the #2 result in Google.

Let me repeat this, using HTML text is always better, but using graphical text with the technique I have shown you will help your rankings too. If you try spamming the alt or title tag in the image code you are abusing this technique and lower rankings will follow. Use this wisely and be honest when adding text to the alt and title tags, especially when wrapping an H1 tag around them.

Hope you have enjoyed this weekly SEO tip. If you have any suggestions or questions for Big Oak, please let us know. If you submit a question we like, we may use it in our tips. Contact Big Oak SEO to help you drive traffic and sales to your site.

Internet Marketing with Articles – SEO Tip Week 12

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

52 SEO TipsIf you have been involved in the mad world of search engine optimization for any time you know that building links to your site is importance in achieving high search engine rankings, especially in Google. You might also know how important writing and submitting articles can be in your quest for one-way links which lead to page one results.

Before starting an article marketing campaign, make sure you invest in a sound strategy. You don’t want to write an article, submit it and then forget it. Article writing should be part of a bigger SEO plan. What do I mean? Well, I like real world examples and Big Oak has many great SEO success stories, so lets take a look at one of our many successful clients who have used articles in their SEO campaign:

Articles, A Gem of a Strategy
Danforth started with us with a brand new site, no search engine visibility and a small budget. Of course they had lofty goals. They wanted to rank highly for search terms such as diamond engagement rings and engagement rings. Both are very competitive search terms and needed an aggressive, yet ethical SEO Company. We have helped them achieve the rankings they were hoping for and article marketing was an important part of the SEO process.

We have published many well-written articles for Danforth, with a variety of links from the author’s box and the article itself pointing to the jeweler’s home page and internal pages of the site. Quality writing is a standard at Big Oak and this has allowed us to have a greater distribution across of the Internet which provides more inbound links for Danforth. Be sure your writing stands above the competition. Take a look at similar articles and be sure your article says something new or at least says it better.

SEO and the Article: Working Together
So what is the strategy I’m talking about? Use articles are part of a coordinated marketing effort. Back up your article with multiple SEO strategies to make the article more effective. Danforth decided to sell a new metal called Palladium. They are ranked #3 in Google for the search term ‘Palladium Jewelry’ and rank well for other palladium search terms so our strategy works. Here is how we did it. (Links show actual examples)

  1. Write the landing page for palladium jewelry.
  2. Write article about palladium and why it is a good choice for jewelry. Distribute article.
  3. Write press release about palladium being available at Danforth Diamond. Distribute press release.
  4. Frequent posts on company blog about palladium.
  5. Focus link building with keywords such as palladium, jewelry, rings, etc.
  6. Be patient a few months and watch top rankings appear.

Trusting the Article Source
All of these steps were vital to search ranking success but article marketing was key. Not only did it provide one-way links, it gave the potential customer information about Palladium so they could make an informed decision. It also established Danforth as a trusted and knowledgeable merchant, which made buying from them with confidence a given.

Running a successful SEO campaign requires a lot work and expertise. Well, it requires a lot of quality writing and expertise. Don’t overlook the importance of article marketing and be sure to use it wisely with other SEO efforts. It will be a better tool as part of a holistic SEO strategy rather than a one-shot, short-sighted strategy.

Article Submission Sites
It is good practice to find article sites that specialize in your article’s topic. It will give you a higher chance for being published and makes backlinks more relative. Be on the lookout for sites that have articles catering to your web site’s subject matter. You can easily find such sites by searching for your “keyword” + article in the Google search box. Here are some generic article submission sites we use at Big Oak.

There are hundreds more to be sure, but I would say less than 30 generic article submission sites are worth your time when submitting. Be sure they article submission site you are looking into will provide good marketing exposure for your masterpiece!

We hope you are learning from our weekly SEO tips. If you have any suggestions or questions, please let us know. If you submit a good question, we may use it in our tips. If you wish to contact Big Oak to help you drive traffic and sales to your site we look forward to speaking with you. Contact us today!

Internal Search Lifts Conversions

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Finding your site in the search engines isn’t enough, we all know this. But once they get to your site, the real work begins. If a potential customer can’t find the product they will move on to easier pastures. Adding a search box or alphbetized links to products can help guide your customers to the right product.

In a study provided by Marketing Sherpas 46% of product marketers say tweaking internal site search is “very effective,” second only to shopping cart design as the most valuable site test.

See how a discount fragrance retailer increased conversion rates with an A-Z search tool that gets seven times more traffic than their regular search box. With the new feature working in tandem with the basic search tool, conversions are up 16.2%.

Get to Know Google Services – SEO Tip Week 11

Friday, March 16th, 2007

52 SEO TipsGet to know Google. What would an SEO Consultant’s life be like without Google? An interesting question but one we are likely never to have to answer. Google is the new Microsoft and will affect our lives forever more in ways we don’t even realize yet. Don’t believe me? Do you think Google just does web search? Think again.

I’ve listed many services that Google offers and I’m sure you may be a bit surprised at how many different pies the search giant’s thumb is actuall in. The list is growing so please contribute if you know of any I may have missed. I have bolded the Google services I view important for SEO purposes. (more…)

Google Company Information

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Google can seem like a entity which can’t be pinned down, much like the Internet itself. But, believe it or not it has many locations and a headquarters. I found two phone numbers so I’m not sure which one you call to ask for a #1 listing for your site’s search term. Better call them both when to ask. ;-)

Google Company Information

Contact Address
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Contact Phone

Contact Fax

Seven “Secrets” to SEO Success – SEO Tip Week 10

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

52 SEO TipsThis week’s SEO Tip is more than a tip, it is strategic overview on SEO. I recently spoke with a potential client interested acquiring our SEO services and when I said that SEO really isn’t that complicated he raised an eyebrow. I followed by saying that search engine optimization doesn’t have any big secrets or tricks that only we SEO consultants know. It common sense applied with industry knowledge – knowledge that can be with due diligence and research. So with that in mind, I am revealing the “Seven Secrets of SEO Success” and I’m doing it all for free.

  1. Research Your Keyword Phrases.
    Invest the time and do your research. What do users type in the search engines when looking for services or products on your site. We use a few tools such as WordTracker, Keyword Discovery and Overture’s Keyword Selector tool among others to find out what keyword phrases are best to target. Never assume you know which keywords to target until you do the research. I guarantee you will learn something about your business and your target audience when you do. Finding a keyword you didn’t realize was being searched on can add visitors and increase conversions.
  2. Design an SEO-Friendly Website.
    I cringe every time I see an all Flash site and I’m asked to achieve high rankings for said site. As much as Flash can hurt a site for rankings there are other things to be aware of, such as: sparse text, poorly written code, javascript on your pages, 404 errors, using graphics instead of text, javascript navigation, deeply nested pages and pages that can’t be found by clicking a link are just a few. Make sure a someone with SEO knowledge with the site design and build. While later is better than never, ideally you want the SEO consultant to work with the designers and programmers.
  3. Write Unique Page Titles.
    I wrote about this earlier so take a look at my post on How Important Are Website Titles. It is critical that every web page on your site have a different and unique title. It is the most important part of your web page when search engines are determining your web page message and ranking. This is easy, so be sure to do it.
  4. Write Focused Content.
    This may appear to be simple common sense, but too often a web page will try to be too many things and dilute its true message. Each thought, theme or topic should have its own web page. If you sell dog products, then a page for each category would be needed. Dog toys would be a major category with its own page, but chew toys would be a new page and so on. You wouldn’t mix chew toys and dog bedding. The search engines want to see a focus so they know what to rank your web page for as well as where to rank your web page.
  5. Insert Keywords.
    If you have written a descriptive and keyword-rich title it follows suit that your page content is also going to have keywords throughout. Write for humans, but keep in mind the search engines. You don’t want to overdue it, but you do want your page theme to be evident. List your keyword phrase in your titles, headers and content and the search engines will know reward you with higher visibility.
  6. Build Keyword-Rich Links.
    There is nothing more important for the high ranking success of your site than strategic link building. And with that said, there is nothing more important than choosing the right text to link to your site. If your company name is “Big Oak Studios” and you are an SEO company then you better be sure to request any links pointing to your site have similar terms such as SEO, company, firm, search engine optimization, marketing, Internet somewhere in the links. Let the link state your business, not your web address or company name.
  7. Find Quality Links.
    Since acquiring links is the most important off-site task you can do, then it would reason you should do it right. While having a large number of links is important, making sure they are quality is tantamount to your site’s success. This is especially true in high competition areas. Quality links from sites with authority (popular and trusted sites) carry more weight. One link from an authority site can be worth a hundred or more low-quality sites.

As an SEO company, we do these things and many more to achieve high rankings. Some of the “secrets” listed above require many hours and creative ingenuity to accomplish the task at hand. But the bottom line is this: there is no secret and if you have the time and initiative and do the research you will have success. Sometimes you don’t have the time and that is when you should consider talking to an SEO Company to help. If you are at such a point, please give us call at 1-804-741-6776 or email us at

Link to Your Home Page Correctly – SEO Tip Week 9

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

52 SEO TipsThe last few tips have been a little longer than I planned when I originally came up with the idea to post one SEO tip per week. On the other hand I wanted the SEO tips to have some meat to them so I’m okay with making the posts more than a few sentences. But I thought I’d give everyone a break and do a tip that was short and sweet, but very important, of course.

Be sure to provide a link to your home page.

Pure genius, right? Of course we all know we should do this, but how you do it is just as important. I think examples work best so here are some ways not to link to your home page. Let’s assume your page filename is index.html.

<a href=”/index.html”>Home</a>

<a href=””>Home</a>

What is wrong with this you say? The problem is linking to the filename. Always link to the root address. Your links on your site and any external links pointing to your site’s home page should look something like this.

<a href=”/”>Home</a>

<a href=””>Home</a>

The reason we do this is so the search engines don’t split our PageRank to multiple web addresses of our home page. If all the links are pointing to the root address ( then all the PageRank will be gathered in the root address and not split between the root address and the filename (

Get on the Same Page
Be sure all the links on your site point to the root and check them to be sure; even images on your site should follow this advice. It doesn’t matter if you are pointing to the root with just a “/” or using the full url (, both work the same way. You want any external links to point to the full url as well and ask anyone linking to your website to use the “www” in the link. The key is uniformity. We want all links pointing to the same web address for maximum PageRank and search engine rankings.

Bonus Tip
As a bonus tip, try to use a keyword in the internal links to your home page when possible. Using the link text “Home” provides little ranking support unless you sell homes. Don’t let this cloud your judgment though, having a link to your home page with a three word keyword phrase might look ridiculous and unprofessional.

Next time you are surfing around, click a link to a home page and see how many are linking correctly and how many aren’t.

Big Oak SEO Blog

This SEO blog is provided by Big Oak SEO, a SEO Company. Most blog posts are related to search engine optimization, short reviews, SEO tips and increasing site conversions. Email us at or give us a call 804-741-6776 to see how we can help your company. More

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