Archive for the ‘52 SEO Tips’ Category
Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008 |
In 2007 I wrote a SEO tip every week. Okay, sometimes I was a little late but at the end of the year I had compiled 52 pretty good search engine optimization tips. A few are out of date, but I have listed which ones and given some information to explain why. Of course you can see all the tips in the 52 SEO tips category on this SEO blog, but to make things easier and to fulfill a few requests I have placed them all in a PDF.
Finding software that would build the PDF easily was not an easy task. In the end, the software did a credible job, but it isn’t exactly like I wanted it. But rather than tweak it endlessly I have decided to release it as is. The good news is it is free and I think most of those in the SEO industry can learn from it. I certainly learned something while putting it together.
So please visit the download page: 52 SEO Tips Download. Give a link back to us if you find it helpful.
Friday, December 28th, 2007 |
Update 6/18/08 - We created a human resources directory for a client and provided links to their main site. So it was a external directory site, but if you notice in the screen shot the directory is the #1 result for the term “hr directory” and has Google sitelinks. This site is a great one-way link for our client.
If you have been playing the SEO game for long you know that using directories are one way to build links. How effective this is to your SEO campaign is debatable nowadays. But I’m not talking about submitting your site to other directories, I’m recommending you start your own directory. I can practically hear the moans and protests through the Internet now. Let me explain my modest proposal. Here are some ideas for creating your own wonderful super awesome resource directory.
Build the directory on your current site. Do not start a site just for the sake of being a directory. There are thousands of unsuccessful directories and we shouldn’t be adding to the overcrowded market. You can see an example of a resource (vendor) directory we have created for F. Curtis Barry & Company. The directory was created as a subsection of their business site so it resides in their main domain.
Be selective. This directory isn’t supposed to be all-inclusive, it is being created to be a resource for your customers. It should have perceived value so only include vendors that are recommended by you or your company.
Be opinionated. This is YOUR directory, right? Well, say what you want but back up what you say. Give your opinion. Why was this vendor or company selected for placement in this directory? Let your audience know.
Be verbose. Make the directory worthy of being read. After all, you aren’t including many companies. Remember, it is a privilege and only the best get included so you won’t have to write about a large number of companies or products, but you should write enough to be helpful about each one. Each listing should have its own detail page – often the company selected will give you all the text you need. If you don’t like what they have written or the tone of writing ask for edits. More than likely they will accommodate.
Be Greedy. The point of creating this directory is to build links. This can be accomplished in two ways. The first is through reciprocal linking (more on the other link building method later). Your directory is free or at least it should be. You don’t want your directory listings to be paid, it would reduce the validity of the listings. If you are gong to provide a link to outside companies with content and a recommendation, then asking for a link in return seems reasonable. At the least, they should link to their own detail page.
Be Proactive. This isn’t a “build it and they will come”scenario. You will have to solicit companies you want to include in your directory. After you have set up your categories (if needed) and have added a few companies you may start receiving requests at some point, but be vigilant and only let in the top companies that you would recommend. You don’t want to compromise your directory’s integrity with low-quality listings.
Reap the benefits. Here is the second way to build links. Now that you have a selective and high quality directory, other sites will be more inclined to link to it of their own accord. You have created “link bait” and will attract links pointing to you industry resource directory.
To wrap this up, here is the main idea to keep in mind. The directory should be considered useful by all parties. You should request links and use the directory as a link bait opportunity. The directory should represent only the best, recommended companies in your industry and should be focused.
This will require some work but you will also have created a useful tool that will attract attention. The time you use to build this directory will be well spent. You may even show up in the search results for the companies you list.
Good luck on your wonderful super awesome resource directory.
52 SEO Tips
I also want to thank everyone who reads this blog and has been here for my year long commitment to creating a new SEO Tip every week. This is the final tip out of 52 SEO Tips for the year 2007. It started as something I thought I could in a few minutes once a week, but turned into a much bigger effort as I tried to create tips that were more than just writing “Do keyword research.” It has been fun and frustrating and I’m glad to have completed my goal. There will be more SEO tips, but not every week. I’ll also be attempting to write more commentary now that I can focus less on SEO tips. So keep coming back and keep commenting and maybe we can both learn something.
Thursday, December 20th, 2007 |
I am a big fan of Marketing Sherpa and I have recommended them before when I posted ‘About Us’ pages can increase conversions. Well, another Marketing Sherpa study has caught my attention, describing how words increase conversions.
A few months ago I wrote an SEO tip explaining why you don’t want to use ‘click here’ for SEO, but we also know conversion rates increase when visitors are instructed to ‘click here’, ‘read more’, ‘buy now’ and so on. What is an SEO company to do?
How can search engine optimization and good user experience coexist? Both are important to the success of your website, but at times they seem at odds with each other. The solution is very simple, if not well known. Use the “nofollow” tag on the ‘click here’ links and make sure you also have a descriptive link with keyword-rich text available as well.
While the “nofollow” tag was originally set up as a spam fighter, it can be used with surgical precision to increase conversions, without hurting you SEO campaign. (Read more about the uses of nofollow) It helps because it will tell the search engines not to count or follow the link with the nofollow attribute. This means the keyword-rich link, without the nofollow, will be followed, helping the destination page’s link popularity.
How do you use nofollow?
<a href=”http://www.site.com/page.html”>Click Here</a>
Adding the nofollow attribute:
<a href=”http://www.site.com/page.html” rel=”nofollow”>Click Here</a>
Using it on your site might look like this:
Click here for the best deals on dog treats.
The HTML code would look like this:
<a href=”http://www.bestbullysticks.com” rel=”nofollow”>Click here</a> for the best deals on <a href=”http://www.bestbullysticks.com”>dog treats</a>.
Finally, SEO and Site Usability living in perfect harmony, until we start talking about graphics vs. text.
Friday, December 14th, 2007 |
Well, I’m almost done with my 52 SEO tips, only 3 more to go so I’m trying to finish strong. And since going green is the theme lately, I’m following the trend. Recycling links can be an important part of your link building campaign.
We often overlook the links we already have or links we didn’t actively build ourselves. Your site may already have links pointing to it, but if those links aren’t keyword-rich links then you are missing out on potential SEO benefits.
Let me give you a great example of a missed opportunity. SnagAJob.com is a leading job search website and the have thousands of links pointing to their site. A large number of links is a good thing, but the majority of their links have the link text ‘Snagajob’ in the anchor text. Many of these links are on EDU sites which pass along wonderful link popularity but so much is wasted when the anchor text is your domain name, or worse, your website address (www.snagajob.com).
As part of our strategy for SnagAJob we have been contacting sites with SEO-unfriendly links asking the anchor text to be changed to keyword terms they are trying to rank for such as part-time jobs, jobs, job search, etc. Our success rate is much higher than seeking out new links. And keyword-rich links that have age is a great combination for moving up in the search results.
Do a backlink check with MSN for your site. MSN allows you to search for anchor text too which you can see how to do in my MSN backlink check post. Look for links that could be improved such as those using just your domain name and start contacting those sites linking to you. Requesting changes to your anchor text is a worthwhile investment of your time that could reap better rankings in the search engines.
‘Going Green’ never felt so good and your site may thank you with an influx of new traffic.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2007 |
Social Bookmarking is in fashion and many people are submitting web pages to digg.com, stumbleupon.com and delicious.com. I have written about the advantages to bookmarking your own web pages with these social sites and how your traffic can increase (see StumbleUpon Shark Surfaces). But what do you do if you have nothing worth bookmarking at the moment but want to get involved and build links at the same time? Try intelligently commenting on other bookmarked pages. I’ll use Digg as an example since they follow commented links and are the giant in social bookmarking.
Take some time and search through Digg for a article that has been “dugg” and is related to your site’s content and make a comment on it. Usually there are relatively few quality comments and as long as you are genuine and thoughtful you stand a good chance of keeping your comment and your link. The key is to make sure the link to your site is related to the dugg subject matter. While this can be done easily, what else can be done to utilize Digg’s popularity?
Try following the link to the dugg web page see if that allows comments. If the content is on a blog you can probably comment on it there as well. That page will have many links coming to it, especially if it was popular on Digg, so placing a comment with a link to your related web page will benefit from the Digg popularity.
Maybe this is perceived as an around about way to get a link, especially since it may be a no-follow link, but the traffic will usually be more targeted traffic with a higher chance of converting once the visitors reach your site.
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 |
Having the best blog in the world, won’t do any good if no one knows it exists. Make sure Google visits and indexes all your posts with a few simple plugins. These are for WordPress only, but why would you be using anything else? The following WordPress plugins will help provide numerous links to older posts on your blog that might otherwise be buried. The added benefit is your blog readers will also be inclined to read more posts when using these plugins.
This plugin will search the text of all posts and display other posts which are similar or related. This will help provide links to older posts making them more accessible to the reader and to the search engines.
All in one SEO Pack
This plugin is a must have SEO plugin and combines all many SEO features in one plugin, where beforehand you needed two or three. You can control the following options with this plugin:
- Define your home page title, description and keywords
- Define your post, page, category, archive, tag and search title formats
- Use categories for META keywords
- Avoid indexing of duplicate content (prevents indexing of category, archive and tag archive pages)
- Autogenerate descriptions
This particularly replaces the SEO Title Tag many blogs use.
This plugin will post your most read blog posts automatically a blog page, providing a good starting point for new readers. While giving new readers some direction if you have an overwhelming number amount of posts, this will also provide the search engines with a direct link from a top level page to deep posts in your blog. Think of it as a super sitemap.
You can also create a smaller top post list that can be shown on every post of you blog in the right column.
Making sure your blog is well read by readers and well known by search engines is a critical step towards increasing your blog’s popularity.
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 |
Should you buy links through a link service? Ever since Google slapped Text-Link-Ads.com (it no longer appears in the first 30 results for its own name), that is a question webmasters have had to wrangle with more than ever. Generally, Google regards buying links as a form of spam and as threat to their business model.
Google hasn’t been shy about punishing sites who engage in this behavior lately either. Many who bought and sold links with Text-Link-Ads have reported a significant drop in their PageRank since the last Google update. This is partly because escaping the eyes of Google is difficult. Doing a search for function tla_ads will uncover all the sites selling links using Text-Links-Ads who have not yet upgraded to the latest TLA plug-in, which hides this information. If Google can see who is selling links, they can logically conclude who is buying them as well.
JohnChow.com’s recent Google slap represents one of the more drastic punishments doled out to a webmaster. Chow had ranked number 1 in Google for the keyword “make money online” for over a year, but he also aggressively pushed link selling services. Now, he doesn’t even appear in the top 30 results for the keyword “John Chow.” (He clocks in at #57 from the datacenter I’m hitting).
Analyzing Google’s behavior becomes confusing when one considers that Chow’s site still has a toolbar PR of 4. Likewise, Text-Link-Ads still boasts a PR of 7.
If one wants to remain in the good graces of Google, avoiding the use of link brokers such as TLA or TNX.net would probably be judicious. But reading Google’s mind is not an easy task, as evidenced by the erratic nature of their penalties.
Tuesday, November 20th, 2007 |
Update 1/15/08: This feature is no longer working with MSN Live.
Check on the backlinks from your competitors is part of the competitive analysis of any good SEO consultant or “expert”. Up until recently using Yahoo to research competitor backlinks was the only search engine you could do this in effectively. Well, now Live.com is also back in the game and showing you backlinks to websites. But they also have a nice trick for using keywords to narrow your search.
If you visit Live.com and search for the following: +linkdomain:www.bigoakinc.com “seo tips” you will be show search results that have links pointing to bigoakinc.com and also have the phrase ‘seo tips’ on that page that links to bigoakinc.com. Be sure to include the plus sign (+) at the front or else you won’t get any results. You can click this link to see the Live.com search results for yourself: +linkdomain:www.bigoakinc.com “seo tips”.
This can be an extremely useful research tool and adding the keyword phrase to the search makes it a even more valuable tool in your SEO toolbox.
Sunday, November 11th, 2007 |
Any good SEO campaign will put the emphasis on ranking your website for based on the content of the site. But overlooking images on the site can be a big mistake, especially if your site is selling products which use imagery as part of the sales pitch. So why not use those image to draw visitors through organic image search?
Your first step should be to set up a Google Account where you can use Webmaster Tools. In Webmaster tools you will find an option under Tools named “Enable enhanced image search”. When this option is enabled Google will cataloging your images for placement in the search results which can increase traffic, especially if you can show in the search results that show images above the organic search results. (See example of Google search with images above organic results for the search term ‘oak tree’)
After you have instructed Google to look for your images, you want to be sure your images are telling Google and the other search engines exactly what the images are showing. How do you do this? Here are some things to pay attention to and think about when using images. I’ve listed them in order of “my importance”.
- Image Size Does Matter – Larger images tend to rank better. Most image results that are ranked are over 280 pixels in both directions. Bigger images make sense to show first, all other things being equal. I would shoot for 300 x 300 to be safe. If you can’t display your images that large, a link to a larger version of the image will help. In some cases, scaling your image in the HTML code through the height and width tags can work to show a large image in a smaller area. Just be sure the image quality isn’t degraded through this method. Resizing images with HTML can cause ugly pixelation.
- Image Close to Relevant Text – Keywords should be above or below the image in the same DIV tag -or- keywords should be in the same paragraph as the image. Remember you want the keywords and image close. The keyword should be in the same <td> (table cell) as the image if you are using tables.
- Page Title & Page Theme - The title, content and image should all be connected.
- File Name – It can be difficult to add the name of the image to the file name, especially if the shopping cart software doesn’t allow it, but when you can, be descriptive.
- Alt Tags – Alt tags are designed to provide alternative text when the images cannot be displayed. They should be descriptive of the image. Example: <img src=”oak-tree.jpg” width=”200″ height=”350″ alt=”Oak Tree”>
- Image Title Tags – This text shows up when you rollover the image in a popup window. It should describe image. Example: <img src=”oak-tree.jpg” width=”200″ height=”350″ alt=”Oak Tree” title=”Oak Tree”>
- Image Sitemap – Okay, this is an idea which may or may not be of any help, but it certainly can’t hurt and if you feel your images are important enough to help your rankings then creating a sitemap with descriptive links to your important images might be the extra boost to get your images to the top of the search engine results.
If we put it all together your HTML code should look something like this. I added teh <h5> tag for a little boost but it isn’t crucial, you can use a DIV tag instead. Notice the link (titled) to the larger image. We’ll stay with the oak tree theme.
<h5><a href="/images/oak-tree-large.jpg" title="Oak Tree"><img src="/images/2007/08/oak-tree.jpg" alt="Oak Tree" title="Oak Tree" /></a><br />A beautiful oak tree in a meadow.</h5>
Please share any successes you may have had with image search or ideas you have tried. I’m especially interested in anyone who has tried an image sitemap or what you think of this idea.
Friday, November 2nd, 2007 |
Link exchanging has certainly lost favor and some SEO consultants don’t do link exchanges period. I am also of the mind that link exchanges don’t count for much, but I also know that link exchanges can be part of a SEO strategy. Two of our largest clients are still employing targeted link exchanges and are ranked highly for very competitive terms.
So, if we can all overlook the great swell of negativity for link swaps lets take a look at how to find good exchanges. There is an excellent tool from SEOChat.com: Page Rank Search Tool. If you visit this page you can type in your keyword and then a phrase with “exchange links” or “add links” and it will find the strongest ranking page with those terms. A real world example: “diamonds” exchange links
With some modifications, you can also use it for non-reciprocal link building and article placement. Be creative!
Monday, October 29th, 2007 |
Rarely would I ever give advice that included putting material on an external site rather than your own site. But when considering videos I have to say that making sure it is branded correctly and posted to YouTube.com is critical. YouTube.com gives small businesses the possiblity to have national exposure, possibly even more than a a network advertising campaign. It would require an extremely viral video but it has been done by many companies as well as individuals.
There are just too many viewer on YouTube.com to pridefully say you are going to post your video on your site and wait for the video linkbait to catch on. With YouTube.com this can happen overnight with the right video and your traffic would be derived from the grass roots marketing of your video on YouTube.com.
Once the video is posted on YouTube.com you can post it on your site and YouTube.com will pick up the link to your site. It will be tagged with NoFollow, so no link juice, but it will provide traffic through the link. You will also want to brand the video with your web address.