Category Archives: Search Engine Optimization

Last Google Algorithm Update Is About Maintaining Content Freshness

Google in its constant endeavour to come up with something new and innovative; with a single and ultimate objective of improving experience of its user, has added one more feature to its cap; about which I am certain that if you understand and learn to utilize it, it will be of great benefit to your credentials, blog, business; or whatever that you are trying to promote online.

What’s the Point?

According to the most recent change in the ranking algorithm and the new rule of content freshness, the user while searching for information should get to see the freshest information on the topic.

Freshness Vs. Relevance

However, the above rule also comes with a flipside; it is highly likely that the freshest content that Google manages to index & present before the user may not be the best piece of information about the topic available online, so what if it is latest one and has been added just an hour ago? For all you know what was written ten weeks ago is by far still the most detailed and authoritative post on the subject, then where does the user land up? And the blog; and the spider; and its algorithm?

Fresh Content Strategy works at some places, not at others:

Let’s look at it this way, as long as cricket score or election results are concerned, latest or freshest content does make a lot of sense, but what about content revolving around history and recipes? Do you think they are likely to change over time? Publishing a piece on historical fact or a recipe that has received huge attention of people deserves to go out of running only because it’s been online for a while? Is that really a good enough reason? Certainly not, so what’s the next best thing to do, so as to retain the position.

How to Ensure Google Indexes Your Content For its Freshness Regularly:

In this post we will discuss ways to keep your old-yet-important content looking fresh; and running in the main lane; enjoying attention of people it is targeted at. Let’s look at various ways to do it.

Create and Publish New Pages From Time to Time

The first method to maintain freshness of content is by adding new pages to the blog. You can work on a content strategy and stick to it. You can either decide to publish blog posts once a month or week or do it on an everyday basis. It has been seen that the more posts you create and publish the more traffic you eventually drive to your blog; the more spider will get used to indexing your site; but MORE should never be achieved at the cost of quality.

However if you can manage to develop informative and good quality posts every few days, say thrice a week, then spider will also start considering you on authority on the subject and will value your author profile. When you are creating the kind of posts spider is valuing you for, don’t forget to tweak your profile too.

More Need Not Start Looking Mediocre

More should not turn out mediocre in the end. Unless what you have written and presented is interesting by way of presentation as well as information, it will fail to hold reader and unless it achieves that, spider will not give you extra marks. Also, take care of loading time of your site/blog; because high bounce rate is bad for your blog.

Sometimes it also happens that people cannot spare so much time to create long fresh posts every few days; which experts think is a matter of getting used to and level of dedication you have for promoting your blog. At such a juncture you should consider hiring guest writers who will add new and fresh content to your blog on a regular basis. Likewise you can also encourage avenues for comments on your posts, you should read up information on how to write posts that can trigger high rate of response. Comments also add to fresh content quotient.

Tweak Old Post to Create Genuine Newness by Updating:

Some people also tweak each and every post they have created in the previous year in this year; this helps them to add the latest information to the old post, so it becomes an updated post and the post also gets new content and when spider visits the page if finds something new to add to its cache. This is also not a bad idea but for now long can you re-work on old posts; at some point of time you will have to create fresh posts that you can tweak later, right? So strike a balance, and before that, sit up and think.

Interlinking and Fine-tuning Landing Pages

You should also consider interlinking pages of your own blog; while doing this you can change your landing page a little bit here and there when you are linking it with fresh content page that you have recently created. You should also ensure that your home page changes everyday; if it’s a blog that’s not going to be an issue because your fresh posts will appear on home page and old posts will become part of inside pages. Also change hub pages as often as you can and should.

Identify Pages that Look Less Important from Spider’s Point of View and Work on Them:

Another thing that bloggers can do to add fresh content is pick out pages of your blog that are less important, meaning those pages that get less visitors and are not indexed so regularly by spiders; now make substantial changes to these pages to wake up spiders to look at the refreshed page all over afresh. This makes a huge difference to the traffic of blog; especially compared to spending time over those pages that are doing pretty okay; the secret lies in picking up those odd pages that are lying low and start work on them.

Do Everything in Your Power to Hold Your Visitor

I have already mentioned in somewhere in the post that I’d like to take further; about visitors spending time on your blog; well do as much as you can to ensure you give them enough reasons to help them stay; it may take visual reliefs, i.e. images; optimized videos; good layout of content, i.e. considering dividing and categorising content; or drawing visitor’s attention thru an attention grabbing headline; compelling copy; info-graphics; Facebook plug-ins, and so on.

Link to Other Blogs Without Feeling Insecure; Instead Learn to Feel Confidence Of Your Own Blog:

As always most important tip saved for the road, while creating and publishing content never be hesitant to link to another blog to explain something. Don’t feel insecure and consider sending the visitor away by doing it; on the contrary by doing this you are giving him a feeling that if he stays with you, you will introduce him to many more such sites and topics written by authorities.

Content Is King – How to Get King Content Rule Your Site Ranking

I’m sure you know how important your Title tag, headlines and having keywords in your text is to ranking high. But there are also three other (usually unknown or overlooked) factors that are important to getting ranked high by Google. I will tell you about these three important factors. But before that I’d like to explain a little about the importance of content for your website ranking.

Content is king like never before. Content has always been important, but never as important as it is now and many (if not most) webmasters are not taking it seriously. If you want to beat them, all you have to do is to take seriously Google’s advice of having exceptional content on your website. Google will reward you for doing what they are now requiring. The two most important things you need to do to your website right now are:

1. Having unique titles and headlines are a must.

2. On a regular basis add new, original, informative articles with compelling headlines.

That’s all there is to it. Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The articles have to be really good — not just fluff.

What Google likes is facts, articles that give both sides of a subject, comments and interviews with industry experts and survey results. The best way to quickly get survey results (and with zero cost) is to use the tool called “Survey Monkey” on the website, http://www.SurveyMonkey.com/

Go to their website and sign up for their free version and you can quickly set up a survey and get results overnight. Go take a look at all of the options and how easy it is to get survey result using their too. Set up your survey and then take the data and write an article called, “Survey reveals (whatever).” This format will give you a powerful article — both for your readers and for Google. You can do this over and and over week after week. By the way, you can also use Survey Monkey to find out what topics your readers want to know more about.

Now, what are those three important factors that I talked about at the beginning of this article?

To get Google to rank your site high, the following three things are absolutely necessary:

#1. You need at least 12 to 15 pages. Google doesn’t like sites with three to five pages of high-pressure hype. Google likes to see several pages of content and these pages have to have informative, useful content and a minimum of 300 words. Words in JavaScript, in photos or logos don’t count. A page with very few words is useless to you when it comes to increasing your ranking.

#2. You need a link to a “Contact Us” page (with 300+ words or more).

#3. You need a link to a “Privacy Policy” page.

Since most webmasters don’t consider these three things important they don’t have all three of them. Having these three things helps make your site stand out and tells Google that this is a professional, non-spammy website.

Take the time now to check your website and make these changes if necessary. You will be rewarded by higher ranking.

Off-Site SEO Techniques to Improve Visibility of Your Blog

Off-site Optimization is as important and effective as on-site SEO, whether you are implementing it on your blog, website, or forum. Ideally both should be part of one Umbrella strategy. One implemented without the other slows down the impact of outcome of blog-promotion strategy.

People are very keen to set their blogs in order from within (i.e. on-site SEO) but when it comes to pushing it from outside (off-site SEO), most bloggers do not think it is important to even understand it as of now; as what they have done on-site sounds enough for them; and thus they leave it for later. By the time `later’ arrives its really LATE and even the old on-site strategy may render outdated to an extent and may need some fresh tweaks, if not over all overhauling.

First lesson is to be convinced that both SEO strategies are equally important. In fact offsite strategies are easier to learn after understanding onsite SEO strategies; even implementing them does not require any technical skill either; blog owner can devise promotional campaign with the help of a professional while starting out and can consider carrying it out himself by keeping the strategist in loop for some time; once he feels more comfortable and confident he can do it independently. It may work out to be a less costly affair than one may think.

Let’s discuss various off-site SEO techniques. But before that a special note.

Special Note for Readers: Some of you may already have taken the curser down to all the sub-headlines and may be feeling that you already know what I am going to talk about in each of these sub-headlines; but I will suggest that you please continue to read them anyway; because though my topic may sound like a repetition; my take on them are my own – because I have written is based on my own experience and experiments which I feel will help you to use the method in a more effective manner.

Become an Active Guest Blogger: The first off-site SEO technique to promote a blog is to become active as guest writer and try and publish your posts in high traffic blogs in your niche. It’s a very popular technique and enough has been written about it, I know; but how many bloggers do you know who can credit a good part of their success to this technique & don’t go beyond ranking it as an average technique? Not many, is it not?

If this is how you feel or someone you know feels, then my advice would be that you approach the concept of guest posting afresh with a new mindset and attitude; improve the quality of your posts; and improve the quality of blogs you are posting them on. A high traffic blog will never accept a mediocre post. Best option is to create at least 30-45 high quality guest posts and then identify blogs in your niche that drive high traffic.

While you are requesting them to accept your post on their blog, try and sell them the video review that we have discussed in our previous on-site blog SEO lesson. Once your communication has begun you can also casually suggest that you are ready to do a post for them in exchange of a live link in their blog roll. If the blog owner manages to read your mail he will not be able to refuse off beat offers like this one. These will give you several link backs to your home and inside pages, plus add value for his readers. Amidst several video review posts you can fit one pillar post and add quality content to his blog. Blog owner will be impressed and you will soon find a place amongst his favourite guest writers.

Get Link Backs: But not by paying for them, because if Google manages to find it out you will be out of the race before you even realise. Paid links are not only passé, they are also unethical. Put your mind to work and think of some offbeat & novel ideas to get back links.

Conceptualise a free interactive session, a seminar, membership drive, a charity event etc related to your niche and turn it into a product; i.e. create a product information page along with an impressive covering letter. Send it to high traffic blogs in your niche and ask them if they will help you promote it; in reciprocation you shall offer them a free entry/membership etc. If your concept is interesting and novel they will be more than willing to do it. But don’t do it for the heck of it because if you do, you might end up creating a bad impression for yourself.

Using social media platforms like twitter and Facebook has its own impact even with no-follow links if you can mange to create viral posts you will go places. Learn to use it as effectively as you can. And always do it from your genuine account. Make your posts interactive that have the power to trigger reaction or encourage discussions. Remember that social media promotion strategy as important as any other.

The next tip is about creating anchor texts. In many of my posts I encourage readers to learn to create the anchor texts in the correct style. With advanced updates like penguin and panda happening and many more in the offing and making it’s a different ball game altogether; to witness how the updates are evolving to fit in with natural psyche of netizens has been an awesome progression to watch so far… always make sure your anchor texts do not sound the same; while maintaining sense, meaning and tone of the anchor they should still be worded differently everywhere.

Suppose Google is evaluating two sites; first site has 10 back links all reading the same where their anchor texts go and second website has 6 back links all worded differently. The second blog or site will get a batter mileage than first in spite of more number of back links. Of course quality of site your link is on will also matter but here we are focusing on anchor texts so I am not going into that. By creating different anchor texts it is understood that you are trying to fit into psyche of different variety of readers who may like to read or relate to their stuff in a certain manner.

Lastly you can check Alexa ranking of blogs where you are placing or planning to place your links. It will give you a clear cut idea about the traffic and popularity of websites or blogs. The more popular blogs accept your link on their site the better it is for your site or blog. The faster you will move into the main lane and get your share of traffic.

WordPress Blog On-Site SEO Tips You Can’t Miss

I have been a blogger for as long as blogs were introduced and after toying with it for a while, have also managed to learn a lot since; I would not deny that while learning the ropes I stumbled and fell on my face many a times; I also have quite a few blunders to my credit; but God has been kind; that with each mistake He brought me a little more wisdom; each blunder brought me a deeper insight into the workings of spiders and SEs.

At this point, I am comfortable in my skin and doing well for myself; am an ethical and a proud SEO strategist and can think of several successful campaigns that I have created in the recent past. Guys, if you have one thing to learn from me, I will say, don’t be hesitant to try. Don’t worry about mistakes.

With that said, I will come to the point; I am hoping that this post will come in handy for people just starting out; as well as intermediate bloggers. The research and experience that has gone into creating this post should make it a worthwhile read for pros too. I hope I can give them a reason or two to hang around …

Since I use WordPress like a hundred thousand others worldwide, I am going to focus on things you can do on your WordPress blog to come in the main lane. We know by now that there are two ways to optimize your blog; from within, and from outside. Technically the terms for them are on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

The first step involves identifying keywords and phrases that you will optimize your blog with. So far we have been using all kinds of premium and free keyword suggestion tools, haven’t we? Allow me to show you a different way to identify key-phrases for your blog.

Think of the most appropriate & relevant phrases / keywords that people will type while searching for stuff that your blog offers; think of phrases without looking at any keyword suggestion tool; just use your `common-search-sense’ to do it. Officially it’s called the `Google Instant Search Suggestion Tool’.

Now type them one at a time in the Search Engine and while you are typing your phrase SE, you will notice that SE comes up with related suggestions before you’ve finished writing the entire phrase. Make a note of most relevant long tail phrases and sentences that SE suggests; and based on competition analyses pick a few of them and weave them into your blog content while optimizing. Once you have made a note of these sentences, long tail phrases you can use each one of them as you create new blog posts.

My next onsite SEO suggestion is that you get as organized and creative as you can while defining your tags. Get as specific or close to the core theme of your post, if the post is about Apple iPod, ideally one of the tags should read Apple iPod and should not be all general like iPods, technology, communication etc.

Misspellings can also help draw organic traffic but people are overdoing it however I would still suggest that if there are some words are spelt commonly in more ways than one, then you should use both spellings. Some countries spell organize as organise and it’s not a mistake. So you can consider this aspect whole developing blog content.

My next suggestion is that you can learn to add value to the existing videos on YouTube; you can make it more interesting for your reader and make it part of optimization strategy too. Let me show you how you can do it; when you find a video related to your topic on the YouTube, embed it on your blog after adjusting its dimensions to fit into your blog layout, change the title or extend it to make it more interesting.

After dealing with title, describe the video in your own words; while doing it you can also use part of original description; this exercise will make the whole thing a lot more interesting for your readers. They will get to see/read the original video/stuff; along with that they will read your opinion or point of view on it; if done wisely with a genuine intent, it can turn the post into a never ending discussion!

Next comes the titles of blog posts that bloggers create; and here most bloggers make a mistake (please add this one to your share of The Blunder-kitty) Do you know that you can; and you should use two different titles for the same post while you are publishing it on your blog and while discussing it in social media? Did you know that? Use one of the plugin options available on WordPress; it will help you to create a short and straight post title, and you can create your SEO title longer with better keyword strength; the latter should be used for the original post on your own blog.

I want to ensure as I conclude this essay the paragraph makes for a perfect wrap-up. While creating blog posts never overlook the SEO aspect; choose topic of your blog using the Google Instant Search Suggestion Tool as explaine3d above. Pick a few closely related suggestions to convert them into H1 and H2 tags. The rough draft should have one main title, two sub headlines and three or four bullet points under each subhead line. The final draft will have a paragraph made from bullet points or besides bullet points. Small sentences; crisply laid out information; a picture or a video everything optimized and whew!

I am breathless. Hope all my readers have found this post worth their time. If you want to read an equally interesting and offbeat post on offsite strategies, click here.

Either way I thank you for stopping by!

Should You Pay for a Guaranteed DMOZ Listing?

DMOZ or Open Directory Project is a well-know website among the webmasters and website owners almost since Google started working. It was used to be known as Google’s most favourite web directory. Having a website listed on DMOZ was every webmaster’s dream, because it could have so much credit for the website specially from the Google bot’s point of view. It had such a strong effect on the websites ranking on Google the way that almost all of the websites that were listed on DMOZ could be found on Google first page with their related keyword/phrase.

What was the reason and why Google was used to give so much credit to the DMOZ listings?

The reason was that DMOZ was used to be (and still is) so strict about hiring the editors. Google knew that DMOZ was almost the only free web directory that had strict rules to list the sites. All the other web directories were either paid which means your site could be listed on them by paying some money, or if they were free, they needed a reciprocal link. Your site had to be one of the best in its niche to be listed on DMOZ. That is why DMOZ listing had so much credit for the websites ranking on Google.

Is it still like that?

Not anymore. The time that DMOZ listing had such a strong impact on the websites ranking on Google is over. The reason is that Google doesn’t give any credit to DMOZ links anymore. It is a long time that everybody knows that most DMOZ editors are there for nothing but listing their own sites and web pages. I still browse DMOZ every now and then and I become shocked when I see that some very weak or even scam sites are listed there. There is no doubt that these sites belong to the corrupted editors who abuse the opportunity of being the DMOZ editor. They only list their own sites and refuse to approve the others’ sites that can be known as their competitors. There are still some quality sites listed on DMOZ, but those sites are listed since several years ago.

This is what Matt Cutts said about DMOZ on Aug 2011:

As you see he admits that DMOZ links have nothing more than the links from anywhere else. It is just the DMOZ page rank that can be higher than the other sites. However, if you can get the stronger sources to link to your site, it can have a stronger impact than the DMOZ link.

Guaranteed DMOZ Listing

dmoz scamsShame on those DMOZ editors who go one step beyond listing their own sites and web pages, and offer a guaranteed DMOZ listing to poor webmasters for a fee. We did not have such a thing in the first several years that DMOZ started working. But scams ruined and corrupted DMOZ too. This is another reason that DMOZ listings and links have no value for Google. So the answer of this question that should you pay for a guaranteed DMOZ listing, is NO. Simply because it has no value. It neither improves your website ranking, nor it can drive any traffic to your site. Not anymore!

Look what some webmasters say about their recent experience with having their sites listed on DMOZ:

One of them on a discussion board says that he has been struggling to have his website listed on DMOZ directory and finally when he could achieve it, he could see absolutely no positive impact on his website SERP (search engine result page) improvements. He believes that it was a wasting of time.

The other one says that his website is listed on DMOZ on three places but he has not received a single click through his listings.

Another webmaster says that having your site listed on DMOZ can even be dangerous these days, because there are so many sites that copy the same listing and so your website link will appear on several sites over-night which is now against the Google’s algorithm and it can cause your website to be penalized by Google.

That was about DMOZ, the old days monster, and the useless web directory now.

Is Having StatCounter Code a Problem for Your Site’s Google Ranking

Google’s Panda and Penguin updates has made the webmasters worried and overwhelmed. Although the dust is now settled and everybody knows if his site is affected by these updates or not, still webmasters are worried. Those whose sites are affected, are still looking for a way to have them back on Google first page, and those whose sites are not affected want to stay at the safe side and not to do anything that causes their sites to be penalized. One of the things that webmasters and bloggers talk and ask about is having the StatCounter code, and whether it affects the site ranking on Google or not. They want to know if Google penalizes the sites that the StatCounter code is posted on their pages or not.

StatCounter is a well-known web traffic analyser. Although Google Analytics has attracted a lot of attentions and many webmasters and bloggers prefer it, StatCounter is still popular. When you sign up for a web traffic analyser like StatCounter, you have to post a piece of JavaScript/HTML code on your site in order to track your website traffic through StatCounter. When you use the StatCounter for free and you do not sign up for their paid program, you will have a promotional link in the code you place on your site. This link is what that has worried the webmasters. They wonder if it causes Google to penalize their site or not:

StatCounter code (above) has two parts. The first part that is highlighted in green, is the main part of the code which is necessary for tracking the traffic. The second part is (highlighted in red) is the link to StatCounter.

When you want to track your website traffic properly, this code has to be placed on all pages. If you use a website template, then placing the code in the footer will do the trick and the code will be present on all pages. It is where the problem can come. If you link to a website through all of your pages, then it is possible that Google penalizes your site and also the site that you have linked to it (StatCounter). It is the StatCounter problem to think about having its link on the other sites and becoming penalized because of that. Maybe they don’t care. They should understand that a hidden and non-visible link to fool the search engines is not a good idea and they have to think about it sooner or later. Webmasters also have to be careful and keep themselves at the safe side. Let’s see what the StatCounter users have experienced and if they have been penalized or not.

I have seen so many webmasters asking about having the StatCounter link in different forums and discussion board. One of them asks the other webmasters that:

Is it possible that Google penalizes the site because of having the StatCounter on each and every one of the pages after the Panda and Penguin updates? The StatCounter link gives a hidden and “do follow” link to StatCounter. I have to many websites and the StatCounter code is placed on all their pages. Will this be known by Google as a mass linking attempt and so they penalize my sites?

This question is not asked from Google, and so we don’t know how Google deals with the site-wide StatCounter links. What we do know is that Google is not stupid and it knows what is going on over the internet. They know the StatCounter and its mission very well and I don’t think that you will be penalized if StatCounter link is the only site-wide link you have on your website pages. So there is nothing to worry. I am sure Google has already made an exception about StatCounter and similar sites in its algorithm. In spite of this, there are still a couple of things you can do to stay at the safe side:

1. Sign up for StatCounter paid service which is $5 a month and so the link will be removed from their code.

2. Place the rel=”nofollow” attribute to their link:

3. Make the link visible and nofollow at the same time:

I am not sure if the above two changes are against StatCounter terms of service or not. You can ask them before you do it. However, I don’t think that it should be a problem because they are merely interested in traffic they receive through the link and a nofollow attribute has no affect on the traffic that they will receive through the link.

4. Use Google Analytics which is free and has no link  in its code. I think that is the best solution 🙂

Efficient SEO Tips for Efficient Internet Marketing

Internet marketing is a booming business today. Many businesses began to discover that expanding their operations online will help them to become successful in the industry. Aside from expanding their brand globally through the online market, companies managed to earn more customers by targeting high traffic. By increasing the traffic on their site, the number of visitors will increase. Logically, if visitors will increase, then, potential visitors will also increase as the company continues to keep up their website. In other words, efficient internet marketing is the secret art of a booming business.

However, internet marketing is not easy. Online marketers took this art seriously to the point that they must avoid any possible move that will lessen the efficiency of their site. A website consists of various elements and all these elements should be taken care of efficiently. If not, a company will find itself behind the competition.

The Role of Search Engine Optimization

SEO, also known as search engine optimization, accompanies the art of efficient internet marketing. If efficient internet marketing is an art, then, SEO is what you need to make that art. Without it, there will never be an art. Hence, it is extremely important that every web developer dedicate himself in mastering the efficient optimization of the website. By doing so, marketing online will become way too easy. However, search engine optimization is not easy. Similar to an art, you have to keep in mind what color is proper for a certain part of the painting. In other words, you have to know when and where you should optimize to guarantee the website’s spot on top of the search engine results page (SERP). Here are some tips to optimize your site efficiently.

Choose a Keyword-Rich Domain

Domain names have huge effects on SEO. Internet surfers may notice that some websites have a domain which seems as a phrase instead of a company name. The reason behind is that the domain helps in the website optimization. There is a higher chance for a website to gain higher rank on SERP if the searcher entered a part of its domain in the search bar. In addition, other websites that will link to your own will use anchor texts and the closer the anchor text used for your domain, the higher the chance that your website will be on top.

Use Keyword Tools Efficiently

The use of keywords enhances the site optimization. There are a lot of tools online where an optimizer can find efficient keywords. These keyword tools offer a list of different keywords with proper data that SEO specialists need. The tools will give information on how many searches done for a certain keyword. In this way, an optimizer will have a glimpse of the competition for that certain keyword. They will be able to know how many people are searching for that phrase both globally and locally.

The best tip when looking for keywords is by choosing a keyword with the least searches. By doing so, your site will be able to reach the top spot on the SERP with fewer competition. Internet marketers must always keep in their mind that the lower the competition is, the higher the chance to become successful. Besides, the entire website does not rely on one keyword alone; rather, it uses all the keywords that can be found on the site. In simple terms, you are adding a certain keyword that will guarantee you an extra traffic from search results. By adding all the potential traffic brought about by all the keywords used for the site, visitors will flock the website sooner or later. With efficient optimization, efficient internet marketing is as easy as one, two, and three.

Keywords In Domain Names – Does It Help the Search Engine Ranking?

I talked about the importance of choosing a proper domain name in the success of your online business here, and explained that it is a good idea to have the related keyword/phrase in the domain name if possible. However, I still need to explain if having the keywords in domain name helps the site have a higher ranking or not. Does it have any positive impact on the search engine ranking of the site? Do the search engines care about the keywords in the domain names?

These the frequently asked questions around this subject. What is the answer?

Among all the search engines we know, Google is known as the most professional, and the pioneer of web crawling and search result providing. People prefer to use Google more and more in comparison to the other search engines like Bing (the Microsoft search engine), Yahoo or Ask. The reason is that you find more relevant search results with Google. This is a good reason for the ordinary internet users to use Google more than the other search engines. For someone like me who is a professional internet user, Google is the best, not only because of the relevant search results, but also because it is much more easier to understand the Google algorithm. Google has a relatively good communication with the internet users and webmasters and they clarify their activities, algorithm and the changes they make from time to time. Whereas it is almost impossible to understand what the other search engines do.

Therefore, I am going to answer the above question, mainly based on the Google algorithm. However, as the other search engines usually try to follow Google footsteps, if we optimize our sites based on the Google algorithm, we usually receive traffic from the other search engines too.

Does Google care about the keywords in the domain names?

It all depends on the case, and it is different from case to case and site to site. Let me give you an example. If designed properly and with having reasonable number of organic back links, OnlineMarketing.com is the most eligible site to be ranked as the first site with online marketing as the search term. It is almost the same with OnlineMarketing.net and OnlineMarketing.org, however in this competition OnlineMarketing.com will be ahead of the other two domains.

Now the question is, if we create a website with a domain name that doesn’t carry the online marketing key phrase (for example GaryErickson.com) and optimize it for this key phrase properly, and provide useful content, reasonable number of organic back links, and in general everything that the content and link popularity of this site need to make it rank for online marketing on Google first page, will it go ahead of OnlineMarketing.com or still OnlineMarketing.com is more eligible to be the first one?

With the same content and link popularity strength, OnlineMarketing.com will be ahead of GaryErickson.com just because it has the main key phrase in its domain name, and so it is a more relevant website to online marketing from the Google’s point of view.

What if OnlineMarketing.com had a lower content and link popularity strength in comparison to GaryErickson.com? Would having the online marketing key phrase in the domain name still help it to be ranked higher than GaryErickson.com?

Having the pure online marketing key phrase without anything extra is a big credit. Even if OnlineMarketing.com had a weaker content and link popularity, it still would be ahead of GaryErickson.com, unless GaryErickson.com was really really stronger and more popular than OnlineMarketing.com.

In order to be ranked higher than OnlineMarketing.comGaryErickson.com has to be much much stronger both in content and link popularity. But how much stronger?

That is a question which is really hard to answer, because it depends on so many factors in Google algorithm. It is highly dependent on the competition that online marketing as the key phrase has. When the keyword/phrase is too competitive, it will be much harder for the related websites to compete with each other, and a website that wants to be ranked higher, specially from a website that the keyword/phrase can be found in its domain name, it has to be much much stronger.

What Does Google Recommend?

Google says that you can definitely succeed even without having any keyword in your domain name. They recommend that you choose the domain names that are brandable. Some good examples of highly brandable domains are: google.com; reddit.com; digg.com; godaddy.com

Brandable domains can easily be remembered by people, and so there is a high chance that they become popular. From Google point of view, in order to succeed, you do not have to have the related keyword in your domain name, and a website that has no keyword in its domain name can also be successful. Google says this to help people understand that it is the website content that comes first, and having the keyword in the domain name doesn’t help definitely, while the website content quality is poor, or while it is not designed and promoted properly, or while it is promoted through unethical and spammy ways. However, it doesn’t mean that having the keyword in the domain name doesn’t help. Indeed, experience shows that having the proper keyword in the domain name, the way that I have explained it in this article, is very helpful for the website search engine ranking.

It is good to know what Google recommends. Listen to Matt Cutts, the Google Guy, about having keywords in domain name:

Now, there is another important question that really has to be answered, otherwise you will be misled and you will make mistakes in registering or buying the domain names. We learned that having the keyword/phrase in the domain is helpful, and it is a big credit for the websites ranking. However, nowadays it is really hard to find any available domain to register with most of the keywords/phrases, specially the popular ones. Therefore, if you still want to register a domain name and have the  keyword/phrase in it, you have to add hyphens, numbers or extra words to it, until you finally find a free domain name for registration. Now, the important question is, if you add some hyphens, numbers, or extra words to the domain name, will it affect the power of the keyword/phrase you inserted in the domain name?

The answer is yes.

For example OnlineMarketing1.com, or Online-Marketing.com, are much weaker than OnlineMarketing.com.

If you add an extra word, it will dilute the power of the main keyword/phrase. However, if you do it in a way that it creates a new key phrase driven from the main one, it will have a good and reasonable strength for that key phrase. For example, let’s say I want to register the OnlineMarketing.com but I see that it is already registered by someone else, and so I decide to try adding some words to the beginning or end of the domain, and find an available domain. I try OnlineMarketingStrategies.com and it works and I register it. Now the question is how strong this domain is, compared to OnlineMarketing.com?

The answer is that OnlineMarketing.com still has the highest power for Online Marketing as the key phrase and OnlineMarketingStrategies.com can not compete with OnlineMarketing.com to get ranked higher when Online Marketing is the search term. However, OnlineMarketingStrategies.com has its own power for Online Marketing Strategies key phrase which is a less competitive key phrase compared to Online Marketing.

The conclusion is that…

  • having the keyword/phrase in the domain is important and effective in search engine ranking.
  • hyphens, numbers and extra words affect the power of the keyword/phrase you have in the domain name. Therefore, you should avoid having hyphens and numbers in your domain name, and if you want to add an extra word to the main keyword/phrase, you have to do it carefully and smartly to not only save the power of the main keyword/phrase as much as possible, but also focus the domain name on one of the strong derivatives of the main keyword/phrase.

OK! I think it is now clear that how important it is to have the keywords/phrases in your domain name, and how you should choose a domain name based on what you learned from this article. You are now able to guess the power of different domains in comparison to each other, and this is a big help in choosing a proper and strong domain name which is very important in the success of your online business.

Post your comments and questions here and ask for the others ideas and advice if you want to register a domain name.

How to Use Search Engine Optimization for Online Business

Today, the success rate of your online business is directly proportional to your accessibility over popular search engines. An online business cannot survive in the market without the proper use of SEO or search engine optimization. This is precisely the reason behind so much importance of Search Engine Optimization in any online business. The whole success of your business depends on internet marketing and SEO on the material uploaded on any online website. SEO or search engine optimization is significant to improve your site ranking and bring high quality traffic to your website. Thus, it is necessary for you to use internet marketing tools and search engine optimization for your best advantage. Top SEO ranking is a combination of several things. Here are the following internet marketing and SEO tips that can help you to achieve top position in popular search engines:

1. Content: Content is the most significant thing for the success of your website. You must be creative enough to develop relevant and fresh content with targeted keywords. It is necessary for you to make well phased content with appropriate information, which will help you to bring regular visitors to your website. Your website will also be promoted by popular search engines, if you put relevant and competitive material on your website. Thus, you must be very prompt and creative in developing website content, as it will help you to achieve top ranking in popular search engines.

2. Keywords: The use of proper keywords in any content is a significant factor to the success of any business. Keywords are the phrases that are popularly used by the users of search engines during their search. You must have to identify keywords that are relevant for your business and use them wisely in your content. You must pick keywords popular within your business segment. It is important to note that you must not use keywords highly targeted by the competitors in your business. Keywords will improve your visibility on popular search engines that will ultimately fetch regular visitors and customers to your business.

3. Link Building: It is another significant technique of internet marketing and search engine optimization that can help you to bring new visitors to your website. You can place your link on other websites to bring visitors of other websites. This is a popular activity to bring new visitors popularly called link building. Those links pointing your website are known as inbound links or backlinks. This is a very helpful tool of search engine optimization that brings high quality traffic to your website. It is also very helpful in improving your site ranking in the search results of popular search engines. You will also get benefits of link popularity algorithm by Google by using reciprocal links in a number of websites.

4. Use of Social Media: Continuous and appropriate use of Social Media is an important part of internet marketing. You will be getting numerous benefits through the use of social media that can help you improve your website ranking. Proper use of social media sources such as Digg, Twitter, Facebook etc. can help you to expose your business in the best possible way. You can also use social media for posting new updates of your websites.

5. Image Optimization: It can also help you to improve your ranking in the search results of search engines. You can make use of descriptive file name and set distinct URL for every photo in your website. The use of alternative tags can also very useful for optimizing images. It is an effective method of website promotion that can help you to achieve desired objectives of your business.

How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

This article is meant for three types of people. One, who are planning to have a website; two, people who already have a website; & three, those who want to learn to make their websites work for them.

It may take quite some time for you to read and absorb the lengthy content, so if you are rushed for time right now, feel free to bookmark this page and come back when you can spare minimum 45 minutes or an hour. However, I want to assure you of a three things before we get to the heart of the post.

1. After you’ve read the post completely, you will become 100% fool-proof; nobody will EVER be able to lure you into buying any kind of automated, magic tool or wand in the form of a software, eBook, etc with an exaggerated or a fabricated success story.

2. The power of this article lies in its simplicity. The information will put you in a frame of mind where you would start gearing up mentally to work on your website even before you know it; exploring and trying out things that you had never considered before.

3. We want readers to know that this article is developed for the sake of an article – in an organic article format, with one and only objective of sharing information. So you are not likely to find any links blinking between the lines that would lead you to buying eBooks, templates, software, etc. None of all that. Not here at least.

Just read. Absorb. If in doubt, ask; and finally, Implement what you learn over here.

How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines?

Before going any further or deeper into it, let’s first break the phrase down and understand its meaning. Most of us use it because it’s commonly heard of and referred to by one and all and we have kind of come to guess the meaning.

Let us understand the meaning of the phrase `to optimize’ to start with, and the rest will become self explanatory. Dictionary meaning of `To Optimize’ is `to get the most out of’ or `to achieve maximum efficiency out of’.

Now let’s understand the meaning of Search Engine. It is a program used in the context of Web. The program searches, indexes, and documents content and images, and matches them to facilitate search requests of Netizens, i.e. people online.

This brings us to verbatim meaning of the phrase `to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines’. It refers to getting the most out of your website, or making your website efficient enough to provide information that people search for on the web.

This brings us to the end of introduction! The new and subsequent lessons will comprise hard core information on the subject.

We shall dedicate this article to people who are planning to launch a new website – it may be your first site, second, or third … doesn’t matter. You may even be considering re-launching the old existing website all over again because, you don’t like the design; the website may not be doing as well as you expected it to; and so on and so forth. It’s your website, and you know best why you are contemplating to work on it all over again. But let us hope that this time the effort pays off. If it’s a new website, then let’s give it the right start and make it into a tool that will fetch you returns for years to come.

Let us first deal with the basic. Why do we need to give too much importance to a website? Why can’t we just put it up once and forget about it? The answer is we cannot afford to do it; because our websites are our shops/office on the World Wide Web that are supposed to bring us response, in the form of orders, testimonials, good reputation, and so on. And since our websites are our shop/office on the web, we cannot take them any less seriously than we would take our shop or office, had it been on a piece of land in the local market in our own city.

Switching Domain Name v.s. Switching Servers Vis-à-vis SEO

This is the first step for anybody looking at starting online business. It is often being advised that your main key phrase should be a part of your domain name. While it is a good advice, it is not necessary and should not be implemented at the cost of losing credibility that is attached to an aged site. I have already talked about choosing a proper domain name, and the advantages of having the keywords in the domain names in the below articles. If you are at the stage of choosing a domain name, please stop reading of this page and read the below articles, to have detailed information about choosing the domain names and having the keywords/phrases in them. Choosing a proper domain name is one of the most important steps in running a website and online business, and the first step in optimizing your website for the search engines. Therefore, make sure you know how to choose a proper domain name before you register a domain name:

Coming to switching servers – it is another issue altogether. For any reason if a webmaster decides to switch the server/company that hosts its website, he can do it without losing any sleep over it, except that he does not end up being where he was with the previous host in terms of his complaints. Switching server will not affect his search engine position in anyway. He will not lose any traffic because of it. What a webmaster can do while changing the hosting is that he should allow the site to remain on the old server while he has already ordered the new hosting plan and have uploaded the files and databases, and have setup the email accounts, autoresponders and… . When the content and data migration is done, he can simply update the name servers (DNS) and switch them to the new hosting name servers. It may take up to 24 hours for the site to run from the new server. Doing it that way, the site will not be down even for one second, which is the most important thing you should consider when switching the servers.

Find a Web Designer Who Can Make a Search Engine Friendly Website for You

For those of you, who already have a website or are planning to get one; should keep the following things in mind:

Please understand that Search Engine Optimization is not limited to content or images on your site having alt tags; SEO goes much beyond it. In fact it starts much ahead of that stage; SEO should be considered at the time of getting your website designed. The first parameter for any website to do well in future is whether its design is search engine friendly or not. Always remember this phrase “Search Engine Friendly Web Design”. While giving instructions to your designer, do make it clear that you will not accept or pay for a design that is anything less; whatever the justifications are, quality is a non-negotiable issue.

On your part you will have to understand that an SEO friendly design will mean not too much use of Flash on the site, and images that are there, will have to weigh less; lesser the better. A Good designer will know how to go about dealing with the issue of images.

Why Too Many Images on a Site Considered Anti-SEO

You should notice that search engines are not able to see the images contents. They can only see texts. Even when you search for an image with Google Images, it doesn’t list the images based on the images contents and what images have in their body. All the images are listed there based on the keywords/phrases found around them on the web pages, the image alt tag content, and also through the image file name which can contain keyword/phrase. Therefore, if a website content is mainly on the images and flash files, the search engines will have a hard time to understand what the website is all about, and where it has to be ranked and indexed.

The website loading speed is another important thing that has to be considered.

Visuals do make your site look good, but excess of them can kill it.

I have seen some websites, especially related with tourism which become very heavy with images and end up losing its visitors to their competitors. Some of the best firms with most genuine information, services, holiday packages, & costing, are buried deep down in search engines, never to be found by its target audience. When such websites are analysed, `heavy to load – reason: too many images’ is found to be one of the reasons for its status on SE. It will do you a lot of good to hire a designer who is into SE crawler friendly designing.

Your site should be quick to load; therefore it is important that it is light. When a visitor finally finds your site – research suggests that you have four seconds of visitor’s attention span within which if you should be able to grab his attention; if not he is a free feast for your competitor. Let’s understand that adding pictures is not the only way to make your website look good. You can use buttons for visual relief; there are some wonderful fonts out there that can add character to your site.

Why an SEO-Conscious Designer is Good for Your Website?

For those of you contemplating getting your website re-designed & are on a look out for a designer; and also those of you who have already found one; this part of information will hopefully prove to be of use.

Hire a designing & development firm that knows how to build an SEO friendly infrastructure for the website; because an SEO friendly internal structure will help to identify and retain what was good in the previous website, besides adding and creating new avenues for making it a better experience for the new visitors. Meaning a good designer will help you to retain old traffic as well as add new.

Let us pin point facts related with infrastructure of a website to give you a clear cut idea about what it stands for. Search Engine `Software’ (or `crawler’ or `spider’ as they are also referred to), ranks pages on the basis of importance it gives them. Importance of pages is determined on the basis of interlinking structure that a website follows. The spider considers pages that are linked to all the other pages within the website as more important than those linked with fewer pages. Website’s internal link popularity or Google assigning page rank to them highly depends on this factor. Infrastructure also helps a visitor to enjoy the experience of visiting your website and it is such that s/he feels like visiting other pages too.

A web designer who knows this will make sure that pages of old site that were considered important by spiders and were brining traffic and visitors do not get lost and cramped deep down with less important pages or unpopular categories. For example, he will ensure that Products and Services pages are positioned high in the hierarchy than Terms & Policies page. SEO friendly web designer will also ensure that products are divided into categories and sub categories; and that all categories are logically inter-linked. The more well defined your categories – the better it is from Search Engine ranking point of view. For example if one of your products – Black Shoes – can show under multiple categories as follows: under `Shoes’ category, under `Men’s Shoe’ category, under `Formal Dressing’ category, then it should show under various categories. But at the same time designer has to be ensured that while interlinking the pages the anchor text may change, but the URL of the page does not. Landing page is always the same.

Another feature that a good website should have is – all its `important pages’ should meet the final objective of website by carrying the all important messages ad information like, what is the website about and how can it help the visitor.

If for some reason while redesigning website, as a result of back-end coding or newly adopted CMS system, if URL extensions have to be changed, then it is for your web designer to ensure that pages of the old URLs are appropriately linked to newly designed pages via 301 redirect option, which will eventually help the new page gain same weightage or importance in the eyes of the spider after a while. In such cases one must ensure that new URLs sound nearly similar with the previous extension. If your site or blog is on an apache server, you can achieve it with the help of .htaccess file.

Then comes navigation menu – make sure your designer is not too persistent on DHTML, drop down, search box menus, or flash menu because they are not considered SEO friendly. CSS is safest from every point of view. If menu is not visible to the spider, God knows how many pages linked on that route will go un-indexed by spider, & your site’s interlinking strategy will fail. It’s like having a big hole in the ship, that too before we have even begun to sail.

If your new site design comes with CMS, make sure there is space assigned on each page for you to create all the Meta Tags & Headline Tags yourself. Always go for tailor made tags for each page rather than a self generating tag system.

Two more things to steer clear of are; use of session IDs for tracking visitors; and campaign tracking links affixed to URLs. These two gadgets downgrade webpage’s link popularity by splitting it and content tends to get indexed under multiple URLs. If this feature is automatically generated by the software you are using, then tell your designer to counter this problem by placing Canonical Link Element on such pages to avoid spider from indexing duplicate content.

Keep these things in mind and be frank with your designer in reiterating the fact that you are conscious of the money being spent as well results.

Having said that – let us end our SEO Vis-à-vis Web Designing discussion here.

What Do You Expect from Search Engine Optimization?

Considering that our designing aspect is taken care of, let us take the next step forward. And our next step is more about our own mindset than SEO as a technique, science, art and so on. This part will focus on putting OUR SEO perspective in place. Meaning, we should understand SEO in the modern context and what it stands to mean in today’s such a highly competitive environment. Is it about identifying a set of keywords and key phrases; discovering some off beat, golden phrases; placing them in the traditional positions in Meta tags, headlines, ensuring they appear in the opening sentence, and towards the end of content, not to forget in anchor texts, and so on?

Not anymore. It’s moved so much beyond.

Just remember that while you’ve got to work around key phrases; per page limit for them is at the most three, four, or five. Suppose you identify ten phrases for your website and if your site has 50 pages then use these ten phrases in various permutations and combinations. The most important place for the keyword to appear is in the title tag, other than that anchor texts, and rest of the time they can just flow where ever in the copy they are genuinely required. All that junk about them appearing in first paragraph, opening sentence on page, last paragraph etc holds no water. If you feel it fits seamlessly in the headline, great, if it does not, don’t deliberately make a place for it and end up skewing the feel of content. Basically do nothing that you think search engine will like.

As long as you will stick to the traditional outdated SEO tactics that worked ten years ago, you will continue to come across SEO companies who will give 100% assurance to bring your site on number one position on Google and other search engines like they used to ten years ago. I mean to say you will find what you are looking for. If your expectations are unreasonable, you will find SEO firms that are unreasonable. Most SEO firms are realistic in the beginning, but when clients do not agree with them, they start talking things that the client wants to hear.

On the other hand, if you understand that SEO is a long term proposition; where quick fixes are not going to solve your problems, you stand a better chance of finding a realistic SEO firm that can take your website closer to your target audience and add credibility to your online reputation at the same time.

Learn to re-assess your SEO goals; give priority to `what your website needs’ rather than “What you want out of it”. If you take a closer look, and think about it, you will know these are two very different things.

Some of you reading through this, and having some basic knowledge about SEO may want to know, that if meta tags, keywords etc are not the answer to SEO then is SEO as it has traditionally been known a dead strategy? Is it of no use to webmasters anymore? My answer is, No, it is not! It’s a skill very much alive, very crucial, but our perspectives have not changed over the years. SEO is not dead, but our creativity sure seems to have hit against the wall. SEO is very much there, but so is competition. In fact it has gone up like crazies; increased manifolds; hundred folds in last four to five years may not be an exaggeration.

In such a highly competitive environment, where so many websites are selling the same stuff, offering same services, at more or less similar prices, similar guarantees, how do you think Google and other search engines should differentiate them? We use the same kind of sentences and words to convince our visitors. Same tactics to trigger action; same big bold headlines; same combination of key phrases… we even refer to the same tools to look for best key phrases… and so on. Under such a peculiar situation we expect the search engine to rank our site (that we are promoting like anybody else) at the top out of 100,000s websites selling the same stuff, same services, at same prices? Is it a realistic expectation?

This is where out of the box thinking helps. What you want is number one position in Google Search Engine, where as if you think, you will agree, that what you actually need is traffic to your website. Isn’t it? So work towards traffic. Pick up ten key phrases based on combination of keyword tools and your common sense that people may type to find your product; it is likely that keywords or phrases you select may not be amongst the competitive ones, but they are sure to bring you traffic and take you closer to your target audience.

Focusing on traffic is far better than focusing on ranking for your website. Search Engine Ranking could be a poor way to measure success of any website whereas trickling traffic needs no further proof. SE Ranking changes by the minute and it is no secret. Plus search engines are becoming geographically targeted these days. So when you search for something, in search engine by typing out words or phrases, the results you get are more likely to be local. Search engine spiders are working on the logic that they would like to make things that you are looking for, available to you at closest distance from where you are presently located or searching for it. If you live in Utah and are looking for home renovation options online, search engines will give you options to choose from local home renovations specialists than present firms’ in Canada that offer affordable services, and have a qualified team working with them. Latter hardly makes sense how much ever efficient and good the Canadian firm might be. Then there is something called Personalised search which may rank a particular site at the top for various reasons on your computer but it may hardly be generating any traffic. Another reason is that sometimes it gets very easy for an SEO company to attain ranking for its client for a key phrase that nobody or very few people are typing to find information. So SEO can get you top ranking but no traffic, which you will agree makes little sense. Higher the ranking- more the sales is not true anymore in this fiercely competitive environment. So learn to measure things that actually matter and not what you read in some book written when internet, customers, and search engines were all evolving.

When a SEO company explains this to their clients they are disheartened because they had approached the firm because they were expecting some quick magical returns. And if you are a client, take one day at a time and think of building an online business just as you’d think of building one in the corner of the road. It takes time for any business to build; money and success take time to come and are always a result of hard work. If you can understand this, you are on the right path.

Your Website Content

Now let’s talk about developing content for various pages of your site. Create content for the sake of sharing the best information. Don’t think of key phrases while writing for any page of your website. Just focus on the message, the products, the services, customer’s benefit, etc. Leave the rest to search engine spiders. If your content is relevant, spider will assess it on its own; it will also index your entire website from the page it has reached if the site is easy to navigate and SEO friendly.

So understand that targeted traffic is what your website needs; and that search engines crawlers are highly advanced software; perfectly capable of finding, assessing, and ranking sites for different key-phrases and sentences based on various factors. Your job is to understand and believe in your product or service and write compelling and yet original copy for your target audience.

Remember that website with original content is going to be the winner. On the other hand, copying it from here and there and placing it on your site is like preparing for your own funeral. You are free to visit different websites, blogs, forums etc and read content. It will give you new ideas, and new angles to explore. Based on information you’ve read and agree with, develop your own content, where every sentence is your own. So that Google or any other search engine can’t charge you of copying; and when people copy your stuff, you get credit for it; some websites will deliberately and openly link to you and give you credit for it. This will improve your link popularity and help your website generate more traffic.

Many Websites Selling One Product, OR Many Products & One Website – What’s Better?

You also need to re-arrange your thinking regarding buying multiple domain names and selling the same product via all of them. I have seen many people go for it, which makes little sense to me personally. If you were to sell a product in a regular market how many shops will you buy to display them? And can you do the running around and justice to all of them? Similarly, we’d rather put all our energies into one website and make it a hit with customers than split time between ten websites and end up not doing justice to either of them. They will all remain mediocre in the end and wouldn’t be doing much good for the business.

Some online business entrepreneurs are advised to buy something like ten domains with highlighting different aspects of their business; which is not a good idea when it comes to SE crawlers. If search engine spiders catch you taking unfair advantage and fooling them with different domains, it is likely that they will mark your site as deceptive. The best way out is to park everything in a single domain and forward the entire lot with the help of a permanent 301-redirect leading to the main site. The only other alternative if you want to use all the domains is to build sites that are different from each other. There is basically nothing wrong or unethical about having many sites to promote your product as long as you can manage to develop/write so much information for each one of them separately. Unless they all sound different, the effect will not show and all your hard work and money spent on buying domain names and hosting space will be wasted.

Before it slips off my mind I also want to share one fact with you all (which might sound out of context here, but please forgive me for it and take the tip seriously). Webmasters are always curious to know how much traffic is their competitor generating and he buys tools and stuff online which never give them the true picture. But the reality is unless there log files have leaked or tracking codes are out in the open due to some technical glitch in their server, you can’t get to know about traffic that a website generates.

Different Tags Used While Search Engine Optimizing a Website

While working on SEO for your website you will be required to follow the following Meta tags in a sequence. All these tags are maintained page wise. While all of them have to be unique they all have to belong to the same or closely related theme. First is the title tag which can be as long as you want but remember that crawler will read only the first 64 characters and evaluate the site on the basis of those 64 characters. So choose your words very carefully.

Title tag is also one of the most important of all tags. Space is also considered a character. Words like `the’ `an’ `and’ etc be rather avoided:

Starting a Small Business

Then is description tag on which there is no word limit as such. Ideal is to make it into a two short sentence thing. It is used to describe what the page is about in a little more detail. Unlike the title tag which is very important in the web page ranking, description tag has no SEO value anymore. Search engines use it only to have the description of the page on the search engine result page (SERP). Although it has no SEO value, it is very important in increasing your web page click through rate. Having one or two good, brief and descriptive sentences in the description meta tag is very effective in attracting the search engines’ users to click on your website link among all the other competitors. You should try to insert the main keyword/phrase that you have in the title tag of the same page, in its description too, if possible. It can attract the users’ attention more:

Starting a Small Business

Keyword meta tag will have all the different permutation and combination of keywords that are used on the particular web page. It’s not of any importance in present SEO contest. Therefore, you can forget about it.

Next in line is the headline tag. This is the second most important tag after title tag. It is better and is considered to have more impact when it is precise and placed at the top of the page. While title, description, and keyword tags are not visible to readers and are for spiders to take note of, headline tag along with spider being able to read it, it is visible to the human visitors also. Headline tag starts from

which displays the biggest font size on the web page. Each page body needs to be started with a

tag that includes the main keyword/phrase. Unlike the title, description and keyword tags that are places between theandtags, and so, are not visible to the web page visitors, the

tags have to be placed on the page body and between theandtags:

Starting a Small Business

Starting a Small Business Is Easy!

……

………

 

You need to know the HTML basics too 😉

Anchor Text

There is something called anchor text. It stands for the text that is used to represent a live link directing visitors to another page:

the first step to start a small business

This text is also considered important, should comprise two or three words; and preferably should have at least one keyword that the pages is optimized with.

Alt Tag

Image Alt tag is also something webmasters will come across while SEOing their website. It is placed with images. This is done because search engine crawlers are not developed to read images so this image alt tag assists the software to read the image. It generally comprises two to three words, having a keyword. If there are six different images in the form of header, or buttons, blurb, etc on a site each one should be defined separately according to what it represents or with one of the keywords that the page is optimized with. Guess that’s about all when it comes to tags.

Mozilla FireFox and Google Chrome are not able to display the alt tag text on the web pages. However, there is another tag called title which is used by these browsers to show the text on the image (you will see the text if you hover your mouse pointer on the image).  Although search engines spiders are able to see both of the alt and title text, nowadays the webmasters try to have both of these tags in the img tag. Please note that you should use the same text for both of them:

<img src="Image Address Goes Here" alt="small business first step" title="small business first step">

Time Factor and SEO

By now we already know that SEO is an ongoing thing. There is no time or budget limit after which one can take it easy and stop working on the site, and expecting that it will be able to retain the traffic and fetch returns endlessly. SEO is an effort that has to go on and on. This is one aspect. Coming to another aspect, where and how does it take time? Well it takes time to research the key phrases for the entire site; it takes time to research and assemble information, read and understand it to develop content in your own words; time to create Meta tag for all pages; headlines, anchor texts, image alt tags, time to develop interlinking structure for every web page; and so on. It all starts with freezing on one goal, finding ways to achieve it; breaking the process down into various steps; evaluating results at equal intervals; analysing traffic data; altering plan of action if required based on results, and so on.

Link Popularity

Link popularity means more traffic. And there are many organic ways to improve it. So for improving traffic to your website or link popularity, don’t ever consider getting involved with link farms or don’t buy link on other sites either. Sooner or later spiders will identify it and since this is an unethical practice it may even decide to ban your site as a punishment.

Google’s laws related to sites are very strict. So best is to not take a chance. They practice what they preach. Google is one of the cleanest, most original and innovative things to have happened on the net. And they have been around for several years; leading the game of fame. The other side of the coin is – they constantly work towards upgrading their existing products and offering new features to its users. They do not allow promotion of pornography, drugs, violence into any of its advertising and other programs.

If you are someone who agrees with more or less everything written above, but does not know where to start, or find a genuine web designer who will assess present status of your website and will suggest changes, you need to work a little harder. If you come across genuine sounding websites offering SEO work, do write to them, exchange mails a few times, call, Skype; be open to what they have to say, their suggestions, at the same time not allowing them to dominate or intimidate you with their talks and jargon. Always remember, it’s your site, its your responsibility, and you are going to pay for it. Its success and failure is going to affect you. So whether you win or lose, the firm will earn.

Now I think its time to change gear – all this serious talk about SEO being long term proposition and all is not to make you glum and serious about the issue. SEO can also be quick effective and even fun on several occasions. Sometimes on-page-optimization done rightly can change the entire scenario in a few months time. So be at it. On Page optimization will be generally followed by off page optimization. ON page optimization is all that we have discussed above. Off page optimization can become a tedious job, but if planned properly it can also become exciting. The main objective of off page optimization is generating back links. The more the merrier. There are many ways to generate back links. But remember one good or worthy back link is better than generating ten mediocre ones.

So finding new ways to get back links from credible and high traffic website is the key. Link building is part of organic marketing.

Organic vs. Inorganic Optimization

As you read more and get deeper into the subject of SEO you will come across debates happening over organic vs. inorganic methods of promoting a site. Always side with organic. Organic marketing brings organic traffic. Organic traffic comprises genuine visitors or potential customers of your product; and search engine position achieved with organic and genuine means will keep you there for a longer period of time. Spiders can easily identify organic sites and rankings from inorganic, paid or fake rankings and sites. So stay clear. We are here to do business and stay in it for a long time. Hence can’t afford to break rules, take shortcuts or dungeon subways.

SEO – Peculiar Issues

The fact is everyone seems to have come a long way and evolved; Google; market; websites; products; visitor; service standards; everything. And those who have not, are the ones talking about the old and easy games of tweaking title tag, placing key phrases and words in headline, optimized anchor text, and so on. Search engine crawlers are finally ranking sites on the basis of their underlying qualities and not merely on the basis of how perfectly they are implementing SEO. It’s not about SEO anymore. It’s finally about the product. Google has turned SEO on its head! And am I glad!

Don’t make a clutter of codes on your web page. Most of them don’t make sense anymore. “Robots follow” elements are redundant so to say. So are “revisit” tags! Search engine spiders automatically go to all sites they find links to and there is no need to tell them how often they should visit your site or webpage, because they have and follow their own timetable and don’t need your advice on it. Actually you’d better be working on your site constantly if you want them to visit you on a more regular basis. It is their call and they take it also.

Content may not always mean copy. Sometimes the brand power is strong for certain products that they stand out and generate awesome traffic in spite of the webpage not showing any visible content on it, just an image does the trick. Websites reach this stage as a result of putting in years of hard work into building the brand. Suppose a genuine `cure for wrinkles’ is found. And the person who has discovered it has put it up online. It’s a regular ten-fifteen page brochure website, with a few testimonial pages. Meaning the combination or tonic works. Now as soon as this news is out in the open relevant sites will start linking to this website, by way of an affiliate link or even otherwise. And it will attract traffic like many other sites have not been able to generate after years of hard work. This is the power of good product.

So here we are! If we are serious about succeeding online, we will have to re-arrange everything from our attitude to title tags, & also goals; not think about what used to happen ten years ago; not crib about lost page rank; lost sales and traffic. Instead we will craft new strategies; understand everything afresh; and keep our minds open. Let us do everything from making our product better so that it can stand out; focus on building our website and products into a brand; writing original copy; let us acknowledge; learn and use the power of social media marketing, and much more. My web designer may help me build a site that is technically perfect, but I will need to take it upon myself to make it perfect for my visitors.

How Does Spider Evaluate Pages That only Have Graphical Images?

We have already discussed that pictures and images make a site heavy to load, and, spiders are not able to see what inside an image is. But what about optimizing web pages that only have graphical representations and maps on it? The answer is, on images that are not clickable, optimized alt tags won’t help in anyway at all; if webmaster allows comment from readers, these have relevance vis-à-vis search engine optimization, & not indexed by the spiders. Hidden layers, i.e. text written in background colour that is not visible to readers but it is visible to spiders is considered spam; and a route better avoided.

The best way to go about it is make your title tag tightly weaved. And do everything that you can to get as many back-links as possible pointing to the page which has these graphical maps and representations. You can focus on pages that have text and optimize them perfectly with the help of right key phrases.

Coming back to the first question – How to Optimize Website for Search Engines?

The answer is please hold yourself & DON’T think of optimizing your website for search engines! Optimize it for users and for your potential target audience. Make it as useful, functional, easy to navigate, and as informative as you can. If users enjoy the experience, and can find information they are looking for, it won’t take spiders too long to find you. Your user’s vote or preference for your website will go in your favour when it comes to search engine crawlers sending the traffic your way. Just concentrate on the user aspect their angle, their need, their mindset, their psyche. And as I say this, I hardly mean stuff your site with information. Select the kind of information you’d like your user to have, arrange it in a way that he enjoys the journey of going through a learning curve, and finally agrees with and can relate to what your point of view.

If Visitor Likes Your Website – Spider Automatically Will!

The environment is changing really fast; user preference is changing; people are becoming increasingly technologically savvy; the way they are buying stuff, and shopping is changing; the way they are socialising online and connecting with childhood friends is unbelievable; their career and holiday plans are not what they used to be; and so on. And the common factor in the entire above situation is the INTERNET. For all of the above mentioned and more people are going online; visiting websites for assistance. It’s inexpensive, convenient, and they have a huge choice.

For your potential visitor to have a reason to buy product or services from your website over others – the reason has to be strong enough. Which means you will have to have a website that offers something more; a better experience; reason to trust; and reason to come back. And to make your website spell all this, a lot will have to go into it. And this you have to understand really well.

It is a fact that internet is so easily and widely accessible, that people are ordering food; grocery; paying bills; shopping; and this bunch has far exceeded the people buzzing and shopping on the streets. At the same time, it is now possible for you and me to visit world class designer stores online without having to look, wear, and smell right or having the money power. Websites are becoming that simple; and yet such huge influence. So they better be perfect, especially if they are ours!

No need to Chase Offers Promising to `Submit Your Website to Thousands of Directories’

This makes no sense. If your site is designed in SEO friendly software, has well researched keywords and phrases, with title tags and unique content, sitemap, etc then various crawlers will index it anyway, whether or not you submit them to directories all over. You should not be chasing them. They should be chasing you. In fact you should be focusing all your energies – physical as well as mental – into making your site a vehicle that chases your target audience.

Optimizing Your Own Website – Vs – Hiring SEO Firm

Both work and these are two different ways to go the same thing. Its matter of choice, need, and budget. And there are many reasons to go with either of them. If your website sells heavy electrical machinery for power plants and mines, and you have the budget, you can consider hiring SEO firm after evaluating your situation as under: outsourcing this SEO to an SEO firm and having some traffic on your website, let’s suppose is likely to take around six months, and the cost will come to $7500. If after six months you are able to get orders for six machines online, your profit from six machines for example comes to $35000, then the investment and effort has been worth it. Plus the six month’s time is all yours and you are free to utilize it as you like. So this we will say has been a good experiment and we should continue to do it.

Another situation, someone has a small crockery website that he decides to promote himself, because all through the day unless costumers walk in he is not doing anything much; plus his profit margins are not much and the investment does not leave him with budget for spending on SEO. Under this situation if he decides to learn the skill himself and do it on his own, it will be considered a good decision.

There is a third option also which combines services of professional with DIY. Website owner or online entrepreneur gets his site designed and initially optimized, and if he has a flair for learning the skill he can learn the basic SEO techniques from the firm that is doing SEO for his site to take it forward himself. One should check with optimizing firm whether or not they offer hands-on-training option for its clients or not. Some firms may also decide to have a special team that will work exclusively on its website. Such teams can be given training by the SEO firm. But I repeat one has to check with the firm having any such option.

I hope this information helps people who have websites or are planning to have one. Don’t have it for the sake of having it. Learn to make it work for you. With some effort in the right direction, why shouldn’t it?

Let Me Check Your Site and Give You Some Advice for Free!

As the person who has been in this business for years, even before Google starts working and to be known as a search engine, I have lots of experiences. I have helped so many webmasters so far and my advice sometimes have been able to change their whole life. If you are going to run a website and online business, or you already have one, share it here by posting a comment and let me take a look and give you some advice that will make your way toward having targeted traffic, a lot shorter.

Wishing you all the very best!