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Search Engine Optimization – Advice and Tactic

Unique content is King. Search engines love new, unique and updated content. If you produce new content at a rate of just one reasonably sized page per day and tied in with the other advice throughout the site, I can almost guarantee you will get good listings. Remember though, write for the visitors but cater for the search engines. If your field of expertise fits into a niche in the market, all the better for you but you must get unique content all you will fall behind.

Page Structure. Search engine bots can sometimes get confused with poorly coded html, javascript and other web languages. If the bot has to wait too long or cannot decipher the web language then it will just abandon your site and move on to the next, even if it manages to get through the code it usually leads to poor search engine indexing of your website. You should also keep to widely used file extensions like .htm, .html, .php, .asp for your pages.

Loading Speed. The loading speed of your website should be kept to a minimum, if it takes long than 5 seconds on 256kb+ connections then you lose visitors – both real and search engine bots. There are a variety of reasons why pages can load slowly, it may either be your web server, poorly coded server side code like php or client side code like javascript which can slow or even stop your page from loading.

Visitor Navigation. This is more an aesthetic feature of your website focused at real visitors but you need to have some sort of standard navigation that is the same throughout your whole site. People can be put off and leave your website if they find it difficult to browse easily, search engine bots may also miss links if they can only be found deep within your site. Try to make as many internal links as possible available on each page.

Site Hierarchy. Site hierachy can be great for adding keyword density to your web site. An example of site hierachy working effectively would be this page, seo-advice.php. The full link contains SEO seo-advice.php which is very beneficial in the way search engines determine your sites relevance to a particular subject. Use your domain, folders and file names to your advantage.

Avoid Blackhat SEO. Blackhat SEO is a vast topic that commands little respect from real webmasters as it means using underhand methods to gain search engine rankings, although the site is usually banned quickly. Blackhat SEO includes using link farms, search engine spamming, hidden or disguised text, fake meta tag data, using duplicate content and using doorway pages. I would recommend you stay away from tactics like this as you will end up losing out in the long run.

Targeted Linkswaps. Link swaps are great but you must make them work for you. It does little good for you when your going for top search engine positions when your link swaps are untargeted. You should choose some specific keywords for both the link text and the link title text then make sure before you link swap that the other webmaster adds those specific keywords with the link.

Search Engine Copywriting Explained

Copywriting in the world of marketing has always been an expensive process and the main aim of the copy is to attract the reader attention and lure him into buying a product or using a particular service. Copywriting in the online world has pretty much the same meaning, but I believe it is slightly difficult, as here the main aim is to not only grab the readers attention but in order to make it more effective, it is also important to make the copy rank well in the search engines, so that the targeted audience actually get to read it.

Search engine copywriting refers to the process, where a copy is written in a way, where it not only reads well to the reader, but also repeats specific target “keywords?within the text, in order for that copy (webpage) to rank well in search engines for those keywords.

Copywriting experts believe it is ideal to have around 300 words on a page with one or two targeted search terms cleverly placed within the text a few times. Along with the text, it is also important to optimize other elements on the page such as the title text, headings, description and keyword tags, and alt text.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SEO Copywriting

Advantages
Long term Rankings: It is believed that this method helps in maintaining SEO rankings for much longer as compared to other optimization techniques, even when search engines change their algorithms. Although many search engine optimization experts believe that this is a myth.

Quality Content: It not only helps in the optimization process, but also helps to have quality and well written content on your website, which is likely to get you returned visitors or referrals.

Disadvantages
Works for Less Competitive Search Terms: It is believed that this technique works best for less competitive search terms. Competitive search terms refer to highly searched keywords such as sex, insurance, credit cards, cars, etc. Although this can aid the optimization process for highly competitive search terms too, but to be competitive other more robust optimization techniques will also be needed.

Does not work for all Sites: Many sites cannot accommodate enough text on them, for e.g. it can be difficult to optimize certain pages/sites which have too many graphics, flash, etc. and little space for content. Many webmasters are not willing to alter the text, as it may affect the aesthetic appeal of the site.

Expensive Process: Search engine copywriters are expensive people, and hence this whole process can be very expensive. They usually charge on per page basis, and the total expense largely depends on how many pages are to be optimized and the number of keywords being targeted. Another reason why it can be expensive is that you have to depend on the copywriter for all further changes to that page, and hence it can become a permanent expense. Making alterations to that page yourself, unless you know exactly what you are doing, can ruin the optimization of that particular page.

Creating Your SEO Plan

The SEO plan is the document that you’ll use to stay on track as you try to implement SEO strategies on your site.For many people, the thought of implementing SEO on a web site that includes dozens or even hundreds of pages is overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be, though.

Prioritizing pages

Look at SEO in small, bite-size pieces. For example, instead of looking at your site as a whole, look at each page on the site. Prioritize those pages, and then plan your SEO around each page’s priority. Taking a single page into consideration helps to eliminate the “everything has to happen right now” issue and makes it possible for you to create an SEO plan that will maximize your web site’s potential in the minimum amount of time.

Top priority pages should be the ones that your visitors will most naturally gravitate to, such as your home page, or pages that will generate the most in terms of traffic or revenue. When prioritizing pages, you’re also creating a road map for your marketing efforts. If three of the pages on your site are your top priority, those three will have the lion’s share of time, capital, and effort when it comes to SEO and marketing.

Site assessment

After you have prioritized your site, you should assess where you stand and where you need to be with your current SEO efforts. Again, assess each page individually, rather than the site as a whole. In SEO, individual pages are equally important (if not more so) than the entire site. All of your efforts are designed to rank one page above all others in search results. Which page is the most important should be determined by your business needs.

Your SEO assessment should be a document that outlines the current standing of the main SEO elements of each page. It should contain columns for the element of the site you’re assessing, the current status of that element, what needs to be improved in that element, and the deadline for improvement. It’s also helpful if you have a check box next to each item that can be marked when improvements are completed and a column for follow-up, because SEO is a never-ending process. The elements that should be considered during an assessment include:

  • Site/page tagging: The meta tags that are included in the coding of your web site are essential to having that site listed properly in a search engine. Tags to which you should pay specific attention are the title tags and description tags, because these are the most
    important to a search engine.
  • Page content: How fresh is your content? How relevant is it? How often is it updated? And how much content is there? Content is still important when it comes to search results. After all, most people are looking for a specific piece of content, whether it’s  information or a product. If your content is stale, search engines could eventually begin to ignore your site in favor of a site that has fresher content. There are exceptions to this generalization, however. And one exception is if your content is, by nature, very rich but not very dynamic. Because of the usefulness of the content, your site will probably continue to rank well. But it’s a difficult case to determine. In most cases, fresh content is better.
  • Site links: Site links are essential in SEO. Crawlers and spiders look for the links into and out of your site in order to traverse your site and collect data on each URL. However, they also look for those links to be in-context, meaning the link must come from or lead
    to a site that is relevant to the page that is being indexed. Broken links tend to be a large problem when it comes to search engine ranking, so be sure to check that links are still working during the assessment process.
  • Site map: Believe it or not, a site map will help your web site be more accurately linked. But this is not the ordinary site map that you include to help users quickly navigate through your site. This site map is an XML-based document, at the root of your HTML, that contains information (URL, last updated, relevance to surrounding pages, and so on) about each of the pages within a site. Using this XML site map will help to ensure that even the deep pages within your site are indexed by search engines. If you don’t have a site map, you should create one. If you do have one, make sure it’s accurate and up to date.

Finishing the plan

With the site assessment out of the way, you should have a good idea of what areas need work and what areas are in good shape. Don’t assume the areas that don’t currently need work will always be perfect, however. That’s not how it works. At the least, changes to the pages will require changes to the SEO efforts that you’re putting forth; at most they may require that you begin SEO efforts for that page all over again.

You can now take the time to put together all of the information that you’ve gathered into a cohe-sive picture of the SEO efforts you should be making. Your SEO plan is more than just a picture of what’s there and what’s not, however. This is the document that you use to tie everything together: current standing, marketing efforts, capital expenditures, time frames — all of it.

The document should look much like any other plan that you’ll create, for instance your business plan. In this plan, you should have an area for background information, marketing information, plans for growing the business, and plans for managing problems that may arise.

An SEO plan is very similar. You’ll have your current standings, the goals that you plan to hit, and the marketing efforts that you plan to make for each page (or for the site as a whole). You’ll even have the capital expenditures that you plan to encounter as you implement your SEO plan.

You’ll also want to include the strategies you plan to use. Those strategies can be efforts such as submitting your site or pages from your site to directories manually and planning the content you’ll use to draw search crawlers, or they can be keyword marketing plans or pay-per-click programs you plan to use. Also be sure to include a time line for the testing and implementation of those efforts as well as for regular follow-ups.

Follow-up

Follow-up is also an essential part of your SEO plan. Many people believe they can develop and implement an SEO plan and then just walk away from it. The truth is, however, that SEO is not just a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that requires testing, monitoring, and often re-building. A good plan for conducting follow-ups is to plan for them quarterly. Some companies will choose to follow up and reassess their SEO bi-annually, but to be truly effective quarterly is much better. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that following up on your SEO efforts too soon is non-productive. In many cases, it takes at least three months to get a clear picture of how successful your efforts are.
Conducting an evaluation before that three-month mark could have you chasing after an elusive SEO goal that doesn’t really exist. Or worse, it could lead you away from a successful strategy.

Give your plan at least three months but no more than six between checkups. Once you create the habit of re-evaluating your SEO efforts on that time schedule, it will be much less time consuming than you assume.

Understanding Why You Need SEO

Before you can understand the reasons for using SEO, it might be good to have a definition of what SEO — search engine optimization — is. It’s probably a safe assumption that if you’ve clicked on this link, you have some understanding of SEO, so I’ll keep it simple.

SEO is the science of customizing elements of your web site to achieve the best possible search engine ranking. That’s really all there is to search engine optimization. But as simple as it sounds, don’t let it fool you. Both internal and external elements of the site affect the way it’s ranked in any given search engine, so all of these elements should be taken into consideration. Good SEO can be very difficult to achieve, and great SEO seems pretty well impossible at times.

But why is search engine optimization so important? Think of it this way. If you’re standing in a crowd of a few thousand people and someone is looking for you, how will they find you? In a crowd that size, everyone blends together.

Now suppose there is some system that separates groups of people. Maybe if you’re a woman you’re wearing red and if you’re a man you’re wearing blue. Now anyone looking for you will have to look through only half of the people in the crowd.

You can further narrow the group of people to be searched by adding additional differentiation until you have a small enough group that a search query can be executed and the desired person can be easily found.

Your web site is much like that one person in the huge crowd. In the larger picture your site is nearly invisible, even to the search engines that send crawlers out to catalogue the Web. To get your site noticed, even by the crawlers, certain elements must stand out. And that’s why you need search engine optimization.

By accident your site will surely land in a search engine. And it’s likely to rank within the first few thousand results. That’s just not good enough. Being ranked on the ninth or tenth page of search results is tantamount to being invisible. To be noticed, your site should be ranked much higher. Ideally you want your site to be displayed somewhere on the first three pages of results. Most people won’t look beyond the third page, if they get even that far. The fact is, it’s the sites that fall on the first page of results that get the most traffic, and traffic is translated into revenue, which is the ultimate goal of search engine optimization.

To achieve a high position in search results, your site must be more than simply recognizable by a search engine crawler. It must satisfy a set of criteria that not only gets the site catalogued, but can also get it catalogued above most (if not all) of the other sites that fall into that category or topic. Some of the criteria by which a search engine crawler determines the rank your site should have in a set of results include:

  • Anchor text
  • Site popularity
  • Link context
  • Topical links
  • Title tags
  • Keywords
  • Site language
  • Content
  • Site maturity

There are estimated to be at least several hundred other criteria that could also be examined before your site is ranked by a search engine. Some of the criteria listed also have multiple points of view. For example, when looking at link context, a crawler might take into consideration where the link is located on the page, what text surrounds it, and where it leads to or from.

These criteria are also different in importance. For some search engines, links are more important than site maturity, and for others, links have little importance. These weights and measures are constantly changing, so even trying to guess what is most important at any given time is a pointless exercise. Just as you figure it out, the criteria will shift or change completely.

By nature, many of the elements are likely to have some impact on your site ranking, even when you do nothing to improve them. However, without your attention, you’re leaving the search ranking of your site to chance. That’s like opening a business without putting out a sign. You’re sure to  get some traffic, but because people don’t know you’re there, it won’t be anything more than the curiosity of passersby.

What Is PageRank?

Chances are you have been on the Internet and have been surfing in and out of websites looking for valuable information pertaining to a favorite topic or researching a subject for school or work. As you type in keyword(s) you match the information you are searching for on Google, you come up with 10,000 pages of information. It’s virtually impossible to go through every one, so you refine your search by adding more exclusive keywords. Voila the number of pages reduces to around 1,000. Still this is a lot of pages, but you start looking through the information to find what you want.

As you go through the first 10 links on the page, WHAM! The information you needed to find was in the first or second in order of PageRank. You wonder how did they get such a high rank on Google? You may think it was very expensive to get that site at the top of the heap. The funny thing is, with a little know how and about $75 you too can go for the top.

Search Engine Optimization or “SEO”, has become a standard in the web design industry, every customer of a good web designer wants to be number one in their keyword and may be willing to pay the extra money to get there. A good web designer will dress up a web sites home page to match the requirements of their client on specific keywords. The client will also pay more for the exclusivity to remain there untouched. SEO has become a niche for a lot of web companies. They know if they can get the company to the top fast, the word of mouth will be helpful toward their business.

Through specialized META tags (hidden group of keywords) the web designer will strategically place keywords multiple times in the title bar, keywords, and even as hidden text. Some search engines have figured these tricks of the trade out and have banned certain websites from their indexes. Google has become the engine of choice for a lot of people today. There is a different logic Google uses to calculate page rank and keywords is only a portion of it.

Google actually uses a specialized mathematical equation to place your site in a predetermined order. First things first, if your website is a keyword, that does not automatically give you a top spot. It will take time to move up the ranks and you should register with Google as soon as possible to drive your rank upwards. But just having the right URL (Universal Resource Locator) doesn’t guarantee the top spot either. You must also be swapping or reciprocating links with other Google users. The more you use Google websites that are indexed the faster and higher your site will go in the ranks.

A Google robot will visit your site frequently so continue to modify your code and keep checking its rank and status. Eventually, your site will drive up the ranks and land on top. It may take time and work, but you will get the hang of keeping it there once you employ the right mix of keywords with links. Some companies can charge up to $1,000 for the top spot, they employ the same techniques, even though they don’t want you to know this. Keep your META tags, title, keywords and content in line with your keywords and continuously look to optimize them. Under no circumstances take another persons keywords off of their code; this is potentially dangerous as you could be violating copyright laws.

How To Write A Better Web Page Title

This is the same methodology a search engine applies when it crawls a page. When you title a page, you are telling a search engine or user what the page is supposed to be about. We’ve all seen the five sentence summaries of telly shows on the T.V. Guide. It allows for hasty referencing & decision making by telling us what the show is going to be about.

Titles are everywhere. Some people are defined by titles, some people loathe titles, & others like giving titles. Why do they do this? With so much information getting processed by our minds everyday, they want a way to categorize these groups of associated content in a hasty referencing way.

While having the company name on all the pages could be a potential branding strategy, chances are, most visitors to your site don’t know your brand name yet & are looking for the product or service that you’re selling. You could incorporate the company name in to the title, but it should be placed after the main message you wanna convey about that particular page.

This is part of the reason why naming your page titles is so critical to getting your site ranked. I can’t tell you how many times i have seen a site that had five of the following one titles throughout the entire site: “untitled” or “company name”.

If possible, you should try to place your keywords in the title, since this will help the search engine determine where your page should be ranked. Remember, the search engines rank each page individually, that’s why it’s so important to use proper naming methods.

Every page should have a unique title. While you may have a subject that needs to be explained over a few pages, you should use the page title as an index of information for the reader. Sites that sell multiple products should have a unique title for every product. If you can’t make the time to make each page stand out, why would you expect that page to ever appear in a search engine?

When you determine which keywords to use, go for a 4 to 6 word title when possible. After 58 characters, the title in the search engine results page will be truncated & won’t be visible to the reader. Also, the longer the title, the less weight is given to each word.

The entire time you are conjuring up titles, always keep the reader in mind first. While some phrases may rank well in the search engines, a reader may rarely enter that phrase & you’ll lose that targeted traffic you were trying to reach. often times the phrases work out well for both the user & search engine, & in those cases success is usually hasty to follow.