The following are common page level SEO issues, their possible causes and how to address them:

Poor Search Engine Ranking : Most websites are not highly ranked in search engines such as Google. If your site is preforming poorly – it could be these reasons:

  • You Have Selected Very Competitive Keywords
    A common reason for not getting ranked in search engines is your keyword/keyword phrase is highly competitive. This is especially true if a site is new and has not had time to acquire links. When people search – most click on the first handful of results.  Look at the sites on the first page of any popular search engine.Now look at their backlinks – are they optimized? Do they have a high page rank? Are they an authority websites?
    – If the answer is ‘YES’, it will not be an easy task.  Instead of taking on that large of a task – maybe you need to look at less competitive keywords instead. This is why we created the free seo test – see what is working and what is not.  We can run a quick test and then a larger one later – if necessary.  Our reliable seo professionals will analyze and suggest the best way to improve.
  • Your Site Has HTML Errors
    HTML is finicky – many sites have HTML warnings or mistakes, some are worse than others.  So don’t feel you need to begin correcting all the errors on your site from the first to the last. Most errors will not cause search engines to stop crawling, BUT, HTML errors can stop them in their tracks – and this is BAD.  To find out if this is a problem, make sure your website’s HTML is verified. Google has a free tool called “Webmaster Tools” you can use to determine this. It will help you detect if there are crawling errors and show you. Once you have identified the problem, you can fix it immediately.
  • Your Website Is Not Optimized for Any Keyword
    Another common reason for not being ranked is failure to optimize your website for any keyword. When building your site, you need to take your time and decide what key words to target and also make certain that these key words are incorporated on your page, title tags and meta description.  Each page can only be optimized for one keyword/keyword phrase.  If you have not done this yet, you need to do so as soon as you can – this is VERY important.  Use our seo checkng tool on this page to help you.
  • Your Website Lacks Backlinks
    The number and quality of backlinks to your site is a large part in determining where you rank in a search engines result page. If you aren’t ranking for your keywords, open Google and try your keyword in the search box (without quotes) – then note the first 6 results. Go to a tool used for checking backlinks and check the number of backlinks these sites contain. Compare the results to your own website. This should give you an idea of the number of backlinks that you need to add to get to the top and that is if your other site work in in order.
  • Your Website is Still Young
    Give your site enough time; search rankings don’t happen overnight. The newer your site is the longer you will have to wait to achieve a top ranking. Some refer to this as the “Google Sandbox” – it can be 90 days or more until search engines deem you ready.  And, the more competitive the target keywords are, the longer you will have to wait to appear at the top. Monitor your progress over time by observing your links and your ranking then comparing this to high ranking websites – record the or use a tool to check them. This will enable you to ensure you are on the right path.
  • You Are Having Issues with Google
    Google has rules – not all website ownsers or SEO “experts” follow them.  This will cause you much trouble.  Many website owners today are having trouble with Google and their sites cannot perform well as required due to this. The following may be some reasons you are at odds with the Google, preventing your site from ranking high.
  • Your Website is Crammed With Spam Content
    Does it makes sense when you read your website’s content – would others find it interesting?  If your site contains spam links, hidden texts or keywords, gibberish or scrapped content you might have trouble with Google. This is a serious offense that could get you a pure spam penalty. It might not be your fault for having gibberish content on your website as sometimes site visitors leave these in form of comment but there are web tools that can be used to wipe them out for instance word filters.  You need to know – and if you don’t read your content, why should others?
  • Your Website Has Hidden Keywords and Meta-Data which are Stuffed
    It sounds better than it is – just a couple more mentions of that keyword.  Don’t do it – it is common to do these blunders, maybe unknowingly. You may think it is a fast track to great SEO.  Don’t think Google is not aware of this tactic.  Common ways in which site owners blunder are incorporating multiple versions of keywords into meta data, hiding content on pages using cascading style sheets or adding many keywords to image alt tags. To avoid these costly mistakes, it is imperative that you check your on-page SEO and make sure your are giving what Google expects of websites.
  • Your Content Has Been Stolen and Site Hacked
    Another problem – content theft is common practice on the internet these days. It is quite unfortunate that many legitimate sites have fallen victims to these malicious individuals and ended up being penalized without actually engaging in black-hat ranking techniques. You might have trouble with Google just because somebody stole your content which is quite unfortunate! Hacking is another serious threat that is even harder to evade. Sites that are prone to hacking in most cases have concealed malware which is not still noticeable on the back-end coding. The best way to avoid trouble is to always check your site for any vulnerability using various tools that are available.

How to build a niche site – Part 2

In the first post of this niche site series, we explained what a good keyword is, and how to find inspiration for you research.

Now that you have brainstormed any keyword you can possibly imagine, run it through your tool of choice and shortlisted the terms with the right attributes, you’re in for a (not so) surprising discovery: you have competition, meaning that other people have built pages around that keyword before. However, not all competitors are the same: some are less strong than others, and in this post we will teach you how to spot them.

Paste your candidate keyword in Google search and take note of the top ten results. A value that is normally used to evaluate the competitiveness of a keyword is the total number of pages in the SERPS (the lower the number, the better), but that really doesn’t matter: the first page is all you need to care about, because that’s where you want to be eventually.

Now that you have your list of competitors, this is what you need to check, to know how strong they are:

Title tag

Are they using the exact keyword within the title of their page? If they aren’t, that’s a good sign, as it means that, all other things being equal, you have more chances to outrank them by including the full keyword in the title

Page Authority

It’s an SEOmoz metric, which aggregates different values to indicate how likely the page will rank in Google. It can easily be checked with the MOZbar Firefox extension. A sign of weak PA would be a score of 30 or less

Backlinks

Another SEOmoz metric called Juice Page Links will be useful here. It gives the page a score based on the quality and quantity of backlinks. Again, a maximum score of 30 or – better – 20 would be a good indicator that the page can be easily outranked

Page Rank

It’s the dear old Google metric, which assigns value to a given page. It is less popular than before, but you might still want to check if any of the pages has a zero PR, as that’s a good sign too.

 

All the data above can be easily checked with tools like Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro (the latter pulls data specifically from SEOmoz), but with more time available, it can be done manually and for free.

Of course, not all the pages in the top ten will have all those weakness signals at the same time, but if you find at least two of them that are weak enough, that means the keyword is worth exploring.

Content creation

Congratulations, your search is over, now it’s time to get your hands dirty (so to speak) with the creation of the niche site. Indeed, the process of keyword selection up to this point hasn’t changed much over the years. The moment you start creating your website however, is when we need to care about quality more than before.

The code word now is: be useful. It’s very likely that the niche you found is something you know little or nothing about, but that’s no longer an excuse to pollute the internet with mediocre content. The first thing you should do is check your competition: what type of info do they offer? What do you like and what could be done better? After you have an idea of what you should offer in your own site, you need content, and here are a couple of good ways to get it:

Research

Even if you don’t know much about the topic, with little research you might still be able to produce good insightful content. If the internet is not enough, you can still try with your local library

Outsource

Places like Elance.com can offer good writers in your niche. The money you pay for the articles will be a one-time investment and will save you time

 

Aggregate information in a new, useful way. Maybe there is already a ton of information available on the topic, but it’s all scattered across different sources. Why not aggregate it and create a sort of hub for your visitors?

Also, bear in mind that the 5-post blog is gone forever. Once the site starts ranking and getting some traffic, then you can choose to leave it there and move on to the next one, but before doing that, make sure you publish at least 50 articles over time. That will also allow you to take advantage of the long(er) tail variations of the main term you’re targeting. Also, don’t forget to add pictures, a decent template, and an About page that is more than just blabbering.

How to build a niche site – Part 1

Are niche sites dead? After the recent Google updates, does it still make sense to build a site around a single specific keywords like “Halloween costumes for kids” or “post-pregnancy workout?”

In the last two years, niche sites have been heavily targeted by Google, mainly because of their low quality: ugly templates, no more than 5 spun articles of content, and tons of poor quality backlinks were common features. They were called MFAs, or made for Adsense, and many webmasters actually wanted their users to be repelled by their sites, so that they would click back via an ad.

What about now then? Niche sites are not dead and can still be a viable source of passive income, but a few things have changed. In this three-post series we’ll explain how to build a niche site and make it rank in Google in the post-Panda and Penguin world. We suggest you start with one, and then lather, rinse repeat. Here is a breakdown of the single steps:

What’s in a keyword?

A good keyword has high potential, which means (relatively) high volume of traffic with (relatively) low competition. Finding a good keyword is the first and most important step, and I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to do your homework with diligence. I’ve seen many niche site projects fail because of people being too eager to start a website first, and see what happens later.

Finding keyword ideas

Finding the right keyword is a mix of science and art. The first thing to look at is the volume of searches per month, as there is no point in ranking number one for a term that nobody is interested in.

Can it be monetized?

To find that out, the Google Adwords Keyword tool is still the best free resource you can have. If you’re willing to pay to speed up the process however, Market Samurai or Long Tail Pro are two very solid options. The first is a desktop application, the latter is an online tool, and they can pull a comprehensive list of terms from a seed keyword, complete with search volumes.

Whichever tool you decide to use, here are three basic rules to follow:

  • A minimum of 2000 exact global searches per month is what you should aim for, but you can set a higher starting number, 3000 per month for example. In doing that, you will likely make the research a bit longer but you will end up with keywords with higher potential.
  • Always go for “exact” match type, as opposed to “broad.” It’s literally just about ticking one box instead of the other, but it will make the difference between real and useless values
  • Also, keywords should be phrases of at least two or three words, as they are normally much easier to rank for than one-word terms.

The art of finding inspiration for keyword ideas. What terms should you paste in the keyword research tool? This is the point where building niche sites become a sort of art. The first go-to places would be Amazon or Ebay, where stuff is actually sold, and if you search for the best sellers in each category, you can start getting an idea of what a popular keyword is like.

Competition analysis

However, that’s just the beginning. Remember: good profitable keywords can be hidden everywhere, and the best place to hide something is often in front of your own eyes. So look around right now, and make a list of all the objects you see: your next niche site might be right there. Once you get into search mode, you’ll find yourself more aware of the things surrounding you, as they can turn out to be a good topic.

 

Monetization

Can it be monetized? Once you have found suitable candidates, you want to check if the keyword has commercial potential: is it sold online on Amazon, Ebay, or other affiliate programs? Do ads appear in the search results? It’s a quick check that can save you time and disappointment at a later stage, as there is no point in getting to number one in Google for a term, just to find out that there is no meaningful market behind.

Beginner’s Guide To Keywords

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It’s been a while since I wrote anything about keywords, so I thought I would end the year with a quick look at what we should all be looking at these days. So, let’s take it from the top with a beginner’s guide to keywords.

What are keywords?

Keywords are phrases or words that describe what is on your website, in the context of search engine optimization. They can be a single word or a longer sentence – known as ‘long tail keywords’. These account for as many as 70% of all online searches and are an important part of any keyword research strategy – more on long tail matches later on.

Why are they important?

Put simply, keywords are what you use to help Google, Bing, and other search engines determine what your site is about. When people search for anything online, they enter a query, and matching those queries to your website will help you rank higher in the SERPs. It’s important to match your keywords with relevant content, so that when a visitor arrives at your site, they get what they were looking for.

What words do I use?

There are several ways to research the keywords you need to use for your website. First of all, take a look at the competition. It’s easy to do – just type in the keywords you think are relevant to your business into a search engine, and the results will tell you. It will give you a good starting point for identifying how hard it will be to rank for a particular keyword.

Can I use tools?

The next step is to use a free tool such as Google’s Adwords keyword tool. You’ll need to set up an Adwords account, but once you have, you will get access. Just type in a word or a phrase that interests you, and you will get a basic report on its popularity. You can also take a sneaky look at the competition, too. Just type in your rival’s web address and Google will hand you a list of the 100 keywords that the site ranks for. There are other tools to use, too, such as Wordtracker and Keyword Canine. The better tools you use, the more accurate you can be with your choice of keywords.

What are the benefits of long tail keywords?

In general, the more simple the keyword, the more competitive it will be. So, this is where you can start thinking about long tail keywords, which will have far less competition. Let’s say you want to rank for the term ‘florist’. Type that term into the keywords tool, and you will see that competition is stiff, on a national and local level. Maybe you will need to think a bit deeper. Perhaps there is a flower that you sell that others don’t – why not throw this into the mix? So, put ‘florist+rare+orchid’ if you sell them – and voila! Already, you will have less competition to face. This is just a simple example, of course – but you get my point!

OK, so that’s the basics in place. Why not take the next step and take a look at my more advanced guide to finding the right keywords?

Video SEO Tips That Will Truly Improve Your Website

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Every beginner needs to understand one thing about search engine optimization – video is essential. Lots of websites don’t understand this key factors and their ranking drops as a result. Not only is a video a great source of additional information, but YouTube is one of the social media kings with millions of views each day. There is not a single website that can ill afford to exploit the benefits of video SEO.

Here are a few tips for the people that are not up to date and who want to improve their website’s ranking.

Create Engaging Content

The video should keep viewers engaged because it is entertaining. There are people who watch videos because they are a train wreck, but that is not a good thing for the website. The video is a representation of the brand and your company, so it needs to be high-quality. Think of an idea that people want to watch and make a hard copy. Show it to a couple of people and get their opinion. Or, if it is an introductory video, make sure the person is articulate and presentable. The best videos lure people to the site and make them want to find out more about the company.

Take Editing Classes

Any video needs editing before it goes live – that is rule number one in the video marketing handbook. Still, you may not be very good at editing because you don’t have the right skills. Most people don’t because they have never come across editing before, or at least they have never come across the tools that you need to use. An editing course or training program will teach you everything you need to know so that the final product is of a high standard. An after effects training course is just one of many courses that you can find that are also reasonably priced.

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Likes, Comments And Shares Matter

It is easy to see why likes and shares matter. From a social media point of view, the more likes and shares you get, the more aware people will become of the video. And, because the video represents your brand, people will also become more aware of that, too. Comments are different. Yes, comments do play their part when it comes to social media and advertising. But, they also allow you to strike up a conversation with your customer base. By talking to them through the comment section, you can divert them to other areas of the site. Plus, you can learn more about them and their likes and dislikes while building a relationship all the while.

The Keyword Opportunity

At the end of the day, Google places a lot of emphasis on the terms browsers use to search. From your point of view, you need their searches to match closely the terms that you are incorporating into the website. Google rewards sites that do this, and video marketing is another opportunity to use naturally keywords and phrases.

Put them in the title of the video and tag the video, too, as metadata is also a good tool.

A Beginner’s Guide to SEO

SEO can often seem daunting and complicated to beginners. So, if you want to improve your understanding of it, read this introductory beginner’s guide. Then you can put what you learn into practice on your website.

What Is It?

SEO is a form of marketing that focuses on growing visibility on search engine results pages. There are both technical and creative things that can be done to improve your ranking on these pages. Sometimes, getting your approach to SEO right is about making sure your website’s structure is able to maximise your ranking. And you will also need to think about the words you use on your website and what kind of content you fill your website with. All these things are relevant.

Why Is It Necessary?

The major search engines, like Google and Bing, are responsible for driving the vast majority of activity online. So, this means that if you don’t get SEO right, you will be putting your website at a major disadvantage. No website is going to be much of a success if it’s impossible to find it through the major search engines. But if you do manage to strike the right SEO balance, you’ll find that your web traffic increases dramatically. And that is surely exactly what you want.

Keywords

You should always be focused on inserting the correct keywords into your content. This is the most important thing to learn how to do when it comes to SEO. The keywords you use need to correspond to the keywords that other people use when they are searching on sites like Google. Think about what your website is offering and what people might put into Google if they were looking for what you offer. These are the keywords you should be using throughout your website, its tags and its content. Visit nustudio.net.au for more help with keywords and other SEO issues.

Fresh Content

Your content needs to be fresh at all times. If you want to increase traffic, it’s vital to update your content regularly and often. Think about it, people love to read content that’s new and fresh. They don’t want to read something that’s already months out of date. And what’s good for readers is also good for search engines. That means how fresh your content is will affect your ranking on search engine results pages. So, make sure you don’t let your blog content get past its sell by date.

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Social Media

Having fresh content is important, but it’s even more important to make sure that the content is then distributed on social media. If you’re not doing this, you will not only lose out on visitors to your website, you’ll also be damaging your wider approach to SEO. By linking back to your content on social media, you will be able to make sure that links are coming from all directions. This is because people should will share your link and this will build up search engine trust in your content.