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Basic SEO – DIY SEO for free

English: Tools

English: Tools (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you manage a site or a blog, you probably received at least one email from an SEO company, offering you their services. But do you really need an SEO professional? If you never did any optimization on your site before, here’s the good news: there are a couple of important DIY SEO  tweaks you can do yourself – for free.  It will help your site be the most search engine-friendly it can be.

Let’s look at them in detail.

Title tag

This is the single most important factor of on-page optimization. If you are on the home page of your site with a browser like Firefox or Safari, the title tag is the text appearing at the very top, sometimes in the tab of the open page. If you look at the HTML of the page, it’s the text between the <title></title> markers.

In the Home page, the title tag is the first thing that search engines get to know about your site when they crawl it, so it has to describe what it is about in an accurate and natural way. Remember however, that only 70 characters are normally displayed in search results, so you will need ability to wordsmith it to come up with something short, descriptive and appealing.

Products page. Take a look now at the title tag of your products page: is it the same as the home page? If that’s the case, it needs to be changed. Again, search engines use the title tag to figure out what the page is about and they assume that each one has different content, hence different titles are required. To sum up: when it comes to title tags, duplicates are frowned upon, and the more specific the better. If you find it difficult to come up with a detailed title for your products page, chances are that you need to further divide them into sub-categories, and this brings us to the next important SEO factor.

More info about Title Tags on our SEO FAQ’s page.

Site structure

Search engines like sites with simple and linear structures. The assumption is: if they are easy to crawl for them, they’re easy to browse for the visitors, and user experience is paramount. As a good rule of thumb (given by Google) for DIY SEO, each page of your site should be no more than three clicks away from your Home page.  Figure it out by laying out your sitemap on paper or a mind mapping tool.

The mother of all sitemaps?

The mother of all sitemaps? (Photo credit: hungrybrowser)

Sitemap

Whenever the structure of your site makes it difficult to search engines to craw all the pages, then a sitemap will do the trick. Simply put, it’s a list of all the pages of your website: once you have it in place, the search engine will easily find every single piece of content. Especially for WordPress users, sitemaps can be easily generated and updated with the use of specific plugins.  (Leave us your favorite in the comments.)

Meta descriptions

Search results are always displayed with a description right underneath the link. These short summaries are called meta descriptions, and are the first thing users look at, when they decide if the link is worth clicking or not. Although they’re not a ranking factor (and Google will not necessarily show them in search results), if compelling and clear, meta descriptions will likely boost your click-through rate.

Use SEO Mofo’s SERP tool to check what your meta will look like in Google.

Images

Whether you sell products or services, or you simply have a blog, your site needs images. Not only because visual aids make content more interesting, but also because they have now become one of the quality signals that search engines use to separate the wheat of legit sites from the chaff of spammy content.  Google has recently introduced changes to the way images are displayed in search results, which have reduced their importance as traffic source.  However, there is a detail that remains important: the ALT tag, which is the only piece of text attached to the image, that search engines actually crawl. Although it won’t necessarily boost your rankings, a well-phrased ALT tag will be a chance to include an extra keyword in the text of the page.

Site speed limit, Canna industrial estate

Site speed limit, Canna industrial estate (Photo credit: macspite)

Speed

There is actually another important factor to take into account when it comes to images, and that’s their size, as that affects loading speed, and speed is important. Again, this is related to user experience: when we click on a link and the page takes forever to load, we tend to bounce back. There are different ways in which site speed can be improved, and some of them are quite technical, but you can start right now, by optimizing your images and making sure that the size you upload is the one you want on the page. If you upload a huge image and then let your CMS do the resizing, your server will still have to deal with the size of the original, and more pixels need more bandwidth.

That is what we recommend to everyone as some simple, free SEO tips for DIY SEO – before you hire an SEO consultant, check out these simple but important SEO tasks.

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Keyword in H1 – FAQ

The H1 tag is an HTML tag which is is used for “headers” – hence the “h”.

H1 Tag Example:

<h1>This is the best page.</h1>

H1 Tag Best Practices:

There should be one (1) and only one <h1> tag on a given webpage.  More than one, Google and other search engines will throw out your page as search SPAM.  Less than one, well – that is just not a very smart thing to do.  But either way – you must use the keyword in H1.

h1 tag

H1 Do’s:

  • Do make sure your keyword is in the H1 tag.  This is important…do not miss this step, ultimately important for SEO.
  • Do NOT have more than one H1 on a page.

What does it do?

The H1 tag is the engine of the page.  It is the place search engines go to verify the keyword it finds in the title tag.  When it finds it – it sets off through the page to see what it finds.From an SEO perspective, it is the second most important tag.

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Adding Too Many Pages Too Quickly May Prompt A Manual Review

Google is famous for tweaking its algorithm on a whim, and every time a significant change has been made (think of pandas and penguins), some percentage of websites experience precipitous drops in rankings, or just get wiped out of the search results altogether.

This, of course, leads to seemingly endless questions from webmasters in forums and discussion boards regarding what can be done to stay in Google’s good graces. Google is also famously vague about giving the specific steps that need to be taken to keep your website from being a casualty of an algorithmic adjustment, so most of the time we’re left up to guesswork.

Don’t Take It Personal

One of the essential facts that you have to keep in mind is that many of these algorithm adjustments are totally automatic, impersonal, and performed on a broad scale; we’re talking millions of websites here.

These types of “tweaks” are based on certain pre-programmed criteria that are basically like a checklist–if your site meets these specifics; you’re placed on the “hit list” automatically. At other times, however, a manual review (i.e., human eyes) may be necessary in order to determine if your site is legitimate or if it falls into the “spam” category in Google’s eyes.

Google has a large team of manual reviewers that have been tasked with the assignment of inspecting websites that seem to straddle the fence in this area. Your site is usually not flagged for a manual review unless the automatic process deems it necessary. You could possibly think of this as a constructive thing; at least you didn’t get disqualified automatically.

What Can Trigger a Manual Review?

There are several speculations as to what can trigger a manual review, but over the years, many experienced webmasters have noticed certain trends in website construction that seem to do the trick. One such activity that can flag your site for a manual review is adding too many pages to your site too quickly at the onset.

Since Google’s engineers are well aware of the onslaught of automated “black hat” sites that can replicate pages on a large scale in mere minutes, it is not advisable that you perform any type of activity that resembles automated page building. Google is ultimately looking for human-built and human-edited content that appeals to other humans, as this will usually provide the best results for the end user.

A Little Patience Goes a Long Way

Given these factors, it will do you much more in the long run to simply be patient and add pages to your website gradually. As to what would be an acceptable amount of pages per hour or per day, that may vary based on what type of website you’re building. If it’s a database-driven site such as a business directory, it may be more understandable to Google’s algorithms if pages are constructed more rapidly due to the fact that content is being pulled from a data source.

But for a blog or something similar, it may look too “fishy” if you’re adding 100 pages a day. As with most things in life, patience will be your friend in this regard. Truth be told, the fundamentals of building a quality and Google-friendly website haven’t really changed too much over the years. If you’re aware of what Google looks for when they’re analyzing websites and stay away from “black hat” activities, you’ll greatly decrease the likelihood of being manually reviewed.

Featured images:

Belosic is the CEO of Nyseoimperio, a self-service custom app design tool used to create apps for Facebook Pages. Follow him @ www.zinzz.com or www.twitter.com.

7 Ways To Improve Your Website

website ideas

website ideas (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

When it comes to improving and making the best website possible, you can feel as though there are about a million different things you should be doing. And looking around at other sites, you can let yourself down thinking yours simply can’t compete when it comes to looking good and more.

But there are just a few major things that you need to concentrate on when it comes to creating and improving your website, and in turn, keeping a great reputation online. Let’s see what the seven most important keys are as you work to improve your website for your clients and customers:

 

– Keep an active blog

First and foremost, who is going to come to a site if the content never changes? Keep an active blog that you update regularly – even just once or twice a week – so that people will keep coming back, checking out what you have to say, and learning more about you.

– Structure your site better for SEO

Search engine optimization is key when it comes to being found online, so make it a point to structure your site for SEO purposes. That means understanding the key words you want to target in your site, as well as understanding key words you need to hit when it comes to showing up on Google.

– Ask for feedback and try variations

Leave a comment box on the site, or ask your friends and people who know web design. What works? What doesn’t? Use their feedback, and take it to heart to improve your site.

– Use bigger buttons, focus on less text

Nobody has the time or desire to read lines and lines of text on a website, so focus more on buttons and logos, and less on text. Be short, concise, and brief, and above all, be visual!

– Add images

Images are a critical component of this “be visual” rule discussed above, as images make a site far more appealing for viewers and consumers. Make your site image friendly, and make it a point to hold a lot of images of you, your company, your products, or your organization on your site for reference, as necessary.

– Find a way to profit from your website

Whether it is selling products for yourself, or using advertising platforms like Google AdSense to make some money after you drive traffic to your site, being able to profit on the web is the goal. You can do so in a variety of ways, but it all depends on being able to get enough traffic to come to your site in the first place, interested and eager.

– Get a great logo

Finally, make it a point to get a great logo for your site, your brand, or your products that you can use. Spend a little bit of money on a professional graphic designer, and make it memorable, worthwhile, and more – and you will notice your site being referenced more as legitimate and worthwhile in turn.

This article was written by Brian S., blogger for Rue, Ziffra & Caldwell, P. A. We take pride in being Daytona Beach Lawyers working for the benefits of those who have been injured or are a victim of a legal injustice.

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