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.

Five Basic Steps on How to Create an SEO Glossary

Search engine optimization is considered to have a language of its own: Black Hat SEO, Blog Farm, Adsense, or Grabitrage. If you are interested in understanding search engine optimization in order to boost your site’s Google rankings, or because you may want to work in the search engine optimization industry, drawing up an seo glossary which contains terms will help you comprehend the jargon of the field. Posting an seo glossary on your blog will help establish your own company as  knowledgeable in the search engine optimization field and offers a resource which might draw users who want to learn more about this topic.

  1. Try to draw a list of search engine optimization terms. You should gather them by simply browsing SEO- as well as web-marketing sites like Virtual Grace, Kuno Creative and SEOBook, or online magazines like “Visibility” or noting distinctive or phrases like “broken link” or “click through.”
  2. Try to note any familiar phrases which may have an entirely distinct meaning in search engine optimization marketing. For instance, “bad neighborhood” will refer to a site which Google or any other search engine has penalized for the strategies it used to attract web browsers. These terms will often confuse people who do not know the specialized search engine optimization meaning, so it is worthwhile explaining them.
  3. You may note down the definitions of the phrases by using your very own words and not just copying simple definitions from other websites. You should know that limited amounts of borrowing do not violate copyright, but if you should copy and paste on a large scale, you might violate copyright.
  4. You may add some terms of your own if you may think of any which may be appropriate. For instance, the SEO-Theory site will coin “frogblog” for bloggers who can manage a few blogs and hop between them making a lot of short posts.
  5. You should compile all your definitions as well as words into a glossary and post it on your site. If you should define one term by referring to another, you should include a link in your definition which will take your reader to the second term.

These are only a few basic steps which can be followed if you want to create a seo glossary. However, you might feel the need of more in-depth information and for that the internet is full of great related tutorials.

 Author:  Denis Walker who is a contributor for How To Trade Commodities where you can get some useful tips when it comes to investments.

SEO 101: What the layman needs to know

In the SEO industry, we take it for granted that everyone understands how the search engines present information – and that some ads are sponsored. But what about people who aren’t “in the know” and don’t understand?

SEO 101: Here’s a great guide to things the layman needs to know about SEO, getting start optimizing their site and possible effect search engine marketing can have.

Sponsored ads

Sponsored ads usually appear at the top of your search results, and should be highlighted by being in a coloured box, inside a border or with a clear text label that they are ‘paid’ or ‘sponsored’ links. You may also see them on websites that are members of the Google AdSense program.

Unlike ‘natural’ search results, which cost websites nothing, each time you click on a sponsored ad, the relevant website is charged a small fee. This is all part of their web marketing budget, so don’t feel bad about clicking, particularly if you’re genuinely interested in what they have to offer.

Linkbait

The term ‘linkbait’ refers to website content designed to attract inward links from other sites – this can be humorous, or helpful, but usually solves some problem or other for visitors to the site.

Having lots of inbound links helps the search engines to view a site as being well respected and valued by other web users, which in turn helps to raise its ranking in the search results. However, the practice of paying other webmasters to link to your site is now frowned upon, and Google sometimes punishes website owners by lowering their ranking, if it realises that this is what they have done.

If a website is really keen to post an article on your blog, the chances are that they’ll be benefitting by adding a link. You should be aware that this is commercial so make sure it adds something to your blog too – perhaps ask the company to tweet a link.

Sorting the SERPs

SEO Definition – SERP’s:  ‘SERPs’ are ‘search engine results pages’ – the page of links you see when you run a normal web search.

However, just because a site ranks top for ‘cheapest car insurance’, it doesn’t mean that it sells the cheapest car insurance. Rankings are based on algorithms that look for phrases used in the website’s text, in links pointing to each page from other sites, and in certain other places (such as image captions and sub-headings).

Some providers wouldn’t want to be seen as ‘cheap’, so might not use that word at all. Luckily, the search engines are getting better at showing results for related words too, so you may find results containing ‘value for money’ alongside those described as ‘cheap’, giving you a better view of the whole market.

Big fish, small pond

In the world of SERPs, having a big, frequently updated website helps. That’s why big brands often make it to the top of the results.

The top results for most broad search terms are sites with tens of thousands of pages at least. If you want to support more independent or start-up companies in your area, add place names to your search and scroll down a little – the smaller firms can often be found as early as positions 6-10 on the first page of results.

 

Putting it together for SEO 101

Once you know what to look for, SERPs can make a lot more sense – there are times, if you’re searching for a commercial product or service, when the sponsored ads can be a good place to find a legitimate and reliable provider. Other times, you might want to focus purely on the natural results.

Likewise, visit a website that’s been ‘optimised’ and you will likely spot a few certain phrases repeated a number of times in the text. It’s a subtle effect, but once you know what to look for, you see it on lots and lots of pages.

SEO isn’t witchcraft, but nor is it trickery – it is simply a way for web marketers to help sites rank highly for relevant subjects. In practice, it often means your search results will be more relevant to your needs, so embrace optimisation and you will soon be an even savvier searcher than you were before.

 

AUthor: Kevin Gibbons is Director of Search at UK SEO Agency SEOptimise. A highly profiled blogger on search engine optimsation and social media marketing. Kevin writes frequently for SEOptimise and Econsultancy and can often be found actively contributing on Twitter.  Follow him on @kevgibbo

What Exactly Is SEO?

As recently as a few years ago, no one, outside of a few experts in web page marketing, were familiar with the term SEO. Today, you can read lots of articles and find lots of advice on SEO. It may not exactly be mainstream news, since it is very particular to web searching and the general public is probably not all that familiar with it, but SEO has become a common term.

Not sure what SEO is?  Here’s a Definition

SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is the science of finding the best ways to bring customers to a given site.  It all started, of course, with Google, who designed “search engines” to find articles of interest for their users to be able to get the information they needed (and of course, advertiser to their sites).  The initial Google search engines was simple, a Google bot (automated computer process) scraped the web looking for content and then matched it with terms people were searching for.

It didn’t take long for programmers and marketers to realize what Google was doing, and starting stuffing the system with articles, sometimes nonsensical, that were perceived to satisfy Google’s need for certain words.  Some really lazy “content creators”, as the writers of these articles came to be known, simply typed the word that was perceived to be of interest to searchers (the keyword) over and over again.

The Arrival of the Algorithm

Now Google uses more sophisticated technology called an “algorithm” for search.  It allows Google to filter out real garbage in the search bot “harvest” and only narrow down for items of value.  This is far from a perfect filter, as anyone who has come across some pretty awful articles on the net would tell you.  Webmasters who tried to fool the systems kept doing studies to discover what, exactly Google was looking for.  Overstuffing was clearly a no-no and would send you right to the bottom of the rankings. So they experimented with five or ten, then less and less keywords.  The current consensus is that one or two carefully placed keywords will satisfy Mother Google’s quest for the right word, without being considered pablum, to be dumped in the garbage heap that is the 12 millionth page.

Frequency

The other feature that search engine optimizers, as they have become known, have learned is that the more articles on a certain topic on a site, that is, with certain desired key words, the higher the site will rank with Google’s search engines.  Content writers are now charged with actually writing good articles, with the perfect amount of keywords, and a lot of them.

This has led to a new phenomenon, called “spinning”.  A good article is created, then rewritten a few times.  Same story, slightly different wording, but paragraphs that can follow each other.  Then a “spinner” will take a word or two of each sentence and substitute another.  This happens in the original article and the rewritten articles.  These “spun” articles are then processed by a program that alternates the various words in each sentence, the sentences in each paragraph, and the paragraphs in each article.  As a result, over 500 articles can be created to be posted on a website.  Five hundred articles from one original article!

Will this continue to work and continue to fool Google?  Who knows, for who knows what the next algorithm will be?

If you are looking for an SEO expert, look no further. A quick people search can find you almost anyone in only a few seconds.

SEO Tips: Use Link Building to Open Doors to Drive Quality Traffic

Link building continues to be one of the most recommended SEO practices, but – if you expect it to boost your page rank, you need a focused and thoughtful approach. Before you even consider benefitting from links, you need to have a substantive site with excellent content that engages your audience through entertainment or information.  Without those, there is not enough link juice in the world to drive your site to the top of search engine results pages. Assuming you have carefully crafted a quality site that offers a unique and interesting user experience, you can begin to bolster your web presence through meaningful link building.

Commenting on websites you respect may seem like a great way to introduce yourself to potential audience members, but the truth is that most links you include in comment or forum sections are NoFollow.  [SEO Note:  No Follow – when a search engine/spider encounters a NoFollow attribute, it indexes the text, but not the link.  It is a way for sites to combat spam and means no link juice for you.]  This should not stop you, however, from participating in comment sections or forums. If you submit insightful and relevant remarks that actually contribute to the discussion, others will notice you and may be compelled to check out your site.   That being said – smaller websites or a niche blogs may decide to remove the NoFollow code if its gatekeepers feel you are trustworthy and could provide value to their readers. So, think before you post and have reasonable expectations about how much commenting on other websites and forum participation can do for your site.

The best way to build links is to create original, well written material that is hosted on other sites. This can take the form of guest posts and pieces submitted to quality article directories. None of these are particularly quick and easy ways to promote your website, but they are worthwhile investments.

Guest posts are at the discretion of the host site, and understandably, those in charge may be very particular about guest bloggers. You need to pitch and deliver an article that the host will find interesting and relevant to its readers. If you are not able to do this, do not waste the host’s time.

Reputable article directories vet their content, so you cannot expect automatic publication, but as long as you submit quality pieces, your content will go live relatively quickly.  Think of them as extensions of your main content, even if they have a different URL.

There are a few other things you should keep in mind when contributing content:

  • Do your research and double-check your facts. Research truly is the foundation of valuable content. Nothing undermines a piece more than inaccuracies and inconsistencies. Intelligent discourse, on the other hand, is a surefire way to solidify your credibility and assert your worth.
  • Do not duplicate content. It may be tempting to write one article and spin it into six separate pieces that may not be identical but are essentially the same. Do not do this. Plagiarizing yourself or others is truly one of the worst things you can do, especially in a post-Panda world. Not only will you hurt your page rank, but you will also sacrifice your integrity, and nothing is worth that.
  • Choose your anchor text wisely. If you are submitting unique content, you can probably designate the anchor text for your links. Use keywords that are relevant to the link and article. Be specific and do not use the same anchor text in every piece. Also, keep in mind that search engines pay attention to the first occurrence of anchor text and seem to disregard subsequent appearances of the same link.

Like most SEO best practices, link building is a long-term project that requires genuine effort on your part. You cannot circumvent the process with spammy tactics or quick fixes. Instead, treat all of these contributions as an opportunity to introduce yourself to the world. They should reflect the best that your website has to offer, and anything less is a disservice to you and anyone who has to wade through them. By generating original, high quality content, you will construct a brand and web presence others will be happy to link to, often of their own volition, and your page rank will rise, one click at a time.

SEO Test: Amazon is testing a new design – Usability or SEO?

UPDATE: Here is an article from the Sept. 5th LA Times,  looks like they have been working on it for a while.  This is the first time I’ve seen the new look.  Maybe they are officially rolling it out now?

More updates from last fall:  Amazon forums, NextWeb, Gerasini’s Posterous is seeing it

Is anyone else seeing the clear, sleek look?  This is the first I’m seeing it – maybe because I very rarely logout?

Original Post:

Imaging my surprise when I logged into Amazon tonight, it looks like Amazon may be getting ready to release a new design. The top bar is very sleek and smooth compared to the old clunky orange one.

Here is a screen shot I took with the old/clunky orange with the new sleek version over the top:

There are some very significant changes.  I tried to grab a shot of the all.


Here is a close up of the “top left” corner.  It is very clean and easy to read.  They have really went with the clean and simple look.

The “Shop by Department” is very easy to read and look like it belongs.

If you look at the “top right” you will see the account/wish list area.  Again, very clean, simple and elegant.

This is much easier to glance and understand than the old version – you can see the account drop down and also a great quick look at how many items are in the cart.

I’m not sure I understand the mid-section.  It may be a part of the beta, but when you click on these menus, they simple show you an other mini-ad.  Like the kindle one shown is an ad, then if you press the “Instant Video” button – it shifts to a screen for a particular show.

Essentially a fancy slider.

Same thing with the one down below – if you really think about it, they have stacked two content sliders on top of each other.

If you drop the “Departments” list down – it is cleaner, but familiar.  Notice how all the same items are there from before – they just get a simple “treatment”.

Inside has not changed – as of yet.  So we get a nice clean nav bar, with the same old stuff below.

Well – what do you think?  Is Amazon redesigning to push for more SEO or usability?  I guess time will tell – let me know if you see the changes too.  Please send me any screen shots and I can attach them here for comparison.