Why does my site need SEO – Part 2/2


telescope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this second post about “why does my site need SEO” and issues that might prevent you from ranking better, we’ll start with one of the most underestimated mistakes that webmasters make.

Why does my site need SEO? – Part 2

  • Failing to understand how Google prioritizes links.
    Here is a typical scenario for most websites: two links to the home page on the upper part of the site, one from the clickable logo and one from the navigation bar, the latter with the anchor “Home.”These links appear on all the pages, and make navigation easier, as they allow users to go back to the home page regardless of where they are.However, which one of those two links will Google prioritize? As we found out, this is what happens:

    • If you have only one link to a given URL, and it’s embedded in an image with an ALT attribute, Google will use it as anchor text
    • If you have two URLs in the same page, one as an image and the other as text, Google will prioritize the latter, regardless of its position or the ALT tag of the image link.

    Forget about the dear old “Home” as anchor text then, and try to use a more descriptive one. Also, remember two more things when it comes to links:

    • Google prefers HTML over Javascript
    • If the first link uses the rel=”nofollow” attribute, that will block the crawling of the second one, even if it’s not nofollow.

    The safe bet is to make sure that the first link to a URL is a keyword-rich text, as it will have priority in Google’s eyes on any other URL that might come further down in the page.

  • Moving to a different URL without letting Google know.
    If you are moving an entire site to a new URL, what happens to all the old backlinks, and how can you avoid losing your hard-earned Page Rank? The solution is a Google tool for webmasters, called Change of Address Form, whose purpose is to inform the search engine that your site has moved. On top of that, you want to put permanent redirections (called 301) from the old pages to the corresponding ones in the new site.The difference  between the tool and the 301 is that the first provides the information about the change at site level, whereas the latter is for single pages, but it definitely won’t hurt to use both (in fact, Google recommends it), and for two reasons:
    • The PageRank from the old URL will be passed on to the new one
    • Users that visit the old URL directly, from a bookmark, old backlinks or by typing it on the address bar, will be led to your new site, without getting the infamous “Page not found” response.
  • Building slow loading pages.
    Last but not least, don’t forget that users want speed, and so does Google. A slow-loading page will affect you negatively in two waysIf you use Adwords to promote your site, a high loading time will lower your Quality Score, resulting in higher Cost Per Click of your ads and a less favorable placement

    Whether you use Adwords or not, slowness will bring you down in the rankings.

So, do you still think you don’t need an SEO guy?   These should be some good reasons why does my site need SEO.

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SEO Basics: Off Page SEO

So most people who have a blog or website, they have heard of SEO, search engine optimization…but it usually thought of as an online activity.  But what about off page SEO?

Off page SEO is the idea to

Chain Link

Chain Link (Photo credit: small world)

improve rankings by adding relevant links or link building. If you can get links from websites which are similar in content to your – you have potential to get more traffic to your website.

Off Page SEO – places to look for links:

There are many places to get links, there will be as many opinions on link building as there are websites on the interwebs.  Here are a few solid, quality places to get links:

  • newspapers – newspapers have great websites with quality links…check with local reports to see what you can help contribute.  Newspapers have solid websites and links you get from them will be quality.
  • universities – if you have a product for sale, allow discounts for students and faculty.  By offering coupon code – you can get listed on university websites.
  • directories – these are still a solid place.  Check out Yahoo and other market specific options.  Sometimes there are membership fees, but they generally have great google power.
  • guest blogging – another popular option is guest blogging.  People accept articles for their site and you get a link.  Its a great trade for content similar copy.

Be careful to only post high quality, unique content to your website.  Look to focus on keywords designated for this page, use this quick quiz to etermine if a site is a good option to get links:

  • Is the website that I am using relevant?
  • Will I be able to attract the right kind of traffic?
  • Does this website have what it takes to bring traffic to my website?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then you may have found a site with a good link opportunity. If you answer no, then you should continue your search to find a better fit.

Off page SEO is effective and you should use it as a beginner. It will help you grow online at a faster rate and the results will be good for you and your website.

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Why does my site need SEO – Part 1/2

Why on car

Why on car (Photo credit: openpad)

And how is that going to help me get better rankings, more visits and more money?  And who needs SEO anyway?

If you want to be number one in Google for a given term, you need to start from a couple of things that SEO cannot give you:

  • get a mission,
  • build a brand,
  • produce amazing content and
  • share it with the rest of the world

Oh, and don’t forget to let Google know.

So – why does my site need SEO?

If relevance and importance are what you need to be at the top, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by blocking all that from Google’s view. In this two-post series, you will learn about the possible SEO pitfalls that may limit your ranking in the search engines, and how to fix them.

  1. You have too many non-text elements.
    Flash Javascript, AJAX, they make your site look fancy, and your designer sure did a good job, but they have a problem: they’re not text, which is what search engines crawl to understand what a page is about. So unless you are a very well established brand like Armani or KFC (in that case visitors will use your name to get to your site), remove those elements, or at least keep them to a bare minimum.
  2. You use the same title tags and meta description in every page.
    Every page needs to have its own piece of content with its own unique title. Google already knows the name of your site from the home page, so don’t use it every time. The same applies to the meta descriptions (the snippet that appears under the link in the search results): make them unique and compelling to click on.
  3. Your URLs are dynamic.
    OK, we’re getting a little technical here, but bear with me. An URL like www.example.com/category/wedding-dresses is static (meaning that the page doesn’t change unless you edit it), and will give the search engine a pretty clear idea of the content of the page. On the other hand, when the content is pulled from a database and is the result different parameters, you will get a dynamic URL with those parameters in it. There are two issues with that: first the search parameters are non-descriptive (they read something like item, sectionid, option  and so on), and this won’t give Google any information about the content. Also, when different parameters give the same result, there can be two or more URLs for the same content, leaving the search engine wondering which one should be indexed.
  4. You have one home page, but different URLs.
    Even when your site is not database-driven, your home page might still have different URLs pointing at it. For example:http://example .com – http://www.example .com – http://example .com/index.php – http://www.example .com/index.phpThe result of this division is that the page rank for the home page will be divided in four, thus diluting your efforts of building authority to your site.The solution to dynamic and multiple URLs is an HTTP code called 301, which redirects all the different versions to the canonical one, making it more clear for the search engine.

The list doesn’t end here; stay tuned for the second part…

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SEO Basics: Search Marketing For Bloggers

rinse wash repeat

rinse wash repeat (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

How is your new blog working out?  Did you get it setup OK?  Getting your new blog up and running is just the beginning – but how do you get traffic?

SEO Basics

It is hard to learn all the ins and outs for search marketing for bloggers – and once you get the site setup – what do you do next?  What are the things a blogger needs to know about SEO to get started?  If you have a new site – or even an older one and know its time to take action or low traffic – you need to learn some SEO basics and get your site on track.

Search Engine Optimization strategy for blogs is all about content – the more unique content you have, the more “magnets” you will have to attract visitors.

3 SEO Basics for blogging success

  1. Keywords – keywords are very important.  You need to make sure each page has one and only one set.
  2. The title is also needed – here is how you combine the title with keywords for success.
  3. The H1 tag, again – important, here is how to maximize your H1 for SEO with keywords.

You need to keep the content fresh – no matter what your blog’s subject.  Writing one article and then forgetting about is not going to get lots of visitors and will not be expected to earn great returns.  You must always update and add fresh information so that your website stands out from the rest of the SEO optimized websites.

Consistency is the key – make sure content is high quality and not plagiarized. This will assist you in reaching your goal of a successful Search Engine Optimized blog.

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Recovering from SPAMMY links on your website

Google Earth penguin

Google Earth penguin (Photo credit: BoopBoopBoopBoop)

For people in the SEO industry, there was a time when names like panda and penguin only reminded of two harmless animals. The time of innocence is – alas – over and now these names are synonyms of the two algorithm updates, which dramatically changed the answer to the question: how do I rank number one in Google?  I need to be recovering from spammy links.

The Penguin update in particular (rolled out in 2012) hit those sites that presented an “unnatural” linking profile. Paid links, links from 5-post blogs, meaningless directories, blog networks, or from unknown forums or rambling comments on blogs, the vast majority with an exact keyword match anchor text:

Google took all this catalogue of rubbish backlinking techniques and made them useless in one fell swoop.

The result was a drop of ranking for many sites, with the inevitable consequences of huge loss of traffic and therefore income.

If you are one of those webmasters who saw their sites hit by Penguin or one of its updates, then hope is not lost, and in the SEO-sphere there are plenty of success stories of sites that started to climb the SERPS again.

Recovering from SPAMMY links:

  1. Once you have identified the spammy links, the first tool you need is patience: just like you won’t build a legit link profile in a day, recovering from a spammy one will take weeks, maybe months. And even if you manage to clean most of the dirt, you won’t necessarily jump back to the top, but at least you will start with a clean slate.
  2. Start earning white hat links. This is really something you should already be doing and considering that you might never get rid of all the bad links, then the good should outnumber the bad.  How?  Look for similar websites which you can link to and from.  This will build credibility.
  3. Now gather all the bad links in a spreadsheet and send an email to each webmaster, asking to remove them. You will succeed, but you will also be ignored and even asked to pay money to have the link removed, but try and go through the whole list before you move on to the next step.
  4. For all the links that you won’t get removed, then you can use the google disavow tool, which was introduced by Google. With this tool, you are practically asking the search engine to consider that backlink as no-follow. One word of caution though: Google doesn’t like shortcuts and this is no exception. On the page of the tool it says:

    If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site. You should still make every effort to clean up unnatural links pointing to your site. Simply disavowing them isn’t enough.

    Pay specific attention to the second and third sentence: you cannot just enter the bad links in the tool and consider it done, Google wants them removed from the internet.

That’s why sending email requests as first thing is so important to start recovering from spammy links and why the disavow tool should be used only when you cannot go any further. If you have a huge list of links you want removed, the email outreach route will be a long, probably mind-numbing task.

Yet, it’s necessary to make sure that the next close encounters you will have with a penguin will only be at the zoo.


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