Quick SEO Tips for E-Commerce Websites

E-commerce is now a real battle for hundreds of merchant in thousands of categories of products. That is why getting a prospect to find and land on your website in the right time and place is a real challenge for every shop owners and SEO is the top-of-mind answer.

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SEO can never die, however the SEO tips and tricks now no longer the same as those in a couple years ago. That is why I will update out new 38+ quick SEO tips that work in 2013-2014 below for e-commerce web owners of all platforms (including Magento) to check again to make sure you do not miss the important points. A pretty long list but I think you can scan the words in bold to get the main points and skim the rest to have more ideas for your next actions.

On Page Optimization

1Diversify Keywords: In the e-commerce site, the primary keywords are usually the product/categories page names, but don’t just limit around them but also use synonyms and word families.

2. Leverage long tails: searchers now tend to prefer specific queries than general ones, so care about this fact, long tails can also filter qualified visitors for conversion. Use keyword suggestions and keyword planner to help you.

3. Craft targeted, compelling page titles: That is the most important element to rank and first thing catch the searchers’ eyes when they on the search result pages so use it wisely for both human and robots.

4. Avoid duplicate content issues: Don’t lazy and copy and paste manufacturer’s descriptions. Instead, write on your own words. Focus on informative and educational contents and pages which your customer really need.

5. Use relevant rich snippets: Rich snippets make you outstanding in the SERP page and increase CTR.

6. Schema.org and structured data: Structured data helps search engine can better crawl and collect information for your website.

7. Update your content frequently: Website without the content update is a dead website. Use value-added content and user-generated content and review to keep the pages fresh.

8. Optimize your images: Use attractive high-definition but low-sized images. Pay close attention to file names, alternative text and surrounding text to increase the traffic that you receive through Image Search.

9. Control boat access: Ensure that search engine spiders can’t access the various e-commerce features/functions such as Add to Basket, complete purchase, add to wish list etc. through the robots.txt file.

Link Structure

10. Use SEO friendly URLs: Targeted products/categories keywords included in the URL will more attractive for user than boring numeral parameters.

11. Be aware of multiple categorizations: Prefer the “example.com/product1” URL structure over the “example.com/cat1/procuct1” to avoid duplicate content issues.

12. Organize product links cleverly: Link directly to your strategic products from your homepage. Recommend similar products to your visitors.

13. User bread crumbs: Users might usually want to switch back to category pages when they are on a specific product. Let them do this with ease.

14. Use canonical URLs: Sometimes products with different versions can cause duplicate content problems. It is better not to create multiple landing pages for minor product differences (color, size for example).

15. Fix broken links: Check regularly for links that no longer work and remove or redirect them to relevant pages.

16. Have a healthy link profile: Use a variety of anchor text. Make use of deep links. Don’t just focus on the homepage. Research competitors’ link building strategies.

Design & User experience

17. the Use the call to actions properly: Keep them clear and place them strategically on your pages. Steer visitors to a single primary CTA in one page and lead them to other secondary CTAs to offer more useful options and help increase conversion rates.

18. Use “security badges”: Leverage the authority of third parties McAfee, VeriSign, Better Business Bureau or Direct Marketing Association to build the trust of visitors.

19. Use richer visual content: A picture speaks a thousand words so invest more in informative and compelling images and videos to grasp more visitors on the site.

20. Ensure cross-browser: We are now living in a multi-screen world so make sure to give your users seamless experience on your store when they move from PC to mobile phones or tablets, from your websites to your social channels.

21. Keep your check-out and payment process simple: Minimize the requirements to switch pages to increase your conversion rate and reduce the Shopping cart abandonment rate.

22. Reduce the loading time: Minimize the size of CSS/JS/image files and use caching mechanisms. Try flat design.

23. Use A/B and Multivariable Testing: and monitor your site performance regularly to improve user experience and sales.

Website Structure & Architecture

24. Choose suitable the Ecommerce platform: Ensure that it is regularly updated and ease to customize for your specific needs and goals.

25. Create and submit HTML & XML sitemaps to search engines: This is an old tactic, but I think I must remind about it.

26. Avoid AJAX, Flash and other non-SEO Friendly technologies: They can cause low page load, and search engine can read them well

27. Remove session IDs from URLs: This can create duplicate content issues.

28. Improve your on-site search and filter system: Your users always want to search for particular products based on their name, brand, price, and characteristics. Don’t let them disappointed.

Social Media & Promotion

29. Embed social media tools: Add the social share and follow button every possible position on all your pages. the Use the social comment box to help you expand your reach. Keep the conversations between you and your audience going on and on.

30. Run a blog and encourage sharing: Update it daily with useful and relevant contents to engage visitors. Show your expertise in the industry and give the answer to your prospects’ questions. The more sharing, the more reputation you are regarded to have. No doubt that social reputation now is a very significant ranking factor.

31. Offer free stuff: Almost all people love free products. Provide an e-book or free trial to potential customers who are not ready for a purchase to help them stay in contact.

32. Create promotional campaigns: Hold seasonal contests, events and sale-off deals to attract more customers. Use all online and offline tools and channels to buzz your industry.

33. Enhance your email marketing efforts: Encourage your visitors to subscribe and send them relevant campaigns. Segment your customers, prospects, and leads and learn about their concerns as detailed as possible. Integrate social media into your email marketing.

34. Use targeted paid advertising: with optimized landing pages to drive relevant traffic.

Off page factors and other must-have Features

35. Have a different URL for different language version: Decide the languages to support on your website and which should be the default one.

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36. Improve local SEO: Provide correct and complete physical contact information on your website and every other online channel. Have your business listed in local business directories, Google local, and other popular online listing services.

37. Give your customer multiple checkout options: Provide various payment methods to your customers (Credit Card, PayPal, Direct Bank Transfer etc). Offer different shipping methods and reach to as many countries as possible.

38. Be aware of security and privacy issues: Safeguard your whole system with anti-virus solutions and security encryption methods.

and… there is the last point I don’t know which category to put it in, but I think it is really necessary for you so I gave it a plus.

38+. Keep track. Monitor your work over and over. Stay updated with changes in user behaviors and search algorithms. Those 34 kinds of stuff I wrote above might work today but who knows what will happen tomorrow?

Predict the Future of the Internet, and It’s Not Good

Things evolve. They must. Change or die.

But to what extent, and in what direction must they, and do they change? They change to the users, the will of the people. Although I don’t want to be envisioned as a street bum walking around with an ‘A-board’ over him yelling, “The End Is Near”, I predict that the internet as we know it today will change to the point of dissolving, and something completely new will take its place.

The impetus for this change is the way we do business today. And the number of users that are not just customers of that business but are quickly becoming business people themselves.

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Noted author and economist, Paul Pilzer brought to light ‘planned obsolescence’ in his book “God Wants You To Be Rich”. He speaks of the demise of carburetors to pave the way for fuel injection. Of the demise of the LP record and the 8-track to give way to the cassette, and then on to the CD.

He then broadens his argument from specific items of commerce to whole industries. He uses the movie “The Graduate” to illustrate how the ‘next big thing’ was then – plastics. At that point, Pilzer predicts that the ‘next big thing’ for us is transportation. For large regional hubs supporting and supplying just-in-time manufacturing. Large ‘super trucks’ go from hub to hub to supply the regional manufacturers.

We are already seeing the outcomes of Pelzer’s predictions. Plastics are largely considered a nuisance in landfills, plastic bags are being outlawed at grocery stores. A few recyclers are in place for plastics. They are still expensive to set up and run at this point. But demand will override costs and someone will find a way to make them very profitable. And an end to plastics in landfills will emerge.

In the transportation sector, we are seeing a push for more rail freight. This to alleviate multiple trucks on the crowded highways with a single rail car. A major drawback to this is the timing – the speed with which a truck can get from a specific place to a specific destination versus rail freight.

Currently, the trains need to have the freight offloaded to trucks. But what if those railcars were sent to rail friendly ‘super hubs’. And the smaller, expediter trucks took it from the regional super hubs to the end user, just-in-time.

The current trucks would grow slightly to support the large warehouses being built now in the industrial parks. That would give rise to, and the time for the necessary rail systems to be upgraded to supply these super hub warehouses. Talk to a commercial realtor. The warehouses are being built because they are profitable! Pilzer’s predictions are coming true.

A concern of the rail support for super hubs is arguably the retail segment. Manufacturing can ‘order out’ the goods and raw materials needed for everyday operations. But retail and most service industries operate on a much tighter schedule of a producer to customer. That will be addressed in time when the rail supply system to the super hubs takes the foot. For retail marketing follows manufacturing. What happens in manufacturing is mirrored in retail marketing.

And so it will be with the internet and internet marketing. It isn’t the relationship of instant internet marketing to the offsetting stockpile of products necessary to supply that marketing. It’s the internet use and the marketing itself.

To paint you a point of reference for this prediction I want you to picture a medium sized town where the local manufacturing plant, or ‘the mill’ pulled out of town. The plant was the lifeblood of the community. The associated service industries were there to give the wage earners and their families a place to spend their money. To buy the goods and to improve their stations in life.

Then one day the plant shuts down. The mill pulls out. And then what happens? The high priced wage earner then goes to work (or tries to go to work) at the minimum wage job. Suddenly they cannot afford to even buy the things they are selling. They are at a maintenance level of income. The downward spiral has started.

And in a few short years, those communities are unable to support themselves. Vacant buildings become constant reminders of the trouble the town is experiencing. Even worst they then become bastions of illegal activities. It’s never pretty.

The point I’m illustrating here is the displacement of the high paid worker to the low paid position. And the massive influx of those workers. The service industry can only absorb so many. Then as the remaining displaced workers can no longer afford to patronize those service establishments, they too go out of business.

To breath life into that community, a giant financial shot in the arm is needed. More service level jobs will not do it. The entrepreneur that thinks because a McDonald’s is a sure bet everywhere else and therefore will be a good bet in the downwardly spiraling town is in for a shock, and a disaster.

In the physical world, you can see that. Anybody would see that the town is on the skids, and the economic base probably won’t support [in this case] another fast food restaurant. But in the internet world, the virtual world we cannot see that.

What we do see is the ‘jump on the bandwagon’ mentality of the over eager internet entrepreneur. And the subsequent overpopulation of the online marketplace. “If he made money at it. I can too!” I can sit in my pajamas and conduct business at the same level as a fortune 500 company with untold amounts of employees.

“Just look at all the success stories I’ve read on the internet about it!” The lure of easy money without the ability to truly do accurate research is more than most can resist. And so they pile on it like players in a rugby scrum.

Internet business start-up kits and affiliate programs make it super simple to begin an online marketing career. But without the prerequisite training that usually accompanies a traditional business, the pajama-clad entrepreneurs start seeing a bumpy road. Then they instinctively start reaching out for help. Talking to other internet marketers, on forums and in comments on blogs and websites. Aggressive marketers reading the need for help build whole sales programs around offering help to the new internet business person, for a price.

The person in need has sent out a request, asked a question, not in private to a trusted or even proven business adviser. But to anyone that may be viewing that URL. Anyone, and everyone. Marketers offer answers, with more sales attached. Competitors see the idea and if it’s new to them, try to adapt the ‘next big idea’ to their marketing.

All the while with no clear indication of, or care for results. Everyone is talking about it, promoting it and suddenly selling it. It doesn’t have to be the new product, it can be a derivative of it. A how-to use it book, a ‘better mousetrap’ product, a review of the product or program – for a price.

We’re all talking about it to no end. But is there any actual sales? For the original product, or for the many, many offshoots that almost instantly try to jump on the bandwagon? There sure is a ‘buzz’ about it. And buzz means sales! Right?

Social media is blossoming into the ‘talker not’. News pages have to have a social media presence so we can talk about the stories. Corporations have to have a social media presence so we can talk about their products and thus build brand awareness. Individuals have a social media presence so they can talk about themselves, and we can see – them. It is all about ‘them’ in social media.

OK, I see you. Does that mean I’m going to buy from you, or your business? Let’s talk about it some more… Internet businesses are now seeing the ‘buzz’ is happening in social media, and to get in front of the customers they are going to and contributing to every social media platform available.

In light of that whole industries are adapting their businesses to meet the change. Google is changing how they weight your web offering and penalizing those sights that just want to ‘tell you about it’ rather than offer any substantial product or service. The talking stops there.world

Article factories are being penalized. The kind that review, and report on a product or service, just to sell you that item or to generate ad revenue from page hits.

If you don’t have a product, you’re not in business. You’re just talking about it. And while that may garner you a certain income, the tides are turning against you being famous for just ‘talking about it’.

The blurred lines that exist today will soon become crystal clear. Social media will be indeed that, a social platform. Business will emerge again as a traditional, albeit electronic business. And those that like to talk about it will be content to have a platform where they can talk all they want.

SEO Tips for Lawyers – Five Crucial Keys to Organic Search Engine Optimization

Business referrals also play a huge role in building a practice for attorneys, but can only go so far. What happens when you want more business or would like to expand your firm? This is when many practices turn to marketing and advertising– yellow page ads, radio, TV commercials, lawyer directories.

These are all good ways to promote your practice, but what if I told you there is a “free” source of leads that would facilitate potential seeking you out, right at the time he/she needed your services? Well, there is and it’s called the modern day search engine.

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Search engines, when used to the fullest extent, can act as pre-qualifying authoritative referral sources. Just as a consumer is more likely to get product or service recommendations from a friend or family member versus take what a commercial has to say at face value, search engines can be a strong lead source in your practice’s marketing mix because of the trust they are given for finding unbiased information.

Have you ever wondered why some attorney websites have top ten rankings on search engines, while others do not? You’re about to learn some of the secrets. Do not take this information lightly. As an attorney, what you are about to read could earn you thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars in new cases and legal fees.

Below are Five Basic Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips for Lawyers that have taken me years to understand. While paid listings or “sponsored links” do have a high ROI when managed properly, this article in particular is only speaking toward the natural or unpaid listings you see on popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Some of these techniques may seem very easy to understand, even implement, but that is the beauty of it. With all the false information out there, it takes a long time to know what has value and what does not. As Mark Twain said, “I’m sorry this letter is so long, I didn’t have the time to write a short one.” It has taken me years to weed through the tricks, and fly by night gimmicks, and false information so enjoy and feel free to contact me with any questions. With that said, I present to you five crucial keys to organic search engine optimization.

SEO Tip One: Use Descriptive & Unique Meta Titles

Did you know one of the most important areas for your firm’s site in regard to search ranking is the “Meta Title” of your home page? This is the title that appears on the blue frame around your browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox). The title also appears in search listings. You can see your website’s title in its raw coding by choosing “View” and “View source code” from your browser.

Anatomy of the Meta Information

In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category). A website’s meta information is typically made up of three distinct areas: title, description, and keywords. According to many well-known SEO gurus, the “keywords” section is completely useless, but it can harm you if you use too many keywords.

Most major search engines have now filtered out the importance of the “keywords” section because of past abuse, “keyword stuffing,” as well as placing long lists of irrelevant highly searched terms. Do not put too many keywords in the keywords section, and do not rely on this section to help with search engine optimization (SEO). Some SEO experts still use it “just in case, ” but only place 10 – 15 keywords never repeating, and using a comma after each single term.

The title, however, is still a hugely important area to naturally work in highest level key phrases, along with branding the firm, or your name if acting as an independent practice. However, do not repeat keywords, and do not use more than 12 words or around 65 characters. Otherwise, the full title will not be seen in search and having an overabundance of words will dilute its power anyway. Google also has a filter or penalty block for sites that repeat one word too often in titles.

What’s in a Name?

Check your meta title right now! Choose “View” and “View source code” from your browser. Does it only have the name of your firm? That is fine if you are doing other advertising and your firm has lots of name recognition, but you are leaving a lot of money on the table.

What about those prospects you are missing out on who are typing into the search engines more generic phrases without any firms or attorney names in mind? Example, a search engine user types in “Personal Injury Attorney Dallas.” If you do not have specific words that describe your practice in your meta title, your site is less likely to appear in the top then than an attorney who does.

Be Unique

Your meta title can make or break your search engine rankings for valuable placement. Use a different title for every page of your site, making sure it describes the page’s content and/or user function (such as an “About” page, use the word “About So and So Firm.”). With deeper pages further away from the homepage use varying logical keywords that not only describe the page but are akin to the words, a user might type in seeking out that specific information.

It may seem like if you repeat the same title over and over again on other pages your site will perform better for those keywords, but it will not, you will be cannibalizing your efforts. You can use your name or the name of your firm, but place it near the end of the title. Keep a unique part toward the beginning. Proximity and density also play a role.

This one tip could warrant a whole article on best practices on its own, but for now, start with recognizing your meta title’s importance. I will be publishing a more advanced “nuts and bolts” article covering how you should plan a reverse keyword pyramid for your site titles, as well as other titling recommendations.

SEO Tip Two: Acquire Relevant Backlinks

Links to your site are seen as votes in the major search engines’ eyes. Just so we are on the same page, these are links to your website from another website, not links from your website to another. In this analogy, these popularity votes are similar to how voting existing before several human rights were established. Some were considered 3/5ths a person, and some not considered at all. Their votes were counted accordingly. In other words, not all backlinks are created equal. The quality of a link toward your site can be determined by multiple criteria.

a). Relevance – Does the subject matter of the page linking out reflect the subject matter of your site or is it about something completely off topic? An example would be another attorney links to your site from his/her blog unsolicited based on your site’s relevant content and merit versus a random site that sells knockoff Viagra wanting to trade links with you.

b). Link & Text Density – This speaks to the amount of other links on the page linking to yours on the other website. If the other site has a listing of 100s of links on all different topics, including yours, the link is most likely devalued in the search engines eyes, not only because of relevance but because of perceived importance. These are commonly known as “link farms.” The opposite situation would be your link is the only one listed. The backlink could be considered even more valuable if the other site surrounds it with the relevant copy before and after (for example in a blog or article). A less effective, but not completely worthless placement would be a listing on a “Links” page from another site where only a handful of other offsite links existed.

c). Second Generation Link Popularity- Your site is deemed more important in the search engines’ eyes not only by how many other sites link to you but how many sites link to the sites that link to you. The link popularity is passed on using a formula that one search engine originated called PageRank(TM). In essence, you could have 100s of backlinks, but if no one is linking to the other sites linking to you, many of the links may be worthless from a ranking point of view (but could be valuable in other ways to be discussed in a later article). There are tools you can use to “pull up the curtain” and see just how people are linking to your site, as well as how many are linking to theirs.

This is a simplified explanation on how acquiring backlinks can help your SEO. As with titling, the topic of backlinks could also warrant its own full-fledged article, or multiple articles. The important takeaway is backlinks matter for SEO.

SEO Tip Three: Build a Legal Knowledgebase

The Internet was built on the foundation that people want authoritative, quality information fast. Instead of trying to remember the categories of the Dewy Decimal System and searching through different books’ table of contents, the search engine user uses keywords describing what he/she are looking for in order to find that information as fast as possible.

Not all Visitors are Qualified

First, as an attorney, you have to accept this fact that not all the visitors to your website are prospects. Many may be in the research mode of their buying cycle or may be looking for information for a friend or even a school report. The reality is the more original, helpful, and consistently you can put new information on your website, the more the search engines will show you preference. By high-quality content, I do not mean a sales pitch. You can use that type of language on your main pages, but you will appeal to a much wider audience if you use non-commercial, unbiased information presented on the knowledge base in your deeper pages.

By building a knowledge base specific to your areas of practice, you accomplish at least two objectives, you are viewed as an expert becoming the authoritative source for that user’s legal question and you will likely pull prospects looking for those specific services right then and there. This is indirect, but highly effective method of acquiring prospects.

One Page per Area of Practice

Example, if you practice copyright law and the prospect types in the search engine “copyright laws” you could have a page strictly devoted to explaining the different types, penalties for breaking the laws, defenses, highly popularized landmark cases, and other important information pertaining to copyright infringement. Create a page using at least 500 – 1500 words stratifying every area of your practice in fine detail, and your website will dominate the search engines, command lots of relevant traffic and, combined with other tools, bring a steady stream of leads. I will cover this in more depth giving more information on the best practices in future articles.

SEO Tip Four: Use specific Internal & External Anchor Text

Have you ever seen a link that says “Click here?” Oh, course you have. That’s actually a waste of a link as far as SEO is concerned. Ok, maybe not a complete loss, but it does not use the link’s full potential. The words used in a link to another URL are called the anchor text and it can be vitally important to SEO.

There is a huge difference in how the search engines see a link with relevant text versus a non-descriptive or irrelevantly anchored link. This is even true for your site’s internal linking structure and calls to action. For example, instead of directing your website visitors to another internal page using the words “Click Here for information on copyright infringement,” make the words copyright infringement the actual link and avoid the cliché. You may have to change your verbiage schema to something similar to: “Learn more about the laws and penalties pertaining to copyright infringement,” which is better anyway.

Anchor Your Links or Site will walk the Plank

The more internal links on your site pointing to that page with those words, and even more importantly links from offsite with those words, the more likely the search engines will see your site, or that specific page, as being relevant for that term. Check your website right now.

Do you have any pointless “Click Here” links or something else just as useless? Right now, change the anchor text to words that describe the page in which they are linking. Or ask your webmaster to do it tomorrow morning. It’s worth it.

SEO Tip Five: Localize Your Content & Meta Descriptions

Are you an attorney who only operates in one city? Or can you work remotely because most of your work is out of the court room? If you operate in one city, or regional area, you need to make the search engines aware of using the most prominent DMA in your homepage title.

When prospects are using search engines, most are sophisticated enough to know or have learned through search engine experience, to add the city onto whatever service in which he/she is searching. Example, user types in “Dallas Commercial Real Estate Attorney.”

You may be a real estate attorney and your practice may be in Dallas, but the search engines will give another lawyer’s site preference if you do not spell it out for them. You may have your physical location in a normal 12 point text on the contact page, but that is not enough, since titles and meta descriptions hold more weight in the hierarchy.

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Home Grown Meta Description

Some SEO gurus say descriptions are as defunct as the keywords section of your meta info. I say the meta description is the NEW keywords section of web 2.0, only the keywords must be used in a logical sentence form.

Secondly, you do not want to have to specify on a page describing individual areas of your practice or your knowledgebase that you are a “Dallas insert obscure and wordy law practice attorney” in the viable copy. While not terribly lethal, it’s a little awkward and contrived to the reader. You can use the description area of the meta for this SEO tactic.

10 Quick and Affordable SEO Tips

An affordable SEO plan that is quick and easy and perfect for a small business budget.

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The task of search engine optimization for your website can seem overwhelming at times. You have enough work to do just running your small business, so it’s easy to put SEO at the bottom of your priority list. However, without proper search engine optimization, your website is very unlikely to be much of a success. This can mean the money and time that you spent getting your website designed and developed becomes wasted.

There are several ways that you can improve your SEO without spending tons of time or tons of money. Here are 10 of the quickest and most affordable SEO tips out there.

1. Submit to Search Engines

You want to make sure that your website has been submitted to search engines. SEO is all about optimizing your position in various search engines, but this is only relevant if you are actually listed in the search engines. When your website is brand new and it has no incoming links yet, it can be difficult for the spiders to find it, so it’s a good idea to hand submit your site to the search engine.

2. Clean up Your Site

Make sure your website is organized and clear. It is especially important to clean up any dead links. Fix any errors that may appear on your site and double check to make sure your entire site’s HTML is up to par. There are online services that can help you do this. Since search engines primarily work and rank websites through the use of robots it is important to make sure all of the technical aspects of your website are in good working order. This helps ensure that the robots can quickly and freely crawl through your site and they won’t encounter any errors or roadblocks that force them to abandon your site too soon.

3. Use Good Keyphrases

If you’re trying to optimize your brand new website for a single keyword, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Try long tail keyword phrases instead (a phrase that is four words or longer) because they are less competitive and easier to get started with. Be sure to research the phrases that your target market is actually searching for, and then do the competitive research to ensure that you actually have a chance of ranking for those phrases.

4. Create Good URLs

Creating readable URLs is especially important if you’re using a content management system or otherwise generating dynamic URLs. While evidence suggests that Google’s new algorithm does not apply much weight to keyword rich URLs, other search engines do. And since it’s such an easy step to create relevant URLs, it’s worth the few seconds of extra time it might take if only to make it easier on your human site visitors. Make sure that your URLs are indicative of the kind of information that your visitors will encounter on that page.

5. Improve your Title Tags

Title tags are still an important aspect of search engine placement, and since they are so extremely easy to update this is a step that definitely needs to be included in your affordable SEO plan. Make sure that your title tags are keyword rich and appropriate to the subject matter of the particular web page. And make sure you use a unique title tag on each and every page in your site.

6. Check your ALT Tags

Make sure that your alt tags are clear and keyword rich. While Google does not take into account alt tag text for ranking purposes, some other search engines still do. But the key issue to keep in mind with alt tags is that they are meant for usability. They are designed to aid website visitors with visual impairments navigate through your site and understand all of your content. While Google may not take the content of the tag into account, it couldn’t hurt to show Google that you are running a professional website that caters to all users.

7. Get Backlinks

Getting relevant links coming into your website can be tedious and time-consuming. So this isn’t exactly considered a “quick tip”. But there are a few things you can do to help speed up your link building program. First, take advantage of industry groups or trade associations that you belong to. They usually have online directories where you can include a link to your website in your membership profile. Join a forum that is related to your niche and includes your website address in your profile and signature. Submit a press release announcing the publication of your new site and include a link to your URL. Keep in mind that none of these are considered “high value” incoming links, but they are all quick and easy ways to get your linking program off the ground.

8. Create and Update Regularly

Keep your website or blog fresh and relevant. You don’t have to go overboard, but be sure to make small updates regularly. This ensures that the search engine spiders will return often. Use unique content, avoid private label right articles, and keep information as current as possible.

9. Generate a Site Map

Creating an XML sitemap makes it easier for the search engine bots to crawl through and navigate your website. This is especially true if your site is rich in script and flash. The structure of your sitemap does matter, so if you’re not sure how to create one, check with your webmaster. Chances are, he or she will have software that will simplify the process.

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10. Use Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are quickly becoming the new search engines. Make sure you are adequately represented on sites like these. Set up a page for your company and post regularly. Have friends, family, customers, and fans sign up for your page and encourage them to advertise to their friends, family, clients, and fans. This is a great way to build up your reputation and yet another way to quickly multiply reputable backlinks to your page.

Search engine optimization can be intimidating for many small business owners, and it’s true that a full-fledged optimization program will take time. But by following these quick and easy steps, you’ll be able to create an affordable SEO program that gets your new website off the ground in no time.

5 Easy SEO Tips Proven to Increase Website Traffic

Believe it or not, using SEO, or Search Engine Optimization to increase website traffic is not a difficult task. And it’s not rocket science, either. If you follow these 5 easy SEO tips below, I can assure you that you will definitely see a nice increase in traffic to your website.

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1.Proper Keyword Research

SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) works best with thorough and extensive keyword research. Researching keywords are often rushed because the researcher often comes to the table with preconceived ideas or are in a rush to come to conclusions quickly. As one who has done a lot of research myself, the trick is to take the time necessary to cover all the bases and to keep an open mind. An open mind?

Yes – often your research will turn up something you never considered. Sometimes these little “finds” are real gems and if you hurry or are not thorough, you can miss the best stuff! Also, remember to keep a spreadsheet with your numbers – searches, search results, etc. This will save you time by not having to duplicate your efforts.

One of my favorite tools is the Google AdWords Keyword tool. Google reveals all you could ever want when researching keywords. All that you have to do is ask the right questions. Sometimes this takes time. I can’t remember the number of times I started on a search for a particular keyword, and when it was all over, ended up with something that was totally different – but much better than I started with.

And, did I mention this tool was free?

You really do have to be meticulous – open up an Excel or an OpenOffice spreadsheet and record the following details;

Make rows for;

  • The Keyword or Keyword Phrase
  • Google Local Monthly Searches(exact)
  • Google Search Results (search in parenthesis)
  • A ratio (divide the Monthly Searches by the Search Results)

I like a ratio around.020. Depending on the niche, this number may be hard to hit, but keep trying. If you can’t get exactly that number, do the best you can and move on to the next keyword. Use these keywords in your articles and postings

2. Search Engines LOVE Original And Relevant Content

Google, Yahoo, Bing and the other top search engines are incredibly smart these days. They reward unique and relevant original content with higher rankings for the keywords used. But, be very careful not to over do things. In the old days (5 or so years ago) it was possible to “stuff keywords” into an article – meaning that a huge percentage of the words in an article were the keywords – and the search engines would react accordingly and reward with a top placement on the page. But now, most experts suggest you keep the density of your main words to no more than 3%!

Always use your main words in a natural and relaxed style in your posts and articles. Never use any phrases just so you can use your keywords. Many novices think it’s OK to copy great content and use on their blogs and articles. Not only is this illegal (it’s called plagiarism), the search engines will actually penalize your website and articles with lower rankings or even completely removing your post from their databases if they find out you’re duplicating others content!

3. Article Writing And Syndication

After years of being a great way to get your content out on the web, writing and submitting articles to article databases is still a tremendous way to attract traffic to your website. With the incredible popularity of YouTube and other video web properties, which are traffic magnets in their own right), writing great and relevant articles and submitting them to article directories for syndication is a solid traffic builder.

What is syndication? Here’s the simple explanation. You write an article, submit it to an article directory with a link back to your website. If your subject and article are in demand and well-written, another website publisher could re-publish your article – complete with your name as author and the link back to your website – to use on his or her site. Unlike the example above, this is not stealing content – by submitting your article you gave permission for syndication with the link back to you.

Syndication is a benefit for both parties – it can get you published on a popular website, and the one who publishes your article is getting great content for their readers It’s a win-win!

Article writing is easy and it’s a very effective traffic builder. This technique helps your website quickly get noticed by the search engines – sometimes within two days – which definitely helps the natural ranking of your website in the search engines

4. Social Bookmarking – Web 2.0 At It’s Best

Social Bookmarking is a “method for Internet users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources ” (Wikipedia) Social Bookmarking “gets the word out” about your blog posts – and many more of your other Internet activities such as article submissions, Tweets, and Facebook postings.

You really should be actively involved with social bookmarking to promote you and your internet ventures. It’s free to join most Social Bookmarking websites like Digg, Kirksey, KoolontheWeb and delicious etc. Always bookmark your own articles, posts press releases at these hot web 2.0 properties.

I find that regularly bookmarking my posts and articles usually lead to higher and higher quality traffic to my website.

It’s a fact that social bookmarking websites are usually well optimized for SEO and are favorites of search engines in a big way. By bookmarking your posts and articles at a bookmarking site that has great popularity with Google, Yahoo and Bing can help to index your posts or articles quickly – sometimes within hours.

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5. Video – The Next Best Thing Is Already Here

OK – I’ll keep this short since I’m not a video expert. But, based on the times I have used video to help increase traffic to a website, a video has given some spectacular results. I use YouTube to publish articles I’ve converted into video. Search engines definitely weight heavily videos in the rankings – just do a few keyword searches and you’ll see this in action with at least two videos on just about any search page you see.

Here’s exactly how I convey my articles to video. And the best part – it’s all free!

  • Use OpenOffice Impress (like MS PowerPoint) to make a slide show of your article
  • Cam Studio is a free screen capture software that will turn your presentation into a video
  • Windows Movie Maker is a great way to edit and save your video for YouTube
  • Download; your video to YouTube – make sure to use your keywords and a link back to your website!

Top 10 SEO Tips That Will Get Your Site Ranked Higher in Google

There are literally hundreds of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips from various sources all across the internet.  Many internet marketers will claim that their internet tips will guarantee you the “holy grail” of internet marketing which is the top spot on Google.  Realistically, no one knows Google’s secret algorithm and the people who “guarantee” a top spot on Google are selling you a scam.  The secret to SEO is simply beating the other guys.  Like the old saying goes… “You don’t have to run faster than the bear, you just have to run faster than the guy next to you”.  This is the secret to that top spot ranking.  You must simply have a better SEO optimized site than your competitors.

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With that in mind, we have put together a “Top 10” list of SEO tips that we KNOW work.  We know they work because we have tried them our self, and we have seen them work for our customers who have tried them.  Do these, and we guarantee your site will move up the rankings.

1.  Content is King.  Or in the words of John Reese, “Content is better than King, Content is Kong!”  Think of your website like internet real estate.  The more internet real estate you own, the more important you are to the search engines.  If you notice how many pages, and how much content “The Biggies” (i.e. Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Wikipedia, etc.) have it’s incredible.  They have hundreds of thousands (and possibly even millions) of pages on their sites.  So you need to generate fresh new content regularly.  This is the MOST IMPORTANT factor in SEO.

2.  Bold Your Keywords.  Make a few of your keywords Bold on your pages.  You can do this by using the

<b> </b>tags around your keywords.  Now, this can be easily overdone, but pick a couple keywords that you are trying to optimize and make them Bold.  This will notify the search engines that these words are important on your page and give you a couple extra points for those keywords.  Just be careful not to overdo it.

3.  Articles.  Articles are an excellent way to build content on your site.  What makes articles even more valuable is the fact that you can not only publish them on your site, you can submit them to article directories who will publish them on their sites with a link back to your site.  This will provide you with quality backlinks that will last for years!  We are happy to help you with this if you don’t want to do this yourself, just visit our website.

4.  Deep Links.  Google is getting much smarter about links.  Sheer quantity will not help you any longer.  Even link exchanges are starting to get discounted.  However, quality links are still counted heavily.  You need to have links coming into as many pages within your site as possible.  This tells the search engines that you have relevant content all over your site, and that you are not using an automated link exchange.  If all of your inbound links are to the same page, the search engines think you have a shallow site that has only one page relevant to the topic or keyword.

5.  Image Links are a Problem.  If you feel you must use image links, make sure you have text links that appear first in your coding.  The search spiders will follow the first link they come across, and all signs show they will not follow an image link.  Now, we must inform you that no one knows the behaviors of search spiders exactly, and the behaviors of search spiders are always changing.  But, our research has proved that search spiders will not follow additional links to the same page.

6.  Have Multiple Domains.  If you can, have a separate domain name for each topic/keyword.  Search engines take into consideration the URL of a website when they are ranking for keywords.  For example, if you create two identical sites about golf equipment, and you are trying to optimize for the keyword phrase: Nike Golf Balls.  Which URL do you think Google will rank higher:  GolfStuff.com/products/nikegolfballs.html, or NikeGolfBalls.com?  In this case, NikeGolfBalls.com would get priority.

7.  Participate in Article Exchanges.  Article exchanges are like link exchanges on steroids!  Article exchanges are a great way to build quality content on your site as well as get your content out on other sites.  An example of an article exchange would be if you published someone else’s article on your site with a link back to their site; in turn, they will publish one of your articles with a link back to your site.  This is especially effective if you have a specialized product.  Let’s use our Nike golf ball example.  You publish an article from a site that gives tips and tricks on improving your golf game and provides a link to their site.  In turn, they publish your article on Nike golf balls with a link back to your site.  If done right, this is a win win situation.  The other site gets some of your traffic from people who are interested in tips and tricks, and you get some of their traffic from people who are interested in Nike golf balls.

8.  Mix Up Your Inbound Links.  You do not want all of your inbound links looking exactly the same.  If all your links look the same they will be discounted by the search engines because it looks like automation.  It is best to mix it up, especially utilizing keywords.  Typically webmasters will use their page’s title as the link text, and this is OK, but not all the time.  Use the name of the company or keywords.  If you use the keywords this will give you extra points with the search engines when it comes to your page’s relevance for that keyword.

9.  Linkbait.  By far the best way to get incoming links is through Linkbait.   Link bait is having content that others find valuable and link to it.  This relates back to content and is by far the best way to get quality natural links.  If you write a killer article or blog post, people will link to it without any additional effort from you, and the search engines will pick up on this.

10.  Include a Sitemap.  This is one of the simplest tips that many webmasters ignore.  Keeping an up-to-date sitemap makes your site much easier for the search engines to index.  Many SEO experts claim that simply having a sitemap yields a few extra points from the search engines.  Whether that is true or not, making your site more pleasing to the search robots and spiders is always a good thing.  If you do not know how to make a sitemap, you can perform a Google search for XML-Sitemaps and find one that will generate one for you for free!

tips

If you utilize these tips, you will be ahead of 95% of internet marketers on the internet.  As I mentioned before the key to SEO is simply beating your competitors.  For some niches, this can be quite easy.  For others, this can be very difficult.  If you feel like you need help beating your competition, we can generate a detailed report for you that explains exactly what your site needs in order to be on top.  This report is absolutely FREE with our service.  Our goal is to make our clients’ sites the top sites on the internet.  Sign up for our service and start beating the competition today!

Five Important On Page SEO Tips

On page, SEO does not have to be as complicated as some people make it out to be. It does not involve any coding or programming as some people believe, especially if you are creating a blog such as WordPress. Let’s face it, the search engines have no idea what word you’re wanting to rank high for if you don’t tell them. We must let the search engines know in several different ways what keywords we’re wanting to rank high for.

I want to give you 5 very important on page SEO tips, note that some of these will apply to bloggers more than others, but just be creative and they can be used to boost your search engine rankings for any website.

seo tips

1- Write a Good Optimized Title

You should take some time to give your title a lot of thought, your meta title is the most important on-page SEO factor for the search engines. If you are writing your titles to capture your reader’s eye and draw them in you are going about this the wrong way. Your focus should be more about telling the search engines what your content is about rather than trying to pull your readers in. Your meta- title is where you should focus on the search engines and not the readers.

Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about “Click here to learn the best dog training techniques that the experts don’t want you to know about” this is a terrible meta- title. Out of 14 words in that title, only 2 is what you want to rank high for, but they are the most sought after words in that niche. 7 best dog training techniques focus more on search engines while still pulling in your readers.

Short and simple works best at times, please don’t get me wrong I’m not saying it is best for all your content to be optimized in this way. Long tail keywords work best when the user types in those exact words. So you can rank high for long tail keywords, but when you’re wanting a lot of traffic to your website you need to try to rank high for those exact keywords that you are wanting to rank for.

Now if you are writing a blog “Click here to learn the best dog training techniques that experts don’t want you to know about” that would be a great post title pulling in your readers making them want to read your article. Please don’t make it your meta- title, your meta- title can be different than your post title which is better for search engine optimization. Your meta- title should contain your website’s main keywords without being so long. So as you can see that writing a good optimize title isn’t so easy it takes some thinking.

The techniques I talked about above can also be applied when writing your meta- descriptions.

2- You Need to Maintain Focus on Your Content

Content is a very important part of your website if not the most important part. If you focus your content on the right keywords it can boost your search engine rankings easily with little effort. Just think, how will the search engines rank you for the keywords that you want if it has no idea what your content is about. I have always said that SEO was more than just building links.

Don’t get a bad rep with the search engine when it comes to keyword stuffing. Always keep SEO in mind when you’re writing content for your website. Be sure to mention the keyword you’re wanting to rank for often, this is one of the best on page SEO tips that I can give, just don’t mention your keywords too much. If your keyword fits use it, if it doesn’t fit don’t use it, it will be same as keyword stuffing and Google could penalize you for that.

Use special text, I’m speaking about using bigger or bold letters. If you are able to use your keyword and it fits to put it in bold letters do so. The search engines give a lot more emphasis on words that are bold or enlarged such as your title would be. Letters that are large are bolded show more importance than non-bolded text. Do not overdo special text as with anything else this could have a negative effect.

3- Internal Linking

Internal linking doesn’t carry the same importance as links from other websites, but this is a good way to show the search engines what your website is about. What I mean by this is you can link to other articles you have on your website inside an article using different keywords. By using keywords to link to other articles on your website lets the search engine know not only what your website is about but what keywords you are trying to rank for.

An internal linking strategy should be used when writing your content, this allows visitors at your site another way to get to important content that you have on your website keeping them on your website longer. Most importantly use your targeted keywords when linking to other article or post, this strategy will help build a network of internal links on your website that will let the search engines know what keywords you are trying to target.

4- Keep a Clean URL Structure

The URLs on your website is just another way of telling the search engines what your web pages are about. URL structure is very important. A lot of webmasters and bloggers alike do not take the time to optimize their website.

What I want to talk about now mainly pertains to bloggers with keeping a clean URL structure. It is something that is just not thought about much, but it is oh so important. Always remember to put keywords in your URL this is also very important. Here are just a few examples of dirty URLs: examplesite.com/page-number-47.html, examplesite.com/47.html, examplesite.com/?p=47 etc.

Here are a few examples of some clean URLs: examplesite.com/seo-tips.html, examplesite.com/seo-tips/, examplesite.com/search-engine-optimization/seo-tips/ etc. As you probably noticed these URLs are in the main directory of the domain. Creating this sense of power within each page is very important for search optimization.

If your website is on a blog platform such as WordPress is pretty straightforward how to edit your permalinks. But for the other guys that are not using a blogging platform, you may want to learn how to edit your .htaccess files to manage a clean URL structure.

Creating a good clean URL structure can be difficult even for experienced webmasters and could drag their side down if not done correctly.

5- Good Navigation Structure

You probably already know what I’m talking, having a good navigational structure when you designing your website will allow your visitor to navigate your website and allow the search engines to index your website’s content more easily. Here are a few ways to improve your site structure.

Within the navigation bar, link to important pages. It’s not important to link to every page on your website in the navigation bar but fit in as many important links as you can using targeted keywords. The footer should also contain links to content. Bloggers might be interested in a related post plug-in that will help increase internal links and good navigational structure. The best way to get your content indexed by Google is to submit a sitemap to Google’s Webmaster Tools. There are also plug-ins available for bloggers to do this, but I manually submit mine to Webmaster tools to Google with XML Site Maps.

seo tips

The Golden rule for most bloggers is to be able to visit any page on your website within three clicks, I believe this is a very good rule. I myself make sure that from any spot on my website within three clicks you can visit any part of my website. By doing this your website get some link juice and makes sure that every page can be easily accessed by the user looking for it.

I would like to add that writing good quality content is very important in giving Google a reason to index your website more often and thinking of your website as the authority site. Also writing good content gives your readers a reason to promote and link to your website. Most people overlook on page SEO and think that just building back links on the web will give their site high rankings. In some instances, it works for certain content on your site but for your site overall to be ranked highly on the page as well as off page an SEO strategy needs to be applied.

Ten SEO Tips to Get You Higher Yahoo and Google Listings

SEO tips can help you to get higher Yahoo or Google listings, but only if you use them. Most people think that they know better, even so called SEO professionals who have to use PPC advertising to get their websites listed highly enough to be seen. Who are they to tell us what to do, when they cannot it themselves?

seo tips

I have had some of them write to me criticizing my ‘crap’ HTML and also my ‘useless’ linking strategies. My site has ‘only a Page Rank of 3’. So what? It is sitting at between #1 on #5 on Google from day to day, at # 1 to #4 on Yahoo from day to day and at #1 on MSN. I will gladly accept their criticism of my HTML and linking when they achieve the same. Till then, perhaps they would be better buying my book that complaining about my websites!

I would feel more predisposed to them if they stopped criticizing me – I only started to do the same to them when I got sick of their comments when they could not emulate my results. Who am I, a rank amateur, to beat them in the SEO stakes!! In fact, I have been at this for many years.

So, SEO tip #1 – don’t believe anything you are told unless those telling you it have at least one of their websites in the top 5 on all the major search engines for a competitive keyword. Mine has >800 million other results on Google.

Tip 2 – use classical search engine optimization. Use Meta tags because some search engines still use them. The main one is the Description Meta tag – Keywords is not so important but use it anyway. It does not hurt you, so use them.

The third tip relates to the title of your website. There are two points that relate to this. The first is that it should be the best keyword that you can find that relates to your niche or website. That means a good demand and low supply, though too much is sometimes written about this since such keywords are not easy to find. If you can’t something with low supply, just use what you want and decide to compete against them. Somebody has to be top, and why can’t it be you? Too many people give up in SEO too quickly. Probably because we are told not to compete against the big boys – by these big boys!!

The second point is that the title of your site need not be stated on every web page. My web page titles are those of the page, not the site. The graphics are the same, but the title is the keyword that they page is optimized for. Why do otherwise? Yet 99.99% do (just a guess!). Then fourth of my SEO tips is related to the headings on each page. The main title of the page should be in H1 tags, and the heading in H2 tags. You don’t need any more, but any subheadings can go into H3 tags, but should contain text that could be construed as minor keywords.

I might be wrong, but who says? I have found that if you ignore the big guys, and compete against them, they can be beat. Check out what they are trying to sell you and you will notice that much of it is obsolete. Such as site generation and article generation software. That’s not an SEO tip, just a word to the wise, from the not so wise. I have no pretensions, but I know where my home page is on Google – and Yahoo – and MSN. Just search for ‘article services’.

The fifth SEO tip is to use your keywords sparingly. Most people still think that 1% – 3% keyword density is ideal, yet it is actually too much. There is an optimum keyword density that has little to do with the keyword itself, but more to do with contextual relevance of the page content to the topic in hand. Which leads to the sixth of the SEO tips: write naturally and honestly. If you know about your subject, write about it in your own language and don’t try to meet any perceived need for a specific number of so-called keywords within your page content.

Seventh, don’t forget about your links. You can get a higher search engine listing if you have lots of links back to your website from other sites. In fact, the links are from page to page, and you get a proportion of the Google PageRank of the page linking to you, relative to the number of other links leaving that page, and also give the page that you link to a proportion of your PageRank, calculated in the same way. The problem with reciprocal links is that most pages are linked to and from pages with a PageRank of zero, even though the website home page can have a PR of 6 or 7.

SEO tip eight. Use your internal linking to maximise the PageRank of a selected page on your website. You don’t need every page on your site listed in the top 10 of Google or Yahoo: you only need one. So maximise your efforts on that one page. Visitors that page will then visit the rest of the pages on your website, and so will search engine spiders, so you know that every page on your site will be listed and with a chance of being found in a search.

seo tips

The important point of that tip is to concentrate on getting one page in the top 10. That’s all you need. You will have links to all your other pages once somebody reaches that page in the top 10. Tip nine: Once you get visitors keep them there. Give them useful content and something to do, even if just to click from page to page. Offer them a free gift for completing a quiz on your topic, or free vacation certificates for certain actions: these are easily found on the internet in a form that you can either post or email for them to print their own. Offer them an opt-in form so that you can keep in touch.

That is the most important tip of all – if you can keep in touch with your visitors after they have left your site, then you can offer them new products as they come along without having to seduce them to visit your website again.

Finally, the SEO tip number 10. Enjoy what you are doing, and don’t look upon it so much as a job as something to enjoy, and to do as best as you can. I wish you the best of success since it is very sweet when it comes – as it will come with you.

An Ounce of Prevention – 16 SEO Tips

We all know the expression “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.” What this means to your standard small to medium business is that having your web designers and developers use SEO principles when designing your site in the first place can often get you the search engine rankings your business needs to survive without having to resort to the “pound of cure” of expensive SEO Companies.

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Below find 16 SEO tips. One tip for every ounce in a pound.

1) Identify your niche. What makes you different from the other companies out there doing similar things to you?  For instance, if you are a landscaping company, do you engage in design/build projects and really excel at water installations?  If so, focus on this! It’s the root of your future success.  There will be something that differentiates you from the others.  Find it, know it and embrace it.  You can be the 40th copy center in town but if say you’re the one closest to downtown then there’s your competitive edge.

2) Analyze the competition. Chances are high that not only do you have competitors but also that those competitors are doing the web thing right.  Even if they are *not* doing the web thing right, take a good long look at their sites.  Figure out what their strategy is. Try to see what they are doing right. Analyze to what they are doing wrong. And then see if you or your design and marketing team can come up with any ideas on how to do it all better.

3) Make juicy content. Provide content that is engaging and worth reading. If the written content of your site – the copy – is interesting then the visitor will actually spend time reading them. They will remember your site and quite possibly even return.  If you are a small to medium business and have no one on staff who can write well then it is important to find someone who can.  Ask friends and colleagues if they know a copywriter.  Check your network.  If you need to, hire out for that content:  having good content is an essential part of your SEO strategy.

4) Make the site feel user-friendly. People coming to your site will make up their minds like that (snapping fingers sound) about whether your site is worth the time to look at. If your site is cluttered, confusing, difficult to navigate or (ahem) ugly, then it is going to do a wonderful job of alienating potential site visitors.

Make your site nicely designed, usable and well organized. If you don’t have your own designers, then find a local web design firm that can do the job for you.  You will want to use a company that knows SEO.  Try a search string like “web design location” with your town or city’s name in the location string.  Look through the results on the first page and see if there is a firm that looks: a) within budget b) professional c) savvy with SEO site building (they will already know many of the steps listed in this article).

A hint: don’t take them at their word. Ask them for examples of sites they have worked on that will back up their claims of being good at designing sites with SEO in mind.  If they say for instance that they are responsible for #1 results for search strings like “pool restoration Calgary” or “well diggers Adelaide” substantiate those claims. See if the #1 site has a “designed by ____” tag at the bottom.  The proof will be in the pudding.

5) Identify your key search strings.  How are people going to be using Bing or Google to find you? What are people going to write in that search bar?  It will sometimes not be what you suspect it’s going to be.

Tie this in with point #1, above: think of your niche specialization when identifying your key search phrases because that can be what gives you the competitive edge with your SEO strategy.

There’s some valuable help for you provided by Google.  Look at Google Insights. There is a lot of help here not only to understand how saturated your key search string may be but also what some alternatives there are out there that you can target.  For instance, if you are focusing on “cabin rental Ontario” the Insights result shows you not only similar terms but also “Rising Searches:” dramatically shifting trends in related search strings.

6) Alt tags. Use em. Alt tags help search engines know what the context of links is about.  And check your temptation at the door to over spice your page with key phrases.  If the linked-to page does not have any text that agrees with the alt tag contents then search engines may at best shrug off the alt tag’s contents or at worst give you SEO demerit points.

7) Have your link text be descriptive (preferably with key phrases). “Click here” does not do anything to elevate the importance of what you’re linking to.  Make it mean something.

Add descriptive text that uses your key phrase if possible. Keep in mind the message of #6 above – if the linked-to a page does not have any text that appears to agree with the link text then the algorithms could decrease the value of that link.

8) Use text-based links when possible for your site navigation. And let’s one up that. Use text-based links for navigation and as mentioned in #7 above, let those navigation items have your desired key phrase when possible.  If you sell rocket ships, having a link that says “buy rocket ships” gets right to the point and the search engines eat that up like baseball fans eating hot dogs at a game.

9) Title Tags – SEO paprika.  Sometimes (like if you are using image-based navigation) title tags can be invasive and annoying when the popup text obscures whatever you are trying to read. Other times they provide information that people like to read or know – the informative tidbit that appears when your mouse is hovering over an interesting image.  In either case, they can help build up your SEO cred.  Title tags in site construction can still be underutilized. Use them well and they can be an effective SEO tool.

10) Google Analytics.  Google has given us tools that can greatly impact our SEO success.  Install the code available with Google Analytics and soon you’ll have a greater insight into your site traffic and how to hone your future key phrases or AdWords campaign.

11) Page titles – Don’t just have your company name as the title of each page! Why put Booya Rocket Ship Company when your page title can explicitly have a key phrase right there all juicy and waiting for the search engine indexing?  Make the titles unique and make them count.

12) Meta – still valid.  Meta’s not as important as it used to be. Once upon a time in the historical wild west of the Internet a person could flood their metal with heaps of words that had nothing to do with their site and it could trick the unrefined search engines of the day into giving up the goods. No more.  But these meta tags and descriptions still have a place at the table.  Like the page title above, use meta tags and meta descriptions and use them uniquely on your page. And like 6 & 7 above, if the meta tags agree with your content then you’re going to get some SEO cred out of the deal.

13) Flash is pretty. And empty. Search engines masticate text and will only swallow and immediately throw up pretty, shiny, Flash stuff.  There is simply nothing in Flash that search engines are (yet) technologically able to read let alone digest.

If your sales or management team is insisting  Flash is the answer then it is your responsibility to do whatever you can do to get them fired.  Okay, maybe not fired, but really – search engine optimization is difficult enough without having your team develop a quixotic obsession with pretty things that lead to SEO failure.

14) Updates. The static site will slowly sink in rankings.  Does your business model support the idea of a blog? If so, put one in.  If not, is there room for a News section? Maybe new additions to a Gallery?  However you need to do it, get some updates in there!  This works on a number of levels.  The human visiting the site will see that it is not an ignored site and perhaps get further engaged with your site.  As well, the search engine crawler with also sees that your site isn’t static and will visit more often and increase the chances of your site keeping up the decent ranking. No matter how you paint it, you end up with an SEO success.

And remember #3 above: if you’re giving content make the content good. Juicy content will get the user interested. And juicy content with light sprinklings of key phrases can only help substantiate the story you are trying to build.

SEO is not something you do once and then walk away from.  SEO is a constant game of strategy and the rules change frequently. Just keep in mind that the time involved is an investment in your success so it is worth it.

seo tips

15) Social Media. Many have shuddered at the Twitters or Facebooks and have wished that they would go away, but this is ignoring the sheer power of our social relationships and the impact they have on our success. Social media can have a huge impact on your site’s SEO success.  Read articles like Mike Dobb’s informative Top Ten Twitter SEO Tips.

Look to see if your competitors have Facebook pages. If so, what are they doing with them? How can you improve upon it? How can you engage people? Remember the human element behind it all. Don’t spam. Forge relationships whenever possible. People are at the root of your success or failure.

16) Don’t forget the community. They are an essential part of your SEO strategy. If you have that blog in place consider allowing comments. If you sell items to consider adding customer ratings. And if you have articles have links to the greater social media out there.

50 SEO Tips and Tricks for Online Success

The majority of all SEO knowledge can be summed up through 50 tips and tricks. These SEO tips comprise 12 years of SEO evolution, professional insight, and proven results. The SEO tips range from basic concepts to advanced strategies. Work your way down the list, and when you complete it, and understand it, you will be armed with a productive skill set that can contribute to all future online marketing efforts.

seo tips

#1: Use META tags for your Title, Description and Keywords. Keep META tags relevant to the content of each individual page.

#2: Don’t try to optimize too many keywords on one page. Keep a narrow focus and keyword theme on a page by page basis

#3: Perform keyword research to identify phrases used to represent your products and services. Each page optimized to a unique word.

#4: Implement keyword-friendly title and alt attributes to links and images. Similarly, use keywords in your web page names.

#5: Include at least 1 outbound link to a non-competitive authority website in your industry. Google has made this point very clear.

#6: Google has declared that page-load speed will impact search engine ranking. Page load speed should be under 2 seconds.

#7: If you service only a local community, optimize your website for that community. Tap the local business tools for each search engine.

#8: Build an XML and HTML sitemap to ensure thorough search engine crawling. Free online sitemap resources can help you.

#9: For any page intended for SEO, include a minimum of 400 words per page. Make sure the content is supported by keyword research.

#10: Submit to more than only the Tier 1 search engines. Tier 2 search engines can drive traffic, and count as inbound links in some cases.

#11: Don’t pass on “link juice” unless necessary. Use the [rel=”nofollow”] attribute if you don’t want link credit passed on.

#12: Build web pages and not list items [li]. Rather than displaying a list of services/products, dedicate a web page to each item.

#13: There is no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” Google has confirmed. Factors other than content influence rank.

#14: The use of “301 redirects” are critical for transferring established ranking from an old website to a new web design.

#15: Never allow a 404 error. Implement error handling to bounce 404 errors back to your website. Consider turning a 404 into a 301.

#16: SEO friendly web design begins with keyword research. Keywords should influence domains, page names, tags/attributes & content.

#17: Many Tier 1 search engines factor in the age of a domain name when determining pagerank. It established business maturity.

#18: The length of time your domain is reserved can influence pagerank. A long registration period indicates long-term ambitions.

#19: When you engage in PPC, you can save money by not bidding on phrases where you already have strong organic rankings.

#20: Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify up-and-coming rankings. Optimize these search ranking impressions and watch them climb.

#21: Do not use a pure Flash or graphical home page. Always make sure you have a healthy amount of content and solid navigation.

#22: Don’t like begging for inbound links? Try writing articles and submitting them to article submission sites. Target ~450 words.

#23: Implement keyword research when writing articles and newsletters. Host the content on your website with clean navigation.

#24: Regularly add new content to your website. Blogs, tips and articles work well. Search engines favor frequently updated sites.

#25: Use descriptive content for items in your shopping cart. Don’t call it “item 13324”. Utilize the “title” link attribute.

#26: Don’t hyperlink generic text like “buy now” or “click here.” Use keyword-based content in your links.

#27: Link quality is more important than link quantity. The sum of the inbound pagerank (link juice) is what matters.

#28: Fast site indexing for Google can occur through Google-owned media, including Blogger, Knol, Buzz, Google News, and You Tube.

#29: Maintain clean website code. Follow WC3 standards, fix broken links & images, remove 404 errors, no frames, use static URLs.

#30: Use the [strong] tag to emphasize targeted keywords. Use [b] for aesthetics, where the phrase is not targeted for ranking.

#31: Don’t try to do too much with one web page. Likewise don’t try to do too much with one website. Search engines want focus.

#32: The content around a link carries weight for the linked page. Be descriptive and integrate targeted keywords.

#33: Domain registrars sell ownership privacy protection. Don’t buy it if interested in SEO! The search engines want transparency

#34: Search engines prefer fresh content over static. Fresh content can come from articles, blogs, site interaction & social media

#35: Human factors matter. SEO friendly efforts must also be human-friendly. Once you gain clicks, you still need to make the sale.

#36: Site ranking cannot be punished for bad inbound links. However it can be punished for linking to bad sites, such as link farms.

#37: Implement search-friendly URLs. Many shopping carts and CMS’ use dynamic links that interfere with search engine indexing.

#38: Every web page should include a keyword-based headline tag [h1]. Maintain font size with style tags.

#39: Your [h1] tag should integrate the focus keywords used in your [TITLE] and [META] descriptions. Stick to a tight keyword theme.

#40: Google AdWords states that a “www” before your domain name increases clicks. Carry this through to SEO with canonicalization.

#41: Consider “article swapping” as a means for building inbound links. This technique not only builds links, but boosts content.

#42: You can optimize for more than websites. Depending on your business model, SEO can apply to video, audio, images and articles.

#43: Be patient with SEO. It may take weeks for SEO changes to take effect. Make sure prior changes take root before changing again.

#44: While Google PageRank does not directly impact your keyword ranking, it influences how often and how deep your site is indexed.

seo tips

#45: Search engine spiders may see and “domain.com” as 2 separate websites, therefore cutting link-juice in half.

#46: If one page has 2 links pointing to the same location, Google only considers the text and attributes of the first link.

#47: If you sell physical products, publish them in Google Products. Implement descriptive keyword phrases in your XML posts.

#48: If you sell products, create merchant accounts with Yahoo Shopping, Amazon, eBay, etc. Let those resources work for you.

#49: Change web pages that consistently rank poorly. [META], [TITLE] and even content. Without improvement, change every 3-4 months.

#50: Build a few web pages for experimental purposes. See how ranking responds to specific tweaks. Log your finding and progress.