Monday, September 26, 2011

Targeting Sites :Off-Page SEO:

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Targeting Sites


If you want to rank well for a specific keyword, especially a competitive keyword, you can go about it the old-fashioned way and try to get links from anyone you can and slowly move up the rankings ladder. Or, you can use these high-powered techniques to quickly gain authority in the eyes of Google.


  • Research your competitors, and get a link from the top 100 sites that link to them.

  • Search Google for your keywords, and do your best to secure links from those sites in the top 100 for your keywords.

  • Get links from your competitors!

Copy Your Competitors


When you do a search for your rival's website, competitor.com, you'll find out the most authoritative sites that mention your competitor. Visit these sites and decide if it would be possible for you to get a link from those site's. If it's a review site, it may be as easy as sending a free product for review to the owner. If it's a forum or wiki, it may be just as easy as adding your link.


Don't do this all at once! Make a note of all the sites you would like to get a link from, and slowly acquire links over an extended amount of time. There is no set time period, but try to spread it over at least a 6 month period.


Searching for SEO


Often, the best way of finding a solid place to get links from is as simple as going over to Google and typing in your exact keyword. You may think this is crazy and that there's no way you'd be able to get a link from someone who is ranking well for your desired keyword, but you'd be surprised just how many website owners care nothing for SEO and will be more than happy to link to your site (as long as your site is valuable to their visitors).


Obviously, the higher a site ranks for the keyword, the better it is to get a link from them. And if you can somehow pull it off, getting a link from their page, the one that's ranking well on Google for that keyword, would be priceless.

Get a Link from Competitors


Get a link from a competitor using your nicest greeting and biggest smile! Many competitors will be up for a link exchange, but if you have some unique pieces of content that your competitors don't, you may be able to get one of those precious one-way links!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Competitors :Off-Page SEO:

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Researching Competitors


The internet is a great place for someone to make their fortune, but the secret is out. It is now unlikely that you will be able to get to the top of the search engines without first clawing your way through a crowd of competitors. The trick to making this journey easier to educate yourself on your competitors and taking advantage of any opportunities you uncover.

Known Competitors


If your website isn't a unique idea, you probably already know of a couple other companies that are doing what you're doing. For example, if you are starting a web design company, you can do a quick Google search and see that there are easily over a million sites, but that doesn't mean it's impossible for you to rank well. If you refine the search down to the city you live in, the number of sites is a great deal smaller and from there you can begin to develop a strategy. Write down your top competitors, and let's further research how you're going to beat them.

Who Ranks Well for Your Keywords?


Do a Google search for your most desired keywords, and pay attention to who is showing up in the top 10 results for each. Is there one company that is dominating the search listings? Are there certain sites that seem to rank well for one topic, but poorly for others? On your competitor list, make a note next to the companies that are the strongest. Just by attempting to compete with the big boys, you will find you will get a great deal of search engine traffic that you never had before.

What is the PageRank and Alexa Rank?


What PageRanks do your competitors homepage have? If your site is a PageRank 1 and your competitors' are a PageRank 9, there's no way in hell you're going to be ranking above them in the foreseeable future. However, if you're a PageRank 4 and they're a PageRank 6, with a little dedication, you'll be able to chip away at that gap and eventually pass them with a long-term plan.


Alexa ranks are a completely different beast. A site may rank 100,000, and yours may rank 800,000, but your site may very well receive more traffic that the other does. This is because Alexa gathers data from users who have decided to install the Alexa toolbar on their browser. So, if a site has a group of Alexa users that happen to frequent their site, their site will be artificially inflated. If the Alexa rank is in the top 100,000 there is a fair amount of data gathered and you can be more confident in Alexa's results.

How Many Links do They Have?


Now that you know which of your competitors are strongest, you need to find out how they got so strong. Do a Google search for the website's name (make sure you do the search in the form "domain.com" and not just "domain," to eliminate a lot of false results). The results will show a rough number of how many links your competitor has. If it's a huge number, sit down, take a breath, and let's see how you're going to compete.


You can also use the link: command (search Google using the form "link: domain.com") and the link popularity checker to see how big a site is on the engines. None of these tools are exact, but if you use a few sources, you'll have a pretty good idea of a competitor's web presence.

Decide to Fight or Flight


Now that you've seen some rough estimates of the strength of your key competitors, it's time to take a real look at the work ahead of you. Do you have a chance to compete with the big boys? Are there no big boys and all you need are just a few links to overpower your rivals with?


Consider the data and think about whether you're OK working long hours to slowly work your way up to your competitors, or if you'd rather do SEO as an afterthought and just continue to have fun making your website. You might also decide that you've chosen the wrong industry and start looking for a new industry to compete in!


If you want to run, then come back when you've got a new idea. However, if you're ready to fight, read on!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Anchor Text :Off-Page SEO:

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Anchor Text

 

     Simply getting links from many other websites is not enough for your website to rank well in the search engines. The quality of your anchor text will play a huge factor in ranking your pages for specific keywords, especially competitive ones.


What is Anchor Text?


Anchor text refers to the words that make up a link; they are the words that turn your mouse cursor into a finger-pointing hand. For example, in the sentence, "I really like to go to this store," "this store" is anchor text for the link.

 

Why is Anchor Text Important?

 

Search engines gather data by traveling around the web via links, jumping from page to page. Links are the lifeblood of a search engine and are used as key indicators for identifying the topics of the pages they're about to go to. If 100 sites link to a site with the link "Texas Architect" or similar words, the search engine can be fairly confident that the site is about an architect in Texas.

Targeted Keywords

 

If you want a page to rank for a keyword that is particularly difficult, be sure to focus on getting the keyword in your anchor text. Many newbies will request links to the page they're trying to boost and forget about the anchor text. While getting links to the page is most certainly going to help, you should try to get at least part of your keyword into the anchor text whenever you get the chance.

Varying Anchor Text Slightly

 

Imagine this scenario: you know which keyword you want to target, and you're starting to get links with the desired keyword. That's great, but you should be careful about getting too many links that look exactly the same. If you have 99% of the links that are pointing to your page with "Rocky Mountain Oysters," that will send up a red flag at Google that these links probably are not normal links. This is bad! You don't want to make Google suspicious.

Instead, when you request other people to link to your page, ask for variations of that keyword, such as: "Rocky Mountain Oyster", "Alternative Oysters," "Rocky Mountain Festivals," "Rocky Mountain Foods," and so on. It is because people have exploited anchor text in the past that you have to be careful about the way you do it today.

Keywords and URL Alignment

 

When getting all of these links with the desired anchor text, make sure that you're linking to the correct page, as a very common mistake to simply link to the homepage (www.example.com) instead of the page that should be getting the link (www.example.com/rocky-mountains/oysters.php).

 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

SEO Internal Linking Structure :On-Page SEO:

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SEO Internal Linking Structure


The honest fact is, if company owners knew how important that the internal linking structure of a site was to a site's performance on the search engines, they'd have multiple dedicated staff working just to make sure they had it optimized 100%. This topic is a little advanced, but it's helpful to break the inner linking structure down into three parts:

  1. Page depth
  2. Quantity of Internal Links
  3. Quality of Internal Links

Page Depth

Page depth refers to the number of required clicks to get to a page from the homepage. Pages that are available in one click are deemed more important than those that are nearly hidden and require more than 3 clicks to reach. It might seem a little strange, but if you can visualize your website in a tree graph, you will easily notice why certain pages are performing poorly in the search engines.

By organizing your site in this format, you can see which pages are getting a lot of page depth love and which are hurting. If you have a lot of worthless pages and few important product pages, you might take this opportunity to restructure your site.

Quantity of Internal Links


This point is simple; the more internal links you have that point to a certain page, the more important search engines believe that page to be. A common page that ranks well on almost every site is the homepage. This point will continue to be true for many years because nearly every webmaster programs their site so that every page has a link back to the homepage.

So how do make your other pages benefit from this? Does that mean you should have every page on your site include a link to EVERY SINGLE PAGE in your site? No. That's an obvious red flag to search engines, and you'll be seen as a spammer if your site has a couple of paragraphs and then 500 links to every other page on your site.

A better strategy would to have a "Top Products" section that includes a link to pages you want to receive the most link love. Another strategy is to have a link for each of the major areas of your site. This will help give those areas a lot of link love, and in turn, they'll be able to get more link love to the pages contained within them.

Quality of Internal Links


Just including a bunch of internal links to an important page is not enough; they also need to be high quality links. For your most important pages, make sure the links they receive have as many of the following criterion as possible:

  1. Anchor Text - If you're targeting a certain keyword(or keywords) make sure the internal links have the keyword in the anchor text. Also, bonus points for using slightly altered anchor text throughout your site.
  2. Link Position - The higher a link occurs in the HTML, the better. If you link to "cowboy hats" at the top of the page, but "sombreros" towards the bottom of the page, search engines are going to view the link to "cowboy hats" as more valuable than the link to "sombreros."
  3. Link Zone - The best scenario for link love is to link from one page to a highly-related page. The closer the subjects of each are in topic, the higher the amount of link love that will be transferred. For example, it is better to link form a page about "cowboy boots" to a page about "cowboy hats" than it is to link from a page about "tacos" to a page about "cowboy hats." This doesn't mean you shouldn't include links on pages that are different, but just keep in mind that the link love will not be as strong as it could be.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SEO Keyword Use :On-Page SEO:

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SEO Keyword Use

So you've researched which keywords you want to target, but just putting the keywords in your <title> and <h1> tags is not enough. If you stop there, you're not going to be able to cover all the bases or pull in as much search traffic as you could. When doing on-page optimization for your selected keywords, there are three things to take into consideration:

  1. Keywords Density - How many times is your keyword mentioned on your site? If it's too much, you'll look like a spammer; if it's too little, you won't look like a relevant match and the search engines won't consider your site.
  2. Keyword Variation - Altering versions of your keywords will help you capture hidden search engine traffic.
  3. Similar Keywords - These are closely related topics to your keywords that will aide the search engines in correctly categorizing your traffic. 

Keyword Density

Although some SEOs will talk about aiming for an exact proportion (e.g. the number of times your keyword appears divided by the total number of words on the page), it's a little too much work for something that will take care of itself as long as you know how to write well! Use your keyword frequently on your site, but not so much that it makes the page look weird or a sentence sound awkward. If you just use the keyword once at the top of the page and then reference the keyword as "it", for the rest of the article, you'll definitely be using it too little.

If you want some numbers, you should use your keyword at least three times on the page. This does not include keyword variations.

Keyword Variations

You may have found a couple of high traffic keywords using a keyword research tool, but those estimates often group similar keywords, alternate spellings, and plurals into a single word. Valuable traffic is hidden when using those tools. This hidden traffic lies in all the subtle variations of your keyword that someone may search for.

  • Plurals - The easiest way to optimize your site is to include the plural version of your keyword at least a couple of times on your page. Nearly every keyword can do this (instead of "free hat", try "free hats"). 
  • Misspellings - Although it may make your site look a little unprofessional, including a very common misspelling of your keywrod is one of the easiest ways to rank #1 for that exact spelling and get some free traffic. This is one of the fun things to experiment with after you've optimized the rest of your site. 
  • Acronyms - If your keyword is an acronym like SEO, write out the words completely (Search Engine Optimization) so that you can target those people who do not know the acronym.

Similar Keywords

If you're making a page to target "big hats," consider changing up the adjective "big" to its synonyms, like "huge," "giant," "large," "humongous," or "oversized." You can also use the names of specific words that relate to "big hats," like "cowboy hat" and "sombrero." By using this tactic, you give yourself a chance to rank for those similar keywords, plus you let the search engines know more about your page and what it's about. The more a search engine knows about your page, the better off you're going to be!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

SEO Header and Bold Tags :On-Page SEO:

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Although the internet has changed a great deal in the last ten years, one thing that has remained status quo is the way that webmasters designate topics and things of importance. Topics of a page are often set with header tags <h1> though <h6>, while important items are put in bold to make sure that the user noticed them. However, not just the user notices these attention-grabbing tags. Search engines also use these as primary indicators of what a page is about and what content its creator thought was most important.

Header Tags - <h1> through <h6>


Header tags are a great way to help boost your search engine rankings. If you're creating a page about "free hats" and would like to rank for it, there's nothing shady at all about including a nice big <h1>Free Hats</h1> at the top of the page to make sure your users and the search engines know what your page's subject is. However, as with other search engine strategies, it is important not to stuff too many keywords into these tags. A good rule of thumb is to include no more than 3 or 4 <h1> tags per page, and always have at least a paragraph or two of text between your header tags.

A page that consists entirely of header tags looks pretty spammy to search engines, and it isn't very useful to your visitors.


Bold, Italic, and Emphasis


When you've used up your quota of header tags on the page, don't stress out. There are still plenty of tools to target your keywords with. When mentioning your keywords throughout the page, it's helpful to put them into italics, bold, or emphasis (<em>) to make sure the search engines know that these words are important.



Often people use a lot of flash animations and CSS <span> tags to format text, but search engines don't have an easy way of determining either of these. Why make the search engines work harder than they need to? Use these basic HTML tags and help yourself (and the engines) out!


Visit http://socialmysite.appspot.com/ to get free instant traffic to your web site. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

SEO Title Tag :On-Page SEO:

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The first and most important part of your on-page SEO is the title tag (<title></title>). Many people who outsource or create a site in a WYSIWYG editor completely forget about the last of the meta tags that still gives some quality ranking love from search engines.

The benefits of using optimized title tags are three fold:
  1. A user searching for your keyword will see your site's link highlighted in the search engines if your page's title is the same as the phrase they searched for. This drastically increases click through and can even give you more traffic than those who rank above you if their title tags are not optimized.
  2. Increase your rankings on the search engines.
  3. Help the engines distinguish between pages that might look similar.


 Higher Click through Rates

Search engine optimization isn't just about showing up number one on search engines. Rather, it's about getting the all the traffic that you deserve from the search engines. If you rank #6 for "free hats" and you and your competitors forget to include that in the page's title tag, chances are, the person doing the search won't see much difference between your site and the others.
However, if you were to change your website's title text to target your most important keyword phrase "free hats", then when someone completes the search for "free hats", they'd see your site show up in bold. This technique will greatly increase the user's desire to view your site first, as your site looks much more relevant and targeted.


Better Rankings

All too often, people believe that the title tag is a place to list the business and domain name of the website. This is wrong and is wasting one of the easiest ways you can tell the search engines what the a page is about and how they should categorize it. While humans might not notice the title tag, search engines certainly do.
Use this opportunity to choose the most important keyword that you want to go after and get the free ranking boost that so many websites are missing out on. If you still want to include your domain or name of the company, do it after your keyword, followed by a dash (e.g. "free hats - hatsemporium.com") to show that your keyword is the most important.


Help the Engines Distinguish your Pages


It's not easy being a search engine. They crawl the web day and night, taking the information from the web and trying to categorize it in a useful manner so that users can find what they're looking for. Make their job easier. Post clearly what the topic of each page is, using title tags, and help the search engine to distinguish one page from another.


You may have two pages that are quite similar and it may require a little thought to point out how they different. Don't make the search engines figure out for themselves because they might make a mistake. Instead, make the decision for them. Spell the differences out for them and help your rankings in the process. This is just one strategy in avoiding the duplicate content penalty, which we'll be getting into greater depth later.