Tackling the biggest pain point of Internet Marketers : Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What is SEO?
SEO is the process of improving web pages so they rank high in search engines for a specific keyword phrase. SEO is divided in two categories: on-page optimization and off-page optimization. On-page optimization it refers to every method you use that change the page code; off-page optimization equals link popularity (more on this later)
Choosing the right keywords
The center of optimization are the keyword phrase(s) for which you want a high ranking in search engines result pages (SERP’s). When you choose you keyword phrase you must take in consideration primarily your market (they must reflect what you sell) , the number of searches for it and the competition for that particularly keyword phrase.
Let’s take an example: you provide penis enlargement exercises. Using a keyword research tool you have these results:
ƒ penis 70,388.0 /day
ƒ penis enlargement 5,798.0 /day
ƒ penis enlargement exercises 292.0 /day
ƒ natural penis enlargement 141.0 /day
Many may try to optimize for “penis” due to its large number of searches. The problem with this keyword (other then the competition for it) is that is not targeted for your market, the people searching for this keyword might look for penis health related sites. Even “penis enlargement” isn’t going to bring the targeted traffic that “penis enlargement exercises” or “natural penis enlargement” will. There are many other terms related to your market and, once they are found, an analysis of the competition and the searches for each term must be done in order to determine an optimal report between how competitive a keyword phrase is and how hard is to attain a top 10 position for it in SERP’s. You must keep in mind that:
ƒ Search engines consider web pages not entire sites so optimization must be done for each page in particular;
ƒ The more targeted a keyword phrase is the less traffic it gets, but that traffic will provide people interested in your product or service so the conversion rate is higher. This indicator is reflecting the percentage of people converted into buyers so the higher the better.
ƒ Decide on two or three highly targeted phrases for each page of your site
Keyword research tools
Best research keyword tool is WordTracker (www.wordtracker.com). By entering a keyword related to your market is shows other related terms (singular and plural) and it analyzes the competition for every one of them.
Useful keyword tools:
ƒ WordTrakcer – most popular online keyword research service, offers advanced keyword research and suggestions.
ƒ KeywordElite – is desktop tool with many keyword research features.
This tool will collect you keywords from various places into numbers of thousands. It is used by most top SEO and PPC marketers.
Search engines are constantly improving their algorithm so they can provide more relevant results. A relevant site is one that provides quality content for its readers so after you have chosen your keyword phrases build the content of your pages around those keywords. On page SEO means the code page optimization so, in this phase, you should pay special attention to the following:
- Title Tag
The title tag is one of the most important factors in achieving high rankings. A title tag is essentially an HTML code that creates the words that appear in the top bar of your Web browser. Usually, the Title Tag is the first element in the <Head> area of your site, followed by the Meta Description and the Meta Keywords Tags.
These are the general rules you should follow when optimizing your title tag:
ƒ Use in your title maximum 3 keyword phrases and 100 characters
ƒ If possible , don’t use stop words like “a, and, or”
ƒ Avoid spam: don’t repeat the same keyword in your title more than twice; it’s considered spam. Also, some engines penalize for using all CAPS.
- Meta Description tag
The META description tag describes your site’s content, giving search engines’ spiders an accurate summary filled with multiple keywords. The META description tag should contain multiple keywords organized in a logical sentence.
ƒ Place the keywords phrase at the beginning of your description to achieve the best possible ranking
ƒ Many SE’s use this to describe your site so make sure you not only repeat each of your keyword phrases (max 3) at least once but make this a true representation of the page that the visitor will be viewing, and try to keep it under 255 chars
- The Meta Keywords Tag
The meta keywords tag allows you to provide additional text for crawler-based search engines to index along with your body copy. How does this help you? Well, for most major crawlers, it doesn’t. That’s because most crawlers now ignore the tag. The meta keywords tag is sometimes useful as a way to reinforce the terms you think a page is important for on the few crawlers that support it. For instance, if you had a page about penis pills — AND you say the words penis pills at various places in your body copy — then mentioning the words “penis pills” in the meta keywords tag MIGHT help boost your page a bit higher for those words. The meta keyword tag is also sometimes useful as a way to help your page come up for synonyms or unusual words that don’t appear on the page itself. For instance, let’s say you had a page all about penis exercises. You never actually say the word “enlargement” on this page. By having the word in your meta keywords tag, then you may help increase the odds of coming up if someone searched for “penis enlargement exercises” Of course you would greater increase the odds if you just used the word “enlargement” in the body copy of the page itself. You should include up to 25 words or phrases, with each word or phrase separated by commas.
Here is an example of what a simple basic header should look like:
<head> <title> Your page title here</title>
<meta name=”Description” content=”Your description here”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”Only permutations of your keywords goes here”>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>
There are some times when more code is necessary in your header, for example ,when using JAVA scripts or CSS (cascade style sheet) ; in this case it is best to use external files for java and css with extensions .js and .css.
</script> and save in a file called java.js and call it using this line of code:
Similarly to call your css from and ext file use this line of code:
<link href=”css.css” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”>
Keep in mind that the header is the invisible part of your page.
- Body text
This is what your surfers will actually see when coming to your site. There are many issues to consider when placing keywords in the text of your pages. Most search engines index the full text of each page, so it’s vital to place keywords throughout your text. However, each search engine uses different ranking algorithms.
These are general rules that everyone should follow:
- Make sure your main page have your main keywords. It has a higher chance of being indexed than your other pages, and it will be the only page indexed by some engines. Some engines rank a page high if it has at least 100 words, so make that your minimum. Directories include pages based on the quality of their content, so make sure your pages aren’t simply lists of keywords.
- The H1, H2…H6 tags are given special relevancy weight, and you should plan to integrate your keywords into your heading. You don’t have to go extreme, just use one H1 for your most important keyword and two H2’s – one for each of your secondary keyword phrases.
- Bolding and italicizing your keywords at least once doesn’t hurt and actually gives you a very small boost (recommended, but don’t go bolding every keyword on the page)
- When creating your content pages, keep the following four concepts in mind: Keyword prominence, proximity, density and frequency.
- Keyword prominence – the best place to place keywords in the text is at the top of each page, preferably the main page. The closer your keywords are to the start of the page or the start of a sentence, the better. This concept is known as “keyword prominence.” You’ll frequently see it used to describe search engines’ algorithms. Some engines also say the bottom of the page should contain keywords as well. Here is an example how search engines see your page. You have a page with the following links at top:
Home Services Contact and this heading :
OUR DATING COMPANY IS OFERING THE BEST RATED DATING SERVICES
Now, you think you did a best job with the keyword “dating “at the top of your page. A search engine, however, sees your page this way:
Home Services Contact OUR DATING COMPANY IS OFERING THE BEST RATED DATING
Now your keyword placement doesn’t look as good as it did before. Try to place keyword-rich text at the very top of your page. If you are using images at the top of your page, make sure to include ALT tags, which are basically images’ descriptions. Always add ALT tags to your images to make sure search engines recognize all the content on your site. ALT tags filled with keywords can also be used to boost your keyword frequency and help you achieve better rankings.
- Keyword Proximity – some engines, such as Google, use the concept of “keyword proximity” as part of their ranking formulas. As suggested by the name, “keyword proximity” means the how close keywords are to each other. Put your keywords as close together as possible and make sure your sentences are clear.
Here’s an example:
ƒ We have been selling weight loss products for over 3 years.
ƒ We have been selling products for weight loss for over 3 years.
In this case if someone should look for “weight loss products”, the first sentence will rank higher because its keywords are closer to each other.
- Keyword Frequency – is a measure of the number of times keywords occur within a page’s text. It’s tied to the concept of keyword density. Search engines want to see more than one repetition of a keyword in your text to make sure it’s not an isolated case. The recommended repetition is 3-7 times.
- Keyword Density – the final point on visible text is keyword density. Simply stated, keyword density is the number of occurrences of a keyword divided by the total word count. For this, I try to keep my initial density to between 1-7%. However, this number may have to change depending on the level of competition. Also, be warned that the text used in anchors
<a href=”page.html”>this is your anchor text </a>
affects your density. Don’t worry if your initial density is lower than that of your competitors as you will learn later in this article that there are many ways to affect your keyword density other than placing your keywords in your visible text.
- Anchors and Links – anchor text is that portion of a hyperlink that is viewed by a user on a webpage (The Clickable text).The keywords in anchor text enhance the relevance of the target page pertaining to the keywords used. While the relevance of the page containing the anchor text is also enhanced to some degree (because of relevant keywords appearing on that page), the real gainer is the target page URL. Use this knowledge to build the relevance of each page of your site, through optimized anchor text containing important keywords, relevant to the theme of such pages, from other pages of your site. The inclusion of important keywords in the anchor text can make a big difference in the final ranking of your site pages.
All search engines that matter, give significant weight to the anchor text on your pages. For example, if your keywords phrase is “penis pills” and you have a link with anchor text “Read all about penis pills here” on a page , pointing to another page about penis pills the tendency is to link “here” to the anchor text content URL whereas the best way is to link “penis pills”. You can also locate (or insert) important keyword phrases in your page’s natural text and link it to relevant target pages of your site. The target page’s name should include in it, if possible, your keywords. This is how a hyperlink code looks like:
< a href=”target-page.html”>penis pills</a>
- Frames , Java scripts, Flash
The navigation structure of your site is important because it is through your navigation that the search engine spiders are able to access all of your web site’s content. For sites with a small number of pages you should have every page of your site linked to every other page of your site. This can be done by having a left/right side menu or by putting a link to every other page on the bottom of your page. For sites with many pages it is advisable to include in directories the pages that are content related. For example, if you sell 10 different types of shoes and you also sell food and clothes you’re probably not going to link the sport shoes page and the leather shoes page from the food page-but rather from the shoes page itself.
Off-page SEO (Link popularity)
Link popularity is the number of relevant quality inbound links pointing to your website. Most major search engines use link popularity as part of their algorithm which helps to determine the relevance of your website. If you don’t have inbound links, you won’t rank well for competitive keywords.
Ways to build link popularity Link exchange
There are some very important aspects you should consider when exchanging links. The right way to exchange links is by finding quality, relevant sites with which to exchange links. These are the links that search engines care about. Convincing webmasters to exchange links with you isn’t easy, this is a time consuming process. This is how it works: You search for sites that are in the same general topic area as yours (but not sites that compete directly). After you find a list of suitable link exchange partners, you place a link to their site on your site. Then you email the webmasters of the other sites and ask for a link exchange. Do not send generic copies of the same email to each webmaster however. Write a personalized email to the webmaster explaining what you liked about the site (be specific) and why you think a link exchange would benefit both parties. Be sure to address the webmaster by name if at all possible. Also, be sure to give him your link exchange information. This should include the title of your site, a short description, and the URL that you want his site to link to (this doesn’t have to be the home page). And be sure to include the URL of the page that already has his reciprocal link on it. Be prepared for rejection for various reasons, this is normal so don’t be discouraged you will also receive email accepting your proposal. Verify that your reciprocal link is in fact on their sites and then send a “thank you” email. Here are some keyword phrases (KW) you can type in Google for finding related sites:
“Add a link” + “your keyword”
“Add a site” + “your keyword”
“Add URL” + “your keyword”
“Add an URL” + “your keyword”
“Submit a link” + “your keyword”
“Submit a site” + “your keyword(s)”
“Submit URL” + “your keyword(s)”
“Submit an URL” + “your keyword(s)”
“Suggest a link” + “your keyword”
“Suggest a site” + “your keywords”
“Suggest URL” + “your keyword(s)”
“Suggest an URL” + “your keyword”
“your keywords” + “directory”
“your keywords” + “directories”
keyword reciprocal + directory
keyword exchange + directory
keyword add site + directory
keyword resources + directory
keyword links + directory
Building inbound links through reciprocal link exchanges is very powerful website promotional tool. If done correctly, increasing your linkage will:
- increase your traffic significantly
- improve your visibility in the search engines by raising your link popularity
- provide an added resource to your website
- save you a lot of advertising money
You can use Arelis or Optilink software to manage your link exchange campaign.
Allow other people to publish your e-zine on their web site.
Include your web site’s ad and link in each issue you publish. This may also help you increase the number of people that subscribe to your e-zine.
Create a directory of web sites on a specific topic.
Give people the option of adding the directory to their web site by linking to it. Put your business ad at the top of the directory’s home page
Offer a free e-book to your web site visitors.
The ebook should be related to your target audience. Allow them to give the e- book to their own web site visitors by linking directly to your web site.
Exchange content with other web sites.
You could trade articles, top ten lists, etc. Both parties could include a resource box at the end of the content.
Join or create a web ring.
A web ring is a group of web sites on a similar subject agreeing to link together. To find a web ring to join type keywords “web rings” into your search engine of choice.
Directories are different from standard search engines in that a search engine will query a database of indexed websites before it produces results and a directory is a database of websites that have been arranged by subject. Search engines put weight on the links coming from directories which is why is so important that you know how to submit you site. Remember, that your site must be optimized before submitting and not in different construction phases; otherwise it will be rejected from submission. For a correct submission select the most appropriate category related to the subject matter of the site and then submit, suggesting a title, description and any other information the directory may require. Also make sure you read their submission guidelines.
Here is a list of quality directories: Yahoo (299$ yearly fee), DMOZ (free), Jayde
B2B Directory (free), GoGuides Directory (free), JoeAnt Directory (free),
Business.com (99$), BlueFind Directory (40$), Zeal (free).
FFA pages and link exchange programs
DON’T USE THEM – Most search engines, such as Google says that FFA sites are an artificial and illegitimate way to increase link popularity. Google considers “link farms” spam, and will ban your site for participating in an FFA or link exchange program.
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