Archive for the ‘Search Engine Optimization’ Category

Google Options are Good Options

If you haven’t noticed yet when performing a search in Google, you now have the ability to click on a text link in the top left of the search results that says “Show options”.  Pretty nifty, eh?

Yep, Google is rolling out new features because, well, because they’re Google, but also to compete with other specialized search engines including Twitter’s ability to offer real time search and the search options on Microsoft’s new Bing.com search engine.

One of the nicest aspects of these new search options for site owners is how it gives you additional criteria to optimize your content for.  Instead of rewriting the wheel, here is a great article from WebProNews that gives a nice summary of all the details:

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/05/18/how-do-googles-new-search-options-affect-seo

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High Ranking Social Media Profiles

A co-worker talked you into setting up an account on LinkedIn, which you briefly did, but then forgot about it and never followed up on it further.  It has a minimal amount of basic content on it and maybe you only linked up with a few other people at best.  Well, that basic profile is likely now one of the highest ranked webpages for your name in Google.  That’s a good reason to revisit that profile and freshen it up.

Social media websites are really starting to dominate search engine listings.  Social media profiles are getting top spots for individual names.  This is particularly true if your name is a somewhat less common.

Since your social media profile is likely one of the first things that will pull up in Google if someone is searching on your name, then make sure your profile is up-to-date and and complete.  If it is LinkedIn, they use a handy percentage meter to let you know how complete your profile is and what you need to fill out next.

How Long Has That Domain Name of Yours Been Around?

The length of time that you have owned a domain name has a some influence on how Google views your website.  This is because Google wants to avoid spammers as much as possible.  Spammers will frequently buy up discarded domain names and attach them to a spam-oriented website.  Since these sites muck up Google’s search results, Google is a bit leary with any site that has a fresh domain name registration as it may suspect spam.  Also, new websites with new domain names are not yet well established.  Google does not want to risk a high ranking for a website that just might be a short term site.  Quality listings are what Google wants.  Websites that have been online for a long time with a long standing domain name are viewed as higher in quality to Google.

If you have your domain name registered for 10 years out as opposed to year-to-year, then Google assumes you have more expectations of being around for the long haul.  Renew your domain name for large chunks at a time if possible, as it gives Google more warm vibes about your site.

Using a Blog to Get More Pages Indexed in Google

So, you’re still thinking this whole blogging thing is silly? Yet you want your website to rank well and bring a lot of visitors to your website?

If these two statements apply to you, then truth be told, you’d be silly not to consider a blog.

Think of it this way – if you have an average sized website, say 10 content pages, then you have 10 pages that have a chance of being ranked in the search engines. Now, it is difficult for any page to effectively be optimized for more than a few keyword phrases – 3 is reasonable, although some would argue that even that number is high. That give us 10 pages and 30 keyword phrases. Now, add in the fact that the search engines like active websites, so if your site is static (only updated once every year or two), then your site is not keeping the search engine bots interested.

Now, let’s take those 10 static pages and 30 keyword phrases and add in a blog that you update only once a week with a new post. This adds 52 new pages over the course of a year and 156 keyword phrases that can populate the search engines. Plus, as an actively updated blog, the search engines will be eager to visit it on a regular basis and quick list any new content that you post. When you launch a new product, service, sale, coupon, marketing campaign, promotion, job listing, new office location, event or other news worthy item, your blog post about it will show up immediately in the search engines for searchers to find it. If your site has been static for a year, and you update the site to reflect a special sale coming up next week, it might not make it to the search engines in time – whereas, it may only take an hour for the blog to get listed.

Blogs are a “force multiplier”, to borrow a military term. Use all the artillery available to help you succeed with your business online.

Duck – Incoming!! Inbound Marketing Puts Your Site in Customer’s Sights

Hubspot has a nifty article explaining inbound marketing that I wanted to share.  If you are not aware of inbound marketing, it is a concept you will want to know more about as it will help put the value of your website’s marketing potential in perspective.  Instead of seeking out customers with traditional methods of marketing, inbound marketing makes customers seek you out instead.

Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing Article

The Best Social Media Platforms For SEO

I saw an interesting poll on SEOmoz.org where they asked what social media platforms netted the best SEO return on investment.  An informal poll, but the results are interesting none the less. Here is the results so far:seopoll

Social bookmarking websites, such as StumbleUpon, was the big winner followed by social networking websites and social news websites coming in a close third.  Social Microblogging is just squeaking in a 4th place ranking, but expect this platform to continue to increase as sites like Twitter become more mainstream.

Google = Busy

So Google big hitters Matt Cutts and Maile Ohye recently shared during a question and answer session that Google made over 450 changes to its search algorithm last year.  That means that Google changed it’s mind over 450 times on how it decided to rank websites.

Over 450 times!

Granted, many of these changes were minor tweaks, but still, those Google geeks stay busy.

So what does this mean to you?  Specifically that you need to stay on top of your website rankings and making sure that your site is properly search engine optimized for right now, not for a year ago.  A static or abandoned website equals a dead website.  You need to stay busy with your website because Google stays busy with it too.  If you get too far behind Google, you may have less search engine visibility as a result.

In most cases, Google is the main artery for your online traffic.  It brings you business so don’t ignore it.  If you don’t have time in your schedule to keep up with Google, make sure you hire somebody that can.

Let’s Talk About Inbound Links

If you have spoken with me about search engine optimization in the past, after exclaiming the virtues of relevant content, at some point inbound links get mentioned – specifically, relevant inbound links!  The more inbound links you get from relevant and credible websites the more Google is going to like you.  Well, in theory, as I always say, but now I have more recent proof.

In going through my RSS Reader to get caught up on all my hundreds of updates I need to read, I came across an article from Google’s Webmaster Central Blog from earlier in the month that I thought was worth sharing.  It backs up what I have been saying and it’s straight from the horse’s mouth – well, the mouth of Google’s Official blog, anyway.  Here are the best excerpts:

“Inbound links are links from pages on external sites linking back to your site. Inbound links can bring new users to your site, and when the links are merit-based and freely-volunteered as an editorial choice, they’re also one of the positive signals to Google about your site’s importance. Other signals include things like our analysis of your site’s content, its relevance to a geographic location, etc. As many of you know, relevant, quality inbound links can affect your PageRank. And quality links often come naturally to sites with compelling content or offering a unique service.

How do these signals factor into ranking?

Let’s say I have a site, example.com, that offers users a variety of unique website templates and design tips. One of the strongest ranking factors is my site’s content. Additionally, perhaps my site is also linked from three sources — however, one inbound link is from a spammy site. As far as Google is concerned, we want only the two quality inbound links to contribute to the PageRank signal in our ranking.

Given the user’s query, over 200 signals (including the analysis of the site’s content and inbound links as mentioned above) are applied to return the most relevant results to the user.

So how can you engage more users and potentially increase merit-based inbound links?

Many webmasters have written about their success in growing their audience. We’ve compiled several ideas and resources that can improve the web for all users.

Create unique and compelling content on your site and the web in general

  • Start a blog: make videos, do original research, and post interesting stuff on a regular basis. If you’re passionate about your site’s topic, there are lots of great avenues to engage more users.
  • Teach readers new things, uncover new news, be entertaining or insightful, show your expertise, interview different personalities in your industry and highlight their interesting side. Make your site worthwhile.
  • Participate thoughtfully in blogs and user reviews related to your topic of interest. Offer your knowledgeable perspective to the community.
  • Provide a useful product or service. If visitors to your site get value from what you provide, they’re more likely to link to you.”

The see the article in it’s entirety, go to Good times with inbound links

Linking Up Online – Not What You Think

Ok, you have a web site that has links on it to other pages on your site.  Nothing out of the ordinary there.  Pretend your business is a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky and we’re looking at your About Us page and you have a sentence that reads “We serve the tastiest pizza in Lexington, Kentucky – click here for more info.”  The words “click here” are a hyperlink to your Menu page.

Big mistake – little effort to correct.

Instead, the sentence should read like this “We serve the tastiest pizza in Lexington, Kentucky.”  The words “pizza in Lexington, Kentucky” would be the hyperlink to your Menu page.

Why?

Because the phrase “pizza in Lexington, Kentucky” describes what the link is about and if your Menu page lists all the different pizzas you offer and you have your address on every page, then Google and the other search engines will see that as relevant content.  As mentioned before, relevant content is the key to getting good rankings in the search engines.

Think about how many “Click here” links you have seen before online – these are all missed opportunities to get some extra SEO out of a site.  If your site has “Click here” links, look at how you can change the text or move the hyperlink to more relevant words that describe the content of the linked page.

Press Releases and Search Engines

Press releases are a simple, effective and often over looked method of promoting your business.  In addition to sending press releases to traditional media outlets, like newspapers and magazines, you can also submit press releases online.  Sites like PRWeb.com, PRNewsWire.com and PRLeap.com all are examples of sites you can submit your press releases to.  These sites syndicate your press release to various online sources where they can get redistributed over and over in various websites across the net.

There is a small fee to get an account setup and submit press releases, which varies depending on the site, but, it can be well worth it due to the visibility you can receive from it.  Search engines tend to pick up on press releases too, so it is another way to increase you rankings for keywords.

Inexpensive to distribute and relatively easy to write, press releases should be a regular form of marketing for your business.