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Useful Tips on Keyword Research October 2, 2008

Posted by seonotes in On-page Optimization, SE Rankings, Search Engine Optimization.
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Keyword Research is the heart of any SEO project. It is a crucial phase in doing optimization for your web pages. Your choice of keywords can either make or break you in the Web world. No doubt, the keyword research stage in optimization entails analytical planning, and careful research.

To help you out in doing it right the first time, here are some useful tips in keyword reasearch to take note of:

Think Relevance

Some people fall into the trap of picking the most popular search term there is. Be careful though, because every topic has a particular niche. The hotel and travel industry for example, has several niches – from high-end luxury hotels, to medium-range accommodation providers, to cheap or budget-friendly inns and motels. The key isn’t about going for the most popular search term. It’s about carefully studying which key phrases are most relevant to your business. Remember, related does not necessarily mean relevant.

Consider Both Search Volume and Competition

Search Volume versus competition – aim to strike a balance between these two factors. Of course, most keywords with the highest traffic normally get the tightest competition in the SERPs. However, you can consider first your webpage’s search engine standing before choosing your keywords. If you have a stable site with good links, and your stats say you can compete big time, then go ahead and dive in the bigger ocean. That means you can consider optimizing your site for the high-traffic and highly competitive terms. But if you are a fairly new site with lesser links to begin with, you can choose search terms with an easier level of competition, but have “fairly” significant amount of traffic to give you. Long-tail key phrases can give you that, when their traffic demand are summed up together.

One more Tip: specific and long-tail keywords are known to be great for translating traffic into conversions – or user site visits into sales, as an example.

Make use of tried and tested Keyword Research Tools

Don’t just rely on sheer gut feel when drafting your final keyword list. Sure you can list down any term you can think about in the preliminary phase of keyword research, but always test the “profitability” of these straight-from-your-brain words and phrases by using tried and tested keyword tools. You don’t want to mess up your final keyword list with mere guesses.

One more Tip: Wordtracker, SEObook, Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Keyword Discovery, and even your Analytics and PPC stats are useful sources of data.

Allot enough time for doing keyword research. Most people think this is just some 10-minute click and copy activity when starting SEO. Don’t allow yourself to commit the same mistake. There is value in doing it right in the beginning.

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Supplemental Pages: How to Get out of the Trap September 18, 2008

Posted by seonotes in On-page Optimization, Search Engine Optimization.
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Getting off the supplemental pages of Google is not as hard as you think. In fact, you are already indexed in the search engine, only that you have poor chances of appearing in the first three pages of the search engine results.

What do you then when you fall into this trap? Most sites falling into the supplemental pages’ trap are normally those containing duplicate content – either in meta codes or in your main body itself.

Here are three tips on how to get out of the supplemental page trap:

Create unique meta titles and descriptions.

The first thing that a search engine spider looks at in a web page is your meta tags – titles, descriptions, and keywords. If you have a generic meta titles for all your pages, chances are you will really land the supplemental page index. Revise this and make each unique for every page.

Make sure content is not duplicate.

Because Google has been growing less tolerant of spammy pages, you can’t trick them by reproducing a bunch of pages of almost the same content – keywords and all. Create writing that’s acceptable to the search engines. Craft content that is of value to your readers, and you earn more points, too.

Build links for supplemental pages.

Give authority to your site’s pages by fishing links from quality, high-PR sites. You earn more chances of being noticed by the search engine by the number of quality links pointing to you. Once your page has been revamped (getting rid of duplicates), gaining a good number of quality links will be the final shot to get out of the supplemental page trap.

SEO Copywriting by Damien Kelly of Netbooster Asia September 10, 2008

Posted by seonotes in marketing, On-page Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing.
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Damien Kelly of Netbooster Asia, where I once worked in talks about Search Engine Optimization Copywriting.

Check out his main points for effective SEO Copywriting:

Create effective landing pages

  • Make use of images
  • Emphasize call to action
  • Short statements work (like what I’m doing with this blog 🙂 )
  • Length of Pages to consider
  • Logical Sequence

Take note of Web Content Tips for Optimization

  • Scannability – highlight keywords
  • Navigation – move detailed info ro secondary pages
  • Writing to be read: Headlines and subheads; lists, captions, and hyperlinks
  • Writing to be Found – use of Meta Tags
  • Terms to Avoid – Don’t call attention to web artifacts. Writing “click here” do not say anything to the search engines.
  • Work with your designer to convey overall message.
  • Don’t think of quantity all the time. Quality counts.
  • The more words you have in a page, the less people will read. 16% of people in websites read word-by-word. Shorter content gets more recall.

Following these guidelines make killer content – indexable, linkable content 🙂

PS: Google penalises you for bad content – i.e. duplicates, spammy ones 🙂

H1 Tag for SEO – is it a myth? April 15, 2008

Posted by seonotes in On-page Optimization.
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Opening my spam mailbox yesterday, I found the SEO news email newsletter. They wrote about the 10 Myths in search engine optimization. There were a couple of points that I must say, are quite questionable to me, but the part that intrigued me most is this:

Organic SEO Myth 7: Header tags or H1 should be used to ensure high ranking. There is no evidence to prove this. However, this is one of the most common myths.

I have seen a lot of sites that lack that html element in its code. This is most evident in sites optimized via link building (instead of keyword/content optimization).

Speaking from experience, sites I have optimized with proper writing of the H1 tag or the ‘heading 1’ tag, have had more stable rankings, as compared to sites that lacked that important element. It was easier for me to maintain rankings for particular key terms which I have coded in the H1 tag.

Remember search engine crawlers look for your H1 description (aside from other important SEO elements, i.e. meta tags), to determine the relevance of your page. Omitting this tag isn’t good SEO practice.

How do you create the H1 tag?

• H1 tags are symbolized by this html code: <h1></h>

• Include your primary keyword in the H1 tag

• While you have your keyword, opt to write your headers (either h1 or h2), in a meaningful text: <h1>Summer Bikinis in all sizes for sale!</h1>

• Write your header tags prominently at the beginning of your content, ideally after the <body> tag.

• Learn how to tweak your CSS style sheet when you wish to blend your H1 tag with your page content font styles. Never hide the text in this tag.

Among experienced search engine optimization specialists, the H1 or the heading 1 tag still ranks high among other seo relevancy factors. You may do without this, but as far as page relevance and rank stability, putting heading tags for SEO are standard operating procedures.

How to Utilize your Old Indexed Pages July 7, 2007

Posted by seonotes in On-page Optimization.
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Now that most webmasters have upgraded their websites using Content Management Systems or CMS, they often face the dilemma of finding out that some of their old pages (that they no longer want the visitors to see) are still up there indexed by Google.

How do you bring out a positive out of this negative situation?

Keep in mind that this is not exactly a negative situation especially when the “old unwanted pages” are getting good rankings from the search engines. You can benefit from this in 2 ways:

1. Applying 301 redirect, or what they call as permanent redirection. That way you lead visitors to your newly-made pages as you benefit from the good rankings of the old pages. Good rankings = good CTRs (click-through-rates) more often than not. 301 redirect is SEO-friendly, and the most recommended method.

2. Now if you are optimizing someone else’s site and you find irrelevant pages (out of the niche or something) that you think must be removed, simply delete these unwanted pages/files, and create a custom 404 page. The 404 page must be customized in such a way that:

a. It has the presentation feel of your website’s theme.

b. Your visitors will follow an obvious link to your most important page, or the most relevant page in relation to the old page that you want to delete.

A custom 404 page or Error Page achieves 3 things:

  • It benefits you from the old pages’ probable clicks from visitors.
  • It provides a link going to your most important page (or which ever page you want people to visit).
  • Traffic from broken links that you might have in the future will be safely rescued because of the obvious link in your 404 page.

404 Page: Customized July 7, 2007

Posted by seonotes in On-page Optimization.
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A 404 page is known as the ‘error page’ that shows up for pages that do not exit anymore or for broken links.

It is important to customize your 404 page so that you will rescue those traffic received by those deleted pages of yours that are still indexed in the search engines. How do you create a customized 404 page:

Go to your site’s main directory

If you already have an 404 page, find the file named .htaccess and you may now edit or customize this.

If you do not have an existing 404 page, create one by opening notepad and inserting this code:

ErrorDocument 404 http://www.yourdomain.com/custom_page.html

Save as .htaccess and upload it to your site’s main directory

Tip: 404 page must be customized in such a way that:

a. It has the presentation feel of your website’s theme.

b. Your visitors will follow an obvious link to your most important page, or the most relevant page in relation to the old page that you want to delete.

Optimized Content for Consumption June 20, 2007

Posted by seonotes in On-page Optimization, Social Media Marketing.
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Content still reigns as the king in the world of Search Engine Optimization. Some websites get on top of SERPs because of high-powered link building campaigns, but when you talk about visitor loyalty and traffic retention (and yes, public consumption), it will always require that good ol’ optimized content.

How does one manufacture a SEO-friendly (optimized) Content?

1. Readers first, then keywords.

In the previous years, SEOs follow this trend: “keywords first, then content”. Now that Google has integrated Latent Semantic Indexing in its algorithm, webmasters found out that it ain’t just the keywords that matter, but the related terms that revolve around your content. That means you can’t just repeat the word, “cheap cars for sale” twenty times in your paragraphs. It needs more substance (and related words) than that. It’s almost like writing for your readers alone, and not the search engines. But of course, it’ll be Google and the others who will determine your rankings.

2. Diversify Anchor Text Links

As Aaron Wall pointed out, there has to be some variations in the text when one creates those blue-highlighted anchor text links. The links on a page are what the search engine spiders follow in determining your website structure. Most likely, the text used in the links are being considered in figuring out what a page is all about. You may also set some keyphrases in bold letters. That tells the spiders which terms you’re trying to emphasize, just don’t overdo it.

3. Take note of word count

Although it’s been a classic rule that “readers online do not read”, it simply doesn’t mean that one has to deprive the online users of good, meaty content. Stick to at least 250 words a page. SEOs know that writing down for an appropriate length of text means being more able to include more related terms for the target keywords.

And now, how do you offer your optimized content for consumption?

1. Social Bookmarking

If the content is real good (i.e. controversial, substantial, significant to a great part of the crowd), then it’s best to digg it, make people reddit, and tag people at delicious. News items are great at Netscape.com. How to’s and tips are perfect in Wikihow

2. Social Networking

Share your blog announcements, latest promos, or any significant tidbit of a fact at your bulletin and Group posts at MySpace, and any other social networks you find helpful in bringing traffic to your site. Just a tip: Make it short and sweet in your bulletin posts since a bulletin is supposed to be quick.

3. Content Submissions

Good quality traffic from reputable websites like ezinearticles, goarticles, and isnare will help out in traffic and visibility. It might hurt your rankings though, because these sites are deemed “authorities” or of great value by Google.

Blogging does a good job at sharing and syndicating content. If you have a website, and a separate blog (checkout: Link Building with your Blog), it’ll ease out the load in gaining visitors.

A SEO-friendly content is no longer the restrictive, robotical-sounding content it used to be. Search engines, in their aim to continuously refine search are catering more to the online readers, the social aspect of the World Wide Web. Content comes out to be more human-centered, and ready for consumption.