Tag Archive: Search Engine Optimization

Optimize Linking for SEO: 10 Useful Tips for New Sites

SEOThe way you link, both internally and externally from your site, is crucial for achieving results in today’s competitive market. Proper linking can give you the advantage you need when it comes to search engine ranking and those all-important hits on your site.

As SEO experts are bound to point out, it’s a process that needs to be carried on over time and considered whenever you make any changes to your site. As a new site you’ll need strategies to assist you in climbing the ladder to good Internet ranking placement as quickly as possible.

Here are 10 very useful tips on links and linking architecture for anyone with an interest in SEO, and if you’re involved in marketing of any kind over the Internet, then that’s you.

1. Think About Who Links to You

You’ll already know the value of reputation when it comes to marketing your product or service. If sites that are associated with good quality products are clearly seen by users and search engines to link to your own then this will reflect well on you.

Pay close attention to the number of .com and .co.uk sites that link to you, for example, and think carefully about ways in which you can encourage others to do likewise.

2. Think About Who You Link to

The same rules as before. Linking to good quality sites reflects well on your own. Keep up to date with innovations and developments and stay relevant with fresh links on your pages. Try to develop a balanced portfolio of links on your site.

3. Avoid Broken Links

As part of ongoing site maintenance for SEO you should be aware of any links that are no longer in use and remove them from your site.

4. Think About Relevance

This is very important. Link to sites with a clear relevance to your own only. Search engines pay special attention to this, as do users, and every irrelevant link on your page is detrimental.

5. Internal Links

Think about internal links and whether your site is user friendly. Make the most of internal links and get some advice from SEO experts about ways to link internally that will benefit your site’s ranking.

6. Maps

Think about linking back to homepage and site maps. Make your site as easily navigable as possible. This will encourage users and benefit your site as search engines see these links when they probe it. A map is a useful way to introduce internal links and make the site easier to get around.

7. Link Building

Think about the use of exact match terms for link building. Build links using exactly matching anchor text. Remember though, don’t get carried away – an excess use of keywords can be as bad as a lack. Using terms you want to rank for and that summarize the topic referred to, in moderation, can strengthen the ratings of your site by search engines.

Find a balance and use your senses. If you feel that you’ve gone overboard with repeated words or phrases in your internal links then you probably have.

8. Avoid Cloaking

Search engines are increasingly sophisticated at detecting ‘black hat’ or unscrupulous SEO techniques. While it may be tempting to improve your popularity on the net by attracting unwitting visitors to your site, be aware that techniques that accomplish this can get you into trouble.

Users and search engines are alike in their approach to cloaking – they don’t accept or tolerate it. Stay within the boundaries to avoid problems.

9. Look at Where Your Competitors Link

This is legal and it can give you an advantage or at least level the playing field somewhat when it comes to links.

10. Strategize

Have a solid strategy for linking to, from and within your site. Think before you link and use every intelligent strategy at your disposal. Getting advice from website optimization specialists can really help.

4 Tips for Writing SEO-Friendly Blog Posts

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business. This post also appeared on Mashable’s website, where we found it and wanted to share the information.

In addition to writing for their human readers, web writers and bloggers have to consider the digital web crawlers employed by search engines like Google (Google). Your business can’t skip the task.

Since most would-be readers use search engines to find blog posts, you need to make sure that Google ranks your site highly when those readers search for terms related to your business and the content you’re writing.

You could spend thousands of dollars to have a search marketing firm optimize your business’s blog for search engines, but chances are that you can learn a lot of the fundamentals yourself, saving yourself a lot of money as long as you have the interest and the time. Here’s a basic primer on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your company’s blog.

1. Always Include Search Terms in Your Post’s Title

When Google reads a website to index it, it reads the code directly, not the snazzy presentation that humans see. The way most blogging platforms are built, the headline or title of your blog post is among the first things Google sees, and Google generally assumes the words that appear earliest are the most important. That’s why the title is the most important part of your blog post when it comes to SEO.

Think about who you want to reach with this blog post, and what that person might be searching for when looking for your business’s goods or services, then include critical words from that hypothetical search in the title. The most important terms should appear as quickly as you can reasonably fit them in. Just be careful not to make the title unreadable or awkward to human readers — that SEO effort will have been for naught if the reader is immediately turned off by the content once he or she finds it.

Here’s a pro tip: You’re not likely to win strong ranking for more than one or two search terms at once, so minimalism is a virtue here. Don’t get over-ambitious. Focus on one potential search term, then if you want to rank for a second term, write a separate and unique post specifically with it in mind.

2. Link Important Words to Earlier Blog Posts

Search engines generally assume that a blog post that has been linked to has more authority than one that has not. They also consider exactly what word or phrase linked to the post; a blog post about the iPhone (iPhone) is going to be more likely to show up in Google searches on the subject if another page links the word “iPhone” to the post.

You’ll get the most value from external links from sites that Google or other search engines already consider to be an authority of the subject (if the top blog about iPhones links the word to your post, you’ll get a huge boost), but all incoming links will still pass rank to your page, even those from elsewhere on your site.

So be sure and link important keywords to other pages or previous posts on your blog to gain some credibility and search rank. It will make a big difference. Just don’t overdo it; not only do human readers hate reading blogs so filled with links that they might accidentally click on something, Google may penalize you if you go overboard, too.

3. Hit the Tagging Sweet Spot

Most blogging platforms let you apply tags to your posts. Tags help organize your blog so both humans and search engines can find what they’re looking for. They’re terms like “consulting,” “local” or “technology” that reflect the topics and content of the post.

Google tries to recognize tags and use them to prioritize your site in its search ranking for those terms. The tags are usually links to other pages on your blog (usually a backlog of other posts with the same tag), and like we said earlier, linking search terms to other pages on your site helps too.

So by all means, add pertinent tags to your blog post, but be warned that Google and other search engines are wary of sites that try to game this system. They will penalize you in the search rankings if you use so many tags that the web indexing bots suspect you might be attempting to associate your content with unrelated topics just to score extra traffic.

The method for determining this is arcane, but a good rule of thumb from a pro blogger is that five to 10 appropriate tags are usually right in the sweet spot.

4. Use Google Insights to Find the Best Search Terms

You don’t have to play a guessing game about the best tags or search terms to link or put in your post’s title. Since Google is the most popular search engine, it makes sense to focus your efforts there. Whenever you’re not sure which terms to go with, hit up Google Insights, a web-based tool that compares the popularity of any search terms you want to know about.

For example, if your business is a coffee shop but you’re not sure whether would-be customers are more likely to search for “café” or “coffee shop,” Insights can tell you which one is more popular.

These four tips should get you on your way to having a more SEO-friendly corporate blog. Add your tips for search engine optimization in the comments below.

My website: Should I do it myself or hire a professional?

lady with laptop

In today’s world, with advanced technology and affordable software it is extremely tempting to make your own website. Just because you can, does it mean you should? Well that’s what I will be discussing here.

Creating your own website has it’s benefits. You will keep your costs down. You will feel a sense of pride, because you were able to do it yourself. You will be familiar with the content and be able to make updates and changes as you wish. Now does that mean that you should? That’s a loaded question and the answer will vary from person to person. There are also some drawbacks to creating your own website. Creating and maintaining a website takes dedication, motivation and time. If you are a sole proprietor or a small business with only a few employees, chances are your time is valuable.  You may not have time to run the daily operations, handle customers and clients, take care of bookkeeping and add your website into the mix. In today’s world of instant delivery and information, you will want your website current at all times. Knowledge of website designing elements is also a necessity, and you would need the proper training. Using WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) software may give you the look you want, but that’s only a part of the web building process. There are many other parts of the process and those are things that a professional would know.

Hiring a professional to do your website would give you the solution to the drawbacks of creating your own website.  You will get the web designprofessional look and feel that you desire for your website. Your website will become the online “face” of your business. You want people to be attracted to your company and have their interest peaked within the initial 3 seconds of contact with your website. The general population’s attention span grows less and less the more technology advances. You only have 3 seconds to “grab” their attention. A professional designer will help make that happen for you. Professional designers have the knowledge of increasing your load time, through many outlets. They will also help in getting your website discovered through the ability of having proper meta tags, keywords, alt tags on images and proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization). These things will help increase your rankings with search engines.  A professional designer will also know how to make your website compatible with all browsers including, but not limited to: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome  and Opera.

Now, as you see, there are benefits to both sides of the question here.  I think that it would be in most people’s best interest to hire a professional web designer. The best possible comparison I can think of is the following. If you own a car and are mechanically inclined, you may be able to change your own oil or replace your brake pads. But if your transmission needs to be replaced, you will be bringing your car to your local mechanic or dealership because they are the professionals that have the right equipment, tools and knowledge to get it done.