Monday, April 28, 2008

 

Form versus Function in SEO

Lets get to one of the basics in site creation. Which is more important a pretty site, or an effective site? My answer is it depends. If your site is an internal site that you are not trying to draw external traffic - go for pretty. If you are selling a product or service, than effective wins every day. Sites should be designed for the user. You should make it easy for the user to find the basic information they want. How much, what does it do, where to buy, etc. and then one of my pet peeves, - - make it easy for people to buy. Nothing worse than deciding you wnat to purchase, and being unable to or not able to figure out how.

Whenit comes to Search Engine Optimization make sure that the company you use, respects your wishes on form versus function. Most SEO firms will tell you there is usually a reverse effect between beauty and effect in SEO - the prettier the site the harder it is to optimize, and consequently the worse it usually does.

At the end of the day, if you are spending your hard earned dollars, you should get what you want.

See you at the top. - Bob -

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

 

The power of Interlinking pages

Many webmasters and site owners are great at optimizing their home page or index page. They do this by optimizing onpage factors like H1 (Header) tags, title, keyword density, alt tags, etc, and offpage factors like the number and quality of inbound links (ibl's) from other sites. That's fine and is very very important, but you should take the time to optimize all of your inner web pages as well. There are big opportunities there. Matter of fact, google a term such as “raleigh real estate”. Look at how many rankings in the top 10 are not top level (home page) pages.

If you can get a good pagerank (PR) – look up pagerank in Google - for all of your inside pages, as well as your home page, it greatly increases the chances of these pages being ranked highly in the search engines for their chosen keywords, and increases the number of visitors you could get. These can and should be different key words than in your main page.

To conclude, to rank highly in the search engines, you should focus on on-page optimization, and more so off-page optimization. Just as every inward link to your site from another website acts as a vote for your site, and boosts your pagerank and search engine rankings, a link from another page within your site also acts as a vote and will also have a positive effect on your ranking. There are some arguments as to how important this vote is but I say go for it. A good interlinking structure within your site will ensure that every page is fully optimized and has the optimum number of links from your other pages allowing you to rank higher for all of your inner pages as well as your home page.

 

The power of Interlinking pages

Many webmasters and site owners are great at optimizing their home page or index page. They do this by optimizing onpage factors like H1 (Header) tags, title, keyword density, alt tags, etc, and offpage factors like the number and quality of inbound links (ibl's) from other sites. That's fine and is very very important, but you should take the time to optimize all of your inner web pages as well. There are big opportunities there. Matter of fact, google a term such as “raleigh real estate”. Look at how many rankings in the top 10 are not top level (home page) pages.

If you can get a good pagerank (PR) – look up pagerank in Google - for all of your inside pages, as well as your home page, it greatly increases the chances of these pages being ranked highly in the search engines for their chosen keywords, and increases the number of visitors you could get. These can and should be different key words than in your main page.

I recommend that all of your main web pages are just one click away from your home page. You will often see a large number of links at the bottom of a home page. This is how many sites do that. You should have a well-structured navigation menu on your home page. Each link within the menu should be an anchor text link containing your main keyword(s). For example, let's say you had an inner page about hair loss. Now you may have done keyword research and found the term "wedding koozie" to be too competitive, so let's say you have decided to optimize your web page for the less competitive term "cheap wedding koozie". In this example, your link from the navigation menu should be "cheap wedding koozie" rather than "wedding koozie".
You can dramatically enhance this interlinking structure and boost the pagerank of your inner web pages further by including this navigation menu on all of your inner web pages. This means that all of your main inner web pages are always just one click away and will dramatically boost the number of inward links that each page has. This is an important and time consuming step that many website owners simply do not do.
Another way of doing this if you do not want to include a navigation menu on every page is by including a link tree on every one of your inner pages. These are those links that you often find at the bottom of pages, and are again a very good way of interlinking your web pages. As before, be sure to include your main keyword(s) within each link. This is very powerful.

To conclude, to rank highly in the search engines, you should focus on on-page optimization, and more so off-page optimization. Just as every inward link to your site from another website acts as a vote for your site, and boosts your pagerank and search engine rankings, a link from another page within your site also acts as a vote and will also have a positive effect on your ranking. There are some arguments as to how important this vote is but I say go for it. A good interlinking structure within your site will ensure that every page is fully optimized and has the optimum number of links from your other pages allowing you to rank higher for all of your inner pages as well as your home page.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

 

Rules for MSN

The Rules For MSN
Assuming that you are following the right rules, the results you can achieve on MSN can be fast and solid. MSN does not apply the same types of aging delays that the other two engines do and thus, when you change your content, the change in results can be realized as quickly as they reindex your site and as quickly as your incoming links get picked. This differs greatly from Google and Yahoo! in that those two engines age both domains and links, requiring a longer period of time before the full effects of your efforts are realized.
As an additional note on MSN, users of MSN are 48% more likely to purchase a product or service online than the average Internet user according to a comScore Media report.
So what are the rules for MSN that can help us get top rankings? As with all the major engines, there are two fundamental areas that need to be addressed to attain top rankings. The first is the onsite factors, the second is the offsite. Because they are fundamentally different we will address them separately.

Monday, March 13, 2006

 

Marketing Mistakes 4 of a Series

Don't give SEO total control over your site. It is often too easy to design pages ONLY to perform well on the search engines. You can end up with an ugly page that does not really sell your product. The trick is to come up with a page that will look well enough to sell, but will still make the SE Gods happy. Good rankings with no sales is not really a great thing. Ask others to come in and rate your site.

Thanks, and See you at the top.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

 

Marketing Mistakes 3 of a series

The Search Engine can bring the customer to your door, but you have to actually close the sale. A million hits is nothing if your site doesn't sell well. - There are many, many factors that come into play once you get the visitor to your site. Here is a partial list:

The last one is not as much of an issue with broadband becoming more prevelant. But it is still there and you should be aware of load times.

Good luck and See you at the top.

Bob Liddle


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

 

Marketing Mistakes 2 of a series

Make sure you do a complete job of keyword research (Think Like A Searcher) - For each keyword that you identify for search engine marketing initiatives, there are probably two or three others that can deliver better, more targeted traffic. Check word tracker to learn more. I find it a good idea to ask friends and neighbors. "How would you search for this?" Misspellings, odd spacings, and product feature-specific variations should also be considered. Raleigh as in Raleigh NC is often spelled Raliegh. So put it in there. And while some experts espouse a "more-is-better" approach to keywords, we feel this is not always the case, especially when you're paying for all that traffic. Thorough keyword research can save money and future disappointments and make you a lot of money.

See you at the top!!

- Bob -

Monday, February 13, 2006

 

Marketing mistakes. 1 of a Series

I am going to do a series of emarketing mistakes. Around 10, but they are still in process.
Internet retailing is no longer a passing fad. In order to stay on top, etailers must learn how to effectively pull in not only new visitors but qualified, paying customers, as well. Search engine marketing has proven to be an extremely successful and effective means of achieving online sales growth, but not all etailers know how to properly execute their search engine marketing campaigns.

Number Uno. No Search Marketing Strategy - To many this may seem very obvious, but all too often companies barely have a specific budget line item for search engine marketing let alone a strategy. It is one of those items where you need to be reminded. Here is your reminder!!! Is the strategy to target certain terms for high natural (also called organic) search engine rankings and to buy visibility for the others with pay-per-click listings? Or is it to identify high-cost PPC terms and target those for SEO? What means of measuring ad-cost-to-sales will be implemented, and is this tool an end-to-end solution? And is there a realistic timeline associated with achieving these goals? Before spending time or money, put together a solid plan. Remember to plan ahead, as it takes quite awhile to move up in search engines, but buying PPC does not take that much time. Your time is best spent in researching.

See you at the top.

- Bob -

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

 

Search Engine 101ish

Big question, How does web content really affect Search Engine Optimization or SEO? It has been said that content does not affect SEO very much–it’s all in page layout, design, and trickery. Yet a website's content still plays an enormous and fairly direct role in search engine ranking. We cannot over-emphasize that point.


Of course, the whole goal of the search engines' (mainly Google’s) ranking algorithm is to provide the user great content. The mechanism that search engines use to reward good, relevant content is essentially just a technical issue, though admittedly an extremely important technical issue. But it is an issue that is easier to navigate with good content.
But even in purely technical, terms, web content affects search engine rankings three ways:


1. Web Content and Inbound Links


Inbound links are very important getting search engine rankings. Inbound links are links from other pages to your page. They should also provide plenty of traffic making inbound links dual purpose. The importance of links is what causes many people to say that content is not that important. But those people forget that great content is key to getting inbound links in the first place.


For starters, good content will make potential link partners more comfortable with linking to your site. No one wants to link to a site with poor content. Good content gives other webmasters (and particularly bloggers) a reason to link to your site spontaneously without being asked. These are surprising and fun links for you as a webmaster.


2. Number of Web Pages in site


More web pages of good content will help with gaining more search engine traffic. Here’s why:
Adding pages to your site is provides more opportunities to get new customers.
Search engines view larger websites as more prestigious and reliable and consequently rank them better.


The more content you have, the more reasons you give other webmasters, particularly bloggers, to link to your site spontaneously, without being asked.


3. Web Content Keyword Optimization


Keyword optimization used to be the most important step in SEO. Now it is not as important for highly competitive keywords.


Well thought out keyword optimization can really help you get traffic from searches not on competitive keywords. You may never rank number well for "real estate," you may still show up tops for a search on "real estate in Raleigh" if you have that phrase somewhere in your content. These searches make up a large proportion of your web traffic. It is important to try and think like your potential customers – not like a web master.
Following these 3 steps and emphasizing great content will help your site rise in the rankings.

See you at the top.

Bob Liddle


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

 

Four (more or less) Search Engine Tactics

The following is a formula of Search Engine Tactics. These tactics work well with Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL. The big Four

Build Search Engine Friendly Structure -

Make sure you use the right program/process

Double check every page on your site

Choose Keywords carefully

Combine these strategies with a linking program will help you achieve success.

Just to make it fun, you can have the best SEO site in the world, and the search engines will keep changing their algorythms to mix it up. So you have to stay on top of it. It is an ongoing job. Even if you follow all the tactics above, remember, Content is King. So you cannot forget about making great content.

Good Luck and see you at the Top!

- Bob -


Monday, January 23, 2006

 

Search Engine Tactics

Many companies still believe in the of "if you build it they will come" theory only to find that very few web surfers find their web site, let alone qualified potential customers. They are left with a pretty site that no one sees. A persistent, well-planned, ongoing and executed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and campaign will bring qualified visitors to your site. Done correctly, a campaign will provide a traceable method for increasing both traffic and sales -- traceable back to the source of where your visitor came from, ensuring that marketing programs can be proven, enhanced, cancelled, or targeted at the true source of your visitors interest.

The majority of websites are found through search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Websearches search databases of information rather than the web itself, you need to drive visitors to your site through the search engines' information databases. Although optimizing your site and strategically submitting is time-consuming, it is a traceable method of attracting qualified customers. ------ and extremely important!!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your site friendly to search engines. Performing SEO requires you to look at your website from the point of view of internet users trying to find services, products and/or information like that available on your website. It also helps to be familiar with some of the underlying technologies of search engines - but this is not a critical requirement for performing SEO.

Today, designers develop sites with many usability and technical requirements in mind. What most of them aren't adding to the functional requirements of the web site is a easy set of steps to ensure their website is search engine friendly - search engine optimized. Setting up your site correctly from the beginning (or during a site redesign) is your best bet to get yourself noticed by all of those web crawlers (spiders, robots) and human-edited directories. The web grows so fast, optimal search engine positioning requires a persistent approach. This process is on-going and unfortunately never complete.

Search Engine Optimization campaigns are divided into tactical areas. By paying attention to the common sense steps described in each tactic you give your company the advantage of a low-cost method of driving self-qualified traffic to their website, as well as out positioning any competition who has not implemented SEO tactics. Your code, your keywords, your choice of web technologies and site architecture all must be friendly to and optimized for search engines for all aspects of the campaign to achieve high placement in the results of visitor searches.

If your code, keywords and architecture are up to SEO standards, your site will magically rise to the top and you will be successful.

Next week I will discuss 4 tactics areas to help make this happen.

Stay tuned.

- Bob Liddle -

Monday, January 16, 2006

 

Google bar and Page Rank? What is that?

What is the Google Toolbar and Page Rank

The Google Toolbar is a free downloadable tool bar that gives you search results, checks, autofill, etc. But most importantly lets you look at Page Rank. Page Rank is a score on a scale of 1 - 10 of what Google thinks is the value of the site. The next 2 paragraphs define Page Rank by Google.

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.

O Page Rank means Google does not know the site is there. Basically 4 means you are noticed and doing well. No one is sure of values, but it seems that it is 8 times harder to get a 5 than a 4 and 8 times harder to get a 6 than a 5. etc. Very few sites have 9 or 10. Although Page Rank is important in Google it is not the end all. You can (and many sites do) have a great place on Google Search with a low Page Rank. But it is easier as you get higher.

Download your Google ToolBar and enjoy it.

Good luck

- Bob -

Monday, January 09, 2006

 

Content is King

How to get high rankings on Google, Yahoo, MSN and AOL? I know it seems obvious, but getting good content is very important. Content is described as the text on the web page. Google does not care about pretty graphics. - Content is King.

Look at web pages that have high Google rankings. Invariably, (and there are exceptions) they have a lot of words. I recommend a minimum of about 500 words in your body on your main page. Make sure you use your key words, and make sure you use them early in the body. In other words they count for more than at the end of the body of the page.

Your content should be easy to understand and in plain English. Make sure your grammer is acceptable and there are no misspellings.

Check Just Koozies for a site that seems to have a lot of words on the main page, but it ranks #1 in Google for it's keywords. A rewrite of the site might make sense from a pure English point of view, but from a Search Engine Optimization point of view it does great.

ps. there is rumor of another Google update right around the corner. Update meaning there will be big shifting of rankings.



Tuesday, January 03, 2006

 

Value of Search Engine Optimization

This blog is going to be an ongoing discussion of Search Engine Marketing and Optimization. It will relate to Dockside Marketing and the ongoing services offered there, and will reflect the ongoing education received by myself. I am in a constant educatinal phase with about an hour a day in reading forums. I have maintained this pace (more and less at different times) for 6 years. I have made my share of mistakes, but have learned a lot in the process.

I have always said, I would rather work with someone who has made the mistakes already. Make those mistakes on someone else. Not me.

How valuable is Search Engine Optimization? You can be selling your products 24 hours a day. Can you imagine being on page 1 for Google, or actually being #1? It can happen, and it can change your life. People are looking, it just takes work to be found.

Well we have set the groundwork. I am going to keep this up on a regular basis, so hold on!!!

- Bob -

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