Straight to the point:
The biggest lie in the marketing world is that search engine optimisation is just for SEO gurus and IT nerds. That attitude might have worked in the 80’s but online marketing has been around for a while now and the unwillingness, fear of change or just plain laziness is not going to help your company get anywhere.
In short get with the program or close your online business. If you have no interest in selling products or services then don’t read any further. If you are a business owner you should study the below like a bible. By all means employ someone to do your search engine optimisation, this is the right way to go, but know what it is and how it works. How can you expect to have a house that is built straight by a bunch of builders if you don’t even know what straight is.
How will you, the online marketing manager, even know what to look for in a search engine optimisation specialist you want to recruit if you don’t know the first thing about search engine optimisation? It is expected of any employee to be able to read and write, to be able to use a computer and to be able to communicate.
90% of internet traffic and sales comes from search engine optimisation. Put down the pen, leave your meeting and study this bible before you get left behind in one of the most profitable advertising mediums on this planet.
Search engine optimisation = Onsite optimisation + Offsite optimisation + Activity
Onsite optimisation is a key term that describes changes made on the web site itself to make it visible to the search engines.
A classic example of where companies fail to apply effective onsite optimisation is where 90% of websites use the company name in their web site’s title which makes their web site invisible to other keywords on their pages.
Keywords in <title> tag
If you don’t read anything after this line you have already made progress. There is nothing more important in search engine optimisation than the titles on every page. 99% of web sites do this wrong by putting their brand name in the title tag. This is wrong wrong wrong. No one is going to search your brand name ‘Zippy Shoes’ for instance. People search running shoes, walking shoes etc. Your titles should have search terms like this, not your brand name. Make sure you have descriptive titles no longer than 6 keywords. Make sure people actually search these terms, you can find this by using the Google keywords tool:
Click here for the Google keywords tool
This tool is amazing and will show you what people search in your country per month and also globally. It will also show you the competition for the current keyword you are trying to optimise. Keep it realistic, if your web site is new you will not be able to rank for high competition terms. You need to build a page rank first to achieve this. So don’t be greedy, 3 clients a month for 1 keyword is good enough. This is free traffic and 3 clients every month for the rest of your life is a lot!
So to summarise do not use brand names in the title use keywords that people search related to your industry and study your competition and target market!
What is a title tag?
When you look at the top left hand corner of the browser you will see the page has a title.
Another way to look at the title is to right click on the page you are looking at, then view source code and run a search for <title> you should then find the following if you where looking at Google
Keep in mind Google and Facebook and other big companies can use their brand name in the title because everyone knows them.
Keywords in URL
This is a simple yet neglected concept. Use keywords in your url, nobody that includes Google wants to see some ugly un descriptive url with lots of dynamic variables in. Let me give you an example:
If you use a dynamic script like asp or php there are ways to make your URL’s way more attractive. Look at mod rewrite. This can convert dynamic ugly url’s to pretty ones like in the example.
Having keywords in your URL will make the page rank better for the keywords you are trying to optimise for.
Keyword density in document text
Simple word, simple concept. Keyword density is exactly what it says. Keywords close and dense together. Add too much and Google will penalize you for spamming, add too little and Google will see your article as unrelated content. So when you write articles stick to a theme, write articles that matches your titles and the keywords you are trying to optimize for. A high keyword density is good for search engine rankings just keep it reasonable. The more your keywords and synonyms are repeated for the keywords you are trying to optimize. for the better. Just keep it realistic. Here are some examples:
Bad keyword density:
Buy running shoes at our amazing shop in New York just outside the main street leading to the heart of New York. New York caters for many different clients and interests. People visit New York for various reasons.
This actually has nothing to do with shoes and looks like spam.
Good keywords density:
Buy running shoes at zippy shoes just outside the main street leading to the heart of new York. We have a collection of running shoes, walking shoes….
Over optimized density:
Buy running shoes at zippy shoes just outside the main street leading tour shoe store in shoe city where we sell shoes for shoe lovers in shoe city. We have a collection of running shoes, walking shoes….
This is clearly spammy and doesn’t help the user.
Keywords in anchor text
This is another very simple but important concept. When you create a link don’t write click here. Rather write running shoes. Keywords in the anchor text helps to increase keywords density, relevance and the overall theme of what you are clicking through to. You want to have a link that says running shoes, that clicks through to a page with the title running shoes, the content on the page must be about running shoes. This is called a theme. Stick to one theme per page. Every link should be representative of what theme to expect when you click on it. In other words don’t have a click here link go to a running shoes page.
Bad anchor text
Good anchor text
What is anchor text?
It is any text you can click on, any links that contains text.
Keywords in headings (<H1>, <H2>, etc. tags)
Please make use of H1 H2 tags, they are there for a reason, search engines will give higher priority to a keyword title that has <h1>my keyword</h1> around it than just a bold title like <b>my keyword</b>
So for your zippy running shoes page make the title
Then add a H2 subheading like so:
<h2>Running shoes for all ages</h2>
So here is an example of a page using proper H1 and H2 tag:
<h2>Running shoes for all ages</h2>
We sell running shoes for all ages, ranging from entry level running shoes to professional shoes…….
For the less experienced people out there who doesn’t know what H1 H2 tags are this is really simple. When you right click on any webpage choose view source code. This will show you the html code behind the web site then just use the simple search function then search H1, if you don’t find any it means you don’t have any and your titles should be converted to H1 H2 tags to increase your keyword importance and the overall theme of your web site
Now that you understand what keywords are and their importance let’s look at keyword priority. Google will not give all keywords the same priority. A keyword at the bottom of the page will have less priority than a keyword in bold on the top left. This makes sense because you would expect someone to put their most important information in the left top corner, this is where people starts reading and this is also where Google starts reading. Remember Google wants to give people what they search for; else people would not use Google. So you have to keep that in mind, make sure Google can see what you are writing about is relevant to what the user was searching.
It’s very simple to remember the following, top left is high priority bottom right is low.
Keywords in the beginning of a document
Google will give keywords in the beginning of the document higher priority. So make sure your H1, H2 tags and your most important information is in the first few lines of the document
Keywords in <alt> tags
Google cannot read images; it would be an impossible task. So how do we optimize. Images for Google so it can read them? Easy… use <alt> tags
When you look at the source code of a well optimized image you will see the following
<img src=”http://www.myimage/image1.jpg” alt=”nike running shoes”>
Google will be able to see that this image is about nike running shoes. had the alt tag been omitted Google would absolutely no idea what the image was about.
Images are important for search engine optimisation Many times users will just search nike running shoes and click Google images to look at picture. If you image comes up and the user clicks it he will go straight to your web site
Keywords in meta tags
Make sure you have meta tags included on your web site They are not that important for search engines anymore but when your results come up in Google or other pages people will see these. And they add to your overall keyword density
Example of a news sites meta tags
<meta name=”keywords” content=”IOL, News, Independent Online, Breaking News, News Online, News Headlines, South Africa News, SA News, Daily News”>
<meta name=”description” content=”South Africa’s Premier Online News Source. Discover the world of IOL, News South Africa, Sport, Business, Financial, World News, Entertainment, Technology, Motoring, Travel, Property, Classifieds and more.”>
Where do I find the meta tags?
Same drill… right click the page, view source code and run a search for <meta
Keyword proximity is exactly what it says, how close are the keywords to one another. So keyword proximity is really related to keyword density. high keyword proximity would equal a high keyword density. good keyword proximity would mean you have related synonyms, keywords and related phrases and concepts of your theme close together. If you over do this you will get penalized for spam. If you under do this the theme will not be picked up by Google as relevant. Refer to keyword density example
This is where the real SEO starts and this is where you make or break your site. Don’t just try to rank for keywords like shoe, sole. yes people search this but people also search ‘where to buy running shoes’ ‘best running shoes in the world’ optimize. for key phrases, because their competition will be lower and people actually do search them. The competition for single keywords are allot higher. you should only really try to rank for single highly searched high competition keywords when you have a high page rank as explained later in this document.
So how would you optimize. your site for a key phrase? Easy, just follow the steps above.
once you are done and you look at the source code using the right click view source code function your code should look something like this:
<title>where to buy running shoes</title>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”buy running shoes, running shoes, shoes “>
<meta name=”description” content=”running shoes in europe uk at affordable prices.”>
<h1>Where to buy running shoes</h1>
<h1>zippy shoes are suppliers of the world’s leading brand of running shoes </h1>
Zippy shoes sell running shoes to for intermediate runners to pro athlete. Our running shoes are made of the best material offering you comfort……….to order your running shoes………….
When optimizing for a primary keyword you would have something like running shoes. a secondary keyword would be something like shoes for running. It’s still related, Google can see that, it helps with keyword density but obviously takes higher priority than running shoes when someone searches running shoes. Secondary keywords are relative to the search term. If you optimize for running shoes then shoes for running would be a secondary keyword. But if someone searches shoes for running, in that scenario it would be a primary keyword and running shoes actually becomes secondary. So make sure your primary keywords have high search volumes but also target secondary keywords with lower competition lower searches, encase your primary keyword doesn’t make it to Google page one you will still get traffic from secondary keywords.
Keyword stemming is an important concept. It is variations of the same keyword. For instance sweet, sweets, sweeties. These are all keywords stemming from sweet. Make use of this concept to increase your keyword density without over using the same keyword
Google is smart enough to understand synonyms, by using these you can increase your themed keyword density without getting banned for spam. An example would be workout and exercise. Google will all put this under the same theme cloud. So a well optimized SEO sentence using synonyms would be:
get a good workout with our exercise programmer
Mistypes used to be such an easy way to get traffic, many people make spelling mistakes and you would be able to target specific traffic by targeting and optimizing for those spelling mistakes. Don’t do this, Google will ban you for spam and your web site will look very cheap with spelling mistakes
keyword dilution is just a concept where you add new un themed content to an already existing article with a high keyword density. this could be useful if you over optimised.
this is the concept where Google will ban you for stuffing just a bunch of keywords into a document. and extreme example would be:
running shoes, running shoes, running shoes! get your running shoes from running shoe store in running shop next to the runners.
Offsite optimisation comprises 80% of any SEO strategy. Offsite optimisation is a collective term that describes the practice where links are built to point to your site. These links are called backlinks. Backlinks increases the Google ranking of your web site Every link that points to your web site counts as a vote. Google uses this practice to determine the importance of your web site because people would only link to a web site from the outside if the web site has important content. Not all backlinks are equal! Every page on the internet has a page ranking. This ranking is determined by the amount of links pointing to the web site If a site has many links pointing to it the site will obtain a higher ranking. A well optimized site will have a Google rank between 5 and 7. If a site with a page rank 5 links to your site it is worth more than 1 000 backlinks from page rank 0 sites. Quantity and Quality of backlinks are therefore important. Well optimized web sites have thousands of high quality backlinks.
Bottom line of offsite SEO. get as many links from other sites pointing to you as possible!!!
Anchor text of inbound links
Make sure you have keywords in the anchor text when you link from an outside site to your own site. This will ensure Google understands the theme and what to expect.
Origin of inbound links
Try to obtain links from sites with high page ranks. Page rank is a concept discovered by Google, it measures the sites content, relevance, domain age, backlinks etc. a high page rank site would have many backlinks. so when site points to you the power of all those backlinks are also funnelled to you. It’s more important to get 10 links from Page rank 4 sites than to get 1000 links from page rank 0 sites. Quality vs. quantity!!
Links from similar sites
When you have a shoe shop its best to link from sites related to that industry such as other shoe shops or runners shops. don’t like from movie sites to your own site if you can find something better. that being said any backlink helps!
Links from .edu and .gov sites
these are important links if you can get them. Google places high priority on these backlinks
Number of backlinks
the more you get the better, the higher the page rank the better. Try to build at least 30 backlinks per month. so post 1 – 5 links every day somewhere. Make sure the places where you post them are do follow link pages else you are wasting your time. where do I find do follow blogs and pages? easy use do follow search engines. where do I find them? easy Google it
Anchor text of internal links
use anchor text on your internal links, this helps to build your site theme
make sure the text around your anchor text is related to the anchor text, this also assist with the site them
Age of inbound links
the older the pages that link to you the better. a site is like a good wine, the older the site the higher Google will value it and in turn a link from such a site will be worth more than a 1 day old backlink
Links from directories
there are thousands of directories online, Google these and build links to your site from them
Number of outgoing links on the page that links to you
try not to link to other people, the fewer links pointing from your site out the better. Every link from your page to another bleeds your page rank to their site. Try getting backlinks to your site not the other way around However if a page rank 5 wants to exchange a link with your page rank 3 site then do it by all means
these help with internal navigation, keyword density and theme
<A href= “#shoes”>Read about shoes </A> and “#shoes” is the named anchor.
IP address of inbound link
if all your backlinks come from the same I.P range or same I.P address that’s no good. try to get backlinks from a variety of I.P addresses all over the world.
Inbound links from link farms and other suspicious sites
don’t use link farms, this is places where everyone links to everyone and there’s just thousands of links everywhere. it’s pretty obvious to spot and pretty obvious why you shouldn’t be involved
Many outgoing links
Limit your links going out to other sites as much as possible!!
Excessive linking, link spamming
Don’t have too many links from the same site pointing to you. this looks spammy and you lose page rank points this way
Outbound links to link farms and other suspicious sites
don’t link to link farms!!
or otherwise known as reciprocal linking. you link to me I link to you, this is not advisable unless the person linking to you has a higher page rank than you
Single pixel links
don’t do this you will get banned for spam. if Google can’t read it then it should be there, never try to fool Google. for every evil thought you have to implement some black hat technique there are 200 engineers trying to catch you out and they will. Keep it honest and put the work in for you to make your site rank well!
Where to get backlinks?
Below is a list of directories, blogs, social bookmaking sites and other sites I have accumulated over the years you can get backlinks from. You can thank me by linking to me:)
Before we look at where to get them have a look at this interesting diagram explaining how many backlinks you need to become page rank 1 -7. When you reach page rank 7 quit your job and work from home!
So now that you know what you are aiming for use the info below to get there:
Where to start getting backlinks?
As your site’s stature grows, you will automatically receive organic back-links from other web masters.
Forums, guest books and comment boxes
Video marketing back-links
Creating free software also a link bait strategy, people will automatically link to you
Post your articles and links to the following directories
You can also post your link to the following web sites (P.S some might not exist when you find this blog so go through them)
Page Rank Web site
USE THESE SEARCH ENGINES TO FIND DO FOLLOW BLOGS and post backlinks on here:
Other ways to get backlinks
viral marketing, build content that people will like and link too spontaneously.
link bait, build free software, games, and other useful tools and info people will like and link to
Google Caffeine is the name of the new web spider that ensures clients receive relevant content without spam. Before 2009 Google only looked at onsite and offsite optimisation but now Google has employed a new important factor in their algorithm called Activity.
Activity is a measurement of the amount of time users spend on the web site and if they are actively clicking on links and participating on the web site Without activity onsite and offsite optimisation becomes futile.
It is therefore important to have all three these factors in place to ensure your web site will rank well in Google.
Final word of advice
What we have explained here forms about 20% of the overall SEO strategy. the other 80% you can only get from hands on experience. the purpose of this blog is not to teach you everything about search engine optimisation but to give you a very brief overview of the basics so you will know how to source the right SEO people in the industry and also for you to have a basic understanding of search engine optimisation Employ search engine optimisation specialists and also understand the work involved. Lower prices is not what you should be looking for, I’m sure you can see by now the work involved, look for companies with portfolios, ranking for high search volume keywords and companies that adhere to all the laws and advice I have outlined in the SEO bible
I hope you enjoyed this article and that you have gained some insights into the world of search engine optimisation and online marketing.