Optimized Pages

Best Guideline on Optimizing Page

Many people would like to optimize their pages and websites but they do not know where to start or what to do. There is a lot of information about on-page optimization and this can be very scary, seeming like an uphill task. The following are some of the factors you should look into when considering optimization for your page.

Keyword Usage

Keywords are essential. They allow the search engine to have a rough idea of exactly what your page is about. However, using keywords randomly will not be effective. Instead, you should ensure that your keyword appears on the title and in at least one of the subtitles. If possible, the keyword should start off the title or at least be as close to the beginning as possible. In addition to this, your keyword needs to appear in the first 100 words of your content.

Keyword density is another factor. It is best to have the density at around 1-3% so that the page is not over optimized. Do not forget that this will factor into the website’s rankings as well. Heavy keyword usage sends search engines the signal that your site is spammy.

Titles and Subtitles

You should wrap your main title in h1 tag. This is the proper SEO structure and will help you rank higher. It is also important to have subheadings that are wrapped in h2, h3 and h4 tags respectively depending on the number of subheadings that you have. Wrapping your titles in the proper tags optimizes your page. While titles and subtitles help with optimization, they also help to increase the time that visitors spend on your time. A logical flow of information with appropriate sections is easy to read and internalize.

Backlinks

Backlinks are pivotal in SEO strategies. With the right backlinks, you can boost your rankings and optimize your page well. Backlink number is not important. Backlink quality is what is important. If you have backlinks from authority sites, then you are doing well for your page. On the other hand, it is important to avoid backlinks from spammy and sketchy sites as it will reflect badly in your link profile. This can easily lead to a penalty from search engines such as Google. Keep your backlink profile clean for higher optimization.

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Use Multimedia

Instead of focusing on words only, include multimedia such as photographs and videos on your page. This is important because it diversifies your content. Visitors also stay longer on your page which generally increases the time spent on the page and the likelihood of visiting the page again. This reflects positively on search engines and leads to higher rankings as well.

Conclusion

These are not the only factors to be considered when you are working on optimizing your page for higher rankings. However, they are some of the basic and most important factors that you should consider. They hold considerable weight in search engine rankings and should therefore be utilized properly before you can move onto other factors.

Anchor Text

Anchor Text in SEO

If you want your website and page to rank highly on various search engines, it is important to know the different factors that search engines such as Google consider when ranking. With this information, you can then work on your SEO strategy in order to come up with something that will help you rank higher and increase your traffic. One of the integral factors in SEO is anchor text.

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is the clickable text in a link. It is often in blue and underlines but this can be changed through HTML. The clickable part of the hyperlink leads you to the linked website or page. There are various types of anchor texts that are considered in SEO by search engines.

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Types of Anchor Texts

These include:

  • Naked Text:

This is an anchor text that contains the exact URL of the site and page you are linking to. For example, the anchor text would be ‘www.cheapshoes.com’ if that was the name of the site you are linking to.

  • Branded Text:

A branded anchor text is one which is the name of a brand. For those who have branded domains such as moz.com, the anchor text would be ‘Moz’ as it is a brand. This type of anchor text holds more weight than its counterparts

  • Generic:

The generic anchor text, as the name suggests, is general. It is usually a call to action and uses phrases such as ‘click here’, ‘read more’ and ‘go here’. Using generic anchor texts is safe because you reduce the chances of over-optimizing your page or website.

  • Exact Match:

Exact match anchor texts contain the keyword that you are optimizing for the page. These should be used carefully because it is very easy to over-optimize your page and get penalized for the same. They should be used only when it is absolutely necessary.

  • Partial Match

Partial match anchor texts, on the other hand, contain LSI keywords and other versions or forms of the keyword. They are not as volatile as the exact match keywords but should also be used sparingly.

Anchor Text Density

Now that you know what anchor text is and the different types of anchor texts that you can use in your site, you must consider how to use each of the texts. With Google’s Penguin algorithm, you can easily be penalized for over-optimizing your page as it appears spammy on the program. You need to balance out the types of anchor texts that you use. The best way to do this is not to randomly place these anchor texts but to have an anchor text strategy sheet. It can be as simple as an excel workbook. This way, you can include more of generic and brand anchor texts, capitalize on the partial match anchor texts and only use exact match anchor texts when necessary and for weighty links such as from authority sites.

At the end of the day, keeping track of the anchor text density will be beneficial for on-page ranking as well as site-wide ranking. It will help you avoid penalization.

 

Backlinks

Using Backlinks for Higher Rankings

Google and other search engines use certain factors to rank pages and sites. If you want to rank high in the search page results, then you must have these factors in check. One of the most important factors is backlinks. With the right backlinks, you can boost your rankings significantly.

What are Backlinks?

Backlinks are links from or to other websites. Once there is a link on another website leading to your website, this is known as a backlink. When someone links to your site then they send you what is known as ‘link juice’. Ideally, backlinks help to tell a search engine what your content is about. They also help to signal search engine that you actually have quality content. For a long time it did not matter what type of backlink you had. Your website and pages ranked highly based on the amount of backlinks you got. However, Google, through the Penguin algorithm, has since curbed this menace and streamlined the process of using backlinks to boost ranking.

Advantages of Backlinks

Once you have backlinks, they can be beneficial to your page and website in the following ways:

  • Faster indexing: Backlinks encourage bots to visit and scour your site. By hastening this process, the backlinks allow you to be indexed on search engines
  • Referral traffic: With backlinks, visitors are sent to your site and this generates traffic for your site. You have more people visiting the site which is a boost in the traffic
  • Organic ranking: Backlinks allow you to enjoy organic ranking. The more the backlinks from different related sites, the higher you will rank organically in search engine results

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How to Get Backlinks

It is also important to know how to get quality backlinks. In this day and age, you cannot afford to increase the number of backlinks without focusing on the quality of those backlinks. High quality backlinks are those that come from related sites which also have similar content to what you have to offer on your site. If you end up with unrelated backlinks, the search engine sees your site as spammy and this will hurt your domain credibility.

How then do you get quality backlinks?

  • Submit to web directories: One of the sure ways of getting backlinks is to submit to web directories. This is simple and straightforward with little chances of getting weak links.
  • Comment: Visit other web pages and websites and leave a comment. The no-follow links do not pass over link juice. However, you can comment appropriately and leave a link to your site. Having standard and automatic commenting is a terrible idea as Google will mark your site as spammy and weaken your domain credibility.
  1. Write good content: The secret to high quality backlinks is to generate high quality, well-researched, targeted content. with great content, people will automatically link to your website without the need to pay for links

Conclusion

Backlinks are an integral part of search engine optimization. With the information about their importance and how you can get quality backlinks from authority sites, you can create a better and more effective backlink strategy for your website.

Keywords

Maximizing Keyword Use in SEO

Keywords are the backbone of search engine result page rankings. It is impossible to talk about search engine optimization and not dwell on keywords. It is important to know what they are and how to use them effectively in boosting your site-wide as well as on-page rankings.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are the words that online users use on the search bar whenever they are looking for content. In fact, the only way you can search for something on Google is by using keywords. It so happens that there are other people like you all over the world who are also using the same words to look for what you are looking for. So, whether it is ‘car’ or ‘vintage convertible cars’, these search terms are instrumental in the search process.

Importance of Keywords

Keywords are important in SEO. They help to signal search engines about the type of content that you are churning out. These keywords are also important because they help readers and visitors to find your page or your website in the midst of everything that is available online. To go a step further, optimizing your page and website for certain keywords will help you to rank higher in search engine results that are related to what you have to offer. This ultimately boosts your traffic as well.

Types of Keywords

There are two main types of keywords. These are:

  • Short-Tail Keywords

These keywords are short and brief. ‘Car’, ‘sofa’, ‘clothes’ and ‘shoes’ are all keywords. They are short and to the point. However, they can also be very vague as you cannot point out exactly what someone is looking for from just one vague and general word. If the search is on ‘shoes’ the person could be looking for cheap or affordable shoes, designer shoes, shoes on sale or any other thing. While these keywords boost your traffic, they are also highly competitive and might not serve the purpose as there are bigger ‘giants’ out there who have already optimized for the keyword. A good example is Clarks. It would be hard to compete with such a company when optimizing for ‘shoes.’

  • Long-Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are much longer and more specific than short tail keywords. In the example above, instead of optimizing for ‘shoes,’ the long tail keyword would opt for a more specific description such as ‘cheap shoes in Miami’. It might be counter-intuitive to optimize for long tail keywords but it is actually a smart move. They are less competitive and thus easier to use in boosting rankings.

Using Keywords

You cannot use keywords in isolation. You must also consider the type of content that you have on your site. In this case, you have two options. You can either do a research to find out which keyword is most popular with your target demographic then center your content around the keyword. The second option is to come up with content and then find keywords that naturally fit in. the latter is a more effective move as it allows you to optimize for keywords and still attract visitors with high quality content.

Is Search Engine Submission Necessary?

Is Search Engine Submission Necessary?

The simple answer is no – search engine submission isn’t necessary. The majority of search engines nowadays (most notably Google) crawl and index pages by following links. Using that logic, a single inbound link from any already-indexed page will identify your page to the engine. Subsequently, if that page links to other pages within your site, they will also be indexed… and so on.

For this reason, inbound linking is very important. In fact, acquiring back-links may be the most important of SEO. In theory though, a website owner shouldn’t have to ’scout’ or ‘hunt’ for links. If the presented content is of interest, useful, and/or important, there is a natural tendency among web users to link to information. This is the basis for the Google PageRank algorithm.

With all due respect, submitting your site to the search engines can’t hurt. Plus, it only entails about 5 minutes of added work assuming you only submit to the big guys. And once is enough… you don’t need to submit your site more than once. It doesn’t help or get your site crawled any quicker or more often.

It should be noted that submitting your site to Google, Yahoo, MSN, and many others doesn’t cost a fee. Many SEO companies assert that you need to pay to be indexed. This isn’t the case and I would stay away from these companies. They are money hungry and aren’t looking out for your best interest.

Would you ever consider going on a vacation across the country without bringing a map? It is hard enough to find your way in some places with a map. How hard would it be if you tried this adventure without one? Yet, this is exactly what people do every single day in the online world. They tried to build their own businesses online without having a roadmap to success. Then, after months or years of just wandering around online, they give up in frustration and quit. They walk away saying that the Internet doesn’t work for them. The reason it didn’t work is that they didn’t pick up a map and follow it!

You don’t have to end up lost in the online shuffle. Below I will give you ten steps to help you map out your course and get you started in the right direction. It isn’t everything that you need to know by any stretch of the imagination, but it will give you a basic foundation to build upon.

Consider it your beginner’s map to Internet marketing profits.

1. Choose a targeted market

The biggest mistake most people make when starting a business is that they choose a product and then try to find people who want to buy it. If that is the direction you are starting from on your journey, then you are going the opposite direction from your destination. Wise businesses operate from a different concept. They pick a market first, and then they pick a product those people are searching for. In other words, instead of trying to find leads to sell their product to, they find targeted leads and then ask them what they are wanting to buy.

Don’t even consider starting a business until you know exactly where you are going to get your leads from. Think targeted customers first. Then, you can come up with a product for those individuals. Would you rather have 1,000 hits a day at your site of a general audience OR 10 hits a day of people who are desperate and willing to pay any price to buy your products? If you are smart, you will choose the people who are ready to buy!

2. Develop a Product

Next, you need to develop a product or service for this market. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon of affiliate programs when you come to this step. There are three major ways to selling a product online:

a. You create your own exclusive product.

This is the best opportunity you have. If you develop your own product, you can pick it’s price, sell reprint rights to others, set up an affiliate program, etc. Don’t tell me you can’t do this. Tens of thousands of innovative entrepreneurs have used their own information products to get their careers started. You can to.

Throughout your life, I am sure that there is something you have learned that you can share in a How-To product. Maybe you know someone else who has the right knowledge for a How-To product and you could offer to help them create a product if you both shared the rights to it. Don’t just jump past this opportunity and say it can’t be done.

b. You buy the rights to a product or you JV for an offline product.

You can buy the rights to successful products for $500 – $20,000. If someone else has created a product that you know your targeted market is interested in, offer them a large up-front fee for the rights to it. This way you can get your own product and never have to pay a penny in royalties. You can also search through magazines your targeted market reads and look for products people are selling. Then, give them a call and ask for the exclusive Internet rights to their product for a certain percentage of the profits or an up-front fee.

c. You join an affiliate program.

If you are just starting out online, this can be a good choice. You do have to keep in mind though that it doesn’t offer quite the profit potential that creating your own product or obtaining rights to one has.When choosing an affiliate program, make sure that it is something your targeted market cannot be without. They absolutely have to have it. Also pay special attention to the profits you receive from each sale.

If you are only be paid 5% commissions on the sales of $10 books, you will only be making 50 cents per customer. It would take 2,000 customers just to product $1,000 in profits. You cannot make money like this online! Look for higher priced products and higher commissions…especially commissions in the 25% or higher range.

3. Create a USP

Create a Unique Selling Position for your product or service. Too many companies are just trying to be me-too companies online. You cannot be just like the next guy and expect to make a profit in a global economy. Just going to the next guy’s web site to order is too easy for your customers.

You have to create a Uniqueness to your product or offer. What can you offer that no one else can? Can you offer better guarantees, better customer service, more technical support, faster shipping, or lower prices. Think of something that will set you apart from all of your online competitors and tell in complete detail what it is.

4. Pick a Domain Name and Hosting Service

The next step is to pick a domain name that describes your company, USP, and offer. Try to keep them as short and descriptive about your business as possible. Avoid using dashes or misspellings of your product. Both of these things will cause people to leave out part of your domain if they type it in. Someone else will be getting free traffic that you worked hard to obtain.

For hosting, I personally choose to use Virtualis since they have the Fastest customer service and technical support in the industry. Test them out. They will respond to you within the hour…anytime 24 hours a day. No other company I have ever been with has even come close!

5. Develop a Customer Friendly Site

The next step in the process is to develop your web site and put it up for the world to see. If you are planning to own a full-time Internet business, I recommend that you learn how to design the site yourself using one of dozens of programs which are readily available at any software store.

You will save so much money if you can do the work yourself on just the editing alone as your site grows. If your main business is offline and you are just adding a secondary income, then you may want to consider having a professional do your site for you.

When designing your site, keep the customer in mind always. Provide order forms for online credit card orders. Make all of the links easy to understand. Try to keep your site simple. Think like a customer, not the business owner.

Your customers are not nearly as interested in your business as you are. Make sure to put the benefits of your site and your USP right on top of the site. More than half of the web surfers never drop down past the first screen full of information. So, you have to give them the information they need as quickly as possible. The rules for any type of business are Benefits, Benefits, and more Benefits.

6. Offer a Freebie

One of the major keys to developing traffic and sales at your site is to always offer some type of freebie as a drawing factor. For example, I offer dozens of free reports, weather reports, news, and more. My greatest drawing factor throughout the past 8 months though has been the two free e-books which we offer on our site to people who subscribe to this newsletter.

You need to come up with a freebie no matter what type of business you are in. Create a free report and give it away. Add in a message board or some other type of CGI program on your site. Give a free demo of your software. Create something that you can give away for free on your site to draw in the visitors.

7. Start Your Own Opt-In List

Almost every full-time Internet marketer I know has developed their own Opt-in email list of some type. For most of them, it is a weekly newsletter they send out by email. For others, it may be a Tip of the Day. Other people might just have a list that they send out important updates to.

No matter what you choose to do, odds will be on your side if you concentrate on building a list of loyal email subscribers. Very rarely do customers purchase from you the first time they visit your site. Most of them will get on your list, hang out for a few weeks or months, and then they buy from you. They have to get to know you before they are willing to spend their money with you.

I have found that the most effective leads come from offline advertising. For example, you could purchase ads in a popular targeted magazine for your business. You could also purchase a postcard in one of the card decks. Start up a co-op and get 10 other people to advertise with you and run your own ads for free. Offline leads which come to your site often turn out to contain a much higher percentage of buyers than any of the online advertising methods.
Once you put our short 10 step outline together you have a basic map to creating your own Internet success story. You wouldn’t consider going on a trip without a map. So don’t try to go it alone online without a map.
Terry Dean’s Brand New Fr-e eBook, “10 Quick and Easy Ways to Increase Profits to ANY Web Site Overnight!” Reveals More Time Tested Proven Internet Marketing Secrets Than 99% of the Paid Products Available…Showing You Step-By-Step How to Increase Your Traffic, Drop Your Expenses, and Drive Your Profits Through the Roof

Can Any Inbound Linking Hurt My Ranking?

Can Any Inbound Linking Hurt My Ranking?

The answer is simple – inbound linking cannot hurt your search ranking. How is this known for certain? Well, for one, if inbound were to hurt your rank, your competitors would continually link to your site from link farms. Such a scenario is beyond your control. For this reason, Google cannot penalize your site for any inbound linking.

On the other hand, you can be penalized for illegitimate external linking. It is highly advised that you not link to any website or group of sites that may be involved in shady or unethical search practices. Doing so could result in being black-listed by Google, ultimately ruining your SEO strategy. Avoid this situation at all costs and ensure that all external links point to trusted and reliable sources.

Having been involved in the internet industry for a large part of my working life, I have spent a lot of time researching and browsing the internet and reading websites, mainly for client design research, but also for occasional personal use. The one thing that I find most disappointing, is the apparent lack of thought going into website creation and it’s purpose, which in turn creates a missed opportunity for many e-businesses to become successful.

My personal perspective on e-businesses and their websites, is that if they don’t take pride in their websites and show to their customers a passion for what they do, chances are, they won’t take pride in their products, and the passion for providing good customer service will also be missing.

What you must remember, is that your web site is a direct reflection of you and your business. The appearance of your site is the most important factor in determining your potential success rate. In short, if your site doesn’t look professional or pleasing to the eyes at first glance, the majority of people will assume your products and/or services to be of similar poor standard.

At the other end of the scale, you could fall into the trap of going overboard with the design and over complicate things with incorporating high costing flashy graphics. You may end up with a great looking and highly aesthetic web site, but the danger with this is that your site may prove unreliable and at times may take too long to load. There is nothing worse for a customer than trying to visit a slow loading site, and most will close the browser window in complete frustration. As i’m sure you will be able to work out, this will ultimately cost you business.

The other major consideration (if not the most important) when designing a website is your content. Not just links, but content with passion, relativity, and understanding to the customer. When someone is searching for something in particular and they visit your web site, they’re visiting for a reason. Your site has something they want, Whether this be your product, service, and/or information. If they are unable to obtain what they’re looking for, they move on to the next site and so on. To be able to get your visitors to stay and look around your website, you must give them a reason to. Providing them with quality content will achieve this goal.

There have been countless other lists and articles on the subject of website designing mistakes, but I have compiled my own list, from a designer’s perspective, of some pitfalls to look out for when considering either designing a website or purchasing a template. Remember that the simple, clear, informative and well designed sites are the most successful. If you are a current e-business and your sales aren’t what you had hoped, consider the above and take some time to look openly and honestly at your site. Spending money on improving your website is a much better investment than throwing money away on trying to advertise and market a site that just isn’t good enough to sell your product or services.

If you are looking for a template or a custom designed website, be aware of the above and be prepared to ask your chosen designer or template provider questions to ensure that your hard earned money doesn’t go to waste on an inferior design, which contains any of the above. Asking questions won’t cost you a penny, and in doing so could actually save you a lot of money over the long term. Getting your website right first time is vital in terms of saving money and time. The earlier your website is up and running properly, the quicker you will be able to reap the rewards of a successful e-business.

The prime mistake Newbies make is to put their website name into the Anchor Text. Unless your website contains your keywords this is a waste of a perfectly good link. Remember that Google puts a very big importance on those Anchor texts and they should always use your keywords.

The second mistake is trying to put every single keyword into your anchor text and give that to everyone. There are two mistakes with this technique. 1.) Google assigns weight to each word in anchor text so if there are a lot of filler words (common in long sentences), they will “dilute” your target words.

According to two recent surveys, conducted by Forrester Research and Gartner Group, ecommerce sites are losing $1.1 to $1.3 billion in revenue each year due to customers click- away caused by slow loading sites. If a page takes too long to load, your potential customer will not wait. Ultimately costing you business.

Make sure you include proper META tags in the HTML of each page of your web site. META tags are HTML code that enable the search engines to determine what keywords are relevant to a specific site. About 80 percent of all web site traffic originates from the eight major search engines. It would be a good idea to make sure you’ve done your homework and fully understand how to optimize your web pages prior to designing your site. This will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. For further information on META tags read the tutorial entitled, “Building Your Site.”

Be cautious when selecting your background and text colors. Busy backgrounds make text difficult to read and draw the attention away from the text. Always be consistent with your background theme on each page of your site. Your site should be nicely organized and uniform throughout. Keep in mind, colors affect your mood and will have an affect on your visitors as well. Bright colors such as yellow and orange, cause you to become more cheerful or happy, while colors such as blue and purple have a calming effect. Dark colors such as brown and black have a depressing effect. A good rule of thumb would be to use colors based upon the type of effect you’re trying to achieve.

Your main page should specifically let your visitors know exactly what you’re offering. How many times have you visited a site and never figured out exactly what they were selling? If your potential customer can’t find your product or service, they definitely won’t waste a lot of time looking for it. They’ll go on to the next site and probably never return. They’re visiting your site for a specific purpose. They want something your site offers. Whether it is information, a product or service.

Design your site to be easily navigated. Place your navigation links together at the top, bottom, left or right side of the page. Use tables to neatly align your links. If you are planning on using graphic buttons to navigate your site, keep in mind that with each graphic you add to your page, it will take that much longer for your page to load. If you only have a handful of navigational links, using graphic buttons will be fine. If you have over six links, it would be wise to simply use text links to keep your load time down.

If you must use frames, use them sparingly. Frames, if not properly used, can make your site look unprofessional. Avoid making your visitors have to scroll from side to side to view your content. This can be very irritating and cause your visitors to leave. If you must use frames, offer your visitors a choice. Frames verses No Frames. Try to keep the number of clicks required to get from your main page to any other page on your site down to four. Keep in mind, your visitors may enter your site from pages other than your main. Always have good navigational links on every page and place your company logo on each page.

Design a quality e-book to give to your visitors. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. If you can create a web page, you can create an e-book. The focus of your e-book should compliment your web site. Simply write about your passion. If your passion is sales, then you could share some of your knowledge and experience by designing your e-book to provide a complete sales training guide. If your passion is home based business, you could write an e-book about how to start your own home based business. If you’re writing about your true passion then you shouldn’t have any trouble coming up with something to write about. For further information on e-books, read the article entitled, “How to Create an E-book and Drive Massive Traffic to Your Site by Giving It Away.”

Having been involved in the internet industry for a large part of my working life, I have spent a lot of time researching and browsing the internet and reading websites, mainly for client design research, but also for occasional personal use. The one thing that I find most disappointing, is the apparent lack of thought going into website creation and it’s purpose, which in turn creates a missed opportunity for many e-businesses to become successful.

The Importance of Anchor Text in Back-links

The Importance of Anchor Text in Back-links

The importance of anchor text with respect to a linking strategy cannot be overstated. Back-links are a huge part of the search engine algorithm. When initiating a linking campaign, it is vital that external sites link using the appropriate keywords and terms in the anchor text.

Almost always, linking candidates will use the company name as anchor text. This does not provide any type of description of the target company’s products or services. Sure, it may be great for branding purposes, but it isn’t usually needed. In most cases, companies already rank very high (if not first) for searches that incorporate their brand.

Here is an example using fictional company “Acme Plumbing Supplies”:

Most people will link simply using the terms “Acme”. This is alright, but it does not describe the company’s products or services, nor provide any context. By adding the word “plumbing” or term “plumbing supplies” (i.e. “Acme Plumbing” or “Acme Plumbing Supplies”), you may be able to drive additional traffic that may not have otherwise attained the corporate site.

Absolute Links vs. Relative Links – SEO Value

Absolute Links vs. Relative Links – SEO Value

The debate between absolute links and relative links continues to live on in the SEO world. The individual significance of each has been contested, but it is widely regarded that absolute links provide better SEO value on the whole than relative links.

Many believe that absolute links have less potential for getting messed up when search engines index your page. It shouldn’t really make a difference, but many conclude that this is reason enough.

Furthermore, content scrapers and RSS services may ‘repurpose’ your content legitimately (or not). In either case, shouldn’t a proper back-link be attributed to your site? This situation favours absolute links. Although this is a minor argument, it’s still worth considering.

Incorporation of Company Branding and SEO

Incorporation of Company Branding and SEO

SEO is not an exact science. This becomes apparent when trying to incorporate both SEO and branding into a strategy. This process is finicky to say the least. On the one side, SEO deals with the placement of keywords and phrases. On the other side, branding deals with company loyalty and culture. Incorporating both sides dilutes the prominence of both. But eliminating one or the other may not meet all strategic and marketing goals.

Once again, it should be emphasized that SEO is a series of guidelines rather than an exact science. Having said that, the following recommendation can be used to satisfy both sides of the equation. In general, keywords and phrases (i.e. SEO) should remain the focus of any early-stage company, while the incorporation of company branding should appear later in the evolution. This is simply a general statement and should not be taken word for word.

The reasoning is pretty straightforward. At first, no-one knows the name of your company, but perhaps they are searching for your products or services. In other words, you want to target keywords and phrases that focus around your offering rather than your company. As you build loyalty and credibility, branding becomes more important. It’s at this point that you may want to incorporate corporate messaging to strengthen the relationship with customers and instill trust in your brand.

One final thought about branding: if a searcher types in the name of your company, they are likely to find your website anyways. This is due mostly to anchor text and back-links. Therefore, optimizing for the company name is rather insignificant in most cases.

Strategic Use of Images in Search Engine Optimization

Strategic Use of Images in Search Engine Optimization

When assessing page structure and layout, there is a subtle, yet strategic way to use images in an SEO-friendly manner (beyond ALT tags) that improves your search rank while allowing you to integrate the necessary marketing message(s). Confused? Let’s look at an example:

Suppose you operate a travel site and you want to optimize a given page for the term “Las Vegas hotel”. Suppose that you also want to include an enticing marketing message such as “Book now and save 20%!”. The aforementioned tagline lacks descriptive text, but possesses persuasive characteristics. That being said, you may want to place the tagline in an image and the key phrase (i.e. Las Vegas hotel) in a header tag. This places emphasis on the desired term, yet still provides a marketing opportunity without compromising keyword consistency.

In other words, images are a great place to insert marketing messages that lack the necessary keywords and phrases. Leveraging this technique will ensure that descriptive text is indexed, while less marketing jargon is overlooked. The combination of keyword-rich content and enticing messaging will satisfy both sides of the strategic equation.

Google now discounts all reciprocal links

Google now discounts all reciprocal links

For a long time, reciprocal links have remained at the forefront of most inbound linking strategies. This is going to have to change. Google now discounts all reciprocal links. The algorithm has been altered to identify the exchange of links by two parties for the purpose of increasing their number of inbound links.

The concept of reciprocal linking defies Google’s original intention with the algorithm. Quality content should attract links. The exchange of links is nothing more than a mutual agreement to unjustifiably promote others’ content with the end goal of promoting your own. Google doesn’t particularly like this (see Link Schemes).

Some even claim that Google is now able to identify three-way linking schemes (i.e. website A links to website B, who links to website C, who links back to A). Whether this is true or not is hard to say. One thing is for certain though: inbound linking strategies should NOT be centered around reciprocal linking. This manufactured form of link creation is not well-received and is ultimately a waste of time. Instead, focus on creating unique, high-quality content in a given niche. The links will ensue.