Archive for March, 2011

The Secret Uses of Links for SEO

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One of the safest methods of link building is to build natural one-way links.

This method is based solely on great content and resources. Search Engines look at the “intent” of links to your website, and by focussing on this method, your site will meet the SE requirements without a doubt.  However, it is also considered to be the slowest method.  Initially, when your site is new, you might want to consider launching it by submitting  it to niche web directories. Begin submitting to a few highly trusted directories, but try not have more than 10% of your overall links originating from them. Additionally, don’t ignore industry-specific directories that may be paid or unpaid. These directories usually send highly qualified traffic and can be a real bargain. Directories will get your site many natural one-way links, at a natural speed of growth. This combination of speed and type is quite beneficial. Specifically look for directory sites that would benefit from offering users your content.

Linkbaiting refers to content, images, videos, or anything on your site that is created with the intention of increasing links to it. This method is not easy, and involves a bit of creativity. But it can be worth every effort.It is probably the cheapest and most effective way of getting links, based on the cost of the “bait” you use. It  has no negative effects from the search engines, at least not for the moment, since all links generated look natural. When coupled with social bookmarking, the networks associated with these links will add even more value to them.

Potentially, paying for links or paid links can have great short-term search benefits. Essentially, these links mainly benefit sites that have tons of pages with content, and have been well established online for years. Additionally, these sites also have tons of natural links to them, because they had been well established online for years. These links are not recommended for new sites. Invest some extra time and search for sites that are highly on topic with yours, and in complementary niches. Age is another very important factor in the evaluation of these links. In the latest google slap event, sites that engaged in heavy link buying practices lost their positions and were dropped past the top 30 in the listings.

The effect of “bad links” on your website should also be of concern.  Outbound links play a big role in the way search engines define your “neighborhood”. Bad neighborhoods will affect your search engine rankings, for example, things like FFA (Free For All) link pages, links farms, etc, fall in this category. Note that this has nothing to do with your web pages going into the supplemental index. Rather, it is the volume of bad links that is the problem, Especially if the large volume of links forms a pattern which is totally unrelated to your site.

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SEO

Search Engine Optimisation

Simply put: Traffic drives results.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of making webpages more visible to the search engines.  In this series of SEO articles, I will discuss the various aspects of SEO that go a long way to show beginners the necessities of properly organised website content.  A properly optimised website will increase visits to your site and drive results, making you more money online. SEO optimisation is an essential requirement in online marketing and without it, your websites will slide further down the rankings.  Not only that, various directories focus on key elements of  websites and the summarised data makes data collating easier and that in turn speeds up analysis.

When optimizing your site for the search engines, you should improve what is called your “on page” SEO as well as your “off page” SEO. On page SEO includes those things that can be done to your web pages to enhance their ability to rank for a particular set of terms and off page SEO (aka offsite SEO) are the techniques, like link building, that are done elsewhere.

Here are five important website factors that may affect your on page SEO:

Website Design/Coding

You may be surprised to see “web design” included in this list but it really can affect your Search Engine Optimization efforts.

This is how:

•    Your design should look great so as to keep your visitors on your site as long as possible . (this improves what is called, “visit duration.”)
•    Well coded sites should conform with the W3C guidelines and  could easily be checked with the W3C validation tool.
•    Your images and coding should be optimized to be as “light” as possible. This will improve your “page load speed” and this is good for both SEO and human visitors… no one likes to needlessly wait.

Meta Title
Your “meta title” information is added to the page source (i.e. your website coding) and is displayed to visitors in the topmost portion of the browser window.  Generally speaking, your meta title should include the two-to-three keyword phrases you are optimizing the page for and be kept relatively short (i.e. about 60-80 characters max).
Meta Page Description
How much your meta page descriptions affect your SEO is up for debate but there are other benefits to writing a good meta page description as well.
As a general rule, I suggest that your meta page description read well, contain the primary keyword phrase you are targeting and be kept to no more than 156 characters, including spaces.
Most of the time, the search engines will use your meta page description text when creating your search engine listing. The more exciting the text is, the better your chances of “getting the click.”
On Page Content
There is a popular saying in Internet Marketing circles that “Content is King”, but that is not entirely correct. Poorly written content, or content that is “stuffed” with keywords will do much more harm than good. For best results, your on page content should be well-written and unique to your site. It should also be tightly focused around the 2-3 keyword phrases you are optimizing for. That’s not to say that you should repeat your keyword phrases over and over, but that each page’s content be more focused than broad.
Your Web Page URL
If at all possible, it’s best to see that your urls include your primary keyword phrase. For example, if you were targeting the term, “seo expert,”  it would be best if the url were something like: domain.com/seo-expert.  As your url now includes the phrase, “seo expert,” you help the search engines better understand the relevance of your page’s content.

Want To Know More?

I recently came across a great site that offers free SEO training.  Well worth a visit if you want to optimise your website and drive up your profits.

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