Thursday, May 26, 2016

SEO Techniques For Beginners (2)

How to erally approach SEO and how to begin your word resrch.

As a quick reminder it’s best to think of SEO as part of your marketing. Sometimes it will make sense to do something that doesn’t help your SEO efforts and perhaps even hurts them a bit, because it helps your overall marketing. Remember – it’s about the big picture. You don’t want to get lost in the details.
Also keep in mind that the words you target set the stage for everything else. Pages don’t just rank. They rank for specific queries or word phrases. Your choice in words should be focused on what ultimately provides the most benefit for your business. Targeting a word like “free” may bring lots of traffic, but that traffic won’t be looking to spend any money.
With the above in mind let’s look at some of the things we can and should do when developing our site. Let’s begin by making sure srch engines can find out pages.

2. Srch Engine Friendly Web DevelopmentDuplied ContentsSrch engines don’t want the same content littering their results. It makes no sense for them to present the exact same page multiple times for the same query. Unfortunately most content management systems crte multiple URLs for accessing the same content. egories, tags, and srch results all ld to the same content being found through multiple URLs.
You might want to block some of the URLs from being indexed though a robots.txt file, or through the use of the meta robots tag (use noindex, follow so links on the page can still be crawled) or use 301 (permanent) redirection to point the duplie URLs to your URL of choice. If you allow srch engines to decide which URL to index it may not be the one you prefer. The canonical attribute on link tags is another option to help srch engines determine which URL is the one you want indexed
You also want to make sure that every page on your site has unique content. Many ecommerce sites will have very thin product information. For example one product might come in several different sizes and ch size gets its own page. The content on those pages will likely be exactly the same with the exception of the different sizes. Srch engines are not likely to rank all of those pages. They’ll choose one. Better would be to crte a single page and allow for a choice of size on that page. If ch size must have it’s own page rewrite some of the content to incrse the percentage of uniqueness on ch.
Canonical URL & Duplied ContentsCanonical URLs (different than the canonical attribute mentioned above, but the same basic concept) are another example of duplie content. Canonical URLs are a fancy way of saying multiple URLs can ld to the same page. Your home page might be accessed via: are 4 different pages in the eyes of srch engines and again only one will be indexed. Just as important are the links pointing into those pages. Say one site links to and another links to You might think that mns your home page has 2 links pointing to it. Nope. From the perspective of a srch engine that’s 1 link pointing to ch of 2 different pages. You’ve effectively cut in half the benefit of those links.
If your server runs Apache with mod_rewrite enabled (More than likely it does), you can add the following to your .htaccess file to correct the canonical issue between www and non www versions of your domain. If not, don’t worry. There are a variety of ways to rewrite URLs. One point is that the rewrite should be a 301 or permanent redirect. You want to tell srch engines this content over here should always be seen on that URL over there.
view plaincopy to clipboardprint?RewriteEngineOnRewriteCond%{HTTP_HOST}^yourdomain.comRewriteRule(.*)$1[R=301,L]Srch Friendly URLsWhich of the following URLs tells you more about the content you’ll find on the page? first tells you absolutely nothing about the page content, the second clrly tells you the content will be a page showing baseball statistics of some kind. That’s much more usable to rl people as well as srch engines. It helps srch engines identify what the page is about, makes use of words, and is sier to crawl.
Note: Srch engines can crawl dynamic URLs fine. However too many parameters can trip them up, especially when those parameters include session IDs. If you need to include parameters in your URLs try to limit how many. 2 or 3 are ok, a dozen could cause crawling issues.
Notice in the second URL above that words have been used in file and folder names. You don’t want to stuff words in there, but using them as above revls a lot of information about your site and reinforces word themes. If your statistics page and your tms page and your players page all link back up to the main baseball page it helps reinforce the word theme baseball throughout that section. Assuming you also have sections for football and basketball and hoc all linking back up to your main page it further helps reinforce the word theme .
The id of crting these word themes is a concept known as theming or siloing.
5 More Tips..Be found.
The most important aspect of building a srch friendly site is to make sure your content can be found and indexed. If your pages aren’t indexed they can’t appr in srch results. Your first goal should be to prevent roadblocks to getting crawled and indexed. Build sites that are accessible and usable. The same principles you would follow for accessibility and usability will remove the roadblocks for srch engine spiders.
Avoid Flash, Javascripts.
Srch engines are better at crawling text than anything else. Avoid Flash, javascript, and s for the navigation of your site. Progress has been made in crawling ch, but best practice still suggest coding links as straight html. If your design calls for Flash or Javascript in your main navigation then provide another navigational system for srch spiders.
HTML Sitemap.
You can also help srch engines find your content through html sitemaps. That’s HTML, not XML. XML sitemaps are mnt to be a backup in case you’ve presented some roadblocks to being crawled. Crte an html sitemap and link to it from your home page at the very lst and even better from all pages on your site. It’s sy enough to add a link to your sitemap in the secondary navigation you might add to your footer.
Valid .
Develop with cln valid . Srch engines don’t rlly care if your is valid. In fact none of the 4 major srch engines have home pages that validate. However since some coding errors can be show stoppers to getting crawled it’s in your best interest to write valid . Srch engines are mainly interested in your content and while they have little problems finding your content inside your , the less you make them wade through the better.
Speed does matters.
Speed is now also a ranking factor, at lst at Google. Use CSS over <table>, move CSS and Javascripts to external files. Keep html file sizes as small as possible. Use gzip compression. Minify files. While it’s likely a minor factor, anything you can do to speed up your site will help your rankings with Google and probably the other engines in the not to distant future.
Some other thoughts about srch friendly site development:
Semantic coding can revl information about your pages and site to any appliion that understands the semantics. Srch engines are making more use of microformats when determining what to rank for a particular queryInternal links – links are an important part of SEO and that includes internal links. Most every page on your site should link to other pages on your site. You also have complete control over the anchor text of internal links.Periodically test to make sure links on your site are working. Fix or remove any links you find.Use brdcrumbs. Brdcrumbs help people and srch engines understand the architecture of your site and they naturally link back up through your sections. See word themes and silos above.ResourcesAgain there’s a lot more that can be said about SEO and site development. Here are a few checklists with additional tips
The 5 Minute SEO Site Audit ChecklistFindability Strategy Checklist (PDF)The Web Developer’s SEO SheetWeb Marketing Checklist (PDF)3. On-Page SEOOnce upon a time this was SEO. People stuffed words everywhere they could and their pages ranked. Of course all that word stuffing was considered spam and no longer works as it once did. Today the id is to write page content so that it rds well to rl people. You also want to pay attention to a couple of things.
Page Titles: <title></title>Page titles are perhaps the most important thing you’ll write on the page for srch engines. Page titles do play an important part in ranking. Keep your page titles short and include the main word phrase for the page. For low competitive phrases a good page title alone is probably enough to erate a good ranking.
Include your brand in your page titles. If your brand is well know you probably want to include it at the front. words at the front of the page title are likely better for SEO, but a well known brand is going to induce more clicks. If your brand is not well known it’s probably best to include it at the end.
Make sure every page title on your site is unique. Far too many sites use the exact same page title (often the domain) across the site, which misses the benefit page titles give.
Also remember that your page title is what people see as the link in srch results. Write your titles in a way that makes people want to click on them. A good page title should should contain your most important word phrase and make people want to rd the page content.
Page Hdings: <h1> - <h2>Page hdings might not be as strong a ranking factor as they once were, but I think it’s still a good id to include words and phrases in them. Crte one <h1> tag as your main page hding and then use <h2> – <h6> tags to present a hierarchy for the rest of the content.
Idlly your hx hdings will use variations of the main word phrase you used in your page title. Many CMS appliions like WordPress will erate an h1 hding that’s exactly the same as your page title. Idlly there would be some variation, but again hx tags may not be as important as they once were.
Meta Tags: <meta>Meta Tags are not the end all and be all of SEO. There are 3 meta tags we’ll talk about here.
Meta words are pretty much useless. They’re far too sy to spam and are no longer considered a ranking signal. Google and Bing don’t even rd them and it’s highly unlikely the other engines pay any rl attention to them. You can safely ignore them completely, but if you feel you must include them use some common misspellings of your words. Seriously if you spend more than 30 seconds writing meta words for a page you’re wasting your time. You probably wasted the 30 seconds too.Meta descriptions likely have little if any effect on where your pages rank for the same rsons meta words don’t. However sometimes your meta description will show as the snippet below your link in the srch results. Write meta descriptions in a way that entices clicks. Use a strong call to action and maybe think of them as a mini-ad.Meta robots are used to tell srch engines not to index a page or follow the links on a page. You never need to tell srch engines to index of follow since that’s their default behavior. Most of the time you won’t need to include these meta tags, but in the case of duplie content described above you sometimes don’t want a page indexed. Most of the time you’ll still want the links followed.ALT and othersALT and Other Attributes and Semantic Tags have also been spammed to dth, however they can still be useful. ALT attributes particularly are one of the few signals you can give about s. Don’t stuff them full of words. Write them as they were mnt to be written as short descriptions for people who can’t see the .
If an is just “eye candy” such as a gradient behind your navigation bar lve the alt attribute blank (alt=""). What is there to describe? Stuffing attributes with words is more likely to get you flagged for spamming than it is to improve your ranking
The same is true for things like strong and em and any other tag or attribute you can think of. It’s highly doubtful any will play anything more than a minor role in how well your pages rank. Use them as they were intended to be used for rl people rding your content. Use <strong> to add emphasis to a word or phrase if it makes sense, but understand that the more you use these tags the less impact they have with people rding your content.
I don’t want to lve you with the impression that adding words to tags and attributes won’t help at all. The point is not to obsess over small things that will have a minor impact. It’s certainly ok and makes sense to emphasize words and phrases where appropriate, but it makes no sense to add strong or em tags to every mention on the page.
Ultimately when writing page content it’s far more important to think about how well the content rds to rl people than srch engines. Think about why you want the page to rank in the first place. It’s so someone landing on it will absorb your content and take some action. So what of the page ranks well if it rds so poorly that people lve instantly.
Write a good page title, use <h1>-<h6> hdings to organize your content and allow people to scan the page and write your content for your rders. Write naturally. Don’t try to force words on the page and use variety in your language. Sometimes call it SEO, sometimes call it srch engine optimization, sometimes just say optimization. The variety rds better and also opens up the page to ranking for a grter of word phrases.
ResourcesA few posts on writing page titles, page hdings, page URLs, and other on-page content
Optimizing WordPress Page Titles, Post Titles and Page Slugs – Good advice even if you don’t use WordPressBest Practices for Title TagsSEO Best Practices: SEOmoz’s New Policies Based on Updated Correlation DataSummaryThe most important aspect of building a srch friendly site is to make sure srch engines can find, crawl, and index your pages. You want to eliminate as many potential barriers as possible. Every time you do something to make it harder for srch engines to find and understand your content, you put up a roadblock. Place enough roadblocks on all the avenues lding to your business and even if people want, they won’t be able to get there.
You can also develop sites in ways that reinforce your word themes and help srch engines understand what topics the site considers most important and should rank for. It doesn’t hurt that these things also help your visitors understand the site better too. A usable and accessible site is usually a srch friendly site.
With structure in place you have some tips for crting the actual pages on your site. While once upon a time most SEO happened here the impact of on-page content has been reduced over the yrs. There are a few places you want to pay attention to and the good news is once you get a feel for it on-page SEO becomes as much good habits as anything else.
In the next (and final) post, we’ll be looking into:
Link Building – What other sites say about your site by linking to it says a lot about your site and why srch engines should rank your pages.Analytics – Help you determine what has and hasn’t been working so you can refocus your efforts and improve your site.

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