Saturday, November 11, 2006

SEO Tips - Found in Search Engines

My eyes are glazed over from all the "SEO advice" sent to me and lodged in the nooks and cranniesSEO tips of the web. Take a look - over 9 million entries just in Google. Enough to make your head spin?

I was fortunate enough to hear Mike Murray of FathomSEO talk about his top SEO tips, and since I haven't discussed this in a while, I thought I'd go over what I feel are some of the best. Mike had a list of 8 tips, but I'll make this an even 10, incorporating his with mine.

Before you get into this too much further, let me tell you a couple of things. First, SEO is hard work. It entails a lot of coding, time, and testing. But, the work can payoff... just don't give up, as many do, before payday. And, secondly, don't take my word for it - or someone else, either. Get the general consensus; the collective wisdom of SEO and use that. (That's what I do, so maybe you can follow what I say, he he).
  1. Have keywords in the domain name. This is one that no only works with ranking, but also plays highly with the algorithm AdSense uses to put ads on your page. No, don't forget context/content - but domain name scores higher.
  2. The age of the website. Forget the age of the domain name. It's rather, how long have you had that content up and available on the web? How many quality inbound links do you have? How often do you update your website? I covered how valuable old domain names are - and how you can bypass months of hard work by mining expired domains.
  3. Quality of inbound links. This speaks for itself, but ranks higher than content and Page Rank. My rule of thumb is try to secure links of a PR higher than yours. Make sure that page (link) has no more than 15 outbound links. And above all, make sure it comes from a site on the same topic as yours.
  4. Consistency of source code. If it's just you, you probably don't have to worry because you code all your pages the same. However, if a team works on a site, make sure everyone codes the same - i.e. same URL format, alt text, simplicity - this is so the bots can crawl your site without problem. Inconsistency is a red flag.
  5. The amount of content on your page. There are dozens of opinions on this, but most gurus agree on 350 words. Again, know that because of your high quality inbound links, you can rank right up there in the top for a page with little content.
  6. Work on your home page. If you have little time to work on your website, make it all work on your home page - it's the most powerful page of your site.
  7. Change up your text. Murray says this is useful because you can miss keywords by not carrying another iteration of them, like plurals, etc. Change it up a bit and track your results.
  8. Study page cache trends. Okay, this is a good one because many don't do this. In Google, you can easily see the Cache of the website which is what Google saw on that date. It's cool to click on the text version of the cache to see what the bot picked up. You want frequent caches. If your caches are not frequent it is because the search engine doesn't know your page is there, or because each visit nothing has changed. Pretty soon the visits die down to once a week, once a month.
  9. Title tags. Try different things, keywords. You can get away with saying: Great SEO Tips from a SEO Master. There we used "SEO" twice. Is that title tag stuffing? No. But stay away from something like: Great SEO Tips - SEO Tips - SEO TIPS for you. That's stuffing. I know it's November, but remember - don't raise a red flag or you'll get your turkey cooked.
  10. META tag "Description" formula. Here's my advice, and Murray agrees; Use your keywords, company name, and then why you are different from and better than the competition.
I've followed these rules and found you can get even a Blogger blog ranking high, with a PR of 5 or more, and cached every three days or so. As I look through the logs it's amazing to see where traffic comes from.

Sam's Club clickFor instance, on my post about Sam's Club Christmas Catalog, I noticed a click from Sam's Club home office on the very day of my post, November 3!

Another experiment I did, early on, was to put the words How to Raise a Parakeet in H3 tags and held a spot on page 2 of Google's SERPs until after a few updates concluded there was no info about parakeets on the page. But try the same entry with quotes, "How to Raise a Parakeet", and we're #1 in Google. Of course, nobody searches that way.

Work on these 10 and let me know if you have any questions! Let's get your pages noticed.

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