SEO Report

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This is a report on how to perform a good search engine optimization for your business blog

This is a report on how to perform a good search engine optimization for your business blog

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  • 1. A Short & Effective Report On Search Engine Optimization (SEO)(On-Page Search Engine Optimization & On-Site Search Engine Optimization) Compiled by Adesoji Adegbulu www.makemoneyonlineng.com www.facebook.com/jadesojiadegbulu www.twitter.com/adesojiadegbulu
  • 2. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is the practice of optimizing both internal andexternal factors of a website to ensure that its pages will rank high in search engines, thusincreasing the quantity and quality of the organic traffic.The internal optimization can be divided in two main areas: on-page optimization, whichincludes the individual elements on each web page, and on-site optimization, which includesthe structure of the website as a whole.In this chapter, we will cover the on-page search engine optimization factors.On-Site Search Engine Optimization 1The Title TagThe title tag is an HTML element that is used, as the name implies, to title web pages. It isdisplayed on top of the browser when you view a web page, and it is not related with thevisual title displayed on the screen. The two can be similar and even identical, but that is nota requirement. The title tag is the single most important on-page SEO factor, and most searchengines weight it very heavily within their algorithms.The title tag is also used by most search engines as the title of your page in the search engineresults page (SERP), so it plays a role in the number of clicks that you will get from searchqueries.Practically speaking, an optimal title tag should: - describe the content of the page, - contain the main keywords of the page, and - be appealing to human visitors.
  • 3. A common question that comes into people‟s minds is how long the title tag can be. Thereisn‟t a limit to how many characters you can have in your title, but search engines will onlydisplay a certain number of them. Google, for example, truncates somewhere between 63 and67 characters, and will truncate at the end of a word.That does not mean you should make your titles as long as possible. In fact, the more conciseyou can make them, the better.This is because search engines will spread the algorithmic value of the title tag across all thekeywords contained in it.The fewer keywords you use, therefore, the higher the value that each of them will receive.Let‟s use an example to illustrate this point. Suppose you have a blog called “John Doe‟sBlog”. The blog author then publishes a post targeting the term “how to build muscle.” Onepossible and often used structure for the title tag here would be the title of the post followedby the name of the blog:How to Build Muscle - John Does BlogThe title describes the content of the post accurately, but it is not as concise as possible,because the name of the blog is not related to the post content at all. The keywords “john”,“doe‟s” and “blog” are therefore reducing the relevancy of the title and diluting the valueattributed to the main keywords.A better title tag here would be just the post title:How to Build Muscle
  • 4. It is also worth noting that the first words of the title are weighted more heavily than the lastwords, which is known as prominence. If you want to target a specific keyword with thehomepage of your website, therefore, the title:Keyword to be Targeted - Domain.comwould be better than:Domain.com - Keyword to be TargetedThe separator between the different sections of your title is not necessary, but it doesimprove readability. Most publishers use a colon (:) hyphen (-) or Raquo (»). There is noadvantage to using one over the other, so just be consistent.Ideally, you want to target one term with each page and title tag. Sometimes, however, thereare singular and plural versions of your term, and you might want to target both with thesame page. You could achieve that playing around with the phrases:Las Vegas Vacations - Planning Your Las Vegas Vacation : Domain.comRepeating keywords occasionally in the title tag is OK, as long as it describes the content andmakes sense for human visitors. However, be careful to not repeat keywords excessively, elseyou might be flagged for keyword stuffing. Here is an example that could create problems:Las Vegas Vacations, Discount Las Vegas Vacations, Cheap Las Vegas Vacations -Domain.com
  • 5. Finally, it‟s important that you avoid duplication of title tags throughout your website.Ideally, each page on your website should have a unique title tag. Having the same title tagon a few pages, while not ideal, is OK. Having the same title for most or all of your webpages will cause problems.Meta TagsA meta tag is an HTML tag that resides in the <head> section of a web page. Unlike otherHTML tags, meta tags do not appear anywhere on the page itself, so most visitors never seethem. Different meta tags serve different purposes, but they are generally used to provideadditional information about the page for search robots and other applications.Meta KeywordsThe meta keywords tag is used by the search engines to determine what are the main topicsof a web page. However, due to abuse from webmasters, who would insert duplicate orirrelevant keywords, most major search engines attribute a small weight or completelyignore meta keywords.Secondly, some engines consider identical or nearly identical meta keywords tags on awebsite to be a signal of low quality.This tag won‟t help a lot, but every small bit helps with SEO, so you probably should use it.The proper format for meta keywords is:<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1,keyword2,keyword3">
  • 6. Meta DescriptionUnlike the meta meta keyword tag, the meta description tag is still considered by mostsearch engines. Ideally, your meta description tag should be a short (i.e. one or twosentences) summary of the page. Here is an example of proper format:<meta name="description" content="A one or two sentence summary about the page goeshere.">Most of the time search engines will show your meta description tag under the page title inthe search engine results page, adding to its importance.In some cases, for instance when someone is doing a very specific multi-word search, searchengines will show content from the page instead of the meta description.In other cases, search engines will show the description from the ODP (Open DirectoryProject) instead of your meta description.If no meta description exists, they will show a section of the page that contains the keywordssearched for.Like with the title tag, each page on your website should have a unique meta description tag.Having the same meta description tag for entire website could be very problematic. In factit‟s better to have no meta description tags than to have the same one across the entire site.
  • 7. Meta ODP TagAs we mentioned above, in some cases search engines will show the Open Directory Project(also called DMOZ) description for a website instead of using it‟s meta tag. You can preventthis by adding the following meta tag:<meta name="robots" content="noodp">Meta RobotsThe meta robots tag has two functions: telling the search engine robots whether or not theyshould index the content of the page, and telling the search engine robots whether or notthey they should follow the links they will find on it. There are two “switches” for this tag,and each is controlled separately:index/noindex – this tells the search engines if they should index the content of the pagefollow/nofollow – this tells the search engines if they should follow links they find on thepageHere‟s an example of how to use the meta robots tag:<meta name="robots" content="index, follow">This tag will tell the search engines that they can index the page and follow the links. Inreality this is the default condition assumed by all search engines, so including it is notnecessary. This is an example of the opposite condition:<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">
  • 8. If a search spider encountered this tag, it would not index the content of the page or followany of the links on the page.It is possible to mix the settings if you desire those results, using either<meta name="robots" content="index, nofollow">or<meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow">Keep in mind that if the search engines find a page with the “noindex” robots tag, the URLwill still be included in the index. What won‟t be indexed is the content of the page. Thismeans that keyword based searches will not be able to find that page, but special site basedsearches might.No Archive Meta TagUsually when a search engine spider crawls and indexes a page, it keeps a cached copy storedlocally on the search engine servers. In the event of your website temporarily going down,an end user can click on the “cached” link in the SERP and see the stored version of the page.Similarly, the archive.org often crawls websites and make copies of their web pages, to keeptrack of how they are changing over time.
  • 9. In some cases, however, you may not want a cache or copy of your pages to exist. Forexample, you might publish a sales page that should be available publicly only for a limitedtime.To prevent caching and archiving of your content, use the noarchive tag as follows:<meta name="robots" content="noarchive">Miscellaneous Meta TagsThere are several other meta tags such as “expiration date”, “author”, “revisit after” ,“distribution” and so on. These tags are used for other purposes, and were never largelysupported by search engines.Heading TagsHeading tags are structural page elements that convey a hierarchy about the page. An H1 tagis the most important one. H2 is the second most important one, followed by the H3, H4, H5and H6. Search engines do give some weight to heading tags within a document. In mostcases, a document should only have one H1, but there is no limit to the number of H2-H6tags that may be used. Think of them as section headings and use them to organize yourcontent.Without any CSS styling, a H1 tag has the tendency to be visually overwhelming, so mostwebmasters and publishers use CSS to make the documents more aesthetically appealing.This is perfectly acceptable and within the search engine guidelines.However hiding (with text indentation) or obfuscating (with font color equal to thebackground color) heading tags is a risky tactic and should be avoided.
  • 10. Main Body ContentMost modern search engines have the ability to isolate the main body of a web page from theheader, sidebars and any footer elements. As a result, the content present in the main bodyreceives a greater weight in the algorithms.But how should you optimize the content that will go in the main body of your pages? Manypeople have a misconception here, believing that optimized content will contain the mainkeywords that you are targeting over and over again. Good SEO content should contain thekeywords you are targeting, possibly in singular, plural or stemmed version, but moreimportantly it should read normally and be crafted with human visitors in mind.If you use an unnatural pattern with your content and keywords, your page or website mightget flagged for over-optimization or even for keyword stuffing, damaging most of your searchengine rankings.There is a simple test that you can use to make sure your content is not over-optimized.Simply hand it to a friend who doesn‟t know anything about SEO, and ask him to read it.Once he is done, ask what he thinks about it. If he says that the text looks a bit weird becauseyou are using certain keywords over and over again, then you probably should revise it.Keyword density and keyword prominence (discussed later in this document) don‟t play asignificant role. So be sure to mention the words you are trying to rank for as naturally aspossible.Duplicate ContentOne important thing search engines look for is unique content. They don‟t want to see thesame or very similar content inside a website or across different websites.
  • 11. In most cases, when search engines encounter duplicate content, they will filter out anyversions they don‟t think are the original. While this process is reasonably accurate, it‟s notinfallible. If the search engines find two URLs inside your website with similar content, forexample, they will filter one out, and it might not be the URL you want removed.Secondly, if duplicate content is generalized inside your website, or if you are using duplicatecontent to artificially increase the size of your site or to attract more organic traffic, youmight get a penalty that will affect most of your search rankings.Page LengthThere is no minimum or maximum length that you can have for a page. However, very smallpages tend to receive a low value from search engines. This is because they are less likely tocontain the information that the end user will be looking for, and because spammers oftenuse small pages to inflate the size of their sites. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to have atleast 200 words on your pages.ImagesUsing images that are related to your content or main keywords can help with the searchengine optimization. The ALT tag inserted in your images, for example, is one of the factorsthat search engines consider inside pages. Just make sure that your image ALT and TITLEtags are not stuffed with keywords but rather describe the image correctly and briefly.Keyword DensityKeyword density is the number of times a specific keyword appears in a page in comparisonto the total number of words. The result is expressed as a percentage. If a keyword occurs 10times in a 400 word document, for instance, the keyword density is 2.5% (10 divided by400). There is no magic number or golden range for keyword density. Use the word as oftenas it makes sense, and use similar words to make your document read more naturally.
  • 12. Keyword ProminenceKeyword prominence is a measure of how close the keyword appears to the beginning of thetext. The closer it appears, the higher the keyword prominence. The closer to the end of thetext, the lower the prominence. Again there is no magic number or golden range you shouldstrive for, however using it near the beginning of the copy is advisable for usability.Bold and ItalicsHaving your main keywords in bold or italics can help slightly, but you should use thosewhere it makes sense for the readability of the document. In other words, bold or italicizekeywords where it will help the visualization of the content, and not exclusively for SEObenefits.Links and Anchor TextAnchor text is the underlined clickable text of hyperlinks. When linking to other pages onyour website, try to make your anchor text as keyword rich as possible and avoid usingphrases like “click here” or “more information.”That being said, having 100% of the internal links to a particular page using the sameoptimized anchor text may not be a good idea, as it might get your site flagged for over-optimization. Instead try use variations of the anchor text where appropriate. Additionally,try to avoid linking to the same page two or more times inside a page with different anchortexts, as this dilutes the value of the link.Link out to other websites where it‟s appropriate and don‟t be concerned about “leaking” or“bleeding” PageRank or link equity. While you probably don‟t want to put any external linkson your sales page, on informational pages it will make sense. Try to link to authoritativedocuments or resources whenever possible, and avoid linking to low quality websites.
  • 13. Linking to too many low quality websites may have a negative impact on your website.Moreover, you should review existing links periodically to combat link rot (links to pagesthat no longer exist or that have changed substantially and are no longer relevant).On-Site Search Engine Optimization 2In the previous chapter, we explained that internal search engine optimization can bedivided in two main areas: on-page optimization, which includes the individual elements oneach web page, and on-site optimization, which includes the structure of the website as awhole.In this chapter we will analyze factors that affect the on-site search engine optimization.Domain Name StructureWhen setting up a website, one of the first decisions you will need to make is whether or notyou will use the www. prefix. You could use either:http://example.comorhttp://www.example.comUnder the SEO perspective, it does not matter which version you choose. The importantthing is to choose one and stick with it.
  • 14. Leaving both versions active is possible, but not recommended. Google and other searchengines tend to see sub-domains as completely different websites, and www.example.com istechnically a sub-domain of the example.com website. In other words, if both thehttp://example.com and the http://www.example.com versions of your website are active,Google might see each of them as a separate website. The two websites will obviouslycontain the same exact content, and as a consequence you could be penalized for duplicatecontent.Secondly, if both of your versions are active, you might end up with people linking to bothof them, which will split your backlink portfolio and reduce the overall search engine trustthat your main domain will have.Once you have chosen the version that you want to use, therefore, you will need to redirectthe other one using a 301 Permanent Redirect. The easiest way to do this is with the.htaccess file located in the root of your server. Simply open that file (or create one if youdon‟t have it), and paste the following code there:Options +FollowSymlinksRewriteEngine onrewritecond %{http_host} ^domain.com [nc]rewriterule ^(.*)$ http://www.domain.com/$1 [r=301,nc]Remember to substitute your own domain name there. The code above will redirect allhttp://example.com requests to http://www.example.com. If you want to use the other wayaround, simply invert the domains.If you are using a PHP based CMS, like WordPress or Drupal, you can also include a PHPcode in the header of your website. The code will look like this:
  • 15. <?phpif (substr($_SERVER[HTTP_HOST],0,3) != „www‟) {header(‟HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently‟);header(‟Location: http://www.‟.$_SERVER[HTTP_HOST].$_SERVER[REQUEST_URI]);}?>URLThe URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, specifies where a certain resource is available.Practically speaking, URLs are the web addresses that you use to find specific websites, pages,and files. The structure of the URLs on your site can affect its search engine optimization,and below we will explain how.File Names and FoldersThis is an example of a file based URL:http://www.example.com/file.htmlThis is a folder based URL:http://www.example.com/folder/And this is an example of the two combined:http://www.example.com/folder/file.html
  • 16. In the example shown above, the file has a .html extension, which is the file type served outby web-server (in this case a simple HTML page). There are lots of other file types, including.php, .jsp, .asp and so on. Each of those extensions refers to the programming language usedby the web server. From a search engine perspective, there‟s no benefit to using one over theother. If you are using custom programming on your site, you should just be careful to notcreate new or unusual file extensions, as this can cause problems. An example of a maverickfile type would be:http://example.com/file.qxraSearch engines might not understand the output of that file and they would be cautious tolist that page in the SERPs.While there is no SEO benefit to choosing a specific file type, many site owners prefer tofollow the W3C recommendation (http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI) and not use filetypes at all. The benefit of this approach is a higher degree of consistency. For example, ifyour website is built using the ASP technology, you could serve the following page:http://www.example.com/page.aspShould you need to change the technology behind the site to PHP, that page will start beingserved as:http://www.example.com/file.phpThe old URL would therefore become invalid, and you could also lose some backlinks. Inreality it is possible to solve such a problem with server redirects, but the process is not thatsimple. A better solution is to use a simple folder based structure like this one:
  • 17. http://www.example.com/file/In this case, when the website changes from ASP to PHP, none of the URLs have to change,and you don‟t have to maintain any backward legacy code compatibility. What‟s actuallygoing on behind the scenes is that the web-server is configured to display default pages foreach directory, so the real address of the page would be:http://www.example.com/file/index.aspHowever, the web-server takes care of some front end magic and serves it without needingthe “index.asp” part. The only thing that you need to care about with such structure is tomake sure that a http://www.example.com/file/index.asp request would be redirected tohttp://www.example.com/file/, to avoid creating two separate pages displaying the exactsame content. Most modern content management systems handle this redirect automatically.If your current website is using extensions, there‟s no need to change things right away.However, when the next redesign or major platform update occurs, it might be something toconsider doing.Word SeparatorThe next aspect to be concerned with is the word separator and length. If you have one ormore words in your file/folder name, you could use this configuration:http://www.example.com/twowords/If the words are common, well known, or frequently used, search engines can usually breakthem apart and understand what is going on. If they aren‟t, however, search engines might
  • 18. have a problem. If you want to make sure that words will be identified in your URL,therefore, it is a good idea to use a separator. The most common separator is the hyphen,which would make your URL look like this:http://www.example.com/two-words/In recent years search engines have improved the way they handle other separators,including the underscore. In theory, therefore, you could also this URL:http://example.com/two_words/Some webmasters reported having problems with the underscore as a word separator,though, so if you want to be on the safe side, a hyphen is probably the best choice.Keywords in the URLWhen you are building your URLs, you want to include the main keywords of the page inquestion there, as this can help with the search rankings. You can also remove theconnecting words and unrelated keywords to make the URL cleaner. For example, Instead ofusing:http://www.example.com/my-best-vacation-to-las-vagas/you could use:http://www.example.com/vacation-las-vagas/
  • 19. Just like with title tags, you want to make your URLs as concise as possible. Most searchengines also stop weighting it after the sixth or seventh word, so five or less is usually whatyou should aim for.Static URLs and URLs with ParametersWhen you are building a website that has information contained in a database, there aredifferent ways to retrieve that information. The easiest way is by passing parameters througha URL and making it dynamic:http://www.example.com/file/?id=12345While search engines have the ability to index and rank these pages, it is often desirable tomake those URLs static, by using a folder structure for example:http://example.com/file/12345/The programing still takes the information from the database and builds the page in the sameway, but this method facilitates the indexation. If search engines see the following URLs, forinstance:http://example.com/file/?id=12345http://example.com/file/?id=67890they might not see them as two different pages, and therefore choose to index only one ofthem.
  • 20. On the other hand, search engines will always see the following URLs as separate ones:http://example.com/file/12345/http://example.com/file/67890/Another advantage of static URLs is you can use them to impart a keyword component, soinstead of this:http://example.com/file/?id=12345you could have:http://example.com/file/coffee/As we explained before, having your main keywords in the URL is important, so try to usestatic URLs whenever possible.Site ArchitectureSite architecture is an important and fairly complex aspect of building a website. In factentire books have been written about it. In this section we‟ll be addressing the key aspects ofit. First of all, keep in mind the following basic principles:You want to divide your website into meaningful categories or sections.You want an architecture that is easily crawlable and therefore not complex.
  • 21. You want an architecture that is flat as opposed to deep.You want an architecture that allows you to expand easily.We‟ll be taking a more in depth look at each of these aspects below.Dividing Your Website into Meaningful SectionsWhen you begin thinking about building your website and doing keyword research, usuallycertain major topics or keyword groups emerge. These represent an efficient way to divideyour website into sections. If you have a site about cars, for example, the different sectionscould be:http://www.example.com/sport-cars/http://www.example.com/family-cars/http://www.example.com/luxury-cars/Such division would be easy to understand and to navigate by your visitors.In fact, it is important to create your internal sections with the end user in mind. Thinkabout the way they segment things in your market or niche, and use that same division inyour website. Sometimes businesses make the mistake of using website sections that reflecthow they see the market, and not how the end users or clients see it.If used properly, the different sections and categories in your site will also enrich your URLswith your main keywords.
  • 22. Setting up a Crawlable ArchitectureAnother key aspect of your site architecture is how easily it can be crawled by the searchengines. If they can‟t discover all your internal pages easily and figure out the hierarchy thatcontrols them, your search rankings might suffer.Practically speaking, all of the main sections within a website should be interconnected withone another. Depending on the overall size of the site it may be advisable to interconnecteven the second level of the website. This has to be decided case by case.It is also good practice to make all your internal pages link back to the homepage, andpossibly to your main sections, too.Google suggests not having more than 100 links per page. While you can have more andGoogle will still crawl them, having too many can create problems.One of the best ways to solve crawling problems is with one or more HTML sitemaps (not tobe confused with XML sitemaps, which we will address in a different lesson). These arenothing more than pages inside your site that will explain your site structure, with links toall the the different sections and pages.If you have a blog, for example, an “Archive” page containing links to all your publishedposts would act as an HTML sitemap (http://www.geekwithlaptop.com/projects/clean-archives). You could even group those posts by month, year or category. You can use theSGR Clean Archives WordPress plugin to achieve that.
  • 23. Keeping Your Architecture Flat and Not DeepSome websites are built with too many layers or levels, and this can create problems forsearch engines. As a rule of thumb, the farther a page is from the homepage, the harder itwill be for robots to find it. Suppose a website about cars has the following architecture:http://www.example.com/cars/http://www.example.com/cars/ford/http://www.example.com/cars/ford/sports-car/http://www.example.com/cars/ford/sports-car/mustang/This is an example of a deep website architecture, which is inefficient. A search robot wouldneed to go through three levels of sub-folders to find the Mustang page, so it could haveproblems to find and index it.Ideally, you want to create a single page about the Mustang sitting at the top level like this:http://www.example.com/cars/mustang/Then you can link to the mustang page from each of these sub pages:http://www.example.com/cars/ford/http://www.example.com/cars/sports-car/
  • 24. A secondary benefit of this flat structure is that if you decide to remove one of the sub-folders, say the “sports car” one, you won‟t need to 301 redirect the Mustang page and everyother sub page underneath that folder.Setting up Your Architecture to Allow for ExpansionAnother key mistake many people make when setting up a site architecture is not leavingthemselves room for future expansion. To continue with our example of a car website, everyyear there will be new cars, so you would need to accommodate that. An architecture thatwasn‟t optimized for the future would look like this:http://www.example.com/cars/2008/mustang/http://www.example.com/cars/2007/mustang/http://www.example.com/cars/2006/mustang/With such a structure, every year the site owner would have to build new links to the newMustang page to get it ranking well. A more efficient architecture for that situation wouldbe:http://www.example.com/cars/mustang/2008/http://www.example.com/cars/mustang/2007/http://www.example.com/cars/mustang/2006/By adding the year as a sub-folder to the Mustang page you can keep any links and rankingsfrom the main Mustang page and share them with the other pages. Secondly, any users whohappen to come to the page looking for an older version will easily be able to reach it.
  • 25. Now that you have successfully read through this report on SEO, I believe that you would goahead and act what you read out on your blog. This is the reason why this report waspackaged. Reading alone will not achieve much result.Also, feel free to share this report with your friends. You can do that through your blog oryour email list. Your readers and subscribers will thank you for this information you wouldbe sending their way.If you are not a subscriber with Make Money Online Nigeria, please go towww.makemoneyonlineng.com/ and click on „First Timers‟ on the header navigation links.Read what I have there for you and then act on them. We would be glad to have you join ourover 9, 000 readers/subscribers.As a subscriber, you will have access to effective posts that would teach and help you makereal money online, build online business and also create wealth legitimately. These effectiveposts will be sent to your email address from where you can read through anytime.When subscribing, make sure you confirm your subscription. As soon as you input yourdetails in order to subscribe, a confirmation message will be sent to your email. Open youemail so as to confirm your subscription. If you fail to confirm your subscription, you wouldnot be getting the effective posts.Kind Regards,Adesoji AdegbuluOwner – Make Money Online Nigeria