Getting Started with SEO
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Getting Started with SEO

Getting Started with SEO

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    Getting Started with SEO Getting Started with SEO Document Transcript

    • Getting Started With Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)About This Whitepaper .................................................................................................. 4Organic Listings ............................................................................................................ 5Where Every SEO Campaign Should Begin – Keyword Research ........................................ 6Title Tags ..................................................................................................................... 8Meta Descriptions ......................................................................................................... 9Content .......................................................................................................................10 Headings .................................................................................................................10 On Page Content ......................................................................................................11 Images ....................................................................................................................12 Navigation................................................................................................................12 Sitemap Page ...........................................................................................................13Technical SEO..............................................................................................................14 Canonical Domain Issue ............................................................................................14 Canonical Tag...........................................................................................................15 URL Structure ...........................................................................................................15 Rich Snippets ...........................................................................................................16 Schema ...................................................................................................................16 Robots.txt File ..........................................................................................................17 XML Sitemap ............................................................................................................18 Broken Links ............................................................................................................19 HTML Coding............................................................................................................19SEO Tools ...................................................................................................................20What Else Should You Be Doing? ...................................................................................21Link Building ................................................................................................................23Social Signals...............................................................................................................24 Linking Your Site To Your Social Properties .................................................................24 Social Sharing...........................................................................................................24Google Updates ...........................................................................................................25 Black Hat SEO ..........................................................................................................25Tactics to Avoid ...........................................................................................................26SEO Myths...................................................................................................................27Summary ....................................................................................................................31
    • A Little Bit About Koozai:Koozai are a multi-award winning digital marketing agency.We’re one of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies having been ranked 23rd in theDeloitte Technology Fast50.We help businesses connect with their customers online – providing a range of industry-leading services from Organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC)Management to Link Building, Social Media and Brand Management.We thrive on building long-lasting client relationships and delivering true value for money.We’re passionate about what we do - and that shows in our work.No lengthy contracts, just world class Digital Marketing. Koozai will help you build yourbrand online and achieve ROI that can be clearly measured against your bottom line.How To Get In Touch:If you would like to get in touch with us, please visit our website (www.koozai.com) or useone of the methods below:
    • About The Author:Andy Williams, our DADI award winning Digital Marketing Manager, has over 9 years’experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with aleading Web Design company.About This WhitepaperThe main purpose of a search engine is to provide the searcher with the most relevantinformation relating to your search query. The authority of the results is also a big factor.Search engines decide the authority and relevance of the web pages they rank bycalculating a score based on over 200 ranking factors within their ever changing algorithm.Knowing that there are over 200 factors is pretty much all the information Google areprepared to release (there are helpful documents but they certainly won’t be giving you all200 factors); however, there are a number of best practices (that Google are very openabout) that all websites should have in place to ensure your site can be crawled andunderstood. This will give you a better chance of ranking for your desired terms.In this Whitepaper we will be looking at the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) best practicesto get you up and running as well as some of the free tools you can use to help you monitoryour site performance.
    • Organic ListingsThe practice of SEO is to influence the organic search results. These are completely differentto advertised rankings which are achieved through Pay per Click (PPC) on the GoogleAdWords platform. There is a common misconception that the more you pay in AdWords thehigher up you will appear for your organic results. There is no truth in this at all. These arecompletely separate services.Paid results appear above and/or down the right-hand side of the SERPs (search engineresult pages).Organic rankings appear as highlighted below:
    • Where Every SEO Campaign Should Begin – Keyword ResearchEvery campaign should start with some extensive keyword research.Until you know what your potential customers are searching for, you can’t guarantee thatyou are truly targeting them.It’s very easy to assume you know what people are looking for. You could be targetingindustry terminology that end users simply don’t know about. You could end up targetingterms that are so competitive that without either a big budget or 12 months’ worth of solidSEO work you have no chance of ranking for.Your keyword research can make or break your entire SEO campaign so you need to spendtime it carrying out.The aim of this research is to provide you with a list of terms people use to search for yourproducts or services.The size and authority of your site as well as the strength of your brand should also dictatethe type of terms you are realistically able to work with.If you are a small online business with a new website then going after highly generic termsis going to take a lot of work and a lot of patience.If you are a bigger brand then you possibly have a site in place that already holds someauthority and so aiming for more generic terms is going to be a more realistic target.So what should you do?A great starting place is to find terms that have a good traffic level and a low competitionrate.Suggested Tools:There are a number of free tools you can use to carry out your research. With so manyavailable I have only listed a few: Google Keyword Tool Ubersuggest – This is the information Google suggests when you type a search query into their search engine. Google Insights / Trends Wordtracker – there is a free trial available to play with before you have to commit to buying this tool.
    • An Example Google Keyword ReportRemember the terminology you use within your industry may not be what is used by peoplesearching for your products or services. Brainstorm possible search queries with your teamand use this list as a starting point. Once you start to build up a list you will begin to seeterms you may not have thought of before; explore these further and you may uncoversome gems with high traffic and low competition.Don’t run before you can walk, and start with a workable list of terms.Make sure you work with a truly relevant term (for each individual page).Don’t target terms that aren’t relevant simply to try and bring in extra traffic. If it isn’trelevant traffic it could backfire and a high bounce rate could work against you, as well asproviding misleading traffic figures.Once you have your list of terms it’s time to start looking at the on-page elements.
    • Title TagsThe Title tag assigned to each individual page is an important element of SEO.This tag acts in a couple of ways. Firstly it describes exactly what searches the page isrelevant to. Secondly, it is the beginning of your “ad”; that little piece of online real estatewithin the SERPs that helps to entice would be customers to click through to your page overeveryone else.The important elements to try and include are:  Company name (for Brand promotion)  Primary targeted key term  Secondary / related key term (if possible)The coding for a Meta tag looks as follows:<head><title>Koozai – Your Intelligent Digital Marketing Agency</title></head>How does it look in the SERPs?The recommended length is 65 characters. You can push to 70 but there is no guaranteethat the whole Title will be displayed.There is a school of thought that you can actually have a Title tag as long as you want, asthe guidelines state that Google will only DISPLAY up to 70 characters. However why includeinformation that can’t be seen?Google can also replace your title if they see fit; often using other page text to make it morerelevant to a search query, which is a frustrating issue which can’t be changed.
    • Meta DescriptionsThe Meta description tag may no longer hold the SEO value it once did, but it is still a highlyimportant Meta tag.This is basically your sales pitch within the SERPs. This information could be the differencebetween someone clicking through to your page or through to someone else’s.Some elements you could include are:  Company name (Brand promotion)  Key term being targeted  A review of the page / product you are supplying / service you provide  A call to action  USP  Contact detailsThe code for this, with a title looks as follows:<head><title>Koozai – Your Intelligent Digital Marketing Agency</title><meta name=”description” content=”Award winning digital marketing agency. Trusted forSEO, Paid Search, Social Media and Digital Marketing services by 100 top brands. Find outwhy.”></head>How does it look in the SERPs?Recommended length is no more than 155 characters. Beyond that and it won’t be displayedor read by the search engines.Don’t waste this space by filling it with irrelevant information and make sure what you writereally sells your product or service.
    • ContentWhen it comes to on page content there used to be a number of tick boxes:  Term in the first sentence  Term in the body text  Term in the final sentence  Overall keyword density of around 2%/3% (depending on the amount of content)THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE.Search engines, especially Google, want you to write for the user and not the search engine.Google are looking for you to provide visitors with a great user experience while at the sametime make sure the site is accessible to their crawlers. This is fundamentally different to theold days of easy ”tick box” SEO where keyword positioning played its part.There are, however certain elements that should still be worked with that help create anatural layout of your page.HeadingsEach page should use heading tags.This helps create a well-structured on page layout.There are a number of heading tags that can be used:  <h1>This is heading 1</h1>  <h2>This is heading 2</h2>  <h3>This is heading 3</h3>  <h4>This is heading 4</h4>  <h5>This is heading 5</h5>
    • A H1 heading tag should be used as the main page heading. Beyond that, the rest should beused as subheadings (use the relevant code depending on their importance within thepage).If natural, include the main key term for that page; however, do not have a heading tagthat is simply the targeted term. You are writing for your audience not search engines (moreon that later).It is good practice to only use one H1 tag per page. Although there is no solid proof thatusing more than one can be detrimental to the success of a page, you should only need onemain page heading.You can use the remaining tags as many times as is needed.You will notice that using a Heading tag will bold the included text. However, heading tagsshould not be used solely for this purpose. Use the <b> command to bold text.On Page ContentYour aim should be to create fresh and unique content. This means you should write foryour audience and create engaging copy.Google advise against the following:  Rehashing existing content  Having duplicate or near duplicate versions of your content across your siteThere is no advised keyword density score that you should stick to. Write naturally and don’tadd unnecessary keywords. A good rule of thumb to abide by is: If someone who has noidea about SEO can notice terms sticking out of your content – you haven’t written naturalflowing copy.Keyword ResearchYour initial keyword research should have also been carried out with content in mind.Did you research relevant keyword variations that could be included within your copy?Remember, adding a singular term as many times as you can is no longer a tactic that willbenefit you. So working with variations will not only help keep your copy on topic but alsonaturally allow you to target further / long tail terms.If you didn’t do this – revisit your research and look a little deeper. You may uncover someterms with high traffic levels and low competition that provide you with easier wins in thelong run.
    • ImagesAll images should have Alt Tags assigned to them.However make sure you use the Alt Tag in the correct manner. Years ago people used toinclude key terms targeted on that page (within the Alt Tag) but this isn’t what the tag isfor. The tag is to help provide textual information that describes the image.If you are using images that truly relate to the content of the page you should be able toinclude key terms naturally without trying to crowbar them in.NavigationYou could have completed all the above, but if the search engines can’t crawl your site thenthey won’t be seeing any of your great content any time soon.Make sure the site navigation code can be followed by the search engines and that there areno pathways that cause them to get stuck in a continuous loop.If you are creating a new site make sure this is one of the initial requirements when talkingwith your web developer. Calendar plugins can be a frequent cause of navigation errors
    • Sitemap PageThis shouldn’t be confused with an XML Sitemap (which we will discuss later). This is aSitemap on your main website (often using the same design) which lists all the pages withinthe site.Sitemaps help both search engines and visitors alike, providing direct links to all areas ofyour site.This can help pages become indexed and direct lost visitors who are looking for certaininformation or products within your site. Sitemaps don’t have to just have a boring design. Source: http://www.cityofsteam.com/
    • Technical SEOYour site looks great, you are targeting all of the optimal search terms and the content isunique and enticing.However the back end of your site isn’t search engine friendly and suddenly all that hardwork could count for nothing.What should you check and what should you look out for?Canonical Domain IssueA Canonical Domain issue comes about when you have two versions of your Home page live(a majority of the time without you realising).For example:  http://www.domainname.com  http://domainname.comWhy is this an issue? Well if you effectively have two versions of your Home page live youcould water down the overall strength this page holds. You could be splitting the linkstrength that is coming into the site. Not everyone links correctly and anyone using theversion of your domain you don’t wish to be using will be sending the strength of that link tothe wrong destination.Redirecting the non “www.” version to www.domainname.com using a 301 redirect will clearthis issue. There are solutions to do this in our Website redirects whitepaper(http://www.koozai.com/resources/whitepapers/website-redirects-and-canonical-issues/)You should also go into your Google Webmaster account and set your preference to thedesired setting.
    • Canonical TagThe Canonical tag comes into use when you have duplicate pages on your site.This may be the case if you have several pages that include the same product which arethen listed in a variety of ways – price, colour, size etc.If Google have crawled your site thoroughly then they will be more than aware that youhave pages with the same content. As a result you may find that they choose to only indexone version. However for good housekeeping and to avoid any issues, it is advised that theCanonical tag is used.The tag is used to inform Google which page (of the pages that share identical content) isthe master version, the preferred version and most useful (to any related search queries).The tag should be added to the <head> of each page you DON’T wish Google to treat asthe preferred page (of those that contain identical or highly similar content).<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.domainname.com/product.php?item=widget"/>URL StructureA good URL structure not only helps the search engines note relevance but it also helps yourvisitors.Your URL’s should be set up in a way that both inform the search engines and visitors as tothe subject matter of the page. It should also be as simple as possible.Your URL can also serve as a factor for people clicking through to your page from theSearch Engine result pages.For example if you were looking for a red car and you had the following two URL’s to choosefrom, which one stands out?  http://www.domainaname.com/red-car  http://www.domainname.com/453hsmad?id_tone=360&sid=1936402Include key terms relevant to the page in your URLs.Make sure you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs as these are easierto read when a URL is linked up.
    • Rich SnippetsRich Snippets have been designed to give a summary of the content of the page.By adding Rich Snippets you not only give the search engines more information to work withbut also provide more displayed information to the searcher.A good example of when you may see a Rich Snippet is when searching for a Restaurant:To be able to display information with Rich Snippets you need to mark up your pages andthe desired information with one of the following supported formats:  Microdata  Microformats  RDF’sMicroformats provide search engines with important information regarding the location ofthe business. They are bodies of code that wrap around information on a site, such as anaddress. This code is then turned into a snippet of information which then has a chance ofappearing within Google’s SERPs.Microformats can promote locations, personal information and reviews.SchemaGoogle currently encourages users to utilise Schema for this coding and a good startingpoint for marking up your address is here: http://schema.org/PlaceOnce your information is marked up you can test it here:http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippetsFor more information regarding Schema, please visit:http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/introducing-schemaorg-search-engines.html
    • Robots.txt FileThe robots.txt file is one of the most important files a site uses.The robots.txt file gives all search engine bots instructions on how they can crawl your site.In this file you can exclude areas and even individual pages from being crawled.When a bot visits a site it will look for this file first. Within this file should be full instructionsof which areas can be crawled and which can’t.This is a very powerful file and if not set up correctly can leave your site uncrawled and notindexed.Your site may not have this file set up as standard. The file is situated in the route of yoursite so you can check by going to the correct URL: http://www.yourdomainname/robots.txtIf you don’t have one – create one and upload.A basic file that gives full access to the search engine bots would look like this:User-agent: *Disallow:Sitemap: http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xmlThere are various lists of commands that can be used.Here are some of the most common commands that you may need to use:User-agent: *This highlights to any bot that all search engine bots can crawl the site. If you wish todisallow a certain bot then you need to name the bot:User-agent: googlebot In this example we are stopping Google bot from crawling thesite. Each bot has its own name so check before adding.User-agent: *Disallow:This command also allows all crawlers to index everything within your site.User-agent: *Disallow: /This disallows all crawlers from indexing any pages within your site.User-agent: GooglebotDisallow: /This disallows Google’s bot from crawling the site.Disallow: /This blocks all bots from crawling the whole of your site.Disallow: /folder name/This blocks all bots from a specific folder.
    • Disallow: /folder name/page.htmlThis blocks this individual page.Disallow: /*?This command blocks all URLs that contain “?”.Disallow: /*.asp$This command allows you to block any URLs that end in an .asp extension.For more information on Robots.txt visit http://kooz.ai/OmafYn.XML SitemapXML Sitemaps provide the search engines with a complete map of the location of all thepages within your site. This file is especially important if the search engines are havingtrouble crawling your site via the navigation.A link to this file can also be added to the Robots.txt file:Sitemap: http://www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xmlTo create a Sitemap you can use http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/. Once your Sitemap hasbeen created it should be submitted to the main search engines through their WebmasterTools Portals (e.g. Google Webmaster Tools).Sitemaps can also contain change frequency, priority and the date a page was last changed.
    • Broken LinksIt is very easy to update your site, remove pages and think nothing more of it. Howeverupdates, page removal or just a revamp can leave your site with a trail of broken links.A broken link is essentially a link that leads to a page on your site that no longer exists.This can give the impression that your site isn’t well maintained.The best course of action is to set up 301 redirect commands that inform the search enginesthat the page being linked to is either no longer live or has moved. The 301 command thenredirects the search engines to the new destination.This is also essential from a user experience point of view as you can ensure you send thevisitor to a working page.There will also be occasions when external sites simply try to link to a page on your site butdon’t include the correct URL (in the link). This of course is out of your hands, but youshould still create 301 redirects to fix this.Suggested Tools: Xenu Screaming Frog Google Webmaster ToolsHTML CodingHaving clean code is also an important element.Untidy coding or simply incorrect coding can not only affect the look of your site but it canagain indicate to the search engines that the site isn’t very well maintained.You may find that some of the coding that isn’t quite up to W3C standards doesn’t trulyaffect the look of a site or the way it works, but considering the number of ranking factorsyou are up against you should look to have clean code.Bad coding can also stop search engines from crawling your site.Suggested Tool: http://validator.w3.org/
    • SEO ToolsAll of the above could be followed to the letter, but unless you are able to monitor yoursite’s performance you will have no idea where you stand.There are free tools that should be compulsory to any site owner (especially if you arerunning an online business).Webmaster ToolsGoogle Webmaster Tools is free however you do need to have a Google account to createone for your site.Webmaster Tools will provide you with a huge amount of valuable information relating tohow Google sees your site.From broken links to what links your site is receiving. If there is an issue with your site, youwill more often than not find the reason here.If you don’t create an account for your site then you are pretty much sailing solo. This isafter all information directly from Google. They hardly ever release information that actuallyguides you, so when they do you need to take advantage of this.Your account will also provide you with alerts related to your site. If Google is having troublecrawling your site, they feel you have un-natural links, if your Robots.txt file is suddenlyblocking their crawler (and more), Google will provide you with alerts.Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics provides you with traffic statistics on your website.If you don’t know how many people are coming to your site, what terms they are using toget there, which terms are working for you or how your visitors are actually interacting withyour site, how can you be sure your site is performing to its full potential?Google Analytics is another free tool, so there is no reason not to use it.You will be required to add some code to every single page on your site to allow Google torecord your traffic statistics. It is important this is implemented correctly otherwise you runthe risk of it not working at all or worse reporting back incorrect data.
    • What Else Should You Be Doing?Competition AnalysisNo campaign is complete unless you know how you fair against your competition.This analysis should form part of your initial work and your on-going improvements.When you first enter into SEO you need to know how strong the competition is, this couldhelp mould your initial keyword targets. Going after more generic terms against a verystrong competitive field could leave you lost in a competition you can’t win any time soonand with no return.Alternatively this research could help give you the confidence to go for more generic terms ifthe competition isn’t as strong as expected.The type of information you want to be looking for to give you an overall picture of how youcurrently stand against the others includes: Domain age – longevity of a domain matters Competitor’s overall SEO – Title tags, Meta descriptions, on page factors Incoming links Anchor text links – where are they gaining these links Brand name links – as above Content distribution Social presence Online profiles Their rankingsThis information will give you a rounded picture of how the competition are performing, howlong they have been around, where they are receiving their links, the type of links, howsocial they are, how they rank and where they are distributing content.With this information you can make far more informed decisions on how you can mould yourcampaign to take on your competition.Suggested Tools: Linkdex Majestic SEO Social Mention Google Alerts
    • Rank CheckingIt is important to keep yourself up to date with your rankings. You have put all this workinto optimising so you need to know where you rank to see what is working and what isn’t.If you are only targeting a couple of terms you may be happy to simply carry out a manualsearch. However a majority of SEO campaigns are targeting a high number of terms, sosave yourself time and use a rankings tool.Even though you have tools to hand that you can set to check your rankings on a regularbasis, it is important not to become obsessed with your rankings.Rankings fluctuate all the time and any work you carry out isn’t realistically going to affectanything overnight. If you check every day and judge your work on the daily ups and downsyou will get into the habit of making unnecessary changes as a reaction to search enginenoise.Be realistic and check every week or beyond and only react to large scale trends or suddenchanges rather than daily fluctuations.Suggested Tools: SEOmoz Rank Tracker AWR An example AWR reportWe would also recommend you use rank checking tools on the recommended settings asoveruse can lead to your IP address being banned from Google.
    • Link BuildingAll SEO campaigns need to work in conjunction with a well thought out link buildingstrategy.Link building creates incoming links and signals that are paramount to building strength toyour site and developing much needed relevance.This also is integral to building your Brand.Originally link building was all about gaining as many links as possible, finding directories,commenting on blogs and forums whilst including a keyword rich anchor text link back toyour site.Those days are gone.Google want you to work for your links and want you to create something beneficial.Content is now a big player and creating great content that people will engage with andshare is now an important part of any link building strategy.Working with content also gives you the opportunity to become a voice in your industry orsector.Although content is now a great way to build links it is important you vary your activity.Don’t just find a platform and do nothing, constantly add to it.You also need to think about where you are building your links from. Quality is far betterthan quantity.Take into consideration the type of links you are creating. You shouldn’t build keyterm richlinks all the time. There needs to be a healthy balance between keyterm and brand links.Social signals also play a big part and should form part of your link building strategy.Areas to think about as part of your link building strategy:  Press Releases  Guest Blog  Business profiles  Local listings  Profile sites  Link Bait  Local link building  Social signals  Infographics  Surveys  Blog content  Interesting images
    • Social SignalsUsing social as part of your online marketing strategy has now become almost unavoidable.Social signals created by the activity on these platforms are generally believed to have aneffect on organic rankings. As with SEO there are many factors that come into play howeverthe only constant is that you need to have a presence socially and you need to be social.Linking Your Site To Your Social PropertiesIt is best practice to include links to your social properties to encourage visitors to your siteto engage with you. Search engines also use these links to confirm that you are the ownerof the social profiles that you have registered.To help people find you profiles you can add links to them from the footer of every page (oranywhere else they best fit).Social SharingYou should include a social sharing plugin to all pages on your blog (or indeed any otherpages on your site that may be shared e.g. products).One button you should definitely include is the Google +1 sharing button. It is widelybelieved that Google will eventually make the number of Google +1’s a site receives afactor, which will help determine search engine rankings.
    • Google UpdatesGoogle update their algorithm all the time. Never mind the big headline makers; there areupdates and tweaks almost every day.The big recent ones are obviously the Penguin and Panda updates and we are constantlyseeing new revisions of these all the time. But there are also smaller updates that don’tnecessarily make the news that are also just as important.Keeping yourself up to date is essential.If you have an online business and you rely on appearing well within Google then it is a nobrainer that you need to stay up to date with what is going on.Don’t for one second rest on your laurels. Just because you are ranking well today doesn’tmean an update won’t come along and change everything.Even if you have an agency looking after your online marketing, you should still be keepingyourself up to date.Here are a few places you should bookmark and check regularly: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/ http://www.seomoz.org/google-algorithm-change http://www.seroundtable.com/category/google-updates http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/type/googleseo/Black Hat SEOYou may have heard people speak about White Hat and Black Hat SEO techniques.White Hat techniques are those that are carried out within the Google guidelines and don’tput a site in danger of being hit by any potential penalty.Black Hat SEO is seen as the practice of gaining higher search engine positions by the use oftechniques seen as unethical by Google and other search engines.For every White Hat technique there is a Black Hat alternative. Which ones you use aresolely at the discretion of the site owner. Black Hat is usually used to gain quick rankingsand results with a very short life span, sometimes literally only days.As these tactics go against search guidelines, if Google do catch up with you, then you canbe sure that there will be a reaction against your site.There is a market for both Black and White Hat SEO and to suggest otherwise would benaïve.
    • Tactics to AvoidHowever there are tactics that are classed as Black Hat that could be used innocently thatwill end up costing you your rankings. These are tactics that you should avoid. They don’toffer any quick results or payback and will serve to simply work against you in the long run.Hidden Text/Invisible TextThis shouldn’t need a great deal of explaining. If you try and hide anything then expect toget caught and expect to be penalised.There is only one reason why you would hide anything and that is to game the system.Beware – there are developers out there who claim they can hide information from thesearch engines. If this was truly the case then why have it at all? If it is so well hidden thatsearch engines can’t find it then they also can’t read it and count it as a ranking factor.Doorway PagesThese are basically landing pages created for the sole purpose of redirecting potentialvisitors to your site.These are designed with only Google and other search engines in mind.More often than not these will be using all the frowned upon techniques possible to rankhighly and quickly. They don’t last or rank for long.This is now a relatively old technique that isn’t seen as much anymore; however there arestill those who will try to convince you that this is the way forward – ignore them.Keyword StuffingRemember when we spoke about writing for your audience and not search engines. This isthe complete opposite. Stuffing a page with targeted terms will in fact end up having theopposite effect.Don’t do it.Invisible LinksAgain, the fact that you are hiding something instantly set alarm bells ringing.The only reason you would include a hidden link is because you want the link followed (topass on link strength) but you don’t want it visible to the visitor. Well, if you don’t want thevisitor to see it then it shouldn’t be there.
    • SEO MythsAs well as all the information included within this Whitepaper it is important you continue toresearch the subject of SEO. Like anything within this industry things change all the time soit is important you stay up to date.However be careful what you read and what you believe.Before you do anything note the date of the blog post you are about to read. How old is it?You could be reading a great post on the importance of ranking for misspellings (more onthis later) but the post was written back in 2002. Whatever you read, make sure it isrecent.You will also find a lot of SEO myths on your travels. Again the date of the post will be aclue but below I have listed some of the most common myths so you can avoid them.It’s Ok To Pay For LinksPaying to have a link to your site included on another site (in the current climate of Google)can get you penalised.Paying for links has always been frowned upon but on the back of recent Google updatesthis is now a big problem to any site that has carried out this practice.Links should be natural, paying for them isn’t and Google can tell the difference.If you have – remove or ‘nofollow’ these links as soon as you can.If you are thinking about paying for links – don’t.A High Google Toolbar PageRank Means I Will Rank HigherNo it won’t.And there are thousands of examples out there that show pages with a low ToolbarPageRank out rank pages with a far higher score.The truth is PageRank is largely an out of date score that doesn’t really mean anythinganymore.In its simplest form; Toolbar PageRank is calculated by the number of links a page isreceiving. The value of the page linking to you is also taken into consideration.It is a great indicator that you are on the right tracks (if your score continues to go up youcan at least take comfort that your links are being found) but beyond that you should mainlyignore this.Instead of trying to improve your PageRank score – concentrate on the quality of the linksyou are receiving.
    • I Need As Many Links as PossibleFollowing on quickly on the heels of PageRank.If it was simply about how many links you could build it would be open season.It’s about quality not quantity.It’s about where your links come from. The value of the site they come from. The nature ofyour links – are they natural?As you will have seen from the Link Building section of this Whitepaper – do you have thelink balance right? Are you over optimising towards a certain term? Are you building yourbrand with these links?And so on.It is better to spend quality time gaining a quality link than creating a ton of bad andirrelevant links.Having millions of links doesn’t guarantee you great rankings – quality links do.You Haven’t Mentioned The Meta Keyword Tag – I Need To Optimise This TooDon’t waste your time. Google don’t read this tag anymore and don’t pay any attention to it.It does no harm having it in place, but why add further coding that Google has to crawlthrough?Remove all waste in your coding and let Google get to the good stuff quickly.I Need A Keyword Density Score of Around 2% - 3%Change this to “Have I written for my audience?” and you will be more on the right tracks.Keyword density used to be all the rage but times have changed. It shouldn’t be about howmany times you can include a key term in your content.Write for your audience.If you are naturally writing about a certain subject, product or service then your targetedterms will naturally be included (which will add this important relevance to your page).A great rule of thumb I always try to abide by is:“If you were to hand a stranger your content could they pick which terms you were workingwith?”If the answer is yes then you are over optimising. These terms are standing out and yourcontent should be natural.
    • Google AdWords Influences Organic RankingsThis is a conspiracy theory that continues to linger.Regardless of what you have read or what your friend “in the know” has said;There is no connection at all between AdWords and Organic listings.One does not have any influence over the other.You can have the most amazingly run AdWords account but it will have no knock–on effectto your organic rankings.You can have the most perfectly optimised SEO campaign and have top rankings across theboard but this won’t improve your AdWords account in any shape or form.It is as simple as that.“NoFollow” Links Are Totally UselessNoFollow links are links that contain the “nofollow” command within the link’s coding.Basically this command informs the search engines not to pass any link strength to thelinked to page.As a result it is often believed that gaining such links is a waste of time.This train of thought couldn’t be more wrong.Having a percentage of “nofollow” links helps to highlight that you have a natural andhealthy link profile.If none of your links were “nofollow” then how unnatural would that look?I Should Try And Rank For MisspellingsOnce upon a time this used to be all the rage, trying to capture all that traffic created bypeople who misspelt a key term or even a company name.These days I wouldn’t advise it at all.In order to rank for a misspelling the belief was you need to have optimised for that version.Do you really want to have a misspelling on your site just to capture this small percentage?No.It looks unprofessional.Algorithms have also become a lot smarter and will be pointing out these mistakes to thesearcher and giving them the correct alternative, so you don’t need to worry.
    • SEO Isn’t About UsabilityThere are two ways of looking at this.If you aren’t taking usability into account regardless of whether you believe it to be an SEOfactor or not – then you are going to lose custom.If you don’t believe that Google is clever enough to take usability into account – you aregoing to lose valuable ranking space.Whichever way you look at it, usability is hugely important.Remember, Google want you to create a site that is for the visitors not the search engines.If you don’t do that then Google won’t be paying much attention to you either.My Agency Can Guarantee Me 1st Place RankingsPut simply – no they can’t.No one can.Keep well away from anyone who says they can.Google is a 3rd party site and only Google know the algorithm.There are no partners and no preferred agencies that can gain better rankings as a result.Back street agencies may well be able to get you top of the rankings in a very quick amountof time but soon enough you will drop like a stone with a penalty that will make it very hardfor your site to ever rank well again.Don’t risk it.SEO is a long term project, there are no real short cuts and it needs to be done properly.
    • SummaryAccording to a lot of bloggers SEO has been dead for a very long time. The truth is it isn’tand never will be. SEO as we knew it back in 2002 is different to what people were doing in2009. SEO today is again different to 2009.No matter what tactics come and go, what signals become redundant and what new groundbreaking elements become big game players – sites will always need to be relevant.That will never change and without relevant information search engines won’t be able totruly marry up whatever external factors are adding strength to your site.SEO may change but it won’t die.By finishing this Whitepaper you should now have a strong and well planned out SEOstrategy that is sustainable in the long run.
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