SEO Tips Even Mom Would Love

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Basic, down to earth, non-technical search engine optimization tips that even a non-techno-dweeb can master. No-nonsense, common sense SEO best practices.

Basic, down to earth, non-technical search engine optimization tips that even a non-techno-dweeb can master. No-nonsense, common sense SEO best practices.

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  • 1. SEO Tips Even  Mom Would Love Easy optimization to drive  traffic to your web site Richard V. Burckhardt VP of Search, FramesDirect.com http://www.framesdirect.com/
  • 2. Everyone loves a good tip, right? Here are some simple, quick tips for search engine optimization that even your mother could use to get cooking. Well, not my mother, but you get my point. Most novices with some web design and beginner SEO knowledge should be able to take these to the bank without any problem. Ah, but what is SEO, you ask?
  • 3. SEO = Search Engine Optimization
    • SEO is:
      • A part of search engine marketing (SEM) with the purpose of building content that is readable and indexed by search engines
    • SEO is NOT:
      • Content just for the search engines
      • Using unethical, "black hat" techniques to rank better
      • An exact science
      • Something you have to be a total geek to do
    • One more thing to understand about SEO...
  • 4. SEO is NOT Rocket Science
    • BUT, it can be complex and is an ongoing process that changes almost daily. There is no such thing as a permanent fix to magically send you to the top of the rankings for good. But here are some of the basics to look for when optimizing your site to drive more traffic, prospects and, hopefully, profit.
  • 5. First: Turn Off Personalized Search
    • Google turns on personalized search results by default (whether you want it or not). This means that if you click on a certain site frequently for a given search, it will rank higher for YOU alone. The first thing you will want to do is turn this off.
    • In order to see your true, non-personalized  search results, you have to opt out. Google doesn't make this obvious. Go to Google.com, click on Web History in the top right, then click on Disable customizations based on search activity .
  • 6. Content is (Still) King
    • Be sure to have good, well-written and unique content that will focus on your primary keyword or keyword phrase. Be sure to include keywords in heading tags and in the first paragraph and throughout body copy.
    • This is referred to as spider food !
    • Fresh content can help improve your rankings. Add new, useful content to your pages on a regular basis. Content freshness adds relevancy to your site in the eyes of the search engines.
  • 7. Good Back Links
      • If content is king, then links are queen. Build a network of quality backlinks using your keyword phrase as the link .
      • Be sure links to your site and within your site use your keyword phrase. In other words, if your target is “blue widgets” then link to “blue widgets” instead of a “Click here” link.
      • Get links from good, authority sites. The "authority" will rub off on you.
      • Avoid link farms and obvious paid links.
  • 8. Keywords in Hyperlinks
    • This can't be emphasized enough! Be sure links to your site and within your site use your keyword phrases. In other words, if your target is “blue widgets” then link to “blue widgets” instead of a “Click here” link.
  • 9. Link Format Consistency
    • Did you know that...
    • http://your-site.com http://your-site.com/ http://your-site.com/index.html http://www.your-site.com http://www.your-site.com/ http://www.your-site.com/index.html
    • ...are all technically SIX different URLs even though each will land the site visitor on the same Web page?
    • http://www.your-site.com/ = YES
    • http://www.your-site.com/index.html = NO
  • 10. Use Absolute Links
    • Not only will it make your on-site link navigation less prone to problems (like links to and from https pages), but if someone scrapes your content, you’ll get backlink juice out of it.
    • What are absolute links?
    • <a href=&quot; http://www.yoursite.com/blue-widgets.html &quot; title=&quot;Examples of Blue Widgets&quot;>Examples of Blue Widgets</a>
    • NOT
    • <a href=&quot; blue-widgets.html &quot; title=&quot;Examples of Blue Widgets&quot;>Examples of Blue Widgets</a>
  • 11. Title Tag
    • Among the first things the spiders will crawl on your page is the Title Tag at the very top of your HTML code. This is what you see in the blue bar at the top of your browser when you land on a page. Unique text in this tag on each page is essential and the single most important thing you can do for rankings . If you MUST have the name of your company in it, put it at the end unless it contains the page's targeted keywords. 
  • 12. Keyword Density
      • There is no magic keyword density for a page. That’s so 1998! Make your text natural with your primary keyword phrase included two or three times on a page, ideally above the fold. That’s it.
      • Search engines want natural language content. Don’t try to stuff your text with keywords. It won’t work. Search engines look at how many times a term is in your content and if it is abnormally high, will count this against you rather than for you. 
  • 13. Don’t be Obsessed with PageRank
    • PageRank, or that little green bar you see in the Google Toolbar, is just one isty bitsy part of the ranking algorithm. A site with lower PR can actually outrank one with a higher PR.
    • In fact, what you see in this toolbar is NOT what Google sees internally for daily rankings.
  • 14. Optimize Your Images
      • Use captions with your images.
      • Pay attention to the context surrounding your images. Images can rank based on text that surrounds them on the page. 
      • Use the words “image” or “picture” in your photo ALT descriptions and captions. A lot of searches are for a keyword plus one of those words.
      • Enable “Enhanced image search” in  Google Webmaster Tools. Images are a big part of the blended search results, so allowing Google to find your photos will help your SEO efforts. 
      • Use keywords for image file names.
  • 15. Theme Consistency
    • Make sure the page Title tag, the HTML title attribute and the ALT attributes retain the scent or theme of the page.
    • < title >Blue Widgets Online< /title >
    • <a href=&quot;http://www.yoursite.com/blue-widgets.html&quot; title =&quot;Examples of Blue Widgets&quot;>Examples of Blue Widgets</a>
    • <img src=&quot;http://www.yoursite.com/images/blue-widget.jpg&quot; alt =&quot;image of blue widget&quot;>
  • 16. Domain
      • Select a keyword rich domain name ( keyword .com) if possible. This makes every link to your domain a keyword anchor link, great for SEO.
      • Changing ownership of a domain should not affect search engine rankings.
      • There’s nothing wrong with .net, .org, .info and other extensions (search engines tend to give them equal weight), but you really want .com. People assume a domain (especially in the USA) ends in .com, so understand that if you get any other domain extension, you’ll probably lose at least some traffic to whoever owns the .com version.
  • 17. Frames, Flash and AJAX
    • Frames, Flash and AJAX all share a common problem – you can’t link to a single page. It’s either all or nothing. Don’t use Frames at all and use Flash and AJAX sparingly for best SEO results.
    • Flash is like wine. When used appropriately (and in moderation), it can enhance the user experience. Used inappropriately, it’s a serious distraction that leaves the user with a nasty headache.  
  • 18. Need Fresh Content? Get a Blog!
    • If your site content doesn’t change often or you have an all Flash site, you need a blog because search spiders like fresh text. Blog at least three times a week with good, fresh content to feed those little crawlers. And, you can link from your blog text to your main site content or to an all-Flash site.
  • 19. Bonus Tip for Flash Sites
    • If you absolutely MUST have your main page as a splash page that is all Flash or one big image, place text and navigation links below the fold. This at least gives the spiders  something  to read.
  • 20. Call to Action
    • SEO is useless if you have a weak or non-existent call to action on your page.  Use action phrases like:
  • 21. CEO Blogging
    • Get the owner or CEO blogging. It’s priceless! CEO influence on a blog is incredible as this is the VOICE of the company. 
    • Response from the owner to reader comments will cause your credibility to skyrocket!
  • 22. Social Media
      • Understand social marketing. It IS part of SEO. The more you understand about sites like Digg, Yelp, del.icio.us, Facebook, Twitter, etc., the better you will be able to compete in search.
      • Link to your social media profile pages. Make sure visitors can find your social site pages. Make your very first weighted link to your profile pages a link from your company site.
      • Twitter is incredibly powerful for weighting in the search engine results pages, so use it! Just be sure to grab your name before someone else does (this applies to all social sites).
  • 23. Go Viral
    • Inject viral components into your web site or blog
      • Ratings & Reviews (User Generated Content)
      • Sharing (E-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
      • Comments (More User Generated Content)
      • Videos (Upload these to YouTube, etc.)
      • Podcasts (Distribute these through iTunes, etc.)
      • News (Press releases, news feeds, etc.)
      • Free E-Books (Who doesn't like free?)
    • All of these can help your content be found, linked to and rank better. SEO is not about 10 blue links anymore.
  • 24.  
  • 25. Speaking of Podcasts & Videos...
    • Transcribe your podcasts and post the text on your blog. The search engines are working on crawling audio, but aren’t quite there yet, so post the textual content (referred to sometimes as &quot;show notes&quot;) where the spiders can crawl it easily.
    Same goes for video. Include a transcription of your video content on the page for spidering purposes. By the way, you did know that YouTube.com is the second most used search engine in the world, didn't you? Charge up your cameras and get to work!
  • 26. Localize
    • Local search is getting hot! Create a local listing for all locations if you have more than one. Don’t just create a local listing for the main one. Get them all in there! Start with local listings at Google (through Google Places or Google Maps), Yahoo! and Bing. Include photos, videos, links, web pages and coupons if available.  
    It’s quick, easy, free and gives you one more opportunity to rank. 
  • 27. E-mail Marketing
    • If you aren’t doing e-mail marketing, consider it. Not only is it the most frequently used form of web marketing, if done right it can be extremely effective and can indirectly lead to social bookmarking and back links to your site pages.
    • Some of your most valuable links might not appear in web sites at all but be in the form of e-mail communications such as newsletters and zines.
  • 28. Additional Takeaways
      • Your search engine optimization strategy WILL be messed with by your I.T. department, so plan for it.
      • Make sure your site is easy to use. This can influence your link building ability and popularity and, thus, your ranking.
      • Give them something to talk about. Linkbaiting is simply good content.
      • SEO is not a one-shot process. The search landscape changes daily, so expect to work on your optimization daily.  
      • You can't template SEO. Refine, tweak, refine, repeat!
      • The bottom line in SEO is Text, Links, Popularity and Reputation.
  • 29. Additional SEO Resources
    • For more easy to implement SEO, check out:
    • http://www.weboptimist.com/category/training/
    • Podcasts (available on iTunes)
    • Unknown Secrets of SEO (Podomatic.com)
    • SEO 101 - Ross Dunn & John Carcutt (WebmasterRadio.fm)
  • 30. 110 SEO Tips Even  Mom Would Love Read the entire list of tips at http://www.weboptimist.com/
  • 31. Richard V. Burckhardt VP of Search, FramesDirect.com [email_address] http://www.framesdirect.com/ http://www.framesdirectblog.com/