I have four websites that I tell people about and three that I don’t. ;-) JBS Partners - Web design and SEO Blog Wranglers – is devoted to moving blogs. We have moved over 18k posts, 26k comments, 3,800 tags. Everyone loves the Western theme of this WordPress site. Web Page Advisor – cost effective services that delivers a hand-made report along with a 30 minute phone consultation to show you the shortest path to a more effective website or blog. Tweet Advisor – Part crib sheet and part community service. It’s a place to share ideas about Twitter from an avid Tweeter.
Now you know a little about me. Why will this be worth your time? For every SEO suggestion you will find someone that either says it doesn’t work or suggests the opposite. There are often two sides well supported. There are avid supporters that feel on-page SEO is all that matters. On the other hand, there are off-page supporters that feel that in-bound links are all that matters. Both groups have effective websites in competitive markets. We are going to review both sides of this story. You will see SEO suggestions and tools based on my experience. I hope you are puzzled and have questions. Let’s see if we can help you answer those questions. Once we do, you will be happy.
Happy, like this little one.
Let’s start at the beginning. You are in business because you can solve a problem for your customer. You may be a commercial plumber, an HR consulting firm, an SEO consultant or a newly minted preacher. The point is, you have skills, services or knowledge that people want. Your website or blog is there to lead people to the solution of the problem, or as we often describe it as, “to answer the question”. People go to the web looking for answers to their questions. Let’s think about this a bit more.
First clearly define your audience. And don’t think anyone who can fog a mirror needs your product or service. That is not an accurate definition. Look up the definition of a “straw man” and build one. Next, figure out what question your audience is asking. Think about the difference between someone investigating, a do-it-yourselfer and someone ready to “buy”. How is their language different? Answering these questions is a key step in the process of building your website and developing your key word list.
If you feel like this kid and don’t know any key words, we can fix that.
First, we do key word research to learn what customers are actually typing into the search engines when seeking your solutions. It’s as simple as that. Start by using Your Brain. Think first and then use these tools to corroborate or correct what you find. Key Word Research Tools, are all inaccurate. Looks for relations and trends. Expect to get a general idea and then test. Each of these tools are free. SEO Book requires a free account to login and grab the tool. If you want more information then choose paid tools like Key Word Discovery or Wordze. Here is a quick snap-shot of each of these web-based tools.
The Custom frame shop story from years back. A client requested our services to make him number one in Google for the search phrase “Boston custom framing”. He owned a custom framing shop, so this seemed a reasonable key word phrase. We did some key word research. Well, our research revealed zero searches for that phrase in the past 60 days. However, we found that “Discount Boston custom frame shop” 5k searches. This is the corroboration step that is vital. You will also find words and phrases that you never thought of, but will help you. Generally, a single word may be too competitive. Look at multiple word phrases. Three to five words.
Great to see search volume over time. Seasonality matters. Great to put two terms in to see how the compare and pick a winner.
Provides a wide range of data all in one place. You can export this data into a CSV file if you like.
Lovely charts and graphs Paid tools Wordze has all you need for $40/mo. Key Word Discorvery is $70/mo more customization to slice and dice your data. What words are being searched for? What’s the volume? What’s the competition? Remember to look back at your analytics as well.
The little man upstairs is not happy. Now What? You have used your common sense and your tools. You have some key word phrases. Now what? Let’s sell a hat.
Here are the factors that we will review.
We want to sell that hat? Here is how to implement our key word phrases. Match the keywords with the themes on your pages. You have developed a vocabulary list.
Your key words get used in all these places Think about where you use key words and phrases … in title, in url, in headings, in strong … trim garbage words … phrase the important words first on the page underscores aren't seen as a line break so blue_widgets looks like blue_widgets (no space) to the SE's where blue.widget / blue-widget looks like blue widget (with a space, grammatically correct) :) Next two slides are closely related
Your key words get used in all these places Work your new vocabulary into the page text in a natural way. Don’t over do it so that it sounds machine written. If you can write for your visitor, that will be just fine for the search engines. You don’t want it to read as being spammy. This is marketing copy that needs to SELL.
Remember your images. Use captions. If someone is not a reader, they will look at the images and their caption and maybe your headings and sub-headings. Alt attributes are important way to inform; Search engines Browsers with images turned off Blind visitors Tools Tips are just another way to communicate what the image is about.
Meta title and meta description Meta Title is most important Notice the key words are used first and then the website title is listed in the title Again, this is a marketing message. Thins of the question you are answering. All important. If you are an excel wizard it takes no time to get it done
We are more than half way through now, but, yeah, there is more. At least you have these cute faces to look at now and then.
The search engines continue to see http://www.domain.com and www.domain.com as different websites. This means you have duplicated your content which is another issue. You can correct this many ways. .htaccess, redirect plugin in WordPress, Google WebMaster Tools. Just make sure it is done. Do not use a slash for HTML 4.01 documents, otherwise there can be serious parsing errors. The issue arises when HTML code is validated and a tag has a closing slash and the DocType is HTML 4.01 In this case the parser will miss the following title element because the closing slash on the meta element gets incorrectly interpreted as being the /head. http://www.domain.com refers to a domain, it does not refer to a website page. The canonical homepage address is actually http://www.domain.com/ (see the added slash at the end). The trailing slash indicates that the default pages is being requested (index.html for example). If you exclude the trailing slash then a further (and avoidable) 301 redirect is needed to reach that resource (the page).
“ click here” or “read more” are the most useless link text possible. Links need to provide an idea of where the visitor will land if they click. They can also be a lovely spot for key words. Click here to see our collection of “red baseball caps” is a much better link text. Bloggers all have articles that have stood the test of time. Give a link to it from your homepage. Don’t over due your links. The max is 100, but realistically you are better off keeping it below 25. I have no rule book to quote on this. Link out to helpful sites. The search engines get a better idea of your site by evaluating the link relationships to and from your site. If there are sites of value to your visitors don’t be afraid to link appropriately.
Rename your images files to something useful. Makes maintenance so much easier. Adds valuable information to the page. We already talked about captions and alt attributes. In Google WebMasterTools there is an option to allow Google Image search to index your photos. I have a client who gets a ton of traffic this way.
Now that we have our pages ready for the search engines, lets move our focus off the page.
Local SEO includes local links and citations, ratings and reviews and maps This makes your address a very important factor.
David is quite knowledgeable about Local SEO. Let’s look at how he setup his contact information on his website. It basically looks like he is addressing a letter, doesn’t it. Well, that is for a reason. This is a standard format that the most directories and information aggregators can understand.
Based on the US Post Office standards, which many directories, aggregators and rating services emulate. Definition; hCard is a simple, open, distributed format for representing people, companies, organizations, and places, using a 1:1 representation of vCard ( RFC2426 ) properties and values in semantic HTML or XHTML . hCard is one of several open microformat standards suitable for embedding in HTML, XHTML, Atom, RSS, and arbitrary XML.
Here is the code behind David’s address. I noticed that he named his span classes after the content of the span.
Here are some of the major directories, rating and review sites, map sites and paid directories. Find out which ones are best for your location and industry.
Search engines do their best to combine the information on the web to create a robust data set about each business. If the profile information is identical, they have a high level of confidence that the data is from the same business and is therefore ok to combine. Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) are the keys. Those who fill out more info win!!! This is very important. Complete your profile as fully as you can. Remember David’s company name and address. Create your version and use exactly the same words and punctuation for every profile. Exactly. GetListed is a great site to see if you have some of the basic accounts setup completely. David is a partner in the site.
Trusted links Over the years Google and other directories have obtained their data from Yahoo. It is a high ranking, highly trusted source. Directory listings can also send traffic Obtain links from topically relevant organization that you like to support anyway like your trade organizations.
Local Citations are very important Participate in your community BE CONSISTENT USE YOUR WEB ADDRESS IN EVERYTHING YOU DO … BRAND IT
Government and educational domains still carry more weight. Get links from them when you can. You want links to your site that are from quality sites and sites that are relevant topically. Claim your listing, which means create an account, with the relevant rating and review sites. The sites listed here are all cited by Google. This means that you will find their listings in the Google search results. If they are there, that means that if you create an account, you can be there too. Encourage customers to complete reviews and ratings for your business. No face reviews. It’s against the law. Yelp and others are very good and finding and penalizing fake reviews. Might count against you. How? Ask Offer incentive Mad Libs type complete the sentence review form People more likely to review sites that have reivews In fact these account listings can often rank higher than your website.
I hope that we have dispelled some myths about SEO today. It is a marketing function. Start with why you are in business. Then get into the vocabulary. Next, learn the vocabulary of buyers on the Internet. Put that language on your website. Use that same language as you create accounts. Also use this language as you acquire links and local citations It’s an iterative process. So, rinse and repeat.
My name is Jim Spencer http://twitter.com/fairminder I was working with entrepreneurs on the Internet two years before Facebook was founded ( which means since 2002 ). I am an occasional event speaker, two time organization creator and a unexpected entrepreneur. The tools of the trade include; domains, hosting, website and blog design, custom programming, SEO and PPC. But my favorite is the SEO side of the business. It’s just fascinating. Most of my work currently is building new websites for clients in WordPress and a few in Drupal.
• JBS Partners, since 2002
• Web design & marketing ﬁrm.
• Our web properties include:
Here’s were you will ﬁnd me
• Conﬁrm SEO knowledge
• See it’s largely Common Sense
• Develop a process
• Take away a few tools
Why this is worth your time
• Why do you have a website?
• What need are you fulﬁlling?
• What question are you answering?
Where do we start?
• Who is your audience?
• What is your audience asking?
• How do they ask the question?
• What words do they use?
• Answer these questions in your keywords
• Answer these questions in your copy
What are the Questions?
• Meta Title
• Meta Description
• Meta Keywords
• Image Alt Title Attribute
• Tool Tip
• address tag
Meta Data and HTML
• Page URL – no under scores or spaces
• Meta Title – 70 characters max
Baseball cap, base ball hats, red sox, red
• Meta Description – 155 characters max
“RedSox Release new Red Baseball Cap
Major On-page Factors
• Headline or Page Heading - H1
Embroidered red baseball caps
• Text on the page
Text about red baseball caps
• Sub Headings
Personalized red baseball caps
Major On-page Factors
• Image captions
Big Papi sporting the latest red baseball cap
• Alt title attributes
Personalize red baseball cap worn by Big Papi
• Tool Tip
New red baseball cap
Major On-page Factors
• Unique Meta Data on each and every page
• Use meta data to inform, be clear, compel
Meta Title Example
• Set a primary URL – www or h@p://
• h@p://jbspartners.com/ resolves to
• Use 301 Permanent Redirects to condense
• On XHTML docs include trailing / slash
Redirects / Canonicalization
• Keyword anchor text not “Click here”
• Link to deep “Pillar” or “Evergreen”
• Minimize # of links on a page (-25)
• Link out to helpful, authoritative sites
• ﬀ-375_xl.jpg or red-baseball-cap.jpg
• Include useful caption under the image
• Use descriptive alt attribute text
• Consider allowing Google Image Search in WMT
alt=”A Free Theme Made for a Quick Decision”
width=”300” height=”253” /
/ap class=”wp-caption-text“Custom Theme/p/div
• Company Name and Service,
• Street Address,
• Zip code
• Use hCard format
Address format based on USPS
div class=”lsrfcontent” div class=”address” div
class=”org”a class=”url” href=”
http://www.davidmihm.com“David Mihm, Inc./a/div
div class=”adr” div class=”street-address”1919 NW
Quimby StBrSuite 402/div span
class=”region”OR/spannbsp; span class=”postal-
code”97209/span div class=”tel”(503) 560-2755/div
m/a/div /div /div /div
Address Example Code
• Consistent use of contact information
– Use a local phone exchange
– Use keyword in business title if you can
• Also Include
– Photos and Videos
– Service description
Complete the Entire Proﬁle
• Yahoo Directory ($300)
• Business.com ($300)
• Joe Ant ($40)
• Your Industry Directories
Top Directories that are not Free
• Company name and contact info on a local
Charity event website
• Chamber of Commerce member listing
• Local paper or other media citation
• These conﬁrm and validate your location
Local Citations, not Links
• Quality: .gov and .edu CAN trump .com
• Quantity: No limit, but maintain quality
• Claim your Google Places and other
• Review Sites: Ask customers to rate and
review your business; Yelp, CitySearch,
Yahoo Local, JudysBook,
OpenTable, DexKnows, SuperPages
Valuable Links and Citations
• What problem do you solve?
• Commons Sense Keyword list corroborated
by research using tools
• On-page SEO factors; meta data
• Oﬀ-page SEO factors; links, directories,