Seo beginers guid


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Seo beginers guid

  1. 1. Beginner’s Guide To SEO: Best PracticesSearch engine optimization is a complex subject, especially when you consider all the information andmisinformation readily available online. Unfortunately it’s often hard to tell which is which. Does the latest tacticyou’re reading about work? Does it work for all sites? Only some sites? Or is just another crackpot theory thatsounds reasonable, but will never help to improve search traffic to your site?Let’s face it SEO can become very confusing. The good news is it doesn’t have to be. The basics of SEO are actuallyquite easy to understand and if you give yourself a good foundation in learning search engine optimization you’llbe able to sort fact from fiction much more easily and you’ll have the tools to delve into more advanced SEOconcepts. 12/26/2010 1
  2. 2. General Approach and Research. This first post will look at how you should be thinking about SEO as well as the keyword research you’ll want to do prior to building your site. On-Site SEO. The second post in the series will discuss how to build a search engine friendly site and how to write content with SEO in mind. Off-Site SEO. The last post in the series will look at building links into your site and page and discuss analytics so you can determine what’s been working and what hasn’t and use the information to continue to improve your SEO efforts.12/26/2010 2
  3. 3. How to Approach SEOSearch engine optimization is a subset of marketing. It should fit into your overall marketing plan and not be yourmarketing plan. You can do everything wrong when it comes to SEO, never receive a single visitor from a searchengine, and still have a very successful and profitable site. It might seem strange to read that in a post about SEO,but it’s important to understand.Ironically if you take a step back and generally market yourself well some of the more difficult parts of SEO willtake care of themselves. That’s not to say you should ignore SEO, but most of us don’t need to obsess over everylittle detail. There are many, many factors that determine where a page will rank in search results. Obsessing overone of those factors doesn’t make sense. Try to see the forest instead of staring intently at a single tree.SEO is not a set it and forget proposition. It’s an iterative process. You do what you can, measure the results, andcontinue to improve. You can’t SEO a site in a day or month. As with marketing in general, SEO is never ending. Italso changes daily and what works for one site may not work for another.Fortunately the basic principles are fairly constant and building a solid foundation in SEO understanding will carryyou much further that trying to exploit the tactic du jour. 12/26/2010 3
  4. 4. That said, SEO can be generally categorized into 5 different aspects: 1. Keyword research 2. Search engine friendly site development 3. On-page SEO 4. Link Building 5. Analytics Each of the above is important and they all work together. The whole s greater than the sum of the parts. Let’s talk about each of the above in more detail.12/26/2010 4
  5. 5. 1. Keyword Research:Everyone would like their pages to rank #1, which begs the question rank for what? Not all keywords and keywordphrases are equal. Some are typed into a search engine more often and some are more likely to lead to a sale. Youdon’t need or want to optimize for every possible keyword or phrase.For example say you sell real estate in Des Moines, Iowa. You might think it important to rank well for thephrase “real estate,” but is it? Someone looking to buy property in New York or Los Angeles isn’t going to beinterested in the homes you sell in Des Moines. Why spend time and money trying to get those people to your site.You’d do much better to target phrases that include Iowa and even better Des Moines.As a web designer you might think it important to rank well for the phrase “web design,” but again is it important?Are people searching for the phrases “web design” looking to hire a web designer or are they lookingfor information about web design, perhaps a definition?12/26/2010 5
  6. 6. There are 3 types of queries someone might type into a search engine.Informational queries – searching for information from general to specificNavigational queries – searching for a specific site or pageTransactional queries – searching with an intent to purchaseYou probably don’t want to spend time ranking a blog post of information for a transactional query and youprobably don’t want people typing informational queries to land inside your shopping cart.All three types of queries are important and each could ultimately lead to a sale. Someone findinghelpful information on your site may very well come back later and buy something. The important thing tounderstand is that what a person types into a search engine reveals something about their intent and that based onthe searcher’s intent you’d want different pages of your site ranking for different queries. 12/26/2010 6
  7. 7. Developing a List of Keywords to Target:The first step in developing a keyword list is brainstorming. Take some time and write down as many words andphrases as you can think of that relate to your site with the understanding that this is simply the start of yourresearch. You should be able to build a list of 50 – 100 phrases without much trouble.As you continue to brainstorm phrases some themes should being to emerge. Do you only offer web design or doyou also offer web development? Maybe you also offer WordPress development and Drupal development. Youmight specialize in ecommerce design or small business web design. Perhaps you also offer web hosting. Each ofthese will likely become a keyword theme around which you’ll build a more detailed list.Brainstorming will only yield so many words so your next step should be to expand your list through some keywordtools. Here are a few freebies to get you started.Google AdWords Keyword Tool SEO Book Keyword ToolWordTracker Keyword Discovery 12/26/2010 7
  8. 8. The last two also have paid options that will return a lot more phrases and have additional features for research.There are also a variety of more advanced keyword research tools should you desire them.Don’t worry about the absolute numbers with keyword tools. The numbers are estimates. For example when I typed“web design” into the free WordTracker tool, 8 of the top 20 phrases were specific to North Dakota web design. It’sunlikely that so many people are searching for web design in North Dakota and more likely that one or moreweb design firms in North Dakota are searching for those phrases a lot to see how well they rank.Consider the numbers more in relative terms in comparison to each other. If all of the above tools show that morepeople search for web design than website design, it’s probably true. Just don’t count on the absolute numbers tohold true, especially as a prediction of future searches for the phrase. 12/26/2010 8
  9. 9. A few tips about building keyword lists:Find the words and phrases your customers use instead of industry jargon. It’s great that you develop withprogressive enhancement. How many of your clients do you think search for progressive enhancement or evenknow what it meansLook for synonyms – Similar to the above seek the words potential clients will use. You call it e-commerce. Theymight type ecommerce. Is it web design or website design?Add qualifiers – Our Des Moines Iowa real estate agent might add Des Moines, Iowa, or both to most everyphrase. As a web designer your services might be affordable or professional. Optimizing for “professionalweb design services” also optimizes for “web design services” Services would also be a qualifier.Qualify your qualifiers – You might be tempted to add a qualifier like “free” since so many people use the word.However someone searching for free anything isn’t looking to buy. Unless you’re offering something for free it’sprobably best to stay away from “free” as a qualifier.Look to your analytics package to see what phrases are currently brining people to your site. These can tell youwhat you’re already ranking well for and give you ideas about similar phrases you can also likely rank well for.12/26/2010 9
  10. 10. Keyword Resources: The above barely scratches keyword research. Here are some free resources to add to your knowledge of researching and selecting keywords. Keyword Research and Selection (PDF) – One of the best PDFs for understanding the process of keyword research and keyword selection. Keyword Research Guide (PDF) – Real experts offer thoughts on keywords for a fictional company.12/26/2010 10
  11. 11. 2. Search Engine Friendly Web Development:Duplicated Contents:Search engines don’t want the same content littering their results. It makes no sense for them to present the exactsame page multiple times for the same query. Unfortunately most content management systems create multipleURLs for accessing the same content. Categories, tags, and search results all lead to the same content being foundthrough multiple URLs.You might want to block some of the URLs from being indexed though a robots.txt file, or through the use of themeta robots tag (use noindex, follow so links on the page can still be crawled) or use 301 (permanent) redirectionto point the duplicate URLs to your URL of choice. If you allow search engines to decide which URL to index it maynot be the one you prefer. The canonical attribute on link tags is another option to help search engines determinewhich URL is the one you want indexed.You also want to make sure that every page on your site has unique content. Many ecommerce sites will have verythin product information. For example one product might come in several different sizes and each size gets its ownpage. The content on those pages will likely be exactly the same with the exception of the different sizes. Searchengines are not likely to rank all of those pages. They’ll choose one. Better would be to create a single page andallow for a choice of size on that page. If each size must have it’s own page rewrite some of the content to increasethe percentage of uniqueness on each. Chandrashekar reddy .G12/26/2010 11
  12. 12. Canonical URL & Duplicated Contents:Canonical URLs (different than the canonical attribute mentioned above, but the same basic concept) are anotherexample of duplicate content. Canonical URLs are a fancy way of saying multiple URLs can lead to the same page.Your home page might be are 4 different pages in the eyes of search engines and again only one will be indexed. Just as important arethe links pointing into those pages. Say one site links to and another links You might think that means your home page has 2 links pointing to it. Nope. Fromthe perspective of a search engine that’s 1 link pointing to each of 2 different pages. You’ve effectively cut in halfthe benefit of those links.If your server runs Apache with mod_rewrite enabled (More than likely it does), you can add the following to your.htaccess file to correct the canonical issue between www and non www versions of your domain. If not, don’tworry. There are a variety of ways to rewrite URLs. One key point is that the rewrite should be a 301 or permanentredirect. You want to tell search engines this content over here should always be seen on that URL over there.12/26/2010 12
  13. 13. •RewriteEngine On •RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^ •RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L] Search Friendly URLs: Which of the following URLs tells you more about the content you’ll find on the page? The first tells you absolutely nothing about the page content, the second clearly tells you the content will be a page showing baseball statistics of some kind. That’s much more usable to real people as well as search engines. It helps search engines identify what the page is about, makes use of keywords, and is easier to crawl. Note: Search engines can crawl dynamic URLs fine. However too many parameters can trip them up, especially when those parameters include session IDs. If you need to include parameters in your URLs try to limit how many. 2 or 3 are ok, a dozen could cause crawling issues. Notice in the second URL above that keywords have been used in file and folder names. You don’t want to stuff keywords in there, but using them as above reveals a lot of information about your site and reinforces keyword themes. If your statistics page and your teams page and your players page all link back up to the main baseball page it helps reinforce the keyword theme baseball throughout that section. Assuming you also have sections for football and basketball and hockey all linking back up to your main sports page it further helps reinforce the keyword theme sports.12/26/2010 13
  14. 14. The idea of creating these keyword themes is a concept known as theming or siloing.5 More Tips..Be found.The most important aspect of building a search friendly site is to make sure your content can be found and indexed. If your pagesaren’t indexed they can’t appear in search results. Your first goal should be to prevent roadblocks to getting crawled and indexed.Build sites that are accessible and usable. The same principles you would follow for accessibility and usability will remove theroadblocks for search engine spiders.Avoid Flash, Javascripts.Search engines are better at crawling text than anything else. Avoid Flash, javascript, and images for the navigation of yoursite. Progress has been made in crawling each, but best practice still suggest coding links as straight html. If your design callsfor Flash or Javascript in your main navigation then provide another navigational system for search spiders.HTML Sitemap.You can also help search engines find your content through html sitemaps. That’s HTML, not XML. XML sitemaps are meant to be abackup in case you’ve presented some roadblocks to being crawled. Create an html sitemap and link to it from your home page atthe very least and even better from all pages on your site. It’s easy enough to add a link to your sitemap in the secondary n avigationyou might add to your footer.Valid Codes.Develop with clean valid code. Search engines don’t really care if your code is valid. In fact none of the 4 major searchengines have home pages that validate. However since some coding errors can be show stoppers to getting crawled it’s in your bestinterest to write valid code. Search engines are mainly interested in your content and while they have little problems finding yourcontent inside your code, the less code you make them wade through the better.Speed does matters.Speed is now also a ranking factor, at least at Google. Use CSS over <table> , move CSS and Javascripts to externalfiles. Keep html file sizes as small as possible. Use gzip compression. Minify files. While it’s likely a minor factor, anything you cando to speed up your site will help your rankings with Google and probably the other engines in the not to distant future. 12/26/2010 14
  15. 15. Some other thoughts about search friendly site development: •Semantic coding can reveal information about your pages and site to any application that understands the semantics. Search engines are making more use of microformats when determining what to rank for a particular query •Internal links – links are an important part of SEO and that includes internal links. Most every page on your site should link to other pages on your site. You also have complete control over the anchor text of internal links. •Periodically test to make sure links on your site are working. Fix or remove any broken links you find. •Use breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs help people and search engines understand the architecture of your site and they naturally link back up through your sections. See keyword themes and silos above.12/26/2010 15
  16. 16. Resources: Again there’s a lot more that can be said about SEO and site development. Here are a few checklists with additional tips. The 5 Minute SEO Site Audit Checklist Findability Strategy Checklist (PDF) The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet Web Marketing Checklist (PDF)12/26/2010 16
  17. 17. 3. On-Page SEO:Once upon a time this was SEO. People stuffed keywords everywhere they could and their pages ranked. Of course all thatkeyword stuffing was considered spam and no longer works as it once did. Today the idea is to write page content so that it readswell to real people. You also want to pay attention to a couple of key things.Page Titles: <title></title>:Page titles are perhaps the most important thing you’ll write on the page for search engines. Page titles do play an importantpart in ranking. Keep your page titles short and include the main keyword phrase for the page. For low competitive phrases agood page title alone is probably enough to generate a good ranking.Include your brand in your page titles. If your brand is well know you probably want to include it at the front. Keywords at the frontof the page title are likely better for SEO, but a well known brand is going to induce more clicks. If your brand is not well known it’sprobably best to include it at the end.Make sure every page title on your site is unique. Far too many sites use the exact same page title (often the domain) across thesite, which misses the benefit page titles give.Also remember that your page title is what people see as the link in search results. Write your titles in a way that makes pe oplewant to click on them. A good page title should should contain your most important keyword phrase and make people want toread the page content.Page Headings: <h1> - <h2>Page headings might not be as strong a ranking factor as they once were, but I think it’s still a good idea to include keywordsand phrases in them. Create one <h1> tag as your main page heading and then use <h2> h6> –< tags to present ahierarchy for the rest of the content.Ideally your hx headings will use variations of the main keyword phrase you used in your page title. Many CMS applications likeWordPress will generate an h1 heading that’s exactly the same as your page title. Ideally there would be some variation, butagain hx tags may not be as important as they once were.12/26/2010 17
  18. 18. Meta Tags: <meta> Meta Tags are not the end all and be all of SEO. There are 3 meta tags we’ll talk about here. •Meta keywords are pretty much useless. They’re far too easy to spam and are no longer considered a ranking signal. Google and Bing don’t even read them and it’s highly unlikely the other engines pay any real attention to them. You can safely ignore them completely, but if you feel you must include them use some common misspellings of your keywords. Seriously if you spend more than 30 seconds writing meta keywords for a page you’re wasting your time. You probably wasted the 30 seconds too. •Meta descriptions likely have little if any effect on where your pages rank for the same reasons meta keywords don’t. However sometimes your meta description will show as the snippet below your link in the search results. Write meta descriptions in a way that entices clicks. Use a strong call to action and maybe think of them as a mini-ad. •Meta robots are used to tell search engines not to index a page or follow the links on a page. You never need to tell search engines to index of follow since that’s their default behavior. Most of the time you won’t need to include these meta tags, but in the case of duplicate content described above you sometimes don’t want a page indexed. Most of the time you’ll still want the links followed.12/26/2010 18
  19. 19. ALT and others: ALT and Other Attributes and Semantic Tags have also been spammed to death, however they can still be useful. ALT attributes particularly are one of the few signals you can give about images. Don’t stuff them full of keywords. Write them as they were meant to be written as short descriptions for people who can’t see the image. If an image is just “eye candy” such as a gradient behind your navigation bar leave the alt attribute blank (alt=""). What is there to describe? Stuffing attributes with keywords is more likely to get you flagged for spamming than it is to improve your ranking The same is true for things like strong and em and any other tag or attribute you can think of. It’s highly doubtful any will play anything more than a minor role in how well your pages rank. Use them as they were intended to be used for real people reading your content. Use <strong> to add emphasis to a keyword or phrase if it makes sense, but understand that the more you use these tags the less impact they have with people reading your content. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that adding keywords to tags and attributes won’t help at all. The point is not to obsess over small things that will have a minor impact. It’s certainly ok and makes sense to emphasize keywords and phrases where appropriate, but it makes no sense to add strong or em tags to every mention on the page. Ultimately when writing page content it’s far more important to think about how well the content reads to real people than search engines. Think about why you want the page to rank in the first place. It’s so someone landing on it will absorb your content and take some action. So what of the page ranks well if it reads so poorly that people leave instantly.12/26/2010 19
  20. 20. Write a good page title, use <h1>-<h6> headings to organize your content and allow people to scan the page and write your content for your readers. Write naturally. Don’t try to force keywords on the page and use variety in your language. Sometimes call it SEO, sometimes call it search engine optimization, sometimes just say optimization. The variety reads better and also opens up the page to ranking for a greater number of keyword phrases. Resources: A few posts on writing page titles, page headings, page URLs, and other on-page content •Optimizing WordPress Page Titles, Post Titles and Page Slugs – Good advice even if you don’t use WordPress •Best Practices for Title Tags •SEO Best Practices: SEOmoz’s New Policies Based on Updated Correlation Data12/26/2010 20
  21. 21. 4. Link Building Links more than anything will determine where your pages rank. If you build a search friendly site and generate incoming links to your pages you’e going to get search traffic. The two main questions with links are where do you get them and which are the best links to get. Let’s tackle the latter question first. Which are the best links to get? Google popularized the idea of links as a ranking factor. Links are at the heart of Google’s PageRank algorithm. At it’s core the idea was that a link counts as a vote or recommendation by one page for another. Over time this has evolved quite a bit, but I think it’s still useful to think about links as votes or recommendations. Consider the following scenario – You have 2 neighbors. One is the local plumber and the other is Albert Einstein. If you ask each a general question who’s answer do you think you’d be more likely to trust? Odds are you’re going to trust Einstein’s answer because you know he’s a pretty smart guy and probably knows the answer to a lot of things. Einstein likely has more general authority in your eyes than the plumber as a go to guy for answers. Let’s say instead of a general question you have a very specific question about the pipes running through your kitchen. Now who’s answer are you going to trust? Probably the plumber. Einstein knows a lot, but chances are the plumber knows more about plumbing. The plumber has more topical authority when it comes to answers about plumbing.12/26/2010 21
  22. 22. Where do you get them?Now think about the above analogy in terms of links. Some sites and pages have a lotof general authority. Think, A link from these sites likely carries alot of general authority. People trust these sites and more importantly search engines trust these sites.What do they specifically know about web design though?How about sites like, the tutsplus family of sites, or These siteshave topical authority around web design and web development. You would probably trust advice fromthem on the topic of design and development over the site.I’ll ask again which links have more value for your site?Page RankPageRank (PR) is Google’s idea of measuring authority, more specifically general authority. The PR of aweb page is based on the PR of the pages linking to that page. However PageRank isn’t the end all andbe all of search ranking. First the PR you and I see is not the true PR of a web page. We see what’scalled toolbar PR (TBPR). Google updates it 3 or 4 times a year so most of the time it’s out of date. It’salso on a different scale than true PageRank and Google’s been known to edit the PR of certain sites forvarious reasons.PageRank is still important and it’s still part of what goes into determining where a web page will rank, butknow that if you’re chasing PR you’re going about things the wrong way. PR is only one factor amonghundreds and it’s also a Google specific metric. It has nothing to do with how well your pages rank at anyother search engine. At best it’s a quick and dirty measure of the authority Google sees in a page or site.12/26/2010 22
  23. 23. So what are the best links to get? Well it depends. It depends on the topic of your site and it depends onthe competition around that topic. Links from the Wikipedia and CNN are always going to be good,however the link from the authority in your niche is probably even better.As a general rule the harder it is to acquire a link the better, because that difficultly reduces the chancesof your competition getting the same link and that difficulty likely enhances the authority a search enginesees in the link and consequently your page and site.As a site note: Page Rank is named after Google co-founder Larry Page. Many people mistakenlybelieve it’s named after page as in web page and think page rank is the same as where your page ranksin search results. Nope. Page is for Larry Page.Anchor Text, Nofollow, and Link Diversity:There are three more ideas we should discuss when talking about the quality of links:•The anchor text of the links in question,•Links with the nofollow attribute applies, and•The diversity of where those links come from.Anchor TextYou probably know that anchor text is the clickable text that becomes the links. Those words and eventhe words around the link itself give an indication of what the page is voting for. If the anchor text linkingto you says “web design” it will likely help you rank better for the keyphrase “web design” than if theanchor text said “click here.” Keywords in anchor text are a good signal for ranking. 12/26/2010 23
  24. 24. Nofollownofollow is essentially a way to link to a web page while at the same time letting search engines knowyou’re not voting or recommending that page. Links with nofollow applied are not supposed to pass anylink juice or link value. They shouldn’t therefore have any benefit in regards to SEO. However any link isstill an avenue into your site.If CNN told me they would link to my home page, but the link would have nofollow applied, I’d still be veryhappy to have that link. Many eyeballs would see it and hopefully many of them would click through to mysite.Link DiversityEarlier I mentioned the concept of a link as a vote. In an election how many votes does one person get.Corruption aside it’s one vote per person. With web pages and websites there is likely a diminishing returnwhen we’re talking about links back to your site. Consider two cases.•1,000 links pointing into your site all from a single website•100 links pointing into your site, 5 each from 20 different sitesThe latter is probably going to have a greater impact. In the first case there’s no diversity in the links. In thesecond case there are more sites “voting” for you. Ideally links into your site or page should come from avariety of sources 12/26/2010 24
  25. 25. Quick Summary of Link Building:•Build trust and authority in your site by acquiring links from general and topical trusted and authority sites.•Build trust and authority in a single page on your site by acquiring links from general and topical trusted andauthority web pages.•Try to get links with variations of your main keyphrase in the anchor text.•Seek links from a diverse set of sites and pages.•Sometimes it’s simply a numbers game. More links or better more link juice, PR, or whatever you want tocall it, is better. Quality though, is usually preferred to quantity.Internal links (links from one page of your site to another) count as links, but what others say about youmeans more than what you say about yourself. External links (links from other domains) are better thaninternal links, but internal links do count. Make sure to link between pages of your site. Internal links are alsoone place you can guarantee control over the anchor text of the link.In general the easier a link is to get the less value it likely has. Even if it does have great value yourcompetition will be able to get that same link as easily as you thereby diluting the effect of the link.Where to Get Links From:Now that we’ve discussed what makes for a better link how and where should we get links? Any page thatwill link back to one of your pages is a link. Most will help to some degree, but given the above discussion oflink quality some links are going to help more.I’ll point you to a few sources with specific ideas on how and where to get links from and keep the discussionhere to a few general thoughts. 12/26/2010 25
  26. 26. Low Quality LinksTheseare usually easy to get. Forums, directories, blog comments are a few examples. These links are linksand they should pass on raw link juice and value. However, because these links are generally lowquality you probably don’t want to spend too much time trying to get them without having other reasonsfor getting those links.For example I participate regularly in several forums and each contains links in my forum signature backto my site. I never post though just to get another signature link. I post in order to interact with thecommunities of those forums. That interaction has directly led to friends and clients and yes even someSEO benefit. Again the goal of post is not the link. That’s simply a nice side benefit.The same thing applies to blog comments. The value in those comments is that you get to be in front ofan audience that may very well be interested in you and your site. If you spend time leaving interestingor entertaining comments on a few blogs on similar topics to your blog you’ll find some of that audiencewill follow you back to your site and the blog owner may also do the same. If you simply leave a quickand useless comment you’re missing out. The link itself is probably not going to help much. It’s thequality of the comment that matters most. Any SEO benefit is a nice side bonus.12/26/2010 26
  27. 27. High Quality LinksThey are harder to get and will ultimately give you more benefit. It makes more sense to actively work toget these links. Trusted, authority sites probably aren’t going to link to you just because you ask. You’regenerally going to need to give them a reason to link to you.That starts with your own content. The better your content the more likely someone will want to link to it.It’s always going to be easier to get people to link to quality than garbage.Give to get. You want me to link to you? Why not link to me first? When you help others it makes themwant to help you back. Think about how you can help the site you’re hoping will link back to you. One wayyou can do this is by guest blogging.Many design and development blogs are actively seeking guest posts. You should get back a short biowhich can include a link or two. Also if you have content that further explains some things you’re writingabout you can add a link in the text. As long as the link points to page that is relevant to the guest postmost bloggers will be fine with you adding it. Just don’t overdo it.Remember first and foremost the goal is to write the best post you can for that other site.Build relationships. Network with other designers. We’re all more likely to help friends than we are tohelp strangers. We’re also more likely to be familiar with the content of people and sites we know makingit easier to link to that content. 12/26/2010 27
  28. 28. In the end the best way to generate quality links is to have content worth linking to. Instead of spendingall your time chasing after links with dubious benefit spend more time creating content others will finduseful. You still need to give your content a push. If you build it they will come only works in the movies.ResourcesThe following should generate lots of ideas for where and how you can build links into your site.•101 Ways to Build Link Popularity•30 Ways to Get Links Naturally & Stop Link Building•45 Link Building Tips To Help You Promote Your Blog•Link Building Strategies: 69 Solid Tactics For 2009•6 Ways to Build Links with Your Graphic Design Skills5. Analytics:All of the previous discussion on SEO is great, but how do you know if any of it is working? The answeris in analytics. You need to measure what’s happening in order to know if your efforts aresuccessful and leading to a positive return on your investment.SEO is not a set it and forget it proposition. It’s an iterative process. You try some things, measure howeffective they are and learn what you can for the next round of iteration.There’s no excuse not to have analytics set up on your site. There are many companies that offersolutions at varying costs. Google Analytics, while far from perfect, is free, easy to set up, and mostimportantly offers some good statistics to help you understand what’s happening with your site.12/26/2010 28
  29. 29. At the simplest level you can pay attention to how much traffic you’re receiving from search engines andother sources. Ideally your traffic will continue to grow, but if it doesn’t or if you notice you’ve suddenlylost a lot of traffic you can begin to look deeper to understand why.A few easy things you can do.•See what keywords are currently bringing traffic and expand. For example if your site currentlybrings traffic for “san diego real estate,” “san francisco real estate,” and “los angeles real estate” it’s agood indication you can compete for real estate in other California cities and even the more general“california real estate.”•Track keyword rankings or at least what page in the results your page ranks•Discover which content on your site does best. Which content is getting the most views, whichcontent is attracting the most links, which content are people landing on most often. Can you createmore content on the same or similar content?•Find out which sites are sending the best traffic. Say you write guest posts for 5 different sites.Which site or site led to the most traffic? Did the traffic from one site stick around on your site longer?Did one lead to more people subscribing to your blog? Knowing which sites provide the best traffic letsyou know where better to focus your efforts.•Learn who visits your site. What browser and operating system do they use? Where are theylocated? The more you know about the people who spend time with your site, the better you can craftnew content to keep them coming back and bring more people like them to the site. 12/26/2010 29
  30. 30. •Identify what you do and don’t do well. Are you getting a lot of search traffic, but little referral traffic?Are people spending time on one page, but not clicking to others? Are people visiting lots of pages, but notspending time on any of them? How sticky is your site?There are many things you can do with analytics, but before you can do any of them you need to haveanalytics set up. You need to understand what is happening on your site, what is and isn’t working, in orderto know how to improve your site in the next iteration.Resources:The following are some of my favorite blogs in the SEO community. If you follow the links in their posts youcan easily build a pretty large list of SEO feeds in a short amount of time. SEO by the Sea has anextensive blogroll in the right sidebar to make building that list even quicker. I’ve also tried to link to avariety of sources throughout this series of posts.•SEO Book•SEOmoz•Search Engine Land•Huomah•SEO by the Sea 12/26/2010 30
  31. 31. Finally here are some free general SEO guides guides, checklists, and useful articles. They should cover much of what we’ve talked about in this series, albeit in slightly greater detail. I hope they help in your SEO learning. •Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization •SEO Fast Start •Search Engine Ranking Factors •Local Search Engine Ranking Factors •SEO Checklist (supersized), hold the B.S. •Free Search Engine Optimization & Marketing Videos12/26/2010 31