Category Archives: SEO

What the April 21st Google Update Means to Your Business

Google has been rolling out lots of changes to apps, Google Play and the presentation of mobile search engine results all in preparation for a larger algorithm release that is scheduled to be released on or around April 21st.  As we learned from past Google algorithm changes (Penguin and Panda), these updates can greatly impact where your site ranks in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

The update set to be released on April 21st is focused on providing a better search experience for mobile users. To accomplish this, Google will be “expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” So what does that mean to business owners? If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, your mobile search engine rankings could take a hit.

In an email sent to Webmasters, Google has indicated that they are looking at the following factors when determining if your website is mobile friendly or not.

  1. Content not sized to viewport – This means that the content of your website is not resizing to match the width of the viewer’s screen. This will result in text that is challenging for user to read and may cause a horizontal scroll bar making site navigation a challenge for the user.
  2. Touch elements too close – links and buttons that are clickable on a mobile device need to be approximately 12-20 pixels apart to make for easy touching on a smaller screen. Having your buttons, links or other touch elements too close together will cause a usability issue and will  make your site not mobile friendly in Google’s algorithm.
  3. Flash usage – Most mobile browsers do not render Flash-based content. Therefore, mobile visitors will not be able to use a page that relies on Flash in order to display content, animations, or navigation.

The first thing you should do if you are concerned about this update, is run your website through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly). If you get the following message, you are good to go.

awesome

 

 

 

However, if you get a message that looks something like the one below, then you’ll want to take immediate action.
notfriendly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The nice thing about this update, is that Google is giving webmasters exact tasks they can do to make sure their websites are not negatively affected. If your website turns up a not mobile-friendly message, here are the actions you can take to course correct and avoid a decrease in mobile ranking after April 21st.

  1. Check with your webmaster – it’s possible that your website just needs a few tweaks to make it mobile friendly.  Make sure to get a couple examples from your webmaster and run them through the Google Test above. If they pass, there is a good chance your provider can help make your website mobile friendly as well.
  2. Find a new provider – if your current provider cannot create a mobile or responsive site for you, it’s time to start seeking out a new vendor. If you are looking for a new provider, make sure you find one who is well versed in Search Engine Optimization. You don’t want to create a new site with a mobile solution only to jeopardize existing desktop rankings with non-optimized titles and a changing URL structure.
  3. Test and test again – once you have a mobile solution in place it’s important to check every page of your site to make sure all links work and that pages are loading properly.

Though it may seem reactive and hurried, website owners are going to have to adapt to the new mobile-centric digital marketing universe. Since Google is the industry leader, when they give a command, it behooves business owners to follow.

What is your plan for the Google Mobile-Friendly Update? Let us know in the comments below.

SEO Myths

What are Myths? One theory claims that myths are distorted accounts of real historical events. Storytellers repeatedly elaborated upon historical accounts until they become distorted. One of the foremost functions of a myth is to establish models for behavior. In the SEO world, this very definition lays the foundation for the birth of SEO Myths.

Search engines and the “Logic” that runs them – search algorithms, constantly change and “evolve”. They do (and have to do) this, to keep up with the ever changing standards of the World Wide Web and also to stay ahead of black hat SEO techniques. Hence, what “makes perfect SEO sense” today, something that worked last year, last month, or even last week may no longer yield  results after some time as the search engine algorithms will most likely have changed.

SEO Myths are the modern day extensions to historical myths. Some are born when today’s storytellers – SEO Webmasters and SEO Gurus, blog about SEO Best practices which are recommendations applicable to a specific time frame and the people who read and follow these blog articles, try to apply the techniques long after they are outdated.  Other SEO Myths are knowingly and willingly propagated by certain SEO firms.  These firms do not want any person or company that owns a website to optimize it themselves as this would mean that these professional SEO firms would eventually run out of business. But a majority of SEO myths are, quite simply put, misunderstood or outdated SEO techniques. The clueless and pseudo experts often spread their misinformation to other unsuspecting newbies on forums and blogs, which in turn creates new SEO myths.

How do we tell which SEO techniques are still valid from those that are outdated? And which ones are the “latest”? Is there a real “expiry date” for every SEO technique discussed in the web?

Well, one way to find out is to keep up with the ever changing SEO world. Read as much as possible, ask the experts – the SEO MythBusters, validate your facts. Search for and read about SEO myths and outdated SEO tricks and techniques.  And most importantly follow your intuition, do not believe every blog post you read on SEO as assumption is parent to all failures. You would be surprised at the number of SEO myths, misinformation and outdated techniques that exist out there that are being followed.  It is interesting and sometimes plain funny, to see how people are so willing to believe anything they have read or heard without ever checking it out for themselves.

Or you could hire professional SEO services.

Video Sitemaps

Videos and video content are one of the most popular rich media formats in the web world. If you are not getting the traffic that you would like to for your videos, the search engines are probably ignoring your video content. There are millions and millions of videos on the web already.  So how do you get yours to get indexed in video searches?

Similar to XML Sitemaps,  a video sitemap gives the search engines, specifically Google, more information about the video content in your web pages. By submitting this video-specific sitemap in addition to your standard XML Sitemaps, you can specify all the video files in your web pages, along with relevant metadata – information about your videos. Your video sitemap will need to include the following minimum information for each video: title, description, playpage URL, thumbnail URL and the raw video URL or URL to Flash video player. Without these five pieces of information, Google cannot surface your videos in results.

Guidelines for Video Sitemaps

  • A Video Sitemap should contain only URLs that refer to video content. Video content includes web pages which embed video, URLs to players for video, or the URLs of raw video content hosted on your site.
  • Create one video:video entry for each video. If you have multiple videos embedded on the same HTML page, use separate <video:video> entries for them with different <video:player_loc> or provide <video:content_loc> information. It’s fine to have duplicate videos in your Sitemap, but it is recommend that you don’t host the same video at two different URLs.
  • You must include either the <video:player_loc> or <video:content_loc> tag, or both. Google needs this information to verify that there is actually a live video on your landing page. Note that for Flash objects pointed to by <video:content_loc>, it’s okay for different video pages to use the same Flash player, provided each page uses Flash parameters as a mechanism to show unique videos.
  • Each Sitemap file that you provide must have no more than 50,000 video items. If you have more than 50,000 videos, you can submit multiple Sitemaps and a Sitemap index file. Video Sitemaps does not support nesting.
  • Google can crawl the following video file types: mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv, .swf. All files must be accessible via HTTP. Metafiles that require a download of the source via streaming protocols are not supported. 
  • Make sure that your robots.txt file isn’t blocking any of the URLs included in the Sitemap.
  • Google web crawlers will verify that the information you include in the <video:title> and <video:description> fields matches your live site. You should view your play pages in a text-only browser such as Lynx, or a more conventional browser where you’ve confirmed that Flash and JavaScript are enabled.
  • If you have multiple websites, you can simplify the process of creating and submitting Sitemaps by creating one or more Sitemaps that includes URLs for all your verified sites, and saving the Sitemap(s) to a single location. All websites must be verified in Google webmaster Tools.

You can either hand code the video sitemap or use free Google Sitemap Generator Tools  to create the video sitemap. Once you have created your video Sitemap, you can submit it to Google using Webmaster Tools.

  1.  Log into Google webmaster tools with your Google Account.
  2.  Click ‘Add a Sitemap’ next to your site.
  3.  Select ‘Video Sitemap’.
  4.  Put in the URL of your Video Sitemap. (Be sure to include http://)
  5.  Click ‘Add Video Sitemap’.
  6.  Wait for the ‘Pending’ status to change to ‘OK’. This may be several hours so don’t worry.

If you receive an error take a look at the descriptions. Not all of the errors will stop the processing of your Video Sitemap and may only be informational as in an unrecognized tag due to a typo, etc. 

That’s it. You’re done. You now have successfully added a Video Sitemap to your site and Google should start indexing all of the included video content.

2010 Website Directories

While the very course of website directory submission seems to change every day, the fact remains that there is some value in submitting your website to the most popular directories on the Internet. So how do we decide which are the most popular? By using the tools provided to us every day by the search engines; namely Alexa Rank and Google Page Rank.

Below you will find a list of some 150+ website directories ranked in order of Alexa rank, which also tends to coincide with Google Page Rank but not in all cases. We have also provide the website homepage, along with the page where you can go to submit your website. If the directory requires you to select a category before being taken to the submission page, then the “Submit Here” link also takes you to the directory homepage.

If we missed a directory that you feel should be added to the list please include it in the comments below, we will be sure to add it to our next update!

 

Directory Name

Submission URL

Google
Page Rank

Alexa
Rank

Free Directories

Digg

Submit Here

8

102

Yelp

Submit Here

6

329

Reddit

Submit Here

8

351

Dmoz

Submit Here

8

707

Entireweb

Submit Here

Merchantcircle

Submit Here

7

1,247

Thomasnet

Submit Here

8

4,206

Insider Pages

Submit Here

7

4,273

Jayde

Submit Here

4

4,496

Dramba

Submit Here

Scrubtheweb

Submit Here

5

5,501

Dhdphoto

Submit Here

3

6,358

Illumirate

Submit Here

Searchsight

Submit Here

5

9,039

Pegasusdirectory

Submit Here

5

14,368

Directoryvault

Submit Here

3

14,872

Littlewebdirectory

Submit Here

3

15,826

Prolinkdirectory

Submit Here

5

15,921

onemission

Submit Here

4

17,588

A1webdirectory

Submit Here

4

17,866

Viesearch

Submit Here

4

18,377

Linkcenter

Submit Here

3

18,758

SonicRun

Submit Here

Hitwebdirectory

Submit Here

6

19,110

Hot vs Not Directory

Submit Here

6

19,750

Linksite

Submit Here

3

20,464

Svguia

Submit Here

4

20,888

Linkaddurl

Submit Here

4

21,384

Infousa

Submit Here

4

22,872

Somuch

Submit Here

5

23,089

Secret Search Engine Labs

Submit Here

Amfibi

Submit Here

Skoobe

Submit Here

Directorystorm

Submit Here

4

23,104

Gigablast

Submit Here

Wondex

Submit Here

Amray

Submit Here

4

23,171

Investhz

Submit Here

3

23,291

Directory-free

Submit Here

5

23,703

Arakne

Submit Here

4

23,816

Ldmstudio

Submit Here

3

24,055

Directory link

Submit Here

3

24,155

Freewebdirectory

Submit Here

6

24,568

Worldweb

Submit Here

7

24,688

Webnetclick

Submit Here

3

24,737

Mastermoz

Submit Here

5

24,959

Info-listings

Submit Here

4

25,102

Infotiger

Submit Here

5

25,351

Wikidweb

Submit Here

4

25,455

Ccwos

Submit Here

6

25,571

Allthewebsites

Submit Here

5

25,576

Eduology

Submit Here

4

25,697

Nmrs

Submit Here

5

25,963

Jadoyc Free Webdirectory

Submit Here

4

26,426

Infognos Directory

Submit Here

3

26,453

Aauml

Submit Here

3

26,485

Surfsafely

Submit Here

5

27,513

9sites

Submit Here

4

28,260

Nzs

Submit Here

6

29,225

Web Search Directory

Submit Here

3

29,970

Zico Sur

Submit Here

5

30,579

Linkdir4u

Submit Here

3

32,891

Fullogo

Submit Here

3

33,736

Busybits

Submit Here

3

37,085

BT-T Directory

Submit Here

5

37,309

Theseoking

Submit Here

3

40,523

Ribcast

Submit Here

5

40,722

Atgear

Submit Here

5

40,832

Eliteweb

Submit Here

5

42,560

Forage

Submit Here

3

43,284

Rcreduction

Submit Here

5

43,376

aaenj

Submit Here

4

43,596

Netinsert

Submit Here

4

43,643

Mavicanet

Submit Here

4

47,614

Payvand

Submit Here

6

47,852

Marketingwebdirectory

Submit Here

6

48,123

Roask

Submit Here

4

48,182

Url.biz

Submit Here

5

52,571

Localeze

Submit Here

4

54,216

Worlwide Gateway

Submit Here

5

56,981

Itzalist

Submit Here

5

60,298

Autowebdirectory

Submit Here

4

63,344

R-tt directory

Submit Here

3

63,844

Clickey

Submit Here

5

64,427

Landoflinks

Submit Here

3

68,052

Zensearch

Submit Here

3

68,852

Thelocalweb

Submit Here

4

70,720

Rdirectory

Submit Here

5

72,548

European Web Directory

Submit Here

5

78,940

Poddys

Submit Here

4

91,488

Gomylocal

Submit Here

3

93,710

Sgtsearch

Submit Here

4

99,208

Bizseo

Submit Here

5

100,073

Free Website directory

Submit Here

4

116,655

Gogreece

Submit Here

6

118,233

Polypat

Submit Here

6

119,283

Buildingonline

Submit Here

6

293,009

Ibrain

Submit Here

3

365,884

Tekguide

Submit Here

5

367,495

Allshops

Submit Here

4

695,602

Worthwhilelink

Submit Here

5

766,255

Paid Directories
Botw

Submit Here

7

4,722

Ezilon

Submit Here

6

5,884

Entireweb

Submit Here

4

7,873

Web World

Submit Here

3

14,928

Chiff

Submit Here

3

17,039

Canlinks

Submit Here

5

18,968

Mygreencorner

Submit Here

3

20,026

Yellow Pages

Submit Here

7

776

Common SEO Questions

SEO Frequently Asked QuestionsSearch Engine Optimization Experts can be like the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz. Scary until you find out who they are and what they can do for you. Below is a list of questions I am asked nearly every day by my cleints, hopefully this can answer a few of the questions you have regarding SEO.

  1. What does SEO stand for?
  2. SEO means different things to different people, but the acronym SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

  3. What is SEO?
  4. Defining SEO five years ago would have been a far easier task than it is today. Five years ago there was a relative road map for what SEO needed to be done to boost a website to the top rankings. Today, that road map is closer to a treasure map, where you have a giant X on where you want to go, but the process to get there is only marked with a few landmarks. Another way to look at SEO is, the art of doing anything and everything to build the relevance of a website in the Internet sphere, resulting in top rankings in the search engine result pages.

  5. How come my website is not ranked #1 in Google? or why can’t I find my website in Google search results?
  6. There are a couple hundred reasons why your website might not rank in the search engines, to answer for your specific website I would need to review it in detail. However, generally speaking:

    1. If you can find your website, but not in the top spots of Google then the likely result is not enough time/resources spent on SEO. Seek out an SEO expert that can guide you through the steps to achieve first page rankings.
    2. If you cannot find your website at all then the likely result is you have not spent any time on SEO. Start with the basics and validate your website with the major search engines, from there you will likely notice that you rank for some long tail keywords, before you start ranking for general keywords. Certainly an SEO expert would be a wise investment at this time.
  7. Why am I #1 all the time when I search but when my friends search for me they cannot find me?
  8. This is most likely the result of personalized search by Google. If you have this enabled, Google has learned what sites you prefer and shows those at the top of your results. Try signing out of Google in the top right corner before conducting a search. Also make sure that everyone is typing in the word the same way. You can get drastically different results searching for a word with or without quotes, or with minor spelling changes.

  9. With SEO, when will we see results?
  10. Unfortunately, the only way to answer this question is to say ‘It Depends’ That being said, if it depends, what are some of the factors that influence when my site will rank. Here are a few of my favorites.

    • How old is your website? Older sites (5+ years) tend to have seniority as an influence in their results, thus they tend to rank higher.
    • Does your website have relevant content for the words you are seeking to rank for? If your site only sells ‘red widgets’ and you are trying to rank for ‘blue widgets’ this is a lost cause. Try building valuable content specific to the keywords you are trying to rank for.
    • What is the competition level for your business? What word would you use to find your business, besides your business name, or website name. Take that word and type it into Google and search. Once the search is complete, look in the top right corner, the number that displays is the amount of competition for that keyword. Are there millions of web pages competing for that term or only a handful?
    • Last but not least is effort. Effort, like anything means the difference between the best in the world, and those that simply pick up the scraps. I meet with clients every day, and we spell out a road map to SEO success. Some clients leave everything to us, and we build and promote their website with great success. Other clients due to budget restraints or desire to prove they can do it, decide they want to help us in the SEO process. These same clients leave the office pumped up that they are going to do X, Y and Z to boost their rankings. Then 3 months down the road, not only have they not done X, Y and Z, they have lost the potential revenue that could have been generated by increased rankings as a result of X, Y and Z. End result, if you do not have the time, or knowledge to put into SEO, let a professional do it for you.
  11. What keywords should I use?
  12. I cannot overstate this enough to clients, the keywords you select have a direct impact on your rankings and on your website traffic. Let’s say for this example, we are a lawyer in San Diego, California specializing in DUI cases. What type of keywords would you select? If you are selecting global keywords like “DUI Lawyer” you are barking up the wrong tree. You need to narrow your focus to ensure that you can rank for the word, but also that the business you generate is valuable. Let’s say you put in a large amount of money into SEO that would be required so you could rank for “DUI Lawyer” Now that you rank well, when people in New York search for DUI Lawyer, they find your business. Is this good or bad? Bad would be the correct answer. What value are you to a client in New York if you cannot represent them? You are better off selecting better keywords in the beginning, and spending your money on keywords like “DUI Lawyer San Diego” which will take less time (read less money on SEO), and give you more relevant results specific to your business in your geographical location.

  13. Can my website rank for iPhones?
  14. Do you sell iPhones? Are you an Apple distributor? Do you support iPhones? Do you want to spend $50k every month on SEO? Those are just a few of the questions I would start off with. Just because something is popular, does not mean you can simply put up a website and start ranking for it. However, if you want to head down this road of selling or promoting popular products, the word you should Google is ‘Affiliate Marketing.’ Affiliate marketing allows you to promote other peoples products, and when they make a sale because of a lead you generated, then you get a kick back.

  15. Can we rank for every single keyword related to my business?
  16. The short answer is yes, but it is going to take time. Generally speaking, for every page on your website, if it has at least 750 words on it, you can use that page for 2-3 keywords. If the page has fewer than 750 words, then you need to scale back your expectations on the number of keywords you can rank for from that page. Beyond that it is pretty much simple math, if you want to rank for 300 keywords, then you need to start with 100 pages of unique content specific to the keywords you wish to rank for. While you are building the content, be sure to focus on SEO so you can ensure you pages pack a punch in the search engines. Learn more about How to write valuable content for your website.

  17. How much does SEO cost?
  18. Well, let me turn this question and ask you how much does a house cost? Before you could answer how much a house would cost you would need more information, the same is true for SEO. To carry the anology further, the questions you would want to know are what type of house do you want (products/services do you sell), what type of construction materials were used to build the house (how the website is coded), what city/state do you want to live in ( what is the competition level for your business) and finally how soon do you want to move in (how so do you need your website to rank ). Having those few items defined makes it is far easier to determine what type of SEO package you need for your website, along with what type of ongoing expense is needed to ensure you get top rankings.

  19. Why is SEO so expensive?
  20. For the same reason that cars and houses so expensive. As fundamental as it sounds is SEO takes lots of time, resources and work to build website rankings in search engines. Often clients spend a large portion of their budget building a website, getting the perfect design and layout, which is great but the end result is none of that effort actually brings in business or generates traffic. SEO on the other hand, while it can be expensive actually makes your business money and generates traffic. The expense of SEO and SEM is eventually out weighed by the profit it generates. The key thing to remember, is the first year of SEO can often be frustrating because you are not seeing the top rankings, you need to keep in mind that top rankings take time, so your investment like a house is long term.

  21. How long does it take to get indexed by Google?
  22. With a properly SEO’d website, Google and the other major search engines can index your website within days or weeks. However, without SEO your website may never rank.

  23. How do I submit my new site to Google/Bing/Yahoo etc.?
  24. In modern SEO times, we do not submit websites to the major search engines. Currently, rather than submitting a website, you need to create an account with the major search engines, then the search engines provide some verification files for you to upload to your website. Once you verify that you are the owner, you can also submit your XML sitemap giving the search engines a few clues on where your website pages are located. Learn how to use Google’s Free SEO tools.

  25. How do I submit to 1000 search engines at the same time?
  26. There are hundreds of companies on the web offering to do this service for a very few dollars. They have automated scripts that submit your site for you. Then end result is these companies are nothing but spam services, they know that you have no way to prove if they did or did not submit your websites. Also, even if they do submit your website their is no guarantee you will be listed. Your better off spending your time/money building valuable content, rather than trying to find a way to spam the search engines.

  27. Do I need an XML sitemap?
  28. Yes, XML sitemaps allow search engines to find the pages of your website. That being said, with a well constructed/SEO’d website the need for an XML sitemap becomes less and less.

  29. Do I need unique meta tags for my website?
  30. Just like chapters in a book, each page of your website should have a unique meta tag title and description. This information is reviewed by search engines, and display in their search engine result pages. Well written meta tags can help you rank for your chosen keywords, and ensure you get clicks once you rank for those keywords. Learn more about How to Build Meta Tags.

  31. Do I need a high PageRank for SEO?
  32. No, the little green bar that Google has in their tool bar is often out of date, and not an accurate representation of how your website should rank. Often websites have top rankings, but only a 1 or 2 for their page rank in the tool bar.

  33. What is linkbait?
  34. Linkbait is a method of building content for your website that entices users to link to it. One of the original forms of linkbait was free video games. Websites would build a fun, addictive little game for their website, and then people would link to it so their friends could also visit the pages to find the game. Linkbait has now evolved into everything from putting videos, promotions, valuable written content, etc on your website all in an effort to build links to particular pages on their website. This article itself is an example of link bait.

  35. I get asked this question in many forms, but the general message is the same.
  36. Can’t my niece, nephew, brother, sister-in-law, intern, friend of a friend, etc who is a graphic designer, web developer, computer programmer, Dreamweaver expert, etc do the SEO for my website?

    My guess is that person can also cook, but would they be in the kitchen of a fine dinning restaurant? There is a reason for using a professional for certain tasks, and SEO is no different. You would not want your brother to build you a house simply because he knows how to use a hammer. With SEO, unless you are constantly staying up with the trends, and changes in the industry, having someone other than a professional perform SEO services is asking for trouble.

  37. Why should I outsource my SEO?
  38. Unless you have a competent in house SEO, your better off using a company that can give your SEO campaign the attention it deserves. You most likely contracted to have your website built by someone other than an employee of your company. SEO should be no different. Just because you read a few stories on the internet about SEO, does not mean you are qualified to manage the SEO campaign for your business. Remember, SEO is one of the few online tools that actually generate business, just like sales staff you don’t want just anyone trying to make or break your businesses success, you want the right person for the job.

  39. Is SEO designed for search engines not humans?
  40. Some people assume that SEO is designed to ‘game’ the system so that your website can outrank the competition. It is actually just the opposite, search engines give you good rankings when you give consumers good information, resources, tools, products, services, etc. If you build for the consumer, the search engines will come.

  41. Is buying links, hidden text, IP delivery etc. black hat SEO?
  42. Those are a few of the ‘black hat’ SEO techniques that have been used by some SEO companies. Depending on the degree and frequency you use them will determine the affect on your website ranking. My suggestion is to avoid them all together. If you cheat on a test you may not get caught today, but eventually it will catch up to you.

  43. Is black hat SEO legal?
  44. No one is in jail because they used ‘black hat’ SEO. At the same time, the sites that have been caught no longer display in the search engine rankings. So ask yourself how important short term gains are from using ‘black hat’ methods, compared to the long term success of your business.

  45. Does the size of your website matter?
  46. Yes, to some degree it does but not as much as it used to. Years ago, websites that had over 100 pages tended to rank better than websites with less than 100. In modern SEO, the quality of your content has more of a reflection on your rankings than does the quantity of the pages on your website.

Do you still have more questions regarding SEO? Add them to the comment section below, who knows you question may be added to the SEO FAQ!

Free Google!

Google is constantly working on developing new and innovative ways to allow webmasters to promote their sites and increase the rankings of their client’s sites. It seems that almost every month, Google releases a Beta version of a new application. The following is a description of three of the primary free features Google offers to webmasters to promote and list their sites. Continue reading

Meta Tag Titles, Keywords and Description Hints and Tips

Welcome to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) section of the NSNA Newsletter! Each month you will provided with the most up to date tips, tricks and suggestions for SEO success in this highly competitive market. For the first couple of months I will provide some suggestions for cheap and easy ways that you can get your client’s site started on the track towards Search Engine greatness!

The first step is using our ProFusion applications built in abilities to have dynamic Meta Tag Titles, Descriptions and Keywords. This should be unique for each page of your site. Here are a few guidelines for each section:

  1. Meta Tag Titles:
    • Make sure that the text in the title tag conveys the meaning of the page.
    • Depending on your primary search engine of choice
      A) Google indexes 65-68 characters of title tag text
      B) Yahoo and other search engines tend to index more character
      C) Play it safe, keep your first 70 characters the most important, then add another 25 or so for the other search engines. Le them use what they want…
    • You can use your primary keywords in the Title, just make sure they are applicable
    • When possible shake it up and pose a question to your reader
      A) “How to Cook Lobster?
      B) “When is the best time of year to visit Lake Tahoe restaurants?”
    • Some readers will respond to numbers in the title
      A) “101 Ways to clean Laminate tiles
      B) “177 different styles of Women’s shoes”
  2. Meta Tag Descriptions
    • Should be under 250 characters, keywords should be used, however most importantly the content should be readable by the end user
      A) Side Note: Google only indexes around 160-175 characters
    • Remember to research Industry specific keywords to use in the Descriptions.
    • Each of your page descriptions should be unique, do not simply copy and paste them on every page. Each one of your pages is an advertisement, be sure yours can sell the reader.
    • Try providing your end user a reason to come to your site. Calls to action can be very helpful
  3. Meta Tag Keywords
    • Should also be fewer than 250 characters
    • Try not to reuse the same word over and over on a page. You want to try and bring a large audience to the page, make sure your wording can reach all audiences.
    • Use a thesaurus to discover similar words you may not have thought of
    • The basic guideline is 5-6 keywords or phrases per page
    • Have friends and family tell you what they would search in Google to find your company or product. Be sure those words and phrases are used throughout your keywords and site in general

The key to successfully setting up your site is, studying your end user. Search Engines like Google raise their stock price by being the most used search engine on the internet. People use search engines they feel generate the best results. Thereby forcing the search engines to constantly strive to provide the most relevant results for their users if they want to keep the end user happy. With that in mind if you are writing for the end user, you are also writing for search engines.

Stay with the above guidelines and you will find yourself on the road to success. Stay tuned next month when we will analyze Google’s Free Search Engine Features!

Writing Content for your Website

Writing content for your own website is one of the most under rated activities in website design and development. Most people spend hours working on the perfect design and getting it laid out properly. They spend hours finding the perfect hosting environment, the right domain name, and the perfect logo. Then, when it comes to writing the website content, they either don’t put any effort into it, or they simply put up their contact information and an under construction message. Below are some hints/methods to writing website content. The most important thing to remember is when using ProFusion Products you can always edit your content hourly, daily, weekly, etc. Using our content management system you are your own web master and control your own content. Thus you can put up your rough draft of the content today, then come back and edit it again a week later.

Website Content Requirements

Content is valuable for search engines only if it is also valuable for the end user. We consider a page to have valuable content when it meets three criteria. The content must be unique, related to the website, and finally overall volume of text. Without all three, your content will not be as important to search engines or your end user.

  1. Unique Content – This means you typed it specifically for this website. This is not a copy and paste of someone else’s work. Quoting a couple lines of someone else’s content is fine, as long as proper credit is given. However, even then you want to only do this when required, not just to fill space.
  2. Related to the Website – This seems very logical, but not everyone follows it. If your website sells posters, you could write on how posters are created, where the art work comes from, or most commonly on the individual posters themselves. You would not want to write about car reviews, just because a poster you sell has that car in it. While the two are related, they are not necessarily in the same relevance or use. The question you should ask yourself before writing content is “If I was telling a friend about my business, would I provide them this information.” If it is of value to a friend then it will be valuable for your clients and the search engines.
  3. Text Volume – Volume is important, we want to make sure each page is at minimum 500 words, but 750-1000 words is better. Some topics even require 5000+ word pages to cover all aspects. Often large topics could be divided into several smaller pages, but if you write on a large topic for a single page ensure it is clearly organized. However, volume created by just writing endless thoughts in an effort to reach the word total is not good either. I would much rather have a clear concise 600 word page, than a rambling 1200 word page.

Web Content Writing Suggestions

When I am facing the task of writing content for a website, I typically make a list of everything I eventually want to have on the website. Once i have that list I perform keyword research to find the best topics/words people are searching for. I can then compare the two, and create an order of importance for my writing that will allow me the most bang for buck/time spent. Another way to approach writing content is to think of a friend that wants to use your service/business. For example, if you owned a resort or vacation property in Hawaii, you would want to consider all the topics someone would be interested in when they go to the island. If that person was going to the island and the only information they would have when arrive is what is currently on your website, and 5 additional essays you had given them to read on the way to the island. Whatever information you would include in those 5 essays would be the most important content you should write first for the website.

Specifics Topic Examples

When you think about your website content, do not just assume people only want the facts related to your business. Often your business is in a niche market that you could write more information about. People often refer to these as white papers, well white papers can also be website content. If we use the previous example of a property owner in Hawaii. They could write a review of all the beaches on the island, both the tourist hot spots and the locals hidden gems. Perhaps they could use a rating scale that orders the beaches from 1-5 stars. They could include address, and directions to that location, along with a few comments and a photo. This type of page may not directly correlate to more business, but it may. The important thing is both the customers that use the property and others would find that page valuable. Once a page like that is built, I would expect people from all over the globe to link to that page as an authority on Hawaii Beaches. That single page could be one of the most valuable for your entire website for building traffic and interest. Summary Try to be creative and think about your industry as a whole, not just your specific business/website needs. The more you think outside the box the more value your clients and the search engines will find in the website

Google Ignores Keyword Meta Tag

Google has made it official that the keyword meta tag is not used in their search engine ranking algorithm.

Here is a short video by Matt Cutts on September 21, 2009 making it official.
http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/keywords-meta-tag-in-web-search/

In my opinion, the keyword meta tag should still be used to help track the words you are trying to promote on that page. It is a valuable reminder of what the goals are for the page. In addition, other search engines and spiders review the keyword tag.

My main concern for Google comes from people who fill the keyword meta tag with 50 keywords and keep them the same on every page of the website. This certainly does not help, and more than likely raises a flag to search engines indicating a potential spam site. So, if you use this field be sure to use it as designed, for a few keyword relevant to that exact page.

Best Practice for Keyword Meta Tag: Leave it blank, or make it unique to that page only including the 2-5 phrases used to optimize that page.