How to

Should you optimise your META tags for your SEO?

I get asked at every single SEO conference or talk I do whether or not you should optimise your META tags. Firstly here is my answer:

Title tag <title> – Definately. Probably the most important factor in your SEO

META Description and Keywords tags <meta> – Yes. My reason for this is that although it may not be the most important tag right now it is still a fundamental tag which Google may use more in the future. Below is Matt Cutts (Head of SPAM at Google) view on this.

Matt Cutts on Toolbar Data » Online Marketing Blog: “Let’s take the example in a different context. Meta tags got a bad rap in the early days of search engines because a few people abused them heavily. As a result Google doesn’t use meta tags much in ranking documents. But I’ve learned not to say “We would never use meta tags” because it’s not wise to preclude using any particular signal; in the future, someone might work out a way to use that signal.

So I’m not going to say definitively that Google doesn’t/won’t use toolbar data (or other signals) in ranking. I think what you were picking up on was my long list of “cons” in data like that.”

Online keywords

How to write a website article to increase search…

How to write a Search Engine friendly article for your website

By applying this formula to writing website articles, you will get great success with the search engines. Follow these 5 easy steps and experiment for yourself now.

Fred Schebesta’s Article Writing Formula

Step 1 – Choose your Keyword
To begin, choose your article’s keyword target. I suggest focusing on getting results for just one keyword for each article. Use a keyword selection tool or check your web stats to figure out which keyword you want to rank highly for.

Step 2 – Research what is out there

Go to Google and research: type in your keyword and figure out what other people have already written and see what websites they are referencing. The internet is filled with plagiarism so you will usually find common source articles. Once you have the core idea, give it your own spin. I include my own experiences to talk directly to my intended audience.

Step 3 – The idea and the benefit
After researching , I come up with my article’s main theme. It usually comes from extending another article, a wacky idea I have been thinking about applied to the topic, or a question a client has asked me during the day. From this idea I focus on what key benefit a person could get out of this information and make that the title of my article.

Step 4 – Title, article, links, pictures and resources
My next steps just flow:

Title – Write the title of your article. I might adjust this during this process or at the end, depending on what might work better for the target market and what type of content I write.

Article – The actual body of the article. I try and write like I am writing to one person. I think about that person reading it and also imagine myself reading the article and what I would want to know. I try and use dot points and bolding to communicate key points.

Links
– Links to related pages are gold because you don’t have to rewrite supporting information, allowing the focus to remain on your core subject. I try and keep these to a minimum so as not to distract the reader.

Pictures and Diagrams – I love putting a picture or a diagram in because it brightens up the piece and makes it less boring. I hate big wads of text. I want pictures and diagrams because I know a lot of people are visual people.

Resources and Call to actions – At the end of the article I normally include either related resource links or a relevant call to action. Normally if you write an article a call to action to browse another page of your website is easy to sell because you have built trust and credibility.

Step 5 – Proof read, send it live and promote it
I always give my articles to someone else to check. Other people see things you don’t and their final finesse can turn your article from being good to great. Also consider how you might promote the article.

3 quick ways to promote your article:

  1. Post it on a free articles site – www.goarticles.com is an example
  2. Send it as an enewsletter – Send a mail to your database describing a problem your article will solve.
  3. Give it away to a related website
Google

How to use Google to brainstorm your popular keywords…

Keyword Discovery with Google’s Free Tool

Mervat is starting a new website called “Viva La Frock” and is struggling to brainstorm her website keywords. She wrote me an email below:

“Hi Fred

I attended the seminar on Tuesday about Online Marketing which you did a great job of presenting!

I wanted to ask you, I am currently in the process of setting up my website and would like to start brainstorming my keywords for search engine optimization, and you were talking about some stats Google provides regarding most popular search words?? Did I hear this correctly? Or were you actually suggesting we jump on and search each of our own keywords to see what result it yields?”

Quick step guide to brainstorming your keywords

Here is a step by step guide to help you out:

  1. Yellow Pages Technique – To begin open up Microsoft excel and write down in the cells all the keywords you can possibily think of that might be relevant to your business. An easy way to do this is to imagine all of the categories your business might fall into in the Yellow Pages. They are normally pretty relevant keywords.
  2. Use some tools – Mervat when I said to use Google’s free tool what I was suggesting was that you use their free keyword suggestion tool (https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal) . It basically provides you with suggestions on what keywords are related to a keyword you enter and what keywords other people are typing in to search for with that keyword. If you use the keywords you brainstormed above and type them into the tool you will get a huge number of ideas.
    Google’s keyword suggestion tool https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
  3. Related keywords – Use a thesaurus or a lexical dictionary to figure out words that your target market might be interested in that you might want to also target. Like if you were selling “golf clubs” you might want to put “golf ball reviews”. Anyone who buys golf balls will need a golf club to hit them with!

I hope that clears some things up and points you in the right direction?

Resources
Another Keyword Discovery Tool
WordTracker is a more professional tool for keyword discovery although you need to pay for it. I would highly recommend it.

Online keywords

How to build a website that will rank well…

Freestyle Media number 1 spot for “Online Marketing Agency” in Google Australia


4 Blunders to avoid your New Website from being Search Engine Unfriendly

Redeveloping your website can be a real challenge when you assume your web designers and developers understand search engine marketing. Unfortunately this is not usually the case. Most designers are great at making pretty pictures and developers are great at making great technology. But pretty pictures and great technology don’t necessarily give you great search engine results. I have come across many designers and developers in my time and following are the main problems I encounter when building a site that you want to rank well in the search engines.

  1. Too much Flash with keywords inside it – Websites with too much flash kill the opportunity to gain great results in the engines. The flash also contains all of the keyword text. This is exceptionally unfriendly to the search engine as there is no way to browse the text. The designer will tell you, “We will be using the latest technology in flash, you will be cutting edge!” I like flash but only moderate amounts used for promotion or product demonstrations.
  2. No text – Sites that have little or just 1 paragraph of generic text. Google only reads text, pdf’s and word docs. The designer will usually tell you, “Your web design has visual impact because of all the flash.” Unfortunately it will have no impact with Google.
  3. No Sitemap – There wasn’t a sitemap. Some developers will tell you that this is just old school and you don’t need it anymore. I assure you that adding a sitemap to your website will improve search results.
  4. No web page theming – Firstly a definition, Web page theming is structuring a website into different sections with specific themes so that a search engine can interpret and rank/categorise the pages accordingly. The search unfriendly sites I see are structured in a manner that is great for human browsers and ignore search engines. I always think about the search engines and the user at the same time and develop a structure which brings about a happy medium. Developing your site into themes and topics allows you to deliver the best site for human and search engine browsers. The read the words and browse and the search engine can categorise your site and browse.

3 Ways to Avoid Developing your New Website into a Search Engine Nightmare

  1. Check the designer and developers Competency of search engine marketing – Ask your web agency if they understand search engine marketing. All of them will say yes because you are talking usually to the main salesperson. Ask to see some result in the search engines of website they have redesigned. Type in the main keywords for the site and see where the site that was redesigned ranks. They are no good if:
    1. No listings – They cant show you a listing
    2. Non competitive terms – the terms which they used to show you results were just the brand name of the product and not a generic keyword. E.g. if they were showing you a Nike site and they typed in “Nike” that is no good. Instead if they typed in “sport shoe” and showed you number 1 listings, then you are on a winner.
  2. Check that the Content Management System is Search Engine Friendly – Ask your agency what CMS(Content Management System) they use. Get them to show you examples of websites they have built using the CMS and what sort of rankings they have achieved in the search engines. A CMS system can make or baek your searhch engine results by the following things:
    1. Too much junk in CMS – If the CMS is dumping huge amounts of content and code into the page, this can ruin your results since Google doesn’t understand code its looking for text.
    2. URL formats not compliant – If the CMS formats the URL and filenames of pages with too many query strings e.g. (ThisGreatPage.aspx?id=pinkelephany&Page=ContactMyMum&Query=NotSearchFriendly) All of those query strings will clog up the search engine and it will assume you are just content spamming and treat each of your webpages as a single page. I.e. the search engine will chop off the querystring elements and just assume that there is one page there, even though the query string elements allow you to see different content.
    Optimal website search strategy is to assign 2 -3 keywords per webpage
  3. Structure your site for the engines – I know the pain you have gone through developing your sitemap and thinking through all of the content that you want the use to look at. What I want you now to do is look at your sitemap and think about all the content you want the search engine to look at. Key things to do:
    1. Choose your keywords – First you need to figure out which keywords you are targeting. Your agency should be able to help you with this if you haven’t done any search engine marketing before.
    2. Choose your high ranking pages – Since you know which keywords you are targeting, you now need to decide which pages you want to target these keywords and rank highly in the search engines. These will need to be specially developed and your internal linking needs to be structured to give these pages the highest number of backlinks.
    3. Homepage vs Subpage organization keyword assignment – The strategy with keyword assignment for web pages is to choose 2 – 3 keywords per page. The normal trap people fall into is assuming their homepage will target all of the keywords. Your homepage needs to be treated just like another page it should have some main generic keywords assigned to it and just target those. (See diagram below)

Optimal strategy for Keyword assignment of website pages

Choosing a competent online marketing agency to build your website

If you are encountering any of the above problems with your current web agency I would suggest building your website with an Online Marketing Agency. The difference is that a web agency can build your site but an online marketing agency can save you money by building your website to be search engine friendly. Save yourself the cost of rebuilding your website and work with an agency that understands how to build a website that is search engine friendly. Contact Freestyle Media, a competent Online Marketing Agency
(http://www.FreestyleMedia.com.au) or call Fred Schebesta on 02 9818 7300 to discuss your website requirements.

Blogging and blog marketing

“Online marketing sydney” search engine marketing case study #1

I have decided to give my blog a bit of meaningful credit and try and get my blog into the search engines and start getting some traffic to it.

Pagerank = zero/10

Right now my blog has zero pagerank with Google. This means that not many people are linking to it and Google doesnt consider it a valuable website. I need to rectify this. The way I am going to do this is by getting websites with pagerank to link to my blog. I have requested a link be created from the Freestyle Media (PR 5) website to my blog. I am keen to put this link in the sitemap page of the Freestyle Media website.

Last 25 words
The last 25 words of content need to contain you keyword. I have added a footer paragraph today which contains the keywords “Online marketing sydney”. Lets see how that performs. I have also added a link back to the homepage in the footer.

Most of my techniques and ideas are either self developed or I have learnt them from the USA. We will track this performance with the engines and see how we go?

Next
Search engine changes to blog #2
Search engine optimisation changes #3