Information Is Power
The above proverb is more applicable today than ever before. In a previous post, Watch Out: People Are ‘Googling’ You, I emphasized the common practice of other people and companies using search engines to find information about you. It is becoming increasing more difficult to keep your information private regardless of your own vigilance in the matter. Fortunately, if you choose, you can use the digital trend to your own advantage. Consider this: “Information is more powerful when you can control it, especially when the information is about you.” Do you have a firm control of your online identity?
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One of the most common terms used by companies to describe Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is "black magic." Search engine optimization is a complex art with no guarantee of success. In all my years of doing search engine optimization projects there is one simple technique that has made the biggest impact for my clients in their search engine listings. Best of all, it's really easy to implement.
The simplest SEO technique is setting your page title properly for each individual page of your web site. Granted it takes a lot more than just a proper title tag to get good search engine placement. I don't want people to think that changing a title tag is ALL they need to do. But in ease of implementation and effectiveness, I believe proper title tags offer the best ROI for your time and money.
You don't need much computer experience to implement this technique. If you have a friend or family member that knows a little about creating web pages ask them for help.
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One of the greatest legacies of the Internet is the ability to link one document to another. Document linking is a tremendously powerful feature that has stood the test of time. Document linking is simple and highly intuitive.
Document linking is one of the primary reasons that world wide web exploded back in the 1990s. You can lead your users from one piece of interesting content to another. Linking is also a significant factor in the search engine optimization. Each time another web site links to your web site it is like a vote is being cast. The more links you have to your web site from other relevant web sites the higher the probability you will enjoy a higher search engine ranking.
Every web site owner should take the time to consider their own linking strategy especially at the individual page level.
Are you using internal links on your web site?
Internal links connect your users with relevant content on your web site. Is there information on one page of your web site that can be linked to another page of your web site? Wikipedia is a great example of a web site that uses good internal linking.
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Yesterday evening I had a short telephone conversation with one of my friends. He maintains a very large web site that gets tens of thousands of visitors daily. A few months ago we sat down for dinner and he told me about some of the changes he was making to his web site. At that time, he was in the arduous process of cleaning up his code. The end result was well worth his time.
Sloppy Code and SEO
Search Engines don't like sloppy code. Think of it like trying to read someone's really sloppy hand writing. Now imagine having to read through pages of sloppy handwriting. There probably would come a point in time when you would want to give up. The search engine spiders are the same way. If there is a significant amount of code that is clogging up your individual pages the search engine spiders just stop. This has a negative impact on your search engine optimization.
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Developers are still enchanted by Flash. It does some pretty wild things. One place where many developers like to use Flash is on Splash pages and navigation. In doing so, they make it difficult for search engine spiders to crawl their web site. You need to take into consideration the effects of implementing Flash technology on your site. It can be both a virtue and a vice.
Making a Splash with Flash
One of the first SEO hurdles is a Splash Page with Flash. How many times have you visited a web site and get a Flash loader? In some cases you need to wait over 10 seconds to get something to load. Granted almost 50% of users in the US have high speed internet, but developers are abusing the bandwidth. Users don't want to wait that long. In most cases a Flash presentation loads which is less than impressive. If you are going to make people wait, make sure the wait if worth their time.
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If you want to be successful with your online presence you need to leverage SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Look at targeting a series of keywords and focus on getting on the first page of the SERPs(Search Engine Results Page). There are only ten positions on Google that really matter #1-#10. Everyone wants to be #1 on top search engines and so should you.
Why is getting a top ranking position so important?
The higher your position the more visitor traffic you command. If you can get a top listing for a competitive keyword you are well ahead of the pack. Keep in mind there are plenty of companies that never achieve the number one spot and do very well online.
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One of the most difficult web methodologies to sell a company is organic search engine optimization. Some companies we've tried to sell organic SEO services to have labeled it "black magic" and "a waste of time."
Most companies don't want to produce high quality content for their web sites. The infamous "we don't have time for that" line always comes up. Many companies also refuse to accept that a well thought out organic search campaign can take six to twelve months before appreciable results can measured. Their mind set is "I want it done yesterday." I appreciate any company's desire to have quick results. But don't forget that value is built over time, especially online.
The clients who have embraced organic SEO have done very well for themselves. The best part is that most haven't even realized their full potential. Companies that successfully implement organic SEO get higher quality traffic and keep advertising costs down.
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Aaron Wall of SeoBook.com asks:
"Why should a legitimate business need to worry about SEO?"
Companies that smartly implement SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as part of their online strategy tend to be very successful online. If you are serious about leveraging your online presence you need to get serious about SEO. Too many companies miss the boat when it comes to SEO. It is important to remember that SEO isn’t a single universal solution. You still need to integrate SEO with a balanced design, copywriting, usability, plus a few marketing strategies on your web site.
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People always ask me about keyword research and why it is important to their web site. Not targeting keywords and optimizing for those terms is a missed opportunity at getting more targeted traffic to your site. You start most SEO projects with basic keyword research. It involves finding terms that relate to your web site or product and to what extent those terms are searched on search engines. You optimize for those terms in your title tags and body copy.
Many companies misunderstand or overlook keyword research. Sites that rank well in search engines are targeting and optimizing for a set of keywords. Some of the most successful companies online target specific niche markets. Keyword research is also an ongoing process. You can't just do it once and forget about it.
Are you targeting the right keywords for your web site? There are a number of web sites and companies who choose to target the wrong keywords or not target at all. This isn't intentional, but most likely because of a lack of knowledge. I know of one major US Corporation that is missing massive opportunities because they are targeting the wrong keywords. They are missing out on millions of dollars in potential sales.
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In a previous article I explored Jakob Nielsen's HOME RUN acronym. In this article we'll look more closely at the High Quality Content portion of HOME RUN. Two very important things to consider regarding content is how the content relates to the user and how content is viewed by search engines.
The biggest reason to create high quality content is for your users. Ask yourself this question: "How often would you revisit a web site that is never updated or has nothing that is interesting to you?" I'm guessing never. Always think in terms of the user experience and what you can offer.
he most popular web sites give users exactly what they want in terms of content. Those same sites keep users coming back by offering high quality content on a regular basis. You need to do the same with your web site. Most of your content should take the form of HTML text. Write specifically for your audience, NOT for your own ego.
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