SEO tips for Your Online Business
Is your business on the first page of Google consistently when the key questions are asked? If not, it should be and some of the reasons may be in your application of Search Engine Optimization techniques.
These techniques are essential in the ranking of your site and go hand in hand with the site content.
So how is your website ranked. In the case of Google, the pages on your site are inspected for content, relevance and also for their links to other pages in the network So what are the elements that the search engines looks for?
Well we know from Google itself that its spiders look at 200+ different factors but what they are and their relative importance is a close secret. One of the reasons for this is that Google has changed both the factors and their algorithm some 500 times in a year and does so constantly so the picture is fluid and not static.
In a recent patent application, it was stated that changes in the following web page elements can influence the position of the page in the search results:
- Keywords that are included in a web page
- Keywords that are associated with a web page
- The anchor texts that are used in links on the page
- The colours and the sizes of images on the page
- The position of text or images on the page
- The frequency of document changes over time
- The amount of the web page content that has been changed
- The change in keyword density
- The number of new web pages that link to a web page
- Changes in anchor text
- Tags that are assigned to the page
- Search queries that are used to find the page
- The number of links to low trust websites
Some of these factors we can alter and use to our advantage and some, like the second last in the list are not under our control.
Google has released a guideline to assist us in setting up our web site in an organized and relevant manner.
This booklet is titled Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide and if you would like a copy you can download it here. Heading page search-engine-optimization-starter-guide
In this post I want to address the major components of the Starter Guide and the above factor list…the relevant items that we can and should be addressing to improve our page ranking.
I should have mentioned an obvious point that we are all aware of but take for granted in the way search engines operate.
To use the most successful engine as the example, Google sends out programs called spiders, sometimes also called crawlers or bots, that search through the pages on each website in the net and transfer back the information to its index.
On receiving a query, the search engine sorts through its index of the web, not the web itself and lists the pages relevant to the search question in ranked order starting with the closest match and progressing down each page.
So what do we need to do to increase the ranking of our websites and get onto the first page in Google.
Tips for Titles, Tags and Tidiness
We’ll start at the beginning with the domain name. This should be relevant to the website content and not be too long or complicated. The more relevant the title, the more the search engines will like it and so will users seeing it as a selection.
Keywords can be obtained using the Google Keyword tool. The website title should contain some but do not stuff any part of the site with them. Over-use will detract from the sites ranking, not improve it.
Title tags provide a guide to the contents of the site and are also used on the individual pages. For a while back there I ignored tags and didn’t use them until I realized their importance in indexing pages and information.
The individual page titles must be relevant to the contents of that page and the use of accurate descriptive meta tags will greatly facilitate both the users and the search engine work.
If a site is set out tidily and neatly, it is much easier for both users and search engines to be able to follow the information through the pages. The use of links in the pages facilitates the ease of following the story set out in your website.
For example, if there is a chronological sequence to be followed in the site then set out the information in folders that reflect the pattern. Do not place them randomly over the site structure.
Organised File Structure
Your site structure may be clean and tidy but there will almost certainly be folders which you use to store files that are not relevant to the users. These folders do not assist in your site ranking and may even detract from it when the crawlers are looking for a neat tidy site.
We get around this problem by using a small file called robot.txt which is installed in the root directory and which tells the crawlers which parts of the site they can look at. To make a robot.txt file you can input in any basic text editor like Notepad and save the file as robot.txt. Then transfer this file to the root directory of your site (http://yoursitename/public_html/robot.txt. Note this is not the
Home directory that you will see in CPanel filemanager or Filezilla but the public_html subdirectory which is where everything you want your clients to see goes.). Complete instructions can be found in the Google Webmasters tools. An alternative is to use the robots.txt generator supplied in the same location.
Once your file is complete and installed in your site root directory you can test it using the Webmasters Tools again and following the instructions for testing. If you have not verified your site before you will be asked to verify it now – just follow the instructions for adding a site.
Your site index can also be stored in the robots.txt file. This will further assist the spiders in looking over your site and that in effect increases your SEO.
Avoid the publication of sensitive or private material by using .htaccess to password protect directories contain ing sensitive content.
The above is all in basic SEO techniques and I am assuming that this is merely reminders for you. If not and you would like amplification, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linking and Backlinking
Google applies an algorithm to its search results to get the ranking and it is that that has been changing steadily over the past few years to emphasize the acceptability or popularity of each site. It measures these by following all the links and backlinks to other sites on the net.
One of the ways to increase the backlinks to your site is by doing research and acknowledging to sources of that information. For example, I have provided some information that I derived from posts made by other people.
I have named the source in this post and acknowledged the author and, as a matter of courtesy have sent the authors a private email to say thank you and that I have quoted their information. This is the example of a link in the post.
If they look up my post and like what I have said, they send me an email or comment on the post to say so. This is an example of a backlink.
Social media is an excellent way to improve the number of backlinks to your site. A good example is the use of Pinterest to place pictures that are if interest or relevant to your book and contain a link to your site. Other users will look at your content and, if it is good they can like it or follow it or repin it. If it is re-pinned, it appears on their books as well and so on.
The comments and repins carry the link to your site and acts as backlinks when people visit your site and Google notes its popularity.
Facebook is an obvious way of increasing your sites popularity as your contacts read a post on your FB site and then link to your website.
I will provide a lot more detail to this very important technique of improving your site ranking, including over the shoulder demonstrations of how to get backlinks in the first course to be run on this site starting in August. For now you have the outline of the techniques to follow.
One final technique on your website ranking, is a good tip made in the Google SEO Starter Guide mentioned above. If you have a site that is open to public comment you will receive both good and bad links in the comments.
The tip is to constantly review the comments you receive and publish them on the site after you have sorted them. Sometimes these comments contain links and, while not all are bad, spammers like to use public comment sites to promote their activity. If you find a link that you are not certain about, or wish to blanket protect your site then add rel=”nofollow” to the link’s anchor tag
I will deal with this technique in more detail in the Advanced SEO section of the course on this site but if you are in any doubt about the quality of a link in a comment, protect your site’s reputation and make it “nofollow”.
Many blogging packages automatically “nofollow” comment links and you can apply that blanket rule if you are in any doubt. You worked hard to get your sites reputation up to what it is – don’t let the spammers detract from it.
Mobile only users
This topic is not strictly SEO but does have a bearing on the popularity of your site and so is relevant.
The Harvard Business Review published a blog by Karen McGrane in May this year providing the research statistics for internet access via mobiles and some of the figures bear repeating here.
50% of the 12 – 17 year old young adults surveyed used their mobiles to access the internet and this figure is increasing rapidly.
40% of people surveyed with income levels below $30,ooo pa used their mobiles to access the internet and a whopping 26% of online shoppers stated that they used their mobiles to do their shopping research.
Enough, you get the point. If your site is not mobile friendly, you are not reaching a large percentage of your market.
There are several ways in which you can convert your site ranging from an app that works in Wordpess (WPTouch) to re-designing it completely to make it more attractive to mobile only users.
A disadvantage of the WordPress plugin is that you will have to use the zoom on your mobile to be able to read the text in a blog but the whole page is there. The alternative of a completely new purpose built page is readily available by Googling it which will give you a whole page of business’ that can assist you.
A couple that I noticed were Mobile App America and Mobify but you can get a swift review of ten choices from Rean, the owner of Knowledge Salad at the HongKiat com site here
I have covered three main areas in this post and I hope that they will be of use to you in the improvement of your site ranking. If you need more information or would like to learn about the courses to be run on this site, email me at email@example.com.
Talk to you soon