Archive for March, 2012

On Page vs. Off Page–Using Anchor Text Effectively

Friday, March 30th, 2012

When you are considering how to use anchor text in the most efficient manner possible, you will need to consider both on-page text optimization as well as off-page text optimization. On page optimization refers to how your web pages are linked with one another, using anchor text to do so. Simply put, on-page optimization refers to those things you are able to control on your website which should be almost everything! Off-page optimization encompasses how the external sites use keywords to link to your site, and refers to things that other people do or say about you and your website. Off-page SEO tends to be much more difficult because it entails convincing other to do something, or to take action of some sort which will help your website rank higher. If you are writing blogs, your anchor text optimization will be a continuous process, while for a relatively static website it will be a one-time thing.

On-Page Optimization
Your goal with on-page optimization will be to maximize your site’s performance in the search engines for target keywords which are related to on-page content. When linking with anchor text you must include your top chosen keywords, along with title and description meta tags and it’s a good idea to always start with keyword selection, research and testing of your keywords. You will also consider keyword density, internal linking strategies, content, site maps, and accessibility, however you probably won’t see any real, solid results from this type of optimization for 6-12 months. It’s important when working with on-page anchor text optimization that you avoid duplicate content, off-site images and duplicate title tags as well as any type of hidden text, hidden links or keyword repetition which Google considers “spammy”.

Off-Page Optimization
Off-page optimization works to maximize your website’s performance in the search engines, but is done outside your website pages. Just as with on-page optimization, be sure to start with keyword research, testing and selection. It cannot be stressed enough just how important the proper keywords are to your site’s ultimate success. You will use these keywords in anchor text links, and will work on obtaining one-way, inbound links rather than reciprocal links. Relevant keywords will be used near your inbound links, and you will incorporate deep linking which goes from multiple pages to multiple pages.

Assessing Your Off-Page SEO
When you are assessing your off-page optimization, ask yourself how many external links are pointing to your page, and whether those links come from a wide variety of sources. Secondly, do these links come from sources that Google considers trustworthy? Do the external link sources have a variety of links pointing to them, and does the anchor text of the external links pointing to your page contain the search term? All of these questions are critical in successful off-page SEO.

Be Patient and Consult a Professional
Gradual link building technology is the best process, and you should expect to see results in 1-9 months. The most common off-page SEO mistakes include placing random links without keywords, and duplicating keywords in your anchor text links, so avoid these. Never use spam tactics such as link farming, using irrelevant keywords, or using trash links. Some recommend that you always use professionals for off-page SEO, unless you are quite skilled in the process.

Manipulated Anchor Text in Inbound Links
All of the major search engines are now smart enough to identify inbound links or backlinks which contain manipulated anchor text. If the search engine notes unnatural or unrelated repetition of targeted keywords which are originating from hundreds of different—and totally unrelated—sites, they will view this as clear manipulation and your site can be penalized.

Figuring out just what the search engines want can end up feeling like a complicated dance, with lots of back and forth and complicated steps, yet the success of your site may well end up depending on just how well you waltz!

Turning Your Website Users into Customers

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

People come to your website with specific purposes and goals in mind, but primarily they want answers. In order to ensure you are answering their questions in the most thorough manner possible, you will need a solid understanding of your “typical” customer as well as the problems they want to solve. The home page of your business website should first and foremost address the most pressing issues and questions your potential customers have.

Most typical users want to know what they are doing on your website, how to do it in the most expedient manner possible, what’s in it for them, and where they should go next. Once you have answered these questions through your persuasive home page copy you are off to a good start. If you are targeting more than one type of visitor to your site, make sure you can direct them easily to different pages. Make your descriptions compelling, but not excessive—too much hype can be a turnoff.

Sell Benefits and Grab Their Attention with Headlines
People coming to your website want to know how whatever you’re selling will benefit them personally. This type of information grabs their attention, leading them into the other features of your site. People read headlines first and foremost, so make sure yours are the best. Once you’ve gained their attention, they will want to read the rest of your copy.

The Importance of Your Landing Page
The landing page is a specific website area where traffic is sent via links. The landing page will prompt a certain action or result, so it’s highly important that the links you are using to send traffic to your website is extremely relevant to what they are actually looking for. When people click on links expecting one thing, but get another, they become disenchanted quickly, and click to someone else’s page, looking for help and information.

Pay Extra Attention to Your “About Us” Page
While you may not consider this page to be one of exceptional importance, it can be an important way to build trust and credibility. People want to know your story. They want to know how you came to this business, how long you’ve been in business, and what your specific credentials and talents are that make you uniquely qualified. Building trust is essential in this day of scams and cons. Prominently display your phone number and address so you don’t look “shady” in any way. Although web business is done through cyberspace, we humans still want to have the comfort and security of knowing where—in the real world—the brick and mortar building which houses your business actually stands.

Turning Users into Customers
If you’ve shown how your product or service is different and better than your competition’s, then half the battle is won. Emphasize what your new customers will receive, and how you will stand behind your product. Make it simple to sign up, join in or buy now, and place this call to action in a prominent, easy-to-find place on your site. Few of us are willing to risk our hard-earned cash these days, so minimize the risk by offering a comprehensive guarantee, or a no-risk return policy to build trust among your customers. Your goal is to build the same sort of relationship with your new Internet customers as you do with your in-person customers. Sprinkle in some free, helpful information, or provide education on what they are purchasing. Offer a monthly newsletter, or even a free e-course. All of these things build trust between you and your customers, creating happy people who will come back time and time again to your website and will pass the good news along to friends and family.

Top Ways to Get More People to Read Your Website Articles

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Great copy is, arguably, the primary way for your website to move straight up the ranks and land in the spot of honor. How do you produce the type of article which everyone wants to read, while filling it with the best search engine optimization? Such a balance can be difficult, but not impossible, and the rewards are well worth the effort. Once you’ve designed your website for detail and visual appeal as well as ease of use, the next critical step is filling it with highly targeted, extremely interesting, superior quality copy on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, too many websites have a great design, but once a visitor begins reading, their interest goes out the window.

The Goal of Your Website Articles
The copy on your page must grab your readers and pull them, then once you’ve gained their undivided attention your article must inform, entertain, educate, offer a solution to a specific problem, and convince your visitor to purchase your product or service. Pretty tall order, right? Well, take a deep breath and get ready to learn how to deliver consistently high-quality articles to your readers time and time again.

Get to Know Your Audience
You should know your audience the same way you know your best friend, meaning you must be aware of their likes and dislikes, must know what they want when they come to your site and must know the best delivery system to capture their attention. Who is your target audience? What does that audience typically read, and what do you have to offer them that nobody else can do quite as well?

You want to make your visitors feel good in the same way you would want to make your best friend feel good. Care about your readers, and take the time necessary to present crisp, interesting articles which simply flow from one sentence to another. Remember—although you want to entice your readers to take advantage of what your website is offering you don’t want to bombard them with high-pressure sales.

Make Your Website Usable
If you’ve done your research you are well aware that people read web pages in an entirely different manner than they read a book. We tend to scan web pages, hitting the highlights and looking at the paragraph headers to determine whether or not we want to continue reading. Highlighted words are a good way to draw the eye, but avoid overuse. Hypertext links are one form of highlighting, while changing typeface and color are others.

Your sub-headings should be meaningful, and give your reader a good idea what they have to look forward to. Bulleted lists are a good way to get your reader’s attention, and one writing style you might try is the inverted pyramid style in which you start your article with the conclusion. Keep your articles about half the length of the normal written page in order to hold their attention until the very end.

Know Why You Write
This may seem pretty obvious, but many times articles are written simply to throw out some necessary keywords or stay with the goal of three articles per week, or something similar. If you write passionately about a subject you feel strongly about, it will shine through in your finished article. Give your readers the details, and show them why those details matter. If you really don’t care about your subject, it will shine through, and if you are bored your readers will be bored as well. Write honestly, and be willing to bare your soul when it matters.

It’s all in the Details
When you begin writing, let your beginning paragraph concisely declare what your piece is about, then organize what follows through the use of an outline. Your high school English teacher taught you about outlines for a reason—they work! Keep your reader relaxed as you expand on your subject, and explain your arguments in relatively short paragraphs. Offer concrete examples and personal experiences to back up each of your points.

People love to hear how others faced a problem and solved it successfully. Highlight the advantages of your product or services, but don’t overdo it. Give your readers plenty of resource information by telling them where they can get more information on the subject you are talking about. Finally, step away from your article for a bit, then come back, re-read, and proof one more time. Mistakes can make you look unprofessional, and alienate your readers.

The Latest News in Successful Link Building

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

What Works Best?
The primary way of building your site’s SEO through link building is to use manual linking rather than any type of automated methods. Although there is software available which proclaims to build all your links for you—avoid it, and do the work necessary to manually place high-quality links in your site. Automated methods rarely continue to offer results over the long haul, and because Google’s algorithms continue to evolve and get smarter, it is highly likely that bulk comments and directory submissions will probably begin to be flagged.

Manual Directory Submissions and Forum Comments
Manual directory submission requires you to actually go to the directory and input your information. The advantage of manual submission is that you can change your headings in order to minimize the risk of getting slapped down by Google for building the same anchor text link time and time again. Rather than automate forum and blog comments and responses to gain valuable links, spend a little time on each forum in order to get a solid feel for it. Then post an insightful, relevant comment, along with relevant links to your website. Even though some of the latest automated software is better, automated comments are still pretty easy to spot and flag as spam, so do the work yourself.

Look at Your Competitors Prior to Building Links
Stalk your competitors to find out the directories they are listed in and sites they are mentioned on. This will give you a necessary starting point which will then evolve into a comprehensive strategy targeting specific sites. If your direct competitors are ranking high on Google, then they must be doing something right, so it’s your mission to find out what that “something” is. Discover how they build their links, then use some of their knowledge to build your own website.

The Good and Bad Regarding Reciprocal Linking
Until a couple of years ago, reciprocal linking was a perfectly viable method of obtaining coveted links to your website. Unfortunately, the practice was so abused that it became almost a spammy technique, actually causing your site to get lower ratings. Reciprocal links can still work under certain circumstances. If you have an extremely tight niche and trade only with equally “niched” sites in your specific area, then reciprocal linking can be beneficial, however it’s not likely to bring volumes of visitors to your site.

Work on Your Backlinks
Backlinks, also known as inbound links can be a huge benefit to your site as they are typically ranked highly by Google and other search engines. However if you go overboard and have a ton of incoming links from low-quality or junk sites, not only will you see your page rank plummet, but you will have lost all your carefully cultivated credibility—something that is hard to recover once it’s lost.

In Short, Don’t Engage in Lazy Link Building
Most automated services can be equated with lazy link building, and the quality of those links will reflect that lack of effort. Any link which can be made without benefit of any human involvement is essentially a low-quality link. Resist cutting link-building corners, and should you simply not have the time to devote to your manual link building campaign, then consider hiring a reputable link building service to do it for you.

Link Building Strategies to Avoid
Any time you are being offered some ridiculous number of anything, including directory listings or forum and blog comments—beware. This level of promise means it is automated and done in bulk, and if it’s easily automated, it’s equally easy to spot and to devalue. The goal of Google is to provide the very best search results to users, not the site which has the best spam links around. Unfortunately, such excellent link building strategies as social bookmarking and RSS feeds have become increasingly easy to automate, meaning they are losing their cachet.

If Content is King, Then Links Must Be Queen

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Although we’ve all heard that content is king—and this is certainly true in many ways—remember that a page can be completely satisfying, readable and incredibly interesting, however if it is not bringing in visitors your website could languish and die. In short, even the most compelling content will not make your website successful on its own, although it should definitely be one of your primary goals when setting up a site. Generally speaking, the purpose of any one page on your site should be to bring in visitors, rank well, and convert visitors through sales or reader satisfaction.

While it is true that a fabulous, well-written, informative article will bring in a certain amount of natural links, and will also satisfy your readers, it will not get you the ranking and traffic you are looking for. In other words, the king and queen should work companionably together to make your website a smashing success—they both have a specific and necessary role to play, and ideally should integrate those roles to further your site.

What Does Google Think?
The general belief is that Google values content over links, however a Google developer was heard to say that incoming links from authority sites carry more weight with Google than strict on-page optimization. Other authorities speculate that Google looks equally at content and links, however Google does operate under the assumption that webmasters will only link to other sites if they find them to be highly relevant or helpful. Those who understand the power of linking, however may be taking part in link exchange programs, using links purely as a tool to gain the best rankings.

Once Google’s complicated algorithm takes this into consideration, content may take on a new importance in judging relevance. In other words, not only will the content on your own page be judged for its relevance, but the content from your links will also be judged in your final rankings. Rumor has it that anchor text has ceased to count as highly in Google’s calculations unless the text you are using in the link appears on the page being linked to. Because of this, remember to always use your target keywords in your site content, and ensure your incoming links also contain those words.

The King and Queen Must Live Harmoniously
SEO best practices dictate that quality content and links must live together in harmony for true success. This means your goal is to create the perfect balance of superior copy and high-quality, relevant links which will boost your rankings. All great content and no links will leave you floating around cyberspace where users will be unable to find you. On the other hand, lots of links with truly dreadful or even mediocre copy will allow people to find you—then they will wish they hadn’t.

Remember—the Right Kind of Links is Crucial
Organic links are what you are looking for in your quest for website success. Trying to fool the system through questionable link building techniques-such as using spam links from link farms or buying massive quantities of low-quality links—will flag your site to Google who will likely penalize you for such black hat practices.

No Copied Content Allowed
Quality content is unique and informative, and never, ever, duplicated from another site. Spun copy can also bring penalties to your website. And really, do you want to be known for low-quality or copied content when you are marketing and promoting your site and your brand? The bottom line is—don’t choose between content and links. Use them both, use them wisely and sit back and bask in your success.

The Importance of Keyword Research in Effective SEO

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

In the world of SEO, keyword research may well be one of the most important factors to your ultimate success. If you are relatively new to the world of search engine optimization, you may be a bit fuzzy on exactly what keyword research entails, and why it is such a critical component of your SEO strategy.

What is Keyword Research?
Even if you have spent hours and hours fine-tuning your web pages with a goal of getting higher rankings with Google, it will all be for naught if you have not targeted the very best keywords and keyword phrases. Selecting the wrong keywords for your website or blog can greatly decrease the relevant traffic your site will receive.

What’s My Target Audience?
Just as in any marketing strategy, whether online or traditional, your ultimate goal is to know your audience. If you don’t fully know and understand your audience, then you will not be able to reach them. You may be required to focus on specific location, specific region, specific business, trade, service or product when you are deciding on your very best keywords and keyword phrases. Your goal will be to cover each and every aspect of your product or your particular service which could be searched for by users. Because each page on your website may likely be dealing with a different aspect of your business, the keywords for each page will necessarily be different. Once you truly know your audience and have looked at your site from their perspective, you will have gone a long way in identifying your target audience.

Rely on Facts, Not Your Personal Feelings
Many inexperienced website owners start out with keywords and keyword phrases that they simply “feel” are right and are the most likely words users will search for. Unfortunately, even though this may seem like common sense, or appear fairly obvious, your chosen keywords may not mesh with the ones your buyers or users are typing into their search bar. Once you are a part of a specific trade or niche, your vision tends to narrow, and you erroneously believe that others understand these trade-specific terms in the same way that you do.

If you are unable to take your own feelings out of the process, ask friends or family what search words they would use if they wanted to find a business like yours. You may be very surprised to find their chosen keywords and phrases are completely different than the ones you chose. Ignore your gut feelings and go with the facts, and you will avoid a possible wild goose chase. There are several keyword research tools you can incorporate which will offer pertinent data in your keyword search.

What is the Overall Process?
First of all you will enter the discovery phase in which you will basically brainstorm and come up with a laundry list of possible keywords which are related to your site and your target audience. Next you will analyze these keywords and phrases, and will additionally add information about your competition into the mix. You need information about your competitors in order to determine how many pages are competing for Google’s place of honor. Analyze your competitors based on search terms and how many pages are indexed in order to get the clearest picture. You will then select a shortlist of keywords, and finally you will make the absolute optimal use of your chosen keywords throughout your website copy, your HTML code and your meta tags.

Focused keyword phrases give your site the very best chances of ranking highly, as well as bringing targeted traffic to your site, which in turn results in higher sales conversion ratios, therefore keywords are a key element in your overall SEO strategy.

The Crucial Importance of Keywords and Backlinks in SEO

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

While there are enough highly technical SEO techniques to make your head spin, sometimes you need to step back, take a breath and remember that in the end, you need only focus on two main factors in your quest for the ultimate search engine optimization: keywords and backlinks. Whether you are a veteran of the SEO wars, or a relative newbie, or whether you are optimizing a brand new site or just doing some maintenance on an existing site, focus your attention on keywords and backlinks and you will soon be able to see measurable results.

Why Keywords are, Well, Key!
In-depth research is critical to your final short-list of keywords you will optimize your site for. Your keywords must be absolutely relevant to what you do, the services you offer or the products you sell. In fact, relevance must be your highest priority, ahead of those keywords which appear to have the highest number of searches. While “narrow” keywords may get fewer searches, they are immensely more valuable than a generic keyword. If you get a user to your website, then they find it was not at all what they were looking for, obviously they won’t stay. With highly focused, extremely narrow keywords, your users will naturally be more interested in exactly what you have to offer.

Placing Your Keywords for Maximum Results
The location of your keywords is almost as important as the keywords themselves. Keywords placed in the title page, headings and first paragraphs—in other words, above the fold—are much more important than those placed at the bottom of the page. Additionally, having your keywords in your URL and domain name is far more important than having them in your page copy. If all things are roughly equal between you and a direct competitor, but the competitor has the critical keywords in the URL, their ranking will almost certainly be higher than your own.

When you are determining your URL, remember that while having five keywords in it might be good for SEO, it’s not particularly good for a user to be able to remember, so strike a balance. Although writing something in the title tag is not strictly mandatory, if you leave it empty, the title bar of the browser will read something like “untitled document,” which is not particularly impressive to your users.

Heading Keywords
While headings certainly separate your paragraphs and subtopics, from an SEO standpoint, having as many headings on your page which have your top-rated keywords lends itself in a positive manner to higher rankings. Remember, though, that headings which are inordinately long are not conducive to page readability. Headings are usually bolded and, in some cases in a larger font, so keep the headings clear, concise, and keyword-rich.

Checking Your Keyword Density
Once your keywords are chosen, you must ensure your articles have optimal keyword density; while it is not as much of an SEO factor, it does measure how relevant your page is. It is recommended that you strive for a keyword density of 3-7% for your primary keywords, and 1-2% for your less important keywords. There are keyword density checkers you can find on the web if you are unsure of your density. Try optimizing for 5-10 keywords, as any more will only cause chaos in your copy. You never want your site articles to sound contrived or appear to be keyword-stuffed as this can garner you Google penalties.

Now, Add in Some High-Quality Backlinks
Once your keyword strategy is firmly in place, you will want to focus on getting incoming links from other websites. If these backlinks are high-quality and extremely relevant to your site, it will signal Google that yours is an important website, and your rankings will naturally increase. Track your results at least monthly, and you will see how these two simple techniques can vastly increase your search engine optimization.

The Best SEO Strategies for Increasing Link Popularity

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

What is Link Popularity?
Second only to keywords, links are critical for website success. Link popularity, in short, is the measurement for the number of links to your website from other websites. But wait—I should have definitely added the word “quality” to that sentence, because low-level links just for the sake of having links can actually hurt you much more than they will help you. Both Google, as well as some other search engines, take their complicated algorithm and rate your website based on many things, one of them being your link popularity.

High Quality vs. Low Quality Linking
In other words, each quality link which points back to your site is, in effect, a vote for your website. If I have a link on my own website which links to your site, then the theory is I believe your site to be valuable, and of high quality, thereby giving you my vote of confidence. Keep in mind, however, that if my website happens to be considered a low-quality, poorly-rated one, then my vote of confidence may hurt you more than help you. High quality links will come from established directories and institutions rather than somebody’s obscure personal homepage. In general, however each one of these website link “votes” pushes your website up the search engine ladder, and can be an incredibly important SEO strategy.

Submit to High Quality Web Directories for Successful SEO
The highest quality web directories are those which manually review your website—and charge a fee for this process. But wait, you say, isn’t Google penalizing those who acquire paid links? The answer to this is yes—and no. While search engines truly don’t like paid directory links, they don’t devalue the quality web directories which manually review websites for submission. This is an important distinction to remember when you are considering submitting your website for a paid review.

Research Your Web Directory Prior to Submission
Make sure you have fully researched the web directory you are considering, and ask whether or not websites are rejected. After all, if all websites which are submitted pass with flying colors, there is little value in obtaining a listing. Ensure the web directory has plenty of quality URL’s listed as low-quality sites will harm you more than help. Although some directories are quite expensive, if you can find the budget, try to purchase at least one quality directory listing per month.

Submit Articles Regularly
One of the best-known strategies for building backlinks on your website is to take bits and pieces of your site’s content, and re-write, adding enough quality information to submit as a standalone article. The critical factors in submitting articles is that they absolutely must be the highest quality, they must use your keywords judiciously throughout, and you must include links back to your website either in the resource box at the end, the author bio area or in the article body itself.

Where to Submit Your Articles
Ezine ( is considered one of the best places to submit your articles, but you can also look at, and, to name just a few. Whatever you do, however, don’t simply submit an existing article from your website, as you may run into possible duplicate content issues. Even submitting one article to several sites every two to three weeks can add up significantly throughout the course of a year.

Create Quality Website Content and Keep an Eye on Your Links
If you are consistently generating high-quality content on your website, you will establish links automatically, or organically. If you always provide content which your readers find interesting, compelling and, ultimately, helpful, you will develop a vast array of high-quality links, and you can consistently provide this level of content is you always remember that you are writing for your customer. Don’t simply write your articles and update your website with quality content and assume your links are healthy and happy. Monitor the effectiveness of your inbound links by entering your URL into the box at the top on On the button labeled “Pages,” you will see the number of pages Yahoo has indexed on your site, while the button labeled “inlinks” will show the links which point back to your website.

While there are many more strategies to increase link popularity, start implementing the basics today—links can truly make or break your website, so afford them the importance they deserve.

The Best SEO Strategies for New Websites

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Those who are new to the SEO game may find it entirely overwhelming, and are not even sure what a search-engine friendly website consists of. It can feel like too much information crowding into your brain, and you may even start to wonder if it’s worth it to have a website for your business. Believe me—it is. And not only is it well-worth it, but as you learn the tips and techniques for creating a website which is so well-optimized that not only are you bringing in highly targeted traffic but are also climbing steadily up the rankings, you will actually find yourself enjoying the process. You will learn how to tweak your website on a regular basis to continue to rack up conversions and bring new readers to your site the longer your website is up.

Your Website’s Design
First of all you need to ensure your overall design is SEO-friendly, especially your navigation. You want each and every page of your site to be able to be found easily and indexed quickly through Google and other search engines. If you are unsure whether your current links are all fully accessible from your homepage, use a tool such as the SEO Chat Link Analyzer Tool which can show you how your site is crawled by spiders. Any problems with internal linking or navigation on your site can hurt your overall search engine optimization, not to mention cut down on your readers. Don’t use JavaScript navigation as search engines may be prevented from indexing the entire content of your site because of it.

Target Your Website Content
Because a spider takes mere milliseconds when determining what a given page on your website is all about, every single page must have a phenomenal HTML title, which is a maximum of 66 characters. Granted, that’s not much space to pack a punch in, but your meta description gives you 250 characters to play with. Both of these should concisely identify what your site is all about, must read well, and must use your highly targeted keywords all wrapped up in a grammatically correct, highly readable sentence.

Your content is hugely important, and the more original and useful your content is, the higher you will climb in Google’s rankings. Your goal is to attract readers, not just insert your keywords here and there in an attempt to fool Google. One of the criteria of Google in assessing your website is to determine how long your visitors spend on your website after they chose it from a list of results. What this means is that your keywords must be exceptional, and must match what people will type in to find a business such as yours. High-quality content also attracts organic links from other websites, which will also boost your visibility and your traffic.

Implement a Sitemap on your Website
You will need to include a sitemap on your site which uses hyperlinks to link to your other pages. The sitemap will contain a categorized list of all the pages which are a part of your website and the anchor text which is used for each link must reflect the content of the page through the use of one or two highly targeted and highly relevant keywords. Always avoid duplicate content on your site as it will get you penalized by Google, and be sure to take the time to read Google’s guidelines. The more you adhere to the stated guidelines the better chance you will have to make your website a glowing success, and the less chance you will get a reprimand by Google for violating rules.

The Best Off-Page SEO Strategies

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Search engine optimization techniques can change as quickly as the weather, and what you learned—and put into practice—today, may be outdated by tomorrow. Unless you are an avid reader of all the latest SEO practices, you could easily lag behind in the race for newer, better, more productive SEO methods. On-page SEO concerns what search engine spiders can glean about your site through the content and structure of your website. On-page SEO will have you looking at your keyword selections as well as how your meta and ALT tags are used to your advantage. On-page SEO encompasses internal links, content, keyword density and site maps. Off-page SEO, however, refers to activities which are conducted away from your own website, such as the number of inbound links from other websites—also known as backlinks.

Why are Inbound Links Important?
Search engines use inbound links as a method of establishing trust, determining relevancy and gauging the popularity of your site. The more websites which the search engine finds which are linking back to your site the higher your own web pages will rank. Because of the vast amount of websites delivering low-quality content, Google has attempted to minimize this through inbound link perusal. The theory is that if other high quality websites are linking to your site, they apparently believe it to be worthy and credible.

Start a Blog
Blogging is one of the primary—not to mention the most powerful—ways to promote your company online. If you write a blog which includes huge amounts of unique and informative content that others in your niche will find helpful, interesting or even amazing, you have taken a very important step in off-page SEO. You can promote your blog through posting your own comments in other blogs within your niche or service-related blogs which allow links in the comment section, just don’t go overboard.

Commenting on other’s blog sites in your area of expertise will also increase the chances of others visiting your blog so long as you always leave your URL site when you comment. Blog commenting can generate valuable backlinks much more effectively than you might imagine, but take the time to really read the other person’s blogs, and make intelligent and provocative comments.

Help Crawlers Find Your Content
Keep the titles and descriptions for your webpages as clear and relevant as possible. Search engine spiders have a memory of sorts, so the first impression of your website is critical. It’s better to put your best foot forward from the very beginning, rather than to try and go back later and re-work pages in an attempt to convince the spiders to give you another look. Help search engines find your content through sitemaps and lots of relevant internal links, and make sure your URL strings are not full of garbage.

Register your Website in Lots of Web Directories
You want maximum visibility for your website, and website directories are a bit like the yellow pages in that they allow visitors to find your information. You will place a link in the directories back to your site, so that visitors who are searching for information can read about your site. Being registered in web directories also lends credence and authority to your site.

Using Social Media to Your Advantage
Social networking sites can be great places for gaining fans, friends and followers, not to mention making valuable business contacts and expanding your network. Facebook is the leader of the pack, although many businesses also incorporate Twitter and LinkedIn into their social media off-page SEO.

There are many more off-page strategies such as advertising using Google Adwords to promote your site, participating in forum posting in your niche, targeting an audience through the use of a press release, exchanging links with reputable webmasters and article submission, to name a few. Start slowly and work your way through a few of them and you will be amazed at how quickly your site will climb the ranks and how successful it will be in attracting highly targeted traffic.