Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Different keywords require different SEO tactics

Keywords with little competition require different tactics than keywords with high competition. If you want to get the best possible results for your website, you must use the right tactics with the right keyword.

1. On-page optimization has a higher impact for long keywords
The relative value of on-page web page optimization is very high if you target very long keywords with little competition:
Diagram: the effect of the tactic on your search engine position
Here's an example: say you want to be listed for the search term "buy blue nike 'the overplay' basketball shoe in Atlanta" then it is enough to optimize one of your web pages for that search term because the competition for that search term is not high. You don't need many inbound links to get high rankings for that keyphrase.
If you target more competitive keywords, you need more backlinks to get high rankings in the search results.
2. Even if you target competitive keywords, it is important to optimize your web page content
The chart above might create the impression that web page optimization is not important to get high rankings for very competitive keywords. That is not the case. Optimizing the contents of a web page is the essential basis for high search engine rankings.
By optimizing a web page for a keyphrase, you tell search engines that the web page is relevant to that keyphrase. If more than one web page has been optimized for that keyphrase (which is usually the case) then the web page with the best inbound links will get the highest position in the search results.
For example, the website has 46,600 inbound links according to Google. Although has so many inbound links, they do not rank for the keyword "buy blue nike 'the overplay' basketball shoe in Atlanta" because the website has not been optimized for that keyphrase.
3. Optimize your web page content, then work on the backlinks
If you want to get high rankings for a keyword, the first step is to optimize one of your web pages for that keyword. Then work on the links that point to the optimized web page to outrank other websites that have been optimized for the same keyword:
Diagram: the importance of different SEO tactics

4. The more pages you optimize the better
When you optimize your website, optimize different pages of your website for different keyphrases. Start with longer keyword phrases that don't have much competition and then proceed with more competitive keywords.
For example, start with the keywords "buy sneakers in atlanta", "buy cowboy boots in atlanta", "buy pumps in atlanta", "shoe shop atlanta", etc. When you have managed to get high rankings for many of these keyphrases, Google will know that your website is relevant to the topic "shoes".
As soon as Google knows that your website is relevant to the topic, it will be much easier to get high rankings for more competitive keywords such as "buy shoes" or even "shoes".
The more pages of your website you optimize for different but related keywords, the better.
5. It's not necessary to have more links than your competitors
It's not always necessary that you have more links than your competitors. You need better links.
Try to get links to your website that use the targeted keyphrase as the link text (also called anchor text) and that point to the web page on your website that has been optimized for that keyphrase.
Don't focus on quantity, focus on quality. Getting hundreds of links from a link farm won't help your website as much as a few dozen links from relevant web pages with authority.
If your website has both optimized web pages and good inbound links then it will be easy to outrank web pages that only have one factor.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to find good keywords without keyword research tools

The keywords that you use for search engine optimization are very important. Choose the right keywords and your website will get many new customers. Choose the wrong keywords and you will lose a lot of time and money.

Most people focus on keyword suggestion tools when looking for new keywords. However, there are several things that you should do before using a keyword suggestion tool:

Describe what you do in easy words

Try to describe what your company does without using any business specific words. How would you describe your company to your parents or even your grand parents? These descriptions help you to find new keywords that are related to your business.

Find the unique selling proposition of your company

What makes your company special? How are you different from your competitors? Do you offer great service? Do you offer the lowest prices? If you offer great service, add service related keyword modifiers to your list. If you don't want to sell by price, avoid words like "cheap" or "low cost" in your keyword lists.

Find words with multiple meanings

Some words have multiple meanings. If you sell products that have names that can be confused, make sure that your website visitors immediately know what they will get. If you sell tablets, do your customers know whether they are tablet computers, bath tablets, clay tablets, chewable tablets, writing tablets or graphical tablets?

Focus on your most profitable products

You don't have to be listed for every single keyword on search engines. If some of your products have a small margin, it doesn't make sense to optimize your web pages for them. Better focus on the keywords that are related to the products that are profitable for your business.

Write down the 10 most important keywords

Make a list of the 10 most important keywords and then take a close look at the list. Are the keywords all about the same product? Do you cover all aspects of your services and products with these keywords? Do not follow your first instincts. Carefully go through the list and check why you find a keyword important.

When you optimize your web pages for search engines, start with very targeted keywords that attract targeted website visitors. Do not use one-word keywords or keywords with multiple meanings. The more targeted your keywords are, the more likely it is that you will get new customers with these keywords.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New year resolutions: Link Building is just like getting in shape

The backlinks that point to your website are still the most important factor that determine the position of your website on Google. Unfortunately, it's not easy to get good backlinks. Link building can be compared to getting in shape after the holidays:

1. It takes hard work and there are no shortcuts resolutions

It does not matter if you want to lose weight after the holidays or if you want to get high quality links: you have to invest time and effort.

You cannot lose 30 pounds in a month and you also cannot get your website on Google's first result page for a very competitive keyword in that time.

If you want to get lasting results, you have to work continually on your links and your web page content.

2. You have to be consistent

SEO isn't a one-shot solution. It doesn't help your rankings much if you get many links at once and then stop building links. Search engines also consider how many websites link to your site over time.

It's the same if you want to get in shape: doing a 12 hour workout on a single day and then doing nothing won't help you to lose weight. It will be bad for your health.

It's the same with link building: if you get many links at once and then no links at all, search engines might think that you try to cheat them with a linking system.

If you want to get in shape, you have to be consistent. You might not see immediate results but there is a constant change and some day, you'll find that you're much thinner.

Link building works exactly like that. Do not try to game search engines by joining link systems or buying links. Get one link at a time, optimize your pages and the rankings of your website will improve steadily.

3. There are a lot of scammers

The SEO industry is full of scammers that promise easy and quick solutions. You should be very careful. If something sounds too good to be true then it's probably not true. There are no easy and quick solutions and there are no secret tricks that nobody else knows about.

The same applies to weight loss and fitness. There are lots of diet pills and miracle machines that promise easy and quick results. These methods don't work.

4. It's possible to trick the system but you won't get lasting results

There are a lot of diets and diet products that help you to quickly lose weight. Unfortunately, you only lose water weight with these diets and you'll get your old weight back soon.

Link building is similar. Every now and then, some webmasters find a loophole in Google's algorithm. These loopholes allow people to get on Google's first result page without doing the hard work.

This usually works for some weeks but then Google finds out and websites that exploited the loophole are penalized and removed from the index. It's very risky to use these methods to get high rankings because Google doesn't like spammers.

5. The result is worth it

People who lose weight usually feel more healthy and happier. Being number one on Google's result page for the right keyword can mean many more sales for your business.

You have the choice: Don't fall for rip-off products that promise easy and quick results without much work. These products don't deliver long term results and they often put your website at risk.

If you really want to succeed, start now: optimize your web pages and get good backlinks.

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