Powerpoint: SEO Tips Even Mom Would Love

By Richard V. Burckhardt

Here is the presentation that I put together for the Performance Marketing Expo SEO session originally scheduled for the first day of the event. Unfortunately, the entire slate of Monday sessions was canceled, so I am sharing this with you here on The Web Optimist. The target audience is beginners looking for easy, non-technical, best practice SEO tips. I’m transcribing the slides below with additional comments included.

Everyone loves a good tip, right?

Here are some simple, quick, common sense tips for search engine optimization that even your mother could use to get cooking. Most novices with some web design and beginner SEO knowledge should be able to implement these tips without any problem.

Ah, but what is SEO, you ask? Continue reading

Free Palm Springs SEO Workshop for One Lucky Business

By Richard V. Burckhardt

I’m preparing to do a presentation as VP of Search for FramesDirect.com for the Performance Marketing Expo in Miami this September and would like a local Palm Springs area test audience for “SEO Tips Even Mom Would Love” – a roughly 20-minute Powerpoint show.

Ideally, I’d like to do this for a business or organization group of at least ten people in a conference room. Yes, that’s the catch. You will need to provide the facility. A projector or large monitor that can be connected to a laptop will also be required.

And, of course, I am offering to do this free for the lucky group. I’ll take questions regarding the presentation and general SEO afterwards. Continue reading

Top 10 SEO Must Do Tips

By Richard V. Burckhardt

Content is still the best spider food

Unique, keyword rich content is still the best spider food.

My blog, The Web Optimist is a source of search engine optimization information for those new to SEO who want to get more informed on what works and what doesn't. I was recently asked what would be the top ten tips out of my popular 110 SEO Tips Even Mom Would Love article. It's kind of hard to separate them into single paragraph bites, so I am presenting them in a more categorized format below.

Understand that these are my personal top tips as an in house SEO. Another SEO would probably have a different list. You know how it goes, put two SEOs in a room and there's gonna be an argument! Heck, I even get arguments from my own SEO cronies!

;-)

Keep in mind that...

SEO is NOT Rocket Science

BUT, it is complex and an ongoing process that changes almost daily. There is no such thing as a permanent fix to magically send you to the top of the rankings for good. But here are some of the basics to look for when optimizing your site to drive more traffic, prospects and, hopefully, profit. Continue reading

110 Quick SEO Tips Even Mom Would Love

By Richard V. Burckhardt

SEO so easy even your mom could do

Here are some easy, common sense, non-technical ways to optimize your web site that even mom would love!

UPDATED – Everyone loves a good tip, right?

Here are 110 quick tips for search engine optimization that even your mother could use to get cooking. Well, not my mother, but you get my point. Most novices with some web design and beginner SEO knowledge should be able to take these to the bank without any problem.

(Note: This list of tips is an update to the original post 55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love. I am republishing this expanded version for the attendees of local Palm Springs SEO training classes.)

1. If you absolutely MUST use Java script drop down menus, image maps or image links, be sure to put text links somewhere on the page for the spiders to follow.

2. Content is king, so be sure to have good, well-written and unique content that will focus on your primary keyword or keyword phrase.

3. If content is king, then links are queen. Build a network of quality backlinks using your keyword phrase as the link. Remember, if there is no good, logical reason for that site to link to you, you don’t want the link.

4. Don’t be obsessed with PageRank. It is just one isty bitsy part of the ranking algorithm. A site with lower PR can actually outrank one with a higher PR.

5. Be sure you have a unique, keyword focused Title tag on every page of your site. And, if you MUST have the name of your company in it, put it at the end. Unless you are a major brand name that is a household name, your business name will probably get few searches.

6. Fresh content can help improve your rankings. Add new, useful content to your pages on a regular basis. Content freshness adds relevancy to your site in the eyes of the search engines.

7. Be sure links to your site and within your site use your keyword phrase. In other words, if your target is “blue widgets” then link to “blue widgets” instead of a “Click here” link.

8. Focus on search phrases, not single keywords, and put your location in your text (“our Palm Springs store” not “our store”) to help you get found in local searches.

9. Don’t design your web site without considering SEO. Make sure your web designer understands your expectations for organic SEO. Doing a retrofit on your shiny new graphics-based site after it is built won’t cut it.

10. Use keywords and keyword phrases appropriately in text links, image ALT attributes and even your domain name. Continue reading

SEO Tools & Tips

SEO toolboxIn my day to day SEO for my clients and for myself, I’ve come across a number of tools of the trade, some really good, some, well, not so good. Here are a few items in my geek toobox that I use daily and highly recommend.

1. Keyword Tool - I have tried them all and this is the one I always go back to for my keyword research. Not only does it give you variations on the keyword phrase you are searching for, but also provides the WordTracker count and daily estimated searches on Google, Yahoo and MSN along with shortcuts to various tools like Google Trends, Keyword Discovery and several other online tools. And, you can export the thing as a CSV file. Way to go Aaron!

2. Check Server Headers ToolQuick and easy way to check on whether your URL is being seen and followed properly by the spiders. For instance, I recently installed a WordPress plugin which appeared to work fine in a browser, but when I checked the page URLs that it produced here, I found that those pages were producing 404 errors, meaning the web surfer could see the pages, but the spiders couldn’t. Naturally, I ditched the plugin. The site also includes a batch URL processing capability (up to 25 URLs at once).

3. Web Page Analyzer – This online tool checks the speed of your site and lets you know what the download time would be at various connection speeds. Granted, most folks have broadband these days but you still don’t want a page to take several minutes to load on a 56k dial up connection. The test gives you suggestions on ways to speed up your site for visitors and spiders. Both will go away if your site is too slow.

4. Yahoo Site Explorer -Yes, Google gives you some information on sites that link to you, but not like Yahoo’s Site Explorer, which is easy to use and just requires a Yahoo login. You can filter inbound links to see internal or external linking, number of pages Yahoo sees and more.

5. Spider Simulator – Just one of many free online tools offered by this site, I jump here when I need a quick look at what the spiders are seeing. A more comprehensive spider simulator report is available in the iBusinessPromoter client software on my PC, but this online utility serves my purpose most of the time.

6. Tweetscan - These days keeping up with what is said about you and your clients is a must. I use Tweetscan to search for references to me or my clients in Twitter for reputation management, goodwill and networking opportunities.

7. SearchStatus - This is a Firefox plugin that, among other things, allows you to highlight and see nofollow links. This comes in real handy when checking backlinks or sculpting the links on your own site. The plugin includes utilities to check backlinks, Alexa rankings and so forth, but I primarily use the nofollow highlight feature.

8. MyBlogLog - Although the community aspects of the social site are free, I do use one paid service that this Yahoo owned site offers – statistics. For about $25 per year, I can get almost real time traffic stats coming off of web sites. I can see my site traffic nearly as it happens, where surfers are coming from and where they are going. From this, I can see if there is a trend or if something is wrong on a site now, not tomorrow when my Google Analytics stats are refreshed. I mentioned this service in my post on Web Analytics. This is the only non-free tool I mention in this list, but it’s such a bargain, I had to include it.

9. Google Chrome - Though not technically a tool, Google’s first attempt at a web browser has one feature that keeps it open on one of my monitors all day – the ability to log into different Google accounts in different tabs. I keep my domain e-mail, which is hosted through Google Apps, in one tab and Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics for my work accounts in other tabs. Now, if Chrome would just pick up some cool plugins!

10. Google Webmaster Tools - For something that I paid little attention to when first released, Google Webmaster Tools is now also open on one of my monitors all day. It just keeps getting better. From tracking down dead URLs on my sites to testing a robots.txt file, I can locate site issues that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. Though far from perfect, it’s just about the most valuable online tool I use these days.

Advanced Tips for Optimizing Your Blog

Advanced blog optimization tipsI introduced you to blog optimization in S E O 101 – Blogs and Feed Optimization Tips.

Hopefully, you’ve got your blog up and running and chock full of great content by now. If you’re just getting started, read the post above first, then come back to this one.

In addition to providing a platform for terrific information (for humans and search engines), a blog is a natural pathway to the world of social media. Blogs are interactive, encouraging posts and information from visitors, and syndicated through RSS feeds, spreading your content (and links) across the web to be found in search engines, dedicated blog searches, news feeds, you name it.

So, here are some advanced tips to help get your blog on the road to good rankings.

1. Socialize. Interact with your visitors. Don’t just publish your posts and sit back. Answer questions, link out to their sites when they offer good content, respond to their comments in a timely, informative manner, etc.

2. Own a niche. It’s a lot easier to dominate a space if you start out with a smaller, less competitive, narrowly focused subject area. For example, you’re more likely to become a dominant player with a blog about “rechargeable outdoor power tools” than you are for simply “tools’ which is way too broad a term with a lot more competition.

3. Work your titles for both audiences – readers and searchers. Be sure you start out with the title of your post to attract readers. After the post has some history and has fallen into the archive section of your blog, go back and optimize the title for SEO.

4. Keep the post slug the same. Write this yourself, don’t let WordPress generate it. Don’t go back and change it at a later date because this is what determines how your post link is formed. Writing your own post slug allows you to create an easy to read, optimized URL.

5. Optimize for the Google indent. We’ve all seen Google search results where a page from a domain ranks with another page from the same domain just under it, but indented. Focus on getting a post ranking well using standard SEO, anchor text links, etc. Then find another, similar post to optimize. Link the ranking post to the second post to try to pull it up.

6. Re-purpose posts and pages. Let’s say you did a post on social media way back in 2005 and you want to do a similar, updated post. If the 2005 post is just way out of date and not of particular use these days, write over it with your new content. The old post has history and back links that can give you an immediate bump.

7. Use a single category. I know it’s tempting sometimes to place your posts in multiple categories, but get over it. You risk duplicate content issues with multiple categories, so make it easy for Google and concentrate on one.

8. Use a folder. Unless there is a very good reason to put your blog on a separate domain or subdomain (like your site is just a blog or you really believe a separate domain will give you more credibility), put it on your main site as a folder. This keeps link juice targeted to your main domain.

9. Got a Flash site that won’t rank? Start a blog on the domain to create the related content and links to the Flash pages. Chances are your blog pages will be what rank, but they’ll link back to and guide your visitors to your Flash pages.

10. Create your own custom footer. If you’re using WordPress, try the Feed Footer Plugin. With it you can create your own custom footer content, complete with HTML, for your posts that will show up in your RSS feed. This is great for plugging favorite posts and monetizing your feed.

One final thought to consider. Blogs are all about sharing, so if a visitor shares something really good, promote it to the front page of your blog. Do a post all about it and thank them for the great content. Your visitors will love it and come back for more.

Remember, you can turn active users into free SEOs who write content for you.

Losing to Win: Taking the Prize by Blogging

Taking the prize by blogging, we're all winners.

Unlike a certain recent political candidate we’re all familiar with, I know when it’s time to concede. John Carcutt is the winner of the Search Engine Journal Blog Off. John’s finalist post Are S E O Forums Still Needed? beat out my own 25 Blog Optimization Tips Even Dear Old Dad Could Ace to take the top prize.

What can I say? John has this ability to come up with topics near and dear to an SEO’s heart, write great content about them and attract Sphinns like a magnet.

Great work, John!

I really don’t see coming in second for the competition as a loss, though. Far from it. I blog because I love to share what I know. That’s really what blogging is all about. Every time I get the opportunity to publish some of the things I have learned in a subject I am passionate about (in this case, SEO), I’m a winner. It’s such a feel-good thing for me. As far as I am concerned, sharing amounts to taking the prize!

That’s what my blog, The Web Optimist, is all about. I certainly don’t make money with it. It’s just a place for me to share the tips and tricks I pick up along the way as an in-house SEO. I also manage, optimize, edit and write most of the content for The Eye Zone, the eyewear blog of FramesDirect.com, my employer, so I do a LOT of writing every week for it. Squeezing time in to write for my own blog (or something for Search Engine Journal if I think I’ve got something good), can sometimes be difficult. But, when I can, I love doing it.

So, we’re all winners here. Lots of great content and tips came out of this competition. The folks over at Search Engine Journal are the best!

Now, I think I’ll retire to the chaise lounge by the pool and console myself with the bright California sunshine, clear blue skies, gorgeous Palm Springs mountain views and a glass of White Merlot (or two).

Loser? Naw…