Search Engine Optimization Tips

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Create SEO Content That Keeps People Coming Back

An exciting, dynamic SEO-optimized website helps the organic growth of your business by drawing customers in, building a relationship of trust, and establishing your company's executives as experts in your field. What kind of SEO content makes visitors want to return to your site again and again?

  • RSS feeds: RSS feeds and fun widgets with unique tips and advice let your customers and prospects know that you deliver value. By setting up an RSS feed, people don't have to remember to come to your site – the best parts of your site come to them.
  • eBooks: Offering free eBooks on your site (with your name as the author, of course) helps you build a mailing list and also gives people a reason to visit your site. Establish a reputation for giving away cool stuff – for free – and people will check back often to see what you have for them this week.
  • Tip of the Day: Offer subscribers to your mailing list a short, free tip in their e-mail box every day. Include a link back to your website with more information.
  • Twist that manual: Offer instruction manuals related to your products for download online. But don't make them the same boring material that most people don't read. Hire SEO content writers to create a fun, informative book full of tips for getting the most out of your product.

What pitfalls should I avoid when hiring SEO content writers?

Exercise Caution When Hiring SEO Writers

Many people think they can write. Ads on the Internet selling courses to “become a writer overnight!” perpetuate this myth. But the truth is, talented SEO writers are specialists in a particular writing genre. The skills cannot be taught overnight, and quality SEO writers command good pay for what they do.

If you go through a job listing service or site like Craig's List, you don't know if you're getting an SEO professional. But here are some red flags that may alert you to less-than-professional SEO writers.

  • Refusal to provide references – This is a major warning sign in any industry. If the only article writing the writer has done is for their own site or for content mills, that's okay. But they should have some sort of job or personal references to show that they are dependable, reliable and easy to work with.
  • Inability to provide writing samples – If someone can't even show a sample from a site like Helium or Constant Content, this person probably doesn't have much (if any) experience with SEO content writing. If they don't have any existing samples but are willing to write a piece just for you, that shows a willingness to deliver. Nonetheless, be careful about hiring an inexperienced writer.
  • Their samples show up on Copyscape - Copyscape is a free program that lets you test the contents of any website for duplicate material (the ugly word for that is plagiarism). Run away from any writer whose work has been copied word-for-word from other sources.
Use an Agency

Would you rather have peace-of-mind that your SEO writer is experienced, knowledgeable and ethical? SEO content agencies like IdeaLaunch pre-screen writers so you know you're getting the best of the best.

How can you learn the basics of SEO marketing?

Three Ways to Learn About SEO Marketing

Your business has a website, but you're not an SEO marketing expert. What can you do? Your best bet is to hire a reputable agency that will:

  • create a customized SEO marketing plan
  • provide writers to create content for your website
  • test your site to ensure positive results
But having a little background in SEO can help you select the right firm and remain involved in the process. You can learn about SEO in a number of ways.

Start with Google.

Websites that seek to inform visitors about SEO best practices that rank well on Google prove they know their stuff. (They didn't get on the first page of Google using poor SEO strategies.) Read as much as you can on the topic. Make sure articles are current. SEO standards change so fast, best practices yesterday may not apply today.

Go back to school.

Your community college may offer night courses on SEO marketing that will help raise you from the status of “SEO beginner.” If time is at a premium, consider a convenient online course that will let you learn at your own pace.

Study other websites.

Study the layouts, content and images on top-ranking sites within your field and outside of it.

Should I use tracker IDs or not?

Beware of Tracker IDs

Though tracker identification of links can help measure conversions and sales, the best links to your site are direct links with no tracker ID in the URL. Spider bots can quickly detect likely "profit measurement" from the link, lessening the value in comparison to natural links. In order to get a positive result (more organic traffic from the search engines), you may have to relinquish something(accountability of your links).

Can I link to myself?

Links: Think Inside the Box

One often overlooked opportunity is to build link strategy within your site that can support the optimization strategy of the landing page. Make sure you have keyword-rich, contextual links to your internal pages. Contextual validation can start within your own website.

What are the benefits of creating a sitemap?

Don't Forget a Sitemap

Essentially a listing of all of the pages of your website, a sitemap is definitely a "do" in SEO. Usually contained in your robot.txt file on your home page, sitemaps enable the search engine to crawl all of the pages of your website quickly and efficiently. Scan your sitemap for broken links, however, because they can prevent search engines to exit your website before scanning the rest of your pages.

What effects do link exclusivity, or lack of, have on my link power?

Link Exclusivity

According to research, link power is diminished as the number of links off a web page increases. When competing websites receive links from the same site, link power is further reduced. The best links are the exclusive links to your website--links your competition doesn't have. The secret to improving your search engine listing positions? Find links that are off the beaten path.

What should I know before conducting a link exchange?

Link Exchanges

One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. Link exchanges should be approached with caution. If you link to a company that does not comply with ethical linking standards (or they link to you), it can hurt your website. It can never hurt, however, to get the facts and perform some tests before you agree to a link exchange. It is important to note that link exchanges in general are further down the link power chain. They are less influential to your listing positions in the search engines.

How do I determine a website's link value?

Evaluate Links Carefully

Much like you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, you can't determine the link value of a website by its Google Page Rank status, either. Take a look at several factors: check the Alexa rating of the site, the number of pages indexed at Google, MSN, and Yahoo!, as well as the back-link popularity. Use free online resources such as Yahoo! Site Explorer at and browse sites like Suma-Tools, SEO Book. Get back [links] to the basics!

Should I stick to the keywords I have?

The Spice of Life--and SEO

Novice optimizers often make the mistake of not taking advantage of keyword variations, synonyms, and family keywords in optimization practice. Though may achieve high keyword density by repeating the same keyword throughout your article, it is also worthwhile to replace a few of the original keywords with variations. It is a good idea to do keyword research to find out which keywords are popular in search engines, but remember that not all internet users think alike. Check out a website with keyword variations for keyword derivatives or keyword deviation for more terms that may be used by internet searchers. Varying your keywords will seem more natural; your website will appeal to both readers and search engines.

How important are meta keywords and tags?

The Meta Keyword Debate

Having the right meta keywords is no longer the key to SEO success. As search engine ranking techniques have grown more complex, meta keywords have taken on less importance in good SEO. On the contrary, it is still important that they be used wisely and effectively. Though more than 30 meta keywords are allowed, best practices narrow it down to five to eight keywords per page, choosing the most relevant to the content on the page. Google has published documents stating that its algorithm does not factor in meta keywords when determining listing positions, but every inch counts!

Also the debate of effort vs. reward: descriptive tags. But creating meta descriptions along with all meta data is imperative to SEO. Though search engines may disregard meta tags in their search algorithms, there is no penalty for optimizing tags. And evidence show that Google publishes meta description content in the actual search results on the display page.

How many keywords are too many keywords?

Don't Overdo It

One common mistake of writers with new SEO tools is overworking SEO for a website. Keep it simple for success in the search engines. Content on your website should be related to your website's overall theme, written in straightforward language that is easy for readers to follow.

Keyword density practices are highly debatable. The range agreed upon by many SEO experts is between 2 to 20%. Anything above 20% is usually considered overuse of keywords and is not an effective strategy for SEO success. If your website is caught using keywords illogically (most search engines can detect it), you may be banned for using keywords unnaturally. Overstuffing content with keywords will look unnatural to readers as well. Make your keyword usage proportionate with the size of your content, and use a keyword density tool to confirm that you're not using a particular keyword excessively. Easy does it.

How do I get involved in the conversation about SEO strategy?

Be a Joiner

Join online forums and emails lists where users exchange SEO information to learn a lot about SEO. This is an excellent platform for novice website owners to ask questions about SEO strategies. The responses you receive can be insightful. If you choose an active forum, you're more likely to receive multiple opinions on any given topic and by privy to debates on differing strategies.

How do I get more in-depth information about SEO?

Work the Trade Shows

If you prefer face-to-face learning about SEO, set up a consultation with an SEO firm at one of the free trade shows in the industry. Many trade shows are free, and you'll be exposed to dozens of SEO firms that can offer advice right on the show floor. You can learn a great deal about the process of website optimization simply by listening to the pitch of an experienced SEO firm.

Take advantage of conferences and seminars as well, as some trade shows offer. Though many SEO seminars may be too detailed for those with no SEO knowledge, there are seminars specifically for novices. Pay attention to the level of difficulty of the material to be covered. when choosing a seminar. For those who understand the basics, choose an intermediate level. Several shows in the search engine marketing industry includ Search Engine Strategies, PubCon, ad:tech, and others.

Where can I learn more about SEO?

Get in the Know About SEO

Searching for phrases such as, "SEO strategies," "SEO techniques," "SEO tips," or similar phrases will yield overwhelming results. When researching SEO on the web, pay attention to the date the information was written, as SEO has changed throughout the years, so information from just a few years ago may be outdated. The upside to researching SEO online is that websites ranked high in the search engines are apparently skilled at SEO and are therefore likely to provide quality information.

Does duplicate content harm my rankings?

Don't Duplicate. Don't Duplicate.

It's still up for debate in the SEO community whether or not popular search engines have a penalty for duplicate content. While some argue that it is a myth, others testify that they experienced a tremendous boost in ratings when they replaced any duplicated content in question. The main reason search engines may impose a penalty is to avoid serving nearly identical pages in their rankings, which could cause people to opt for different search engines.

To be safe, create original content for your website with a copyright notice to restrict others from using your content. Next, filter your website's content with duplicate content checking technology. You can also perform periodic searches for duplicate content on your website. Take action if you find issues. If other sites have copied from your website, use Google's archive dates to help determine publishing dates.

Do I have to update my content if I already have a good ranking?

Keep it Fresh

Increase your search engine placements by keeping your content fresh. Some website owners obtain high search engine rankings and then refuse to change their website out of fear that it will negatively impact their rankings. But it's fresh content that keeps visitors coming back to your website. Add fresh content at least once per month. By the second month of deployment you should see the impact of a steady stream of new content, and this can easily be tracked.

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