October 23, 2010

Common mistakes by SEO companies

Filed under: SEO — webtechbc @ 7:19 am

Common mistakes by SEO companies and how to choose a SEO Company

Are you looking for an SEO company to take your site to the next level. Here’s some things to avoid:

SEO Companies that use email campaigns to build links. Its really called spam:
I find this one really annoying. Its usually a tactic by new SEO who don’t know there are other ways to build links. You don’t need to spam people to  get quality links to your site.

Does the SEO company you are looking at stuff keywords on their site.
Any SEO that uses keyword stuffing is not up with the times. In fact you don’t really need keywords. That doesnt mean you don’t use them, but it also means you never stuff 200 in a meta tag. Keywords should be focused on in content not in meta tags.

Look at the source code of the SEO company you want to hire. Check for Meta Tags keywords and see how many they have. This one below is borderline but acceptable.

meta name=”keywords” content=”ppc, seo, sem, pay per click, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, web analytics, google adwords qualified company, ppc company”

Are they up with the times.
Do they use social media? Do they use techniques like social seo?  If they don’t keep up with the times chances are they are stuck in old ways. An SEO that isnt always learning is not worth your time.

If they guarantee #1 rankings right away be cautious.
SEO’s should never guarantee #1 rankings. Its easy to say they can get you there and depending on the market its possible to stay there. SEO should be a long term goal that is always changing.  While #1 spot goals are nice they are not always realistic. Sometimes its better to just be in the top 5 or 10. Most users don’t go past the second page.

Ask where your money is going.
SEO is expensive. Ask them where they will spend your budget. You don’t want an SEO that will rely solely on ads for example.  Ads are great but if your ads run out of money you lose the links. You want an SEO that has multiple strategies. Like link building, content creation and ads. Not just one strategy.

You shouldnt have to link to your SEO.
Its their job to find links for you, not to ask you to link to them. Link for links don’t really work.

The best advice in choosing an SEO? Research, research, research & recommendations.
Research the company you want to work with. Look for online reviews and opinion.  Check the rankings of sites they have worked with. Ask for referrals from people in your network.

There are plenty of quality SEO’s and SEO companies out there. Just be sure you know what you are buying into before you hand over your money.

October 12, 2010

Twitter is just a tool

Filed under: Analytics,SEO,Twitter — webtechbc @ 2:08 pm

Why organic SEO will get you better results and twitter is just a tool

I’ve been on Twitter for over a year now. I have approached website traffic from both the social media marketing point of view and SEO point of view. While there is no doubt that twitter generates website traffic, you need to consider what kind of traffic it generates.

Something to consider. Twitter by it’s nature generates a high bounce rate. Traffic from sources like twitter is a good thing, however the time spent on a site tends to be low and the bounce rate high. Generally these are not sought after qualities for an SEO. How do I know this? Just look at the analytics below for a three month period. High bounce rate and low time spent on website. My belief is that this is because people get used to seeing a 140 characters. As soon as they have to read, if they don’t find something of value right away they leave.

Organic SEO Traffic on the other hand is a much more desirable commodity. Why? Bounce rates & average time spent on websites is much lower. This is because people are already looking for what you have, they have sought you out using google.

How can this problem be solved? Seek out an audience in twitter that wants what you have to offer. Advanced searches are one way of doing this. Follow people in the same field that will re-tweet your work. The main point is to make sure you have an audience that is looking for the knowledge you have to give. If you do that your twitter analytics should improve.

Don’t rely on just twitter traffic. Maintaining organic SEO is a better means of generating quality leads. Twitter should only be used as a tool to get your website out there. Tweet your full url’s so that google indexes the link. Be specific in the tweet and keep the point of your content in front. Twitter is a great communication tool, but organic SEO is a better option for your sites long term growth.

September 28, 2010

Social SEO

Filed under: SEO,Social Media — webtechbc @ 6:45 pm

What is Soical SEO & how can you use it

What is Social SEO? Social SEO is using Social Media to both promote yourself and increase your rank. Its a fairly new term in the Search Engine Optimization field. I’ve talked about the elements of it in previous posts.

Social SEO: Begins with Branding. Branding is important in both SEO & Social Media. A brand can be either a company name or an individuals name. A brand can be whatever you want it to be. Choosing a brand that is widely available and unique is important in Social SEO. If your name is taken you may want to consider a nick name, or a company name. It’s really important to be as unique as possible. Brand yourself everywhere. Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon, etc, etc. It’s a lot of work to go out and grab your brand name on each social media site, but it pays off. Use consistent profiles on each of these sites as well.

Profiling yourself: If you have a brand name that says something about what you do include it in your profile. If you don’t there are ways you can get around this. Use your job title or what you do for a living. My twitter profile is a good example… Social Media Strategy & SEO Techniques. Vancouver, WebTechbc.com by Jonah Lewis… While I include my brand name it is not first. This is because it doesn’t relate to what I am trying to market.

Bookmark your links Bookmark your links on social bookmarking sites. There are dozens of them. There are services that will help you automate this. Each time you post new content bookmark it as many times as possible.

Why does social media go so well with SEO? The most relevant and recent content tends to come first in search engines. That’s why social media comes up in front a lot of the time.

Where you have to merge the two is in content creation. If you can learn how to create content that includes keywords you are marketing on social media, you are ahead of the game.

Find the audience you want to market to in Social Media. Find out what they are talking about and center your content around it. Expand your audience by using twitter techniques like hashtags. Strategic posts with a full url will move your rank higher. Post the subject of the url first, e.g. Social SEO http://webtechbc.com/blog/social-seo/ #socialmedia #socialseo. The weighted keywords or subject should always be at the start of the post. You could also use the H1 tags in place of the url page heading.

Here are my recommended steps for establishing social seo. Brand yourself, find an audience, create goals, build content around your brand, publish content with keywords targeting your audience, post your content on social mediums. Monitoring the results after you have published your content is a good way to come up with new content. It helps you determine what content is popular and works, and where your audience comes from. Focus on those areas when you see them.

September 27, 2010

WordPress Setup

Filed under: SEO — webtechbc @ 12:38 pm

WordPress Setup, SEO Optimized

Fresh install of WordPress? There’s a few key things you should do that can improve your blog and SEO. WordPress is already great for SEO, but these changes will help you grow. You don’t even need a fresh install to make these changes and improve your SEO.

Determine your site title.
This is important. Keep it under 65 characters. Name your site around what type of content you are providing. Try and use the website url in the title if possible.

Site URL / Permalinks
Its under Settings tab, Permalinks. Simple is best. Don’t leave it on default switch it to custom. I use /%postname%/ And I try to keep my post names short. E.G. http://wordpress/blog/wordpress-setup. You could also use tags, but postname is great for repeating it in H1 tags and descriptions.

Install redirection plugin
Redirection plug-in is a tool to help prevent site errors when you change a blog title or move things around. Its a good idea to install it when you start. Everyone makes mistakes typing, if you hit publish and then change the url later this plugin keeps things in order.

Install All in One SEO
Its a free plug-in. Here are the settings that you should use. At the very least you should change the post title format to reflect your site permalink changes.

All in one SEO Settings

Install Topsy or Tweetmeme
If possible put the re-tweet button at the top of the post. The key is to allow trackbacks. Trackbacks insert a comment in your blog post with a link. If someone re-tweets your work, you get a link each time on your blog.

Use a Tag Cloud Plugin.
Tag clouds add keywords & keyword density to your posts and blog. It also helps users find posts by keyword.

Social Bookmarking Puglins.
Include at least one social bookmarking plugin on your side bar. Each time you post save your post to the social bookmarking site you chose. This creates a type of RSS feeds, keywords, and links to older posts.

Create an XML sitemap
Plenty of free services out there to do this. I recommend Xml-Sitemaps. Install Google XML sitemaps generator plugin. Plugin Homepage. This plugin will auto update your site map each time you create a blog post. Site maps are important for communicating with search engines.

Use on page Tags & Categories.
If you look at my blog you will see post categories at the top. Post tags could also be used in the blog post. For this blog I use the tag cloud generator for that purpose. These tags add to your keyword density and allow people to find your posts in a search.

On using All in One SEO pack during blog post
Repeat your H1 title in the title of your post. Your Blog posts should have an h1 tag at the top of the post in addition to the regular url title tag. Keep the title under 65 characters. Use the H1 tag again in the description. The description should be under 156 characters. Use your brand name and main site title in the description as well. Luckily all in 1 seo pack has a character count field on blog post forms.

Things to remember when posting. Keep your titles short and simple to the point. Repeat your title in the H1 tag, all in one SEO title & description. Create strategic blog posts that include content related to these titles and descriptions. Don’t just write for search engines. Make it readable to the human eye. Making your posts scalable with highlighted information not only helps readers but search engines. Bolding key phrases are a good way of highlighting information.

Yoast.com offers a great resource for optimizing your WordPress blog. I suggest going there as well if you don’t have enough details from my post.

September 23, 2010

Strategic SEO

Filed under: SEO,Social Media — webtechbc @ 2:25 pm

Strategic SEO with Social Media

In the past “Strategic SEO” has meant using techniques like adsense to get your brand out there. The issue with Adsense is that if you are in a competitive market, the keywords can be over saturated and infective. Other techniques include landing pages and back-linking.

As Social Media becomes more mainstream and widely accepted there are new ways of building SEO campaigns. I’m not saying the old methods are out the window or should be ignored. What I am saying is that you can build a great search engine optimized website without using them.

It starts with Branding. I’ve talked about this before. Branding is important in Social Media. The key to affective branding is finding a name that relates to your business and what you are selling. This also in tern helps your SEO because it adds keywords to your site. In retrospect Webtechbc was not the best brand choice. But I’ve managed with what I have. A better brand choice would have been something with the Word SEO in it.

Once you have your brand name, get on as many Social Platforms as you can with it. This is in part with choosing your brand name. Pick one that you can find on more then one network. The more places you place your brand, the wider the audience, and more back-links you can create with it. Don’t just stop with Social Media sites. Brand yourself on Social Bookmarking sites as well. I’ll talk about this later.

On Social Media Profiles. Profiles are important in Social Media. Take the twitter profile. It’s limited to 140 characters but google includes your profile in search results. e.g. “Link Facebook & Twitter | Vancouver SEO, Webtechbc.com”. Include your local and what you do in the first few words. Google will place this in search results.

Build strategic content. Simply put, build the content that you want people to find. This post is a perfect example. I’m trying to find an audience in Strategic SEO & Social Media Strategy. I do this by blogging about what I know and teaching others. SEO is one of those industries that needs more transparency. It’s hard to learn SEO unless you learn it on your own, or find a master willing to teach you. Top SEO’s guard their knowledge to avoid more competition. It’s slowly changing, but the SEO field still needs to become more transparent in sharing knowledge.

Strategically post your work on social media platforms. I’ve talked about this before using twitter. You can do it on other platforms as well. When google searches for content from social media it looks for the text in front, and the whole url. My tweet for example would either be the Title of this blog post, or the H1 tags of this blog post. e.g. Strategic SEO with Social Media http://webtechbc.com/blog/strategic-seo/

Include the whole url For indexing purposes. You should also use do-follow url’s. To emphasize why this is important do a search on Google for “twitter vancouver seo”. you should see @webtechbc tweets at the top.

Social Bookmarking is your friend. Use the major Social Bookmarking sites. Create Do follow links every time you produce new content. Some of them like http://delicious.com have wordpress plugins that you can put on your site. Using this on your site creates keyword density and makes previous postings more visible. See my sidebar for an example. Use your h1 tags as keyword tags when you add a link to social bookmarking.

Linked in blog connection Connect your blog on LinkedIn . People in your network will see it and it creates back-links. LinkedIn is another one of those social media sites that comes up on top in google searches on a persons name. You can also post blog posts directly to your linked in profile. Don’t connect your twitter profile to linked in though. Especially if you have personal tweets in your twitter stream.

It takes work, but the key is to create as many links as possible on Social Media sites. Doing this in conjunction with strategic content can help increase your rank. Be conscious of what you put in your profiles. Write strategic tweets about your blog post. Remember being specific counts. Keep it short and simple. Short URL’s are also good for SEO. Use a plug-in like add.this. It submits url’s to social media sites in one location. It can save a lot of time and you don’t have to copy the url to each site individually. Keep bookmarking every post. Don’t just bookmark blog posts, you can also bookmark your social media profiles. If you place a plug-in like add this to your blog, it saves some time. Once you’ve published your blog post simple bookmark it to your services using add this.

September 22, 2010

Learning SEO

Filed under: SEO — webtechbc @ 1:30 pm

Learning SEO – Resources for Beginners

SEO or Search Engine Optimization One of those things that you should never stop learning. There’s lots of resources on the web for learning SEO, I thought I would put together my own list.

Google Webmaster Blog One of the best places to start. When you have set up your site in google webmaster, log-in and use the help & tutorials. They are fantastic free resources.

Yoast.com WordPress SEO Guide. The best place to learn how to optimize wordpress for SEO. If your new to blogging and wordpress, start here. This guy will guide you through how to set up your blog properly and achieve high rankings.

SEOChat.com One of my favorite SEO Resources. Lots of variety in topics and its easy to find information on the website. A great place to start when learning SEO.

SEOMoz.org SEO: The Free Beginner’s Guide From SEOmoz. A easy to follow book style site for learning SEO.

SEOLogic.com Search Engine Optimization 101. A online course style guide to learning SEO.

SEO Guide for Designers A great resources for Web Designers who are not SEO knowledgeable.

There’s plenty more resources out there, this is just a short list. If you know of a great site worth mentioning please comment below. With SEO you have to keep learning to keep on top of it. There’s always someone that knows more then you do.

September 20, 2010

Google Instant

Filed under: SEO — webtechbc @ 2:42 pm

More on Google Instant

Google Instant is still a popular topic. The main areas of SEO it will affect are Long Tail Keywords and Keyword Research. Google instant changes the way people search for a website. It does this by trying to guess at what the person is searching for. Luckily this is a feature that the user can turn off if desired.

If I optimized this blog post using The Long Tail Keyword method, I would make the url something like “more-on-google-instant” or “using-long-tail-keywords-for-optimization”. With Google Instant, googles website will try and guess what you are searching for. Before you even type in the whole url it would likely produce “using long”. Here’s an example of what I mean:

One way you might fix this is to change the keyword order and shorten the title. “Google Instant” is now my title and “Google Instant More” my url. I would then use On Page Keywords & an optimized meta description to fully optimize this page.

Things to keep in mind. Google Likes H1 tags. I don’t think thats going to change much with Google Instant. An H1 tag is content. Optimize it with the keywords you want google to find. E.G. More on Google Instant. Include your H1 tag in the meta description.

Focus on On Page optimization. I’ve repeated Google Instant several times on this page. I have also strategically Bolded certain words or keywords. If you do choose to use meta keywords, keep it simple. With meta keywords less is definitely more.

Keep your permalinks short. The shorter the better. I’m already using Google Instant as a title on another blog post. If I wasn’t I would call this post strictly “google-instant”. I would then build the content around that subject.

Use two word targets. Like Google Instant as an example. If you subscribe to the meta keyword method you could use two word targets there as well. Don’t repeat meta keywords, repeat them in your on page optimization.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Write a blog post and test it out. Keep your post tile short, optimize your h1 and description tags, and then monitor the results. There’s always something new to learn with SEO. Learning how you can work around it is key to staying on top.

September 15, 2010

Google Instant

Filed under: SEO — webtechbc @ 6:56 pm

How much is Google Instant going to change SEO?

My initial reaction? Not a whole lot. Google has already stated on the google instant page that it does not affect existing rankings.

Q: Does this change impact the ranking of search results?
A: No, this change does not impact the ranking of search results.

Google Instant is more about the user interaction between the user and the search engine. The existing rankings are still there.

The key to predicting how Google Instant will affect your website is to track data and search queries over time. Google Instant will change the way people search because it tries to predict what they are searching for. My guess is most people will find this annoying and not intuitive enough and turn it off. Turning google instant off is an option for google users.

You may have to change your keyword targeting, but other then a few tweaks there is no reason to believe that it will affect search engine rankings.

Good reads on the subject of Matt Cutts Google Engineer.

Google Blog

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