Wednesday, 18 January 2012

10 Elements of a Perfectly Optimized Page

One area that search engines have made a number of significant advancements in recent years is in how they evaluate content on a website. So what does a perfectly optimized page look like in 2012? Let’s look at 10 elements.

Bearnaise Sauce Optimized Page

1. Title tags are still important, but it’s not a good idea to over-optimize them.

2. Descriptions still don’t appear to add much ranking value, but can help encourage clicks.

3. Header tags still need to be relevant.

4. URL still ideally mentions the keywords.

5. Content is now about semantically relevant supporting keywords, not multiple mentions of the keywords. The example chosen is a recipe, because in order to make bĂ©arnaise sauce there are specific ingredients that are 100 percent relevant to the eventual outcome. One way of checking what keywords Google might consider as relevant is to do a ‘~keyword’ (or tilde) search. Other ways, let’s be honest, involve nothing more than common sense and knowing your subject.

6. Video and other ‘rich’ content can be useful on a page to increase engagement levels, reduce bounce rates and also to appear alongside results as illustrated.

apple-ipad-review-serp

7. Internal links need to follow the "reasonable surfer" patent. It makes sense in the "perfectly optimized page" example above to link to peppercorn sauce as an alternative to béarnaise.

8. Facebook/Twitter/other login comments are a way of sharing the content on other platforms. The direct SEO benefit may be debatable, but it never hurts to get your content in front of a large amount of people. With Google Search Plus Your World, it could be that adding a Google+ login is more important than anything else.

9. User reviews add regular content to the page, which can also be coded to include microformatting instructions and add extra elements to your listings in search engine result pages (SERPs).

10. Newsfeeds only share content that already exists elsewhere, but they contribute to an overall impression of the page changing on a regular basis.

It’s worth noting that the “perfectly optimized page” above won’t be perfect for all verticals, or for all brands – not everyone has the ability to add customer reviews to their product pages (e.g., insurance comparison sites).

Although there's no one-size-fits-all solution, hopefully the above list will give you some guidance on how to perfect your on-page SEO.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

5 Things Bloggers Should Not Do In The First Month Of Blogging

As a new blogger we are excited about making money online or setting up business that we forget a lot of important things that is required. Here are 5 Things Bloggers Should Not Do during the first month of blogging at least.

Bloggers Should Not Expect Overnight Results

After just weeks into blogging, you find many bloggers quitting their blogs. One of the main reason being the determination and the lack of understanding of how the system works. Its important for you as a new blogger not to expect over night results. Bloggers are frustrated and vexed that their blog is not making any money at all and there are hardly 10 to 20 visitors daily. This is normal, the thing you need to understand is that it takes time for people to know of your blog and your blog to have some authority in the blogosphere. Google knowing bloggers quit often, only send traffic to blogs or websites that are over 3 months older.

Bloggers Should Not Not Ignore Your Readers

Another important aspect that you as a blogger should not ignore is your reader. Often bloggers are found ignoring comments and arguments in the comments section, neglecting to respond to emails and more. This results in very bad brand reputation and those readers would never visit your blog again. Remember to answer your readers comments and respond to emails on time or at least acknowledge them on time.

Bloggers Should Not Scrape Content Off Another Blog

This is been increasing off late, that blogger who are new and not finding ideas to write decide to copy and paste entire posts from other blogs. This is a very bad idea, and you can get banned from Google, or if the content is copyright, then you might even receive a notice from the copyright owner. Research for ideas and write your own content. With tools like copyscape its becoming much easier to find duplicate content on the web.

Bloggers Should Not Feel Lazy To Write Regularly

This is one of the most important aspect to why a blogger or a blog never sees the light of success. Bloggers become lazy to write regularly and lack in consistency. This results in blog being randomly updated with no specific focus. What if your blog was a newspaper delivering content to people all over the world, do you think it would be good to stop writing and stop providing information?

Bloggers Should Not Ignore SEO

SEO one of the most important aspect of any blog or website after content creation. Its not only important to write for your reader, but its also important that you do everything that you can so that search engines can read your content and rank them well. By taking the required SEO efforts you improve the chance of driving visitor from search engines like Google and sure to see the light of success.

Monday, 9 January 2012

All About Anchor Text - Whiteboard Friday


Welcome to our first Whiteboard Friday of the new year. It's 2012 and we're going to kick it off by examining the intricacies that revolve around anchor text. Although, this may seem like a very basic topic, we are going to cover some lesser known aspects of anchor text that is sure to satisfy even our more advanced SEOs. Enjoy and don't forget to leave your comments below!
EmbedVideo Stats


Video Transcription

Howdy, SEOmoz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Happy New Year. This is the first Whiteboard Friday of 2012, and today we're talking about anchor text, which could seem like a basic topic. But, in fact, there are a lot of intricacies that we should cover. Let's get right to them.

What I have drawn here is a web page, and it says, "I just found this great website on Portuguese cooks. You should check it out." Now, this, this text in blue with the underline, that links somewhere, and that link points to another page. Let's say it's a page over here, a very nice page on Portuguese cooks. It has some pictures on it. I don't know what it's got.

What it's saying to the engines is not only eye this page and this website, I'm voting for this other page over here, and I want to pass over some PageRank and link juice. I want to pass over trust. I want to pass over the domain diversity, whatever the signals, the keyword agnostics signals are, but I also want to say that I particularly like this web page about Portuguese cooks. That's what I think you, search engine, should interpret and take away from it.

Of course, this anchor text with the keyword embedded in it becomes a very strong signal to search engines, and as we all know, this is one of the strongest signals that Google and Bing interpret, Bing maybe even stronger than Google. Because of this, lots of people go down a path of trying to acquire links that say the precise keyword that they want.

Of course, this is a challenge because most natural links on the Web don't generally do this. They will say things like your brand name. They might say something about your site. They might use your personal name, if they're linking to a blog or something. But it's rare, it's uncommon that they might say "Audi 87 engine parts for sale" or "best deals on holiday gifts." These types of anchor texts, the things that people search for, longer phrases, in particular, are very hard to get as natural links, and this is one of the biggest reasons that gray and black hat SEO exist because manipulating the search engines by acquiring lots of links that have these keyword matches pointing to your page can, in fact, do a great job of ranking you up, at least temporarily until the engines catch up and do something bad to you or to the people linking to you.

What I want to cover is some intricacies around this, some details that you may or may not know about anchor text, and those include: Number one, multiple anchors from the same page "do not" provide more value. What I mean by this is if this page said I just found this great website on Portuguese cooks, you should check it out and a bunch of other text, and then it said Portuguese cooks again and linked over to this page, not helpful. It does not add additional value. There is no reason that you should be going, "Oh man, I wish I could get four anchor text match links from this web page." No, that's not going to help you.

Multiple web pages will help you, but if they're from the same domain, that's not nearly as valuable as if they're from different domains. That leads us to the next thing, diversity of anchor text, diversity of the source. The root domain source of the anchor text links provides the strongest benefit, meaning if you can get lots and lots of websites, not just individual web pages but different unique web domains, linking to you saying "Portuguese cooks," chances are good this web page will do very well.

Number three, the fluctuating anchor text. This is something that people talk about all the time. They don't just talk about diversity of the link location across different domains, but they talk about diversity of anchor text itself, meaning, "Oh, I should have one that says Portuguese cooks and one that says Portuguese cooking and one that says cooks from Portugal. I'm going to vary up the anchor text a lot."

I'm a little skeptical about this, not because it's not potentially useful, and it should be a natural thing if you're going out and doing white hat types of link building and inbound marketing. But because the primary reason I think most SEOs do this is so as to not trigger pattern matching problems in the engines, meaning if every website that's linking to me says Portuguese cooks, that's suspicious, highly suspicious. That suspiciousness is the feature that people are trying to prevent.

So, I'm not so sure whether this fluctuation is all that important unless you're doing manipulative types of link building, in which case SEOmoz is not all that helpful for you. So, you're probably not watching this video.

Number four, the first anchor text in the HTML of a page is what Google counts, Bing as well. This was discovered on SEOmoz a couple of years ago. We ran some tests about it. We published the results. There was a lot of skepticism. I think Debra Mastaler from Alliance-Link wrote about it and said, "Hey, Matt Cutts, would you please confirm this?" And he did. He came out and said, "Yeah, that's how we interpret it".

So, basically, here's what's going on. If you see a web page and it says this website is awesome, it features highlights of great Portuguese cooks, now look, these two links are both pointing to the same page. I don't know why my handwriting is so terrible in 2012. I hope that repairs itself soon. That means not that the website is going to get credit for the anchor text website and the anchor text Portuguese cooks, but rather they are going to consider the anchor text website and ignore Portuguese cooks.

It's very frustrating, and something that you should think about when you're doing internal linking and you say, "Oh, yeah, we should optimize this link." If it's already in your menu, if it's already at the top of the page somewhere in a side bar and that's higher up in the HTML code, then that is what the engine is going to count. So, do be aware of that and same goes for anything that you're earning externally. If you've got the optimized anchor text for your website in the footer of the blog post where it talks about the author, Rand Fishkin is the CEO of SEOmoz, an SEO tools company, but I've already link to SEOmoz's home page somewhere in the blog post above, that "SEO tools company," that's not going to help anything. That's going to be discounted by the engines.

Number five, internal anchor text, meaning anchor text that comes from your own site, your own pages, it does help. It helps a tiny bit. You can see a little bit of benefit from that. I wouldn't focus on it too much because tiny is a small amount. That's probably the most obvious statement I've ever made on Whiteboard Friday. But nevertheless, tiny, small amount, therefore don't focus too much energy on this. Link naturally, internally. Link in such a way that people think your site is good, and, yeah, if you can work in your anchor text, great.

External anchor text is where it really helps, meaning websites that are not your own linking to you. That's where you really get value from anchor text, and you do need to worry about this a little bit. There should be some manual efforts, some efforts, whether that's guest posting and blogging, whether that's sponsoring an event, whether that's getting your biography featured or something like that, getting a badge embedded somewhere or a graphic embedded somewhere that links back to you in a certain way, you do need that anchor text link match. So, working on at least a little of that external anchor text is definitely worthwhile.

Number six, if a link uses an image, like this, so check out this awesome site on Portuguese cooks, and then here's a little screen shot of the Portuguese cooks website, and this is linking over. I tried to illustrate that in blue. This does not have any anchor text. It's an image. So what could the anchor text possibly be?

The answer is they use the Alt attribute. The engines use the Alt attribute that becomes the anchor text usually, not always. If there is no Alt attribute, sometimes they'll use something like the surrounding text, and you can sort of see and feel that association. Sometimes, they'll use page titles. Sometimes, they won't use anything, but they'll have weaker signals from those other areas of the page, that kind of thing.

If you are embedding images and you're linking back to yourself or you're getting links from somewhere or you're linking out to someone, you want to help them out, use good Alt attributes that describe the page that you're linking to. This is a great best practice just in general for screen readers and usability reasons. It's also good for search engines.

Then finally, number seven, no surprise, surrounding text can matter as well. Just as in this example where we said, "Hey, Portuguese cooks is mentioned right before the image," the engines may be using surrounding text of an anchor, particularly where the anchor itself doesn't have much value or context.

If something says, "Click here, you'll find some great information about Portuguese cooks," the engines might sort of glance around the page and look at the sentence, parse the paragraph, try and understand, "Hey, what do you think they're talking about here? What seems relevant?" This is one of the reasons why you can see that people who have earned not necessarily great anchor text can rank very well for keywords because it's often talked about. That topic is talked about when their website is talked about, and it becomes a brand association thing. It becomes a contextual association thing. This is a helpful thing to think about if you are earning links and you can't control the anchor text. Maybe, at least, you can get them to mention what you do somewhere near the link.

All right, everyone. I hope this edition of Whiteboard Friday has been helpful. I look forward to discussing more details about anchor text in the comments and hope to see you again all next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

How Google+ Uses SEO to Steal Search from Facebook and Twitter


  Google's Superior SEO Strategy

Notice anything odd about your Google+ profile? Does it rank incredibly well in Google’s search results for your own name?
Colleagues note that their G+ profile now outranks other online identities that they’ve worked for years on. My own Google+ profile, just 5 months old, ranks #2 for my name. It now ranks higher than both my Twitter and Facebook profiles, even though I use those services far more often.
Profiles aren’t the only thing ranking. Individual Google+ posts frequently appear in search results as well.
Google+ Domination
Ranking for people’s names is one of the Holy Grails of search, like Amazon ranking for every book in print. With 7 billion people in the world, ranking on the first page for even a small portion of these is lucrative territory.
As search and social focus more on the individual, the war over names has begun.
How has Google won so much real estate on their own search pages in such a short period of time? Do they cheat? No, not really - more on this later. Google wins by employing really smart Search Engine Optimization techniques – the same SEO practices available to any online business.
For Facebook especially, this is a sensitive issue. Facebook actively prevents Google from crawling most of its content, allowing big G to access “Fan” pages, but limiting information from regular profiles. Now that Google+ has entered the social game, this policy puts Facebook results at risk of dropping in rankings and losing search real estate.
I often work with websites and startups wanting to build SEO features into their platform. If I were to build a social media service for SEO domination from scratch, I would build it exactly like Google+.
Here's the takeaway: Use SEO to your competitive advantage, no matter your niche.

1. Incentivize Inbound Links

Not long ago, Google started displaying author photos in its search results. In order to display a photo, Google asks authors to add links from their webpages to their Google+ profile. This creates potentially millions of high quality links from the world’s most influential online publishers, all pointing to multiple Google+ profiles.
Google+ Linking
Twitter and Facebook both benefit from similar links, but never before has a social media service offered such an incentive.
Google's SEO Tactic: Require Authors to Link to their Google+ Profile

2. Internal Linking

One thing noted about Google+ when it was released was just how easy it was to be in lots of circles, or add lots of people to your own. People who struggled on Twitter for years to build up 1000 followers, suddenly found themselves in 2000 or 3000 Google+ circles, seemingly overnight.
Circle Count
Google’s strategy to connect everyone on the planet also makes for good internal linking. Following more than 1000 people may not create a practical social experience, but it creates a great SEO opportunity. The more your content is shared in other people’s streams and profiles, then the more your content is crawled, indexed, and deemed important by search engines.
Google's SEO Tactic: Encourage Large Circles Counts

3. Lots of Indexable Content

My public Google+ profile contains a wealth of information, all visible to search engines, including:
  • Biographical Information
  • Full Text of Public Posts
  • Photos
  • Links to people who have added me to their circles
  • Everything I have ever +1’d
Compare that to my Twitter account – limited to 160 characters of biographical information, or my Facebook profile, which reads like an auto-generated pamphlet.
Consider how a search engine sees these pages. Take a look at the source code of any Google+ profile or use a tool SEO-browser (a search robot simulator) to see how many words appear on each profile.
  • Facebook – 275 Words

  • Twitter – 491 Words

  • Google+ – 2621 Words

Google structures content to provide a wealth of information for search engines, to index and serve in search results.
Google's SEO Tactic: Search Engine Friendly Profiles

4. On-Page Optimization

Google+ makes it easy to share posts from others – a feature much like retweeting on Twitter or reblogging on Tumblr. These Google+ posts frequently show up in search results as their own entries.
As the title tag is one of the most important aspects of on-page optimization, Google wisely choose longer, more descriptive title tags. Compare these to the shorter title tags offered by Facebook and Twitter, which often run no longer than three unique words.
Here’s the title tag to 3 different posts, all by Rand Fishkin. Each of these posts is indexed by Google.
  • Facebook – Yesterday, I…
  • Twitter – Twitter / @randfish: Running test of Google+’s …
  • Google+ – Rand Fishkin – Google+ – Shocking how many of the folks featured in this post form…
Which do you think ranks better for a query with “Rand Fishkin” in the search?
Rand Fishkin
Google's SEO Tactic: Descriptive Title Tags

5. User Generated Content

Every post I’ve ever written on Google+ has been public. As a result, every post has been crawled and indexed by Google search. The privacy settings on the profiles are simple, intuitive and encourage openness.
The big green button screams, “Pick me! Pick me!”
Share Google+
Most Twitter posts are public by default, although unless a tweet becomes famous the 140 character limit prevents most tweets from reaching the definition of “rich” content. Facebook, in contrast, only shares posts from fan pages with Google, and not posts from regular profiles.
Google's SEO Tactic: Encourage Public Sharing

6. Show Google+ Author Profiles in Search Results

The first 5 items on this list represent SEO tactics that anyone can use, but in a way #6 belongs to Google alone. By linking to Google+ profiles in search results, they create an advantage that no other social media service can duplicate.
Is Google “cheating” by favoring it’s own property? Some say yes, but on the other hand, is there a more relevant result? To me, it makes more sense to connect my author profile with the website that actually hosts the content, such as my profile on SEOmoz.
Rich Google Snippets
This demonstrates the power of rich snippets. Since Google introduced author photos in search results, webmasters have scrambled to get their mug included – the idea being that rich snippets of all kinds increase click-through rates. The question is, are we increasing the CTR of our own website, or Google+?
Google's SEO Tactic: Creative Rich Snippets

What Can You Do?

Except for #6 above, most of these techniques are available to any online business. Google has found a way to create large amounts of search engine friendly content, and do it at scale.
The lack of diversity this creates in Google's search results is troubling to some. Google risks turning into McGoogle, where every result and every page looks the same. With any luck, more companies will adopt strong SEO strategies to raise themselves in search.
Now that the adoption of Google+ has hit 62 million users and growing, expect to see far more Google+ in your search results soon.