Category: SEO

Quick Tip: Use Live Text to help with SEO

Text that’s NOT part of an image is HTML text, also referred to as Live Text. Having live text is an important aspect of search engine optimization because search engines can’t read text that’s part of an image. Be sure when you’re working on your website content that your pages use live text.

Optimizing Your Blog For Search Engines

Creating a blog is a great way to promote yourself and your business—in addition to driving traffic to your website, regular blog entries are an opportunity for you to showcase your expertise in your field. But as with everything on the Internet, people must be able to find your blog before it becomes useful for you or for them. Below are a few tips for optimizing your WordPress blog for search engines. I’m focusing on blogs powered by WordPress because it’s the most popular blogging system and can be easily customized with a variety of plugins for search engine optimization.

Search Engine Optimization Tips For WordPress Blogs

  • Take advantage of all the plugins available for WordPress by installing one devoted to search engine optimization. One of the most popular is the All-in-One SEO Pack, which optimizes your post titles for search engines and generates meta tags. It has automatic features for beginning users as well as many options for more advanced users.
  • Change your Permalink Settings (found under the Settings heading on the WordPress Dashboard) so the URLs for your blog posts contain keywords instead of the default question marks and numbers. A good choice is the custom URL structure “/%category%/%postname%/”, which tells WordPress to put the post’s category and name into the URL. This is important because search engines use the URL to help determine your page content and relevance. When you publish a post, just make sure the category and post name are words or phrases that people will search in order to find your content.
  • Make sure the WordPress theme you choose keeps the blog content close to the top of the page. Search engines often scan only the first third of the page before moving on, so you want to choose a theme that places content near the top and sidebars and footers closer to the bottom.
  • Write your posts with keywords in mind. Choose words and phrases that searcher will use to find your information, and use them several times within your post. There are WordPress plugins that can help you monitor your post’s keyword density as you type, like the Keyword Statistic plugin.
  • Add a social bookmarking plugin that will allow your readers to submit your posts to their favorite social media websites. There are WordPress plugins available that will allow your readers to share your posts on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and more. The OnlyWire plugin allows you to automatically syndicate your blog content to the top social networking sites.
  • Browse the available SEO plugins for WordPress for additional ideas and features.

There are many more ways to optimize your WordPress blog for search engines, but these are a few simple, must-do tips for every blogger. Take full advantage of blogging’s benefits by following these basic rules to ensure your blog is search engine friendly.

Will Blog Comments Improve the SEO of My Website?

Can comments on your blog help you improve the SEO of your website? The short answer is: Yes! When comments are allowed to be posted on your blog, the chance your website will be listed higher on the search engines is greater. Not all blog comments are good comments however, and we’ll discuss how comments can help, but how others can hurt.

Content is the food that feeds the search engine robots. They scan your website and look for those keywords and phrases that help get you good pagerank. Those who comment on your blog often will use keywords in their writings, making your website stronger. The more a keyword is realistically mentioned on your website or blog, the more likely web surfers will find you. We use the word “realistically” because just pasting a keyword over and over again is not a good SEO practice. It should be well-written and flow with the content.

Should I Monitor My Comments?
You should welcome comments by legitimate website visitors or patrons of your small business with open arms. Their keyword and key phrase usage in their posts will only help the SEO of your small business design. However, you should monitor your blog comments. Blog comments can increase SEO ratings to a certain extent, but there are some comments that are just spam. Their job is to post multiple times on blogs with a link to their website in an effort to use your blog comment section to drive traffic to their website, which is more than likely an unsafe or illegitimate website. You will see a lot of these posts on blogs where the comments are not monitored. They often suggest you follow their link for “free software” or online pharmacies. These will do nothing for your rank, but will show legit visitors that your blog is in desperate need of housework. In your comment settings, make it so that you have to approve any post before making it visible for other viewers to see.

What is Nofollow?
Nofollow is a code that is placed within a link. If you saw the code by itself, it would look like this:

rel=”nofollow”
The more commonly known blogging websites will already have nofollow code placed into comment links. Its main purpose is a spam repellent. Spammers will [hopefully] leave your website alone if nofollow is present. Their links won’t work to gain them rankings. When the search engines robots climb through your website or small business blog, they are looking for links. They use links to help determine pageranking. When the nofollow code is in place, the bots will skip over the links, so no spammer can gain good pageranking by placing their link on your comment section. They won’t gain anything from your hard work, thanks to the nofollow code.

The Role of a Meta Tag in Search Engines

Meta tags are a great way to boost the search engine ranking of your website. Know that while they’re not the magical answer that will bring you high website traffic, when you apply meta tags with other SEO techniques, you are helping your chances of good-rankings considerably.

The big question for the not-so-web design-savvy: What are meta tags? The phrase itself sounds confusing and intimidating. However, meta tags are fairly simple to understand, but have been misinterpreted a lot since their debut to the world wide web in the 1990s.

Meta Tag Description
A meta tag is a way to get information into the head of your website. You may be familiar with title tags or headline tags, and meta tags are doing something similar to what your links within your written content do. Meta tags are not visible. They relate information that may not be of interest to your small business website visitors, but still important. You can incorporate a list of keywords that you wouldn’t necessarily want to just slap onto your webpage. Search engines will read it appropriately; clients won’t have to see random words on your website in an attempt to get traffic.

Below is an example of an HTML Meta Tag for a hypothetical website selling flower bouquets:

<HEAD>

<TITLE>Flowers 4 You</TITLE>

<Meta name= “description” content= “Flowers for every occasion.”>

<Meta name= “keywords” content= “flowers, floral bouquets,

flower arrangements, online flower shop”>

</HEAD>

Important Meta Tags you must use:
The Title meta tag is the most important one to help you improve your SEO rankings. This is what people and search engines will see first after they performed a search for what they’re looking for. Make sure to use your keywords when writing a Title tag. Also be sure to work on your description meta tag and write a compelling description that will make people want to click through to see your website.

Not All Meta Tags are Created Equal
There are a lot of “other” meta tag types floating around out there, but know that not all of them are good for the SEO of your small business design. The role of meta tags in search engines are to boost your chances of getting better rankings. Know that using the wrong types of meta tags can do just the opposite, causing search engine bots to skip your website entirely. Stay away from meta tags that deal with scripts or cookies. They’ve been known to do more harm than good.

Remember that meta tags are not the final solution for increasing small business website traffic. Combine them with other reputable SEO techniques to get better webpage ranking and better search engine results.

Black Hat SEO: Not Worth the Risk

Many small business owners run their websites on their own. This means they handle all of the work, including the SEO or “search engine optimization” on their own. There’s a lot of information on the web about SEO techniques to improve website traffic, but know that a lot of the information out there is not helpful and possibly even harmful. We call this: Black Hat SEO.

Link Exchanging
“Hey, put my link on your webpage and I’ll put your link on mine!” This practice of link exchanging was popular for quite a long time, but search engines are wising up. There is nothing wrong with relevant links on your website to lead visitors to other great products and services, but when you make a career out of getting reciprocal link deals, it can mean the end of your small business URL. Search engines know when link exchanging is going on and they are not a fan. This is one of the biggest SEO techniques gone bad; black hat SEO all the way. Yet, some SEO businesses are still trying to sell this tactic to business owners, promising higher page ranks and more business. Don’t fall for it. You don’t need pointless link exchanging with websites. Don’t pay for pointless links to wreck your small business website design; just say no!

Hidden Text
Once again, this trick worked back in the day, but search engines are aware of this black hat SEO practice. This is when you hide links and keywords on your website by having them be the same color as your website’s background. You can also type the list of links and written content in super small font, so it’s not “hidden,” it’s just not readable. It is still considered hidden text and is caught by the search engine bots that crawl around your website. Improve your SEO for your small business website with professional, relevant written content that contain a few keywords in each paragraph. Boost your SEO some more with a well-written blog that contains helpful and interesting content that you can also add a keyword here and there. Those are the text/link practices you want to be using.

The list of Black Hat SEO techniques goes on for miles, but just remember that a legitimate website with fresh content and realistic key wording (not key word ‘stuffing’) will get your website where it needs to go. Black hat practices almost always get you nowhere these days, and in some cases, they will get your website completely banned from search engine results.

These techniques are still being used; some “legitimate” SEO companies are trying to sell these packages to uneducated business folk. Don’t be fooled by these companies promising to help you increase your website traffic, you are throwing your hard earned money away. Remember, to have a successful website, you need fresh, well-written content with relevant keywords placed comfortably within the text. If you have trouble with writing, or simply do not have the time, hire a writer to help you out!