SEO

Make Your Website Quicker for Rankings

Page speed is becoming an important ranking factor.

By Ben Hook

Matt Cutts’ recent announcement that page speed is likely to become a factor seems to have built up a lot of hype around the subject and is now likely to play an increasingly important point on every SEOs checklist.

Google wants your website to be quicker, because a quicker website is better for users. In this day and age it seems like nobody wants to spend more than 3 seconds doing anything in particular. Well, in order to speed up your website Google has provided webmasters with a new addition to the firebug tool called page speed checker. The tool can be found here. The tool will look at you website and analyse it to make recommendations on how you can speed up your website. It’s all broken down easily to help you see what factors you will be able to adjust and what you will need to pass on to your webmaster. Although it is quite specific and goes into details such as javascript compression and browser caching, some of the suggestions are well worth following and will a few tweaks you can often easily reduce your page size by half, which can make a big difference.
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SEO

My Opinion: SEM=Paid Search

SEM=Paid Search

Personally, I am in the camp that refers to SEM as paid search, not SEO


By Richard V. Burckhardt

Being the Danny Sullivan fan boy that I am, it’s rare that I find myself in disagreement with him, but that’s where I find myself after reading his Search Engine Land post Does SEM = SEO + CPC Still Add Up? where he opines that SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is an umbrella for all forms of search marketing, paid and organic.

In the article, Danny gives quite a bit of history supporting his idea that all forms of search related marketing should be lumped under SEM. It’s a great read.

Nonetheless, I have always been in the camp that feels that SEM refers to paid search marketing. My reasoning is very simple. With search engine optimization you have SEO. That’s it. With paid search you have all kinds of variations – PPC, CPA, CPC, banner ads, etc. If anything needs to have an umbrella, it’s paid search.

And, what about other forms of web related marketing (example: e-mail marketing) that aren’t necessarily search related. They don’t fit under a “search” umbrella.

Personally, I feel it makes more sense for the umbrella for all web marketing to be something as simple as, well, “web marketing.” That allows better segmentation of organic (SEO), paid (SEM), social media optimization (SMO), e-mail marketing and affiliate marketing while keeping them all under a “web marketing” category.

That said, the fact that Danny has “found it annoying that over the years, more and more people use SEM to mean paid search, as if SEM excludes SEO” points out the fact that if we in the industry don’t have a standardized definition of what SEM is (and SEO, SMO, etc. for that matter), then how are companies trying to hire us going to be anything but clueless as well? Continue reading

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SEO

109 Quick SEO Tips Even Mom Would Love

SEO tips even mom would love

Even Mom Could Cook With These Tips!

By Richard V. Burckhardt

Everyone loves a good tip, right?

Here are 109 quick tips for search engine optimization that even your mother could use to get cooking from my webmaster friends who run IT services in Calgary. 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 not blogging much these days, but hope this is of use to you.)

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

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SEO

Basics of Image Search Optimization

by Mark Maynem

In March 2009 Google image search was labeled as Google’s fourth hottest property by Hitwise. The report went on to show that Google image search attributed 5.79% to the company’s monthly market share of visits. With this type of data and developments in universal search the smart search marketer will leverage this area to his or her advantage.

Before undertaking image search optimization many search marketers will evaluate its value in relation to its clients. Will the value of this activity be higher than another SEO activity? This is important, as image optimization can be time consuming and lends itself to being more beneficial to some sites than others.

Image Optimization Tips

Filenames – Include the keyword you are targeting within the file name. Remember to use hyphens for spaces between the keywords.

Image Formatting – Make sure you use the correct image formats. For example save photos as JPG files etc.

Image Quality – Use good quality images, which will read well when shown in a thumbnail format. Poor quality images are unlikely to get click throughs.

Strings – Avoid using strings in image urls. Make your image urls as a readable as possible to human beings. Continue reading

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Training

SEO 101: Need an SEO Friendly Site? Think Blog!

When I started out in web development as a website developer and coder way back in the dark ages (1998), I was doing web design for an in-house agency. Primarily, we did sites for the publications that the parent publishing company produced, but we also took on local Palm Springs area clients and built web sites for them.

It went something like this. For a certain amount of money, like $500, we’d build a ten page static web site. We’d do the design work, but the client provided images and text. We’d do the SEO as it existed in those days (title, meta tags, submit to the search engines/directories) and then there would be a monthly hosting/maintenance fee (about $50). Quarterly changes (pictures and text) were part of the fee, anything else cost extra.

Of course, the client was sort of at our mercy as they had no way to make changes themselves. They had to go through us. This could get frustrating for clients who needed frequent changes to their sites, like real estate agents or those with products that needed changing constantly.

Fast forward to today. Yes, if you really need a complicated site with a web designer, programmer and so forth, that option is definitely available more than ever. But, if what you want is a smaller site that you have complete control over and won’t cost a fortune, it can be had quickly and inexpensively. Continue reading

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SEO

SEO Trends for 2009

Guest post by Jill Whalen

Each year around this time, I like to review the traffic trends to our High Rankings website, and compare the traffic to the previous year. I usually learn a lot from this exercise, and I highly recommend it to everyone. Thankfully, with Google Analytics it’s very simple.

Some of the things I look at are total number of visits to the website, as well as the number of visits to certain sections or pages of the site. And of course, I especially like to look at which keyword phrases drive search engine traffic.

Because our site is all about SEO, in addition to learning how we’re doing with our own optimization and overall online marketing initiatives, I can also learn about overall trends in the industry. High Rankings has a number of authoritative articles on fundamental SEO techniques that are typically ranked #1 or #2 for the keywords that relate to them. In fact, those articles tend to have more page views than any others on the site.

Today I thought I’d share some of these insights with you. Please remember that you have to take these “trends” with a grain of salt because many factors could be at play beyond just what people are searching at Google.

With that said, here are some statistics for you, with my commentary on what they might (or might not) mean.

For this exercise I looked at just Google visitors, rather than all search engine visitors, because it was easier to filter the data that way. Our overall Google visitor number was about the same in 2008 as it was in 2009 (–0.24%), which is good for purposes of looking at the trends. If we had substantially more or fewer Google visitors, the numbers of visitors based on keywords would be skewed because of that. Continue reading

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Training

Palm Springs SEO Services

After many requests, I am pleased to offer the following personal search engine optimization training services to businesses in the Palm Springs area, including Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta and Indio. For those outside of the area, consulting and website reviews can be done by phone, e-mail and even Skype.

Personal Site Overviews by Phone

I am now offering Personal Site Overviews by phone at a cost of $50 per 30 minute session. During the telephone session we will go over your site from a Search Engine Optimization point of view and I will make suggestions that should help you with your SEO efforts. In addition, prior to the call I will take a look at your site and provide you with a report of basic things that can be done to help your site rank better.

To schedule an appointment, simply e-mail me and we’ll set you up with a time and I’ll send you an e-mail invoice. Payment for the service is by PayPal or check and appointments won’t honored until payment has been completed.

The call can be made through Skype or telephone, whichever works best for you.

Recession Buster Website SEO Review

Included in the site review:

  • Study of your site for issues that could be keeping your rankings and traffic low.
  • A PDF report of your site’s status and recommendations for improvement.
  • E-mail mentoring with Richard V. Burckhardt, The Web Optimist of Palm Springs, for any questions arising from the report.

Charge: $500

Frequently minor tweaks and changes can result in improved search engine rankings and traffic!

Please allow two weeks for the review. Naturally, I will try to get it completed and sent sooner.

In-House SEO Workshop

As previously announced on the Palm Springs SEO Workshops page, this two-hour workshop is held in your local office for groups of three or more (up to 20). Internet access is required at the location.

  • On page optimization (Meta tags, navigation, etc.)
  • Off page optimization (Links, competition)
  • Site clinic (I critique YOUR site)</li%
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