Sunday, December 17, 2006

8 simple SEO tips for blogs

Follow these simple rules for search engine optimization and your blog will rank much higher in Search Engines.

1. Use your primary keyword in your blog domain
The first thing to do is to ensure that your blogs URL contains the primary keyword you want to optimize for. Using the targeted keyword in subdomains also helps.
For example, if you want to start a HTML tutorial site then the primary keyword you want your URL to contain is html. So choose a URL like www.htmlhelp.com.
You can also use the keyword in subdomains like www.web-design.com/htmlhelp

2. Use your primary keyphrase in the title of your posts
If your primary key phrase is html help make sure that the word html and help appear in your blog headers such as H1 and H2 tags as well as the title of each of your posts.

3. Use your secondary keywords in the body of your post
If you want to get listed for secondary keywords use them infrequently in the body of your post. The theory is that the more times a keyword appears within a Webpage, the more relevant the page is likely to be for someone searching those keywords.
But do not overdo this by repeating the same keywords over and over again. Google bots can find out if a keyword is too frequent on a page and might just remove your site from their index.

4. Use your keywords in the anchor text of links
Use your primary and secondary keywords in the anchor text of links when linking to other blog posts or to other pages of your blog. Keyword in links have more importance than simple text.

5. Make sure search engines can spider your blog easily
Make sure your navigation bar is present on all pages of your blog. Your previous posts or atleast the popular ones should be linked to all pages so they get spidered easily.

6. Get backlinks from other blogs
You need as many links as possible to link back to your posts or blog because it will help you build pagerank and get your blog to rank higher in search engines. The more links you have the higher your blog is ranked in Technorati helping your blog to be found easily.
So how do you get backlinks?
* The first thing to do to get high-quality links is to submit your blog and RSS feed to blog search engines and directories.Start by submitting your blog to all the directories listed on this page:http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/
* Link exchanging with other similarly-themed blogs will help you to form richly interlinked networks or communities.
* If you find an interesting article on another blog, link to it generously. The trackback will become a link back to your blog.
* Lastly posting legitimate comments in response to posts on other blogs will help you get backlinks. Regularly post legitimate comments in similarly-themed blogs with high traffic to get many backlinks.

7. Update your blog frequently
Update your blog frequently using all the rules mentioned above and your blog will surely get top rankings in a short time.

8. Stick with your blog
Once you start posting on your blog, stick with the same domain or you could end up losing a lot of your traffic and regular readers.
Also stick with the topic you selected for your blog. If it��s about pets don��t suddenly switch to another topic such as Gadget��s because you will loose traffic.

Tips to get blog traffic with blog directories

There are hundreds and hundreds of blog directories out there for people to get their blogs listed. But apart from being included so that your blog can gain more exposure to the Internet users around the world, what else can a blog directory help to drive more and more traffic to your blog? Here's the answer!

With all the submitted blogs classified into various categories, bloggers can easily find blogs that are related or similar to your own blog. With this, you can start your own free advertising campaign by promoting in these related blogs. One of the easiest (and of course cheapest) way to achieve this is to leave a comment in the latest post. By leaving a comment, not only will the owner take notice of your blog but most importantly the visitors. Most visitors (me included) like to read comments very much and makes the so-called "comment advertising" so powerful.

Here are some tips you should bear in mind about leaving comments:

1. Never leave short, useless or canned comments
Comments like "Nice!", "Cool!", "Great Blog!", etc will not get you any attention from smart bloggers who would delete spam comments promptly. Take some time and read some of the content and give some solid suggestions for improvements or tell the owner why you love his/her blog. Afterall, everything is free so it takes you some time to do this. (But actually, I got a really nice tip for those who really don't have the mood to go over some tedious blogs out there. Try to give suggestions based on the layout of the blog. In this way, you only have to glance through the blog without bothering to read the content and it's always easier to criticise one's layout. You can try this: "It would be better, in my opinion, if you blend the advertisements in to your blog by setting the background colour of the ad units." By using this technique, you can give long but useful comments and gives the owner a feeling that you are here to help rather than to advertise.

2. Never be rude or too "hard-sell".
Try to be humble as you won't want others to leave comments such as "I GOT A REALLY REALLY GREAT BLOG ABOUT ENGINEERING!!!! VISIT PLEASEEEEE!!!", would you? So try to keep your tone nice and kind. Use sentences like "I also got a blog about engineering, you might want to take a look at it, here's the link." or "Can you give me some advice about my engineering blog?" Your commentwill always appear to be acceptable and pleasing if you don't sound like a salesperson.

3. Visit the blogs you have left comments on frequently and keep an eye on any replies to your post.
Only if you follow up on your comment will you gain a positive impression from thr blogmaster. Always be responsive if the owner or visitors reply to you.

4. Leave comments again when you have written a new post or changed the layout.
This keeps reminding the blogmaster of your blog as they tend to forget things after they find the first one not interesting. Keep on trying and you need some time to build up a large audience. But remember, never over do it or you sense that the owner dislike your doing so.

Starting from today, don't just use blog directories as a listing place only, use them thoroughly by discovering blogs that are of the same category as yours. And drive traffic to your blog by commenting on them. Try it yourself and see how powerful this "comment advertising" is!

What is PINGING?

Originally, a ping was a program that bounced a request off of another computer/server over a network or the Internet to see if the remote computer was responding. That same program is now used as a method of informing others that your blog exists and also let’s them know when a new post has been made.

When you put the two together - blogging and pinging - you get a technique that is extremely effective at getting ANY web site, no matter how big or small, indexed by the major search engines.

5 Myths about SEO

When you size up the search marketing industry, you really have to marvel at all the different information sources, many of them conflicting, and how search marketers are able to stay on top of what’s current and relevant compared to noise and malarkey.

In the course of talking to prospective clients, prospective business partners, attending conferences and events, reading blogs, books, discussion threads, forums, newsletters and industry publications, you can get exposure to an amazing variety of observations about SEO. Many of them are spot-on. Some of them are tales of a mythical nature. A few are just plain bunk.

For some context on this post, I think it is important to note the distinction in intent for most search engine optimization efforts: SEO for publishers, blog networks and affiliates is a different thing than SEO for lead generation and on-site transactions/sales. Many tactics are the same, but the intentions and outcomes are very different.

The myths outlined below are more concerned with SEO for lead/sales generation that we work with at TopRank.

1. “Search Engine Optimization is a collection of tricks to fool search engines“.

If you’re “fooling” the search engines, then you’re probably fooling users too. Guess how well that kind of activity converts? “Real” SEO involves a lot more than optimizing content, getting links and using disposable marketing “tricks”. Tricks and tactics may be a matter of semantics depending on who you talk to, but many of the tactics we associate with productive and long term SEO include:

Search Marketing Strategy
Benchmarks
Competitive Analysis
Keyword Analysis
Creative Copy Writing
Web Design & User Experience
Information Architecture
Server Side Issues
Code Optimization
Other channel marketing that affects SEO (social media, news search, blog search, etc)
Ongoing Content Development
Ongoing Link Building
Web Analytics
Conversion Analysis
2. “People in our market don’t use search engines.”

I actually used to keep my laughter to myself when people would say this. You don’t have to do too much research to find out if a market is viable for marketing via search engines.

According to a study by comScore qSearch, there are 4.9 billion internet searches per month and 133 million unique searchers. Those numbers have actually gone up a bit since the study. It is certainly true that in some market categories in the developed world that search usage is minimal, but I have a hard time thinking of any.

A quick way to start investigating a market is to search and find out if how much relevant content is out there. If your market is brand new, then you may have an easier time dominating it on search engines by becoming an authority on the topic earlier than your competition.

3. “SEO is a single event”

This one is still pervasive and indicative of what search engine optimization used to be. Sort of like “SEO circa 1999″ when all you had to do was update Meta tags, add keywords to web pages and submit. Those are the Model T days of SEO.

Search engines like Google look at 100-200 factors or “signals” to determine relevancy and to decide how to sort search results. Add in the increasing numbers of competing documents from various media, blogs and web site along with more savvy search marketers and it’s easy to realize that effective SEO requires ongoing attention. “Attention to what?”, you might ask. How about: creative link building, creation and promotion of new content, integration with other online/offline marketing, social media, analytics and optimization refinements.

4. “SEO is a function of IT”

Search engine optimization started out in the cubicles of IT, but has moved it’s way into the executive offices for many companies. I believe the most recent SEMPO state of the search industry research shows that companies are no longer borrowing from other cost centers to fund their search marketing initiatives. It’s a business decision line item like any other marketing expenditure.

However, IT and Web Design/Development “buy-in” are critical for proper implementation and it’s important to understand that in larger organizations, SEO is multi-departmental. Marketing, IT, Public Relations, Legal, Creative and possibly operations might all be involved in some way with a strategic initiative to help reach business goals through improved organic search performance.

Regardless of the size of the company, SEO initiatives should be managed strategically by the business like any other major marketing initiative

5. “Our site doesn’t get a lot of visitors, so SEO wouldn’t work for us.”

With comments/myths like this, you must be wondering, “Who in the world is Lee talking to?” You would be surprised how many intelligent, accomplished corporate marketers have said the above. It appears to be the classic “chicken before the egg” type of thinking.

The reality is that comments like this are an indication of insecurity about search as a discipline or about search as a viable marketing channel for a particular business. Smart people say things like this because they are not confident about the solution being presented and want to get out of or avoid the conversation. Anyone else who uses such logic just doesn’t understand marketing.

Either way, I always recommend to companies that if they’re considering search engine optimization, regardless of who helps them, they need to look at it long term. SEO is not push button marketing and it is not for the impatient. The minimum amount of time we recommend is 6 months after implementation before evaluating whether SEO has promise as a profitable marketing channel. Anything less than that is not worth starting.

I can’t let you go without a few Bonus Myths:

Flash is bad - No, it’s the absence of text and complete reliance on Flash that is bad.
Database generated urls are bad - The major search engines are very good at indexing complex urls. Stay away from session ids though.
Keywords in meta tags is optimization - Just say no.
Extra domain names boost rankings - Pure malarkey. Make sure you redirect them properly. See Bruce Clay’s explanation on this.
Multiple copies of my site helps rankings - Can you say “duplicate content”? Don’t do it.
My competitors get away with spam techniques, so I can too - I can hear my mom now, “And if your friends told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?”. If a competitor is “getting away” with blatant search spam, you have a few decisions to make. One of them is how to be more creative and more aggressive (within guidelines) at becoming the authority for your category and topics.
Are there more myths and misconceptions, misunderstandings and pure bull$#@! out there about SEO? Sure there is. And the fact that, in some ways, keeping up to date with search marketing best practices is like putting a puzzle together when the picture likes to change from time to time, makes it even more challenging.

It’s all the more reason to find trusted resources that you can rely on and to build a network of people to bounce ideas off of so you can separate the facts from the myths. There is no substitute for firsthand experience.

25 Simple Blog SEO and Traffic Tips

This is a nice concise list of 25 ways to greatly increase your blog’s traffic and search rankings.

1) Content is king!

2) Submit your site to as many search engines as possible. After the initial indexing I would recommend resubmitting every 6 months.

3) Comment on as many blogs as possible. Make your comments thoughtful and not spammy.

4) Link up with popular blogs - trackbacks can be good for SEO as well as your traffic.

5) Write a good article and post it on a site like http://www.digg.com, although this won’t help as far as traffic goes (you will get a HUGE boost for a few hours, then it will tone back down, you probably won’t get any permanent readers from Digg) and it sure doesn’t help with your relationship with your web host, it can create some new inbound links.

6) Use http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/ . Instead of the GoogleBot searching for your pages you can tell it where your pages are. This is a great way to get your whole site indexed.

7) Content is king!

Get listed on web directories like http://www.dmoz.com/. Although many SEO “experts” think it is overrated no one disagrees that it can help boost your site’s rankings.

9) Add some links for feed readers and blog aggregators like http://www.bloglines.com/, http://www.google.com/reader/, and http://myweb.yahoo.com/.

10) Add some social bookmarking links at the bottom of each post

11) Make it easy for your users to find your RSS feed

12) Add a “E-mail This!” link either on the header or the footer of each post

13) Content is king! (see a pattern?)

14) If you write a really good post try e-mailing the URL to some big-name bloggers with a short personalized message. You never know, they might like it and link to it.

15) Try asking some big sites who are in your niche if they would like to trade links. More often than not they will say “no”, but at least give it a try.

16) Don’t obsess over “get rich quick” schemes.

17) Don’t obsess over “get lots of traffic really quick” schemes.

18) Submit your RSS feed to a bunch of RSS directories, http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-directory.htm has a large list of popular directories.

19) Use http://pingomatic.com/ to notify a ton of aggregators that your site has been updated.

20) Don’t obsess over the numbers - it takes time to build up a good reader base.

21) Make your posts as keyword rich as possible. Whenever you can use a word that has to do with your niche, use it!

22) Use lists, especially if your site is targeted towards more tech-savvy users

23) If you have a MySpace page or a home page on a similar service put up a link to your blog.

24) Tag important keywords, using this site ( http://www.richardrodger.com/tags.htm ) you can tag keywords.

25) Last but not least, offer free stuff. Everyone loves free stuff!

The really important thing you have to remember is, just have fun. If your blog is causing you to become stressed out then it probably is not a good idea to continue blogging.

If your readers can tell you are having fun while providing good content they will become permanent readers.

by: Jeremy Steele

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