SEO Basics Tutorial

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The Algorithm(s)

 

  • The rank of a webpage is the sum of the value of links pointing at it. Just like recommendations.
  • This is no longer the complete picture, but is still a base

 

The Main Factors in SEO

 

  • On Page Factors
    • Meta Tags (Title & Description)
    • Image Tags
    • Content
    • Bold and h3 Tags
    • Originality

 

The Main Factors in SEO

 

  • Off Page Factors
    • Trustworthiness of a domain
    • Links (Authority)
    • Website loading speed (affects 5% of websites)
    • Competition for keywords
    • Google’s Fickle Algorithm

 

http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors

Keywords

 

  • The words that people are using to search for your services
  • People use one word (plumber) or many words (Best Sydney Heritage Home Plumber)
  • Understanding which words to aim for and which words people will actually use is an important part of the SEO process
  • The main aim of selecting keywords is to be CONSISTENT, don’t overuse them in your website.

 

Selecting Keywords

 

  • Use Google Keyword tool to find the most common keywords
  • When thinking about which keywords to target think about these things;
    • Your location is important
    • When someone is ready to buy, they will put “buy…” at the start
    • People doing research on a topic eventually buy

 

Long Tail Keywords

 

  • 90% of visitors to websites use keywords outside of the top 100 most frequently used

 

AIDA in Keyword Selection

 

  • Think about the keywords people use when they go through the buying cycle (Researching, Comparing, finding retailers, purchasing etc)
  • Researchers use words like “best…” “cheapest”
  • Comparison shoppers use brand names
  • People about to buy look first for local and then for the cheapest vendors
  • When someone is ready to purchase they will look for reviews on the retailer.

 

Meta Tags

 

  • Used by websites to describe content
  • Found at the very start of a web page (before a Browser gets to build how it looks)
  • In old HTML they had to be manually put in
  • Most systems, like WordPress, allow you to specify
  • Google uses these (mostly) in its search pages

 

Image Tags

Content Quality

 

  • What you have written about
  • Is your content readable?
  • Does it make sense
  • Have you repeated yourself (negative points)
  • For any good content, 250 words is the minimum amount before Google takes notice
  • The volume (number of pages) of content is also an important factor

 

Bold and h3 Tags

 

  • Bold tags make a word stand out, Google looks to see where you have put emphasis
  • h3 Tags are used at the top of a document to give the page a visible title.

 

Originality

 

  • Now even more important as Google is targeting duplicate content
  • It is important to write in your own voice
  • Don’t copy your competitors
  • Don’t copy from other websites

 

Trustworthiness of a Domain

 

  • This includes the following factors
    • The age of the domain
    • Where the website is hosted
    • If the domain has been

 

Links

 

  • Links coming from websites with high authority are the best way a website becomes highly ranked
  • Links coming in from bad areas do nothing AT WORST. Poor incoming links will not harm you

 

Website Speed

 

  • High speed websites indicate user experience
  • Websites that load well and fast are more useful than those that don’t
  • It is estimated this factor only affects 5% of websites, but that is likely to increase

 

Your Competition

 

  • How well your competition ranks
  • How many links they have
  • How much content they have
  • Their other ranking factors

 

Google’s Algorithm

 

  • Google changes the fundamental structure of their algorithm a few times a year. They change the parts of the algorithm almost daily
  • Over the years they have made changes that affect whole industries (gambling, pornography) and even targeted individual websites

 

10 Commandments of Google

 

  • Thou shalt not link to bad guys (porn, malware, virus)
  • Thou shalt not keyword Stuff (make content readable)
  • Thou shalt not cloak pages
  • Thou shalt not steal content
  • Thou shalt not use hidden links
  • Thou shalt create original content
  • Thou shalt use meta tags
  • Thou shalt use Robots.txt
  • Thou shalt link sparingly
  • Thou shalt provide a site-map

 

Things Google has targeted for punishment

 

  • Duplicate content
  • Blog spammers (comment spamming)
  • Spammers in general (content, keywords, forums etc)
  • Websites that offer the viewer poor quality experience

 

Tools to use

 

  • Open Site Explorer
  • Yahoo Site Explorer
  • Google Webmaster tools
  • SEO MOZ Toolbox

 

Tips For SEO

  • Write as much good quality content about your industry as possible (blog)
  • Start exchanging links with other quality sites (or use a managed link exchange like linkmarket.net)
  • Guest blog/write articles for other websites that allow you to promote yourself
  • Engage in an industry forum that allows signature links

Tips to Turbo SEO

  • Hold competitions with high value prizes
  • Sponsor sports clubs/sporting events with the clause that you get a link back from
  • Write contentious blog posts that could gain industry attention
  • Use PR (talk to you local papers/industry mags)
  • Try to generate customer testimonial videos

What about highly competitive markets?

 

  • Engage an external link and content builder (oDesk)
  • Re-Write blog content (into smaller attention grabbing chunks) and syndicate it to article directories
  • Use WordPress.com, Weebly.com, Blog.com to create supplementary blogs about your industry

 

A Link Wheel

What is a Link Wheel?

 

  • Link wheels act as a template for building links back to your website
  • You should only link in one direction (down to your website or across to your other “assets”)
  • You need a high volume of links a the outer levels pointing in to a select few key websites you control

 

Things to keep in mind

 

  • Use several browsers, and continuously clean the cookies/temp files off at least one. Google stores browsing information on your computer that influences the results only YOU see. If you want to see what the world sees you need a clean browser

 

What are “nofollow” links?

 

  • A link can be given a nofollow attribute:

 

–   <a href=“…” rel=“nofollow”>text</a>

 

  • This tells a search engine that the website cannot guarantee the quality of the webpage it is linking to
  • Whilst this was an issue in the past, it is now understood that this attribute matters less.
  • It is good to aim for links that don’t have this attribute, but it is not critical.

 

Should I buy links?

 

  • Generally no. You can’t even offer people an incentive to link to you (discount etc).
  • There are some instances (good directories etc) where paying an administration fee is relatively acceptable.

 

What about link directories?

 

  • Good for small websites starting out on low time/money budgets
  • Value is questionable for large scale link building exercise
  • Some industries have a few select directories that are VERY good for traffic
  • Some directories (like Yahoo) are worth spending the money on in highly competitive industries

 

What about article directories

 

  • The value is highly questionable on their own (especially after the recent Google update)
  • They are not bad if you use them to build a link wheel to your other blogs, and if you link to your author page (look up “Angela & Paul’s backlinks”)

 

What about blog commenting?

 

  • Excellent way to engage in your industry
  • Great way to build up a network
  • Spam commenting is a massive no-no

 

How do customer reviews count?

 

  • Yes, Google has said that positive reviews are good indication of the quality of a website
  • Encourage your customers to write a review about your business
  • The reviews can be left almost anywhere that is recognised as a review website.

 

Google Places

What about Local SEO?
(Google Places)

 

  • One listing per physical location
  • Use information as it would appear in the real world.
  • Do NOT try to “SEO” your business name and business listing.
  • Provide individual location phone number in place of a call center.
  • If you have the chance to list your business in a small local area, do it. Do not try to go up against larger competitors in bigger areas.
  • Local citations are king. Get your business and address listed in as many local places as possible.
  • Good reviews will improve your position

 

What about Social Media

 

  • Social media includes Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon
  • They are great places to find what people are talking about in your industry
  • Submit content that is only of interest/high value
  • Submit content at your own risk (online communities can be policed vigorously)

 

What about Social Networking?

 

  • Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc are all good places to have another web page
  • The value of links FROM these pages is questionable
  • They are great for traffic
  • They are great to have a second/third/fourth presence on a search page. Sometimes your Facebook page will rank number two to your website at number one.

 

SEO vs PPC

 

  • PPC = Pay Per Click, Adwords advertising
  • SEO is long term, tactical and relatively permenant
  • SEO Takes time to build up but allows a very broad base. It is great for building a brand.
  • PPC is tactical, shorter term, non-permenant. It is great for short term offers, events etc.

 

White Hat SEO

 

  • White Hat SEO covers anything that is deemed “good” by Google (note this is an ever changing playing field)

 

Grey Hat SEO

 

  • Mass duplication of content – not against the rules, creates links of questionable value, sometimes can be the only way to get thousands of links
  • Creating fake forum users (where you can list a website)
  • Social media, blog and forum spamming.

 

Black Hat SEO

 

  • Anything that will get you blocked by Google.
  • Cloaking links
  • Faking content
  • Misleading search engines as to your content
  • Linking to malware
  • Linking to bad websites

 

What is Sandboxing?

 

  • Short term penalisation that Google has been speculated to impose on websites that build links or content too quickly. (or somehow break the myriad of Google rules)
  • You can get into this by “Over Optimising”
  • Sometimes the only thing to do to get out of it is to stop working on SEO and wait.

 

Pure Speculation

 

  • Google has flagged that it will measure how long a person stays on a page as measure of the quality of that website
  • The position of a link on a page may indicate intention/value. For instance a link in the body of a page will carry more value than that on a menu

 

How do you measure results?

 

  • Majestic SEO
  • Digital Point rank tracker
  • Google Analytics

 

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One Response to “SEO Basics Tutorial”

  1. Son Valdivieso 15 February 2012 at 4:19 am #

    Fantastic, a great article. Cheap services should not be offered compromising with quality. You can bring down prices to some extent but if it’s going to affect the quality of services convince your customer to understand that they are paying high to get best services in return.


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