Seo-mama’s Blog


21 Essential SEO Tips & Techniques

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 23, 2009
Small businesses are growing more aware of the need to understand and implement at least the basics of search engine optimization. But if you read a variety of small businesses blogs and Web sites, you’ll quickly see that there’s a lot of uncertainty over what makes up “the basics.” Without access to high-level consulting and without a lot of experience knowing what SEO resources can be trusted, there’s also a lot of misinformation about SEO strategies and tactics.
This article is the second in a two-part SEO checklist specifically for small business owners and webmasters. Last week, I shared 20 “don’ts.” Naturally, this week addresses the “Do’s”—things to make sure you include whether you’re hiring an SEO company or doing it yourself.
Small Business SEO Checklist: The Do’s
1. Commit yourself to the process. SEO isn’t a one-time event. Search engine algorithms change regularly, so the tactics that worked last year may not work this year. SEO requires a long-term outlook and commitment.
2. Be patient. SEO isn’t about instant gratification. Results often take months to see, and this is especially true the smaller you are, and the newer you are to doing business online.
3. Ask a lot of questions when hiring an SEO company. It’s your job to know what kind of tactics the company uses. Ask for specifics. Ask if there are any risks involved. Then get online yourself and do your own research—about the company, about the tactics they discussed, and so forth.
4. Become a student of SEO. If you’re taking the do-it-yourself route, you’ll have to become a student of SEO and learn as much as you can. Luckily for you, there are plenty of great Web resources (like Search Engine Land) and several terrific books you can read. Aaron Wall’s SEO Book, Jennifer Laycock’s Small Business Guide to Search Engine Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin are three I’ve read and recommend.
5. Have web analytics in place at the start. You should have clearly defined goals for your SEO efforts, and you’ll need web analytics software in place so you can track what’s working and what’s not.
6. Build a great web site. I’m sure you want to show up on the first page of results. Ask yourself, “Is my site really one of the 10 best sites in the world on this topic?” Be honest. If it’s not, make it better.
7. Include a site map page. Spiders can’t index pages that can’t be crawled. A site map will help spiders find all the important pages on your site, and help the spider understand your site’s hierarchy. This is especially helpful if your site has a hard-to-crawl navigation menu. If your site is large, make several site map pages. Keep each one to less than 100 links. I tell clients 75 is the max to be safe.
8. Make SEO-friendly URLs. Use keywords in your URLs and file names, such as yourdomain.com/red-widgets.html. Don’t overdo it, though. A file with 3+ hyphens tends to look spammy and users may be hesitant to click on it. Related bonus tip: Use hyphens in URLs and file names, not underscores. Hyphens are treated as a “space,” while underscores are not.
9. Do keyword research at the start of the project. If you’re on a tight budget, use the free versions of Keyword Discovery or WordTracker, both of which also have more powerful paid versions. Ignore the numbers these tools show; what’s important is the relative volume of one keyword to another. Another good free tool is Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool, which doesn’t show exact numbers.
10. Open up a PPC account. Whether it’s Google’s AdWords or Yahoo’s Search Marketing or something else, this is a great way to get actual search volume for your keywords. Yes, it costs money, but if you have the budget it’s worth the investment. It’s also the solution if you didn’t like the “Be patient” suggestion above and are looking for instant visibility.
11. Use a unique and relevant title and meta description on every page. The page title is the single most important on-page SEO factor. It’s rare to rank highly for a primary term (2-3 words) without that term being part of the page title. The meta description tag won’t help you rank, but it will often appear as the text snippet below your listing, so it should include the relevant keyword(s) and be written so as to encourage searchers to click on your listing. Related bonus tip: You can ignore the Keywords meta altogether if you’d like; it’s close to inconsequential. If you use it, put misspellings in there, and any related keywords that don’t appear on the page.
12. Write for users first. Google, Yahoo, etc., have pretty powerful bots crawling the web, but to my knowledge these bots have never bought anything online, signed up for a newsletter, or picked up the phone to call about your services. Humans do those things, so write your page copy with humans in mind. Yes, you need keywords in the text, but don’t stuff each page like a Thanksgiving turkey. Keep it readable.
13. Create great, unique content. This is important for everyone, but it’s a particular challenge for online retailers. If you’re selling the same widget that 50 other retailers are selling, and everyone is using the boilerplate descriptions from the manufacturer, this is a great opportunity. Write your own product descriptions, using the keyword research you did earlier (see #9 above) to target actual words searchers use, and make product pages that blow the competition away. Plus, retailer or not, great content is a great way to get inbound links.
14. Use your keywords as anchor text when linking internally. Anchor text helps tells spiders what the linked-to page is about. Links that say “click here” do nothing for your search engine visibility.
15. Build links intelligently. Submit your site to quality, trusted directories such as Yahoo, DMOZ, Business.com, Aviva, and Best of the web. Seek links from authority sites in your industry. If local search matters to you (more on that coming up), seek links from trusted sites in your geographic area—the Chamber of Commerce, etc. Analyze the inbound links to your competitors to find links you can acquire, too.
16. Use press releases wisely. Developing a relationship with media covering your industry or your local region can be a great source of exposure, including getting links from trusted media web sites. Distributing releases online can be an effective link building tactic, and opens the door for exposure in news search sites. Related bonus tip: Only issue a release when you have something newsworthy to report. Don’t waste journalists’ time.
17. Start a blog and participate with other related blogs. Search engines, Google especially, love blogs for the fresh content and highly-structured data. Beyond that, there’s no better way to join the conversations that are already taking place about your industry and/or company. Reading and commenting on other blogs can also increase your exposure and help you acquire new links. Related bonus tip: Put your blog at yourdomain.com/blog so your main domain gets the benefit of any links to your blog posts. If that’s not possible, use blog.yourdomain.com.
18. Use social media marketing wisely. If your small business has a visual element, join the appropriate communities on Flickr and post high-quality photos there. If you’re a service-oriented business, use Yahoo Answers to position yourself as an expert in your industry. With any social media site you use, the first rule is don’t spam! Be an active, contributing member of the site. The idea is to interact with potential customers, not annoy them.
19. Take advantage of local search opportunities. Online research for offline buying is a growing trend. Optimize your site to catch local traffic by showing your address and local phone number prominently. Write a detailed Directions/Location page using neighborhoods and landmarks in the page text. Submit your site to the free local listings services that the major search engines offer. Make sure your site is listed in local/social directories such as CitySearch, Yelp, Local.com, etc., and encourage customers to leave reviews of your business on these sites, too.
20. Take advantage of the tools the search engines give you. Sign up for Google’s webmaster Central and Yahoo’s Site Explorer to learn more about how the search engines see your site, including how many inbound links they’re aware of.
21. Diversify your traffic sources. Google may bring you 70% of your traffic today, but what if the next big algorithm update hits you hard? What if your Google visibility goes away tomorrow? Newsletters and other subscriber-based content can help you hold on to traffic/customers no matter what the search engines do. In fact, many of the DOs on this list—creating great content, starting a blog, using social media and local search, etc.—will help you grow an audience of loyal prospects and customers that may help you survive the whims of search engines.
Just like last week, this list could continue well beyond these 21 “DOs.” Your additions are welcome in the comments.
With this checklist and last week’s list of “Don’ts,” you should be able to develop a good plan of attack for your SEO efforts for your small business.
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55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 23, 2009

Everyone loves a good tip, right? Here are 55 quick tips for search engine optimization that even your mother could use to get cooking. Well, not my mother, but you get my point. Most folks with some web design and beginner SEO knowledge should be able to take these to the bank without any problem.

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 Flash-based site after it is built won’t cut it. Spiders can crawl text, not Flash or images.

10. Use keywords and keyword phrases appropriately in text links, image ALT attributes and even your domain name.

11. Check for canonicalization issues – www and non-www domains. Decide which you want to use and 301 redirect the other to it. In other words, if http://www.domain.com is your preference, then http://domain.com should redirect to it.

12. Check the link to your home page throughout your site. Is index.html appended to your domain name? If so, you’re splitting your links. Outside links go to http://www.domain.com and internal links go to http://www.domain.com/index.html.

Ditch the index.html or default.php or whatever the page is and always link back to your domain.

13. Frames, Flash and AJAX all share a common problem – you can’t link to a single page. It’s either all or nothing. Don’t use Frames at all and use Flash and AJAX sparingly for best SEO results.

14. Your URL file extension doesn’t matter. You can use .html, .htm, .asp, .php, etc. and it won’t make a difference as far as your SEO is concerned.

15. Got a new web site you want spidered? Submitting through Google’s regular submission form can take weeks. The quickest way to get your site spidered is by getting a link to it through another quality site.

16. If your site content doesn’t change often, your site needs a blog because search spiders like fresh text. Blog at least three time a week with good, fresh content to feed those little crawlers.

17. When link building, think quality, not quantity. One single, good, authoritative link can do a lot more for you than a dozen poor quality links, which can actually hurt you.

18. Search engines want natural language content. Don’t try to stuff your text with keywords. It won’t work. Search engines look at how many times a term is in your content and if it is abnormally high, will count this against you rather than for you.

19. Not only should your links use keyword anchor text, but the text around the links should also be related to your keywords. In other words, surround the link with descriptive text.

20. If you are on a shared server, do a blacklist check to be sure you’re not on a proxy with a spammer or banned site. Their negative notoriety could affect your own rankings.

21. Be aware that by using services that block domain ownership information when you register a domain, Google might see you as a potential spammer.

22. When optimizing your blog posts, optimize your post title tag independently from your blog title.

23. The bottom line in SEO is Text, Links, Popularity and Reputation.

24. Make sure your site is easy to use. This can influence your link building ability and popularity and, thus, your ranking.

25. Give link love, Get link love. Don’t be stingy with linking out. That will encourage others to link to you.

26. Search engines like unique content that is also quality content. There can be a difference between unique content and quality content. Make sure your content is both.

27. If you absolutely MUST have your main page as a splash page that is all Flash or one big image, place text and navigation links below the fold.

28. Some of your most valuable links might not appear in web sites at all but be in the form of e-mail communications such as newletters and zines.

29. You get NOTHING from paid links except a few clicks unless the links are embedded in body text and NOT obvious sponsored links.

30. Links from .edu domains are given nice weight by the search engines. Run a search for possible non-profit .edu sites that are looking for sponsors.

31. Give them something to talk about. Linkbaiting is simply good content.

32. Give each page a focus on a single keyword phrase. Don’t try to optimize the page for several keywords at once.

33. SEO is useless if you have a weak or non-existent call to action. Make sure your call to action is clear and present.

34. SEO is not a one-shot process. The search landscape changes daily, so expect to work on your optimization daily.

35. Cater to influential bloggers and authority sites who might link to you, your images, videos, podcasts, etc. or ask to reprint your content.

36. Get the owner or CEO blogging. It’s priceless! CEO influence on a blog is incredible as this is the VOICE of the company. Response from the owner to reader comments will cause your credibility to skyrocket!

37. Optimize the text in your RSS feed just like you should with your posts and web pages. Use descriptive, keyword rich text in your title and description.

38. Use captions with your images. As with newspaper photos, place keyword rich captions with your images.

39. Pay attention to the context surrounding your images. Images can rank based on text that surrounds them on the page. Pay attention to keyword text, headings, etc.

40. You’re better off letting your site pages be found naturally by the crawler. Good global navigation and linking will serve you much better than relying only on an XML Sitemap.

41. There are two ways to NOT see Google’s Personalized Search results:

(1) Log out of Google

(2) Append &pws=0 to the end of your search URL in the search bar

42. Links (especially deep links) from a high PageRank site are golden. High PR indicates high trust, so the back links will carry more weight.

43. Use absolute links. Not only will it make your on-site link navigation less prone to problems (like links to and from https pages), but if someone scrapes your content, you’ll get backlink juice out of it.

44. See if your hosting company offers “Sticky” forwarding when moving to a new domain. This allows temporary forwarding to the new domain from the old, retaining the new URL in the address bar so that users can gradually get used to the new URL.

45. Understand social marketing. It IS part of SEO. The more you understand about sites like Digg, Yelp, del.icio.us, Facebook, etc., the better you will be able to compete in search.

46. To get the best chance for your videos to be found by the crawlers, create a video sitemap and list it in your Google Webmaster Central account.

47. Videos that show up in Google blended search results don’t just come from YouTube. Be sure to submit your videos to other quality video sites like Metacafe, AOL, MSN and Yahoo to name a few.

48. Surround video content on your pages with keyword rich text. The search engines look at surrounding content to define the usefulness of the video for the query.

49. Use the words “image” or “picture” in your photo ALT descriptions and captions. A lot of searches are for a keyword plus one of those words.

50. Enable “Enhanced image search” in your Google Webmaster Central account. Images are a big part of the new blended search results, so allowing Google to find your photos will help your SEO efforts.

51. Add viral components to your web site or blog – reviews, sharing functions, ratings, visitor comments, etc.

52. Broaden your range of services to include video, podcasts, news, social content and so forth. SEO is not about 10 blue links anymore.

53. When considering a link purchase or exchange, check the cache date of the page where your link will be located in Google. Search for “cache:URL” where you substitute “URL” for the actual page. The newer the cache date the better. If the page isn’t there or the cache date is more than an month old, the page isn’t worth much.

54. If you have pages on your site that are very similar (you are concerned about duplicate content issues) and you want to be sure the correct one is included in the search engines, place the URL of your preferred page in your sitemaps.

55. Check your server headers. Search for “check server header” to find free online tools for this. You want to be sure your URLs report a “200 OK” status or “301 Moved Permanently ” for redirects. If the status shows anything else, check to be sure your URLs are set up properly and used consistently throughout your site.

All about Search Engine Optimization

Bulk Senders GuidelinesPrint ::Google::

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 21, 2009

We’ve received inquiries from bulk senders who’d like more information on best practices to ensure that their mail is delivered to Gmail users. The way Gmail classifies spam depends heavily on reports from our users. Gmail users can mark and unmark any message as spam, at any time. To increase the inbox delivery rate of your messages, make sure that all recipients on your distribution lists actually want to receive the mail. Visit the following sections for some tips on how to make sure your messages are welcomed by Gmail users.

Authentication & Identification
Subscription 
Unsubscribing 
Format 
Delivery 
Third-Party Senders 
Affiliate Marketing Programs 

Authentication & Identification

To ensure that Gmail can identify you:

  • Use a consistent IP address to send bulk mail.
  • Keep valid reverse DNS records for the IP address(es) from which you send mail, pointing to your domain.
  • Use the same address in the ‘From:’ header on every bulk mail you send.

We also recommend publishing an SPF record, and signing with DKIM or DomainKeys

Subscription

Each user on your distribution list should opt to receive messages from you in one of the following ways (opt-in):

  • Through an email asking to subscribe to your list.
  • By manually checking a box on a web form, or within a piece of software.

We also recommend that you verify each email address before subscribing them to your list.

The following methods of address collection are not considered ‘opt-in’ and are not recommended:

  • Using an email address list purchased from a third-party.
  • Setting a checkbox on a web form or within a piece of software to subscribe all users by default (requiring users to explicitly opt-out of mailings). 

Unsubscribing

A user must be able to unsubscribe from your mailing list through one of the following means:

  • A prominent link in the body of an email leading users to a page confirming his or her unsubscription (no input from the user, other than confirmation, should be required).
  • By replying to your email with an unsubscribe request.

To help ensure that your messages aren’t flagged as spam, we also recommend that you:

  • Automatically unsubscribe users whose addresses bounce multiple pieces of mail.
  • Periodically send confirmation messages to users.
  • Include each mailing list they are signed up for, and offer the opportunity to unsubscribe from those in which they are no longer interested.
  • Provide a ‘List-Unsubscribe’ header which points to a web form or email address where the user can unsubscribe easily from future mailings (Note: This is not a substitute method for unsubscribing).

It’s possible that your users forward mail from other accounts, so we recommend that you:

  • Explicitly indicate the email address subscribed to your list.
  • Support a URL method of unsubscribing from your mailing list (this is beneficial if your mailing list manager can’t tell who is unsubscribing based on the ‘Reply-to:’ address). 

Format

  • All bulk messages you send must be formatted according to RFC 2822 SMTP standards and, if using HTML, w3.org standards.
  • Messages should indicate that they are bulk mail, using the ‘Precedence: bulk’ header field.
  • Attempts to hide the true sender of the message or the true landing page for any web links in the message may result in non-delivery.
  • The subject of each message should be relevant to the body’s content and not be misleading.

Delivery

While Gmail works hard to deliver all legitimate mail to a user’s inbox, it’s possible that some legitimate messages may be marked as spam. Gmail does not accept ‘whitelisting’ requests from bulk senders, and we can’t guarantee that all of your messages will bypass our spam filters. To make sure our users receive all the mail they’d like to, we’ve provided them with a method for sending us feedback about messages flagged as spam — users have the option of clicking a ‘Not spam’ button for each message flagged by our spam filters. We listen to users’ reports, and correct problems in order to provide them with the best user experience. As long as our users don’t consider your mail as spam, you shouldn’t have inbox delivery problems.

There are two important factors that, under normal circumstances, help messages arrive in Gmail users’ inboxes:

  • The ‘From:’ address is listed in the user’s Contacts list.
  • A user clicks ‘Not Spam’ to alert Gmail that messages sent from that address are solicited.

If you send both promotional mail and transactional mail relating to your organization, we recommend separating mail by purpose as much as possible. You can do this by:

  • Using separate email addresses for each function.
  • Sending mail from different domains and/or IP addresses for each function.

Some senders include blank tracking pixels in their messages so they can tell when recipients have opened them. We strongly discourage the inclusion of such pixels for two reasons. First, Gmail does not display images by default, so tracking pixels will not accurately reflect whether users are reading your mail. Second, tracking pixels are often used by spammers, and using them can affect the spam classification of your messages.

By using these tips, it’s more likely that the important transactional mail will be delivered to a user’s inbox. Our guidelines are meant to help you build a good reputation within the Gmail system, resulting in continual delivery to Gmail inboxes. 

Third-Party Senders

If others use your service to send mail (for example: ISPs), you are responsible for monitoring your users and/or clients’ behavior.  

  • You must have an email address available for users and/or clients to report abuse (abuse@yourdomain.com).
  • You must maintain up-to-date contact information in your WHOIS record, and on abuse.net.
  • You must terminate, in a timely fashion, all users and/or clients who use your service to send spam mail.

Affiliate Marketing Programs

Affiliate marketing programs reward third-parties for bringing visitors to your site. Unfortunately, these programs are attractive to hard-core spammers and can potentially do more harm than good. Please note the following:

  • If your brand becomes associated with affiliate marketing spam, it can affect the mail sent by you and your other affiliates.
  • It is your responsibility to monitor your affiliates and remove them if they send spam.

If you are sending mail in accordance with our guidelines and Gmail continues to mark your messages as spam,

www.seo-mama.com
www.mebreaks.com

Looking for the perfect weekend getaway in the UAE or Middle East?

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 13, 2009

Thanks to MEBreaks.com, your search has become so much easier.  With short break holidays including weekend specials, hotel offers in Dubai, hotel offers in Abu Dhabi, hotel offers in Fujairah, hotel offers in Ras al Khaimah (RAK), hotel offers in Oman including Mussandam and Muscat hotel offers, MEBReaks.com will find you the best hotels in the region.  We will soon be offering hotel offers in Doha, hotel offers in Jordan including Red Sea hotels, Amman hotels and Petra hotels in Jordan.  Also on the agenda are Lebanon hotels and more specifically Beirut hotels. Hotels in Beirut are sure to be a hit for the population in the region with the city offering mountain and beach tranquillity within a 30 minute drive.

 

We also have cheap hotels in dubai, abu dhabi, Fujairah and ras al khaimah to make your trip more affordable.

 

“Place to See” is a new section added in our site to give you more information about UAE or Middle east. From Place to See you can find the information of following place. In  Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi Corniche , Grand Mosque, Heritage Village. In Dubai  Abra Ride, Bastakiya, Dubai Autodrome, Dubai Dolphinarium, Jumeirah Mosque, Mall of the Emirates, Wild Wadi Water Park. In Fujairah Museum, Masafi Friday Market, Snoopy Island. In Ras Al Khaimah Dreamland Aqua Park. In Al Ain Al Ain Museum, Al Ain Oasis, Al Ain Zoo.  No longer will you visit the Middle East without a list of things to do in Dubai, things to do in Abu Dhabi, things to do in Doha, things to do in Beirut, things to do in Doha and things to do in Jordan!

 

At present you can find more than 100 hotels and their special offers in our site. Some common hotels are Al Raha Beach Hotel, Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna, Golden Tulip Al Jazira, InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Bur Dubai Movenpick, Crowne Plaza Dubai, Desert Palm Dubai, Dusit Residence, Dubai Marina, Dusit Thani Dubai, Golden Tulip Al Barsha, Grand Millennium Dubai, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City, Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa, Al Hamra Fort, Al Hamra Village, Khatt Springs Hotel and Spa, Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet, Chedi Muscat, Crowne Plaza Muscat etc..

 

Remember, MEBreaks.com works directly with each of the hotels listed on the site and charges zero commission for each booking made unlike most other travel sites!  Therefore, you will receive the best available rates in each hotel.

 

Thank You

Amit Vyas

+971502549157

www.mebreaks.com

The Role of Articles in SEO – Achieving Top Rankings in Weeks

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 13, 2009

You have employed every trick in the SEO handbook but that first page ranking in the search engines has been eluding you. You are about to give up. But before you do, perhaps you may wish to consider taking up article marketing.

First of all, what exactly is article marketing? Article marketing is the process of writing and submitting original content to article directories. This is not a new concept. For years, marketers have been publishing content in newsletters, magazines, and other publications to gain exposure for their businesses.

The process starts by submitting an article to an editor. If the content is suitable, the editor publishes the article, and the marketer gets some exposure. The process is then repeated with as many publications as possible. In theory, if each publication brings just one customer, then a hundred publications may bring a hundred customers. A hundred customers may just be what a new start-up is looking for.

On the Internet, the results can be astonishing. There are literally thousands of article directories on the Internet. With each article you submit, you are allowed to include two to three text links in the author resource box. Do note that most directories won’t allow you to include links in your article body. So keep them to your author signature.

Every time an article directory publishes an article, the website will experience an immediate surge in traffic. This traffic comes from the subscribed readers. After that, the surge dies down a little. The marketer now waits for the search engines to index and rank the articles. Once the article ranks in the search engines, the marketer will receive a constant stream of traffic from the indexed articles.

In addition, the links in the articles will also give the search rankings of the website a much needed boost. When someone writes and submits articles, the wheels of SEO has already started to turn, whether the marketer is aware of it or not. Each published article carries at least two links, pointing back to the author website. In other words, the author website gets high quality back links from well established authority sites whenever an article is approved for publication. But to achieve high rankings in the search results, you need to execute article marketing in the correct manner.

How to prepare your articles for submission.

Article submission can take up a lot of time. So you want to be sure that you get the highest rate of approval from the editors. Here is what you should do to ensure that you get most of your articles approved.

Appropriate word count – Articles should ideally be 500 words and above. You can write whatever you want. But bear in mind that the editors are looking for valuable content that their readers will enjoy reading. So your articles should not be self promotional. All promotional materials should be included in the author resource box, which will appear at the end of the article.

Proper formatting – The article does not have to be perfect. But it has to be legible, and relatively free of grammatical errors. The style of writing is not that important. Most styles will be accepted. Use the hard return to separate paragraphs, and do not include any HTML. Not all article directories accept HTML tags in the article body. As long as the article is of decent quality, it should be approved.

Include target keywords in article title – Your target keywords should be include in the article title. This will increase the chances of your articles rising to the top in the search results. Having keywords in the article title is also part of SEO. When performing SEO, you want the search engines to find relevant content that link to your sites. Having your target keywords in the title is one way of letting the search bots know that the content in the article is related to what you have to offer in your website.

Write a catchy title and interesting summary – The title is very important because if it cannot capture the attention of your reader, you have just lost a potential visitor. Your title should be speaking directly to your target audience. The article summary should also be clear and concise. Don?t beat around the bush. You can elaborate further in the article body. For the summary, use short and powerful sentences.

Delivering the promise of your article title – Make sure that you stay on topic and deliver the promise in the article title. For example, if your article is about link building, then make sure you share some methods on how to build one way back links quickly. Don’t stray and write about your pet and then forget to go back to your main topic.

Using anchor texts in links – Anchor texts are the words that are in between a set of HTML link tags. Before going into article marketing, you should already have a set of keywords to target. Use these keywords not just in your article title, but also as your anchor texts. For instance, if you are targeting the keywords “Search Engine Optimization”, use these words in your links. Don’t use words like “click here” or any other generic term.

Once you have the above in place, you can start submitting the articles to the article directories.

How to submit articles quickly and easily.

Before you start submitting the articles, you must first get a list of article directories. Your list should contain at least 200 article directories. Choose directories that have been around for years, and have high page rank.

The article submission process can be grueling if you don’t have the right tools to help you. As a business owner, you shouldn’t be doing such manual tasks yourself. You have more important things to do, like developing products, marketing, and so on. The process shouldn’t be consuming too much of your valuable time. Here are some quick suggestions.

Use a free form filling tool to help you – There are tools available for download, such as RoboForm that will help you fill up the forms at the article directories. Once you set this up, it’s just clicking and submitting. That will save you from having to copy and paste the article into each and every submission form. A great way to submit articles if you are on a shoe string budget.

Invest in article submission software – There are special software in the market that will help you submit your articles either on a semi-automated basis, or on a fully automated basis. If it’s a fully automated process, you don’t have to be actively involved. You will, however, have to let the software complete the submission process before shutting it down.

Outsource article submission – You can hire someone else to submit the articles for you. This can be a dedicated person that you work with, or it can be a professional service provider. The difference between this option, and that of using software, is that you don’t have to monitor the submissions. Simply place an order, and you can switch off your computer and go work on other stuff.

Article marketing, when done right, can bring short, mid and long term traffic. The short term traffic comes from the current readership base of the article directories. The mid to long term traffic comes from the search engines and the articles. As articles remain online indefinitely on the Internet, they remain as traffic baits and help to attract more visitors to your websites.

If you have done your keyword research, and heed the advice given above, your site could achieve top rankings in the search engines within weeks.

About the author

SEO-MAMA

Mebreaks.com

The Role of Articles in SEO – Achieving Top Rankings in Weeks

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 13, 2009

You have employed every trick in the SEO handbook but that first page ranking in the search engines has been eluding you. You are about to give up. But before you do, perhaps you may wish to consider taking up article marketing.

First of all, what exactly is article marketing? Article marketing is the process of writing and submitting original content to article directories. This is not a new concept. For years, marketers have been publishing content in newsletters, magazines, and other publications to gain exposure for their businesses.

The process starts by submitting an article to an editor. If the content is suitable, the editor publishes the article, and the marketer gets some exposure. The process is then repeated with as many publications as possible. In theory, if each publication brings just one customer, then a hundred publications may bring a hundred customers. A hundred customers may just be what a new start-up is looking for.

On the Internet, the results can be astonishing. There are literally thousands of article directories on the Internet. With each article you submit, you are allowed to include two to three text links in the author resource box. Do note that most directories won’t allow you to include links in your article body. So keep them to your author signature.

Every time an article directory publishes an article, the website will experience an immediate surge in traffic. This traffic comes from the subscribed readers. After that, the surge dies down a little. The marketer now waits for the search engines to index and rank the articles. Once the article ranks in the search engines, the marketer will receive a constant stream of traffic from the indexed articles.

In addition, the links in the articles will also give the search rankings of the website a much needed boost. When someone writes and submits articles, the wheels of SEO has already started to turn, whether the marketer is aware of it or not. Each published article carries at least two links, pointing back to the author website. In other words, the author website gets high quality back links from well established authority sites whenever an article is approved for publication. But to achieve high rankings in the search results, you need to execute article marketing in the correct manner.

How to prepare your articles for submission.

Article submission can take up a lot of time. So you want to be sure that you get the highest rate of approval from the editors. Here is what you should do to ensure that you get most of your articles approved.

Appropriate word count – Articles should ideally be 500 words and above. You can write whatever you want. But bear in mind that the editors are looking for valuable content that their readers will enjoy reading. So your articles should not be self promotional. All promotional materials should be included in the author resource box, which will appear at the end of the article.

Proper formatting – The article does not have to be perfect. But it has to be legible, and relatively free of grammatical errors. The style of writing is not that important. Most styles will be accepted. Use the hard return to separate paragraphs, and do not include any HTML. Not all article directories accept HTML tags in the article body. As long as the article is of decent quality, it should be approved.

Include target keywords in article title – Your target keywords should be include in the article title. This will increase the chances of your articles rising to the top in the search results. Having keywords in the article title is also part of SEO. When performing SEO, you want the search engines to find relevant content that link to your sites. Having your target keywords in the title is one way of letting the search bots know that the content in the article is related to what you have to offer in your website.

Write a catchy title and interesting summary – The title is very important because if it cannot capture the attention of your reader, you have just lost a potential visitor. Your title should be speaking directly to your target audience. The article summary should also be clear and concise. Don?t beat around the bush. You can elaborate further in the article body. For the summary, use short and powerful sentences.

Delivering the promise of your article title – Make sure that you stay on topic and deliver the promise in the article title. For example, if your article is about link building, then make sure you share some methods on how to build one way back links quickly. Don’t stray and write about your pet and then forget to go back to your main topic.

Using anchor texts in links – Anchor texts are the words that are in between a set of HTML link tags. Before going into article marketing, you should already have a set of keywords to target. Use these keywords not just in your article title, but also as your anchor texts. For instance, if you are targeting the keywords “Search Engine Optimization”, use these words in your links. Don’t use words like “click here” or any other generic term.

Once you have the above in place, you can start submitting the articles to the article directories.

How to submit articles quickly and easily.

Before you start submitting the articles, you must first get a list of article directories. Your list should contain at least 200 article directories. Choose directories that have been around for years, and have high page rank.

The article submission process can be grueling if you don’t have the right tools to help you. As a business owner, you shouldn’t be doing such manual tasks yourself. You have more important things to do, like developing products, marketing, and so on. The process shouldn’t be consuming too much of your valuable time. Here are some quick suggestions.

Use a free form filling tool to help you – There are tools available for download, such as RoboForm that will help you fill up the forms at the article directories. Once you set this up, it’s just clicking and submitting. That will save you from having to copy and paste the article into each and every submission form. A great way to submit articles if you are on a shoe string budget.

Invest in article submission software – There are special software in the market that will help you submit your articles either on a semi-automated basis, or on a fully automated basis. If it’s a fully automated process, you don’t have to be actively involved. You will, however, have to let the software complete the submission process before shutting it down.

Outsource article submission – You can hire someone else to submit the articles for you. This can be a dedicated person that you work with, or it can be a professional service provider. The difference between this option, and that of using software, is that you don’t have to monitor the submissions. Simply place an order, and you can switch off your computer and go work on other stuff.

Article marketing, when done right, can bring short, mid and long term traffic. The short term traffic comes from the current readership base of the article directories. The mid to long term traffic comes from the search engines and the articles. As articles remain online indefinitely on the Internet, they remain as traffic baits and help to attract more visitors to your websites.

If you have done your keyword research, and heed the advice given above, your site could achieve top rankings in the search engines within weeks.

About the author

SEO-MAMA

Mebreaks.com

Visrak.com: Find indian, bollywood love tips and success
www.visrak.com

A Headline Title Trick to Maximize Social and SEO Traffic – The One Two Punch

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 12, 2009

Social media is all the rage these days. Everyone wants to get in on the game and promote themselves on networks like Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Digg. Social media, when done right, is a proven method of Internet marketing that can send hordes of quality traffic to your sites (e.g. see my case study about how Twitter sent me 35,967 hits in 14 days). But where does on-page SEO fit into all of this (particularly the title tag)? Does your SEO need to suffer in order for you to do well on social media sites? Contrary to what you may think, the answer is no. In fact, you can utilize social media to jump start your SEO efforts and get the best of both worlds.

In this article, I’ll describe the role of the title tag in social media and in SEO and let you in on a little title trick you can use to maximize both your social media and SEO exposure.

Title Tag for Social Media

The ultimate goal in social media is to create compelling content that people will voluntarily share and spread virally via word of mouth (using various social sites). In order for this to happen, the title tag (and header tags) need to be optimized to spark readers’ attention and hook them in. The title is essentially the first impression of the article and many people will actually vote up stories on social bookmarketing sites like Digg and StumbleUpon solely based on the headline.

So what makes a good title for social media? The use of specifics, numbers, names, and descriptive power words always helps. For more guidance, check out Copyblogger’s article on how to write magnetic headlines.

Here’s an example. A current hot story on Digg is entitled “Electric Motorbike Does 0 to 60 in Under One Second!” Did that get your attention? It certainly got mine. That’s the mark of an effective headline.

Title Tag for SEO

Whereas title tags in social media should aim to get readers’ attention, titles tags for SEO should focus on incorporating highly relevant and popular keywords for the search engines. The title tag is by far the most important on-page SEO attribute and if you want to rank favorably for targeted keywords, you have to be sure that they’re strategically placed in the beginning of the title tag.

For example, using the previously mentioned Digg story, a better title for SEO purposes might be “KillaCycle Review – Fastest Electric Motorbike”. It’s descriptive with a lot of keywords, but it just doesn’t get your attention like the social media version, “Electric Motorbike Does 0 to 60 in Under One Second!”.

This presents a bit of a dilemma. On one hand, you want to optimize your titles for spikes of social media traffic, but on the other hand you want to optimize your titles for the search engines. What do you do?

The Solution – One Two Punch

Here’s the trick. When you first write an article, write the title (including both title tag and header tag) for social media. Be shocking or controversial. Do whatever you need to do to craft an interesting title that will be sure to get people’s attention. Once you have that in line, promote the article on social media sites. Get the word out and give it a chance to spread on sites like Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, etc.

If you do a good job, you’ll get a big influx of traffic and links. However, after a few weeks, the traffic will inevitably die down and your article will be buried in the archives.

Once this happens, change the title tag on the article to be more SEO friendly by incorporating descriptive keywords with high search frequency (use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool). Leave the header tag as is with the social media version to entice search visitors to further read the content.

What does this do? You maximize sharing on social media by writing compelling titles – which aren’t always descriptive and search friendly. Once you get the traffic and links from that effort, you then maximize search traffic by changing the title tag to incorporate more keywords – and thus increase rankings. Make sense?

Have you used this tactic to increase both social and search traffic to your articles? If not, you may be missing out on a lot of new visitors you could be driving to your site.

Leave a comment with your thoughts. I’d love to hear more about additional strategies you’ve employed to maximize both social and search traffic to your sites.

SEO-MAMA 

The Perfect Career Path for a Super SEO

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 12, 2009

1. Learn design and programming from the start
There’s really no way around this. If you want to be a good SEO, you need to learn the language of the web. Knowing HTML, CSS, PHP, and other scripting languages will help you to understand how the Internet works and how search engines crawl pages in their indexes. An SEO who can’t program is like a dolphin with a missing fin.

2. Read SEO Book.
Aaron Wall is a very knowledgeable SEO whom I’ve had the privilege of speaking to in the past. The SEO Book training program is the best and most comprehensive course I’ve seen in the industry and I recommend all aspiring SEO’s to sign up and take part.

3. Develop and market your own sites
There’s really nothing like good ole’ experience to learn from. Pick a niche, start a site, and experiment with different SEO strategies to get it to the top of the SERPs.

4. Follow the search marketing sites
As an SEO, one of your main tasks to stay competitive will be to follow the latest trends and tactics – especially because the industry changes so quickly. Danny Sullivan and the folks over at Search Engine Land do an awesome job in staying on top of the news. Be sure to subscribe to the SEL feed.

5. Start your own SEO blog
If you want to be perceived as a thought leader in the industry, an SEO blog gives you the perfect platform to relay your thoughts and opinions. Blogging also helps you to connect with the community and to develop a personal brand.

6. Experiment with black hat SEO tactics
I don’t necessarily agree with the SEO’s that insist on keeping on a pristine white hat. Some of the shadier black hat SEO’s are some of the smartest marketers I’ve ever met – and they are definitely rolling in the money. Black hat isn’t necessarily the best way to go, but experimenting in the gray areas can make you a better overall SEO (and learn to defend against competitors that use black hat tactics).

7. Get a business degree
If I had to pick a college degree that was best suited for SEO, I’d choose business. Understanding the general marketing and business principles are crucial for the success of SEO campaigns and selling online.

8. Work as an in-house SEO for a large corporation
In-house SEO comes first because it is the most stable and long term. The earning potential isn’t very high but it’s a great way to learn the ropes and get a feel for the corporate culture.

9. Work for an SEO agency
Working for an SEO agency is usually more demanding than doing in-house SEO work. Strict deadlines have to be met, but there is much greater team support and an opportunity to really hone those SEO skills with a variety of clients.

10. Promote your own online business on the side
Again, experience is the best teacher, and you should be working independently on the side on your own web projects. Not only will this thicken your resume and provide you with more experience and knowledge, but it was also give you another source of income that will lessen your reliance on a 9-5 job.

11. Get your own SEO clients – work as an independent consultant
Working for an SEO agency helps you to develop your SEO skills. Working as an independent SEO consultant helps you to develop your SEO skills AND forces you to thrive in selling, developing a business, and coming up with a sound strategy for success. It’s a whole new ball game that facilitates the transition to entrepreneur.

12. Speak at industry conferences, work on personal branding
It’s strange but true… Speaking at an SEO industry conference can catapult you from nobody to superstar overnight. Just be sure you have something intriguing to say before you go and make a fool of yourself.

13. Write a book on SEO, continue blogging
Another asset that symbolizes power and authority is a book. An SEO who has written a book on the subject will be perceived much more highly than someone who hasn’t done the same. For example, Kris Jones of Pepperjam recently wrote a book on SEO to solidify his position as an Internet marketing guru.

14. Develop a system, hire staff, & build a business
Now that you have a strong personal brand, tons of connections, and SEO and business marketing expertise, it’s time you leverage those assets to develop a system, hire staff to support your system, and build a business that you can bank on for many years to come.

Are you a super SEO yet? If you could start over again, what would you do differently?  What does your perfect SEO career path look like?

www.seo-mama.com

21 Essential SEO Tips & Techniques

Posted in Uncategorized by Rajib Roy on May 5, 2009

Small Business SEO Checklist:

1. Commit yourself to the process. SEO isn’t a one-time event. Search engine algorithms change regularly, so the tactics that worked last year may not work this year. SEO requires a long-term outlook and commitment.

2. Be patient. SEO isn’t about instant gratification. Results often take months to see, and this is especially true the smaller you are, and the newer you are to doing business online.

3. Ask a lot of questions when hiring an SEO company. It’s your job to know what kind of tactics the company uses. Ask for specifics. Ask if there are any risks involved. Then get online yourself and do your own research—about the company, about the tactics they discussed, and so forth.

4. Become a student of SEO. If you’re taking the do-it-yourself route, you’ll have to become a student of SEO and learn as much as you can. Luckily for you, there are plenty of great Web resources (like Search Engine Land) and several terrific books you can read. Aaron Wall’s SEO Book, Jennifer Laycock’s Small Business Guide to Search Engine Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day by Jennifer Grappone and Gradiva Couzin are three I’ve read and recommend.

5. Have web analytics in place at the start. You should have clearly defined goals for your SEO efforts, and you’ll need web analytics software in place so you can track what’s working and what’s not.

6. Build a great web site. I’m sure you want to show up on the first page of results. Ask yourself, “Is my site really one of the 10 best sites in the world on this topic?” Be honest. If it’s not, make it better.

7. Include a site map page. Spiders can’t index pages that can’t be crawled. A site map will help spiders find all the important pages on your site, and help the spider understand your site’s hierarchy. This is especially helpful if your site has a hard-to-crawl navigation menu. If your site is large, make several site map pages. Keep each one to less than 100 links. I tell clients 75 is the max to be safe.

8. Make SEO-friendly URLs. Use keywords in your URLs and file names, such asyourdomain.com/red-widgets.html. Don’t overdo it, though. A file with 3+ hyphens tends to look spammy and users may be hesitant to click on it. Related bonus tip: Use hyphens in URLs and file names, not underscores. Hyphens are treated as a “space,” while underscores are not.

9. Do keyword research at the start of the project. If you’re on a tight budget, use the free versions of Keyword Discovery or WordTracker, both of which also have more powerful paid versions. Ignore the numbers these tools show; what’s important is the relative volume of one keyword to another. Another good free tool is Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool, which doesn’t show exact numbers.

10. Open up a PPC account. Whether it’s Google’s AdWords or Yahoo’s Search Marketing or something else, this is a great way to get actual search volume for your keywords. Yes, it costs money, but if you have the budget it’s worth the investment. It’s also the solution if you didn’t like the “Be patient” suggestion above and are looking for instant visibility.

11. Use a unique and relevant title and meta description on every page. The page title is the single most important on-page SEO factor. It’s rare to rank highly for a primary term (2-3 words) without that term being part of the page title. The meta description tag won’t help you rank, but it will often appear as the text snippet below your listing, so it should include the relevant keyword(s) and be written so as to encourage searchers to click on your listing. Related bonus tip: You can ignore the Keywords meta altogether if you’d like; it’s close to inconsequential. If you use it, put misspellings in there, and any related keywords that don’t appear on the page.

12. Write for users first. Google, Yahoo, etc., have pretty powerful bots crawling the web, but to my knowledge these bots have never bought anything online, signed up for a newsletter, or picked up the phone to call about your services. Humans do those things, so write your page copy with humans in mind. Yes, you need keywords in the text, but don’t stuff each page like a Thanksgiving turkey. Keep it readable.

13. Create great, unique content. This is important for everyone, but it’s a particular challenge for online retailers. If you’re selling the same widget that 50 other retailers are selling, and everyone is using the boilerplate descriptions from the manufacturer, this is a great opportunity. Write your own product descriptions, using the keyword research you did earlier (see #9 above) to target actual words searchers use, and make product pages that blow the competition away. Plus, retailer or not, great content is a great way to get inbound links.

14. Use your keywords as anchor text when linking internally. Anchor text helps tells spiders what the linked-to page is about. Links that say “click here” do nothing for your search engine visibility.

15. Build links intelligently. Submit your site to quality, trusted directories such as Yahoo,DMOZBusiness.comAviva, and Best of the web. Seek links from authority sites in your industry. If local search matters to you (more on that coming up), seek links from trusted sites in your geographic area—the Chamber of Commerce, etc. Analyze the inbound links to your competitors to find links you can acquire, too.

16. Use press releases wisely. Developing a relationship with media covering your industry or your local region can be a great source of exposure, including getting links from trusted media web sites. Distributing releases online can be an effective link building tactic, and opens the door for exposure in news search sites. Related bonus tip: Only issue a release when you have something newsworthy to report. Don’t waste journalists’ time.

17. Start a blog and participate with other related blogs. Search engines, Google especially, love blogs for the fresh content and highly-structured data. Beyond that, there’s no better way to join the conversations that are already taking place about your industry and/or company. Reading and commenting on other blogs can also increase your exposure and help you acquire new links. Related bonus tip: Put your blog at yourdomain.com/blog so your main domain gets the benefit of any links to your blog posts. If that’s not possible, useblog.yourdomain.com.

18. Use social media marketing wisely. If your small business has a visual element, join the appropriate communities on Flickr and post high-quality photos there. If you’re a service-oriented business, use Yahoo Answers to position yourself as an expert in your industry. With any social media site you use, the first rule is don’t spam! Be an active, contributing member of the site. The idea is to interact with potential customers, not annoy them.

19. Take advantage of local search opportunities. Online research for offline buying is a growing trend. Optimize your site to catch local traffic by showing your address and local phone number prominently. Write a detailed Directions/Location page using neighborhoods and landmarks in the page text. Submit your site to the free local listings services that the major search engines offer. Make sure your site is listed in local/social directories such as CitySearch, Yelp, Local.com, etc., and encourage customers to leave reviews of your business on these sites, too.

20. Take advantage of the tools the search engines give you. Sign up for Google’swebmaster Central and Yahoo’s Site Explorer to learn more about how the search engines see your site, including how many inbound links they’re aware of.

21. Diversify your traffic sources. Google may bring you 70% of your traffic today, but what if the next big algorithm update hits you hard? What if your Google visibility goes away tomorrow? Newsletters and other subscriber-based content can help you hold on to traffic/customers no matter what the search engines do. In fact, many of the DOs on this list—creating great content, starting a blog, using social media and local search, etc.—will help you grow an audience of loyal prospects and customers that may help you survive the whims of search engines.

Rajib Roy
www.seo-mama.com