Posts Tagged 'SEO'

The Next Step in SEO Presentations

During the SEM II- Join the Evolution Conference on December 6, 2007, Neal Rabogliatti’s presentation on how to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was, in my opinion, the missing portion of most SEO presentation and articles readily available today. Not only did Rabogliatti present the basics, but he suggested specific steps to take to implement SEO, a step many professionals are reluctant to take unless they are working directly for a client at a high hourly rate.

Introducing… SEO
Rabogliatti began by presenting an “E-Strategy Process,” where he explained seven phases of optimizing a site for both search engines and user friendly design.

  1. Define your goal: be as specific as possible
  2. Discovery: who is our specific audience?
  3. Research: find the terminology that should be used to appeal to the largest audience
  4. Compiling and Arranging: decide on the terms you should use in the site
  5. Review and test the keyword terms in order to modify your keyword selection
  6. Execute the plan: have a web developer create and launch the site
  7. Market, Promote, Optimize and Maintain the site

Rabogliatti stressed the importance of the initial planning phases in order to implement the most effective SEO plan. He also mentioned that, if possible, the web developer should be a part of all phases in order to increase his understanding of the goals.

The discussion then led to a basic explanation of SEO, including how search engines usually rank sites. The search engines first send out “spiders” that crawl your site, finding the pages linked to your site, and therefore creating an index of the page. The page is then ranked according to the page content’s relevancy to the key term that is being searched for. The ranking, or relevancy, of a site is determined by referencing:

  • Page Content: text keyword density should be around 5-7% of code. This can be found using a Keyword Density Checker.
  • Organizing Codes: Page Title, meta tags, and keyword tags can all be used to increase keywords and relevancy of your site.
  • Link Popularity: the number of external sites that link to your site.

How to Implement SEO
We now get into the “how to” section of Rabogliatti’s presentation, which begins with his “designing for success” suggestions. User friendly sites tend to be the most SEO friendly, therefore ranking as more relevant than non-user friendly sites. Your web developer should pay close attention to the following aspects of the site architecture and layout in order to maximize SEO potential:

  • File and Folder Structure: folder directories should be as close to the root directories as possible. The further from the root directory, the more likely the search engine is to interpret the file as less relevant and important, resulting in a lower ranking or no indexing of the pages furthest away.
  • Page Layout: the actual content containing the keywords should be as close to the beginning of the code as possible.
    • Keep content at beginning of code. Content that begins after code line 150 may actually be ignored by most search engines.
    • Using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can help bring relevant content into the first few lines by referring to an external (CSS) file in order to give the instructions for what the page should look like.
    • Stay away from frame and table layouts, as search engines generally read these layouts differently than the order of importance.
    • Use Div / Layers in order to enable the code to tell the search engines which sections to read first, and therefore which are most relevant.
  • Navigational Structure: ensure every page is accessible from another within two clicks. This helps search engines index your site.

Social Media and SEO
Rabogliatti also introduced social media within the SEO context. Social media consists of online tools that people use to share opinions, insights, and information with one another in the form of text, images, audio, or video. It can be classified into four different types:

  1. Bookmarking Sites: users bookmark their favorite sites, which creates a link to that site, increasing the SEM power of the site. Examples include Del.icio.us or reddit.
  2. Media Sharing Sites: examples include YouTube and Flickr
  3. Blogs
  4. Content Syndication: people place press releases and announcements on these sites, which increase the search engine marketing power of the site. An example is Digg.

There are several things you can do to use social media to help increase your search engine marketing power:

  1. Make tagging and bookmarking easy by adding a tool below each article, post, or on each page inviting visitors to share this tool. An example includes Add This.
  2. Create Content: begin to contribute to the current discussion on whatever topics in your area of expertise are hot at the moment. Become a thought leader in your field by getting involved through posts containing your opinion and the information your target audience is looking for.
  3. Know How to Target Your Audience: do some research to find out what they want, and then give it to them through the creation of content.

Helpful Tools
The following are some helpful tools that Rabogliatti recommends in order to utilize search engine optimization most effectively:

Overall, Rabogliatti did a tremendous job presenting this valuable information to the attendees of the conference. As well as providing some helpful and descriptive “how to” tips, he was lively and entertaining, obviously passionate and knowledgeable about the topic. Thanks Neal, for your wonderful presentation and insightful SEO tips!

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An E-Commerce Event Provides Useful Tools…

Recently, I represented eBizITPA at the E-Commerce Summit at the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford.  At the summit, there were case studies and tools provided that gave insight into how some small businesses are utilizing the Internet to grow their business.  As most of you know, case studies are a helpful way for businesses to learn from others what may or may not work.     

Darron Schott of Blair Corporation, explained the importance of shopping cart navigation, especially when 60% or more of a site’s top audience includes senior citizens.  Though more and more elderly are beginning to surf the Web, many have difficulty finding their way around.  Therefore, navigation has to be quick, simple and in no way confusing, or the company risks losing customers.  Darron explained the process they went through to test which features should be provided and in what way for their target audience.  They completed a workshop with several elderly women where they were able to purchase a product online and as they were going through the check out process, they were videotaped so Blair Corp. could see exactly what areas gave them difficulties.  They then could fix those problems in order to create a better shopping experience for their customers. 

Another speaker, Sarah Caniglia of LaserMonks.com, explained how one small Benedictine Abbey in rural Wisconsin had an idea that could help raise money for his monastery.  But as with many other monks, the Father leading this novel business idea, had little business practice.  They wanted to sell ink cartridges on the Internet.  Sarah and a colleague of hers volunteered to assist the abbey by creating a business plan utilizing Internet marketing.  The company, which focuses highly on supporting their communities by donating to charities are not only able to support their abbey, they are also able to donate any leftover profits to other good causes.    

In addition to case studies, a list of Internet tools was provided to help business owners with Web site analytics.  Carolyn Newhouse of SuperUser Technologies  introduced a tool to assist with researching good keywords.  As many of you know, the key words or phrases you choose to use in the content within your site can help your ranking in popular search engines such as Google or Yahoo!.   With this tool by SEO Company, you can type in keywords or phrases that you use, or are thinking of using, within the titles or pages of your site.  It will provide you with the number of search results that particular word or phrase will receive in Google or Yahoo!.  For instance, say I plan to have a Web site selling glass vases.  I would type in ‘glass vases’ and see how many results that exact phrase will conjure up in Google today.  If the results display 175,000, then there are 175,000 other sites that use that keyword within their site.   

This tool also allows you to not only see how much certain words or phrases are being used but also enables you to go directly to the results within Google or Yahoo!.  Doing that will allow you to research who you’re direct competitors may be. 

Do you want your site to get lost in a pool as large as 175,000?  Of course not!  If you have a niche product or service, you should consider using words or phrases that don’t have as many search results in order to allow users to hone in on your site, and of course your product or service.  This will ensure that you’re site isn’t getting lost in the search results among the other thousands of sites that happen to sell a product similar to yours.   

So, what’s different about your product or site and what are the best key words that describe it?  This tool is really helpful for those of us that can think of keywords but have no idea if they’re the best words to use in terms of search engine rankings.  Have you used this tool before?  Tell us what you think! If you haven’t used it yet, check it out at SEO Company and give us your thoughts! 

http://www.seocompany.ca/tool/keyword-search/

For other keyword tools, visit the following:

http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html 

http://www.freekeywords.wordtracker.com

http://www.keyworddensity.com/


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