SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION

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2 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 2 SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is absolutely essential for small to medium sized business owners who are serious about generating leads and sales online. In order to optimise your web site you need to concentrate on two areas, On Page Optimisation and Link Popularity. Link Popularity is without doubt the most important factor and accounts for about 70% of what Google in particular look for when it comes to ranking a web site however without On Page Optimisation you will not appear on the first page of their results and so both are important. ON PAGE OPTIMISATION One of the best descriptions I have ever heard to explain Search Engines was as follows - Imagine you took all the Yellow Pages for a particular country and then removed all the index and content pages, you then scatter the rest of the pages all over the floor and ask someone to find you a plumber in London or New York? This explains how the internet is structured with billions of web pages all scattered on the floor - Search Engines are like the content or index in the Yellow Pages. With this in mind you first of all need to ensure that your web site is categorised in the correct section of Googles Index. It is really important that you understand that Google doesn t judge web sites as a whole they treat each page within your web site as a stand alone page and therefore it is important that you ensure each of your pages are optimised for phrases relevant to the content on that page. Often when your web design company or entry level search engine optimisation companies say they have optimised your web site it is the On Page Factors they are talking about, very few will actually touch Link Popularity as it is much more complicated and time consuming. It is important therefore to identify if your web design company has done the job properly and if you haven t had any optimisation work done then you need to be able to identify what is required and assess any potential third party you might engage

3 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 3 TO START WITH YOU NEED TO IDENTIFY HOW MANY PAGES GOOGLE HAS STORED IN ITS INDEX OR CACHE. To do this go to Google and type your exact web address into the search bar and do a search as normal. For the next part of this demonstration we will need to use a real web site You can see from the above screen shot that the first five results are pages from therocketfish web site whilst the sixth (highlighted in red) is a listing for Rocketfish on a third party directory. To identify the total number of pages you have stored in Googles index or cache you need to click on the link that says more results from rocketfishltd.co.uk (highlighted in green). If this link doesn t appear when you repeat this process for your web site then you are looking at the total number of pages stored (in this case it would be 5 pages). However once you click on the more results link (highlighted in green)

4 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 4 Now all the pages from your web site that are stored in Googles index appear first and as you can see with the Rocketfish web site there are 54 results (highlighted in green) which means you have 54 pages indexed. If when you do this for your own web site you have zero pages indexed then this will be the first job as it will be impossible for you to appear anywhere in Google s search results if it doesn t have any of your pages stored. If however you have many pages indexed and you still do not appear high in the search results for relevant phrases then it is because Google doesn t understand your pages properly, doesn t understand which category they should appear under or doesn t rate the page highly enough to warrant a high listing. The process of getting pages indexed in Google or improving the ranking of an already indexed page is the same however a page that is already indexed will move up the rankings faster than a page that has yet to be indexed.

5 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 5 In order to assess pages Google use a piece of software called a spider or robot which is pre programmed with criteria to look for when it lands on one of your pages. Google has multiple spiders and the first one is designed to continually trawl the internet looking for new or recently updated pages. If you can imagine going to your bank for a loan - each bank has their own credit scoring criteria (all very similar but each have their own influence) it is the same with Search Engines and spiders, Google looks for slightly different things than Yahoo who look for slightly different things than Bing and so on. Banks use a points system when credit scoring so you get points for being a house owner, more points if you have a credit card, more points if you pay on time etc. and if you hit the banks threshold you get your loan and if not your out of luck. Search Engines are very similar and so it is important to identify what criteria the Search Engines are looking for and more importantly which criteria they value more highly than others. So for example with the bank scenario if you got 60% of the required points for paying your credit cards on time and only 5% for paying your utility bills then it would make sense to always ensure your credit cards are paid. The same applies to Search Engines and so if you identify the criteria that gives you most points and ensure you do these things well it can save a lot of time and expense. Another factor that is important to understand is the value attached to each keyword. If you can imagine that there are 100 points available when Google s spider reads your web site - if you are trying to optimise your site for keywords or phrases like Cars or Finance or Mortgages then you may need to achieve 90 out of 100 to reach the first page of Google. This means you have to get absolutely everything correct when it comes to the optimisation work of every page of your site and it is likely you will only achieve success by employing a specialist or engaging a third party SEO Company. If however you are trying to optimise your web site for Long Tail keywords (covered in another of our ebook series) or phrases like Cheap New Car for Sale or Best Tracker Mortgages then you might only need to achieve 50 out of 100 and so Long Tail Phrases are not only better in terms of conversion to sale they are often easier and quicker to achieve. With this in mind in the next section we will identify some of the main criteria Google are looking for when the spider trawls your web site. This is not an exhaustive list and an SEO company might examine different criteria to improve your web sites rankings however if you are going to target Long Tail Phrases then with the following knowledge you can easily direct your web design company to achieve success. We first of all need to understand that when Google s spider reads your web site it doesn t see it as you see it, Google s spiders can t read graphics or certain software languages like Java Script or Flash, all they understand is content and code and so we should start by viewing your web site in the same way Google does.

6 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 6 Start by repeating the same process we did to see how many pages are indexed in Google by typing your exact web address into Google and executing a search as normal (we will use a real web site for this demonstration). As you can see we have executed a search for New Cars (highlighted in Blue) and one of the sites that appear on the first page is (highlighted in Red). In order to see what Google see s when it views your web site you need to move your mouse to the right of the listing and an arrow appears (highlighted in purple). This then brings up a snapshot of the page to the right and you are looking for the link that says Cached (above the snap shot highlighted in Green).

7 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 7 Once you click on the Cached link the next page that appears looks like this: You will see at the top of the page that this is a snapshot of the page that Google has stored in its Cache and the last time it reviewed the page (highlighted in Blue). To see what Google s spider see s you need to click on the link to the right of the page that says Text Only Version (highlighted in Red). This will take you to the following page:

8 As you can see this looks very different from the page displayed for public consumption. All images and graphics have been stripped out and you are left with content. Google pays a lot of attention to main headers and what you start your content off with, and as you can see there is three mentions of New Car early on in this text (highlighted in Red) S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 8

9 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 9 If we know look at a web site that is poorly built as far as this exercise is concerned: In this instance we have selected a Jewelry web site and repeated the process detailed above. We have executed a search for the web site in Google s search bar and then highlighted the arrow to the right of the listing and then clicked on Cached which has delivered this page. As in our previous example we can see when Google last looked at this page and when it was stored in it s Cache (highlighted in red). As you can see from this snap shot the web page has images and some content down the left hand side and so as far as a consumer is concerned it looks like any normal web site. However if we now click on Text only Version (highlighted in blue) we will see how Google view s it.

10 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 0 To view the code behind your web site first click onto your web page or the web page of the site you wish to assess and then either right click and in the menu that appears look for View Source or View Page Source alternatively you can go to your menu tab at the top of the page and click on the link that says View (highlighted in red) and again look for View Source or View Page Source (highlighted in green). As you can now see all the images have been removed and unfortunately any content was built into the image and so this too has been removed. All that is left is the content contained in the navigation menu (highlighted in red) and so this is what Google can see and from this Google has to decide what the page is about and where it should be in it s listings. Clearly there is no way that this page will appear anywhere related to Jewelry as it is t mentioned in any of the content that Google can see. On its own mentioning relevant keywords in the header and early on in the content will help but would not be enough to score well with Google and so the phrase or keyword also needs to appear in the code behind the page. Google gives a very high points score for keywords or phrases mentioned in the Meta Title & Meta Description, Google pays less attention to phrases appearing in the Meta Keywords however other search engines still value these and so you should still add them here as well.

11 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 1 Once you have clicked view source you will be presented with the code behind this particular page. In this particular case the web site is on the first page of Google for New & Used Cars. As you can now see the Meta Title carries the phrase New & Used Cars (highlighted in red) also the Meta Description carries the phrase New & Used Cars (highlighted in blue) and the Meta Keywords carry the phrase New & Used Cars (highlighted in green).

12 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 1 The next area that needs consideration is the structure of the content on the page which includes implementing H1, H2 & H3 Tags adding your primary keywords into the body of the content and creating the most desirable volume of content per page. CONTENT Often Search Engine Optimisation Companies will want you to re-write the content on your web site in order to appeal to Google and its spiders. I would suggest you avoid this if possible, if you have little or no content on your web site then you are going to have to add some because as far as Google is concerned content is king. In theory the more content the better however you should avoid writing your web site for Google s purpose and ensure you write your web site for your customers. If you had a web site with 1500 pages of content (look at wikipedia) and you created the right internal link structure you will do very well on Google s rankings however for most businesses the whole purpose of the web site is to generate leads, customers and sales. When most customers arrive at a web site with 1500 pages of content they very quickly become bored and move on to a more dynamic site and so whilst you might appear high in the rankings you have defeated the purpose because you are not generating sales. MAKE SURE YOUR SITE IS EXCITING AND APPEALING TO YOUR CUSTOMERS, WRITE CONTENT NATURALLY FOR YOUR CLIENTS AND JUST FOLLOW SOME SIMPLE RULES: Content should be words per page Ensure you mention the primary keywords or phrases in the body of the content Try and mention your primary keyword early on in the content and also towards the end of the content if possible Do not mention the keyword too often within the content 2-4 times is usually enough Decide which phrases you want to optimise for which page (keyword map) and then ensure the content is relevant to those phrases If you can make your primary phrases Titles (H1 tags), Headings (H2 tags) or Sub-headings (H3 Tags) this again is very useful as far as Google is concerned.

13 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 2 IN SUMMARY YOU WOULD WANT TO MAKE YOUR PRIMARY KEYWORDS OR KEY PHRASE S APPEAR IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS: Meta Title (identified by viewing code behind the page) Meta Description (identified by viewing code behind the page) Meta Keywords (identified by viewing code behind the page) H1 Tag or Main Title on your page (identified by viewing code behind the page) H2 Tag or Sub Title on your page (identified by viewing code behind the page) H3 Tag or additional Sub Title on your page (identified by viewing code behind the page) Ensure your pages are indexed within Google s listings (do an exact search for your web site address) Ensure each individual page within your web site is optimised for different phrases Ensure your content is written for your customers and is sufficient in volume and carries at least three mentions of your specified Keywords or Phrases

14 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 3 If we now look at a site that is well optimised in this way: First of all we do a search on Google for Search Engine Marketing (highlighted in red) as you can see this phrase is incredibly competitive with 98,100,000 results (highlighted in green) and you will also see that www. rocketfishltd.co.uk appears at number 2 on Google s listings (just behind wikipedia).

15 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 4 If we then look at how Google views this page (Google s Cache): As you can see from Google s view that Search Engine Marketing is mentioned at least three times very early on in the content and there is a significant amount of relevant content on the page.

16 If we then look at the code behind the page: Search Engine Marketing appears in the Meta Title (Blue), Description (Red), Keywords (Green). S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 5

17 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 6 You can purchase software that will give your site a complete analysis for On Page Factors and analyse your competitors site and then compare them side by side. A good example of this would be SEO Power Suite which looks like this: This is an example of a site overview and gives your site an overall score (highlighted in red) whilst breaking down individual keywords and phrases and generating an individual score for each (highlighted in blue). The report above breaks down each key area you need to optimise your site for i.e. Keywords, Description etc. and generates an individual score for each category

18 The report above is an example of a very specific analysis of keywords and keyword density throughout the content within your web site. S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 7

19 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 8 OTHER ON PAGE FACTORS WORTH TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION WOULD BE: Image Alt Text - If you have ever placed your mouse over an image and a little box appears with text describing the image then you know what Alt Text is - it is important that you place relevant keywords in your Alt Text however do not name an image something that it isn t for the sake of adding keywords Bold Text - shouldn t be over used but bolding text containing your keywords adds weight to it and makes it stand out as far as Google is concerned Anchor Text - getting internal pages within your site to link to the main headline pages containing primary keywords within the anchor text Site Load Time - ensuring your web site loads quickly (quicker the better) is important to Google ISP - ensuring your site is hosted with a trusted, established and respected Internet Service Provider (ISP) will again improve your google rankings Domain Registration - the longer your domain name is register the better as far as Google is concerned - register for 10 years if possible also the older your domain is the more standing it has with Google Canocalisation - over the years you may have changed your web site design many times and the old pages can still be sitting on the internet - if Google is reading these rather than your new pages it can seriously effect your position on the search engines so ensure your web design company removes them or implements redirects Site Map - it is essential that you create an html site map and get it verified with Google - a site map ensures Google understands how your site works and therfore ensures it reads every page FINALLY YOU SHOULD CREATE A STRUCTURE FOR YOUR OPTIMISATION STARTING WITH A KEYWORD MAP.

20 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 1 9 KEYWORD MAP Use Google s keyword tool, Wordtracker or Keywordspy to select a group of Long Tail Keywords best suited to your business, products and services. It is then better to group 2-4 phrases together with one generic phrase and 2-3 more longer tail phrases. An example of a grouped phrase list would be: New Cars Cheap New Cars Cheap New Cars for Sale As you can see these all relate to New Cars Another example might be: Ford Car Ford Car for Sale Ford Galaxy for Sale Cheap Ford Car for Sale These are slightly more long tail but again all relate to one main phrase i.e. Ford Car By grouping phrases in this way you can ensure the content on the page is relevant and focused to the phrases and the Meta Data for that page can contain all the target phrases without confusing Google s spiders. The more targeted and relevant the content and phrases are on each page the more chance they have of achieving high rankings. As you can see the most competitive phrases in each group (New Cars & Ford Car ) is replicated over again in each of the Longer Tail Phrases giving it more importance as far as Google s spiders are concerned.

21 S E A R C H E N G I N E O P T I M I S AT I O N - PA G E 2 0 SUMMARY On Page Optimisation is really important if you want to be on the first page of Google and the other major search engines. It accounts for about 30% of what Google is looking for when it judges your web site with Link Popularity accounting for the other 70% and so whilst it isn t the most important factor without it Google would find it impossible to categorise your pages. Identify the best keywords or phrases for your business using Google s Keyword Tool, Wordtracker or Keywordspy Good quality Long Tail Phrases improve sales conversion rates and offer quicker results Start by optimising your web site for higher profit margin products and services to generate quick wins Analyse your web site by looking at Google s cache and examining the code behind each page Create a Keyword Map for your site grouping 3-4 keywords or phrases per page Ensure your primary Keywords appear in the Meta Title, Meta Description for Google and Meta Keywords for the other search engines Content for each page should be between words and be written with your customers in mind Each page of content should contain the primary keywords which should also ideally appear in the Titles, Headers and Sub-headers

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