David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

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Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

My Top SEO Blog Posts of 2008

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Just for fun, I went back through 2008 to see if I could narrow down the top 10 best blog posts I published during the year. It’s amazing how much writing a person can do in one year. I looked for those posts that are the most substantial and useful, and hopefully will stand the test of time.

It was not easy to choose just ten, but the following are my top 10 picks, in reverse order by date:

1. Bounce Rate SEO Fallacies
Regular readers might be getting tired of hearing from me on this topic by now, so I will simply say that this story already continues in two posts I have made in the past 24 hours, and this post spurred a debate at Sphinn

2. Website Optimization for Telephone Leads
This post is one that fills a pretty unique niche. In fact, I don’t think I have seen a handful of blog posts or articles in my life linking SEO and telephone leads. This is a very practical how-to post.

3. You Need Sucky Links
I get tired of all the emphasis on PageRank and how some website owners try to avoid getting sucky links. I don’t mean links from really bad neighborhoods, just low quality links that don’t count for much. But these are pretty important, nonetheless. Read the post to find out why.

4. Offline Links Count, Too
Folks in the online world tend to forget that there is a real world out there, and “links” in the real world can do wonders for one’s business.

5. Earlybird Link-building
File this one under “advanced SEO tactics”. Why wait until your website is completely developed and launched to start building your links? Give the search engines a taste of what will be on your site before it actually is. This is another how-to post, which drew a pretty good discussion.

6. How to get More Value from Your SEO Consultant
This is the one “SEO business” post I selected for the top 10 of 2008. It is important not to lose site of the client-consultant relationship.

7. New Google Rank-check Tool Is Released
Call the title a spoof or a prank, but topic is some seriously good advice for the search engines.

8. Why Blogs Are Good for SEO
Prospective clients almost always get this piece of free advice: “Get a blog.” This is one post that I expect to be just as valid in 2012 as it is today … and that’s an eternity in SEO.

9. Yahoo Violating Nofollow Attribute
I chose this post because it seems even truer today than it did back then. In fact, just prior to Christmas, I found several new batches of “nofollow” backlinks showing up in Yahoo. It might be that PageRank is not passed along through “nofollow” links, but I am pretty sure they count for quite a bit. Although best practice is to make sure I get nofollow-free links for my clients, I jump at good nofollow links, too.

10. Link Exchanges: It’s Not the Size of the PR but How You Use It
If you love that pesky little green bar on the Google Toolbar, don’t read this post; it will only irritate you. For newbies, a welcome to a sneak peak at how this SEO specialist evaluates possible link exchanges.

So that’s it. A whole year of SEO advice condensed into a single post. If you like any of these posts, please Sphinn them or Digg them of Mixx them or Stumble them so that others might enjoy them, too.

Happy 2009!

 


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Sticky SEO e-Book released

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

After a month of working on it, and at least a month of technical delays, I have finally released Sticky SEO. This groundbreaking SEO guide will help you get prepared for the wave of algorithm changes that will sweep a lot of websites right under the rug.

Yup, a storm is coming and some websites will thrive while others crumble to dust.  It’s all about user metrics and what I call the “Usefulness Algorithm”. Sticky SEO is the answer, and this is the first eBook to give useful strategies and practical tips on how to be one of the websites that will thrive.

I should note that Sticky SEO really is not like any other SEO book.  If you find this blog post searching for “SEO book” or SEO eBook “, and are expecting the same SEO 101, you won’t find it here.  Sticky SEO doesn’t include any of that stuff.  It’s all good – don’t stop adding relevant content and building link after link after link to your site – but this is a different, more exciting story.  This is for website owners who want to pump up their profits today and power up their rankings for tomorrow.

Here is the link:
http://www.seo-writer.com/books/sticky-seo.html

 


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SEO Tips for Affiliates

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Guest post by John Lamerton… 

Affiliate marketing refers to internet based marketing, where a business offers rewards for others directing traffic to their website. This may take a number of different forms, including the omnipresent advertising banner, text links and, in the case of less scrupulous advertisers, spam and adware. The vast majority of affiliate marketing is legitimate and can be extremely lucrative.

Affiliate marketing can also be very successful for the merchants themselves. Indeed the industry is increasingly taking the place of conventional online and offline marketing. Greatly improving a brand`s visibility, offering a reasonable and stable price for marketing, affiliate marketing is relatively easy to establish and appropriate for companies of all sizes.

Search engine optimisation – or SEO – has become a considerable industry in itself, and is the subject of much discussion. There are various techniques available which may maximise a website`s chances of appearing in search engine results, and ensure that those directed to the site are of a good quality. The golden rule is that in the world of SEO content is king. Without a considerable quantity of good quality and relevant content a website can only progress so far. In terms of the structure of this content, the most obvious place to start is in giving consideration to the titles used. Titles should contain important keywords, as they feature highest in search engine results. Use a description of the service being offered, rather than a simple name, otherwise there is a risk of losing traffic.

The body of texts should again focus on important keywords and phrases, ensuring the most likely variations of words or phrases are given hearing. Content should be relatively accessible, with no unnecessary jargon, simple ideas expressed simply, in short sentences and paragraphs. Subheadings often work well, but steer clear of lists where possible. Account for potential spelling mistakes, and use metatags – the code as `seen` by the search engine robots – to its fullest effect to better explain the content and focus of the page in question to the search engines. Also ensure that target phrases are emphasised in bold or strong tags a couple of times and that keyword density for each phrase is around 2-4%. Keep the spread of target phrases on any given page to a clear and narrow focus. Also ensure that you use the heading tags H1 and H2 and that your content is a minimum of 300 words in length – ideally between 500 and 1000 words or so per page.

Links on a website tend to improve rankings, as do links from other websites. In an ideal world these sites should themselves have good rankings with Google, so don`t be afraid to contact relevant sites in order to exchange links. Ideally offer third parties something of value in return for a link and try to link out from and gain links in from content pages rather than links pages or directories as the latter seem to be carrying less and less weight. Most importantly, ensure that your link partners are relevant for your audience and that they are linking to you using your preferred anchor text (search term).

Choose the style of affiliate marketing which is best suited, and don`t assume banner ads will work best. Banners are no longer as effective as they were, and the focus has tended to shift to content, as people increasingly search for quality writing as opposed to garish flashing banners.

Also research the options regarding Pay Per Click (PPC) and other affiliate marketing models, as their suitability varies between industries. With a little investment of time in finding the right affiliates and model for each particular case, affiliate marketing and extending into the world of content affiliates can work for many a business.

 


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Effect of a Domain Name on SEO

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

What is the effect of a domain name on SEO?

Over at the High Rankings Forum, where I like to hang out when I have the time, this debate has burst forth (again!).   It began exactly two weeks ago, and Jill Whalen, the forum’s owner, rekindled the spark by choosing it as the thread of the month in her newsletter. 

On the one side, there are people who quite ardently and categorically believe that the domain name has no effect on rankings.  Zero.  Zilch.  No way.

On the other side, there are people who swear that a domain name can make all the difference.  All the way.

And there are of course, those (like me) who think the whole things is fairly non categorical and that domain names play an uncertain role.

Catch the debate here.

My suggestion for an experiment here, if anyone has more time than I to run a real-life test or two.

 


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BrowseRank Strategies – Quality Web Site Design

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

A few days ago I reported on how BrowseRank goes beyond PageRank to rank websites according to user behavior.  Modern search engines tend to rank websites by relevancy and importance, and of course their algorithms can be gamed.  The concept of BrowseRank, which I have been mentioning to clients already for two years, would add a third and almost more important measurement – usefulness.  This, too, can be gamed.  However, most of the gaming would also work to your visitor’s advantage, so the Web will be a better place for it. 

In preparation for BrowseRank and perhaps other search engine measures of website usefulness, this is the first in a series of posts that will help you make your website appear useful in the eyes of the search engines.  You will probably find that these are things you should be doing anyway to increase conversions and profits, but that is not my area of expertise, so here we will look at them from an SEO perspective.

STRATEGY #1 – Design a website that says “Quality” the minute a visitor lands there.

This might seem soooooo obvious, but it needs to be said.  As obvious as it might seem, I come daily across dozens of websites that say “Amateur” or “Crap”.  Here are a few tips to make your website look like a professional website that can be trusted.

  1. Get a professional design that looks at least somewhat modern and in a style that suits your products and target audience.
  2. Lose the square corners.  Some corners are OK, but if your design is based on boxes, it looks like a basement job.
  3. No Adsense-type ads.  Yuck! Honestly, that is the biggest sign of a low-quality website.  A run of Adsense across the bottom is not bad, but the more prominent the PPC ads the cheaper the site appears.  By the way, ads are OK.  The more they look like content or part of the website, the better.  Adsense style ads just look cheap.
  4. Keep it clean.  Clutter looks as bad on a website as it looks here on my desk.  (But I don’t have a webcam to display this disaster to the world, so don’t display a mess on your website!)
  5. Make sure your web pages look good in various browsers and in various screen resolutions.  If 70% of people see a superb website and the other 30% see garbled images and text, they will bounce back to the search engine … which tells the engine that your website is not very useful (and it isn’t if it can’t easily be read by 30% of searchers).
  6. Make sure your website is available, which means good hosting.  I am never shy about recommending Phastnet web hosting.  This blog is hosted there and I have been migrating my sites to them over the years because of the five-star service I get when I need it.
  7. Make sure your code is working properly.  Seeing a PHP error makes the site look broken.  I don’t buy from someone who might be selling me broken goods.
  8. Avoid overly flashy design.  If your visuals call attention to themselves and distract from your message, you will lose people.
  9. Avoid automatic audio playing.  I can guarantee you that 99% of people browsing from a cubicle, as well as others in shared space, will zip back to the search engine in no time flat.  That sends a pretty bad signal to the search engines.
  10. Nix the cover page, especially one that shows a slide show on start-up.  And if you think people can easily scroll to the bottom to click the “skip intro”, it’s easier still to click the “back” button and choose a new website that does not place a barrier to its visitors.

Those are my top 10 web design tips for helping visitors see quality in your website.  Please feel free to add to this list in the comments below. Following these tips is not enough to make them stay on your website, but at least they won’t leave because the design scares them away.  In future “episodes”, I will share with you some additional strategies to help the search engines view your website as “useful”.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that we have some top quality SEO web designers on our team.  :-) 

 


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SEO Secret – how to get more value from your SEO consultant

Friday, August 29th, 2008

One of our SEO clients is getting more than her money’s worth.  In fact, I should be charging her gobs more money than I am, but she is getting a whole lot extra work for free. 

How does she do it?  Am I a sucker?  Maybe I am, but there is a method to her madness, even if she does not know it.

You see, the biggest complaint from professional SEO consultants is that clients do not follow up on their recommendations.  A company might pay anywhere form $1000 to $50,000 for an SEO consultant to review their website and make recommendations, ready to follow up with additional action, but… but… but…nothing happens.  In one survey of SEOs, 60% were frustrated by lack of follow-up by the client.  This not only wastes the company’s consulting dollars, but it often prevents the SEO consultant from doing anything further to advance the company’s rankings.

My client, the one I mentioned above, is just the opposite.  She eagerly seeks out information and I swear she passes what we call in French “nuits blanches” (look it up) following through and coming back with more questions, ideas and follow-through.  It makes her project exciting and, yes, she gets more out of me than she is paying for.

You know that old adage “You get out of life what you put in”?  It works for SEO consultants, too…at least those who get passionate about what they are doing.  So my question for anyone reading this who plans to hire an SEO consultant, are you passionate about your website?  Will you get your SEO consultant to be just as passionate about it?

 


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SEO definitions

Friday, June 27th, 2008

If you are new to SEO, you might be flabbergasted by all the definitions. For instance, just what is a 3-way link exchange? To me, it is a futile attempt by some webmasters to pretend they are smarter than both the algorithm engineers at Google and Google’s awesome computing power. Speaking of algorithm, do you know what that is?

I have found a great resource for SEO newbies that explains these and many more SEO terms in very simple, straightforward language. Check out the simple SEO definitions here.

 


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Importance of Deep Linking

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

I like how Peter Lee of Work From Home Business Blog explains the benefits of deep linking:

those that go directly to a site’s internal pages and are quite different from your normal generic links. They specifically relate to user’s goals and objective in business and therefore enhances usability, which can double your sales on average.

He goes on to explain what to do to make that deep-linked page a good landing page for the whole website, including the name of the website, and easy click to the home page and an accessible search box to find anything else on the website. This makes every page is a window to the entire website.

Here is where to read more about this deep link strategy. Don’t let the dancing bananas throw you; the post is meaty indeed.

 


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LinkedIn for SEO

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

In addition to being a great website for networking and reputation management, LinkedIn can also serve as a valuable SEO asset. Your profile allows 3 links to your websites. Use them. A few tips for making your profile rank better within LinkedIn, and most likely with external search engines, too.

  • Complete your profile to 100%
  • Join some groups
  • Build a large contact list
  • Recommend your contacts
  • Ask your friends to recommend you
  • When commenting on blogs, make your LinkedIn profile sometimes the URL for your comment

This is also a great way to create a very credible page that will rank well for your name, including great positive recommendations in your favor. See more about this in my post on SEO tactics for reputation management.

You can view my profile at LinkedIn: David Leonhardt. Note, I am only connecting to people I actually know and have worked with.

 


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Reputation Management – more than just SEO

Friday, May 16th, 2008

A couple days ago I blogged about SEO for reputation management.  Today, as I was reading Kimberly Bock’s blog, I was reminded by her It All Comes Out In The Wash post of all the work that goes into protecting one’s reputation before it ever gets to the point where an SEO defense is needed. 

Reputation management starts with communicating your values and sticking to them.  It means being the reputation you want to have.  If you want to be seen as a square dealer, you have to be one.  If you want to be known for excellence, you better have excellence.  SEO is a protection against the odd fool who will strike as the good and the bad alike.

 


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