David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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

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Propeller’s Funeral is OldDogg’s Baptism

Sep 30, 2010 - filed under bookmarking, social media, zoomit canada 3 Comments
 

Tomorrow we will celebrate a funeral and a baptism of sorts.  OK, perhaps “celebrating” a funeral is not the best choice of words, but today is Propeller‘s last day.  (But “celebration” is a great word for OldDogg‘s baptism!)  If you’ve been around social media for only the past couple years, you might be asking, “What is Propeller?”  and “What is the big deal”.

FIRST, the funeral…

propellerOnce upon a time, Netscape – remember Netscape, the most popular Web browser in the world until Bill Gates got it in his sights? – set up a social bookmarking service to rival Digg and Reddit.  It began to grow and looked like it might be a contender, until Netscape itself began to wither away.

Eventually, when there was not much left of Netscape, with its last dying breath (OK, it didn’t quite die, just sort of whimpered into limbo), Netscape sold its social bookmarking service to AOL.  Yay, a big, successful company to revive the still thriving but pretty-much-orphaned site.

AOL took immediate action.  It creating new branding for the site under the name of Propeller.  It gave light.  It gave hope.  It gave a spare corner of a dusty old closet in the basement.

Oops.

That was 2007, and ever since, Propeller has slowly been withering away.  Just a year ago, it would still take at least 12 votes on  bad day for a story to make the front page.  A few months ago, we started seeing  stories make the front page with a single vote.  In the past couple months, it was rare for a story to need more than one or two votes to make the front page.

Propeller was dead, but still it walked on.  Or crawled.  And tomorrow the euthenasiaists finally do their dirty work and put the zombie out of its misery.

THEN, a baptism…

olddoggjpgFor those diehard Propeller loyalists and for others seeking a place to go, a new social bookmarking website was born – OldDogg.

The “others” I am referring to are most specifically refugees form “New Digg”.  A month ago, Digg resolutely decided to ignore the lessons of Coca Cola, and launched a new version whose main intent was to pull the rug out from under the 20%-or-so of its most loyal and regular users, its very heart and soul….and give it to Big-time publishers.  

Suddenly, there was a significant group of passionate social bookmarking fans in search of a place to go.  Overnight – literally – Phil Mitchell in his UK home office (a 12 foot by 12 foot room with two monitors and a 3.5ghz 4gb ram computer) put up a brand new social bookmarking website called OldDogg.  If that was not impressive enough, for his next act he wooed the Digg refugees over.

Let’s be clear.  Old Dogg was basically a Pligg clone with some new skin.  It was – and still is – no Digg.  And many disgruntled Diggers are returning to Digg.  But Phil laboured away, coding faster than the speed of Tiger Woods at a sorority party, and the site has really come together since those early days just a month ago. 

olddogggraph
In the first 25 days the site had clocked up over 27,000 votes and 1,500 comments.

  • Diggers who are returning to Digg don’t seem to be leaving OldDogg.  At least for now, they are keeping one foot on each site.
  • Every day, OldDogg is getting new members from pretty much all over the place.
  • Over the past week I have seen a significant Propeller diaspora showing up.
  • I should note that I see a healthy dose of my Mixx friends on OldDogg, too.

Born one month ago, it’s time to hold a baptism and say that here we have both a refuge for fed up Diggers and a homeland for lost Propellerheads (sorry).

What does the future hold for OldDogg?  It is hard to say.  It all depends on whether Phil can make it scalable.  I had given him this advice: “There are always a gazillion ways 2 improve (everything Digg used to have, I guess), but right now IMHO you need more non-power-users first.”

He seems to be doing just that, and the timing of Propeller’s funeral is a stroke of luck for OldDogg, as it has added a very active group  members.  But with more members comes the need for more complex coding (I can’t follow what my friends submit , as I can on Mixx and used to be able to on Propeller and Digg, for example).  And Phil Mitchell will need to assemble a team that is bigger than just Phil Mitchell.

These are more than the ramblings of an uneducated observer.  Unlike Phil’s instant success, I have been running Zoomit.ca totally on my spare time (exactly!), and I don’t do PHP coding (so I have to empty my pockets to make upgrades).  With time and money both in short supply, I’ve been doing a slow motion version of what he has done with OldDogg (but watch in the next couple weeks for some exciting upgrades to Zoomit.ca, too!).

From what I have seen over the past month, Phil is probably up to the task.  Keep your eyes on OldDogg; I predict it’s here to stay.

SEOthropology 101

Jun 26, 2010 - filed under linking 5 Comments
 

A lot of SEO specialists and webmasters frequently check their link partners for those elusive missing links. We call them “SEOthropologists”.

 

Publish this SEO cartoon on your website or blog


Pros and cons of country-specific domains

May 21, 2010 - filed under domain, multilingual SEO 3 Comments
 

Many times I have seen questions posted at forums similar to…”I want to sell to these three countries.  Should I set up a domain in each country, or should I just have a different section of my website for each language?”

I know this might seem obvious, but often it is not: language and country are not the same thing.  Spanish is spoken in many countries.  English is, too.  Canada has two official languages.  There are two languages in the USA, too, even if the second one is not official.  The point being, you cannot segregate nationality on your website by language; you can segregate it only by country.

How you approach a multi-national, multilingual market will depend on a number of factors:

  • Languages you can serve them in
  • Countries you can ship to
  • Countries you wish to target
  • Currencies you can accept
  • Whether you can appear local enough that a country-specific website will appear credible
  • Whether you want to manage multiple websites.
  • Which countries you are marketing to (read on to see what a difference this can make)

This post addresses strictly the aspects related to country domains, such as .ca for Canada or .es for Spain.

How search engines view country-specific domains

I recently wrote a guest post on whether to adopt a .ca domain for a Canadian website.  I provided examples of the advantage a .ca domain has with Google.ca rankings beyond where it would rank at Google.com.  A country-specific doain is likely the clearest signal you can send the search engines that your website relates to a specific country. There is no question that for many searches, a country-specific domain helps reach searchers in a local market.

How people view country-specific domains

Does that mean you should set up a domains with .fr, .de, .ca, .co.uk, etc. for every country you serve?  That could be an effective strategy, but there are obviously drawbacks, too.  From an SEO perspective, it is probably worth your while to have a country-specific domain for any major market. But SEO isn’t everything.  You really need to know your market and how you plan to promote your domain.  In Canada, for instance, word-of-mouth traffic, including people who hear a domain on the radio, will tend to type .com even if they hear .ca .  This even happens sometimes when they see a URL in print.  Canadians are so accustomed to websites beginning with “www” and ending with “.com”.

Not so in Europe, where people expect to see their own country domain.  In fact, in many countries the domain tells them whether they are likely to be able to read the website – whether it is even worth visiting.  For instance, wander a little around Budapest and observe how many website URLs are advertised – every one a .hu domain.

Beyond language, consider the alternative to a country-specific domain, that being every country and/or every language on a single .com site.  (Here is where it is wise to consider which markets you are addressing.)

In Latin America, .com means “international”.  There is a certain trust level that comes from dealing with a big international company that in many countries would be seen as above the local corruption.  .com is not the way to go if you wish to appear local.

In Europe, .com is very often seen as “American”.  And in Europe, that generally isn’t good.  A site likely will have a lower trust level, given the American image of being out for a fast buck.

And as I said earlier, in Canada .com is simply seen as the default for a website, just as it is in the USA.

There is no simple answer whether to choose .com or a series of country-specific domains.  Like so many things in running a business, there are many factors to consider and the final decision can be no more than a guess.  But with the information above, at least it will be an educated guess.

Four unique social bookmarking gems

May 14, 2010 - filed under marketing 4 Comments
 

Once again, we’ve improved The Bookmarketer by adding four very unique social bookmarking gems: BizSugar, MMO, Tipbo and Kirtsy.

TheBookmarketer is a blogger’s best friend, making it easy for readers to spread the word about blog posts they like.  Two lines of code posted into the template for single posts, and they have instant access to post a link and recommendation to your blog on 75 websites.  In addition to popular social bookmarking websites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Mixx and Delicious, your blog posts can now be easily added to these four new social bookmarking gems.

bizsugarbannerjpj

BizSugar is a vibrant community of bloggers and others who share blog posts and news stories related to small business and sales.  They typically share stories related to managing a small business or freelance operation, marketing both online and off, human resources, motivation and more.  One thing that makes this a vibrant community is that submitters don’t just sub and run;  many take the time to look at others’ submissions, vote and comment.  Only small business related articles.

mmobanner

MMO is a young community of mostly bloggers interested in sharing tips and stories related to making money online.  Although fairly new, it is quite vibrant and for that reason has been added to The Bookmarketer.  As with BizSugar, what makes this already a vibrant community is how submitters don’t do hit-and-run submissions;  they take the time to review, vote and comment on other people’s submissions, too.  Only articles or posts related to working online, please.

tipbobanner

Tipbo is a unique social bookmarking service.  Although it does not cover a single niche – you can submit articles about knitting, hockey, dental fillings, closing a sale, or the best way to pickle and iguana brain – it accepts only one type of article: tips and advice.  So news articles, stories, biographies, funny videos and images are all out. 

kirtsy

Kirtsy is also a somewhat unique social bookmarking service.  Although it accepts the full range of topics and in pretty much any form, you don’t have to be a member to vote (although only members can submit items and leave comments).  And there is no voting button.  A simple click on the title is all that is needed to vote.  In many ways, this makes it a must-use service for bloggers who can share the submission via Twitter or FaceBook.

And I should not miss an opportunity to remind you that if your blog is Canadian, you really should be submitting posts also to http://www.Zoomit.ca (and voting for other good submissions while you are there).

White Paper – why small business needs SEO

Apr 07, 2010 - filed under marketing 8 Comments
 

Believe it or not there are still some businesses – no, make that many small businesses – that have not yet grasped the importance of SEO to their profitability online.

For that reason, we have put together a white paper on why small business needs SEO.  In fact, we have taken it one step further and explained how small business can benefit from “holistic SEO”.

But don’t worry, it’s an easy read, just 10 pages with lots of graphs and charts.

To download your own copy: Why SEO?  Holistic SEO: Indispensible for your website

Contest: The Mixx baby is napping

Apr 01, 2010 - filed under bookmarking, social media 1 Comment
 

This being April Fool’s Day, you might be expecting me to post some kind of prank or hoax.  I don’t have a prank for you, but it might be time for a “fun” post, which hasn’t happened on this blog since Bugs Bunny came to visit a year ago.

I was recently trying to submit something to Mixx, but I kept getting that napping baby screen. 

mixxnapping

After a while, I thought to myself, “Hey, this Mixx baby has been napping for quite a while.”  And sure enough, when I looked at the photo, I discovered that it had been napping for quite a while.  Have you ever seen a fuller diaper?

So today, I am running a photo caption contest.  Who can come up with the best caption for this photo.  I suggest you post your entry here and also at Mixx .

The rules:

  1. There are no rules. 
  2. The winner will be chosen totally arbitrarily based on how I feel when I choose a winner, the alignment of the stars and the percentage of starfish in the Indian Ocean who say they prefer honey to jam on their toast.
  3. There is no deadline.  At some point, probably after the Easter recess, I’ll pick a winner.

The prize:

One Mixx submission.  I will submit something for you to Mixx, assuming you have something interesting (again, my arbitrary decision).  There are no guarantees implied with this prize.

With so much on the line, I hope you’ll come up with some creative and unique captions.

You can easily share this post by clicking on reTWEET this.

Comradez for social bookmarking

Mar 08, 2010 - filed under bookmarking, social media Comments Off on Comradez for social bookmarking
 

Comradez for social bookmarking

If you plan to promote your website and it’s great content through social bookmarking and other social media, you probably fall into two camps:

  1. You submit every blog post and every article to each of 5, 10, 20 or more social bookmarking websites.  Then you leave…and show up the next time to repeat the process.  If so, you typically get a single vote (your own), driving no traffic and creating negligible ripples in the search engine rankings.
  2. You submit your own content, you make friends and submit their content, you vote for and comment on others’ submissions and become an active member of the community.  If your content is good and you are a consistent friend to others, you are probably building a following and incrementally increasing your traffic.  You are also probably gaining a lot of reasonably valuable links for the search engines to include in their ranking of your website.

comradezIf you fit into the latter category, there is a fairly new service available that will help you reach a wider audience: Comradez.net.

 

Comradez is a social community of people who want to boost exposure to their submissions at various social bookmarking websites.  It works on what I call a non-binding reciprocity basis, which I like.

  • Reciprocity, because if you ask people to vote up your submissions, you are expected to do the same for others.
  • Non-binding, because nobody is checking who votes for whose submissions, so you are free to vote for the ones you like and not to vote for those you don’t. (Sorry, if I think the submission is crap, I don’t vote for it).

People are organized into groups.  For instance, if you join the StumbleUpon group, you can ask folks to ThumbsUp your blog post or article.  In the Digg group, you can ask people to digg your submission.  This is just one more way to reach other serious users of the same social bookmarking service, and expand the number of votes your submission is likely to get.  Remember that success in most things is a matter of having good substance and letting people know about it.

A few tips on how to use Comradez.

  1. Fill in your complete profile.  This is the kind of place where people check you out to see what other opportunities there might be for collaborations.  Those opportunities might be guest blog post, submitting your content for you, link exchange, joint venture, etc.
  2. Give first.  Like every social website, the number 1 rule is give first, then ask.  If you are about to ask for a Mixx or a Reddit, check out other people’s Mixx or Reddit requests.  Remember that you don’t have to vote for something you truly don’t like.  And you shouldn’t.  Trading votes is in fact against the terms of service of most of these websites.
  3. When you post a request for support, tell us what the title and/or topic is.  Why?  Because if I see a few dozen requests in several groups I belong to, and four of them give me an idea what they are before I click, I am more likely to click on them and ignore the other 20 requests.  It’s a pretty well-proven principle that “click here” (or in this case “please Digg”) is much less effective than giving people a reason to click.  See samples below.
  4. Make sure to thank the people who mentioned that they supported you.  This is networking, and in all such situations people like to be appreciated.
  5. If you are worried about getting banned on Digg or any other service, you will be comforted to know that all links posted links Comradez automatically convert to bit.ly links. This includes diggbar and su.pr links.  So all the social bookmarking site sees as a referrer is a bit.ly link. You can also delete your post after members finished voting it, if you wish
comradezgood

comradezbad

 

Comradez should not be your only tool to expand your exposure.  Most social bookmarking websites have internal share tools, so you can share with the network you build up.  You should also use Twitter and/or FaceBook.  You should also make it easy for people to vote for your content right from your blog or article pages (We offer a free tool to make this easy: TheBookmarketer).  Comradez is a handy service that should also be part of the mix.

SEO FAQ – Answers to your SEO questions

Feb 24, 2010 - filed under rankings, SEO, SEO scams 2 Comments
 

I don’t usually participate in memes, but this SEO FAQ meme interests me… and I hope it will interest you.  By way of introduction this SEO FAQ: 30+ SEO questions you always wanted an answer to was started by Berlin-based SEO specialist, Tad Chef.  He has challenged at least 10 other SEO specialists to create FAQs that will outrank “fake” SEO FAQs for the search term SEO FAQ.

 

So without further ado, here are the 31 questions he proposed, with my answers inserted:

 

  1. What does SEO stand for? Usually it stands for Search Engine Optimization, but it is often used also for Search Engine Optimizer.  This can get somewhat confusing – an SEO who practices SEO – so I prefer to call SEOs “SEO specialists”.  (Not “SEO experts”, but that’s another rant for another day.)
  2.  

  3. What is SEO? I define SEO as the combination of steps that lead to improved (higher) rankings in the search engines’ organic (non-paid) listings.
  4.  

  5. Is SEO spam, bullshit, dead etc.? No, but if you expect it to be science, you will likely think it is all of the above.  SEO is much more sport than science – multiple players competing for specific, limited rankings for each keyword.  Think about all the goes into a sports champion – drive, training, strength, agility, equipment, discipline, player size, nutrition, coaching, funding, concentration, massage therapy…  Neither the team that wins the Stanley Cup nor the athlete who brings home the gold medal for diving is tops for all these factors.  The champion is the one that assembles the best combination.  No matter how well you and your competitors do SEO, there will always be ten websites in the top ten.  No matter how poorly  you and your competitors do SEO, there will always be ten websites in the top ten.   Somebody will always be tops – in tennis, in boxing, in bowling and in SEO; you just have to be better than each of your opponents.  
  6.  bikebowling

    SEO is a sport.  Just like bowling, only less dangerous.

  7. Why aren’t we #1 or on page 1 at Google? Because somebody else is.  Read the answer to Question #3 above.
  8.  

  9. Why am I on #1 all the time but when my wife searches for me she doesn’t find me? Often people searching from different computers are sending different geographic data to the search engines (such as a different location for a person’s home and workplace ISP).  Or there are elements of personal search enabled.  Or your wife lives in a different time zone.
  10.  

  11. When will we see results? You start a new softball team with all rookies, no equipment, no training, no funding, no discipline, no muscles and no massage therapist.  Then you hire an experienced coach (an SEO specialist).  How long does it take to win the championship?  I have found many clients want to know exactly when they will achieve a certain position, and then they will own it.  Just as the team that stops playing baseball will fall in the standings, so too the website that stops doing SEO will fall in the rankings.
  12.  

  13. Can we rank for iPhones? Yes.  You can rank at least 2,112,888 for iphones at most search engines with very little effort.  If you want to rank #1 for iphones, you will need:
  14.  

    – lots of money

    – lots of time

    – lots of strategy

     

    Why?  Please read the answer to Question #3 again.

     

  15. Can we rank for everything (huge list of keywords)? Yes, some countries take home Olympic medals in a wide variety of sports.  But most countries take home medals in just a few sports where they have chosen to concentrate.  In the land of Internet, deciding how big a country you are – or can realistically be – is an important strategic decision.  Indeed, if you hire an SEO specialist, he should be able to help you make that call.  Just remember, the more searches you want to rank for, and the more competitive those searches are, the deeper pockets you will need.
  16.  

  17. How much does SEO cost?  How much does a baseball coach cost?  The little league team down by the park pays their coach with a big High Five after every game.  Rumor has it the New York Mets pay theirs slightly more.  It all depends on what you are competing against, how determined or entrenched your competitors are, and how good an SEO specialist you wish to hire.
  18.  

  19. Why is SEO so expensive? It’s not.  SEO is an investment that earns you money.  But if you plan to invest just $200/month in SEO, don’t expect to see any ROI during your lifetime.
  20.  

  21. How long does it take to get indexed by Google? Just a few minutes, but really the practical answer is that it doesn’t matter.
  22.  

  23. How to submit my new site to Google/Bing/Yahoo etc.?  I can’t answer any better than Tad did in the original meme post: “You don’t submit sites to search engines these days. You link to them from already indexed sites, you ping them via blog posts and or you submit an XML sitemap.”
  24.  

  25. How do I submit to 1000 search engines? By allowing yourself to get sucked in by a scammer.  It’s actually quite easy, and really quite painless because they only fleece you for a small amount and you learn such a valuable lesson.
  26.  

  27. Do I need an XML sitemap? Most sites do not.  Generally, only sites with thousands of pages spread multiple levels deep really need them.
  28.  

  29. Do I need meta tags for SEO? Meta tags have nothing to do with SEO, unless you need to instruct the search engines not to index or to follow a certain page (which is better done via a robots.txt file). Meta tags are still a good idea  (to increase click-through rates, to get listed in some directories, etc.), but they are not a requirement for SEO.
  30.  

  31. Do I need a high PageRank for SEO? The tighter the competition for your searches, the more important every factor is, including a high PageRank and the size of your site (I added site size for the benefit of visitors from Question 27).  Please reread the answer to Question #3. PageRank is one factor, probably a fairly important one, but there are many others that are extremely important, too.  (Related post on why PR0 links are sometimes worthwhile)
  32.  

  33. What is linkbait? It is any content you put on your site in the hopes that some other websites will link to it.  Interesting history about this.  The proper name for it is “magnetic content”, a name I gave to it before someone more famous than me started calling it link-bait and now I won’t get the movie rights.
  34.  

  35. Can’t my niece who is a graphic designer do the SEO? Absolutely.  Why just last week I asked my brother-in-law, the plumber, to flush out my arteries.
  36.  

  37. Can’t my nephew who is a web developer do the SEO? Absolutely.  Why just last week I asked my brother-in-law, the plumber, to flush out my arteries.
  38.  

  39. Can my son-in-law who is a Perl, Java and C programmer do my SEO? You really are not getting this, right?  SEO is a specialty that requires both planning in advance and judgment calls on the fly.  I have seen situations where any of these people have made unfortunate judgment calls that have gotten websites banned from Google or Yahoo because they thought they knew SEO (In fact, they did know SEO, or at least 20% or 30% of it, and a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.).
  40.  

  41. Why should I outsource my SEO? It’s pretty much a full-time job to keep up on the changing landscape of the web.  Outsourcing or having a dedicated in-house team are your best two options.
  42.  

  43. Can’t I just use WordPress plus plugins for SEO? Can’t I just buy good hockey equipment for my team?  Please, please reread Question #3..
  44.  

  45. Does Google hate SEO?  I like Tad’s answer in the original meme post, so this is what he said: “No, Google even offers SEO advice and a plethora of SEO tools itself. It’s an ages old myth that Google fight SEOs. In fact the Google employees and SEO practitioners speak at the same conferences and work together as business partners. Most SEO companies are big clients of Google as they also buy PPC ads from Google.”
  46.  

  47. Does SEO mean optimization for search engines spiders not humans? First, what Tad said: “Some people still assume that SEO is used to please search bots only. Most reputable SEO experts advocate search engine optimization for users.” Next, let me add that an important part of SEO these days is drumming up interest in your content so that you get talked about on blogs and in social media (and in offline media).  While speaking to the search engines’ algorithms is crucial, you ignore human beings at your peril.  You might also want to refer to my SEO thesaurus post.
  48.  

  49. Is buying links, hidden text, IP delivery etc. black hat SEO? I consider them all black hat, except buying links.  I very rarely recommend purchasing a link, partly because the “purchase” is in fact a rental.  And partly because the search engines frown on it, which is a bone I have to pick with the search engines (but that’s another rant for another day).
  50.  

  51. Is black hat SEO legal? Yes.  So are evil-looking smiles and teensy-weensy fine print.  I don’t practice black hat SEO because I value my clients’ long-term welfare, but it’s not illegal.
  52.  

  53. Does site size matter? Yes.  See the answer to Question 16 for elaboration.
  54.  

  55. Do domain extensions (top level domains  like .com, co.uk) matter? For the most part, I do not believe TLDs make a difference.  But if your business targets the clientele of a certain country, they do.  I have a number of Canadian clients, and having a .ca TLD makes a big difference ranking at Google.ca .  TLD matters even more for increasing your click-through rate. If you plan to serve Hungarians, you had better have a .hu TLD, or you won’t get anyone to even click on your site.  In Latin America, .com often says “impressive and credible International website”; in Europe .com often says ‘Yuck, an American site.”
  56.  

  57. Do nofollow links count? Yes, they count less than DoFollow links because they don’t pass on PageRank.  PageRank is something, but it is not everything.  Please refer to the answer to Question 16 and also to this NoFollow/DoFollow post.
  58.  

  59. Do you offer PageRank optimization, search engine submission, meta tag optimization? No.  Why not re-read the answer to Question 13?
  60.  

  61. Is blog commenting for SEO spam? This has been debated widely and bloggers are all over the map on this.  On my blog, I look almost exclusively at the quality of the comment and what it adds to the conversation.  Only if the comment is borderline will I consider whether the name makes the comment spammyish or not (So John Block has a better chance of having his comment approved than John the Florida Villas Guy, but if he makes a really great contribution to the discussion, John the Florida Villas Guy is welcome here) .

 

One final note…if others in this meme wish to link to this page, please do so and let me know, so I can also link back to your answers and connect the meme participants.  SEO is not a science, so there are certainly many items where different specialists will offer different strategies and therefore different answers to a number of these questions.

Target Paying Keywords to Maximize Your Online Sales

Feb 17, 2010 - filed under keywords, website conversion Comments Off on Target Paying Keywords to Maximize Your Online Sales
 

Guest post by Alan Mater

Whether you own an e-commerce website or you’re promoting other people’s products as an affiliate, only one thing matters, and that’s making sales. In order to get sales you need to attract buying customers. This can present a challenge for smaller businesses and internet entrepreneurs trying to capatalize on the trillions of dollars spent every year online.

So how exactly do you attract buying customers? The answer is by targeting paying keywords.

Paying keywords are simply keywords that people type into a search engine when they’re looking to buy something. I don’t believe there’s any official name for these types of keywords, but I like to call them “paying” keywords because we can get paid when the people searching for these keywords land on our website.

These people are wanting to spend money on whatever it is they’re looking for, and there are certain keywords that are associated with this type of behavior. Essentially, all keywords are paying keywords; however, some keywords have a much higher probability that the person will actually buy.

Luckily for us, determining which keywords have a higher chance of being paying keywords isn’t a guessing game. Microsoft has been generous enough to provide a nifty tool for us that we can use to find these types of keywords. They call it Detecting Online Commerical Intention. Heres a video to help better explain this online activity and how you can exploit it in your marketing efforts…



To save you some time, simply Click Here to be taken straight to the keyword tool that I show in the video.

By now you should have a better understanding of what keywords you should be targeting and how to find them. Remember to use these keywords throughout your marketing efforts to attract buying customers and generate more sales.

For more internet marketing tips, advice and work from home resources, visit Alan Mater’s Work From Home Blog.

How much HTML does an SEO need to know?

Feb 09, 2010 - filed under SEO, web design 33 Comments
 

Today’s post is based on this great question from an SEO beginner…

Would you agree with the notion that you must know how to build websites before knowing how to implement SEO techniques? I’m currently able to edit title, meta, and link tags, but only through a WYSYWYG editor. I’d like to move away from that in time. I know SEO’s know some programming or a strong grasp of it, so how much should one know? Does having the knowledge of a programmer help you down the road? What’s your opinion?

It’s a good question.  With so many web designers and web programmers offering SEO services to their clients, it does make you wonder what the relationship is between SEO and HTML (and other aspects of programming).  Here is what I responded, quickly on the fly…

Some knowledge is absolutely necessary – enough to give instructions to the webmaster.  For instance, not to change the <h1> tag to <h3> to reduce the font size, but to control font size via CSS, for example.  But I don’t think an SEO needs to be a programmer.  The more you know, the more helpful, of course.  I taught myself HTML before I knew about SEO, but I am certainly not a programmer. 

Of course, many clients don’t have a webmaster.  Many times they want to just hand the website over to you and make it rank well.  Those times, you better know your HTML, at least well enough to make changes to the site code. Other times you are working in a CMS that doesn’t even let you get to the HTML.  Grrr.

I put the question to a few SEO colleagues I respect and converse with on Twitter.  Here are some of the views they hold on this topic…

Dean Cruddace ( @seobegin ) says…

My short answer is yes, an seo with a working knowledge of html and a basic understanding of other coding languages will dissect problematic sites quicker.

My reasoning: SEO’s of varying levels will work with a variety of CMS’s from basic coding in notepad through to enterprise level content management systems, understanding exactly, or at least to a good level what each one delivers is in my opinion an important factor. Over time you become accustomed to reading html and in time you can get straight to nuisance code or you can amend by hand those individual tags, classes or calls so much quicker when you have a working knowledge of html.

Grosen Friis ( @GrosenFriis ) says…

Yes I think SEOs need to know HTML, SEOs cannot just know a bit about titles and linkbuilding.

SEO’s that do not know HTML cannot:

– detect all types of indexing barriers
– detect duplicate content properly
– do PageRank sculpting

Most importantly, SEOs that do not know HTML may find different technical SEO problems on a website, but they will seldom be able to come up with technical solutions to fix them.

It’s like going to a garage with your car for service and the mechanic says “Your car needs more than service, it has problem A, B and C, but sorry, I do not know how to repair them”

Emory Rowland ( @clickfire ) says…

Yes! If you’re afraid to look under the hood, you’ll have to depend on Roadside Service when your engine stalls.

Sean Everett ( @seanmeverett ) says…

Yes, the better you are in the language of the web,the  more efficient & organized the code will be, which Google gives you credit for (maybe!)

Martin Bowling ( @martinbowling ) says…

I think an SEO must at least have a basic understanding of SEO; but I think being able to put together a site from scratch or modify existing HTML is a major plus. Ensuring that a site is coded in the proper way can really help with the sites indexing and ultimately it’s rankings. It’s not a must; but it’s a great weapon to have.

Melanie Nathan ( @melanienathan ) says… 

I believe a SEO needs to understand HTML, but not speak it fluently. They should be familiar with all parts of a website & know enough… in order to instruct a developer/designer on what to do/not do. Besides that, many SEOs deal with CMSs which often don’t…. let you alter any HTML. As a SEO, I only know enough HTML to get by and it hasn’t hindered my abilities – in any way – thus far.

Donna Fontenot ( @donnafontenot ) says…  

Only if the SEO wants to do the job properly! Indexing problems? Look at the code! Optimizing images? ALT attributes are HTML code. etc etc. 

Patricia Skinner ( @ISpeakSEO ) says…  

I have observed that there are some SEOs around who don’t know HTML. In my opinion they can’t possibly perform all the tasks included in a comprehensive SEO campaign without at least a smattering of HTML.
 
I am aware that there has been hot debate about the subject.  My view comes somewhere between the two extremes of opinion expressed here.
 
I’m not saying that you need to be a developer, but you do need to know enough to find your way around the back end of a web page.
 
You need to be able to optimize <title> tags, <alt> tags and more. If you can’t read HTML how can you look at the source code to identify potential or real problems?
 
How can you check, install or remove redirects? How can you check, add to or even remove links that could be damaging?
 
If I were a potential SEO client I would not be at all attracted to hiring an SEO who admitted they couldn’t read the ‘language’ that the Web is built on, basically.

Todd Mintz ( @toddmintz ) says…  

Absolutely…troubleshooting code is a major part of SEO and if you can’t do this, you aren’t offering full value to your clients.

Lee Odden ( @leeodden ) says…  

SEO and HTML is like a Surgeon and a scalpel. HTML is one of many, essential tools SEOs need to know to gain a competitive advantage.

Dan Patterson ( @dan_patterson ) says…  

Between all the tags and elements like canonical, h tags, nofollow, etc. you need to know enough HTML to make the right changes to a site.  I don’t think you have to be an expert HTML coder, but you need to know HTML.

Geral Weber ( @the_gman ) says…   

Simple answer: Yes SEO’s need to know at the very least basic html. There are some aspects of SEO that cannot be done without basic html skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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