The Secret To Search Engine Optimization Success

Most people are not successful regarding search engine optimization because of one simple reason, which is; they do not understand search engine optimization. So today, I will tell you the secret to search engine optimization success.

If you do not understand and respect this fact, you will never be successful at search engine optimization.

When I say successful, I mean someone who can consistently achieve and maintain at least a top 20 search engine ranking for competitive keywords or keyword phrases.

I am not talking about rarely used keywords and/or keywords phrases that no one is interested in finding or searching for on a regular bases.

Frankly, almost anyone with a few SEO tips can rank well for non-competitive keywords and/or keyword phrases especially in small niche markets. However, SEO tips along will not help you very much when you are attempting to rank high for competitive keywords.

Thus, to achieve consistent success at search engine optimization, you must first learn everything you can about search engines.

You must understand intimately all the components of search engines and how these components work individually and collectively. Moreover, you must understand how search engines relate and react to websites.

This cannot be learned overnight, you will not learn this information by reading blogs, newsletters, participating in forums and/or other commonly known and used methods of acquiring basic knowledge about SEO.

The way that you learn about search engines is through finding quality information on the Internet and/or by reading books on the subject of search engines.

Don’t get me wrong, there is valuable information that you can obtain using methods such as blogs, newsletters and forums; but as I have said many times, to learn SEO you must acquire and read information that is provided in one central source that provides an overall viewpoint of the subject in a comprehensive and well written manner that is easy to read, understand and apply. This cannot be done with most methods except with books or information derived from book material in most cases.

With a well-rounded understanding of search engines, you will be equipped with a key essential for success at search engine optimization. However, you will need more than a strong knowledge concerning search engines to be successful at search engine optimization.

You must continue to add to your foundation of knowledge in relation to SEO.

Do not stop with an in-depth understanding of search engines and their components, you must take this knowledge and use it to understand how websites work structurally in relation to search engines and how using search engine optimization in unison with an understanding of search engines and websites will effect search engine rankings for keywords and keyword phrases.

Moreover, you must understand the concept of niche markets and how niche markets work in relation to SEO and search engines. Also, you must understand the importance of keywords and keyword research in your application and understanding of search engine optimization. This information along with related information will help you build an overall foundation that will serve you well as you learn and apply the principles of search engine optimization in your SEO efforts.

Now do not be overwhelmed with what I have written in this article.

Sometimes people think that a few SEO tips will be the only thing that is needed to generate a ton of traffic from search engines.

Sadly, this is not true.

Like most subjects or fields of interest, search engine optimization SEO has a vast amount of information and components that will affect your level of success. The better you are able to understand SEO and how all the related components such as search engines, websites and niche markets operate individually and collectively, the better your likelihood for success.

Remember, most people are not willing to take the time or put forth the effort needed to be successful at search engine optimization. So take advantage of the opportunity.

Put in the time and effort needed to learn all you can about search engine optimization. As you learn more in relation to SEO, you will began to see a noticeable improvement in your search engine rankings and better yet, you will begin to understand why your rankings are improving because you will understand search engine optimization at an entirely different level and viewpoint.

Start your climb up the search engine rankings. Take the time and put forth the effort to establish a solid foundation regarding search engine optimization.

Learn more about SEO today.

A Search Engine Optimization Campaign – Quick & Dirty

An effective Search Engine Optimization campaign begins by using keywords to target the subjects which you intend your web site to rank for. In order to rank in the search engine results pages (SERP’s), a web site has to have a position of relevance to the search engine for a given search term. This is usually achieved by having keyword rich content on the site that coincides with the search term that the internet user types into the search engine.

In organic, (natural) search engine optimization, there are several factors that contribute to the ranking for a search term. Each search engine provider has their own unique set of criteria that they use to determine which web site is most relevant for that specific term. The factors that are used to determine search engine rankings are then calculated by a complex search engine algorithm.

Due to the high amount of targeted customer traffic that stands to be gained by a web site that has a top-ranked position in the search engines, the search providers keep the details of the factors which make up their algorithm a closely guarded secret.

Even though the search providers are careful with the exact formula that they use to gauge the rankings of web sites, there have been several constants discovered that when applied, produce favorable results.

Keywords – Content without Keywords = Website without Traffic

Keywords are at the center of any effective search engine optimization campaign. The basic rule of thumb in search engine optimization is that content is king. So, it is important to base all the content of a web site on accurate and informative content.

The first thing to perform in an optimization campaign is keyword research. To find the search terms that are generating traffic for the topic that you want to rank for, you need to determine what the internet users are searching for. This may be accomplished by several different means however the most common way is to use a keyword selector tool.

There are several different keyword tools that may be used. The one tool that was the industry standard for quite a while was the Overture keyword selector tool which, as of January 07′, has been retired . The data in the Overture database still remains available for historical data, but is no longer being publicly updated by Yahoo!, the company that now owns the service.

There are however several other keyword tools that may be used. Some free and some available for purchase or subscription based service.

You Have to do your Homework – Keyword Research

There are few things to keep in mind before starting keyword research. The fact is that you will probably not be able to rank for a very competitive single-word search term like “money” or “cars”. For that matter, there are many two-word search terms, like “real estate”, that you will not be able to rank for either. So, in order to achieve rankings for your site with a subject like real estate, you have to look for related terms that will allow you to obtain a high position and yet not be too obscure so that you will still be attracting relevant traffic. For instance, you might try ranking for the search term “South Florida Real Estate Agency”, or “South Florida Real Estate Brokers”.

In order to determine the best search terms to use on content pages, I generally make a spreadsheet based on the topics that I feel are of most relevance.

There is an instructional Video I Created on “Search Engine Optimization Keyword Research”, over in You Tube … (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Lw1es477LI)

The research phase is generally considered a very crucial part of the campaign because if the keyword terms that you choose are not searched for by internet users or if there are too many pages indexed in the search engines for that specific search phrase, your chances of achieving decent ranking results are very low.

There are some SEO’s that suggest that every page on a web site should be based on a keyword. This strategy may produce a high amount of pages that rank well in the SERP’s. However, the other side to that is sacrificing quality and readability. It may be difficult for a potential customer to perceive a web site as an authority or as a respectable source of information, if that web site has a directory structure that appears to be nothing more than a group of phrases. Moreover, it is very important to maintain a level of simplicity in the navigation and layout of a web site so that when a visitor comes to the site they may quickly identify the areas that would be of interest to them.

If a visitor is trying to determine which link on the navigation is relevant to their search and is only provided a selection of keyword-driven entry page links, the site may elicit a response of being shallow, which could in turn damage the reputation of the site.

As a good rule of thumb, it is suggested to have at least three, and no more than ten, keyword-driven content pages for every topic that you are attempting to rank for.

More Keyword Stuff? Oh Yes! … Keyword and Keyword Phrase Usage

After you have performed your keyword research for the topics that you want to target, there are some considerations that need to be addressed before actually sitting down to start writing. One of the key concepts that many successful SEO’s tend to focus heavily on is keyword or keyword phrase density.

Keyword density is the measurement of how many times a given keyword or keyword phrase is used in the entire body of the page. For instance, if your web page contains 500 words on the page, and your keyword or keyword phrase is used 10 times, you would have a density of 2%.If the keyword density is too high, the search engine algorithm may consider the results to be search engine spamming which in worst case scenarios, can have your site banned from the search engines. If on the other hand, the keyword density is too low, the page will not rank for the search term. Seeing that there are fairly severe consequences for creating a web page with a keyword density that is too high, it is generally suggested to air on the side of caution and limit your density to “safe” levels.

Though keyword density is a very controversial subject, I have found that keyword densities are relatively safe between 3% and 6%. However, you should keep in mind that algorithms may also consider an overall density of keyword usage for the whole site as well as for individual pages. If you have ten pages that use the keyword “real estate” at a density rate of 5 %, and those pages comprise half the pages on the site, then the site ratio for that keyword just jumped to 12.5 % which is not good.* (5% x 10 pages = 50% / 2 (half the pages)) = 12.5%
Keyword density should be used primarily as a gauge to determine if you have your search term either enough, or not enough times on a page, and should only be used as a gauge.

There are many other factors that contribute to ranking and density is really just a useful tool that can assist you in creating a good balance of keyword rich content. Keyword density alone will not produce search engine rankings.

*There is no evidence which suggests that search engines are calculating results based on total web site keyword density. However, many SEO’s consider total density to be an important factor to measure.

In Real Estate – It’s Location, Location, Location – In SEO – It’s Content, Content, Content

In search engine optimization, content CAN determine your location in the search engine results pages. Web sites that have a high quantity of quality content, naturally appeal to internet users. But, it is not the quality of the content itself that contributes to rankings – it’s the keywords in the content.

Most internet users are searching for informative articles regarding the subject matter that they are searching for. So, it is only natural that if a web site contains information that the user finds authoritative and informative, they will be encouraged to have confidence in the views, opinions, and suggestions that may be implied from the content. However, if a web site has very little or poor quality content that does not express a level of confidence in the consumer, they are most likely going to return to the SERPs’ to search for information that they find confidence in.

Many people that are involved in the creation of web content have a misguided belief that if the content on the site is good, the site will rank well based solely on the quality of the content. This is simply not true. Though good content is paramount to a search engine optimization campaign, the quality of the content has little if any significance in search engine rankings. Again, the quality of the content is not what contributes to rankings – it’s the keywords in the content.

So, you may be wondering, “If content is king why doesn’t that equate to rankings?” The answer is quite simple – the search engine algorithm.
http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html

The search engines give relevance to content on a web site based on the factors in their algorithm, not the quality of the content. So to achieve rankings, it is necessary to understand what the search engine considers as relevant. Not what you or I consider as relevant.

To answer the question that’s on the fringes of your subconscious … it’s the keywords in the content.

How to Put it All Together – Web Pages for the Search Engines

In order to achieve search engine rankings for your web site, there are two things that are necessary.

First, you have to have keywords that internet users are searching for which;

  1. There are not too many pages in the search engine index for …
  2. You need to have good keyword rich content that is created following your own keyword / phrase density levels.

The third part of the process is based on creating the content in a manner that will produce effective results. One of the first matters at hand is the amount of text that should be used. I recommend keeping the length smaller and adding more pages because search engine robots have been noted as only crawling to a depth of around the first 100 – 150 words.

Personally, I write my pages anywhere between 400 and 600 words in length and sometimes a bit longer. But the basic logic here is this: The more pages that you have, the more crawlable content you have. So, the answer is to simply create more small-sized pages. Furthermore, robots seem to crawl and index lightweight pages better. So, it might be wise to keep the page size rather low by limiting the amount of words, and especially the amount of images that you use on a web page.

Note however, that there really isn’t an ideal page size because different search engines index at a varying rate of depth and page weight. For instance, Yahoo! doesn’t typically index pages that are over 200KB. Google on the other hand, finds pages that are between 500 to 550 KB as “preferable” with regards to page weight.

When creating the content there are some very important guidelines that need to be considered as well. The placement of your keywords on your web page should be at the top of the page since the prime real estate for the robots are the first one hundred words or so. I generally like to follow a self-guided rule of writing the keyword or keyword phrase with in the first two opening sentences.

After that, I follow a formatting technique which tends to elicit excellent results for me, which is:

  • Paragraph
  • Call-to-action
  • Intro-bullet list
  • Paragraph
  • Paragraph
  • Call-to-action
  • Closing

This simple format has several powerful elements that contribute to optimization here. The key to using this format successfully is the positioning of the first three elements; the paragraph, call-to-action, bullet list. The use of this combination supports:

  1. The creation of keyword or keyword phrases in the first few sentences of the opening paragraph.
  2. The ability to create keyword or keyword phrase based links in the Call-to-Action.
  3. Many more keyword linking opportunities and supporting topics in the bullet list.

Web pages that are created with this format and use relevant search terms in the bullet list have a tendency to rank for the content in the bullet list as keyword stems on the main keyword.

Oh Boy! Let’s work on In-Page Optimization

So now we come to the point where we start to look at the implications of actual HTML – web page creation. There are several key areas that are important to proceed carefully at when creating an optimization based web site. The first matter is deal with how the Meta tags are used.

There are three main Meta tags that are relative to the creation of optimized web pages.
The first, and with out a doubt the most important is the Meta Title tag. The Title tag should contain the keyword or keyword phrase and any relevant stems provided that the quantity of the entire title is within an acceptable character count. As with many areas of SEO / SEM, there are many opinions on how many characters should or should not be included in the Title tag. I normally stay between 50 to 60 characters when I am performing optimization on a site for a client. However, I will sometimes push the envelope if I am working on a site for which I am the only liable party. In short, if you use too many characters / words – the site may be penalized for “spamming” the search engines.

The next tag which I believe to be equally as important in an antecedent and consequent sort of way, is the Meta description tag. I feel that this tag is highly underrated and requires some consideration. The Meta Description tag works very much as a support to the Meta title tag and if it is created properly, can offer several opportunities to add keyword relevance and / or stems that may promote a wider marketing saturation for the keyword or keyword phrase.

For instance, let’s take a look at this example of the Meta Title tag and the Meta Description tag “in agreement” with each other:

<title>Meta Tag Optimization Services - Campaign - SEO Specialist - Consultant</title>
<meta name="description" content="Meta tag optimization services - To achieve high search engine ranking&lt;/xmp&gt;&lt;/pre&gt;&lt;pre&gt;&lt;xmp&gt;it is important to understand there are many factors which contribute to the performance of an SEO campaign. ">

At first look, it seems that this is nothing more than a simple title and description. Well, it should because it is really that simple. The Title has the keyword phrase and relevant stems trailing after it to promote a wider saturation for the main topic of the keyword phrase. Though in this example the character count is a little higher than I would recommend, the Title contains strong keyword phrase support and the description reaffirms the keywords and stems so that the phrase is stated twice and the stems are stated twice. This is a simple example of how the description tag offers a lot of opportunity to increase saturation for relevant search terms.

The next Meta tag is the center of much controversy and that is the Meta Keywords tag. The rule for this tag is quite simple – and should be closely adhered to. Only use between 10 and 12 words at the most, and the keywords that are used in the tag should be on the page that you are placing the tag on.

Lastly, but equally as important, do not use keyword stems like “keyword, keyword stuffed, keyword stuffed Meta tag”. The search engine will consider this spamming and the web site could suffer quality deductions for improper usage.

It Might Look Great – But What If Your Customers Can’t Find It?

The careful creation of web pages is a vital part in developing a web site to perform in the search engines. However, there too are other design & layout considerations that need to be followed as well. JavaScript, oversized images and Flash based templates may add a degree of dynamic presentation to a web site and be appealing to users. However, search engine spiders have difficulty indexing the code. To explain further, spiders are relatively simplistic in design and must be to be able to move swiftly through the web. A text link browser such as Lynx, portrays what a web site would look like to a search engine spider.

The most practical way to accomplish the problem with code and spiders is to place all of the files for JavaScript and images into directories and then import the files in to the page at run time.

In order to build sites that are geared toward the search engine spiders, images, JavaScript and Flash should be on pages that are either not “created for rankings” or be positioned in ways that will allow the spider to index the text-based content prior to “crawling through the code.”

Though it may be much more complicated to build a web site based on the requirements of the search engine spiders, the results can be the difference between being on the first of the search engine results pages, and being so far in the results, that the site is rarely if ever visited for the search query which the page is (presumably) attempting to rank for.

Links – The Holy Grail of SEO

One of the main factors that a search engine relies heavily upon is the density of internal and external links. The largest major search engine, Google, gauges to a large degree, the “position” of a web site based on the quality and quantity of links for the site.

Internal links should be created with keyword relevance in mind. Link text and internal links are considered to be of major importance when weighing a web site’s relevance for a keyword or keyword phrase. The basic idea here is that a keyword in a link should point to a destination URL that is relevant to the keyword or keyword phrase.

If the keyword phrase is “web developer”, the link should be pointing to a URL that has the keyword phrase “web developer” in it. If the link has “web developer” in it and is pointing to a URL that has “contact form”, your keyword strength is “draining” and the value of that keyword is thereby reduced. I feel that an analogy using electrical current explains this type of scenario quite well. If the continuity is not consistent from end to end the power is either lost, or drained out of the connection.

Another important matter regarding internal linking is the amount of links on a page. My advice is to keep links to no more than one hundred per page. If a web page contains more than one hundred links, the search engines may consider the site to be part of a link-farm or a link-exchange which may result in obtaining negative consequences for having a “bad character”, and the site may receive penalties for being in a “bad neighborhood.”

A large part of search engine optimization is based on the quality of inbound links to a web site. The relevance of the links that point to a site, and the PageRank of the site that is pointing to that site, have a great deal of importance regarding the “class” of the site that is receiving the inbound link.

For simplicity, Google has categorized web sites into “classes”, much like the model that society or Object Oriented Programming where each web site (Object or Person) holds a certain degree or position based on their attributes, and characteristics.

This somewhat describes how Google considers the character of a site. Quite simply, web site links are much like that of neighborhoods. If you have neighbors (inbound links) that hold a position of status (respectable neighbors), then Google gives your web site credit as being of status based on the company you keep. (In a good neighborhood)

If however a site has low ranking inbound links that are of little or no relevance to a web site then Google considers the links as being of a poor quality and does not give credit to the site for those links.

That Should Get You … Started

Though this is no where near everything that should go in to a comprehensive search engine optimization campaign, you should be able to get a good start from here and build up enough information to get you on your way towards ranking in the SERP’s.

For a really great resource of “FREE” stuff on SEO, check out the resources in Google’s Webmaster tools … there is a wealth of information in there that should really help you get up to speed with search engine optimization. If that doesn’t have what your looking for … just Google it!

Increase Your Business With Local Search Engine Optimization

There is an increasing awareness about Local Search Engine Optimization particularly by those having local sales outlets. Companies that were marketing certain products or services nationally or globally were understandably unconcerned about local search engine optimization. With local search engine optimization gaining in importance, a new area has been added to search engine marketing.

However, ever since local search engine optimization came to be accepted as part of industry norms, webmasters and local business owners started ways to explore this new opportunity. For web masters specializing in search engine optimization like SEO and SEM, optimizing sites for localized search queries – added another dimension to their work profile.

Local search is developing into a massive, multibillion dollar market. The yellow pages had hitherto dominated the local market ads, but search engines are now eating off their market share. Small businesses obviously have small marketing budgets and spend a sizable amount annually in Yellow Page advertisement. Market insiders predict that yellow pages will see a steady decline due to the aggressive thrust by local by search engines.

Please know that there are four different types of sites that online users may visit to gather local information:

1. Primary Web Search Engines, such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

2. Top Local Search Engines, such as Google Maps, Yahoo Local, and MSN Live Local.

3. Top online Yellow Pages, such as Superpages.com, Yellowpages.com and Switchboard.com

4. Other sites with local components.

Check out for all local news sites

With users going haywire to such a wide array of sites to obtain local info, it can be baffling to figure out where to focus efforts for gaining maximum customer attention.

It is indeed a good idea to check out the local newspaper sites of your area. It is a fact that more and more people have switched from reading print newspapers to online sources, and the newspapers readership for ads is dwindling. Some local news sites include guides or yellow pages of businesses on their site, so make sure you are seen there as well.

The key thing to remember is that there are a variety of online sites from which users are obtaining local information. There is also the fact that many consumers are keen to know with whom they are talking business online. They would certainly be happy to visit the local business outlet or at least feel satisfied that the business place is accessible locally. Even though we are in the midst of free market economy, people are psychologically at ease when having their business dealings with the local merchants.

Achieving local Search Engine Optimization

The question arises – how does one achieve local search engine optimization? Just like any SEO process creating relevant and compelling content is absolutely crucial. Well-written text aimed at drawing the attention of the local buyers and proper local keyword density are the necessary factors for good local search engine optimization. It is only to be expected that the majority of users trying to locate local information will be going to the traditional web search engines first, as a matter of habit.

When a user begins a search for local info through the regular web search engine, there is a possibility that they may find your web site if you have imaginative content which matches their keyword search. So, your first step is producing the right content of your site in order to stand a chance to match these keyword searches. Your business website must contain text that would match the locality parameters. Assuming you are a small business owner, have your full business address clearly displayed on your site’s homepage, in the HTML text. If you happen to be a company with national presence, there should be a page for each of your local outlets and each outlet’s full address should be clearly displayed in the HTML text.

One important aspect in keyword research is to bear in mind there are many local colloquialisms across the country. Different people might be searching for the same thing, but entering two totally different search words. Localized keyword research is much tougher than what it may appear to be.

Inbound linking are indeed crucial – for instance, if you are a member of a Chamber of Commerce or any similar local business association, you can have them link to your site at a nominal or no cost. Inbound links like these can be an assured gateway to increased targeted traffic. This should be done without prejudice to traditional link building. Being a member of the local chamber can provide you with a bit more promotion sometimes, and you should be found in the chamber’s directory

Over the years, people have resorted to all types of methods – both ethical and unethical -to achieve high local search results. Earlier, the Meta Keywords tags were working fine till spam adult and gambling sites began competing. Besides, search engines were also capable of easy manipulation.

After studying various trends, Google introduced a geographic box at the top of its search results, tying it into its mapping feature. When it was first introduced, the engine would display three results at the top of its search results whenever somebody entered a geographic modifier into the search box. After the initial trial, Google found that its users appreciate this feature. The engine has now been further developed to display ten local search results, provided you have a geographic modifier attached.

There are of course many resources on the Internet if you are looking for local search engine optimization. But the question is – do many companies that cater to a national or international clientele really benefit from local search optimization? The answer strangely is in the affirmative.

It is evident many customers prefer to deal local contacts, even if their business is national or even global. There is no denying that it feels more comfortable to have a personal meeting than dialing an 800 number. Again, if you are a business owner with multiple locations spread across many cities and each serving a different function, you can certainly benefit from local search engine optimization.

As a final comment, make sure your business information is available in the online directories, remember to put your address info on your website for the search engine bots, and see you are listed with the secondary local info sites. These simple steps will guarantee that you have done your bit for local SEO.

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