Achieving an SEO Friendly Website Design

 seo friendly website design

SEO Friendly Web Design

When you’re building your site, you’re probably worried about things like user interfaces, interactivity plugins (who doesn’t love Disqus?) and pretty color schemes that keep eyeballs on the page and help with conversions. But in our quest for eye candy, we forget the most obvious component to a successful website: SEO friendly code. You want your site to be as SEO friendly as possible, and the best way to accomplish this is to pick a CMS (content management systems like Joomla or WordPress) that is DESIGNED from the ground up for easy indexability by search engines.

Is Your Site an Information Farm or Silo?

When we think of farms, everything is spread out to give other plots of land room; when you store all your information in a single spot, you’re doing something called “siloing”. Think about it this way, would you rather hunt and peck to find the information you need on a website, or would you rather have it all in one place? SEO friendly web coding means a search engine crawling your site can find everything all in one place, and you’ll get a lot better rankings this way. Make sure from the onset that your website uses an easy categories system and the pages are easy to find (home, about us, etc. tabs at the top or on the side linked on the front page and every page). A silo is a funnel, and if information is easy for a search engine to find, visitors will be able to find you that much faster.

Code Matters

How the website is coded matters; avoid flash at all costs. Flash might look great, but you won’t be doing your SEO efforts any favours. If you have interactive elements on your site, be sure to use HTML5 and Java/AJAX so you’ll get the benefits of search engines indexing your site as well as a better user experience for visitors looking at your site on tablets and mobile devices. Make sure your site is using strict HTML, CSS and XML with a validator, so you don’t have to worry later about invalid code. Valid compliant code (W3C compliance) makes search engines happy and gives your users the best experience.

Finding the Right CMS

Choosing the right CMS for you is important for your SEO efforts and there are many different ones to choose from. While you might be tempted to go for something more obscure, your best bet is one of the more popular options. WordPress gives you the ability to extend it out into infinity, with plugins for every purpose and great themes that you can easily make your own. It’s built to please search engines and acts as the Silo that you need to get indexed properly. You can’t afford a PR 0 (useless site) for your first six months, so make sure you do it right the first time! Other popular CMS options include Joomla, Drupal and PHPnuke; all of these have their advantages and disadvantages, so do your research before you settle on the right one for you!

Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve an SEO friendly website!

 

Understanding the Google Panda Update

Google Panda Update

The Quick Dirty Guide to Understanding the Google Panda Update

The Panda update is quite simply Google’s latest update to its very secretive algorithm which relates to how a website gets ranked by search giant. After the update, many people saw drops in their site traffic and page rank, but it doesn’t have to stay this way. There are ways to rebuild your reputation and figure out how to fix this! Here I’m going to show you everything you need to know about the latest update to Google’s algorithm as well as everything you need to know about SEO (search engine optimization) to move around its edges.

Why Did Google Make the Change?

Google implemented the first change, user reviews of sites, to see how much of the sites they were indexing and rating as high page rank sites were actually just gaming the system for SEO purposes. It turned out that an overwhelming amount of high PR sites were just manipulating loopholes in Google’s page rank system for their own search engine optimization benefit. They started working to correct the problem, and then we got the Panda Update. It’s only logical that they fixed the holes running in their system, if people can’t find trustworthy results with Google they’ll migrate to other search engines like Bing or Yahoo.

How Does Panda Change the SEO Game?

  • Panda Score

In addition to the Page Rank score we all had to suffer through before, now you get to obsess over your Panda SEO Score too! This uses metrics like LSI and true relevancy to determine where you really place in the rankings.

  • Penalties

If you’re caught backlink spamming, article spamming and spamming in general, it’ll hurt your Panda score and push you down in the search results. This could include having thousands of links on a single site like Ezinearticles, or putting too much effort into one area of SEO or a single keyword instead of trying to build organic SEO rankings from a variety of sources online.

Is Your Site in Danger of Being Affected?

A surprising number of top tier sites like Fortune.com and even Sony have been slapped with Page Rank penalties from Google for their violations of the new Panda SEO rules. You’ll be able to see how this affects their rating pretty fast; anything from duplicate content to bad backlinks and little tricks that used to bring up your SEO ranking can mess with your place in the SERPs. If you’ve seen your site slip, start checking for duplicate content or bad backlinks; go analyze who your inbound links are coming from and if they’re poor quality make sure you remove them.

One of the best ways to make sure you don’t have to worry about any new tweaks in the system is to only employ white hat SEO techniques.  These will keep you safe from any of the pitfalls of using cheap tricks that just don’t work anymore. Pay attention to where you’re advertising, where you’re linking from, and what kind of content you’re putting out. Great content that informs and entertains will give you the best relevancy SEO rating, so don’t cheap out!

Now you know how the Panda update works and the first steps you can take to avoid problems with the new arcane policies. Add value to everything you put out online and you’ll never be a victim of Panda!

Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your SEO rankings organically, naturally and most importantly ethically! That is the only way to ensure stable SEO ranking results for years to come.

5 Crucial SEO Mistakes You MUST Avoid

 seo mistakes

Let’s be honest, SEO services are already tough enough to get your head around without having everyone else tell you what you should and shouldn’t do! In this article, I’m simply going to tell you what you shouldn’t do. Contact us today to find out what you SHOULD be doing! 

 

The 5 Pillars of SEO Mistakes:

Pillar 1 - Your Purpose For Writing Content Is To Feed The Search Engines:

Whilst making sure your pages are search engine optimized for certain keywords is important, many times people will follow this too strictly and end up with a page that doesn’t read well for users. What this means is that your bounce rate (bounce rate is when people leave your site without looking at other pages) will increase considerably, lowering the amount of user interaction you first hoped for, and at the same time decrease your rankings with the search engines.

What people commonly don’t know is that many search engines now take into consideration the bounce rate of a site to work out its usefulness. The higher it is, the less useful your site must be, and therefore the lower the rankings will be. By writing content that both satisfies the search engines and user, you’re more likely to have higher seo rankings with more user interaction (A WIN-WIN situation)!

 

Pillar 2Copying Content From Other Sites Word For Word:

Another common misconception is that if you have tons of pages on your website, you’ll in turn get more traffic from all the long-tail keywords within your article! Since creating new pages with new content takes a while, a lot of people turn to scraping other people’s sites to fill their website with content.

What they eventually find is that their content doesn’t bring in any new traffic, and that’s because search engines like Google already have a copy of the content listed in their seo rankings, so any subsequent pieces will be left to dwindle in the supplemental index. Copying content will rarely, if ever help your search engine optimization, and is usually frowned upon!

However, there is a right and wrong way to do it. Unfortunately, this goes beyond the scope of this article.

 

Pillar 3Creating Links Too Quickly or Spamming Low Quality Links

This issue usually comes up in the form of: “My site is no longer indexed” or “My site has dropped considerably in seo rankings, what did I do wrong”?

Usually the problem will be that they either built too many links too quickly, or they created links that come from pages that aren’t relevant to the content on their website.

Whilst link building is essential to gaining high seo rankings on the search engines, doing it the wrong way can have negative affects on your rankings. You can avoid this by building up your link portfolio slowly (increasing the rate at which you gain them as your site ages), and by creating them on pages that are relevant in content.

So if I have a page on dog grooming, a relevant link would be from a page that talks about dog grooming brushes. The content is relevant and therefore the link is relevant! Backlinks from websites that are considered low-quality and spammy also carry negative SEO effects.

 

Pillar 4Not Putting Enough Emphasis On On-Page Optimization

I see it time and time again, people focusing too much on marketing their website pages and not enough time search engine optimizing them. Many times all a page will need is a bit of on-page tweaking to climb the rankings. Optimizing a page takes no longer than 10 minutes and is well worth the effort in return for getting better rankings.

You can better optimize your pages by adding headlines with your keywords, including your keyword where possible within your content and changing your image alt tags to your keywords!

 

Pillar 5Not Taking Advantage Of Anchor Text Links

Many times people will use terms such as “Click Here”, “Article” and “Page” as ways to link to other internal pages. By doing this you are missing out on extra SEO points those links could be passing off to other pages by giving your links more relevant and descriptive text. These links tell the search engines what the page being linked too is about, and you should take every chance you get to use your keywords as a link to your other pages!  Like this one: Visit our SEO services page today!

What is White Hat SEO?

white hat seo

Everyone wants to be number one in their niche, but no one (except the most diabolical marketers) wants to spam their potential customers. White hat SEO gives you the option to be honest and open with the way you market yourself online, but gives you the maximum return. Here we’ll talk about what white hat SEO is, how to do it the right way, and of course why black hat SEO is bad and why you need to avoid it.

What isn’t White Hat SEO?

To understand what it is, you need to know what it’s not. First, SEO, by its very definition, is gaming the system of how search engines index the most relevant information for searches. This can be done with keyword densities (repeating the word a certain amount of times per 100 words) to get indexed better, or it can be done with LSI (latent search indexing) terms that people would look for your site in relation to.

All of these things can be done “white hat”, but many times they’re abused and twisted towards the grey and black hat SEO techniques that you’ll find on a LOT of websites that have been banned by Google.

What Google Doesn’t Like

These are the things that will get you flagged:

  • Link Trickery like hidden links, using link farms to build up your Page Rank (using content farms or link exchanges that Google thinks are spammy) and get traffic. Forced clicks and invisible windows will only get you in trouble too, so don’t do it!
  • Keyword stuffing, or going beyond the 5% max density limit is not a good idea; it’ll get you banned from the top search engines and then no one will find your content.
  • Redirecting Pages and Sneaky Advertising; if you have redirecting ads like CPAlinks or force people on to another page, you’ll be removed from Google. There’s just no good way to go about it, and there’s no need for you to employ redirecting tactics to get people to your site with a good white hat SEO plan.
  • Blog Spam and Plagiarized Content; Google indexes ORIGINAL and INFORMATIVE content, this means you can’t take something from someone else’s page and claim it as your own, even if you think it will add to your site. “Blog Spam” is notorious for just being straight up stolen content

What is White Hat SEO?

White hat SEO gives you all of the benefits of your traditional SEO, without having to worry about the hammer coming down on your site from black hat or grey hat methods. Methods of white hat SEO include guest blogging on sites like your own, article marketing with different directories, press releases that get your name out there, and of course blog and forum comments that convert users into customers. You can spread the world through social networking to people who are actually interested in your product or service, and grow your business to its full potential. A single one of these methods won’t make your business an overnight success, but used in concert you’ll get results that black hat methods just can’t get! Build trust and confidence with your readers and customers using white hat SEO, and they’ll do your advertising for you!

Finding the Right SEO Consultant

seo success

Finding the right SEO consultant for your business can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to be the best marketer online to make sure that your business is successful, but you do need to make sure you have someone at the helm of your online marketing strategy who knows how to get your site to the top of the rankings ethically and without employing blackhat tricks. The best thing any business owner can do is to establish their online presence in all the right places, and the right SEO consultant will help!

How Much Experience Do They Have?

When you’re looking for an SEO consultant, you want to make sure they actually have the experience that you need to be successful online. Sure, we all want to give the new guy on the block a chance (and take advantage of the first time customer discount), but do you really want to have to pay for their mistakes and lack of experience with your online reputation? Don’t gamble, make sure you use a seasoned professional who knows how to get the job done the first time!

Satisfied Customers

Satisfied customers are the hallmark of any great marketer, and most will have testimonials or former clients that you can contact to learn more about what they did for their companies. If they can’t provide you with people to talk to, ask for online metrics; how much did sales and page views increase after they provided services? Did they help them establish an online presence in places like LinkedIn, Google Places and other spots online where customers would be able to find them? These are questions you have to ask to make sure you’re dealing with a seasoned professional who can bring your business to the next level online.

Finding the Right SEO consultant

The best SEO consultant is going to have an understanding of what your business, product or service offers and the right way to market it. You’ll be able to talk to former clients, verify their experience and find them online. They’ll answer your questions and help you understand what you need to do find your online customers and keep them.

Why You Need Organic SEO Growth

organic seo

Growing your site with organic natural SEO is the best way to go, no matter how much the urge to become an overnight success pulls at you. The search engines set the rules in such a way to keep people from just creating a website and writing a bunch of posts at one time from getting to the top of the rankings for a reason! You will need to establish a real online presence and provide value over time to get the organic SEO that will catapult you to the top of the search pages, but how do you build organic natural SEO, and what is natural SEO?

What is Organic SEO?

The first step to marketing yourself or your business with organic SEO is to create content worth reading. When you provide people with value and incentive, you’ll be able to lead them to your website without a lot of online marketing ninja skills. Keywords are important, because keywords are what people use to find you and your site. Always make sure you tell people something new and informative, or they won’t keep reading more.

Why Choose Organic SEO?

Until recently people were using massive amounts of article spam, unethical backlinking techniques and other shady SEO methods to bring up their page rank. This added no value to the online experience of users, and Google got tired of it; they introduced something known now as the “Panda Update”. Panda nixed tons of article spam and link spam sites that had no value in searches, so that kind of way of doing business is virtually over. Organic SEO for your website will give it the staying power to survive the test of time, and bring you’re the visitors you need.

How to Implement Organic SEO for Your Site

Like I mentioned earlier, you’re going to want to create good conversational content that helps people learn something new and along their way. We’ve all stumbled across those sites who look like they have something to offer when you see the result in Google, but when you get there it’s just jumbled garbage; you won’t stay on that page for very long and neither will the readers of your website if you do the same.

You can also implement article marketing, where you create high quality informative articles and post them to different networks to bring people back to your site. You can trade links with other people in your niche to bring up your SEO organically, and marketing on social media networks to help spread your links naturally through likes and shares.

Organic SEO is the natural choice if you want to build your online presence right now and keep it in the future. You don’t have to employ cheap tricks that might have worked before the Panda update, when you can build your SEO campaign around the right ways of marketing yourself online. Grow big naturally and ethically with organic SEO.

Build Trust with Ethical SEO

ethical seo

The most important thing a marketer can do to promote themselves online is to bring value to their customers and to be honest. Value comes from bringing information, ideas and products that people desperately need to grow their own business or improve their lives, and honesty comes from how you get your information out into the wild. Take a look at the world’s most successful online service: Google; they give every user a vital service and a great experience without compromising on honesty (Do no evil).

But how can you avoid black hat marketing tactics and still be successful? We’ve all stumbled across that website on Google that had a high ranking page but horribly written information and links to affiliate pages plastered all over it; do you really want to be that site? Employing a shady SEO companies techniques to get eyeballs on the page works for a little while, but who is going to stay on the page and keep coming back for more?

Do No Evil

Like Google, you have to strive to do no evil. But what does that mean?

  • Don’t spam

You don’t have to spam people with emails, bad backlinks and other useless junk that won’t attract new customers or convert readers into buyers. There is a better way! After almost 20 years of mainstream internet usage, people won’t respond to unethical tricks to get them in the door anymore. 

  • Create useful content

Creating useful content that provides value and a little entertainment is a big part of the success puzzle. How many times have you stayed on a website reading for hours because you just wanted to learn more? You can create content just like that! Your website and the articles that link to you can be entertaining and informative and make people want to learn more about what you’re offering. You don’t need to use shifty advertising techniques when white hat options will do!

  • Advertise Wisely

When you advertise, you want to make sure you’re doing it right. A good company will be able to help you identify what niche blogs and websites will bring you the best conversions (readers who become customers) and the greatest exposure. Using your advertising budget more wisely will help you avoid the pitfalls of black hat SEO and get everything you need from your SEO.

Honesty in Advertising

When you’re dealing with others online, honesty truly is the best policy. Look at Sony for example; a few years ago they created an online campaign to sell consoles with a fake blogger pretending she needed to get her brother a PS3 for Christmas. People eventually figured it out and they became extremely angry with Sony and boycotted their products. Why should you risk this kind of backlash when you can get the same results with the right techniques?

When you’re formulating your SEO strategy, you want to take advantage of all the ways you can interact with your customers honestly; word of mouth spreads fast and a bad reputation can ruin your business for years to come!

Why SEO is Important for Small Businesses

seo for small business

Why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important for small businesses

I hear it all the time: “SEO is dead”, “It’s too difficult now”, “it’s fixed!” or my favourite comment: “It’s highly overrated and serves no purpose in the business world”. All misguided comments made by those who either don’t know what it’s all about, or have experienced negative results with SEO, either because their SEO specialists promised the world and did not deliver, or because they took a swing at it themselves and fell face first at their first attempt. It’s not completely your fault, and I don’t blame you for coming to those conclusions.

SEO can be a very profitable avenue, it just has to be approached in the right way. Do you know of another marketing strategy that delivers customers day in, day out, at no cost, everyday of the week like clockwork? I didn’t think so.

If you’re really interested in succeeding, or taking your business to the next level then you NEED to know this. If you choose otherwise, then that’s ok too, because myself and those who do choose to take on SEO will continue to take that share of the market for ourselves (and trust me, there are millions to be had with SEO alone!)

“Alright enough teasing, give me some facts!”. As you wish:

1. Only 15% of Business Owners See SEO as an Important Strategy

2. A Whooping 60% of Business Owners (or Marketers) do not Currently Invest in SEO

3. 23% of Them Are Even Unsure What SEO IS!

4. Up to 70% of Business Owners Have No Plans to Include SEO In The Next 12 MONTHS!

Are you starting to see the benefits of doing SEO? Most of your competitors probably fall under point 2, 3 and 4. That’s a huge gap that you can fill within your market! Better yet, once you establish an online presence, you’re then more likely to dominate the offline arena as more and more prospective buyers begin to recognise your brand both online and offline.

I mean, who do you think your customers are going to buy from if they see your brand both online and offline, as opposed to just your competitors which they only see every so often offline. As you can already see, SEO is a proven worthwhile Marketing Method with no upfront costs. It’s something you can teach yourself to do and requires only the cost of time. For something that once established can bring you daily customers without so much as any costs, do you think it’s worthwhile? Because I do.

Having said that, I’m going to continue with EVEN more reasons to invest tremendously into SEO:

You’re a Drop In The Ocean, Learn to MAKE a huge SPLASH!

The first call of order to establishing your presence online is not making a website like many would have you believe. Yes, having a website does help but without a plan in place how do you plan on bringing customers to your website? And no, referring people from your business cards, ads or word of mouth do not count. I’m talking about complete hands-off marketing. One that markets your business every day, hour, minute and second of the week once it is established. Sounds powerful right? That’s because it is!

So for that reason, we have to get it right the first time! Having said that, a website is of upmost importance and you simply can’t succeed without one! Where else do you expect your customers to order from? Thin air? If only. Have you ever heard the term “publish or perish”, well you’d better “Webofy or wither”.

As you first start of online you’re only a tiny droplet in this large ocean we call the internet, and as such you need to put a plan in place to be begin collectively building up your droplets into something large enough to make a splash when it hits! Or without using a metaphor, you need to know what keywords you’ll be aiming for and on what pages in order to organize what you’ll be doing to rank for those keywords on the search engines.

Because in the end all it boils down to is ranking for the terms you wish to aim for, and the way we do that is by planning and doing our best to tell the search engines what our web pages are about and what we’d like them to rank for! (Get this wrong and you’re wasting your time!)

SEO Is Not Only A Geeks Game! (It’s actually much simpler than you think)

Another misconception is the idea that SEO is this technical sequence of tasks reserved only for the techies employed at companies like Amazon, Ebay and Google. This reason alone puts a lot of business owners off and again it just boils down to them being unsure of what Search Engine Optimization actually is!

Search Engine Optimization in its simplest form is telling the search engines what keywords we would like to rank for. We do this by using those keywords throughout the pages we’d like to rank for those keywords. This can be done by including them in your paragraphs, as headings, naming our images as our keywords and so forth.

This is every business owners favourite dream! A method that can market their business every second of every day for the cost of nothing! And I’m not exaggerating either! If you’re willing to spend a few hours learning to properly SEO your website, the reward will pay you back tenfold, for as long as the internet exists!

So there you have it, a ton of good reasons why not doing SEO is hurting your business and leaving money on the table. The longer you leave it, the more likely your competitors are to begin doing it and then it’ll be too late! Don’t make that mistake, ACT NOW!

Organic SEO vs Google Adwords

seo vs adwords

The following is an introduction of the 2 ways to improve your ranking in Google.

Google Adwords:

Google adwords are the ‘pay per click’ sponsored ads shown at the top of the organic listings and off to the right. This is a great way to achieve instant page rank and is often a more economical solution than optimizing your site to rank high in the organic listings.

The way it works is, you select the keywords that you would like your company to show up under in google. If one of your keywords is ‘Toronto Construction’, then you will appear in the sponsored ads, when that is typed into google.

You can also geo-code adwords to only show your ads for people searching in the GTA, Ontario, Canada, US, North America etc… This ensures that people outside of your market aren’t clicking on your links and costing you money.

Adwords works like an auction. You bid a certain amount to appear higher on the list of sponsored searches. To rank in the top 3, it will normally cost between $.20-$2.00 depending on the popularity of your keywords.

Google adwords can be set up immediately, and will guarantee your companies visibility for any search terms you desire.

Organic SEO Ranking:

Organic SEO ranking, refers to the sites that appear on google without the aid of google adwords. Gaining an organic ranking on Google is a sometimes long process that requires many elements to be optimized in order to appear at the top of the list for your chosen keywords.

Simply having a site with your specific keywords embedded multiple times within, or adding meta tags to your html code, does not guarantee a good ranking in today’s competitive google environment.

The most powerful tool used currently to enhance page ranking is ‘backlinking’ to other ‘reputable’ sites that are related to the keywords you would like to focus on.  This is a time consuming and often difficult process. It is also something that must be tweaked periodically to ensure the rank status. 

For a keyword like ‘Bob Smiths Plumbing’, it is very easy to achieve a top ranking on Google, since there are only a handful of sites out there with those keywords within them.  However, if you would like to rank in the top 3 in google for a keyword such as ‘Construction’, then this will be much more difficult, since there are literally hundreds of thousands of sites out there which employ those keywords.

Organic SEO ranking is something that cannot be guaranteed or achieved instantaneously.  In fact, google uses a patented algorithm with over 160 different aspects that affect how page results are ordered.  Taking time to tweak all of these aspects is not an option for most companies/people.

I would be happy to discuss your options for organic SEO ranking and to learn of the keywords you are looking to optimize.  This option can be more expensive than Google in the beginning, however, once you gain page rank, all the page clicks you receive are free of charge, and you will certainly gain more click throughs.

Also, you can contact us today for your FREE SEO Report, which will analyze your major keywords and competition!