Search Engine Optimization:

October 18, 2005

SEO Web Site Templates

There are many sites on the Internet that sell web site templates. Web templates can be a cost-effective way to start a web site if you are not a web designer. Many of the web templates out there are not very well optimized for search engine optimization, however. Hiring an SEO consultant to optimize a web template would cost much more that the web template itself.

It is for these reasons that I have started a site dedicated to providing SEO Web Site Templates. I have only posted 3 templates so far, but more will follow soon. The templates, which are very similar to each other, have been specified and designed with the primary objective of being optimized for SEO. Based current SEO best practices, the layout and HTML structure are optimal for search engine rankings. Of course, you still have to fill them with good content and build links to your site -- but with a solid SEO-optimized web site template, you can be off to a great start. For more information, click here

By the way, if you like the idea but you don't find a template that meets your needs, let me know. I am open to suggestions as to general and specific "themes" for future templates.

October 7, 2005

eBook on Blogging and SEO

I have started writing an eBook about blogging and SEO. "Start a Blog, Quit Your Job" is still in BETA, and I will be posted small sections of it as I complete them. In the first part of the book, I share my story about how starting a blog set me on a path towards starting a successful web business, eventually quitting my job. It is just one example of what can be accomplished when the power of SEO and blogs are combined. The second part of the book will be a step by step guide for applying the techniques and strategies that I have used, that anyone can follow to boost web traffic and rankings, and parlay that into a money-making business.

While in BETA, the eBook will be freely available in web format. Please help me out and tell me what you think. Any feedback (including pointing out typos and errors) is greatly appreciated. The BETA, work-in-progress, version of the book can be found at: Start a Blog, Quit Your Job.

September 15, 2004

Search Engine Optimization Service

Search Engine Optimization is a collection of techniques and strategies for achieving high rankings on search engines like Google.

I developed some effective strategies for ranking well on search engines. By implementing these strategies, I received over 50,000 visitors from Google in November, 2003. Here are some example of search terms that my pages rank well for:

social marketplace (#1)
seinfeld (#1)
google ranking (#2)
blog spam (#2)
curb your enthusiasm (#5)
blog donations (#1)
blog design (#3)
movable type customization (#1)
mars rover (#5)

The first step that I take is to analyze the main key words and phrases of a particular web site, and the level competition in the search results. This step is very important. Some phrased are easy to rank high for, and others are very difficult. For the the difficult, competitive search terms, it take a long time, and a lot of money, to rank in the top 10. One of my strategies is to rank high for a large number of less competitive terms. You would be amazed at the amount of search engine traffic can be generated quickly using this approach.

Click here for more information about a free assessment for the optimization of your site(s).

August 24, 2004

Stan versus the 900 Pound Gorilla

For the past several years, I have maintained a Seinfeld web site under the alias "Stan The Caddy". It does well on the search engines - in fact, the past few days it has been #1 on Google for 'seinfeld', but usually the official site beats me out. For the search term seinfeld dvd, however I have been number one for at least a year - until today. Finally, 2 weeks ago, the first of the Seinfeld DVDs were made available for pre-order. So a lot of people (including myself) linked to the order pages on Amazon.com. Today, the Amazon.com pages outrank mine.

As often is the case, large commercial ecommerce sites outrank the little guy. But Stan has worked hard for that #1 ranking, and he is going to stand up to the 900 pound gorilla that is Amazon.com. And he intends on winning.

If you want to help Stan in this quest, please link to http://www.stanthecaddy.com/seinfeld-dvd/ with the link text 'Seinfeld DVD'. Thanks in advance for your help. ;)

August 19, 2004

NicheBot - Keyword Research and rank Checking

I recently came across a very useful tool for SEO. Primarily, NicheBot (http://www.nichebot.com) is a keyword identification tool that uses the WordTracker system on the back end. It's very simple: you enter a search phrase and it will display some information about the volume of searches for that phrase and for a number of other phrases. If you search for a two word phrase, NicheBot will also display 3 and 4 word phrases that contain those words. And by clicking on each of those phrases, you can drill down even further. This can be a great (and quick) way to research keywords for both pay-per-click and SEO.

NicheBot also has a Google rank checker tool that is just as quick and easy to use. Just enter a list of keyword phrases, enter the domain you want to check, choose the number of search results to check, and you are done. And you can even bookmark the results for future checking.

Finally, the NicheBot toolbar makes it easy to do both of the above from any web page, and includes the ability to highlight a phrase on any web page, then right-click to use NicheBot to do some immediate keyword research on that phrase.

I use other tools for large scale keyword research and rank checking, I have been using NicheBot the past few weeks for doing quick rank checking and premilinary keyword research, and it works great.

June 3, 2004

Broadening your Keyword Base

This is one of my favorite strategies for search engine optimization. For most web sites, there is a lot of untapped potential because they have too few pages, which can only target a few keywords.

Each month, people use over 40,000 different search keyphrases to find the pages on my web sites. My top keyword in this long list represents only 5% of the search engine traffic. Logically, it makes sense that I should spend 95% of my time trying to rank well for other related keywords. Some people will only focus on the "holy grail" top keywords for their industry. While this is important to do, you may find that you can generate more traffic by targeting a large number of less competitive keywords. For many sites, this alone can result in doubling or tripling the search engine traffic.

January 19, 2004

SEO Competition

Just for the challenge, I have entered an SEO competition. There are virtually no rules. The goal is to rank high for search query "SERPs" for a newly created page. The page hasn't been indexed by Google yet, but in a few days, you can check on my progress by searching for SERPs.

December 14, 2003

SEO after the Google Florida Update

In mid-November Google deployed the first major update in months, now known as the 'Florida' update. Previous updates have introduced changes to Google's scoring algorithm and adjusted spam filters - filters designed to catch sites using hidden-text, link farms, and other tricks to fool search engines. The Florida update was unique in that it introduced a filter that was not targeted at spam sites at all. It appears that the filter was targeted at over-optimized sites: sites that have been ranking very well due tried-and-true SEO techniques. The filter seemed to target mostly commercial search queries - but perhaps this is just a coincidence, because commercial web pages are among the most likely to be heavily optimized. While it remains unclear exactly what the threshold might be to get caught by this filter, the existence of this filter has been confirm solidly. Google Watch founder Daniel Brandt discovered some bugs that exposed the impact of the filters. These bugs have now been fixed, but the filter remains in place. While the filter does downgrade many less relevant sites, it also has taken many small businesses and other relevant sites with it. Pages that used to rank in the top 10 may no longer be in the top 100. Many webmasters have reported dramatic drops in traffic and sales - in the middle of the critical holiday shopping season. Here's what others are saying about the Florida Update.

For search engine optimizers (SEOs), the question is: how do we optimize pages to rank well after the Florida Update? Many webmasters have discussed the obvious choice: attempt to de-optimize pages until they no longer trigger the filter. Perhaps this is what Google wants, believing that this might level the playing field for non-optimized yet relevant web pages. If many webmasters take this approach, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

My rankings and Google traffic have been largely unaffected by the Florida filter, for a number of reasons. First, none of my sites are in areas that are highly competitive commercial topics. Second, my SEO strategy is to target many search queries, not just a few top phrases. In November, my top 20 search queries represented less 20% of my search engine referrals. During the month, over 13,000 different queries were used to find my pages. This strategy provides insurance against events like the Florida filter and it is also a quicker, less expensive approach to generating search engine traffic.

My post-Florida recommendation is combination of the above two approachs. If you have been hit hard by the filter, start stepping down your optimization - but do it in baby steps, waiting to see if the change affect the search results. At the same time, starting adding pages to your site, targetting sub-topics, thus increasing your referral base. I know that's not a miracle cure for those who have been hit hard, but it is a proven strategy that works well for me.


Coming soon: Books as Blogs