April 22, 2011

After my most recent newsletter, it occurred to me that it might be appropriate to back up a couple of steps and help explain some of the background about what Google (and really, all the search engines) are looking for and what they want to see. As you might have read, search engines are trying to provide a “good user experience” for people who search on specific search terms so that people will be more inclined to use a particular search engine. This means making the resulting pages as relevant as possible when a search is performed. For example, if your search term is “fur coats”, one of the results returned, although it could be considered appropriate based on the content of the page, would have been from some animal rights group, before search engines determined that they need to get smarter, because that result is almost definitely NOT what you are looking for if you search for fur coats.

Optimization – On-Page, For Humans AND Search Engines

So understanding that search engines, above all, want to provide a good user experience and return relevant pages for a particular search term, what can you do to help the search engines realize that your sites are as relevant as they come? The days are long gone when you can keyword-stuff a page with hidden text (i.e., text that is the same color as the background, where the search engines caught onto that trick long ago), keyword-stuffing your meta tags, and so much more. These days, the search engines are getting smarter, much smarter, and they look at the CONTENT of your page and from a reader perspective, what you are trying to impress the reader with in terms of importance.

Think about it — when you are writing a paper designed to be read by another person, what do you do in that written word to emphasize key points and major sections? You use BOLD and ITALICS, and sometimes BOTH in order to make those words stand out as being important to the message of the overall content, right? Knowing that (but not overdoing it, as the search engines would view overdoing it in the same light as keyword-stuffing, creating NEGATIVE points for you), it makes sense to write the content as if you were having a conversation with someone or writing a white paper, where you would emphasize certain words, like your keyword phrases.

For other musts-have items for your on-page SEO tasks, there are various things that you can implement. And note that your site, while perhaps being weaker in other areas, is going to SURPASS competing sites that do not use these “SEO common sense” tactics to put the emphasis for your page where it really belongs, which is on your keyword phrases.

Use H1 tags for the heading of a content section. This is like a paragraph header that tells the search engine spiders which the following text is all about. The H1 tag automatically makes the text bigger and perhaps also in a different color to provide additional emphasis, and the spiders see this as IMPORTANT and relating to the text that follows. So to implement and say your content is about “T1 Line Pricing” which is your keyword phrase and also your paragraph heading for content, you would insert “<h1>” before that text (the opening tag) and “</h1>” after that text (closing tag). Voila, it really is as simple as that.

For a given page, common wisdom says not to overdo it, so don’t use more than 1 or 2 h1 tags on a single page.

In the same way, you can use “h2”, “h3”, and “h4” tags, which are all “lesser” variations of the “h1” tag. Again, use sparingly and do not overdo it, and make sure your keyword phrase is in the text within the opening and closing of the tag.

For the keyword phrases that you are targeting, make sure that those keyword phrases (no more than 3, typically) are in the meta description for the site and are also in the TITLE tag for the page. Although not nearly as important today as it used to be, also include your keyword phrases in the META KEYWORDS section, simply listed and separated by commas. For the title (if you don’t have a Premium site where much of this coding is done for you by the software), say your keyword phrases are “T1 line pricing”, “T1 circuit pricing”, and “DS1 pricing”. Your title tag would be coded as “<title>T1 Line Pricing | T1 Circuit Pricing | DS1 Pricing</title>”. Note the opening title tag (“<title>”) and closing title tag (“</title>”), and also note that you used the pipe character (“|”) to separate the three keyword phrases, which is the recommended way to do this for multiple keywords.

Do you have images or graphics on your page? The search engine spiders cannot read graphics to determine what that image is really depicting, so it is YOUR job to help them determine that. They can see that an image is shown on your page, but they cannot determine if that is a graphic of a T1 router connector or a bungie cord. This is done with the ALT tag. So to give you an example, look at the following line of HTML code that is displaying a left-justified graphic on your page and the name of the graphic file is “t1line.jpg”:

<img src=”t1line.jpg” alt=”T1 Line Price” align=”left”>
Note the section that says “alt=”T1 Line Price”. This is telling the search engine spiders what this graphic is depicting, and they have no other choice but to take your word for it. And notice that to add more credibility to my page, the ALT tag used here just happens to be one of the search terms that I want to rank for!

As far as the content on your page, again do not “stuff” your keyword phrases into the content, as the search engines learned about that years ago and are much too smart to give you additional points for that. The word that is used to describe this is “keyword density”, which should be about 2-3% for a keyword phrase. In other words, for every 100 words of text content, a particular keyword phrase should not be used more than 2 or 3 times. And when you DO use it, use the BOLD and ITALIC attributes on it occasionally to put further emphasis on it.

Optimization – Off-Page

The most obvious off-page SEO you can do is backlinks, and I have talked about that before in previous newsletters. I am working to create a “roadmap” or “blueprint” for you to follow to create link wheels and take advantage of the added emphasis that Google is putting on social media sites (i.e., “web 2.0”) sites today, but that is a topic until itself and I will save that for a future newsletter. To give you a hint to accompany my previous newsletter on the topic of link wheels, you are going to be creating “feeder” sites and “buffer” sites. To understand the usage of the feeder sites, think of those like when you used to watch “Star Trek” and a particular episode had a new officer that you hadn’t seen before — you just knew that this was basically “Ensign Expendable” and he was gonna get fried by lasers before the end of the show. Buffer sites are much the same way, but I will explain further in another newsletter.

Your best links are one-way inbound links where you do not need to provide a reciprocal link. In other words, they are pointing to you but you do not need to point back to them. This is exactly the case when you publish an article at ezinearticles.com, because your author resource box is going to point to your site but you do not need to point back to them to have your article published in this AUTHORITY site.

Remember, every link to your site is a “vote” for your site. But unlike a democratic voting system, all votes are not created equally. Say you are running for governor — you get 1000 votes but your opponent gets 10,000 votes. He won, right? Not in the online “link voting” system, because say your 1000 votes came from pastors and city leaders around your state, whereas the 10,000 votes that your opponent got were all from convicted inmates in the state pen. Your votes counted as “1” each, but based on the very low quality of your opponent’s votes, his votes only counted as 0.001 each, so you actually got more votes.

The same thing happens when Google tallies the number of links or “votes” for your site because not all backlinks are created equally. The basic types of links you could get would be:

Class A: High pagerank or authority sites, relevant topic, anchor text used.

Class B: High pagerank, non-relevant topic, anchor text used.

Class C: No pagerank, relevant topic, anchor text used.

Class D: No pagerank, non-relevant topic, no anchor text used.

In other words, it is not worth your time and effort to solicit class D backlinks, because the return on your investment in effort is going to be non-existent, or marginal at best. As far as anchor text, I discussed that in a bit of detail in my previous newsletter so I won’t go over that again here. (But is probably a good refresher if you are trying to get your arms around this topic).

It hardly makes any sense to have a vote for your site without anchor text because it does not help the search engines determine what keyword phrases to rank you for. Just a vote for your site is not nearly as relevant or powerful as a link to your site with anchor text that contains one of your targeted keyword phrases

Also, when you are doing a “backlinking campaign”, be sure to keep it as “natural” as possible. Remember, Google didn’t just step off the boat yesterday. For a site that has been getting maybe a couple backlinks a month for awhile, then overnight it gets 26,593 backlinks is not natural at all. If you are doing backlinking manually, this should not be a problem since there are only so many hours in a day and you can only type so fast, but if you outsource your backlink project or invest in some software to do it for you, keep in mind that a humungous number of backlinks appearing overnight is going to raise Google’s electronic eyebrows.

Summary

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness”) of where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238