• What I have learnt about SEO so far!

    Date: 2009.05.06 | Category: free seo training, learning seo, seo expert india | Tags:

    Hi friends, I run a successful SEO/SEM consultancy with clients across the globe, mentor and share my experiences with Internet marketing strategies in my Zen of SEO Blog, and assist individuals and companies run successful online businesses.

    I have highlighted my rankings below, not as an example of what a top notch cool SEO guy I am, but rather, as a benchmark of a journey that took a year to accomplish, and the core lessons I learnt.

    My website (www.seo-optimization-experts.com) ranks in Google:

    # 1 for the keyword seo expert mumbai (No #1 spot for past 6 months)
    #4 for the keyword seo experts in india (4 lac competing links)
    # 7 for the keyword seo expert india (4.5 lac competing links from SEO’s and SEO companies in India)

    My Blog (www.seo-optimization-experts.com/seoblog.html) ranks in Google:

    # 2 for the keyword seo expert mumbai

    It’s been an exciting journey since I started my SEO Expert Consultancy Company about a year ago. There were many lessons learnt and strategies that worked that I have been sharing with all my readers in my blog posts over the past year, and I thought I would compile all my posts into one not-too-long neat post which shares – What I have Learnt about SEO So Far.

    Naturally I can’t cover everything in one blog post, but I have covered the most important aspects of my understanding of SEO.

    Naming your business

    Its best to include your primary keyword in your domain name, but if you have a built brand, or a well known business, you should use the domain for your brand or company.

    Don’t have too many hyphens in your domain (it’s a mistake I had made by keeping a long domain www.seo-optimization-experts.com, and I guess I will have to live with it), it’s better to keep www.seooptimizationexperts.com, in case a smaller domain name was unavailable.

    Keep away from using underscore ( _ ) in your domain name or page namesEg. www.xyz.com/seo_services_company.html

    If you can’t have your keywords in your domain name, another technique is to include your keyword by creating sub domains. Eg. mumbai.seo-optimization-experts.com to target by location, or ppc.seo-optimization-experts.com to target a new pay-per-click service. Use sub domains for 3 – 4 important keywords you want to target, and don’t overdo it by creating sub domains for every keyword in your list.

    In the beginning there was a word – it was called a Keyword.

    Keywords are the foundation of your online business. It all begins with selecting the right keywords for your business. The on-page optimization, the content creation and all future link building campaigns will stem from the keywords you select.

    There are various statistical and analytic tools available on the net for keyword suggestions, and many of them are free, so use them. Keywords discovery is based on hard facts, trends, and history of performance of the keyword; it’s not an estimated guess!

    Don’t underestimate the competition. Analyzing your competition for keywords they use or don’t use is a step you don’t want to miss. If your competition is on page # 1, they must be doing something right.

    Don’t fight the big boys. No matter how hard you are willing to work, or pay a SEO expert to do that work for you, it will take time, patience and money to go after the big keywords. Set optimistic goals and start with keywords that have lesser competition, and yet good traffic potential. These types of keywords can be researched into, also called long tail keywords; they can be identified once you understand how your potential customers search for information on a product or service like yours. Eg. Create keyword centric topics – articles, blog posts, how-to guides, FAQ’s etc.

    Start with city centric keywords. It makes sense to start with keyword combinations that include your city of business Eg. Seo expert mumbai. Once your keywords are ranking well in your city, it’s time to expand your business with country specific keywords Eg. seo expert india. And finally you can go after the BIG global keywords!

    Start with keywords that are local. General keywords (eg. seo expert) get a lot of traffic, but they are difficult to rank for, so start with your city (eg. seo expert mumbai), and work your way to country (eg. seo expert india). With time, consistency and patience, the bigger traffic pullers can get targeted.

    Start with targeting easier keywords with good traffic potential. You will see faster results on your site and it becomes motivation to go after the more difficult keywords. Even an extra character like ‘a’ in your keyword will have different competition and rankings in search listings.
    Test-drive your keywords. Run a PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaign for 15 days to a month and see which keywords are being searched for, their performance history, and titles and descriptions that work with your customers. This helps identify the winning keywords you should be targeting on your website, plus getting the extra traffic and business can be quite a high.
    Each keyword or keyword phrase is a traffic funnel to your website, and keywords on page # 1 of search engine results have a higher chance of getting clicked. There are always “more keywords” you can target, you have just not looked deeply enough.

    Meta-Tagging. When is it enough to say enough!

    No matter what one says, it’s important to focus your pages i.e. page name, title, desc, other relevant Meta tags, and the body content around a specific keyword. What this means is that you create ONE PAGE of content themed AROUND one KEYWORD you want to target, and include the keyword in your page name, title, description, and other relevant Meta tags on that page.

    Well that makes sense, considering that each keyword will need to be targeted separately, each keyword will have different competition, and links will have to build to target each keyword page.

    In the body content of the page, write for the reader only and not for the search engines. If you are writing about a particular topic in focus, the keyword will be included naturally into your sentences in any case, if you can write well. The emphasis is on ‘natural’ writing, and NOT seo writing (if such a word exists). Don’t stuff your keyword in Meta tags and body content. It should all make sense to your potential customer when reading your title, description and body content.

    Other than title, description, keyword, headings (hi, h2, h3) and link text, there are NO other Meta tags of relevance. Remove all irrelevant Meta tags. Keep title tag around 60 characters, and the description tag around 100 characters. Short and simple copy works best.

    Creating Content that Attracts

    There is content that’s created for your website – listing your services, products, infrastructure, contact details, post jobs etc. This is important to brand your company, sell your services/products, introduce the team, and give information to potential clients on how to get in touch with your company.

    And then there is content for the purposes of educating and informing your users about developments in the industry/business you operate in, product tips, FAQ’s, How To guides etc . You can post the content in the form of articles, or blog posts, or new content pages on your site. This kind of content is informative, useful and is liked by users and search engines alike.
    The content created should be focused around keyword phrases you want to target. Eg. How to hire a seo expert.

    Use content for creating internal links and external links. Internal links should be used from within the content to point to (anchor text) another page of related information, and external links point out of your domain to other useful sites and resources. Internal linking also works well when you link from pages with good page rank to pages that don’t have page rank.

    On average create 3 – 4 articles, or blog posts a week. This content should then be syndicated to selected article submission sites, and promoted across selected social bookmarking and networking sites to build quality natural links.

    If you can create innovative and useful Video content and submit to sites like YouTube, you will have an edge over your competitors. Don’t make dull, poor quality, badly edited or lengthy videos! If your videos are not generating traffic, then rethink your content and presentation. Try one video at a time and learn from your mistakes.

    The Link Building Matrix (Reloaded)

    The search engines are becoming smarter by the hour. Link building was always an important parameter for search engines to understand the value of your content, and will always be. But, due to good reasons, search engines now give more value to those links that come from relevant, credible and popular sites, and links that are gained on the merit of your content.

    No link exchanges, no reciprocal links (unless it’s between two mature and relevant sites), no paid links (unless they are part of pay-per-click campaign, or part of your advertising on other sites).

    Get links from diverse and relevant web, user and social communities that you are participating actively in. A healthy matrix of quality and diverse links includes web directory submissions, article submissions, social bookmarking and networking, video submissions, PR submissions, blogs reviews and commenting, participating in forums, Yahoo answers, submitting how to guides etc.

    Directory Submissions – To Pay or Not to Pay

    When I first start link building for a new client, I always start with getting a few good quality links from selected web directories with high page rank (PR 3 above).

    With many free high page rank directories on the web, you can create your business listing and submit to these directories for no cost. Expect little or no traffic from these sites, but the links they give you back are good for your rankings.

    There are few good paid directories. If you have a budget of 400 $ (Yahoo directory included), then go for paid directories, otherwise focus on other link building techniques. You may get some traffic from paid directory sites especially Yahoo, but the link back is permanent.

    Post to around 100 good web directories every two months. Build a portfolio of good quality web directory links over time. All submissions are to be made manually to web directories managed by human editors. A good web directory takes 10 to 15 days to verify a submission, though its not the only factor to concider.

    Don’t try and complete your directory submissions quota in one sitting (i.e. 600 directories at one time). It’s not about reaching a number or completing a target, but building quality links consistently over time.

    Article Submissions – The power of Syndication

    Articles submission sites are my favorite for increased traffic, reputation and for building quality links to a website I am working on. Generally once you write content for the web, you cannot use that content any place else on the web, else it will be caught by the duplicate content filter of search engines. But submitting your content to article sites is not treated as duplicate content.

    Write once and syndicate to 10 to 15 popular and relevant article sites with high page rank. This number works best as you can build your personal reputation as an expert author, increase traffic to your website (I get good traffic and referrals from Ezines), and build links from these sites.

    First submit the article (3 – 4 a week works best) or blog post to your own website. Then consistently submit your articles to top and relevant article submission sites over a period of time, and building your credibility as an author on the topics or industry you are writing about.

    Blogging – Start Talking

    If you can’t write, don’t have anything interesting and unique to talk about, and don’t want to learn what your readers like, then hire someone who can!

    Start a blog only if you plan to continue writing and building content. Working hard to write great content and promoting your blog is going to be hard work. If you plan to stop creating informative, unique and entertaining content after 6 months, don’t bother starting (especially with SEO in mind).

    Blogs and blog posts (your content) get ranked much faster by search engines. It’s a proven fact. But unless your content is good enough to excite webmasters (who actively search blogs, RSS feeds, article sites and social sites for the latest buzz) to link back to your content, the ranking won’t be maintained.

    Make each blog post count. Once you post on your blog, syndicate that content to article sites and promote across social bookmarking and networking sites for maximum leverage of your content.

    Innovative corporate blogs are doing better at generating traffic than their websites. But don’t expect your blog to generate business for you in the short term. It takes time and patience to develop a voice that can sell your ideas to your readers.

    Social Media – Start Listening & Bookmarking

    People are talking right now about your brand, your services and your products online, whether you are listening or not does not matter. Either you can participate in this conversation, or hope that ignorance is really bliss.

    “I need information now” is the new mantra of people, and the popularity of sites like Twitter, Yahoo Answers, Facebook is backed by the fact that these social platforms allow users to communicate, share and receive information faster.

    You create content (articles or blog posts) and post it on your website. Then you syndicate that content to selected article sites. The next step is to promote your content across social bookmarking and networking sites.

    Select 10 – 15 social bookmarking sites and consistently submit your content each week to these selected sites. Participation is the key here. It’s not good enough to post your content or link and hope for the best, you have get reviews or “thumbs up” for your content. Get atleast 3 – 4 thumbs up or reviews for all your postings for maximum leverage.

    If you feel I have missed out on anything important then do send in your comments.