Real World Search Engine Optimization - SEO For The Average Webmaster
Search Engine Optimisation For The Real World
SEO Techniques For Everyday Webmasters
David Congreave, Tim Whiston, Roy Miller and Terry Telford recently recorded a tell-all TeleClass that showed attendees how to massage your website to grab the
search engine's attention. The following excerpts were taken directly from the TeleClass.
You're about to:
Peek under the hood of your favorite search engine
Discover the difference between on page and off page optimisation
Uncover the truth about keywords
Put content in review
Peek under the hood of your favorite search engine
Ok. To start off, when we say search engines, we tend to say Google, because Google accounts for the vast majority of searches. For myself, Google
ranges from 80 to 90 Percent of my search engine traffic. So when we talk about Google it means search engines in general.
Ok. Search engines are essentially a document retrieval program. They use computer programs that follow links on the internet and catalog web pages. The
programs analyse the pages to try and figure out what the pages are about. Once they establish the page content, that page is indexed under a keyword,
or set of keywords that relates to that page.
When someone enters a search term into the search engines, the software displays the most relevant webpages, based on the keywords they’re filed under. You
could think of the internet as a giant filing cabinet and each website is a file folder. The search engines simply sift through the files and pull out the
ones that match what you’re looking for.
It usually starts with the top 10 results. So the challenge is trying to convince the search engines that your webpage is more important than everyone else
in you niche. If you do that, it means a lot of traffic for your website.
So its not a mystical instrument. It’s just a document retrieval system.
Yeah. Actually it’s like a match making service.
On page vs. off page SEO
Ok. Cool. So you have to make your website as attractive to Google as possible. But there’s actually two kinds of search engine optimisation isn’t there? On
page and off page.
Yes. That’s right.
Ok Tim, can you explain the difference between them?
Sure we'll start with on page. This is what most people think of when they think of search engine optimization. On page or onsite SEO refers to the elements of your
webpage that tell Google what keywords to index your page under. The off site or off page optimization, refers to the number, quality and nature of the links that
are pointing back to your pages.
If we look at each of these in a little more detail, the primary element for onsite or on page optimisation would be your tags. The HTML title tags, the image ALT
tags, the image filenames and the textual content. But the most important is the title tag. If you don’t get anything else perfect, get that title tag right. Its
going to synchronize up with your off site efforts and create some really nice results for you.
So we don’t have to do anything with meta tags or descriptions? Nothing?
Well I wouldn’t encourage somebody to completely neglect it, but more importantly you need to focus on your offsite optimisation.
The truth about keywords
Ok. Now what about keywords? Should I be concerned with keywords when I’m developing a website?
I would start by keeping it basic and building a list of what we call a long tail keywords. Just get a pen and paper or a notepad on a computer. Start with common sense
and write down all the terms you think people would be searching for in your niche. For example, if we continue with the organic gardening theme, maybe people are looking
for “natural fertilizer, organic gardening techniques, or organic gardening designs. After you write down all the terms you think people will be searching for within that
niche, then start a bit of research and expand your list. It’s kind of like trying to get into your prospect’s head.
So what Tim’s saying is you sit down and write common sense words and phrases, that surround your subject matter. Can we give an example of that? How would you start?
It really depends on where you are coming from. If you have a website already and you want to optimise it, you already have a lot of your keywords on your pages. You built
a site that is full of keywords, so you want to look in Google and see which keywords you are ranking for already. Then you just optimize for those words so you move higher
up the search engine rankings.
If you want more keywords, or you haven’t started a website yet, you will start with keyword research. Start by think about what your prospect will be looking for. And then
if you want to get a little bit more detailed about it, you can use services like WordTracker.com
OK. Other than WordTracker, what other services are available?
Google has a free tool. If you go Google’s website and sign up for a free Google AdWords account, there are several tools in there that you can use to research your keywords.
Ok, so I can go either to Google or WordTracker and start off, like Tim said, with common sense and the system will pop out some additional keyword phrases for me.
Content in review
Ok. That brings up another aspect of developing your website. The content. I would like to switch gears for a moment from search engine optimisation and take 5 minutes
with you Roy. If you can describe how you start to write copy for your website. Right from the very beginning.
The first thing to note is that search engines are getting a little bit smarter. Especially Google. They are a smart bunch of folks at Google. They are always improving
their algorithms. One of the things they are getting smarter about is homing in on the pages that are truly helpful for people. If you are searching for a page about
organic gardening, Google wants to find the best page about organic gardening for you. They want to serve up the page that gives the human searcher the best information
about that topic. And you mention earlier, Terry about the spammy keyword stuffed pages that only a cyborg would understand. You don’t want that.
Increasingly, search engines are not looking favorably on pages like that. Especially Google. Google’s getting pretty cut throat about it. And the reason is, they provide
a service. They want people to come to Google and get good out of it. The only way to get good out of it is, to find pages that are actually helpful. So when people ask,
how do we write copy that is good for humans and good for search engines? You can’t forget the first part. Focus on the first part first. Make your copy good for human
beings. It’s got to communicate your message. If it’s providing good information about your topic, search engines actually like that better that just bunch of keywords
in there that sound like your talking in chant. So that’s the first thing to keep in mind.
When people talk about copywriting, they often talk about sales pages. Most people who create those pages aren’t really focused on SEO at all. They are getting traffic to
those pages from other sources besides search engines. So when we are talking about web copy for the most part, when we are talking about it in SEO terms, we are talking
about other kinds of copy.
So you have a website about organic gardening and on your home page you talk a little bit about organic gardening. You have a page with a different aspect of organic
gardening. Remember the first rule is to make the page helpful to human beings and then you want to do what you might call SEO-affying your page. The other guys have talked
about that a little