Quick & Easy SEO Tips to Improve Your Website Ranking

Google recently posted quick and easy tips for the holiday rush and, after reading back over it, I quickly realized, these tips aren't just for the holiday season nor should they be recommendations limited to Google search.

As a result, I have compiled a list of quick and simple tips for websites to increase traffic - whether it's to make the sale online or to increase foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar location, your web presence is a critical part of your business plan. The tips below are fast, free, and can make a big difference in your organic SEO! Best of all, they were inspired by Google:)

Verify that your site is indexed (and is returned in search results)
Check your snippet content and page titles with the site: command [site:example.com] -- do they look accurate and descriptive for users? Ideally, each title and snippet should be unique in order to reflect that each URL contains unique content. If anything is missing or you want more details, you can also use the Content Analysis tool in Google's Webmaster Tools. There you can see which URLs on your site show duplicate titles or meta descriptions.

Label your images accurately
Don't miss out on potential customers with poor or missing alt text. Good 'alt' text and descriptive filenames help search engines better understand images, make sure you change non-descriptive file names [001.jpg] to something more accurate [NintendoWii.jpg]. Image Search has the potential to send significant search traffic, so you should take advantage of it.

Know what the search engines know (about your site)
Check for crawl errors and learn the top queries that bring traffic to your site through Webmaster Tools. You can use Google's diagnostics checklist or MSN's crawl issues tool to aid in this process.

Have a plan for expiring and temporary pages
Make sure to serve accurate HTTP status codes. If you no longer sell a product, serve a 404. If you have changed a product page to a new URL, serve a 301 to redirect the old page to the new one. Keeping your site up-to-date can help bring more targeted traffic your way and provide an overall more useful visitor experience.

Increase foot traffic too
If your website directs customers to a brick-and-mortar location, make sure you claim and double check your business listing in Google Local, Local.com, MSN's Local Listing and Yahoo Local.

Usability 101
Test the usability of your checkout process with various browswers and ensure the coding is valid. Ask yourself if a user can get from product page to checkout without assistance. Is your checkout button easy to find?

Tell the search engines where to find all of your web pages
If you upload new products faster than the search engines crawl your site, make sure to submit a sitemap and include 'last modification' and change frequency' information. A Sitemap can point searchbots to your new or hard-to-find content. Both Google's webmaster tools, MSN webmaster central and Yahoo!'s Site Explorer allow for sitemap submissions. You can read a quick question and answer on Google sitemaps for more details. Additionally, be sure to utilize robots.txt to funnel the search bots to content you want crawled and content that should not be indexed.

So, that's all for now. I know there are many, many more tips but these should help capture some low hanging fruit. Have your own tips? Feel free to add them in the comments section!

Be sure to check out PPC For Hire's SEO Basics series on Title Tags, Meta Description, Hx tags and Link Building.

SEMPO Rings NASDAQ Opening Bell

The Monday after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Cyber Monday (which I blogged about in my Holiday Retail Strategies) I had the pleasure of joining the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) Chairwoman Dana Todd and about 25 other fellow New York SEMPO members to help ring the opening bell for NASDAQ. Included below is footage of the NASDAQ studio in New York’s Times Square, as well as exclusive interviews with Dana and SEMPO spokesman Greg Jarboe courtesy of Max Kalehoff of Clickable. You can see the back of my head for about 2/10 of a second in the beginning of the video:) LOL

How To Increase Your Website Ranking in Yahoo SERPS

During day 2 of SES Chicago, Sharad Verma, Senior Product Manager of Yahoo! Search Technology, broke down how Yahoo utilizes link building to determine your website's ranking, crawling & indexing in the Yahoo SERP. All of these relate to Inbound Links (IBL) to your site.

1) No Links to your site = NO Existence, Yahoo will Never find your site
2) Few Links to your site = Minor discovery, NO index
3) Some Links to your site = Crawl of your site, NO index
4) Some More Links to your site = Crawl of your site, Index of your site, NO Ranking in the SERP
5) Enough Links to your site = Ranking in the Top 10 of the Yahoo! SERP
6) LOTS of Links to your site – Helps you rank for the keywords and keywords found in the anchor text of your IBL in the Yahoo! SERP.

Now, I know the question everyone is asking themselves, but Sharad never got into the actual number of links that correspond with the above, however if you are an SEO or actively build links you can fully understand the value in the above items. The most important takeaway? There is no question of doubt if this is fact or fiction as the information came directly out of Sharad Verma with Yahoo! himself.
So, now that you know links are important, you can get started here, with my top 35 website directories and Emarketing Newsletter's strongest website directories.

Keyword Research Flowchart

I recently posted a useful SEO Flowchart that Aaron Wall over at SEO Book had put together. While folks found the SEO flowchart useful, it was more of a 'high level' look at the SEO process. The guys over at SEO Book have now put together a VERY useful keword research flowchart that digs down into the deepest of detail. You can see the chart below - and feel free to stop by the SEO Book site for a larger image and PDF download.

Top 35 Web Directories List

Over at the Search Engine People Blog I found a great list of the top 25 website directories. I thought this list was a perfect supplement to my previous post on the top 8 dofollow link tools. As a result, I added another 10 directories for a grand total of 35!

Now, there are a lot of great directories that aren’t on this list because they are either too expensive, such as Best of the Web and the Yahoo! Directory, or they just take way too long to get approved, ie. DMOZ, Illumirate.

1.) Family Friendly Sites

2.) Incrawler

3.) Kahuki

4.) Greenstalk

5.) Rakcha

6.) Joeant

7.) Splash Directory

8.) Goguides

9.) Enquira

10.) ALS Links

11.) Clush

12.) Octopedia

13.) Info Listings

14.) Skaffe

15.) Global Weblinks

16.) Links 2 Go

17.) Dmoz Zilla

18.) Gimpsy

19.) Global Link Networks

20.) Business Directory

21.) Zorg Directory

22.) TWD

23.) Data Spear

24.) World Site Index

25.) Most Popular Sites

26.) The Librarian's Index

27.) Premier Business Directory

28.) The Ally Directory

29.) Zyas Directory

30.) 2YI Directory

31.) Romow Directory

32.) Lobo Links Directory

33.) Authority Directory

34.) Aviva Directory

35.) Dir Journal Directory

Related Posts:

SEO Flowchart

Perhaps a bit is lost in simplification, but I think Aaron Wall's SEO flowchart does a great job of conveying a lot of information in a limited space...as well as providing a good laugh! Check out the "Cry / Snitch on Competitors" LOL

How To Piss Off An SEO

I just found this hillarious post from a fellow NY SEO - Alhan Keser: 10 Ways to Piss off an SEO.

Here are a couple of my favorites - mainly because they have happened to me:

1.) Forget to place a robots.txt file on the dev server.

It’s great that Google is already picking up pages and that our dev server is ranking for “cute puppy clothing”. Ever heard of duplicate content? Have fun writing out those 301 redirects. If you are not going to secure the dev server with a client login, then at least have the decency to place a robots.txt file that disallows bots from indexing a site before its in its final resting place.

8.) Link to the /index.php page from all pages on a website.
You cannot imagine the joy that I feel seeing high PR given to the /index.php page. It makes me proud to know that both versions of our home page are doing great.
Why the need to link to this page? Just link back to “/” and everything will be okay.

10.) Use H1, H2, H3, or H4 tags in navigational menu links.
I love seeing the same H1 tags used across an entire site. It really gives it that consistency that I look for. Unless you want to say “the most important thing on this page is in fact on another page,” then don’t do this. Please use Hx tags the way they were originally meant to be used: to designate priority. Also, while you’re at it, please do not use "b" or "strong" tags on links either.

Definitely a good read! Check it out!

Optimization Tips That Will Give Your SEO Rankings a Boost for the Holidays

With the Christmas holiday peaking around the corner, it still isn’t too late to tweak and optimize a dedicated holiday search marketing campaign. A few weeks ago I wrote about holiday retail PPC strategies as well as holiday ecommerce pay per click strategies. Today I wanted to focus on link building and local search optimization.

Link Building & Organic SEO - Ideally, you should well on your way to building links for the holiday season. While low level link building such as blog commenting and directory submissions provide good passive SEO, more active efforts such include:

  • Paid links - Directly bought, or through sponsorships and partners.

  • Widgets & Quizzes- Incorporate pop culture and symbols of the holiday season in to build links.
  • Good Ol’ Link bait - Get viral, and spread the season’s cheer over social networks such as facebook and twitter.

Local Search Optimization - Don’t ignore local search for online shopping queries and conversions. Some tips to follow include:
  • Change titles to reflect holiday shopping keywords such as New York Toy Store Christmas Gifts.
  • Ask for reviews in all holiday email campaigns with links to appropriate local business citation sources, in both the US and Canada.
  • Ask staff, family, and friends to leave reviews on Google Local and on other sources with context to Christmas and Christmas gifts.
  • Use Google Coupons to stand out from the rest of the listings. Especially in today's tough economic times, coupons can go a long way!
  • Complete all fields in the local business centre that many businesses leave blank: store hours, methods of payment, links, contact details etc.
  • Buy P.O Box addresses in cities or areas represented by your business, but where you do not have a physical location.
  • Insert keywords in your business name for core products and/or services. This can boost conversions
  • Also very important, be sure to select the correct local category listing
  • Last but not least, don't forget to optimize for zip codes - a trend I've noticed lately has been an increase in 'search term' + 'zipcode'

Have any additional tips? Feel free to add them in the comment section!

Cool Search Tip

So, I just learned this cool search tip. If you want to see what Google has indexed from your website domain (or a competitor domain for that matter) during, for example, the past five days? Just point your brower to http://www.google.com/search? q=site:yourdomain.com&as_qdr=d5 .

Simply change the “yourdomain.com” to your actual website domain name and alter the “=d5? to be whichever number of days you are looking to query (d5, d10, etc.). Or, change the “d” to “w” for weeks or “y” for years.

Got any other useful tips? Please share them in the comments!