1. Tanya

    SEO Resources


    SEOmoz is one of the most beautiful websites on the Internet. They also have a wealth of free SEO information on the site. The two latest free articles are “The beginners guide to SEO” and “Search Ranking Factors“.

    An extract:

    Top 10 Positive Factors for Ranking
    1. Keyword Use in Title Tag
    2. Anchor Text of Inbound Link
    3. Global Link Popularity of Site
    4. Age of Site
    5. Link Popularity within the Site’…
    6. Topical Relevance of Inbound Lin…
    7. Link Popularity of Site in Topic…
    8. Keyword Use in Body Text
    9. Global Link Popularity of Linkin…
    10. Rate of New Inbound Links to Site

  2. Tanya

    What to do if your Google traffic goes away


    There’s a great post on webmasterworld.com, one of my favorite SEO websites chatting about what to do if your Google traffic goes away. The poster’s traffic dropped to 1/7th of what it was a few days ago and there are a few useful responses. Here are a couple of extracts:

    “Last year it took Google from June 27 until December to re-discover our 6 year old rich content and authority site.”

    “Last year when the same thing happen to us. We recovered about two months later. I hope we recover faster this year. I wish I new what caused this.”

    “Constantly inserting and deleting url’s or content from an index page can lead to a loss of rankings unless you’re one of Google’s ordained.”

    “The oft-repeated SEO “rule” of regularly updating your home page is not a truth that applies equally to all kinds of sites, IMO.”

    If you’ve lost ranking in Google or you’ve lost pages, you want to mine this discussion thread. It has a wealth of information that’s very current.

  3. Tanya

    SEO – The long-tail approach.


    Thanks to Tanya for the invite to contribute.

    I’m the former CEO of workzoo.com, a vertical search engine, and am the current founder and CEO of Seattle based LineBuzz.com. Running a vertical search engine, I gained some insight into how search engine designers think and the kinds of engineering problems they deal with.

    Ironically, one of the things we did successfully as a business with workzoo was our own SEO. We received thousands of new visitors from Google every day. So I’m going to talk a little about what I think small businesses can do to get more traffic from search engines.

    First, the glossary:
    SEO: Search engine optimization. The act of promoting your website to search engines without spending any money.
    SEM: Search engine marketing. Advertising on search engines using something like Google’s AdWords. This costs money.
    SERPS: Search Engine Results Pages. The higher you rank the better.
    SE: A Search Engine

    Rule #1: Think like a search engine software engineer

    You don’t have to have a PhD to figure out that Google is in the business of indexing new, unique and useful content in the hope of incorporating that content into a search results page that matches a users query as closely as possible.

    If you have a unique and useful page of content on your website that isn’t showing up in Google’s SERPS, then Google isn’t doing their job properly. That is why Google themselves tell you to promote your website by getting other related sites to link to your site. Because that’s the easiest way for them to find and index your site without any additional work on their part.

    As another example, if you have a website that has stolen content from another site and republished it, and your sites pages show up in the SERPS alongside the real owners pages, then Google is also not doing their job properly. That’s the reason why there is something called a duplicate content penalty. If Google detects content on your page that has appeared on another page somewhere else on the web, you may get slapped with this penalty and be removed from the SERPS.

    The rest of this post is drawn from my personal experience, posts I’ve seen on SEO websites and common sense.

    Rule #2: Exploit the long-tail.
    Don’t optimize for individual keywords. You’ll never get to page one for “real estate seattle” so don’t bother trying.

    Instead, exploit the long-tail.
    Publish lots of content that is interesting to your target market. Then instead of getting a few hundred people a month who are googling a single term (like “real estate seattle”) and happen to look at page 7 of the SERPS, you’ll get tens of thousands of people who are Googling a wide range of long-tail terms, like “house with wooden shutters on a lake in seattle” and “brick home on a quiet street near a coffee shop in west seattle”.

    Rule #3: Unique Content is key.

    Unique content is the most valuable SEO commodity on the Internet today – and it’s how you exploit the long-tail. If you have a large database of textual data that can be formatted into web pages, you are already 80% of the way there. For example, 1 record in your database becomes 1 page. With 10,000 records in a product catalog you have 10,000 unique pages for a search engine to index. Not only that, but each record is different. So if you’re an engineering company, one page might be about a “1 millimeter titanium copper plated washer” and another might be about a “two inch diameter hardened plastic pipe” all of which are very specific long-tail search terms that will bring someone looking for that specific thing to your website.

    Rule #4: New Unique Content is 10 times better than old Unique content.

    All things being equal, a search engine will rank newer content higher than older content because in all likelihood the newer content supersedes the older content. If you’re a news site or a blog, you’re in business, provided you have constant new and unique content. Don’t forget UNIQUE.

    Rule #5: Get backlinks, but Choose your Neighbours.

    Links from other websites to your own site are important. But links from “bad neighborhoods” may actually decrease your ranking in the SERPS.

    You want a handful of links from high-quality websites to your site. I’ve seen sites with just one high quality link from a highly ranked website shoot up in ranking in the SERPS. And I’ve seen others with thousands of low quality links stagnate for months.

    Rule #6: Get the basics right

    Now that you’re thinking like a search engine designer, exploiting the long tail by publishing large amounts of unique and useful content, making sure you’ve got a constant stream of new content on your site and you have a few high quality backlinks, you need to make sure you don’t screw up the basics. There are a ton of sites out there that will teach you basic SEO, but here are some tips:

    • Make sure your pages validate reasonably well with the w3c page validator. They don’t have to be perfect. Just make sure they’re not riddled with errors.
    • Make sure the title tag in the page header is something that describes the page itself and not your website.
      • Good: “1 millimeter Titanium copper coated washer”
      • Bad: “Mark’s enginnering website”
    • Use a descriptive URL the way blog platforms do.
      • Good: http://example.com/1_millimeter_titanium_copper_coa.html
      • Bad: http://example.com/page432.html
    • Build a hierarchical link structure that looks like a tree. Your home page links to 10 parent categories, which link to 10 sub categories and so on.
    • Have plenty of cross-linking in your tree structure. So pages in the hierarchy link to other pages that aren’t necessarily above or below them in the hierarchy.
    • Make sure each page has less than 100 links to other pages on your or anyone elses website.
    • Keep page size under 100k.
    • Make sure your pages load fast. That means under 1 second for pure HTML without images or other media.

    My opinion:

    I think everything I’ve written about so far is probably fact. Here are some items that are opinions of mine that you may find hotly debated in SEO forums:

    • I don’t use an XML sitemap. I prefer to see which pages aren’t being indexed by Google because they don’t have enough ‘link-juice’ and then fix my link structure – rather than manually guiding Google in.
    • I don’t use meta-tags. I believe SE’s stopped looking at them a long time ago because they figured out webmasters are all liars.
    • My approach of going after the long-tail vs optimizing for specific keywords is probably a little controversial, but the data I and others have seen speaks for itself.

    A final tip: Use Google’s webmaster tools to check for errors when Google crawls your website. Keep a close lookout for missing pages, page errors and slow page load times.

    Mark Maunder
    CEO - LineBuzz.com


  4. Tanya

    Business Owners CAN Learn SEO


    Search Engine Optimisation CAN be learnt !

    SEO is generally seen as a very technical subject and something a small business owner cannot do for themselves. Yes it is complex subject, but it does not necessarily require a hugely technically minded person to be reasonably successful at boosting your company’s Search Engine Results.

    The difficultly with SEO work is that it typically requires a huge amount of time before the results are clearly visible. I recently read an article about a small firm in the U.S. who’s CEO used to spend in the region of 20% of his time on SEO work. His company already had a very high ranking in the Google search results, and would generated a significant amount of business for the firm. The 20% of time he spent was in fact to maintain his companies position!

    So while the science might not be the barrier to entry for a small businesses, the clear obstacle is the time required. Outsourcing can free up your time to focus on running your business, while also allowing you to avoiding the tedious learning curve.

    Yes, SEO is a science that can be learnt, but using a professional is usually the most economical route and probably the shortest distance to solid results.

  5. Tanya

    Search Engine Optimization Package


    It is my intention to launch a new Search Engine Optimization package for existing and new clients shortly. The details of this package will be available on my site within the next few weeks. The key aspects of this service will include:

    ∙ Website SEO Review & Report
    ∙ Developing a SEO Strategy
    ∙ Implementation of the Strategy
    ∙ Monthly Tasks & Reporting

    For anyone interested in this service (albeit forthcoming), please feel free to contact me to discuss how this service could benefit your website & business.

  6. Tanya

    Your Website needs Webmaster Tools!!


    One of the first few questions that all new website owners ask is how can they get their Website to the top of Google’s search results. And as anyone in the industry will tell you, unfortunately it is a long process with no real guarantees.

    That said there are a number of cool tools out there to assist matters and my favourite one this week is Google’s Webmaster Tools. The toolbox is filled with a number of very valuable little features, with two that are particularly top of mind.

    Firstly, the Crawl Rate Indicator. Yes we are all paranoid that the King of search might not be getting to our site often enough and we desperately need to know when they last popped in. Well the crawl rate reveals all: crawl frequency, number of pages crawled and the volume of data crawled. Very nice!

    The second feature of interest is the Site Map tool. It’s a fairly simple process to set-up and once configured allows you to communicate to the Googlebot (Yes is seems they might actually be listening) the relative importance of each page on your site and the frequency with which each page is updated. These little bits of data are then used to guide the Googlebot back from time to time.

    All very interesting stuff and worth taking a look at.

  7. Tanya

    SEO for your Small Business Website.


    Type the letters “SEO” into the Google search engine and you will soon find that not only is it a a short code for a stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange, but also an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”.

    What you will also find is that there are many companies out there offering SEO services for your website and of course they charge you a fee for this optimisation. While there is a need for this types of service, there are also a number of things that a small business owner could do to his site to try and improve his search engine rankings.

    I have found a few interesting articles which I feel are a great starting point for SEO beginners.

    We hope you find them of value.

    1. Search Engine Rankings for Beginners
    2. How to Boost Your Traffic and Profits with Content!
    3. 9 Ways to Keep Google Happy

    We hope to add to this list as this blog grows and welcome any interesting SEO link suggestions.

About Web Design By Tanya

Web Design By Tanya was formally founded in 2004, although our web development experience extends well back into the 1990′s. We have extensive exposure in various website content management systems and web applications. We prefer to only use and support open source solutions in most of our projects. While we are based in Cape Town, we have clients that work with us from around South Africa.

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