Developing Your SEO Strategy

Developing your SEO strategy means considering a number of factors. First of all, you need to know what people are searching for, which means that you must be aware of the keywords and key phrases that are being searched for in your niche. This is where doing a thorough keyword research project before you begin your strategy will pay dividends. You can then make use of this research to make the most of your website’s content and HTML coding so that it is associated with specific keywords and phrases within your niche. It is however, important to note that you should not overuse keywords within your content.

Another aspect that needs to be addressed is linking. Having lots of inbound links that are relevant to your niche and that are from highly rated sites are valuable. You should from time to time, do an audit on your site so that if there are any dubious links, you can remove them or disavow them because these links are damaging to your site.

Social media is now an important part of any SEO strategy because of the traffic that is brought to your site. Choose 1 or 2 platforms that you know your customers/clients/followers use so that you can interact with them. The relationships that are built using social media create a lot of back links as well as inbound links.

When you are creating your content, remember to write for a human audience rather than for search engine spiders. If something is interesting to read, it is likely to be shared and this leads to an increase in traffic. Writing interesting content can be quite hard work so do make sure you are writing about something that you are enthusiastic about. Your enthusiasm will be spilled over to your audience and they are more likely to return to read more and share your articles with their friends.

The ranking or position of a website on the search engine rankings is determined by a number of factors. The algorithms used by the search engines to weed out undesirable sites will be the same ones that determine what is a desirable site. This is why you need to be aware of linking and keywords so that your site does not fall foul of the rules. The algorithms will analyse meta tags, keywords and links to determine whether or not your site is of good quality and relevant to the search being conducted.



Getting your website and content to rank in the search engines has always required a keen understanding of SEO guidelines and best practices. It’s also required a whole lot of work in order to properly carry out these best practices.

2015 is no different. The SEO landscape has changed over the past year, and staying on top of the changes and knowing exactly what they mean – practically speaking – is the key to higher rankings.

Following are 5 of the biggest challenges you’ll face this year as you attempt to get your content ranking in the search engines.

1. Recalibrating your keyword strategy: Semantic search has overtaken keyword search

In the past, keyword research was the foundation of any SEO strategy. It would look something like this: Using various keyword tools, you would find high-volume, low-competition keywords, and then include these keywords on your site in a variety of ways. And while on-page SEO remains an important way of letting Google know what your content is about, this strategy alone isn’t likely to get you very far.

Since the release of Google’s Hummingbird update of 2013, semantic search has overtaken keyword-based search. Google’s algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated, evaluating queries based more on user-intent and less on the specific keywords that are used.

Despite Google’s emphasis on semantic or conversational search, many (many!) business owners remain stuck in the pre-Hummingbird mentality and practices (“Plug your keywords into the Yoast SEO plugin and you’re good to go!”). This year, a challenge for business owners will be to learn new ways of optimizing their content for semantic search:

  • Focusing on answering questions; particularly questions mobile-users may be asking.
  • Offering helpful supplementary information along with your base content: info like reviews, maps, travel info, etc.
  • Creating content that aims to provide all relevant info on a particular topic or theme. In this way you’ll be including a wide variety of thematic keywords rather than potentially over-optimizing for a few specific terms.

2. Optimizing properly for local SEO

While nearly every business has an SEO strategy of sorts, local SEO optimization is still being underutilized by many businesses and brands. The fact is that 50% of mobile users who perform a local search visit a store within one day. In other words, if your site and content aren’t ranking in local search, you’re missing out on a huge influx of wallet-in-hand visitors.

We also know that 46% of searchers now use mobile exclusively for product research. Think about how and when you do your own product research: On the bus ride home? While you wait for a business meeting to start? On the way to the store? Mobile technology is everywhere, and businesses that aren’t optimizing for local search – along with a mobile-first mentality – are going to suffer. I wrote about this in more detail in my article Why Every Entrepreneur Should Focus on Local SEO.

3. Shifting your mindset from link building to relationship building

An important element of the SEO of previous years was requesting and acquiring links from a variety of sites; years ago, many businesses found success through the use of automated directories, article marketing and link exchanges. Keyword-rich anchor text for internal links was another popular strategy used by many sites; in other words, linking to pages on your site using the keywords you hoped to rank for.

Continue reading here

SEO: where to begin


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Have you considered running PPC and SEO together?

Consider SEO and you probably think about organic search strategies and/or methods of increasing your visibility in the SERPs. On the other hand, PPC is paying for high visibility. Looking at both of these strategies, you might be looking at them as 2 separate entities however, they can be successfully used in tandem. By doing this you can actually enhance your online marketing campaign and increase your results.

Search engine marketing is a term that has many facets however, it does include both SEO and PPC that can be used to improve your online profile. It is important to balance the 2 so that both your long term and short term goals are achieved. Both can be used successfully to convert visitors and that is what it is all about.

Running a PPC campaign without supporting it with SEO will not be very successful because your landing pages won’t be as relevant to your adverts and visitors will not hang about. The one aspect that both SEO and PPC share is the need to conduct a comprehensive keyword research project. It is those keywords that will lead visitors to your site by either clicking on your ads or finding you via the organic search results. These keywords will also be used in the content that appears on your site.

The ideal PPC keywords offer high search volume but are low in competition but of course this is not always easy to do. It all depends on your niche, competition can be fierce and this is why keyword research is so important.

The thing about SEO is that it is a long term strategy so requires planning for the long haul. Using PPC as a short term strategy in order to obtain front page visibility can give you a leg up while you are setting up your SEO campaign.

You should remember that PPC is not only beneficial in the short term, there are many businesses who continue to use it year on year as it offers a good return on investment. If you can find the magic key where your investment gives you a good ROI, it really does make sense to use it.

Looking at the similarities in approach and how the 2 strategies complement each other for both long and short term campaigns. Instead of using a scatter gun approach to online marketing strategies where you try to run lots of different things at once, concentrate on PPC and SEO to run in tangent and you could find your site rising up the rankings.


As 2015 kicks off, it is important to take stock of the bounty available to online marketers. Every year brings more tools to engage prospects, data to inform best practices, and hacks to improve ROI.

Unless, of course, that insidiously negative and cold-hearted Oscar the Tool Trashing Grouch darkens your door-step. For those of us following trends in online marketing and product innovation, one can’t help but notice PPC has been celebrating surplus harvest for the past few months, while SEO can’t seem to shake the Grouch of algorithm fluctuations.

It is important to point out this bounty/trashy trend only pertains to transactional SERPs and commercial keywords (informational searches still represent a strong use-case for focusing on SEO), and I thought nothing would kick-off the new year better than a review of the presents we in PPC have received, while SEO enviously looks on.

Focus on Remarketing

While remarketing isn’t “new,” the tools available for marketers have become substantially more robust and easy to implement. The GDN (Google Display Network) traditionally has lower conversion rates, but at the same time allows advertisers to entertain and convey brand-centric messaging that can be hard to achieve in text ads.

Remarketing bridges the conversion-centric text ad with the brand-happy GDN by allowing text ads to find users who have already shown interest in the brand/product because of a click on a display ad or visit to a brand’s domain. The best part about remarketing is you can target IP’s in the campaign at proven points when conversion is most likely to happen. While there is still lots of uncharted territory in the remarketing space, a major victory for marketers comes in being able to craft campaigns that can retain users after they’ve become customers. By editing the product offering, discount, or even creating a lull in how often a user is exposed to a brand, marketers are able to create dynamic engagement with tangible data to support performance

Both Bing and Google offer meaningful remarketing solutions, but there’s no question Google has more historical data to help make informed decisions on how to structure campaigns. Additionally, Google now allows text ads to be part of a remarketing campaign, while Bing’s remarketing is strictly on its display network.

Actionable take away: Don’t take no for an answer in online marketing, especially since ad networks offer polite and brand-relevant ways to engage users through remarketing.

Google Shopping

E-commerce marketers, rejoice! Google Shopping is an improved version of PLA’s (product listing ads) and offers advertisers the chance to engage users with images as well as promotions. One of the big benefits of Google shopping is Google loves sharing promotions since they’ve been proven to have a higher CTR. Any product offering at least 15% off it’s normal listing price will rank higher in the SERP, as well as have a bold call-out of the promotion. This also applies to site-wide promotions.


- See more at:

How to build the perfect landing pages for SEO or PPC


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Making the most of SEO

It is so important nowadays for businesses to have some sort of social media presence. With virtually everyone having access to social media, it is a great way of interacting with your clients, improving your customer services and attracting new customers. Business branding is how you should look at using social media rather than as a sales pitch. Yes, you can use it for sales promotions however, this should be done very sparingly, people do not want to see a permanent sales pitch and you will lose followers faster than snow melting in the desert. Work your pitch as a way of sharing information, tips, advice and even as a way of showing the lighter side of life. Be seen as a business who is expert in their field and who is always happy to share knowledge. Your own profile should not be neglected. Create a professional profile which contains genuine information that shows you as a real person.


Social media is all about sharing and interacting so spend some time doing this. Start a conversation and see what people say. Do not get into arguments, that would be completely unprofessional and will also show your company in a very bad light. Try to be respectful online, remember that what you write is there for all to see. Be enthusiastic and positive, these qualities can be a real magnet. Honesty and kindness should be employed at all times, this does not mean that you have to be either a soft touch or a push-over but it will show a better side to you and your business.


Yes, it is that time of the year again when everyone starts to predict what SEO will look like in the coming year. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. There are public updates as well as refreshes and tweaks that occur on a regular basis. Rather than throwing out theories or predictions, I want to discuss five things that you should already be focusing on as we enter 2015.

1. ROI Should be the Metric You Track, Not Keyword Rankings

Determining whether or not an SEO effort is successful based on keyword positions is completely reckless. Ranking reports that show your website is ranking high for a bunch of keywords looks great but it doesn’t always translate to leads, sales and revenue. In fact, some SEO companies will target low competition, virtually useless keywords, just so they can tell you that you are ranking #1 on Google.

As a business owner, which statement would you want to hear from your SEO company?

  • Great news! Your website is number one on Google for the keyword ‘free widget information’ but we don’t know if it has produced any revenue. Buy, hey congrats — you are number one! Woo hoo!
  • Last month’s infographic was responsible for earning 72 inbound links and it also pulled in 67 leads, 18 sales and17,360 in revenue.

Is a fancy keyword ranking report more beneficial or knowing what your return on investment was? If you aren’t measuring the success of your SEO effort in terms of ROI now is the time to start.

2. Earning Links Instead of Building Them

Inbound links are going to remain the biggest signal, or vote of confidence in terms of authority and trust, that Google uses in their algorithm. This isn’t going to change. Not in 2015 and probably not in the years to come.

For the past couple of years the focus has turned to building high quality links. Well, this has evolved into a hybrid SEO-Public Relations approach, and watch for more companies to combine their SEO strategy with a more traditional PR approach moving forward.

Earning a single link on a high quality relevant website is valuable for multiple reasons including SEO, attracting referral traffic and brand exposure. Look for traditional PR and SEO to work hand-in-hand in 2015.

Click link to continue

13 SEO mistakes that are easy to make


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Using SEO to Your Advantage

SEO has long been used to increase a website’s visibility and there are many ways of doing this. Some of the methods are ‘approved’ and some are not so it is important to make sure that you only use ‘white hat’ methods because ‘black hat’ methods are a sure fire way of getting your site penalized or even de-indexed by the search engines.

Content is one of the key aspects of SEO and remember that the search engines are not only interested in the text, they are also interested in videos, images, infographics and animations. The spiders will crawl all over these other things to look for relevancy. It is vital to make sure that whatever content you write is excellent, has good grammar, punctuation and no spelling errors.

This leads us on to keywords and these must be used with care within the body of your text. The content must be pertinent to your niche and as such must contain relevant keywords. Do not overuse any keyword, try to vary them and place them naturally within the content.

Links have always been used but again care must be taken when using links for SEO purposes. You should do an SEO audit of your site on a regular basis so that you are aware of whether links are good enough. Remove any links that are not relevant, if necessary make use of Google’s disavow tool because poor quality irrelevant links will attract the wrong type of attention from the search engines.

Alt tags and descriptions are also important, the spiders do take note of these so check all of these on your site to make sure that they are correct and particularly for visual content, so that it can be indexed when the spiders are crawling your site. It is easy to miss the alt tags and image/video descriptions but they are actually crucial to helping get your site indexed.

Take a look at the following article for more information on this subject

Is your company operating on old SEO writing information? Are you sure? Don’t write another word until you read this post.

You know what makes my blood run cold?

Outdated and incorrect SEO copywriting tactics.

Like a virus, these bad tactics get passed around from person to person. The end result: companies are infected with bad information and do things the wrong way.

For instance, one company I worked with had an old “SEO copywriting 101″ PowerPoint that talked about keyphrase density and blasting press releases to thousands of sites. Another based their entire SEO strategy on bad information from an SEO vendor.

Ouch. That’s scary stuff.

Here are seven of the most common SEO copywriting myths I still hear about:

Keyphrase density

Will. People. Please. Let. This. Die. Just when I think the world is safe from keyphrase density percentages is when I get an email saying, “I was watching a corporate training video and the recommendation was 3.2 %. Is that still right?”

No. It’s never been right. Ignore keyphrase density. Wipe it from your mind. Let it go. Don’t you feel much better now?

Keyphrases are dead

No, keyphrases are not dead. They are still alive, kicking, and doing well. This tasty tidbit of misinformation stems from Google being much “smarter” than it used to be. Yes, Google can understand the intent of a page. But that doesn’t mean your content should be keyphrase-free. In fact, basic optimization techniques can often propel low-ranking pages to top positions.

It’s true that in today’s world, you can worry less about about exact matching the keyphrase and repeating it X times. However, you’ll still want to use keyphrases (and synonyms) in your content. Continue to research your keyphrases and use them in your body copy and your Title. Just like always. You’ll be fine.

Press releases are a great way to get links

Once upon a time, press releases were a great way to get links. You could add a some keyphrase-rich anchor text, syndicate your press release to thousands of sites and blammo–links galore!

Today’s world is much different. Spammy transactional anchor text is considered bad news.

Yes, press releases are still important. They are still a great way to build awareness, drive traffic (assuming a journalist picks up the release) and build a company’s brand. But their just-for-SEO benefit is no longer viable. And that’s OK.

There is a “right” word count for Google

There has never been a “perfect” word count for Google, no matter what the experts say. Yes, I know that some experts say that longer copy (1,500+ words) tends to position better. But that’s not the case for all copy, all the time. Nor should an arbitrary word count dictate how you write the copy.

Your best bet is to write a wide variety of content and let the subject matter dictate the length. You may want to write resource-intensive 1,500 word blog posts and 500 word services pages. That’s OK. Your main criteria should be, “am I writing this for my readers?” If you start slipping into writing things “for Google,” you’ll mess up our readers’ experience.

As a caveat, know that “thin” content (typically short and low quality posts) don’t position and can actually hurt you. You want to avoid these kinds of posts and even review past posts to make sure you don’t have any hiding on your site.

Guest posting can get you slapped with a penalty

Guest posting gets a bad rap. Once upon a time, people used to submit to every site under the sun just to score links. Did it work? Sure. Did it drive qualified traffic? Nope.

Then Google changed their stance on guest blogging. The great Google gods made it clear that guest blogging for links was no longer OK. That doesn’t mean that you can’t guest blog on quality publications your target market actually reads (that’s what I’m doing right now!). Nor does it mean that you can’t accept a guest post from a quality author. It just means you have to be picky.

You know, like people should have been in the first place.

Guest posting can drive fantastic targeted traffic. Just target your publications (and court your guest bloggers) carefully. If you’re responding to emails that say, “I’ll blog for you for free in exchange for a link back to my site,” well, you deserve what you get.

Place X number of keyphrases in your paragraphs

Just as there is no such thing as keyphrase density, there is also no “keyphrases in a paragraph” rule. If you’re writing your page correctly, some paragraphs will contain multiple keyphrases. Some paragraphs will be keyphrase-free. That’s fine.


Further information

4 SEO mistakes that could penalize your site

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How To Stay Within SEO Guidelines

As you will know, Google has been rolling out updated versions of its menagerie at regular intervals in an effort to reduce the incidences of poor quality results in searches. Their agenda has not changed, they are just narrowing down the criteria for what makes a ‘good’ link as opposed to a ‘bad’ one. The highest quality content is number one on the list and has been since the beginning of the Panda algorithm. The relevancy and quality of linking is also very high on the list and if you have not already done so, check the links to your site. Use the disavow tool to remove harmful links (those that are poor quality, not relevant, etc) and check regularly to make sure that you are not being linked to lesser sites. It is now so important to be aware of what is on your site and where you link to that ignorance is no longer acceptable.

We always recommend that you write for people not for search engines. Be careful about using keywords and key phrases, make sure that you use different versions, for instance, if you are writing about ‘how to train a dog’, keywords and phrases could include; dog trainer, canine obedience, train your dog properly and so on. This means that you are still talking about training a dog but using different ways of describing it. Whatever you write about, make sure it is relevant and that it is interesting. It must fulfill a purpose, blurb will not do. You need your visitors to enjoy your content and to share it with others. This leads to return visits as well as an increase in new traffic, which after all, is the whole point of the exercise. By all means include links but remember that these absolutely must be relevant and of a very high quality.

So, can you future proof your site? Yes, it is possible however, you do need to follow very stringent rules such as providing high quality content, careful linking and having a well rounded strategy for promoting your site. It is essential to be natural with all aspects of SEO, anything that looks even slightly dodgy will come under scrutiny which could lead to a penalty and this could lead to disaster, as some very well known sites have already had this unpleasant experience, it is not to be recommended and can be either difficult or impossible to recover from.


Now is a good time to dust off your (possibly outdated) SEO strategy and get it ready for the new year. Make sure it’s pointed at the right goal, and make sure that goal is understood and adopted across the entire organization: Google says the user is in charge, so — yep, you guessed it — the user is in charge!

Google’s Destination Hasn’t Changed

Many content marketers are confused about what SEO actually is today among seemingly endless changes.

Yes, SEO has changed over the years, but Google has not. Google has always been interested in providing the best results for its users. Period. SEO has only “changed” because too many internet marketers have been looking for the short-term win.

Google algorithm journey

According to Rand Fishkin, Google and SEO don’t change much.

The problem is, all those quick wins (from keyword stuffing to spammy link building) went against Google’s goal of delighting the user, actually making less appealing to the general public. Bad search results = users go to other search engines. And that hurts Google’s bottom line.

How has Google responded? Panda, Penguin, manual penalties… and the list goes on. As a result, marketers have now developed a healthy fear of going against the Google.

As 2014 draws to a close, even the most stubborn SEO professionals are being forced to recognize that there is no quick win. Google wants to provide the best user experience possible, and you can’t get that by cheating.

SEO Is No Longer A Department (Neither Is Link-Building)

If SEO is not already an integrated part of your overall marketing efforts, it’s time to change your perspective. SEO success depends on an ever-increasing variety of factors, ranging from the popularity of your brand online (whether or not there are links involved) and even to the online impact of your live events.

Solid SEO teams want and need the ability to influence policy and strategies “beyond SEO” — and that can include everything from web design and development to content marketing, marketing technology, social media, branding, PR, corporate marketing and more. Integrating and coordinating these areas with SEO isn’t an overreach – it’s a necessity. Click here to continue reading

Further information

22 must know SEO writing tips

SEO: prioritizing keywords and content

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Google 3.0 Is Rolling Out

Link building was changed forever following the release of Google’s Penguin algorithm in April 2012. Before that, having links to and from other sites didn’t do a lot of harm however, that all changed in 2012. Following the initial Penguin rollout, many websites have either dropped down the rankings or disappeared completely as a result. Any even slightly dubious linking will now be detrimental to your website and should be avoided completely.

This does not mean that there shouldn’t be any links at all, that would not be natural and would therefore incur scrutiny or even dismissal from Google. The most desirable links are those from authority sites pointing to yours, these are however, very difficult to achieve but you can still make good gains by having links to good quality relevant sites.

It is always a good idea to check links from time to time to ensure that they are of good quality and that they are relevant to your niche. The rule of thumb is that if a link does not look or feel natural, get rid of it. Ask yourself if you really want to be associated with toxic sites such as gambling, pornographic, pharmacies and paid for links. These types of sites are going to damage your site’s reputation with Google and as such you could be penalised for being associated with them.

As well as avoiding damaging sites, you should also be aware of how and where you place links within content. Be aware of what you are putting into the anchor text so that it is very relevant and is going to be beneficial to the reader. It is not at all natural to have lots of links contained within ‘money’ keywords, if you are not sure, check out authority sites and see how they distribute links within their text, where they place links, what pages they link to and how they use the anchor text to get their ranking.

Penguin’s purpose is to weed out sites with rubbishy links so that the audience is not directed to spammy sites. The updated Penguin 3.0 has just been rolled out so be aware of your linking strategy so that you do not incur Google’s wrath.

It’s been over a year since Google last unrolled a new Penguin update, and now it looks like they’re ready to catch up. Google recently confirmed that the most recent iteration of their large-scale “Penguin” algorithm update started rolling out late on Friday night (October 17th). One of Google’s Webmaster Trends Analysts recently hinted that the latest Penguin update would be coming out soon, but as of October 17, we have full confirmation that the update is live and currently unfolding.

Penguin is an algorithm, originally launched in April of 2012, that identifies evidence of what Google identifies as “webspam” (occurring both on and off a website), and significantly penalizes websites identified as being guilty of spammy, manipulative tactics by drastically reducing their visibility in its search results.

Like with the initial Penguin rollout and its 2.0 follow-up, there’s a chance any website will be affected. If you’ve noticed a major change in rankings and organic search traffic, you need to be proactive to diagnose and correct the actions that caused the Penguin penalty. In this article, I’ll explain how Penguin 3.0 works, how it connects to previous Penguin iterations, how to tell whether you’ve been affected, and of course, what you can do to recover if you’ve been hit.

The Penguin Update – to Date

The first official Penguin update rolled out on April 24, 2012 as a complementary partner to the Panda algorithm, which was designed to reward sites with a better user experience, while penalizing sites with a poor user experience. The Panda algorithm just saw a new refresh in the form of Panda 4.1. The Penguin algorithm covers the biggest ranking factor—external links. Penguin rewards sites that have natural, valuable, authoritative, relevant links, and penalizes sites that have built manipulative links solely for the purpose of increasing rankings, or links that do not appear natural. The original update, later dubbed “1.0,” impacted about 3.1 percent of all search queries. That may not seem like a lot, but the impact it had on the world of search optimization was stunning.

Google followed up a month later, with Penguin 1.1, and again in October of 2012 with Penguin 1.2. Over the course of 2012, Google unleashed a series of “refreshes,” which updated data, but did not make any major changes to the search algorithm. Click link to continue reading

Further information

Hit by Penguin 3.0?

Penguin 3.0 still rolling out

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Succeeding At SEO With Content Marketing

You will be aware of how important content marketing is to your SEO strategy. Technology is evolving and more tools are available to help us make use of these advances. Content marketing has remained fairly static however, there are now more ways than ever to communicate your message and share your content. Posting blogs, using social media and guest articles are some of the ways in which you can share your expertise and information.

These days, the definition of content marketing is that the written pieces are published online so that they can be accessed by other people. The content must be interesting and have a value to those reading it so that they gain something from it. It is important to target your content to a specific audience who are interested in your niche, so it must be relevant in order to be noticed by the search engines. When people are interested in what you have written they will usually share it via social media this leads to an increase in online traffic. When the search engines are interested in all this activity, they will increase the ranking in the organic listings.

It is still important to optimise your content so that it is seen to be relevant and interesting to the search engines. Failing to do this means that they will ignore your site and as such, will not rank on the organic listings. So, do your keyword research before releasing your content so that you can ensure it has a good range of valid keywords and key phrases that appear in a natural fashion throughout the piece.

Back links are still vital for success however, care needs to be taken with link building so that the links are appropriate and niche specific, not just randomly placed or mixed in with non-relevant subjects. Social media can be a very effective way of sharing links however, search engines don’t always pay a huge amount of attention to these links.

Seo continues to evolve and develop so do keep a look out for trends that are working well for others in your niche. Be innovative and try different things that might help promote your business however, steer clear of strategies that are known to attract the wrong kind of attention from the search engines or you might find that your site is de-indexed.


Want to succeed at SEO? Good practices start with avoiding bad habits of the past. Eliminate ineffective practices and replace them with strategic, content-focused tactics. Here are seven great ways to do that:

1. Approach keywords strategically

Without proper keyword research, any SEO campaign is doomed to failure. Keyword research sets the stage and lays the groundwork for an SEO campaign.

Take a vague keyword phrase like “dog food.” This might be used by people seeking information on dog food or news about it (such as recalls). But a specific keyword phrase such as “buy raw dog food” is more likely to be selected by someone who’s ready to buy a specific type of canine chow.

Keyword phrases should be as specific to your company as possible and have an easy, conversational sound not a marketing vibe. Just consider how you search for things online.

Perhaps more important than selecting specific phrasing, however, is not becoming paralyzed or slowed down by the temptation to achieve perfection in keyword optimization for every text-based piece of content you publish.

While keywords form the basis of an effective understanding of — and competition for — a target market, trying for a #1 search-engine ranking (or even for a top 10 spot) for your business niche’s top keyword is usually extremely difficult when you’re starting an SEO campaign in a field with competitors who have doing this for a while.

Instead, take a long-tail approach to keywords. Consistently publish as much amazing content as you can, which naturally will include keywords, and you’ll capture long-tail search traffic. This type of traffic tends to come from keywords you would probably never find during the research phase and that are often more targeted, resulting in better conversion rates.

2. Strictly adhere to an originality rule.

When it comes to SEO, originality refers to duplicate content or the same text existing at two different URLs — something that you should always avoid. Republishing articles from other sites is not only a potential copyright infringement, but it also creates duplicate content, which can ruin your site’s search rankings.

Check to see if your site has duplicate content by using tools like CopyScape, SiteLiner and Screaming Frog. Find more details about how to identify and remove duplicate content in this article I wrote.

3. Strategically adjust your site’s navigation and internal links.

The way your site’s navigation is structured plays a major role in how search engines determine the importance of each page. Simply put, the more often a page is linked to within your website, the more PageRank flow it has and the higher it will rank in search-engine results pages for relevant queries.

Most webmasters and business owners, however, have no idea how their internal link flow is structured and are often surprised to learn that unimportant pages or ones that never stand a chance rank high in search-engines results (like contact pages) are cannibalizing the majority of their site’s PageRank flow. This offers major opportunities for improvement with relatively minor effort. Read more here

More information

SEO: why content isn’t always the answer

User-centred SEO: creating long term value

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SEO – Trying to cheat Google or is it just a Different Form of Advertising?

I recently attended a webinar run by Chris Cardell, who is well known for the assistance he has provided to numerous on line businesses throughout the World. I myself have been on one of his Adword’s courses (many years ago now) and believe that he knows an awful lot about getting more business for businesses, large and small.

But that does not mean he knows it all and that everything he says is right, in fact he said some things about SEO that I really have to take exception with. What he said, in a nutshell was that SEO was all about ‘taking on Google with all it’s rocket scientists and technology’ and that as it was such an unequal battle that it was best to avoid it in the first place….

I totally agree with this on the basis that trying to battle with Google is like trying to stop the tide coming in, it is simply not worth it. But true SEO should not be about taking on Google, rather, Google should be considered a friend, a friend that you want to help to find the very best information on the Internet for a particular subject, a category that you trust should include site you are trying to promote (which of course means that the site should be a good one).

So how do you try to get Google to see things the way you want? Certainly not by ‘tricking’ them, with some dubious tactics, be they on page or off page. No instead you must take a leaf out of the advertising world, as here they don’t try to trick their potential customers, but rather they ‘bring  the fact of the existence of their product to  people’s attention’.

People then either ‘buy it’ as they like what they see, or not, it all being down to the quality of that product, something that of course includes the ‘packaging’, as well as the perceived worth of the product by what others say about it and how  many others have bought it.

In my view, this is just what SEO is about, you have to bring the site to Google’s attention, make sure that enough other people ‘seem’ to like it, whilst also ensuring that the ‘packaging’, (the Titles, tags and of course all that vital content) are up to standard.

There is a lot to all of this of course, and there are many ‘rules’ that you have to follow if you want to get (and keep) it right, and the creation of that content and keeping it fresh is a huge job, but if you want to ‘convince’ Google rather than ‘trick’ it that is what you have to do.

In the end success will come to those sites that ‘advertise their presence to Google, get enough real people to mention it / like it, and, most importantly, deliver the goods (the content) ‘ at the time Google decides to get serious about considering giving it a placement.

So don’t try to trick Google, just try to help them believe and understand that your site ‘deserves’ a place at the top of their listings for some appropriate search terms.

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How SEO Has Changed In Recent Years

As we all know, it is so important to create and publish only the highest quality content. This has actually always been the case, you might have got away with publishing any old stuff years ago but now, the search engines want more and it’s not just them, visitors to your site want to read something interesting and that is well written. In order to find your articles, you need to make use of good keywords (long tail keywords are very useful for local searches). Beware of keyword stuffing, this has been frowned upon for a number of years now and you will be be punished if you do this. Be creative with your keywords, use other ways of saying the same thing and make sure that they are what people are searching for. The search engines are getting smarter and can interpret what a searcher is looking for with more success than ever before. Due to Google’s algorithms, the quality of the results has improved and as such, the sites with the best articles will rise up the organic rankings. Social media plays a part here as well, when a visitor likes what they read, they will generally share it with others which of course generates more visitors to your site. Find out more about how SEO has changed over the last few years and how you can make yours better, read on.

Change #1: Don’t Miss Using Google’s Keyword Tool

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool has been gone for about a year now (replaced with the new Google Keyword Planner).

Many bloggers, myself included, relied heavily on this tool; however, I think our reliance was misguided. The keyword tool only measured what people were willing to pay for and was really created for products. It was specifically created to work with AdWords and while the hack that most of us used it for was fine, its data was probably not as relevant as we believed – at least, for those of us more interested in organic search results who didn’t use AdWords. In retrospect, I now feel freed from hours of pouring over results that may or may not have had a beneficial return on the time I invested. There are better ways to find out optimal keywords than these keyword tools.

Modern SEO Strategy #1: Go To The Source for Answers

You should be using Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, and going to the source for SEO information. Instead of wondering what’s new, good or outdated, simply start following and watching Matt Cutts’ Google Videos, which are organized by topic at SEO In House, to answer your questions.

If you installed Analytics a while ago, make sure you are upgraded to Universal Analytics and have the new code pasted into your site. Really dig in and examine your analytics. Click your blog under “Webmaster Tools,” go to Search Traffic, select Search Queries and download the table. I advise importing it into Excel, so you can sort it. It will give you the real story of how people are getting to your site.

Change #2: Google is Smarter than You Think

Some years back, I had a small business client who spent a ton of money engaging an SEO firm. They researched a 3-word phrase and then created a page where they repeated that phrase in a document – ad nauseam. No human would read that page. At the time, that kind of SEO was technically acceptable. Personally, bending and shaping words to match the exact 3-5 word phrase I believed people to be searching for has always been a painful exercise for this wordsmith.

How could I put my name on something like that and still build my reputation as a writer? Turns out, you can’t.

Thankfully, Google can handle whatever you write. It’s smart enough that you can place the group of words in the same or near order and still get the juice for your keyword phrase without being redundant. You do have to be careful as your long tail grows, but my best advice is just to write the best you can. You will find that from time to time, you are writing articles with no other way to say a word. For example, I just completed a piece on grass fed vs. conventionally raised cattle. There’s no other way to say either of those terms accurately, so they were repeated throughout the article. Good for my SEO, but not necessary every time.

Modern SEO Strategy #2: Use Your Head When Writing

It’s time for all of us to go back to Journalism 101 and write or curate valuable content for our audience.

If you have a new blog, don’t write too much until you start to build readership and connect with the leaders in your niche. Headlines and descriptions should entice or scare people into clicking. Articles should give provide readers with something they need and engage them, even if there is a call to action in it that benefits you. Click here to continue

Further information

Back to basics: how to get SEO right

4 ways quality content improves SEO rankings

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Consider Your SEO Strategy Carefully

Using SEO to improve your website’s online profile is a sensible thing to do. However, there are so many different facets to SEO that you could be forgiven for being confused as to what to use and how to use it. Finding the right routes to take for your site is going to be essential for success. Using a combination of SEO methods that is best suited for your site and your business will help raise your site up the rankings. Set a well considered strategy, which you have prepared and planned carefully. Be prepared to change course as and when necessary so that if you find one thing is not working, you can adapt it or switch to something else. Using social signals and backlinks are important however, make sure that any links you have are good quality, relevant and go to different pages, i.e. don’t always link to your home page. Prepare your keyword list carefully, make sure that these are being searched for and you can also make use of long-tailed keywords which are actually very useful for local searches. Intersperse these sparingly through your content and change them around if you can so that the same word or words does not come up time and time again. Your content should be unique and written for a human reader as opposed to writing purely for the search engines, if people find it interesting, they will share it with others and return for more as and when you post it. Attracting visitors is crucial to the success of your strategy and the search engines do take note of visitor numbers, how long they stay and whether they share your content.

SEO platform and search analytics firm Searchmetrics has released its 2014 SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations report, which it says provides an “in-depth definition and evaluation of the factors that have a high rank correlation with organic search results.”

The study, which is focused solely on Google results, found high-quality, relevant content ranks better on average and also that the well-optimized technical performance of a page contributes to a good ranking.

In addition, Searchmetrics says the quantity and quality of backlinks remains crucial because new features have been revised to improve the quality of results. What’s more, the correlation values regarding coefficients out of the social sector have decreased slightly and the growth of the average total number of signals per position was small, Searchmetrics adds.

And, finally, for the first time, Searchmetrics says it measured user signals and found there is a relationship between rankings and higher click-through rates, lower bounce rates, and a high time-on-site.

Searchmetrics provides the following tips to “survive and thrive in a constantly changing SEO world”:

Tip #1: Create Robust Site Architecture

Before webmasters can look at content or optimization, they must build their sites correctly and Searchmetrics provides a list of Do’s and Don’ts for site architecture:


  • Include a well-balanced number of good internal links
  • Aim for short loading times
  • Keep sites up to date
  • Maintain presence of all relevant Meta tags


  • Lose focus
  • Focus only on the technical aspects of the site


Tip #2: Pay Attention to Keywords in Titles and Descriptions

Rankings for proper use of keywords in onpage copy have increased from 2013 to 2014. The chart below shows the correlation between keywords in titles, tags, and descriptions and rankings. Click here to continue

Further information

Why internal links and hub pages are the key to SEO success

The Google feature that can improve your SEO

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