The main benefit you have in starting a small business optimization perspective is that you can make everything from the ground up SEO friendly (In Site Optimization).
Getting your Startup from nothing to success is really hard work and SEO is not an exception. Let’s divide it into 3 straightforward steps:
1) Keyword Research:
You need to start by defining which keywords are the most important to your online business. You need to ask this question: “What solution my Startup brings to the table?” for example, “Eventbrite” solution: brings all the tools you need to bring people together for an event and sell tickets. So, the keywords (in order to generate new customers online) should be: “sell tickets event”, “online event registration”, “event tools” or “organize events online”. As time goes by, you will learn what keywords are better for you depending on what and how people are searching for your site.So far, through experience, we have learned that a simple basic tool, to begin with, is Google Instant.It is a search enhancement that shows results as you type. It is a good tool for beginners. You can also use “Ubbersuggest” to get keyword ideas that make good use of Google suggest and other services on what people want and need. 2) On-Page Optimization:
Once you know which keywords represent best your business online, you need to focus on your site structure. Here you can look for free at the SEOMOZ community with a lot of insight tips.
As you know, search engines only understand the text (no flash, no images, etc.) so you need to express your ideas, and what your business is about in your URL (site address), your title, your sub-titles and the rest of your site using text.
What we have learned with 5 years of experience, is that first you need to develop the best way to teach your new users about what you do, and at the same time, you need to learn how to explain to Google how and where it should rank you in search results. These are not easy steps, but they should be done. You can see a good example in the startup MailChimp.
3) Off-Page Optimization:
Once you have everything in order, then the real work starts. This step is known as link building, but the reality is that it changes every 3 – 6 months so you should update your strategy.
In the last changes Penguin and Panda made major algorithm changes and as a result, many online businesses saw their ranking and traffic tremble. So be careful. No tricks, no magic, only hard work, and dedication.
In our own experience, it took us almost 2 years of long hours of work to make the first organic result of search engines. To earn links and place your site first at the top of the search results, you need to go out there and start to contact people, first in your niche (bloggers). Do not try to contact the big fish first (big newspapers), you will just waste your time.
Learn when and how to contact journalists to share your story and to link to you, this takes time, effort and perseverance, but it is worth it!
For us, the best technique was to tell stories, not to talk about what our product/service is about. You need to tell your audience a compelling story. We shared with our readers stories on how we started, how we developed our software, how the founders got their first funding and how we grew the business.
This strategy helped us get more than 2 million customers every year.
The Penguin algorithm update was designed to attack and de-rank a large subset of Internet website whose SEO practices were thought to use “black hat” strategies. The Google algorithm change thus went after pages and URLs that were doing three main things:
1. Stuffing their content with keywords so that it attracts search bot attention instead of focusing on giving quality to human readers
2. Spamming the Internet with back links on low-quality websites, content farms, link farms and through comment spam.
3. Monopolizing all of their backlinks and some of their content with too much use of a single keyword, resulting in a strategy that more resembles keyword spam. Since its release, Penguin has generateda lot of talks and it’s easy to get lost in the noise, forgetting what might be important. Thus, here are five distilled points you need to know that will guide you and your site through managing Penguin.
About New Penguin Updates
1. Penguin doesn’t embody anything new.
The policies that Penguin (and its predecessor Panda) embody and enforce are not a new change in Google policy. They have always been the desired outcome of the search giant’s index. The only difference is that they are now being more actively enforced through these two algorithms and all their updates.
In other words, Google is getting more determined to act intelligently and actively clean its search listings of what it views as low quality. Most search users who just want information that’s actually useful to them would agree with the criteria in fact.
2. It’s not the end of the world.
Despite the Clamor from many affected sectors of the Internet that would have had you thinking it was the end of the world; the Penguin updates were not as widespread, devastating or random as you might be thinking. Google released their algorithm change to address highly specific issues with the black hat tendencies of a number of websites.
They did this for the sake of improving search for their users and largely went after a specific subset of sites that were either manipulating their ranking either by tricking the search bots or by overdoing it with the keyword stuffing of content instead of actually trying to provide relevant and informative content.
If your website was not doing these sorts of things, it is very unlikely to be affected by Penguin. In fact, even the first, worst, Penguin update of April 2012 only affected an estimated 3% of the pages indexed by Google -a small percentage to be sure.
3. If Penguin did affect you, you can undo the damage.
As we’ve already said, Penguin affected highly specific SEO practices on the Internet and if you were accidentally or purposely engaging in those practices, you were probably knocked down a notch or two in the search engine rankings.
Now that you’ve been punished, you need to change what you were doing wrong, wait for the next search bot reexamination and wait as your index rank slowly creeps upwards. It will be a bit of a slow process but at least it will happen. Eventually, as long as you improve your SEO practices, you will recoup lost rank.
Flesh out your content, make it more natural and engaging to human readers; eliminate all of your low quality backlinks to any suspicious or spammy websites: where possible, get rid of exact word match anchor text backlinks and start from scratch with a new backlink campaign that’s organic, based on trust, relevance and which involves searching for quality sites with relevance to your own site in which to place your backlinks.
4. Penguin is just the beginning.
Google is getting smarter by the day and it will only be harder to keep up with black hat tactics that work, with the constant daily risk of de-ranking or even delisting hanging over your URL’s head.
The company has the interests of its hundreds of millions of search users as its bottom line, since they are Google’s bottom line and because the entire earning structure of Google -including Adwords, Adsense, and other ad formats—is dependent on a growing user base that searches based on high quality relevance in the results they get.
Google pairs its ads with those results; the higher their quality and relevance, the more Google learns. Black hat tactics are a hindrance to this basic goal. Thus, they are being squeezed ever hard and will continue to be squeezed out ever harder.
5. You need to focus on ‘white hat’ SEO and creating value.
Forget rushing your way upwards through the search engine rankings by trying to create thousands of backlinks through link farms, content sites or Blog comments; forget to try to attract the notice of search bots by writing content that was designed to trick them or feed them tons of keywords, forget about posting articles in low-quality websites that are designed mainly for search engine manipulation instead of human reader engagement.
Instead of risking this kind of catastrophic loss, just focus on the quality optimization strategies that are stable and have always worked. Focus on building valuable content, getting it noticed, getting it shared through social media and other people’s pages due to genuine interest.
Focus also on building up a series of guest posts and articles in high-quality sites that are relevant to yours, all of which link back (without exact match anchor text if possible) to relevant pages on your own website.
With this kind of long-term SEO strategy, you will be building a much more stable ranking that leaves you to worry free about future algorithm updates. You will achieve this because you’re working towards the same aims that Google has -providing quality content to Internet users.
It’s always good to go over the past and to make sure that the things that you are doing now are putting you on the right track. If you’ve got a blog then getting links is something that you should be doing. It seems like Google’s web spam team went to sleep for the majority of 2010 and 2011.
Link Building Methods
With the ‘spam police’ asleep at the wheel, many bloggers and webmasters got lazier and lazier. So-called experienced SEO’s started coming out of the woodwork advising some of the worst spam techniques possible. Anybody with half a brain could see that eventually there would be trouble coming.
With little to no spam policing and rankings being ‘bought’ with low-quality tactics it seemed like the party would never end. Then the penguin update came along and changed everything for everybody. I won’t explain again too much about what Penguin is, as it was covered in more detail on IncreaseRss in this post (5-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-penguin-updates).
Suffice to say that Penguin has been a game changer for everybody. For those using web spamming tactics, they’ve probably had the dreaded ‘Google Love Letter’ in their Webmaster Tools account. It’s important to note that Penguin is an algorithmic update and those who received messages in Webmaster Tools were hit by manual penalties. The truth is that many people were hit by both.
So if you want to recover from Penguin it’s likely that you may have also had manual action and you may have double the work to recover. For those playing by the rules, you’re probably dancing for joy! Finally, massive parts of the competition were taken out of the equation and that means better rankings and more traffic for those that survived. Of course just because you survived Penguin, it doesn’t mean that you’re whiter than white.
So in case you haven’t been hit by the Penguin and think your link building methods are all ok, I’ve got a handy checklist of things you definitely should not be doing.
1) Forum Posts Yes, it’s easy to get links on forums.
A followed link in your signature and you can make a few posts and have a few links back to your site. That’s just not the way to do it. If you want to post in forums (and get a few links too), then you need to be posting quality content that helps the forum users. Show your expertise in a non-sales fashion and help the community. As with all link building, the difference between white hat and black hat is often intent and execution.
2) Blog Comments This is a complete no-no if you’re doing this as a link building tactic.
Lots of short sharp blog comments on a huge variety of unrelated blogs are a clear Penguin signal. If you are adding value by creating valuable information for a blog’s audience on related sites where you share similar expertise, then this is completely different.
Any links within the comments probably won’t help your SEO in the short term, but the relationships you build based on that may be extremely valuable. In its truest form SEO is about relationships.
3) Directory Submissions Nothing in SEO makes me cringe more than the word ‘submissions’! If you’re ‘submitting’ anything then you’re doing it wrong.
There are literally many thousands of directory sites and most are very low quality. A huge amount of these were de-indexed after Penguin. If you think using a submit service where you get to thousands of directories for a few bucks is a good idea then you may wish to rethink that.
If you use such as service you’ll be getting crappy links on a vast amount of low quality, and even worse, de-indexed sites. This is a very bad idea. I believe that there is still a place for quality directories. The problem is, finding the good ones. Luckily I’ve got a simple tip for you to find a curated list of high-quality directories. SEOMoz maintains a regularly updated directory list for its members.
They run a 30-day free trial, and if you sign up you’ll get access to it in the trial period. Matt Cutts, Google’s head of the web spam team, created a great video about this subject if you want to find out more.
4) Blog Networks and Article Sites This is another one of those cringe worthy submission things.
These are all a very bad idea. If you think submitting your low-quality rubbish to article sites or huge networks of spam blogs is going to help then you’ve got a problem. There’s nothing wrong with sharing of information to boost relationships, engagement, and ultimately your link profile, but you have to do it right.
Try to find blogs that are related to yours and offer to share your content and ideas with their audience. If you positively engage with their community you’ll have even more success. As I discussed above, comment on their blog posts with original ideas.
You’ll soon get the webmasters attention, and opportunities to work together towards common goals.
5) Outsourcing SEO without due diligence We’ve all had the emails, right? Someone sends you an offer for $100 a month to do all sorts of amazing (and spammy!) things that are going to take you to the stratosphere.
Stay well clear of too good to be true offers. If you engage anyone to help you with getting more traffic to your blog, then you need to seek them out, not the other way around. As I hope I’ve got across, SEO is about building relationships. With relationships, we can do all the things that help us rank our sites by cooperation and putting the user experience at the forefront of everything. Relationships take time, hard work, and a genuine belief in making the internet a better place. As someone once said, “you can’t outsource giving a shit.” So
• Choose your keywords carefully: Conduct a research to find out what words people type in Google search when they want to find blogs similar to yours. Be sure to include spelling variations and misspellings in your keywords because not everyone is a great speller! At the same time, take care not to overdose on the keywords. Google is likely to get suspicious of keyword stuffed articles and it will eventually harm your visibility.
Eventually, it is the content you have on your blog that will decide matters. It should have some benefit to the reader, like give them valuable info or interest them in some way. Never duplicate content; ensure it is creative and fresh.
• Get inbound links:
The more inbound links your blog has, the more Google will like it and will push it higher in the search results, especially if they are from renowned sites. For this, of course, your content has to be top rate. Only then will other reputed blogs or sites link to your posts. It will boost traffic to your site and increase its visibility in search engines. Try to get backlinks from as many sources as possible. This will tell Google that your blog is popular and read by a large number of people. But don’t make the mistake of buying backlinks. Google is pretty smart and will find you out in an instant. Work hard to generate backlinks, regardless of their source.
If you are able to get high-quality backlinks, that’s wonderful; but even links from lower PR rated blogs will help. You can get quality backlinks by commenting on other blogs, submitting guest posts to reputed blogs, and participating in discussions on forums that are related to your blog’s subject matter. • Link to other Blogs:
Similarly link to other blogs from your own, especially those in your niche; you are likely to get a trackback and increased visibility. But don’t overdo it. You can build good relationships with those blog owners and increase your chances of getting links back from them. • URLs:
Keep them short and easy to find for the search engine spiders. Rather than date, include the category in the URL; this will make it easy for visitors to locate a particular post. You can optimize your URLs by going to the Permalinks option in the Settings tab of your WordPress dashboard. Type /%postname%/ in Custom Structure and lo! Your URL is optimized. • Internal Linking
Link your older posts to the newer ones, when they are on the same or related topic. This makes it easy for a reader to find all that you have written on a particular subject. • Make sure your site is fast loading:
While photographs, Flash animations, and videos all add to the attractiveness of any written matter, remember that these are all not very SEO friendly tactics. These also tend to increase the site’s load time. Search engines recognize text, so if you want your blog to come up high in the search engine results, go slow on the images and animations. Your blog design, in short, needs to be search engine friendly.
So happy blogging and good luck!
Throughout my career, I have worked with many people, handled a number of projects, seen outstanding results & downfalls as well. Eventually, I learned more about search engine optimization as well as about the basic mistakes that people generally do or just overlook because they don’t understand what impact it can bring on the visibility of their sites in SERP.
What is SEO?
Quite simply, SEO is the umbrella term for all the methods you can use to ensure the visibility of your website and its content on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The methods vary from technical practices you can achieve behind the scenes on your website (we tend to refer to this as ‘on-page SEO’) to all the promotional ’off-page’ approaches you can use to raise your site’s visibility (link-building, social media marketing).
In this post panda period it’s not about link building only, but engagement & authority link building as well, to get hold of this topic I would like to revise how people used to play in old SEO game & then how the rules have changed entirely!
1.Multiple profiles- I have seen people creating multiple fake accounts for the sake of submission process, I have never preferred this practice and honestly, this is just another name of spamming. Recently Google has announced about another potential factor that may put a contribution to your site’s ranking which has already been popular as “authorship” among the webmasters. Simply put it like this…you write great contents & doing guest posts on an authority site, now the portion that grabs all of your attention which is obviously the byline…. Mention your original name here & try linking it with your G+ profile, this way Google will determine your authorship rank according to the quality of the posts that you have made.The credibility of your authorship may pass to the site you are working for & you will be able to see the result in form of better ranking in SERP. This will also increase your trustworthiness among your readers.
2. Exact keyword linking- Keyword linking is a very old practice & sometimes webmasters go crazy about this. Keywords are indeed important from SEO perspective but that should not get all the importance. You should always remember that Google doesn’t approve aggressive link building, therefore, your link strategy should always contain both long tail nontargeted keywords as well as your actual targeted keywords.
3. Keyword stuffing- Initially it was too easy to get ranked in SERP by stuffing keywords in the page, but then Google noticed this trend & started penalizing the sites which were guilty of it, because of a few spammers the idea of keywords has now been tagged as a spam…however that should not be the case because keywords are really important only if you use them efficiently. When you search for a keyword in Google, it’s algorithm first look for the contents that closely match your typed keyword, for example, if you search with “one direction”, it will return results that match your query, this is how a search engine works & you can’t escape keywords.
4. Link building- Link building is still an effective way to build your site’s trustworthiness in the eyes of big G, but when you buy links or aggressively spamming with your site link…it’s a thing that violates Google’s guideline & raises the alarm. You do the bunch of submission in crappy directory sites, bookmarking sites, article sites and Penguin is now there to tell you that you have been doing wrong!
Guest posting, blog post & even article posting still works but you have to do it efficiently, again…content is always the king! You write a great content for the readers without inserting spammy looking links In between the page and if it’s good enough, you will see people sharing this post naturally, you can even write for high authority sites like Forbes, yahoo, snooze ….if your article get published then you will be awarded with a lot of shares and high authorship credibility by Google.
5. Social media- Social media is now a factor! A great platform where you can show what your business has got to offer for free! Though a lot of ‘seo’ shave contaminated this concept by posting spam on Facebook & twitter which is not good for Facebook itself, a lot of users have started migrating to another network because of this…however ‘Seo’s’ should know that it’s not about getting a lot of ‘likes’ or ‘plus one’ but engagement. Share other’s post, create polls, and actively participate in discussions to get exposure in the social community.
Structured data refers to kinds of data with a high level of organization, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways. Structured data markup in SEOis a text-based organization of data that is included in a file and served from the web. It typically uses the vocabulary—an open community effort to promote standard structured data in a variety of online applications.
What Is Structured Data?
Structured Data also referred to as microformats are additional markups added to the web pages content that is only visible to search engines. These markups contain data search engines will extract with the intention of better understanding your webpage’s content. An example of a commonly used structured data microformat is Schema.
The Role of Structured Data in SEO
The fundamental goal of web page SEO is to increase SERP rankings through optimization techniques that will help search engines better crawl and in turn index web pages.
Currently, an SEO can optimize a web page through on-page SEO factors such as Titles, headings, keywords usage, meta descriptions and a few others.
There’s nothing wrong with how we currently go about optimizing our web page content however, there are times even when with the best of intentions our implementation of the above factors can confuse search engines.
Structured Data microformats are additional markups SEO’s can use to help search engines better determine the topic and content within a web page.
As an example implementation of structured data uses on a web page, let’s take my company’s contact page as an example. It’s a basic page containing my postal information, telephone, and a contact form.
Google will be able to determine it’s my contact page by the use of the word contact in the title, meta description, and the basic on-page SEO areas.
However, Google doesn’t extract from basic optimization techniques specific info such as the telephone number, postal address and region data for use on SERPs. But, with the use of structured data markups, we’re telling Google that the info within the markups is important and should be considered for inclusion within their SERPs.
Below is a screenshot of a rich snippet test of my contact page including Schema markups.
Although there has been no verification by any Google developers stating that including structured data markups will be included on SERPs let alone increase rankings. However, the industry has taken to structured data and this cannot be ignored. A couple years ago schema was available as it is today with the same intent; however, without the growing adoption is couldn’t become a standard. Here we are today and here are your heads up to begin integrating structured data markups to your web pages today or if you run into trouble check out my local web consulting rates and I’ll have your site marked up in no time!
I am a dedicated SEO Professional, Auditor & consultant with 5+ years of experience. I mainly worked on different types of websites Regarding keyword research, competitive analysis, SEO audits, Google Search algorithm, Google Search Engine Guideline, Social Media updates and much more.