Author: Jennifer Horowitz
I’ve been gathering information on some common SEO mistakes. Here is a list of what I have so far:
|Mistake||Why It’s A Mistake||Solution|
|Not doing proper keyword research||You think you know how people think, you certainly know how you think and how you would search so you just go with the phrases that you think people will use. Big mistake. People search differently, especially because different people are in different phases of the researching and buying process and you want to use keywords that will catch them in all phases in the process. Keyword research is the foundation of your campaign and not a step you should skip.||Review web stats, brainstorm with colleagues, use keyword research tools, check out competitors. Put the proper time and attention into keyword research.|
|Doing your own SEO…but then never making time to actually get it done||You don’t have to outsource, you can handle it yourself – as long as you really do handle it yourself. Often the tasks site on a to do list for a long time and you never get around to it, but you still hopefully check your web stats – expecting to somehow find the engines picked up your site and sent a ton of traffic.||Be honest with yourself about whether you have the time or not. If you do have the time, make it a priority and do the work, if you don’t then you need to outsource.|
|Ignoring social media because you “don’t get it” or “don’t like it||Like it or not, get it or not, social media is part of SEO and its here to stay. You are missing out if you aren’t doing SEO.||Just Do It!! At the minimum get a profile and get connecting on LinkedIn. Get a Fan Page and get active on Twitter.|
|Lacking a strategy and plan||We are all busy, we all need more hours in the day. Without a strategy and action plan, most things won’t get done. If you are handling your own SEO, Blogging, Social Media, you need an action plan and you need a focused strategy that has goals attached so you know what you are working towards.||Reverse engineer your goals to come up with a daily action plan. Also be sure your tweets, Facebook posts and articles/Blog posts all work together to create momentum.|
|Obsessing about ranking reports and not paying attention to traffic stats||SEO is a means to an end. It’s a way to get traffic. It’s not about looking at pretty reports and feeling good. Look at your traffic stats, learn from it. Often you are hitting yourself over the head to get a certain phrase ranked but you don’t realize that all these other phrases are bringing in some traffic and expanding those could be a great way to go. Ranking reports can give a snapshot of where you are at on a set of words you chose to run the report on. But the beauty of SEO is that if your site is well optimized, the engines will start picking your site up for other related phrases and you won’t even know that traffic is actually increasing because you are too busy lamenting a ranking report that doesn’t show great rankings on one impossible, coveted phrase.||Glance at ranking reports if you must, but look at traffic stats and see what is really going on. Use Webmaster Tools to also get an idea of what’s going on and find areas you need to focus on/improve.|
|Focusing too much on the engines and not enough on site visitors||Getting your site ranked isn’t going to do much good if your site isn’t prepared to convert site visitors when they get there. You need to make sure your site is user-friendly and well written. It needs to be compelling. It needs to work for you and not against you. Never optimize your site at the expense of the users experience.||Don’t do it!! J Make sure each step of the way you ask yourself 2 questions: 1. Is this good for the engines? If the answer is no, try to tweak it so it is good for the engines but most importantly question 2 is: Is this good for site visitors? Don’t compromise on this one.|
|Putting all your eggs in one basket. It’s not “content” OR “links” it’s “content AND links” (have a strategy plan for both)||SEO is made up of many factors, on-page, social, site structure, linking etc. Ignoring one piece of the puzzle will limit results.||Be sure you have a well thought out strategy and make sure you do the right things at the right time (get your site in top shape architecturally and get on-page in place and then get out there to build links and participate in social).|
|Not growing your site content.||The engines like fresh content and so do site visitors. It gives them a reason to return. Not updating content makes your site dated and you lose opportunity to increase rankings and further engage site visitors.||Get a Blog or create an Articles/Info section on your site and add helpful/informative content regularly.|
|Keyword stuffing, spamming, setting up or participating in link farms.||The engines don’t like it, you risk getting penalized or banned. It is not good for site visitors.||Educate yourself on what best practices are for SEO and follow them.|
For the original article go to: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/top-seo-mistakes-you-must-avoid/30667/
When formulating strategies and tactics for organic search, some of the most difficult questions that arise are related to conversion of organic search traffic.
Are you targeting keywords that will bring not only traffic, but converting traffic, to your site? Is your page meta data optimized not only for high rankings, but for high clickthrough rates when your site’s snippets do appear highly in organic search results? How can the target page for any given keyword be manipulated to improve conversions from organic search?
Data from paid search campaigns can help answer all these questions. PPC data can be invaluable both in initial SEO planning and for optimizing existing pages for improved conversion, largely because paid search can provide information on keywords for which a site does not currently rank.
One of the most difficult things to assess in organic search is which keywords to target for optimal conversion. Or, more precisely, trying to determine which keywords will deliver a reasonable amount of traffic at a reasonably high conversion rate.
All keyword tools provide an estimate of the number of searches a keyword is likely to receive in a given period, but this says nothing about the conversion potential of those queries.
On one hand, a presumably high-traffic keyword may not actually deliver large numbers of visitors, because your site is a poor match for the intent behind the query. If you were to successfully optimize for that keyword, your site would appear in many search results, but few users would click through to your site from them.
On the other hand, a high-traffic keyword may actually drive large numbers of visitors to your site, but upon arrival those visitors fail to purchase an item, fill out a form, signup or otherwise complete a website goal. If you were successful in your optimization efforts for that keyword, you would drive large numbers of visitors to your site, but few users would end up converting (and as a result would be less likely to return).
Paid search can help define or refine your organic keyword targeting by providing data on both issues. The clickthrough rate on paid ad impressions can help you determine which keywords have a good organic traffic potential. This in itself can be extremely helpful for informational sites where ingestion of a single page is a valid conversion goal, and where other engagement metrics like time on site or pages per visit may not come into play.
Effective keyword targeting for SEO entails finding the sweet spot of relatively high traffic & a relatively high conversion rate – here, Keyword B
More obviously, the actual conversion rate of paid search keywords can provide an important data-based clue for organic keyword targeting. At a page level, trying to decide which of a number of topically similar, but semantically different keywords to target is made immeasurably easier when PPC data is available: focus on what paid search has revealed as the highest-converting keywords.
While this sounds simple in theory, it may be more difficult to accomplish in practice, particularly in the not uncommon situation where SEO is managed in-house, but PPC by an agency. And a certain amount of guess work and extrapolation is going to be involved in prying search terms from broad and phrase matched keywords in different ad groups. But this is effort well taken. Otherwise, you may only discover after months of effort that your ranking success for “blue widgets” hasn’t resulted in the sale of many blue widgets.
Even in the absence of a paid search program, paid search in the form of estimated cost-per-click (as reported by the Google AdWords Keyword Tool) may help inform your organic keyword targeting. It stands to reason that if an advertiser is willing to pay $2.00 for “widget killer” but only $1.00 for “widget zapper” then it is likely that the former has been demonstrated to convert better.
Estimated CPC is an extremely blunt instrument and should be used with caution for SEO, but it can be helpful when trying to set optimization priorities among a number of similar, high-traffic keywords.
The Perfect Snippet
The snippet for a page in your site in the search engine results pages is comprised of the linked page <title>, its URL and, in most cases, the <meta> description for that page. This is roughly analogous to the elements of a PPC ad: the linked ad headline, the display URL, and the ad text.
A knowledge of which ads have resulted in the highest conversion rate for a keyword or ad group can help you craft meta data that will be more successful in driving clickthroughs from search engine results pages to your site.
While the longest allowable Google AdWords ad headline is shorter than the maximum title tag that will appear in Google without an ellipses (25 characters versus 70), and the ad text shorter than a fully-displayed meta description (70 characters versus 156), successful ads can give you an excellent idea of what sort of copy resonates with searchers. Using ad copy to help fine-tune page titles and descriptions is especially helpful because there’s no straightforward way of testing the effectiveness of different snippets in organic search.
In some situations, successful ad copy can also be leveraged to craft messages on the page that will result in higher conversions from organic search. While a successful ad headline might not be exactly appropriate for a page title tag, it might be an excellent candidate for the on-page title or subtitle. Similarly, the messaging in the PPC ad might be used to improve the wording of a call-to-action on a page.
Leveraging PPC Landing Pages For SEO
In the happy event that your company uses landing pages as paid search targets, you can use these landing pages to help build permanent pages that will do a better job of converting organic search traffic, and may even improve the ability of those pages to rank for their target keywords.
This is really an extension carrying over snippet messaging to your organic target page to improve conversions, but on a bigger scale. Aside from using ad messaging that’s proven successful in paid search, you can also carry over other aspects of a PPC landing page that have proven successful through testing, such as the content of text blocks and visual page design.
The beauty of using PPC landing pages to improve your organic search performance – rather than landing pages in general – is that there is a relationship between query keywords and the effectiveness of the landing page in paid search that can be carried over in the organic realm. Where the traffic source for a landing page is not search, such as display advertising or a television commercial, then the same parallels may not exist.
Manipulating your site pages in this manner may not, of course, be possible. A PPC landing page for an ad with the headline “Buy 2 Leather Chairs, Get 1 Free” may not be altogether helpful in manipulating your standing ecommerce category page for leather chairs, even though both target the keyword “leather chairs.” Even in this situation, however, lessons derived from testing elements of PPC landing pages aside from messaging can help improve the organic search performance of indexed site pages.
Google AdWords Quality Score data from PPC landing pages can also be brought into play when trying to improve the performance of a page optimized for similar keywords. Landing pages with a high Quality Score are likely to better models for an organic search target page than those with a lower score, as Quality Score takes into landing page quality into consideration. Information from the AdWords keyword diagnosis report can also be helpful in building better organic search target pages.
Whether you are using data from PPC landing pages and paid search ads to improve on-page SEO or better define organic search keyword targets, paid search can be a great help in your SEO efforts. The biggest challenge to using paid search data effectively for SEO may be uncovering that data in the first place, so don’t be shy in approaching your in-house or external provider of PPC services for the information that can be used to improve the performance of your optimization efforts.
For the original article go to: http://selnd.com/eOY2nw
Author: Eric Enge
People love to talk about the ways that search engines determine their rankings. I always advise our clients to stay away from trying to find “the edge of the algorithm” or any practices that are manipulative because of the risk these tactics carry, but the search engines continue to have many limitations on what they can do, and how they interpret what they see.
Therefore it is prudent for publishers to understand the landscape, and do the right things to make the job of the search engines easier. The SEOmoz ranking factors survey includes a great pie chart showing an estimation of the weighting of the various ranking factors:
However, this picture was reshaped back on February 23 with Google’s Panda update. With this update Google added the notions of user engagement and content quality firmly into the mix. This led me to more recently propose a different view of SEO ranking signals:
As you can see in this model, I guessed that the broad category of social engagement and content quality now represents a large 20 percent piece of the Google rankings pie. As I defined it, this piece includes a variety of user engagement signals, such as the way people interact with your site, some form of evaluating the content itself, how your metrics compare to competition on a per search query basis, and more.
I should also note that less is currently understood about the way that Bing is using similar signals, so this discussion is oriented around Google, but Bing is likely doing similar things.
Let’s Go One Step Further
When I speak with people about on page SEO, I often refer to it as being required to gain “entrance into the competition”:
What I mean by this is that you can’t compete for ranking on a specific keyphrase unless your web page provides signals that suggest to the search engine that the page is a good match for the user query. For example, if your page is about Tupperware (for example, look at this page), there is little chance that you can get that page to rank for the term “used cars.” It just isn’t relevant.
Of course, a few years back there was the notion of Google (or link) bombing, where SEOs ran some experiments to make irrelevant pages rank for various search queries solely through implementing lots of links to a web page using a target keyphrase. Search engines have mostly solved this problem.
So far this is all pretty straightforward, but the notion I’m putting out there today is that from an SEO perspective that on page content is not a ranking factor. It is solely about helping establish what search queries your page might be relevant to.
Here’s what an adjusted ranking factors chart might look like if you take this into consideration:
This may be a subtle mental shift but I think it is am important one. If you work with clients, or within an organization, with people who have a limited understanding of SEO, you can often find yourself in discussions where they are unwilling to make adjustments to on page content, because they don’t see why they should make those changes. They may not realize that the result of that is that those pages end up having no possibility of ranking for a particular term.
There is also the flip side of overemphasis. I have encountered countless people who think that SEO begins and ends with on page SEO.
“I’ve optimized the site itself, so I’m done, right,” they ask.
Well, no, you aren’t. It simply buys you a ticket to the competition (it makes you “relevant” to the query).
This is an essential step to success. You don’t get to play without it, but there is far more work to be done before you can declare victory. This is the link building, and engagement optimization which make up a full 96 percent of the rankings picture in my adapted chart.
One side note: the only way on-page optimization can enter into the rankings chart is if you engage in keyword stuffing of any kind. This is still something that you can encounter on the web, and I believe that any sort of abusive practices can become a negative ranking factor, but for purposes of my chart, I have chosen to start with the assumption that this type of practice isn’t a consideration.
I use this mental model when I think about SEO work, and it helps me get to a really clear picture on how I spend my time. It also helps me get others focused on where time is spent, and how the major components of the SEO world fit together.
You can’t participate without addressing on-page SEO (after all you won’t be relevant), but you can’t win without addressing the promotion and user engagement pieces of the puzzle either.
As always, bear in mind that your publishing strategy should begin and end with understanding what unique value you can bring to visitors to your site and how best to provide that value to them. This is the first and most critical element of SEO.
Being mindful of the limitations of search engines and making their job easier is another necessary step in the process. To that end, provide clear keyword based signals as to what your pages are about. Make sure you are in the competition as your first step, and then set out to win it with an effective marketing strategy for your site.
For the original article go to: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2065492/The-Role-of-On-Page-SEO-Content-Relevance-Not-Rankings