Category Archives: SEO Basics

Selecting Your SEO Keywords

At the start of any SEO campaign selecting the right keywords is the most important step. If you choose the wrong keywords, you simply won’t succeed with your campaign.

When selecting campaign keywords you need to consider: What, where, how and why.

  • What is my main sales proposition?
  • Where am I located in Google and the country?
  • How good is my current website and how much history do I have?
  • Why am I considering optimising for that keyword?

.Ideally you would start with a targeted keyword that is exactly what you do, what you offer and where you are located, for example if you were a “luxury hotel in Devon” that also offered spa treatments you might consider “luxury hotel in Devon with spa”.

Your first step would be to establish what the potential traffic of this keyword is. To complete this action go to the Google keyword suggestion tool.

If the above keyword had limited to no search volume, then is it worth optimising? Arguably yes, you want to show for exactly what you are, treat it almost as your brand keyword, that with good content and a well structured website you should appear in the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) with minimum effort. Yes, it will have a low click level, but your conversion should be a lot higher the average.

In using the tool, “country house hotel in Devon” was a search suggestion with a search volume of 250 per month and when placed on exact match it had 140 ASV (Average Search Volume). This keyword should be another to consider, but it’s not going to Wow. Therefore, you need to look at more generic keywords.

Consider looking at generic searches, for example, “Devon Hotel”, “Devon Hotels”, “Country House Hotel”, “North Devon Hotel”, complete a Google search and find if you already have a ranking in the top 100. This is a simple task by simply changing your settings to 100 and using the control F function.

If you find your website ranks for “Hotel in Devon” in 63rd position with no optimsation this keyword would be a good starting point for any SEO campaign. The hardest challenge is always to get a website to rank within the top 100 places, if you are already there, you have an advantage.

Finally, review the competition ahead of you, identify your main competitors and set SMART objectives.

A picture can say 1000 words? Wrong.

Unlike humans, search engines don’t see images, so the more image rich your site is the less likely a search engine will understand its content. This is a predicament for any web developer/owner because they want to have a website that stands out from its competition and is aesthetically pleasing, showing off the products/services they are selling to the best of their ability. A website without images would be to most people a rather boring site to be on but how do you achieve a site that is not only pleasing on the eye but also manages to rank well in the search engines? Fear not, there is one SEO element that can easily be implemented as well as getting the opportunity to reinforce your keyword phrases. Assigning ALT text to all the important images on your site will enable the search engine to ‘see’ the image and understand its content thus ranking it accordingly.

Add the ALTernate text to the HTML tag so this is displayed by the browser when a user scrolls the cursor over the image. This is also good practice for any web owner to aid the visually impaired who views your site. Contributing to usability and accessibility always gets a thumbs up and by implementing this strategy you are not only providing more content for the ‘spiders’ but also the users as well.

Tip: Keep ALT text descriptions as informative and closely related to the image subject as possible and keep it short and sweet.

You can read more at http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/dont-forget-to-optimize-for-images-including-pdfs

Sitemaps and Navigation

As we have established from our previous posts on the South West SEO blog, there are many elements that are required for good quality Search Engine Optimisation on your website. Meta tags, Alt text and Anchor text are just a few elements that reinforce your website with the search engines, but something that is sometimes overlooked by people are the benefits of a good sitemap.

You would be right in thinking that not a vast amount of people use site maps, but they are proving to be an invaluable tool for the search engines to help navigate through the content of your website. There are two types of sitemap that you should be looking at which are the xml sitemap and a HTML sitemap.

HTML Sitemap
Adding a HTML sitemap to your site will allow users to navigate through the content of your website with great ease. Allowing HTML links from the site map is a great way to allow people to go directly to the content that they are looking for.  This will also allow the search engine spiders to crawl the websites content and pick up on any keywords that a user might be searching for.

XML Sitemap
This is a must for anyone wanting to allow search engines to crawl your website. This can seriously boost your search engine traffic referrals from search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN. These are really the three main search engines you should be looking at obtaining good rankings in, as they have the majority share of the market.

Click the link for a little bit more information about what sitemaps actually are

Common Mythological Mistakes of the SEO Universe!

Every specialised sector has its own set of myths. “Knowledge” that people within the SEO world take to be true is no different. Unfortunately we are more than likely to succumb to these myths as tactics that may have worked last year, month or week might not hold as much relevance today. Below we have a list of some of our Favourite SEO Myths:

1 – Submitting to the search engines is the only way to get your site listed.

2 – Meta tags are vital to SEO.

3 – Filling your alt text with keywords will ensure you decent ranking results.

4 – Search Engine Rankings are the only metric worth measuring.

5 – There’s a faultless keyword density that if you use on your site will result in excellent ranking results.

6 – Your home page has to contain every one of your keywords.

7 – You have to put keywords in your headline in order for your page to rank well.

8 – Not Using <H1> tags will prevent you from achieving top placement.

9 – More traffic always leads to sales.

10 – SEO executives are too expensive.

11 – SEO is all about secret tactics and tricks that only the “A list SEO’s” know about.

12 – The more links you have the better the ranking result.

13 – Google owes you a number 1 listing because you’ve followed their guidelines.

14 – Search Engine Optimization is a collection of tricks to fool search engines.

15 – SEO requires continual manipulation in order to keep up with changes in the search engines’ ranking algorithms.

16 – SEO is straightforward to learn.

17 – The only goal of SEO is to be number one in Google.

Matt Cutts: SEO’s friend

Over at Matt Cutt’s blog there is a new handy tip about getting some free links. Well these aren’t technically new links but sorting out dead links. You maybe asking how you find these broken links? Well through webmaster central, that’s how. Matt goes into more detail, but the gist of it is, that you use the diagnosis section of webmaster tools to find out who is linking to dead pages or pages that never existed. Then you can e-mail these websites and ask them to change the link to an active page. What a simple yet great link building idea.

Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts