Category : Search Engine Optimisation

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Google Instant Results And How It Will Impact Your Search Engine Rankings – Your Questions Answered

Google Instant has now been rolled out in Australia. You may have noticed that search results start appearing as soon as you start typing. Each time you type another letter, the results are refreshed.

The biggest question in the world of search engine optimisation and website rankings is – How will this affect my search engine rankings and amount of traffic you receive?

Local Search Results Just Got Easier

Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s top executives was moved from Head of Products to Head of Location and Local Search. She has already started making changes with a great new improvement for local search results.

Previously, if you did a search for Pizza, you were assigned your location based on the information your ISP gave to Google. It was often inaccurate and it didn’t help the search results. I was located in Wollongong and a local Google search would often generate results for Sydney. Now that I am in Sydney, it would be a different part in Sydney.

Search Engine Comedy

There really isn’t much funny stuff that goes on in search engines. It’s all about the numbers, ranking, results, money, return on investment etc.

It does get repetitive – believe me I should know!

That’s why I would like to share with you this video from the Comedy Channels’ The Colbert Report. It features a funny interview with Google’s CEO – Eric Schmidt.

Introducing Google Instant Search

Google has done it again! Caffeine made the indexing of web pages a much quicker affair. New results are entered in the grand database very quickly how, often within hours instead of days and weeks.

Google’s new innovation is Instant Results. As you type your search query, the results are display. This means faster, quicker searching for everyone.

Here is a video from Google explaining it in a very easy to understand way –

Top 10 Ranking Factors for Local Business Listings in Google Places

What is Google Places?
Local business listings is very important in Google. If you do a local search which includes a place, town, city or local service, Google will display the local business box. That’s how important Google thinks local search results are.

What determines your Google Places Rank?
Everyone is wondering what the ranking factors for local search engine optimisation. Do you stuff your Google Places page with as many keywords as possible or what?

Here are the top 10 factors that determine your Google Places ranking – From Least important to most important –

Internet Marketing: What is Local Search Engine Optimisation? How Can it Help My Business?

local internet marketingWhat is Local SEO?
You may be wondering what exactly local seo is and how it can help your business. ‘Local Search Engine Optimisation’ is getting your business listed at the top of the search engine when local searches are performed.

A local search is defined as a search including a location, city, suburb, town, place, country or a local service.

Book Review: Get Found Now! Local Search Secrets Exposed by Richard Geasey and Shannon Evans

internet marketingThis is a wonderful introduction into the world of getting your business listed on the major search engines and business directories.

The book is from the US but the explanation of local search engine optimisation and Google Places information is great.

If you want a shortcut to the top of search engines, the local business listings in the major search engines may just help you.

If you do a local search, the major search engines may display a listing of local businesses.

Internet Marketing Rumour: Google to Introduce Newspass

Internet MarketingThere are currently rumours floating around the Internet that Google may introduce a payment system for paid content.

What is Newspass
Newspass will be a micropayments system for viewing premium content. This premium content listing in the search engine result pages will be indicated with a Newspass icon. When you click on the link, your Newspass account will have the cost deducted from it.

Search Engine Optimisation: Google Supporting Real-Time Search Results – Project Caffeine

search engine optimizationGoogle announced today this it has rolled out the biggest change in it’s search engine history. Fresh content will now be displayed much faster than ever before.

The project named Google Caffeine which was mentioned in August ’09 is now powering the world’s largest search engine – Google.

Internet Marketing: Google Alerts – Monitor Your Name Online

Imagine if there was a way where you could find out if someone mentioned your name, business name, product or service on the Internet.

Now you can with Google Alerts!

Why do you need to know?
Before I tell you how to setup a Google Alert, I need to let you know why it is so important to monitor this kind of activity.

The 8 Mistakes of Google Place Listings

Google Place Listings is the results box when you even a search query that may be location specific.

There is no hard rule for when the business listings will be displayed but it usually appears when a keyword is about a location or the type of keyword would be loacation specific.

If you entered pizza into Google, it would then show the business listings. The same would happen for accomomdation, hotel or motel.

These listings can be a very powerful tool that you can use to list your business above everyone else. Managed right and you will be up the top. Do the wrong thing, and you will be removed very quickly – within hours!

Google: New design and changes to SERPs

Google has been very busy this month with the release of their new design.

The left column on the search results page is more pre-dominate now with more options. A lot of people do not take advantage of the additional search options on Google. Did you know you can search through news articles, images, videos, blogs and much more?

You can also specify the time and date of your results. This means that you can do a web search with pages from this year only. This is great for researching current statistics for example.

Google has also implemented a brand result area in the search results. If you search for footballs, you now get many different areas as part of the universal search results –

  • News clips
  • football images
  • football brands
  • videos of football
  • football products

All these changes are taking place to provide the user with a more user friendly appearance and better search results. Google says that by providing all these results, it adds to the users’ overall experience with the search engine.

Many people ask me why they aren’t ranked number one for their targetted keyword. I explain to them that their page needs great content and good backlinks to their site. If the content is great, people will link to it. Google will rank it higher because it is what people are looking for.

Buyer Beware: Cold Calling Search Engine Optimisation Scams

Have you ever had those phone calls from companies claiming to get your site to the first page of Google within 28 days?

Even as a search engine optimisation and marketing consultant, I still get them. I listen to their pitch and then ask a couple of questions. They usually have no clue how to answer them so what kind of service will they be providing?

I have done a search on their business name and they didn’t even come up first. That is a very easy task and a pathetic attempt on their behalf.

We advise all our customers to be aware of anyone calling up trying to sell them Internet services. There are a lot of people out there to take your money and there’s not much you can do about it if they do not deliver.

These telemarketers are driven by commission and can become aggressive pressuring you to sign up with them. I recommend avoiding any business that you have never with dealt with before or if they sound like they are over promising on what they can do.

They claim that having a good ranking will increase visitors and increase sales. This is true. It’s how they get you there – if they get your there at all. I don’t believe they will ever get you there. If you get banned from Google, that’s the end of it!

Wrap Up
Beware of any company that contacts you regarding search engine optimisation or marketing that you have not contacted first.

If you are ever unsure, contact your web developer or myself and I will tell you if it’s a good or bad.

Internet Marketing – Major Internet Retailers Behind With Search Engine Optimisation Efforts

The top 500 major Internet retailers spend approximately $1.2 million every day in search engine marketing. The problem is only 33% of their highest-priced keywords appear in the top 50 of natural search engine results.

Large corporations continue to fail with SEO efforts and keeping spending big to gain market share online.

This is where the smaller players have an equal playing field – natural search engine results.

It is estimated that 43% of people click on the number 1 natural search engine result for any query. This kind of traffic for popular keywords can really help a business grow.

Why aren’t large corporations getting in on this?
They often build their sites and think about optimising it afterwards – too late!

A solid SEO friendly web site starts withe foundations – when the web site is initially being built. Making major changes down the track can be time consuming, expensive and take up time.

What can you do about it?
You can learn how to optimise your own web site or pay an SEO expert to do it for you. Then plan a link building strategy to compliment your efforts.

When your web site is ranking well for you specific keyworkds, the amount of potential customers will increase and your online sales will increase. This means more profit for you.

Wrap Up
Optimise your web site if you haven’t already and start gaining that advantage over the big guys!!

SEO: Page Speed Now A Factor For Google Ranking

Google leads when it comes to quality of search engine results for end-users. If you are looking for something, usually Google will find it. That’s why Google wants to continue to satisfy it’s customers.

Google has now added a new factor to the rankings of their search engine results. Research has shown that faster loading web sites adds to a user experience. They stay on fast longer web sites for a longer period of time.

Web sites that are slow to load are often aborted because they take too long to load.

What about your web site?
How long does your web site take to load? If your web site is slow to load, are you losing visitors? Now, you will not only lose visitors but your search engine rankings will drop.

Slow loading web site factors
The factors are all measured from the users’ point of view. How long it takes for a web site to be downloaded and rendered on a users computer screen is the measurement used.

There are two great books based on this topic by Steve Souders – High Performance Web Sites and Even Faster Web Sites.

Here are his rules for producing fast web sites –

Wrap Up
If you optimise your website, your users will have a better experience and you will get higher rankings in Google search results.

GoogleBot Questions: From Eric Enge’s interview with Matt Cutts from Google

What is the GoogleBot?
The googlebot is the automatic spider program that Google uses to visit websites and report back with results to put into it’s search engine results. By understanding how the GoogleBot works and how it interprets your web pages, can increase your search engine rankings.

There are many factors that Google considers when indexing web pages. Here are a couple of questions and answers about how the GoogleBot works and how to get better search engine rankings.

What is host load limit?
Host load limit is the number of connections that your webserver allows at any given time.

A webserver with a lot of busy websites, would be limited to the number of connections each website can have.

That is why it’s important to have a reliable host that does not have overloaded servers. This means that the GoogleBot can index your website quickly and entirely without being restricted.

What is crawl budget?
Google will index a number of web pages on your website which is directly proportional to your PageRank. The lower the PageRank, the less pages of your website will be crawled. If you have a higher PageRank, most, if not all of your pages will be crawled.

The better your PageRank, the deeper the GoogleBot will go with indexing your website.

How does duplicate content affect crawl budget?
If the GoogleBot crawls three of your web pages and they all have the same content, Google will only index one of those pages and scrap the other two pages. It will then assign a lower PageRank value because of the duplicate content resulting in less pages being indexed by Google.

Are Session IDs bad for my website?
Google does not recommend the use of session ids for a number of reasons. They look ugly which is hard for the user to remember the address and less users are likely to click on a complicated link.

Google and Yahoo both have tools to remove unwanted variables in the address bar. Any variables that do not add value to the user’s experience can be removed for indexing.

Does 301 redirects take the link juice?
If you move a page or even change domain names, it is highly recommended to use 301 redirects. The link juice is carried to the new page. If the original page has a PageRank of 3, the new redirected page would take it.

There is some decay in the PageRank value but much of it is carried on.

What is a canonical tag?
Google has a fantastic post that describes everything about canonical tags including the new cross referencing of domain names. Specify your canonical.

SEO: Are you losing your Google ranking with Cyclical Content?

I’m going to describe an important concept about content that appears year after year on your website. If you had a product that came out each year, for example – a car model from Toyota called the Corolla, what address would give it?

  • http://toyota.com.au/corolla
  • http://toyota.com.au/corolla-series-8
  • http://toyota.com.au/corolla2009

Still unsure? read on and I will explain which one to use.

What is Cyclical Content?
Cyclical content can be defined as information about a product, service or event that comes out each year or period.

You may have an awards event that is on every year or a new model of a product every six months.

The mistake most web designers make when working on your website
Many web designers will make the website address for your event, product or service with the date attached to it or the series number or something like that. For example, the awards website address that you have this year is http://yourname.com.au/awards09

What happens next year and people are searching for your awards website address in Google? They type in the name of your awards but what address comes up? This year and all your previous awards website address will be competing against each other.

The answer
The best website address to use is the same one every year or every time the product is released.

These are good addresses because it says the same –

  • http://toyota.com.au/corolla
  • http://yourname.com.au/awards

It doesn’t matter what year it is, the current information for your awards will be found in the same spot. Previous years’ award information won’t be competing against other years.

If you wanted to look at the 2006 model of the Toyota Corolla, you would use this address – http://toyota.com.au/corolla/2006. If you wanted this year’s model, you would use – http://toyota.com.au/corolla.

Wrap Up
I hope you understand how to use your website address in the most practical way to keep ranking your website high in the search engine results.

Is Search Engine Optimisation Worth It?

onlinenews

Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be defined as optimising your website so search engines can rank your website in the natural search results, as high as possible for those targetted keywords.

But is all the effort in SEO really worth it?
Should you put all that time and effort into optimising your website so that when the search engine bots come through, that your page will rank higher?

Should you even think about paying an SEO professional to do it for you? What return on investment can you expect?

There’s no  guarantees
No one can guarantee number one position for your chosen keywords for the natural search results. You might get emails in everyday with promises but still no real guarantee.

The statistics
The number one ranking website for any keyword has an average click through rate of 56%. So if 1,000 searches are done for that keyword each day, that’s 560 visitors each day on average.

Of these 560 visitors you get daily, 5% purchase a product – that’s 1 in 20 people. That’s a nice conversion rate and works out to be 112 new customers each day from that keyword. If the average purchase was $100, that’s $11,200 a day in revenue. That number 1 ranking is worth a lot of money.

Imagine if it was a popular keyword and it was being searched 100,000 times a day – 56,000 visitors a day and up to 11,200 new customers a day in an ideal scenario. That’s $1,120,000 a day. Now we’re starting to talk big business!!

Would your business benefit from this kind of traffic?
Any online business could benefit from this kind of traffic. On the Internet, targetted traffic is king. It earns money and it’s what some businesses survive on.

Competition is heavy in the search engines and the most profitable the keywords, that more likely there is going to be more competition.

Conclusion
SEO is definitely worth it and can take a company from being good to great! If your website is not search engine optimised, you are not helping the business at all.

If you have any questions about SEO, please contact me – nigel@burke.com.au

Google: Introduces New Homepage And Why Internet Marketing Consultant Needs To Know Why

googleMany people may not have noticed this but Google has changed their homepage.

It’s not until you are told of the change that you would realize it.

Go to http://google.com but do not move your mouse. Only the search box and logo are visible. Once you move your mouse, the rest of the details appear.

This is just one of many changes Google has made that is not visible to the general Internet population. By writing and researching for this blog, I read about nearly every change.

Many of these changes are advanced and meaningless to users but as an Internet marketing expert like myself, they are important.

Your Internet marketing consultant should be aware of all the changes Google, Yahoo and Bing do so your website ranks at the top for your targetted keywords and stays at the top!

Google: Let’s Make The Web Faster + New Tool

google-betaGoogle has introduced a new tool that allows you to check the speed of your website and improve the speed.

This is one of Google’s ways to give back to the Internet community by educating developers and designers to make better websites. This in turn is supposed to make the web a better place.

Tutorials
The site has some great tutorials and you can visit them here – Tutorials. Some example tutorials are –

Participation
You can participate in discussions about making the web faster here – Share and discuss

Useful Tools
There are some fantastic tools the Google lists here. You can access the tools page here – Try useful tools. Some examples are –

I highly recommend you check out the educational tutorials and test some of the tools they have made available and listing on the site.

SEO Tip: Ask Your Customers For A Blog Post

seo tipI am often asked how to get higher rankings in search engines. Perhaps the customer has done everything possible to optimize their website, what next?

Backlinks are key to getting a great search engine ranking.

Next time you send an email to say ‘thank you for doing business with us’, maybe ask that customer to do a blog post if they have a blog. You can return the favour by adding a blog post about them. It’s a win-win situation for everyone – you both will get inbound links to your sites and a higher search engine ranking.

Try and get them to add some links to your site with the keywords you are targeting if possible.

You may not notice a big difference with one or two posts about your business but think if 20+ posts are done about your website. Now that will help you search engine ranking!

SEO: On-Page Elements You Can Instantly Change To Get A Top Ranking In Google

wwwYour website can rank higher by simply knowing what elements Google and other search engines look at when indexing your page. When you are aware of these elements, you can make minor modifications to your website to produce a better ranking.

This is information that your SEO expert does not want you to know. SEO experts charge thousands of dollars to apply this to your website.

  1. URL – The URL is the web address. You can name the page with the targeted keywords.
    Action – Name your pages accordingly.
    Example – http://yourdomain.com.au/keyword.html
     
  2. Links – The links in the page should be related to the targeted keywords. These are just like references and by reading the references, you should be able to work out what the original page is about.
    Action – Name your links so they are related to the targeted keywords.
    Example – <a href=”apr.com.au”>Australian Produce Report</a>
     
  3. The title tag – Do not simply place your business name here. Search engines rank the first words as the most important keywords for your site.
    Action – Place the most important keywords first and then your business name.
    Example – <title>keywords | page name | Business name</title>
     
  4. The description tag – This does not have as much weight as it used to have but it is still important. Many search engines still look at this for keywords and even Google may use it as the description for your page in it’s search results.
    Action – Imagine that your visitor has not seen the page and write a good description about what the page is about.
    Example – <meta name=”description” content=”a great description of the page”>
     
  5. The keywords tag – Search engines may not put much weight on to the specified keywords but it is still good to include it because every bit helps.
    Action – Enter a list of the most important keyworkds into this tag.
    Example – <meta name=”keywords” content=”a list of great keywords”>
     
  6. The heading tags – Search engines look at the heading tags throughout your document and define what the page is about. Many websites make the mistake of not using the heading tags at all so the text looks like a long blurb to a search engine.
    Action – Using heading tags to break up your text into headings and subheadings using the search engine recognised way.
    Example – <h1>Big heading</h1> … text … <h2>Sub heading here</h2> … more text.
     
  7. Bold text – Does your site use bold text? Using bolding on your most important keywords in your text. This will make it easier for a human reader and search engine bot to understand it – but make sure that it still looks good. Afterall, you need to make pages that humans can read and not pages that are simply only optimized and readable by search engine robots.
    Action – Use bolding for your most important keywords in your content
     
  8. Text – Your chosen keywords should be the main discussion points on this page. If you have chosen a keyword but have not mentioned it in the content, should you be really targeting that keyword or maybe you need to add more content so you include the keywords.
    Action – Check that your target keywords are aligned with the content.
     
  9. Alt text – Do your images utilize the image description element? If you load a web page without images, you should be able to make out what the images are about using the image description information. Search engines only read text and not images. The alt image value appears when you rest a mouse on an image.
    Action – Describe every image on the page and add your targeted keywords where you can. Remember that Braille readers and speech synthesizers use the alt text value so do not confuse these readers.
     

How could we forget these basic rules?
When making a web page, we often think about the marketing and the selling perspective of the page. We often forget that search engine robots need to read these pages too. On the other hand, we need to create pages that humans can understand as well.

Search engines try and replicate how a human would read a page but sometimes, they need a helping hand. By implementing these elements correctly on all your web pages means that search engines will recognise the content and targeted keywords more easily.

Conclusion
You now know how to optimize your on-page elements for your website. Now go update your website with your new found knowledge!

Choosing the best and most profitable keywords for your website

aumoneykeyboard

Choosing the best keywords to optimize your site can be a challenge but I am going to show you the best ways to find the keywords that will get your results. This is a very important step in Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click Campaigns.

I am surprised the number of times that customers ask to be listed as number 1 for their business name. I explain to the customers that they will normally rank at the top for their business name. If people are entering their business name, they are only searching for their website.

Looking from a customer perspective
One of the main problems people don’t realise when choosing keywords is that they choose keywords that are either industry jargon or something that only an industry insider would search for. You want to choose keywords that potential customers would use to do a search, afterall, it is not you that is going to be doing the searching.

Check out the competition
You can easily check what keywords your competitors are using. Visit their website and click on Tools -> View Source. You should be able to find the META data which will have a list of keywords and description. Have a look at the list and see what keywords would be good to optimize your site for.

Here are some tools that will help you evaluate what keywords your competitors are chasing. These tools offer a free trial but they are paid services.

Keyword suggestion tools
Here are some free keyword suggestion tools based on past search queries to major search engines

These tools allow you to enter in your website, you competitors’ websites and industry keywords (to generate non-industry keywords).

Sorting out your keywords
You probably have a lot of keywords in your list now. Put them into a spreadsheet program like Excel to help sort them out. Remove duplicates and unrelated keywords.

You should now have a list of the best and profitable keywords ready to enter into your website or marketing campaigns. Make sure you keep this list private and in a safe spot. We will come back to this list of keywords later and analysis how your website is currently ranking for all these keywords but I will save that for another post.

Let me know if this has helped you with generating the best keywords below.

Are you listed in Google or Yahoo or Bing?

googleIf you are not listed in either of the three main search engines, you are missing a lot of valuable traffic. That is traffic that could generate you sales and leads. But how do you know if you are listed? Do you just type your business name in and if you cannot find your link, then you must not be the search engine at all?

How do you check?
You can check by typing in the following to any search engine – site:yourdomain.com.au (changing the word yourdomain.com.au to your domain name (ie. site:avs.net.au)

This will bring up a listing of all the entries that the search engine has of your website.

If you no results are found, then you are not listed in that search engine. In the near future, we will show you two ways that will get your site listed on all the major search engines.