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Search engine optimization (SEO) works like a champ

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I collected all of my personal blog articles to-date on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and have been handing them out to folks who still believe that SEO is snake oil and I thought I would share them with you, too, since most of you students of blogging actually want your words, your passion, and your voice to be heard.

Search engine optimization (SEO) works like a champ

SEO

Make Your Invisible Graphics-Intensive or Flash Site Highly Visible to Google

Until now. This article helps you turn your invisible corporate website into a high-profile and highly-effective medium for communication.

This article is designed to help you turn your stealth website into a big, loud, impressive, bomber of a website with plenty of payload capacity, the payload being your company, your message, your products, your services, and your story.

Corporate websites that are highly graphics-intensive or are built using Macromedia Flash or Shockwave rich content are pretty much invisible to every search engine because search engines want nothing more than lots and lots of descriptive and rich content. In general, the prettier the site, the more impossible it is to actually find unless you know just where to look.

Websites are delivery vehicles and their payloads are your company message, your products, your services, your brand, your culture, and your story. Is your company website an F-117 stealth fighter, only visible to people who know where to look and only carrying a small payload, or is your company a C-130 Hercules, filling the sky with its size and noise and carrying a massive payload.

There are some important things to consider when optimizing a web site for search engines, using Google as the gold standard. SEO requires three things, two of which most web developers and companies do good jobs: rich textual title content, rich textual metadata content (in the form of meta tag keywords and description), and rich body textual content.

Most websites suffer from a strong lack in rich body textual content because they are in general built like brochures: very shallow and very graphical. Sites that rely heavily on either image files or Flash content suffer disproportionately when it comes to search engine ranking. Why?

Because search engines can only index the content that web sites offer them and the only content that the search engines can use is plain text. Although handsome, graphically-rich sites don't have either the diversity or the sheer volume of keyword phrases that text-rich sites have. In addition to pure volume, search engines also need to find all keyword variations of your service – all variations of the service that your potential clients might use. Search engines also care about what is called “keyword density” which means that the most readable of copy isn't necessarily the most findable.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Keep Pronouns to a Strict Minimum

First, never use pronouns. Keyword density is essential to how Google ranks you. Second, use variations on search terms. To illustrate the first two points, I will take a bit of copy and optimize it for search engines and their love for keyword density. Instead of this:

“Viral marketing is now an essential strategy for every firm. It has become as essential to small and large firms alike, both for its relative affordability and its potentially high effectivity. With the advent of the Internet, it has become amazingly efficient: all you need is a laptop and a compelling message.”

Try this:

“Viral marketing is now an essential marketing strategy for every marketing firm. Viral marketing, also known as relationship marketing, buzz marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, conversational marketing, and passion marketing, has become as essential to small and large marketing firms alike, both for its relative affordability and its potentially high effectivity. With the advent of the Internet, viral marketing has become amazingly efficient: all you need is a laptop and a compelling message.”

Yes, you're appalled by its inefficiency and wordiness. Your boss would never approve, nor would your writing coach. Tough. This is not about winning the PEN/Faulkner, its about arousing Google’s algorithms. Of course, I am exaggerating in order to make a point. I removed all the pronouns and made sure that everything is completely contextualized – not for your visitors, but rather for the search engines.

For my example, I made sure that there was a broad diversity of all the ways people might search for this content. In addition, I made sure that I also mentioned all the buzzwords and key terms that I could imagine. Brainstorming with your sales and communication team or looking at the kind of words and wording your competitors use is always a great idea.

The Controversial Image ALT Tag

Although there is much debate over whether Google pays any attention to ALT tags for images, I always recommend adding ALT tags to all image files, even when the web page is made up of a “sliced image.” The only ALT tags that exist are usually in the banner of the site. No other parts of a highly graphical or flash-based main page are usually textualized using image ALT tags.

Your company slogan, tagline, phone number, guarantees, products, services, the menu choices (navigation) should be included in the image ALT tags. Even if Google doesn't care about ALT tags like the rumors say, the site will be way more navigable, especially to the blind and seeing impaired – and don't they deserve a break? don't they need your services, too?

Google's "Eyes" Focus on Where Your Eyes Do

Google give favor and weight to headers and emphasized text. No matter what anyone says, Google cares about formatting. Strong, Bold, Emphasized, Italicized, and Hyperlinked text is favored by Google. Also, Google looks at header tags, too. Header 1, Header 2, Header 3, and Header 4 are important to use. This is especially important because when the same desigers who have you that "sliced" graphics-based site, they might have designer the CSS style sheet without concern for these things. CSS styles can change the look of regular HTML tags as easily as they can customized DIVs, SPANS, and STYLES.

Corporate Blogs

Corporate blogging is essential to the growth of online properties for a number of reasons, including access to the blogosphere and its interested and passionate community of bloggers and blog-readers. Blogs offer built-in useful tools such as RSS syndication, comments, outgoing links, blogrolls, trackbacks, a richness of text and textual content, and the ability to build celebrity and personality online through a first-person relationship with said blogosphere, current, and future customers.

Since potential and future clients are clueless as to how the company works, how you have grown the company, why you chose to go into this business, and what your vision is, this is a great opportunity to share yourself as the owner, as someone who has his finger on the pulse, and also to directly respond to the curious and the unconvinced. It would also allow you to accept and then publish shameless testimonials from real fans like me. It would also allow you to publish any and all positive or neutral mentions (testimonials or otherwise) about the blog or your official corporate website.

Corporate Blog as SEO Strategy

The Search Engine Optimization of your official corporate website will aid in the site’s “findability” in Google, MSN, and Yahoo!. There are other things that Google and the other search engines consider in addition to the textual completeness of the entire web property. The most important are the depth of the site (more pages are better), number of links and interlinks to and from the site (can be within the same site), and the frequency with which the site gets updated. A traditional corporate web site is shallow, poorly-linked (especially to external sources) and can oftentimes go for months without being updated. If Google can figure out that your site isn't changing, it passes it over for constant indexing. It does this because Google has a finite number of resources and will revoke any resources it can in order to preserve them. Since the Internet is vast, Google give priority to web sites and web pages that are constantly-updated such as blogs. Blogs are constantly-updated, deep, many-paged sites that are constantly being updated and constantly being spidered by search engine robots.

Corporate Blog as Community Outreach

No matter how many cool offers there might be online and no matter how much of a your company’s products and services might be, a real angle in the entire blogosphere and blog world is in not only letting your service speak for itself but also that people are even more attracted to story, personality, and the behind-the-scene experience of both the people who run companies and their clients than they are to the services themselves. If you have the time, passion, and wherewithal to put the time and energy into really reaching out to the blogosphere and the community of readers and bloggers, you can get quite an amount of influence and sway – real impact and market penetration – by just building a relationship with the blogsavvy, wealthy, young, and the professional – people with money, in other words. These types of people, 25-45, are the same sort of people who spend a lot of time reading blogs.

Blog Community Outreach

One powerful technique for building community on blogs is to first find a compelling item about your industry, products, and services then search for the blogs that are already talking about it on Technorati. It is much easier to message on blogs that are already having friendly conversation.

Technorati as a Strategic Tool

Spread the word online: People are already talking about how busy they are, how awful their places look, and so forth -- tell them about your company, your culture, your history, your story, your products, and the services you offer – and do it openly and honestly and place your own name, your own email, and either the URL of your web site or the URL of the blog itself. Here's how:

1) Go to Technorati.com, a blog search engine.

2) Type in one or more of the keyword phrase in your Meta Tag keywords

3) Go to the blogs that are talking about your company, industry, products, and services

4) Where appropriate, leave a short note about your company or your corporate blog

5) Come back the next day (or as often as you can) and do the same thing but be sure to follow-up with the conversation because dropping a message without coming back is considered spam and in the blogosphere, an ounce or prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Submit your Blog and Website to Search Engines

I personally use Dynamic Submission, but there are a bunch. Web Position Gold is another fave. I choose Dynamic Submission because it allows me to spider my entire blog to within an inch of its life and then submit not just the site's arteries but also all the way down to the site's villi as well. In my opinion, search engines are lazy. They have only so many resources and so many nanoseconds in the day. They need to put first things first. So what I do before I spider the blog is set the index page of the blog to view 365-days of posts, or maybe a bunch of weeks, so that I can spider most of the blog from one "Import from Web." When the import is complete, I change it back to showing only the last 7 days. I even maintain a separate box on which to host the Dynamic Submission tool because it's such a processor hog. And then let it go. Seems to work like a charm. Why? Well, not because I am doing anything unseemly but rather just because Google and the rest sometimes miss something and I want to make sure that all the engines get everything. Every little dumbass link.
The Services You Might Want to Employ

Although I have not used the services, one respectable way of increasing your link popularity and prestige in Google is to use a service like Text Link Ads. What Text Link Ads offers is a link-buying service that does double-duty. The double duty is as follows: in addition to creating clickable links on the popular sites that can choose and afford, it will also allow you to legally create Google bombs that will heighten the probability that your company website or your corporate blog will turn up when people search for your company, your industry, your market, your products, and your services.

Employing "localized" Google AdWords, content-based Google AdWords, and search-based Google AdWords is a no-brainer. There are other advertising solutions available now, including finding the advertising networks that might be placed on some of the blogs you find the most focused or relevant, including BlogAds, etc.

Okay, I hope that helps. I am tired of writing but if you have any more questions, please feel free to ask me questions below in the comment section and I will both answer them and also use your questions, comments, feedback, and suggestions to fuel future articles.

Control Your Google Listing

I control all the aspects of the following return -- title and description (and maybe even placement)You should too!

How did I do that? Well, I just wrote some code and pasted it into my blog template, above the opening tag, between the and tags. Simple but mightily effective!

Holler!

If you optimize your blog you can control the way Google shows your site to the world.

Be sure to add a "description" meta tag as Google uses it in search returns (and you can control Google's description of your site). If you don't want to top there, you can continue with the whole lots of meta tags.

If you want to see what meta tags I use, they're listed at the bottom of this article. I will paste my tags at the end of here for you to enjoy. Also, make sure you give "alt" and "title" tags to all of your images and "title" tags to all of your links.

(For you newbies, the meta tags all go within the header tags in your blog template. So you will need to do some template editing.)

Four, find a Google Sitemap plug-in and use it.

Five, submit your blog as though it were a traditional website. I personally use Dynamic Submission, but there are a bunch. Web Position Gold is another fave. I choose Dynamic Submission because it allows me to spider my entire blog to within an inch of its life and then submit not just the site's arteries but also all the way down to the site's villi as well. In my opinion, search engines are lazy. They have only so many resources and so many nanoseconds in the day. They need to put first things first. So what I do before I spider the blog is set the index page of the blog to view 365-days of posts, or maybe a bunch of weeks, so that I can spider most of the blog from one "Import from Web." When the import is complete, I change it back to showing only the last 7 days. I even maintain a separate box on which to host the Dynamic Submission tool because it's such a processor hog. And then let it go. Seems to work like a charm. Why? Well, not because I am doing anything unseamly but rather just because Google and the rest sometimes miss something and I want to make sure that all the engines get everything. Every little dumbass link.

Quick Blog Search Engine Optimization Tips You Can Control

Google, Yahoo!, and MSN already love you, blogger, so just write, write, write. If you have more time and an inclination you can continue reading.

Without doing anything to your blog, you have an advantage which is lots and lots of text that is generally topic-centric and frequently updated. You are already ahead of the game. Add to that that Google loves you and cares about keeping up with the blogosphere and you can safely stop reading now and be fine. Just make sure you write something twice a day.

Although the most important part of SEO is getting Very Important People to link to you, there is a lot you can do on your own that I will go into below (I also go over how I think Google works in How Google Probably Ranks Your Site in My Opinion).

First, never use pronouns. Keyword density is essential to how Google ranks you. Second, use variations on search terms. To illustrate the first two points, I will take a bit of copy and optimize it for search engines and their love for keyword density. Instead of this:

"Viral marketing is now an essential strategy for every firm. It has become as essential to small and large firms alike, both for its relative affordability and its potentially high effectivity. With the advent of the Internet, it has become amazingly efficient: all you need is a laptop and a compelling message."

Try this:

"Viral marketing is now an essential marketing strategy for every marketing firm. Viral marketing, also known as relationship marketing, buzz marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, conversational marketing, and passion marketing, has become as essential to small and large marketing firms alike, both for its relative affordability and its potentially high effectivity. With the advent of the Internet, viral marketing has become amazingly efficient: all you need is a laptop and a compelling message."

Yes, you're appalled by its inefficiency and wordiness. Your boss would never approve, nor would your writing coach. Tough. This is not about winning the PEN/Faulkner, its about arousing Google's algorythms.

Third, optimize your blog as though it were a traditional website. Be sure to add a "description" meta tag as Google uses it in search returns (and you can control Google's description of your site). If you don't want to top there, you can continue with the whole lots of meta tags. I will paste my tags at the end of here for you to enjoy. Also, make sure you give "alt" and "title" tags to all of your images and "title" tags to all of your links.

Four, find a Google Sitemap plug-in and use it.

Five, submit your blog as though it were a traditional website. I personally use Dynamic Submission, but there are a bunch. Web Position Gold is another fave. I choose Dynamic Submission because it allows me to spider my entire blog to within an inch of its life and then submit not just the site's arteries but also all the way down to the site's villi as well. In my opinion, search engines are lazy. They have only so many resources and so many nanoseconds in the day. They need to put first things first. So what I do before I spider the blog is set the index page of the blog to view 365-days of posts, or maybe a bunch of weeks, so that I can spider most of the blog from one "Import from Web." When the import is complete, I change it back to showing only the last 7 days. I even maintain a separate box on which to host the Dynamic Submission tool because it's such a processor hog. And then let it go. Seems to work like a charm. Why? Well, not because I am doing anything unseamly but rather just because Google and the rest sometimes miss something and I want to make sure that all the engines get everything. Every little dumbass link.

Six, make sure you use a ping server. If you don't know a thing, start with filling out Pingomatic as best you can. That should be good enough for now. Blogger and WordPress.com offer a checkbox you can use to send out the ping. You can probably build it into your submission using the WordPress "Update Services" under Options/Writing, then scroll down. On MT it's in Settings/New Entry Defaults/Publicity/Remote Interfaces. I use a long list that I will post under the Meta Tags below:

Ping Server List for ChrisAbraham.com
http://www.blogshares.com/rpc.php
http://api.feedster.com/ping
http://api.moreover.com/RPC2
http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/XMLRPC
http://bulkfeeds.net/rpc
http://coreblog.org/ping
http://effbot.org/rpc/ping.cgi
http://ping.bitacoras.com
http://ping.blo.gs
http://ping.cocolog-nifty.com/xmlrpc
http://ping.feedburner.com
http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
http://rpc.pingomatic.com
http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://topicexchange.com/RPC2
http://www.a2b.cc/setloc/bp.a2b
http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2
http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates
http://xping.pubsub.com/ping

(I was Inspired by BBC's More Blog Search Engine Optimization Tips and Tricks)

What is a Ping Server?

Whenever you post a new entry to your blog I am pretty sure you tell all your friends. It is also important to tell blog search engines and news aggregators so that they too can check out all your new content. Telling them you have fresh content is called pinging them.

According to the definition on Feedster, "A ping server is a bit of software infrastructure, a server program to be specific, which lets a feed tell us 'I've just updated; please index me now.' What it receives is a small tidbit of information from a blogging or publishing tool which is called a 'ping'. Hence the name."

The simple solution is to make sure you visit Ping-o-Matic every time you publish a new blog entry. I have already published a comprehensive list of available ping servers and I will discuss other solutions in future articles.

Depending on which blog service or which blog software you use, there are simple ways to automate the act of pinging all of the ping servers.

I plan to delve much more deeply into this very very soon.

Search Engines Favor RSS Feed Supported Sites

To paraphrase Lee Odden, "RSS feeds get blogroll, inclusion in RSS directories assist with link popularity, Updated RSS feeds are indexed more frequently, RSS output contributes to your freshness, The format of most RSS feeds provides content that's easier for search engines to understand."

Basic SEO for Bloggers Comes a Little Short

Thanks to Darren for the link to Basic SEO tactics for bloggers. That said, it is too basic.

It doesn't talk much about SEOB (Search Engine Optimization for Blogs) so much as just how to architect your blog. There are so many other tips and tricks.

I am opening up a text page right now to start writing my own Basic SEO for Blogs because if I am going to tell you that this article is severely limited, I had better suggest something better, right?

I Have Power Over Algorithmic Search Engines

"Some time ago, I realized that I have power over google, yahoo and other algorithmic search engines. I can choose words and phrases. And then I can get top ranking for those words in search engine results." Me too, and I couldn't say it better myself. PC4Media via ProBlogger.

How Google Probably Ranks Your Site in My Opinion

Google indexes web pages and then ranks them based on three distinct and equally-weighted aspects.

The first aspect is a trinity which is based on the content of each page: page title, page description and keywords (meta tag data), and page full-text content. A page that has similar content wording (and density) is considered to be legitimate. If a web page has all three components it generally a reliable resource.

The second aspect is that Google favors web sites that are continually-updated; therefore, a blog is always indexed more often and considered more timely than a static "brochure" web site.

The final and most-important aspect Google uses to favor (and thus rank higher) web pages is each page's (and site's) link popularity. Link popularity is basically how many other sites link back to a site; in addition, Google goes one step further and considers a number of things to insure that the link popularity isn't abused: prestige.

If an old, high-prestige, high link-popularity web site (or sites) links to a site, it is more beneficial to the site's link popularity than if a host of insignificant sites link to a site. Old, popular, and well-trafficked sites always lend their prestige to the site to which they link.

The three taken together result in the ranking of the site based on a typical Google keyword search.

You need the content (flash-based and highly graphical pages without well thought out meta tags are virtually invisible to Google), you need the link popularity, and when it comes to it, you need to have new content to show up in the top-ten on Google.

A popular upstart blog or message board can oftentimes achieve better ranking than a big corporate website, especially if that website is new or has changed the architecture of its website recently (Google considers the sudden and complete change of the architecture and file-structure of a web site really fishy).

Never Use Pronouns When You Blog

First, never use pronounsKeyword density is essential to how Google ranks you. Second, use variations on search terms.

To illustrate the first two points, I will take a bit of copy and optimize it for search engines and their love for keyword density. Instead of this:

"Viral marketing is now an essential strategy for every firm. It has become as essential to small and large firms alike, both for its relative affordability and its potentially high effectivity. With the advent of the Internet, it has become amazingly efficient: all you need is a laptop and a compelling message."

Try this:

"Viral marketing is now an essential marketing strategy for every marketing firm. Viral marketing, also known as relationship marketing, buzz marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, conversational marketing, and passion marketing, has become as essential to small and large marketing firms alike, both for its relative affordability and its potentially high effectivity. With the advent of the Internet, viral marketing has become amazingly efficient: all you need is a laptop and a compelling message."

Yes, you're appalled by its inefficiency and wordiness. Your boss would never approve, nor would your writing coach. Tough. This is not about winning the PEN/Faulkner, its about arousing Google's algorythms.

Invest in Google Sitemap as a Tool for SEO Analysis

Investing in Google Sitemap is worthwhile. For example, the top search query for chrisabraham.com is ladder theory and the top search query click is nicole richie diet.

Brand Protection on Blogs

Andy Sernovitz is spot on when it comes to how to control and manage brand online, especially when it comes to online brand protection.

It boils down to this:

Blog search engines such as Technorati, Feedster, and BlogPulse only really care about the last word. If you can reply to a negative, hurtful, brand hit, then you can dominate the conversation and win the debate, in most cases.

Google cares about everything but the latest word isn't always indexed yet, so therefore, in the world of Google, the better indexed site always wins. Learn about SEO and Google Sitemaps if you want to compete here.

You can't control online conversation unless you participate. The only way to get indexed by Google or to show up on Technorati, Feedster, and BlogPulse is to be an online opinion leader who has a site that has made it out of Technorati, Feedster, BlogPulse, Yahoo!, MSN, and Google's sandbox, and has an SEO and a Blog Search Engine strategy.

You have to initiate membership, become part of the conversation, build street cred, have an SEO and blog strategy, and become a respect online opinion leader before something goes awry.

To quote Mr. Sernovitz, , "you'll never be able to control the blogosphere conversation. Don't even try. You'll never be able to manage your blog coverage like you manage the press. Don't even try. But what you can do is participate, earn respect, and tell your story. Jump in, join the conversation, and be a part of it."

This is my response to a very brilliant and spot-on article. I have nothing to say in contest to it, so stop reading me and go read WOM Tactics: Blogs are Upside Down.

Jun 14, 2006 12:00 AM