SEO Tips Archives

The #1 SEO Mistake – Are you Guilty?

I’ve made a post in the past listing what I thought were the most common SEO mistakes, but based on what I’ve experienced over the last few months, helping people with their SEO, this to me has to be the #1 SEO Mistake. I’ve not talked about it at any great length before, as I only recently spotted how common this mistake was after judging a backlink building competition at the Affiliate Power Group

So here it is, the #1 SEO mistake that I see (again and again!).

Not Putting Your Keyword Phrase in the Anchor Text

For anyone who doesn’t know what I mean by this, I mean putting the keywords that you have chosen (for the page you are linking to) in the clickable text of the link, every time you create a backlink (a link from another site to your own site).

Free SEO Course

In the above HTML I am using the keywords “free SEO course” to link to a page on my site that is optimized for “Free SEO Course”. This would create a link like this – Free SEO Course.

If you want to get ranked for a keyword, getting backlinks to your site containing that keyword in the anchor text is probably the most important thing you can do.

I often find that people have built hundreds of links to their website containing some other keyword, or a few random words in the anchor text. Although it is good to throw in a few of these to make your links look natural, this is not going to help you get ranked highly for your keywords.

Another related mistake that I see people making is linking to other pages on their website using the keywords that they have chosen for their home page. When you link to a page on your site, use the keywords for that page not the keywords for your home page.

For maximum traffic you should be optimizing each page or blog post on your site for a different keyword phrase and ensuring that you use the right keyword phrase whenever you create a link.

Hopefully this will help you if you are just starting out with SEO, or if you are guilty of my #1 SEO mistake. Other people may argue that there are other more common mistakes, but this is one that I keep seeing time and time again.

Download my SEO EBook for more tips like this.

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7 Common SEO Mistakes

If you are trying to optimize your website for the search engines it can be very easy to make mistakes, especially if you are new to SEO. I think the easiest way to learn how to optimize your website properly is to look at some common seo mistakes and learn from them. It is always much easier to avoid making mistakes when you know what the most common mistakes are!

1) Ignoring the TITLE Tag
Leaving out your title tag is another common mistake that is also made by the experts. This is the most important area of your SEO to have your keyword. This will show up as the title of your website in the search engines.

2) Using a Flash Website that Does Not Contain HTML
A flash website may appear appealing to you but it is not always appealing to users and search engines cannot always rank them properly. If you still prefer to use a flash website be sure that you include an HTML version of the site.

3) Concentrating Too Much on Meta Tags
Apart from the description meta tag, most search engines pretty much ignore the meta tags. They have been abused in the past and are no longer a reliable way of ranking websites. I see too many people get hung up on their “meta keywords” tag when they should be concentrating on the content of their site and the backlinks.

4) Using Java Script Menus
Search engines do not recognize Java Scripts so you should not use these as the sole method of navigation.  If you do happen to have certain portions of your website that do contain Java Script be sure to create a site map as well to allow the search engines to index all your pages.

5) Not Mentioning Your Keywords Enough
I’ve seen many people try to optimize a web page and only mention the keyword in the TITLE and in the meta tags. You must mention the keyword in the body of the page as well – a few times including at the beginning, middle and end of the page is good, but be careful not to overdo it.

6) Ignoring Your URLs
When you create additional pages on your site be sure to use the target keywords for that page in the filename.

7) Targeting the Wrong Keywords
This is the one of the most common SEO mistakes. Before you decide on your keywords be sure to do some research so you can be sure that people are actually searching on these keywords AND they convert well. Also check out the competition and make sure you have a chance of ranking on the first page of the search engines.

Hopefully you can learn from some of these common SEO mistakes and get your site ranked well in the search engines!

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Hello and welcome to 3 Steps to Search Engine Success! My name is Suzanne Morrison and I would like to assist you in achieving higher search engine ranks for your website.

Search Engine Optimizing is often though of as a complex process, but I like to break it down and think about it in 3 simples steps.

  • Step 1 – Choose the right keywords (aka Keyword Research)
  • Step 2 – Optimize your website for your chosen keywords (aka On Site Optimization)
  • Step 3 – Build up your site’s link popularity (aka Off Site Optimization)

Here you will find lots of tips and ideas for achieving a higher search engine rank for your website and I will share with you my ideas on finding the best keywords, optimizing your website, building backlinks, using tools to help you with your SEO and more.

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This post is just for fun..

I had a good laugh today when I looked at my website stats. Some poor person had been searching for something on Google, and it wasn’t SEO :)

Have a little look at my StatCounter screenshot:

Whoops, I think they may have felt a little frustrated after landing here on this website.

Another interesting phrase that I was ranked highly for a while ago was “free ways to get high”. I guess this person would have been extra disappointed to land on my website. Sure, I can help with free ways to get a higher search engine rank, but not free ways to get high, LOL.

Statistics can be very useful, as they often alert you to keywords that people are using that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought about. In some cases you can use this to your advantage by increasing your position in the search engines for that phrase (by building more backlinks or tweaking the on page optimization). In other cases (such as the ones above) there is not much you can do except laugh.

Ever found something strange in your stats? If so, please share below!

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Why is your Site not Ranked in Google?

One of the most commons questions that people ask me is: Why is my site not ranked in Google?

The answer to this question can be one of a number of things and before I answer it I always need to take a look at the website first. In case you are wondering why your site isn’t ranked in Google, here are 5 of the most common reasons:

Reason One: You have not optimized your website for any keywords – the most common reason for a website not being ranked is that it has not been optimized for anything. Before you build your website you need to spend time deciding what keywords to use AND you need to ensure that these keywords are placed in all the right places on your page. Read more about choosing the right keyword phrase and optimizing your website.

Reason Two: You have chosen keywords that are too competitive – another common reason for not getting ranked in Google is that you have chosen keywords that are way too competitive. This is especially true if your site is relatively new and you have not yet built many links to it. When people search on Google they typically do not go past the first or second page of results. This means that you are better to get ranked on page one for a keyword with 5000 searches per month than you are to get ranked on page 10 for a keyword that gets 100,000 searches per month. Before you choose your keyword check whether or not the keyword is too competitive.

Reason Three: You do not have enough backlinks to your website. The number and quality of links to your website (backlinks) is the main thing that determines where you rank. If you are not ranking for your keyword go to Google and enter your keyword in the search box (no quotes) then take a note of the first 5 domain names listed in the results. Go to a backlink checker tool and check how many backlinks these websites have. Compare this to your own site. This is not an exact science as the quality of the backlinks counts for a lot, but you will get an idea of how many more links you need to make it to the top.

Reason Four: Your site has a number of errors and cannot be crawled. First, it is important to say that most websites have some sort of HTML errors, so don’t get bogged down with fixing all the errors on your site. In general the search engine bots can still crawl your site when there are a few errors, but in some cases an error may stop your page being crawled fully. The best way to determine whether or not this is a problem is to create a Google Webmaster account and verify your site.  If there are any crawling errors these will show up in your webmaster account and you should make it your priority to fix them.

Reason Five: You are not being patient enough. It takes time to get a good search engine ranking, especially if your site is new and/or you are aiming for a competitive keyword phrase. Continue to promote your website consistently and check your rankings and your backlinks every 2-4 weeks and this will give you an idea of how much progress you are making. Also take a look at my other post – how long does it take to rank well in the search engines.

Hopefully this will give you some idea of why your site is not ranking in Google yet!

For a full guide on what not to do and how to get your website back into Google download my SEO EBook.

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How to Add your Business to Google Maps

When you search for a local  business in your area, you may have noticed that Google often shows a map of your local area along with a list of businesses in that area.

For example, if I am looking for restaurants in Edinburgh (where I live) and enter “Edinburgh Restaurants” into Google, the first thing I see after the sponsored ads is the map.

Google Maps

You can see that the map is right at the top of the listings and there are 7 businesses listed. Clicking on the link below these businesses will show more listings.

If you have been wondering how to add your business to Google Maps, you will be pleased to know this this is very easy to do and it is also completely free. You can also do this regardless of whether or not you have a website.

For this to work you really need to either have a physical business like a shop or a restaurant, or an office, or if you are running a home business you need to be happy to add your home address and telephone number into your listing. You do have the option of hiding the address so that it is not displayed on your listing, but this may mean that your listing is ranked as highly as it would be with an address.

Here are the steps to add your business to Google Maps:

1) Visit the Add your Business page.

2) Sign in with your Google account, or create a new account if you don’t have one.

3) Click the button to add your listing

4) Fill in your details – this includes your address, website URL (optional), telephone number, email address and business description

5) You then have the option of adding photos, opening hours, payment option, videos and more.

6) Finally, before your listing goes live you need to verify your listing. This can be done by phone, SMS or postcard.

That’s it – very easy to do! If you have your own business you need to make sure that you do this asap to increase your visibility.

To improve the ranking of your Google Places listing you should make sure that:

  • You have claimed your listing.
  • You have verified your listing.
  • You have filled out your profile with as much relevant information as possible.
  • You have the correct categories selected
  • You include your main keywords in your listing. (but don’t over do it and keyword stuff!)

Download my SEO EBook to learn how to get your website to page one of the Google results.

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Updated: April 2012.

I often get asked the question “How long does it take to rank well in the search engines?” Unfortunately his is one of these questions with the answer “it depends“!

There are so many factors that are taken into account by search engines when they rank other websites including:

  • On page optimization – in particular the TITLE tag and the keywords throughout the body of the page
  • How many backlinks are pointing to the site
  • The quality of the backlinks pointing to the site
  • The keywords contained within the anchor text of your backlinks
  • The age of your domain

These are just a few of the factors, but it gives you an idea of why this question is not so easy to answer.

Regardless of this, before you embark on an SEO campaign it makes sense for you to have in mind a timescale. Like all goals, it is good to be specific about the results that you want to achieve and the time frame that you want to achieve them in. For example “I want to be in the top 3 sites in Google for keyword phrase xyz and abc withn 4 months”.

Before you set yourself a goal, you need to make sure it is realistic. The best way to do this in my opinion is to check out your competition. You’ll probably already have a couple of keyword phrases in mind, so you need to take each keyword individually and do the following:

1) Go to Google and enter your keyword in the search box without quotes

2) You’ll see a number of website pages returned in the results. Don’t freak out if this number is high – although it is typical for more competitive terms to have a higher number of pages returned in the results, you are only really competing with the sites that are on the first page. If you can beat them, you are at the top.

3) Take a note of the domain names of the top 4 websites and use a backlink checking tool to see how many backlinks they have.

4) Compare the number of backlinks that these sites have with the number of backlinks that your own site has. This will give you a rough indication of how long it is likely to take you to beat your competition. For example if your site has 300 backlinks and the number one site has 2000 backlinks, you need to work out roughly how long it will take you to exceed 2000 backlinks. Bear in mind that this is a rough indication only as the quality of the backlinks also plays a large factor in ranking.

5) Take a closer look at the sites you are competing with.
If you are trying to rank your home page and you are competing against a site that has a sub page or blog page ranked, it should be easier to beat them. If the site you are competing with does not have the keywords in the TITLE tag or mentioned throughout the page it may also be easier to beat them.

Although there is not an exact  scientific answer for the question how long does it take to rank well in the search engines, hopfully these steps will help to give you an idea of the length of time it takes.

You may have to repeat this process a few times until you find a keyword that allows you to acheive a good ranking in as short a time as possible.

You can find more tips like this in my EBook – 3 Steps to Search Engine Success.

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How to Create a Robots.txt File

I don’t like to get too techie in my posts, but a lot of people ask the question “what is a robots.txt file” or want to know how to create a robots.txt file.

First, don’t worry ifyou don’t have a robots.txt file on your web server – it is not mandatory and if you don’t want to prevent any pages from being indexed by the search engines you don’t actually need one

A robots.txt file is simply a text file that’s created with notepad or any other compatible text editor. You use this file to list pages or directories on your website that you do not want the search engine spiders to crawl (i.e. pages that you do not want to be indexed in the search engines).

The reason for this could be because you want to keep your download pages from showing up in the search engine results (SERPS), or because you don’t want to show duplicate content on your site.

Even if you don’t have any web pages that you do not want to show up in the SERPS you can still upload a robots.txt file to your site to let the search engines know that you’re playing by the rules!

Here is how to create a robots.txt  file.  These files are actually very simply to make despite the name!

First simply open notepad or your favorite text editor.  This lines you will enter in this text file are as follows:

User-Agent: [Spider or Bot name]
Disallow: [Directory or file name]

It’s pretty much self explanatory; you tell which spider, i.e. Google, MSN or Yahoo not to crawl the “Disallow” listed sites. That’s all to it, too easy right?

Let me give you a few examples so you know exactly how this should look when you create your robots.txt file.

Let’s say you DO NOT want the Google bots (spiders) from crawling a particular directory on your site. This is how it would look:

User-Agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /downloads

If you want to allow the search engines to index everything on your site and just want to have the robots.txt file on your site for good measures. This is how it would look:

User-Agent: *

Hopefully this will make it clearer to you how to create a robots.txt file!

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