Feb 10

Actionable SEO Metrics

Great post by the folks over at Flyte New Media covering Actionable SEO Metrics with Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz.

My favorite quote of the article:

To make Analytics actionable, always ask:

  • Why am I measuring this?
  • What would I do if results were different?

Jan 10

Link Building: Using Anchor Text Correctly

Writing good, clear copy that is relevant to your niche, is the first step to SEO success.  The second major area for success is through having lots of links pointing to your site.

When getting links, the more that those links can have relevant keywords in the anchor text, the better.  For example if your site is selling skateboards, you want the links to look like   <a href=”>Skateboards</a>.  Since Skateboards is between the HTML anchor tags it is considered, yup, the anchor text.

As you continue building links, ideally, the anchor text would be similar, but slightly different.  If you had 1,000 links that all had “skateboards” as the anchor text, google and other search engines may see it as “unnatural link building”  perhaps as done by a computer program.

So, you would want to have some variation — perhaps:

<a href=”>Custom Skateboards</a>
<a href=”>skate decks</a>
<a href=”>maple skateboards</a>
<a href=”>Powell Peralta Skateboards</a>
<a href=”>click here</a>

So that your anchor text appears “natural.”

Jan 10

Link Building and Yahoo Site Explorer

While you can get great rankings in some niches by simply doing excellent on page optimization such as:

  • relevant TITLE
  • relevant URL
  • well written content with your keywords scattered naturally throughout

One of the key components to getting good rankings is links pointing to your site. (Especially in competitive markets.)

One way to judge your competitors is to look at their inbound links.  One way to gauge this is by using Yahoo Site Explorer at and typing  in the full URL of your competitor’s site.  Then click on “inlinks” and you will see how many links they have both internally and externally.  You can select to only see external links to get a clear idea.

No do the same thing for your site and compare the number of links.  You should also be looking at the quality.  Are the links from sites in related industries, or niches.  Are they from directories? Link farms?

If your competitor links are from related sites, you will have a bigger challenge ahead, but if they are from lower quality sites, you may be able to surpass them with even just a few high quality links.

Another thing you can do with Yahoo Site Explorer of course is to note the URLs of relevant sites that are giving link love to your competitors. This shows they are “willing” to give links. You may be able to get a link from that same site if you send them a personal email.  Take the time to research the owner of the site, and send them an email directly for the best results.

Dec 09

On Page SEO: Meta Tags

Meta tags are probably one of the most misunderstood components of SEO.  Many folks think that if you stuff your meta tags with relevant keywords that it will help your rankings.  According to most of the major search engines, meta keywords are not relevant for their algorithms.    In the early days of the web, meta keywords were relevant for helping the search engines decipher what a page was about.  However, this set up was rife for abuse.  A webmaster could “stuff” the keyword meta tags for certain keywords and achieve some level of significance.  Nowadays (2009)  it is much more important to have good content, and relevant links.

If you are going to use meta keywords it is important that they are completely relevant to the content on your page.  But many well known SEOs do not even use meta keywords anymore.

Dec 09

On Page SEO: Title Tags

It is amazing when you look around at sites on the web and see so few using the HTML Title tag properly.

Most folks will put their company name inside the Title tags, which does little to nothing for most SEO needs…. unless you are a big brand like NIKE or something….

For the average small biz website, you want your title tag to have the keywords of what product or niche you are focused on.  That way, if someone does a search for “GPS Dog Collar” you will have a better chance of ranking for that keyword, than if your Title is “Stupendous Pet Stuff”

Your title is one of the components to SEO that is heavily weighed.  Of course it is important that your on page content is relevant to your title, or browsers won’t stay around long.  Additionally most search engines will check to see if your title is relevant to your content.

Nov 09

Keyword Research

A well designed website should have lots of natural copy that contains those keywords that are most relevant to your site.  But how do you decide what keywords to target?

Let’s start with a quick definition:  ”keyword” = noun.   1. A word or phrase that your clients use to help them find what they are looking for.  2.  A word or phrase that search engines identify on your site and utilize for indexing.

OK, that was a bit academic, but thought we should at least start with a working definition.

A keyword is only as good as its’ searches.

If you want to rank, your site needs to focus on keywords that people are searching for. I could build a site tomorrow that is optimized for “rubbery pumpkin daddies” and probably rank #1 for that keyword phrase in google within a day or two….   BUT…. is anyone searching for that term?  Not likely.  In fact a quick search on google shows no results for that phrase.  So, it would be very easy to rank for it quickly… but it would be a waste of time, since no one is searching for it.

When trying to rank for phrases that people are searching for, more often than not, that means that there will be some competition. Your goal is to figure out which keywords or variations of your keywords you can target and achieve rank.  Sometimes that means you won’t go out of the gate targeting “Motorcycle Parts”, but instead a more specific niche of motorcycle parts, such as “Ducati Handlebars”

One of the cheapest (if you like “free”) and easiest ways to perform keyword research is using Google itself – the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.  While it is developed to help people who are selecting keywords for their Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads, it is very helpful for finding out what keywords are being searched, how often, and also for spitting out dozens of related keywords that you may not have even thought about.  You can find it at:

Nov 09

SEO Fundamentals

If you have a website, you have likely heard about SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

Without good optimization for search engines, it is highly unlikely that your customers will find your site.

What does good SEO look like? There are a variety of factors that influence search engine rankings.  These can be divided up into both “on-page” factors and “off page” factors.

Some on-page factors

  • Well written and relevant content/copy
  • Relevant URL (domain name)
  • Title Tags
  • Header Tags
  • Meta Tags
  • Image Tags

Off-page factors consist of

  • Domain Age (how long has the site been registered)
  • LINKS — consisting of links from
  • Directories (both paid and non-paid)
  • Links from relevant sites
  • Social Media Links
  • Links from non-related sites (to a certain degree)

There are many other factors that come into play in order to be successful.  Some of these include:

  1. If you are a small local business, optimizing for “local search” is critical – you can get your business listed in google, yahoo, local yellow pages, merchantcircle, your chamber of commerce, locally relevant blogs, and many other options.   Just one example: as of Dec 2009, with your business listed with google local, you can come up in the local search results next to the map — and ahead of the natural organic search results.
  2. Blogging — publishing fresh, relevant content on at least a semi regular basis can be a huge boost
  3. If you sell product, setting up “Google Base” feeds, that pull your products into the natural search results of google.  This is another way to effectively “jump” ahead of your competitors.

Jan 09

Does Facebook utilize “nofollow”?

Should I use my “update status” button on Facebook to get some backlink action?

Maybe, but you will not get any love from Google in terms of backlinks — unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you see it).  Facebook uses the dreaded “nofollow” tag in it’s links.  It does make sense, otherwise Facebook would be full of fake profiles that just pump out spam endlessly.  So, if you are a user of Facebook, you’ve got to thank them for that.

That is not the end of the story however…  You can still get some link love from Facebook, but it will be limited to your friends (and maybe their friends – if someone happens to comment on your post).

This is how you do it:

If you have a ton of friends and you want to share your latest business venture with them (and website) ->  go ahead and post it up in your status.  Be sure to utilize the “link” feature below the status box.  It is hidden down there amongst other attachment options such as “image,” “video,” and so forth.

Facebook Link Updates

If your friends see your status and there is a link that is ready to click, you will likely get more traffic.

Here are a few examples (with names blurred to protect the innocent – or guilty)

This is HOW to do post a link in your Facebook account.
Utilizing the handy “link” button below the status update will give you a nice clean link.
How to Post Links in FB

This is how NOT to do it.
By not utilizing the link button and just embedding the link within your status update, it would require someone to copy and past the link, or perhaps type it into their browser directly. BAD Bad bad….

how not to post links in FB

Jan 09

Leapfrog your competitors with Googlebase

If you have an ecommerce site, GoogleBase is a great way to jump to the top of google listings over your competitors.

Googlebase is a database that shows shopping results embedded in the organic search results on the 1st page of Google as displayed in the below image.

googlebase results

How to get listed?

Many ecommerce platforms offer a way to submit a file of your products to Google for inclusion on their list of products available.  Check on the admin/backend of your site to see if there is an option to submit your products from the backend.

You can also manually submit your products directly to google.  Be sure to include as many relevant attributes as possible (SKU, keywords, other attributes).

Some factors that seem to affect rankings on Googlebase:

  1. Sites that are already ranking for related keywords will still rank well on google
  2. Sites that have lots of consumer reviews seem to rank better than others