Posts Tagged ‘seo’

SEO for Your WordPress Blog

January 17th, 2011

Here are some SEO tips for your WordPress blog:

1. Alter the Permalink structure

Set your permalinks optimally for SEO. The permalink of your WordPress blog, by default, looks like http://yourdomain.com/?p=N, where N is the Post ID number. While it works on all server environments, it is not SEO-optimal.

You can easily change your permalink structure by clicking on the “Settings” tab and then “Permalinks” menu on the dashboard of WordPress. You can choose from the “common” structures provided or you can enter your own in the “Custom Structure” field using the structure tags. Make sure your do not put your domain URL in the permalinks field. You must use structure tags.

Structure tags:

  • %year% – displays the 4-digit post year in the link (ie. 2004)
  • %monthnum% – displays the 2-digit post month in the link (ie. 05)
  • %day% – displays the day of the post in the link
  • %postname% – displays the post name in the link
  • %category% – displays the category of the post in the link
  • %author% – displays the author name in the link

For example, if you want to display the post’s category and the title in the permalink, you will need to enter the following in the Custom Structure field: /%category%/%postname%/

2. Add a comprehensive SEO Pack

You can install the All in One SEO Pack plug-in. The plug-in allows you to optimize meta tags, keyword tags, description and add a custom title for your blog.

3. Optimize the home page of your blog site

Use a keyword research tool to find good keyword phrases for your home page. Include the keyword phrases in the meta description, title tags and the content of your home page.

4. Optimize your blog’s images

You can optimize your images by using keywords in the “Alt” attribute and the names of the images. Also, include an image description in the image title tag.

Is SEO in other languages easier?

January 10th, 2011

What are the challenges that companies with an international web presence face?

Domain Name

SEO begins with domain name selection – this is true whether the website is to be promoted locally or internationally.

Try to register a ccTLD for the country you’re targeting. For example, if your business targets the Canadian market, try to register for a .CA domain name. However, do remember that many countries require you to have an actual physical business location in that country before you can obtain the ccTLD, this is particularly true for the .CA domain name as well as the .DE (German) domain name).

Why? Search engines try to rank the most relevant search results for the user. For example, Google will default a user in Canada to its Google.ca search site and will feed results it thinks is more relevant (ie. .CA might be a better result then .COM)

Web Hosting

The closer the servers are (geographically) to the site visitors, the faster the pages will load as a greater distance means there are probably more nodes for data to pass through before it reaches the user.

If you are aiming to target a specific audience, you should use a country specific domain extension (ie. .ca for Canada, .uk for the UK), use local web hosting and focus on building links that come mainly from sites in that geo-location. This way, it allows the search engines to easily determine where your market is and more effectively rank and display your website in search results.

Language (keywords, etc.)

Developing optimal keywords requires a thorough understanding of your product/service and matching that with the search terms that are likely to be used in the target country and language. This is not a task that you want to rely solely on Google Translate or other translation tools.

What is the best way to get all pages on a multiple-language website indexed by search engines?

One suggestion is to get separate domains for each language of your site.

Why? By getting separate domains for each version/translation of your website, you will be able to arrange exchange links for the main page of each of the versions, which in turn can drive up the link popularity of each. Also, as mentioned before, search engines give precedence to websites in the searcher’s own country and country-specific domains. When you go to Google’s Japanese website, you will see the URL: www.google.co.jp (Japanese) or www.google.es (Spain).

An alternative is to place each version/translation into a subfolder. If check out Microsoft’s website, you will see that their language sites look like this: http://www.microsoft.com/el/gr/default.aspx (Greek).

Yahoo! on the other hand uses subdomains:  fr.yahoo.com (French) and ru.yahoo.com (Russia).

More interesting reads:

Using Google Insight for Search Engine Optimization

December 3rd, 2010

What is Google Insight?

Google Insight is a free tool from Google to examine popular keyword people are searching over a time. Its slogan, “See what the world is searching for,” implies that one of the most important uses of Google Insight is to detect current and future trends, as well as to measure how Internet users perceive specific terms.

Search engine optimization deals primarily with keyword research, building links and doing onsite work. Google Insights offers a new and very useful tool for researching keywords. In all SEO processes, keyword research is the most critical part – a mistake in the keyword research means a failure of the whole SEO campaign

Traditional keyword research tools such as Google Keywords Tool, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools offer only basic information. They can’t provide you with detailed information such as:

  • Historical term popularity
  • Geographic usage
  • Suggested related top terms

More information on Google Insight at Google

Example: “website”

For example, we did a basic search for “websites” on Google Insight and we found out:

  • there has been a general decline in the interest of the term
  • search terms popularity varies amongst categories, for example, the most popular search terms in the Internet category are “free website’, “templates” and “template website”. However, the most popular search terms in the Entertainment > Music category are “music website”, “lyrics website” and then “free website”

You can change settings like time, country, etc. to target your query for certain countries or markets or niche.

What it means to your as a website owner?

Google Insight can help you determine which keywords are more popular. For example, an car manufacturer may be unsure whether it should highlight “fuel efficiency”, “safety” or “horsepower” to market a new car model.

Putting these three terms into Google Insight, we can see that there is considerably more interest in “safety” and “horsepower”. With this information, the manufacturer can incorporate car safety and horsepower into its marketing campaign.

Google Insights is also useful in determining a new market. Using the “Regional Interest” information, you can see where interest appears to be highest. You can then customize your website to appeal to the specific region.

More information on Google Insight at Google

Convert Visitors to Paying Customers – Conversion Optimization

November 19th, 2010

You may be using Google Adsense, Google Adwords and SEO techniques to drive traffic to your website, but if no one wants to buy what you are selling, your online business isn’t going to get anywhere.

Conversion optimization is the process of converting visitors into paying customers.

Ways to convert visitors to customers:

1. Keep it simple:

  • if your visitors are unclear about how to proceed, or about what you want them to do, they are going to go elsewhere
  • take a look at your site, it is user-friendly, straightforward and easy to navigate?
  • use bullets whenever possible to describe your products and offers
  • make your Add to Cart buttons stand out
  • put the price in the visitor’s currency

2. Payment options – make checkout and payment an easy and relatively painless process by:

  • offering multiple payment options if you can.
  • making the most of 3rd party services, such as PayPal, Google Checkout
  • make the checkout process simple with as few clicks a possible (*remember, the more pages you add in between the sales page and checkout, the more dangerous your sales process becomes)

3. Use visual aids to illustrate anything you say/claim. In additional to product descriptions,

  • use photos, videos and demos to showcase your product
  • show charts, facts, samples, reviews and endorsement to back up your claims

4. Customer Service – in order to boost your sales, you’ll need to project a big company image as much as you can possibly afford to:

  • offer live assistance, such as live chat, to give visitors a way to reach out to you in real-time
  • offer a toll-free number and make it visible

5. Security – establish trust:

  • is there a “padlock” in the browser representing an SSL certificate?
  • display save shopping logos such as Hackersafe and Better Business Bureau
  • increase the trust factor by including phone number and address along with other company information

6. Communicate with your customers – they can tell you what you need to know

  • make it easy for customers to send feedback
  • you should also welcome feedback from visitors who are leaving your site without making a purchase – to find out why

7. Incentives – offer special discounts and promote them heavily:

  • sometimes a 5 or 10% discount may be just the encouragement first-time buyers need to make a purchase
  • curb shopping cart abandonment and purchase delay by restating discounts and offer on the order forms
  • make discounts and sales known the moment your visitors enter your website; you can even include information about special offers in your website’s META description tags – the text that most search engines use to describe your site in search results

Bounce Rate

November 9th, 2010

Bounce Rate is the percentage of single page visits. Not to be confused with exit rate, bounce rate is the rate that shows the percentage of initial visitors who leaves your website after arrive at the entry page. Exit rate is the percentage of visitors that leave a site from a given page. For example, exit rate is used to monitor specific pages in a process, such as a “shipping options” page that appears during the checkout process.

You can easily find your website’s bounce rate by using a website statistics tool, such as Google Analytics.

A high bounce rate means you are making a bad first impression; a high exit rate means you have a leak in the process.

What causes for a high bounce rate?

  • clicking on a link to a page on a different website
  • closing an open window or tab
  • typing in a new web address
  • clicking the “Back” button
  • session timeout

A popular myth about the bounce rate is that particularly high or low bounce rate numbers define whether your page is a success or not. It all depends on the circumstances and the purpose of the page. What exactly does a page try to achieve?

Jakop Nielsen suggested:

The bounce rate should be analyzed separately under four categories are low-value referrers, direct links from other sites, search engine traffic and loyal users.

A loyal user might visit your website by a feed reader and leave after reading the new article because s/he has already read your other articles before. On the other hand, a user with a desire for a specific knowledge will visit your site through a search engine and may be tempted to click around.

The point is, bounce rates will vary depending on the source. For example, a blog that offers all of its content on one page will have a high bounce rate.

How to improve the bounce rate and get more page views?

The bounce rate is pretty much influenced by what is visible to the visitor. In short, it’s all about marketing.

One way to minimize bounce rate is to optimize web pages and connect them into a unity, thus adding value for both the loyal reader and the visitors who’s coming from a referral site or a search engine.

  • Make navigation points easy to access
  • Position links around content – make links highly visible and relevant to the current page

Also, a high bounce rate generally indicates that the entry page isn’t relevant to your visitors. If your visitors arrived at the entry page via a search engine link then you can tailor the entry page to more specific keywords, content and/or ads.

And, don’t forget your pages’ loading time. The loading time of your webpage is an important SEO factor. It is even more so important in keeping a visitor on your website – visitors will be more likely to visit additional pages if your load times are faster.

What is a good bounce rate?

Many people believe that a bounce rate below 50% is great.

However, because bounce rate is mostly governed by the purpose of the web page and not the subject of the website – bounce rate is often thought of as a qualitative data type, it is very difficult to attribute a “good” bounce rate.

Bounce rate measures the quality of…

  • the purpose of the page – what exactly does a page try to achieve
  • how targeted is traffic to your webpage
  • the click-through rate to external pages

Here is an excellent presentation on bounce rate by Avinash Kaushik (Google Conversion University)