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Monday, April 5, 2010

SEO Tools and Tips

Occasionally, I actually cover topics that are not directly related to signs, but still have some bearing on advertising or marketing (don't get the wrong idea though! Signs are critical to marketing and advertising!). For whatever reason, I had this huge urge to cover SEO :-)

In today’s world, gaining popularity in the business sector has become very competitive. So, businessmen are searching for various techniques to establish their name in the market. Among many techniques, SEO for business is quite popular among small and big businesses and corporations. Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the process of improving traffic to a website from search engines. This is made possible by organic search results. Through SEO, search engines can examine the presence of your website by looking at keywords that are included in your web pages. On the basis of that, business websites will be ranked on the search engine list. In this entire process, relevancy of content plays a crucial role.

During search engine optimization, one must consider a very important process- build links by creating external links. These links build points to your website and improve your website’s authority level. The search engines crawl the website and check out whether it is popular or not and if it is popular then the search engine will reward the site with more prominent rankings. Not only this, SEO for business website can bring more potential customers from across the globe.

The following 10 free SEO tools can help draw targeted traffic to your Web site content. You’ll notice that many of the tools in this roundup come from Google. Because Google searches account for about 65 percent of all Internet searches, it makes sense to use Google tools for your SEO efforts.

Top 10 Free Small Business SEO Tools:

1. Google AdWords Keyword Tool: Google’s free tool is designed for marketers who want to find the best keywords for their Google AdWords campaigns. But it’s extremely useful for organic (unpaid) SEO efforts, too. It can give you a sense of how often people use a particular keyword, or variations of it, in Google searches, and how competitive a keyword might be to rank highly for it in Google search queries.

2. WordPress: Search engines love blogs, so if you aren’t currently blogging, give it a try. WordPress is widely seen as the best blogging platform.

3. Google Analytics: If you haven’t set up a Google account and added Google Analytics tracking code to your site or blog, you should. Simply put, it’s a fantastic tool for learning about what attracts visitors to your site -- including the keywords used to find it -- as well as where visitors come from, how many pages they typically visit on your site, how long they stay on your site and tons more.

4. Google Insights for Search: While Google AdWords Keyword Tool shows you the volume of searches conducted using specific keywords, Google Insights for Search gives you a sense of the trends in keyword usage. Specifically, you can compare search volume across chosen time periods (from 2004 to the present), geographic areas, categories and a lot more. Google Insights for Search will show you the keywords that are rising in popularity. This information can help you target the best keywords for new site content, such as blog posts.

5. Google Trends: Google Trends shows you what the hot topics and search terms are on Google right now. It’s not quite as useful as Google Insights for Search for getting the big picture on trends. But it’s ideal for a quick snapshot on the Internet zeitgeist. Plus, you can also go back in time to see what the top hot searches were on a given day, which is cool.

6. Trendistic: Trendistic provides charts to reveal how a given topic has trended in the past 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, or 180 days. Another good tool to guage this is Twitter Search ( Twitter search doesn't give you any graphs, but it can help you stay up-to-date on the latest buzz.

7. Facebook: Facebook has surpassed Google as the top source for traffic to major Web portals, prompting some analysts to say that social media networks, such as Facebook, could become the Internet’s next search engine.

8. Wordtracker Labs Keyword Questions: Increasingly, people are typing natural-language questions into search engines. But what questions are people typing? Wordtracker’s free tool will tell you, based on the search query data it compiles. You could discover the top questions people have that are relative to your product or service. Then you could write a blog post or add an entirely new page to your site to answer one of those questions.

9. Google Local Business Center: By listing your business with Google’s Local Business Center, you’ll greatly increase your chances of rising to the top of local search results. You can create a separate listing for each of your business’s physical locations. Use important keywords in your listings, and make sure you get happy customers to review your business, too.

10. Google Webmaster Tools: Google’s set of Webmaster tools are relatively easy to use. Once you’ve verified your site, you can get diagnostics to ensure there are no errors preventing search engines from indexing the content -- which is essential to being found in searches. The Webmaster tools also show top search queries used to find your site, the links to your site, and more.

Top 10 SEO Tips:

While intense SEO can involve complex site restructuring with a firm (or consultant) that specializes in this area, there are a few simple steps you can take yourself to increase your search engine ranking. All it requires is a little effort, and some re-thinking of how you approach content on your site.

Here are a few tips by Richard V. Burckhardt, also known as The Web Optimist (Richard has over 10 years experience in search engine optimization, web development and marketing), to help you increase your SEO:

1. If you absolutely MUST use Java script drop down menus, image maps or image links, be sure to put text links somewhere on the page for the spiders to follow.

2. Content is king, so be sure to have good, well-written and unique content that will focus on your primary keyword or keyword phrase.

3. If content is king, then links are queen. Build a network of quality backlinks using your keyword phrase as the link. Remember, if there is no good, logical reason for that site to link to you, you don’t want the link.

4. Don’t be obsessed with PageRank. It is just one isty bitsy part of the ranking algorithm. A site with lower PR can actually outrank one with a higher PR.

5. Be sure you have a unique, keyword focused Title tag on every page of your site. And, if you MUST have the name of your company in it, put it at the end. Unless you are a major brand name that is a household name, your business name will probably get few searches.

6. Fresh content can help improve your rankings. Add new, useful content to your pages on a regular basis. Content freshness adds relevancy to your site in the eyes of the search engines.

7. Be sure links to your site and within your site use your keyword phrase. In other words, if your target is “blue widgets” then link to “blue widgets” instead of a “Click here” link.

8. Focus on search phrases, not single keywords, and put your location in your text (“our Palm Springs store” not “our store”) to help you get found in local searches.

9. Don’t design your web site without considering SEO. Make sure your web designer understands your expectations for organic SEO. Doing a retrofit on your shiny new Flash-based site after it is built won’t cut it. Spiders can crawl text, not Flash or images.

10. Use keywords and keyword phrases appropriately in text links, image ALT attributes and even your domain name.

For a longer list of tips, please visit 55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love


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