Why Good SEO is so Important

I thought that for my first post for the month of May, I would write about why SEO – Search Engine Optimization is so important for all websites. My goal is to make things as simple as possible for new site owners to understand.

Good SEO

Image Credit to searchengineland.com

When people do a search, they’re usually looking for specific information.

Less than 10% will look beyond page 1 of the search results returned so your goal should always be page 1 and then continue to build towards a top 5 ranking which is above the fold (seen without scrolling down).

Whatever niche or market you are in there is going to be competition so don’t limit your efforts to just a keyword, also target 3-4 word key phrases. A common request by many Sri Lankan website owners, who has asked me to rank for a single keywords like jewellery, mobile phone or apartments. Key phrases are much easier to rank high for than one or two word keywords.

So, if you wish to run any form of online business, your primary role is to get recognized by the major search engines. SEO is really the only way to do that.

Something else to consider is that Google, Yahoo, Bing  and Ask account for over 95 percent of all global internet searches. Google is by far the largest and accounts for roughly 70-80% of all searches.

Good SEO is not only about ranking high and getting traffic, it’s about ranking high, getting traffic and having exactly what the user is looking for.

SEO is an ongoing process and it starts the second you decide to register a domain. Domains that are keyword rich will be much easier to rank for.

Don’t try and take shortcuts. Take your time and do things the right way and you will be rewarded in due time. 99% of SEO services out there aren’t worth using. Read and research and do it yourself. It will take time, but you’ll know it was done right.

SEO is NOT about cramming your website with every possible keyword. If anything it will get your website penalized with Google.

Make sure your website is clear, easy to read and easy to navigate. I see many new webmasters using white text on dark backgrounds and while that may work for some sites, they do not for most. Think about this, when was the last time you saw a newspaper or magazine with white text on a dark background? Never!

Use a free tracking tool like Google Analytics to see how your site is performing for your main keywords and phrases. You’ll also be able to see any errors that Google may be having while crawling your site.

Don’t ever stop working on building your site’s popularity. Take at least one day of the week and devote it to adding fresh content. If your homepage doesn’t change much, you can still add content with a news feed or by submitting articles to article submission sites. As your site grows, so will your Page Authority and your rankings will go up in the SERP’s.

Looking at various website’s of reputed companies, hotels and businesses in Sri Lanka, a BIG question I have is “Why don’t you do Good SEO?

Improve your Conversion Rate with new online marketing techniques

You may be excited about the idea of starting to market your business online. In fact, you may have a lot of things running through your head right now. You may be thinking of various things including your web page’s color, design and so on. You simply cannot contain your excitement. But sometimes you may not realize the most essential things about marketing your business online; thus not targeting the right audience in the world of online marketing of your business and the next thing you know you’ll wake up one day flat broke with nothing to show for your efforts.

It is easy sometimes to worry about getting traffic onto your website without considering conversion rate from existing traffic. For getting optimum results from your search engine marketing campaigns it is very important to optimise site for higher conversions. For most online traders, a 2-4% conversion rate is considered about the industry average. But for some, a 25% conversion rate is perfectly reasonable because of the type of service or product being offered. Here are some ways to improve the conversion rate getting good results from search engine marketing efforts.

Conversion rate is the number of purchases of a product/service, subscriptions or sign ups from visitors. Some website owners only focus on the amount of traffic to the site when in fact there are some problems with their site that if solved would have a positive effect on their conversion rate without major expenses. Think of an instance where, instead of focusing on building traffic, you could double your sales from the traffic of your existing customers. Increasing conversion rate from 2% to 4% will double your profits. Improving the conversion rate on a website from its existing traffic is the best way to increase sales and profits in the quickest possible way.

To be successful in this Digital Marketing era, you must take adequate efforts and time learning what can lead you to success. Get as much as new online marketing information you can and take time to study them before you use of them for your website’s and company’s growth. The more knowledge and experience you can possess, the quicker you will reach your goals. Often the best online marketing techniques will come to you suddenly, but evolves out of all the information you might know. Do not let your business be deserted by others, make it stand out by utilizing proper online marketing strategies. Loads of new information is available throughout the web; just type in on Google and you will find what you are looking for.

Farhan is a leading SEO Consultant from Sri Lanka focuses mainly on Conversion Rate Optimization by working closely with his clients. As an Online Marketing Expert he provides a range of Digital Marketing solutions in Sri Lanka.

Importance of SEO

One of the fastest grown trends in today’s business is online marketing, if your business is not online, your competitor will take that advantage to outrun you (this is already happening to most traditional businesses). Online presence has become so vital that no matter what business you are into you need to be able to provide some information about your products/ services online.

Is your business online yet? even if it is and your website doesn’t come up for keywords (products or services that relates to your business), you are losing out on huge business deals.

Potential clients are searching, comparing and even buying products & services online. Billions of searches on Google, Yahoo & Bing are performed everyday by people around the world.

If you are a business owner or a competitor we have the ideal solution for you. We can help you increase your online visibility via search engines using various ethical SEO techniques, build your brand & popularity through social media, which would result in increase increase in sales, more business and popular brand name.

If you read this post right to the bottom, I’d like to request you to do two things or at least one.

1. Contact me and lets see how I can help you (no obligations whatsoever).

2. Like SEO Sri Lanka on Facebook and you will be part of my success.

55 SEO Must-Do’s

Now, this comes from back in 2011.

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.

11. Check for canonicalization issues – www and non-www domains. Decide which you want to use and 301 redirect the other to it. In other words, if http://www.farhanonline.com is your preference, then http://farhanonline.com should redirect to it.

12. Check the link to your home page throughout your site. Is index.html appended to your domain name? If so, you’re splitting your links. Outside links go to http://www.farhanonline.com and internal links go to http://www.farhanonline.com/index.html.

Ditch the index.html or default.php or whatever the page is and always link back to your domain.

13. Frames, Flash and AJAX all share a common problem – you can’t link to a single page. It’s either all or nothing. Don’t use Frames at all and use Flash and AJAX sparingly for best SEO results.

14. Your URL file extension doesn’t matter. You can use .html, .htm, .asp, .php, etc. and it won’t make a difference as far as your SEO is concerned.

15. Got a new web site you want spidered? Submitting through Google’s regular submission form can take weeks. The quickest way to get your site spidered is by getting a link to it through another quality site.

16. If your site content doesn’t change often, your site needs a blog because search spiders like fresh text. Blog at least three time a week with good, fresh content to feed those little crawlers.

17. When link building, think quality, not quantity. One single, good, authoritative link can do a lot more for you than a dozen poor quality links, which can actually hurt you.

18. Search engines want natural language content. Don’t try to stuff your text with keywords. It won’t work. Search engines look at how many times a term is in your content and if it is abnormally high, will count this against you rather than for you.

19. Not only should your links use keyword anchor text, but the text around the links should also be related to your keywords. In other words, surround the link with descriptive text.

20. If you are on a shared server, do a blacklist check to be sure you’re not on a proxy with a spammer or banned site. Their negative notoriety could affect your own rankings.

21. Be aware that by using services that block domain ownership information when you register a domain, Google might see you as a potential spammer.

22. When optimizing your blog posts, optimize your post title tag independently from your blog title.

23. The bottom line in SEO is Text, Links, Popularity and Reputation.

24. Make sure your site is easy to use. This can influence your link building ability and popularity and, thus, your ranking.

25. Give link love, Get link love. Don’t be stingy with linking out. That will encourage others to link to you.

26. Search engines like unique content that is also quality content. There can be a difference between unique content and quality content. Make sure your content is both.

27. If you absolutely MUST have your main page as a splash page that is all Flash or one big image, place text and navigation links below the fold.

28. Some of your most valuable links might not appear in web sites at all but be in the form of e-mail communications such as newletters and zines.

29. You get NOTHING from paid links except a few clicks unless the links are embedded in body text and NOT obvious sponsored links.

30. Links from .edu domains are given nice weight by the search engines. Run a search for possible non-profit .edu sites that are looking for sponsors.

31. Give them something to talk about. Linkbaiting is simply good content.

32. Give each page a focus on a single keyword phrase. Don’t try to optimize the page for several keywords at once.

33. SEO is useless if you have a weak or non-existent call to action. Make sure your call to action is clear and present.

34. SEO is not a one-shot process. The search landscape changes daily, so expect to work on your optimization daily.

35. Cater to influential bloggers and authority sites who might link to you, your images, videos, podcasts, etc. or ask to reprint your content.

36. Get the owner or CEO blogging. It’s priceless! CEO influence on a blog is incredible as this is the VOICE of the company. Response from the owner to reader comments will cause your credibility to skyrocket!

37. Optimize the text in your RSS feed just like you should with your posts and web pages. Use descriptive, keyword rich text in your title and description.

38. Use captions with your images. As with newspaper photos, place keyword rich captions with your images.

39. Pay attention to the context surrounding your images. Images can rank based on text that surrounds them on the page. Pay attention to keyword text, headings, etc.

40. You’re better off letting your site pages be found naturally by the crawler. Good global navigation and linking will serve you much better than relying only on an XML Sitemap.

41. There are two ways to NOT see Google’s Personalized Search results:

(1) Log out of Google

(2) Append &pws=0 to the end of your search URL in the search bar

42. Links (especially deep links) from a high PageRank site are golden. High PR indicates high trust, so the back links will carry more weight.

43. Use absolute links. Not only will it make your on-site link navigation less prone to problems (like links to and from https pages), but if someone scrapes your content, you’ll get backlink juice out of it.

44. See if your hosting company offers “Sticky” forwarding when moving to a new domain. This allows temporary forwarding to the new domain from the old, retaining the new URL in the address bar so that users can gradually get used to the new URL.

45. Understand social marketing. It IS part of SEO. The more you understand about sites like Digg, Yelp, del.icio.us, Facebook, etc., the better you will be able to compete in search.

46. To get the best chance for your videos to be found by the crawlers, create a video sitemap and list it in your Google Webmaster Central account.

47. Videos that show up in Google blended search results don’t just come from YouTube. Be sure to submit your videos to other quality video sites like Metacafe, AOL, MSN and Yahoo to name a few.

48. Surround video content on your pages with keyword rich text. The search engines look at surrounding content to define the usefulness of the video for the query.

49. Use the words “image” or “picture” in your photo ALT descriptions and captions. A lot of searches are for a keyword plus one of those words.

50. Enable “Enhanced image search” in your Google Webmaster Central account. Images are a big part of the new blended search results, so allowing Google to find your photos will help your SEO efforts.

51. Add viral components to your web site or blog – reviews, sharing functions, ratings, visitor comments, etc.

52. Broaden your range of services to include video, podcasts, news, social content and so forth. SEO is not about 10 blue links anymore.

53. When considering a link purchase or exchange, check the cache date of the page where your link will be located in Google. Search for “cache:URL” where you substitute “URL” for the actual page. The newer the cache date the better. If the page isn’t there or the cache date is more than an month old, the page isn’t worth much.

54. If you have pages on your site that are very similar (you are concerned about duplicate content issues) and you want to be sure the correct one is included in the search engines, place the URL of your preferred page in your sitemaps.

55. Check your server headers. Search for “check server header” to find free online tools for this. You want to be sure your URLs report a “200 OK” status or “301 Moved Permanently ” for redirects. If the status shows anything else, check to be sure your URLs are set up properly and used consistently throughout your site.

Optimizing your home page

As you might have heard the saying you never have a second chance to make a first impression, and that the first impression is made within 7 seconds of meeting someone. When it comes to a visiting website it’s even faster than that.

So what does the home page or a landing page of your website say about your website? Does it immediately grab the attention of your readers and make them focus and concentrate on your contents? Or does it do nothing at all and drive them away to another page? Does it load quickly allowing them to see what’s in store for them? Or does it take several seconds to load, making them lose their patience once the page finally arrives?

Your Landing Page Has 7 to 11 Seconds

That’s all you need to impress your reader and get them to stay on your site. Even for the faster sites, 2 to 3 of those seconds are spent downloading the page. So that leaves you 4 to 8 seconds to get your message across and let them navigate through your pages.

There are a many different strategies to make your landing page memorable and keep them clicking.

  • Navigation Home Pages
    Navigation front pages have a lot of information in a small space. They act like a portal to the rest of the site packing in the places your readers can go.

    If you have a website with a lot of information, a navigation front page may be the way to go. Often readers do not come to the front page of large sites looking for specific information, they are looking for the “route” to the information they want. While you could argue that having that information right on the front page would be good, for a large site this isn’t feasible. If your readers already know the site is large, they don’t expect to find the information on the front page, so even when it’s there, they don’t see it.

  • Information Home Pages
    Websites with one specific purpose, an informative front page gets that purpose right out where the reader expects it.

    Sites that are focused around a goal, such as selling something, or displaying designs, or publishing a family photo album are well suited for an Information Front Page. Make that goal the central part of the page. Engage the readers by showing them an overview of the goal and then drawing them in to the details and extra information that supports that goal.

Home Page Should Fit Your Site and Content

Your front page should suit your site and skills. A site with very few pages would not make an interesting Navigation Front Page. And a novice Flash designer may not make the best Splash Page. But, you should also think about what you are trying to convey with your site. The home page is where people are going to (often) form their first opinion. If you have a solid, cutting edge home page, but your site is about “Choosing a Nanny”, you might scare some of your readers away.

Your Home Page Should Be Clear

Your first page should be the clearest page on your site. If people have to guess what it’s about, chances are they will have hit the “Back” button without even trying. Your readers don’t want to have to work to get their information. We are an instant gratification world, and unclear sites become instant losers.