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Do Follow or No Follow (SEO Tips)

January 18th, 2012 49 comments
Revised January 18 2012
By default, WordPress blogs use a rel=”nofollow” attribute - so when you read of Do Follow Blogs, these are blogs that have used a plugin that removes the nofollow attribute. Comments then that contain links back to the poster count as backlinks for their sites.

To the Search Engines – these links then are simply links. It’s up to the search engines rather to follow that link and pass value to the poster’s site. There is no “do follow” attribute to instruct a search engine that these links must be followed or assigned value. Why DoFollow versus NoFollow? The NoFollow attribute was introduced in 2005 to discourage comment spam.

Quality Backlinks - To a large segment of SEO experts, a quality backlink is a one way incoming link from a relevant (respected) site with higher PR. It’s a link you earn via hosting a great site that delivers useful information (the stuff that people want to link to).  These are also known as natural (real) links. The theory is that more natural links help boost your site’s popularity and Page Rank.

A Word of Caution - Blog spam is rampant, especially for Do Follow blogs. There are some “do follow” plugins that allow you to set how many comments a visitor needs to leave (with the same domain URL and/or email address) before their comment link will follow. The DoFollow Plugin for WordPress options:

Timeout

Remove nofollow from comments older than

days.

Comments

Remove nofollow from comments posted by registered users and other visitors.
Only remove nofollow from comments posted by registered users.
Remove nofollow immediately from comments posted by registered users and use the timeout for other visitors.
Do not remove nofollow from regular comments.

Pingbacks, trackbacks and other special comment types

Do not remove nofollow from pingbacks.
Do not remove nofollow from trackbacks.

My Recommendation

  • Use a Do Follow plugin for your WordPress blog if you enable comments
  • Do not add the “NoFollow” attribute to inbound links.
  • Only add the ‘NoFollow” attribute to outbound links in widgets like Subscribe or Bookmark Me.

Categories: Blogging, Link Strategies Tags:

New Website? Some Tips To Get Indexed

January 3rd, 2012 1 comment

When you publish your website - there are things you can do to get found and accelerate inbound traffic. I’ve seen a lot of SEO practitioners recommend submitting your site to Google and so on, but they’ll find you (quicker than you imagine). If you’re online, there isn’t much that gets by Google. :)

The following services are largely analytical in nature - with each of them providing some valuation of your site. Beyond that, researching your site at these locations actually helps get your site recognized and indexed.

Robtex - Swiss Army Knife Internet Tool

Alexa – is the leading provider of free, global web metrics. Search Alexa to discover the most successful sites on the web by keyword, category, or country. Use their analytics for competitive analysis, benchmarking, market research or business development.

Quantcast - Quantcast Measurement provides free, directly measured traffic and audience composition reports. These reports are Media Ratings Council-accredited, ensuring that your traffic data is both accurate and reliable.

Web Worth - is a free and innovative tool to help find out a website value or worth calculation, estimations about a web site and SEO information about any web site the user submits – you could call it a Website Value Calculator

Cubestat - is a free tool for website value calculation, estimations and information.

Website Informer - is a special service for web masters that gathers detailed information on websites – general information, statistics, main competitors, similar sites, IPs etc.

PeekStats - estimates website value based on a wide range of publicly available statistics. They provide you with insight in all these numbers and the estimated results.

Markosweb.com - is a web service that collects and analyzes any data about domains and keywords they are optimized for.

Categories: Increasing Traffic, The Editor Tags:

Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment

December 28th, 2011 No comments

With shopping cart abandonment hovering - between 50-70%, understanding WHY could help you refine your checkout process and improve conversions.

Whereas getting from Point Query to - Point Buy (complicated checkout process) used to dominate shopping cart abandonment, today’s shoppers cite high shipping costs high on their list, followed by a desire to shop around. About 1/4 of prospects leave simply because the price is too high.

So, what makes your site unique - and sellable? How does it differ from sites your prospects just came from or are going to? If your strategy relies on lowering prices alone, you’re not necessarily missing the boat, but it’ s never venturing far from the dock.  If your product or service doesn’t require shipping and handling charges, offering a special coupon code helps.

Again, trust remains high - on everyone’s list. Do you have a return policy? Do you provide contact information on your site, like a brick and mortar mailing address and phone number? Do you reassure your shoppers by providing privacy and and trust language? Do you offer PayPal or Google Checkout – and why is that important? Some prospects aren’t comfortable entering their financial information on a site they just found that day, even if you’ve got the best deal.

I read an interesting approach to tackling shopping cart abandonment this morning – and that was to offer a discount in return for a customer review, outlining why they decided to purchase from you. Would that work? Maybe. I’d be thinking, “Did they write up a nice review just to get the discount, or was this really the best deal?” On the other hand, reviews do help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  and Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS), especially on Google Places.

Categories: eCommerce Strategies Tags:

Keyword Research Guidelines

December 20th, 2011 2 comments

Just this morning, I read an article on a web hosting forum about Keyword Research Guidelines - and was so impressed I considered asking the OP (original poster) for permission to use it on this blog. However, after performing a few Google searches, these guidelines have been circulating around the Web (verbatim) since 2003, and in fact, returned over 18 thousand results. I have no clue who the original author is, but the guidelines remain valid, nonetheless.

Many businesses recognize that search engines can - bring volumes of highly targeted prospects to their website, typically at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing.

Unfortunately, these same companies often overlook - the most important part of their search engine marketing campaigns, which is keyphrase selection and evaluation.

Keyphrases (those phrases that potential customers are using to find products or services on search engines) are -  the building block of any search engine marketing strategy.

It is essential that they are chosen carefully, or else - the remainder of the campaign, no matter how effective the implementation, will likely be in vain. What follows is a three-step process that goes over the process of compiling, selecting, and evaluating the ongoing performance of keyphrases for search engines.

1. Compiling a keyphrase list:

Usually, companies are sure that they already know their ideal keyphrases. Often, they are wrong.

This is typically because it is very hard to separate oneself from a business and look at it from the perspective of a potential customer (rather than an insider). Compiling a keyphrase list should not be, despite common practice, a strictly internal process.

Rather, it is best to ask everyone outside of your company for their input, especially your customers. People are often very surprised at the keyphrase suggestions they get- and sometimes dismayed to realize that an average customer doesn’t speak the same language that they do.

Only after you have put together a list of likely phrases from external sources do you add your own. As a last step, try to add variations, plurals, and derivatives of the phrases on your list.

2. Evaluating keyphrases:

Once you have compiled a master keyphrase list, it is time to evaluate each phrase to hone your list down to those most likely to bring you the highest amount of quality traffic.

Although many individuals will base their assessment of key phrase value based only on popularity figures, there are really three vitally important aspects of each phrase to consider.

a) Popularity

By far the easiest of the three to judge is popularity, since it is not subjective. Software like WordTracker gives popularity figures of search phrases based upon actual search engine activity (it also gives additional keyphrase suggestions and variations).

Such tools allow you to assign a concrete popularity number to each phrase to use when comparing them. Obviously, the higher the number, the more traffic that can be expected (assuming you are able to obtain good search engine positions).

However, this number alone is not good enough reason to pursue any particular keyphrase, although key phrase analysis too often stops here.

b) Specificity

This is more abstract than the sheer popularity number, but equally important. For example, let’s assume that you were able to obtain great rankings for the keyphrase “insurance companies” (a daunting prospect). Let’s also assume that you only deal with auto insurance.

Although “insurance companies” might have a much higher popularity figure than “auto insurance companies”, the first keyphrase would also be comprised of people looking for life insurance, health insurance, and home insurance.

It is very likely that someone searching for a particular type of insurance will refine their search after seeing the disparate results returned from the phrase “insurance companies”.

In the second, longer keyphrase, you can be reasonably sure that a much higher percentage of visitors will be looking for what you offer- and the addition of the word “auto” will make it much easier to attain higher rankings, since the longer term will be less competitive.

c) Motivation of User

This factor, even more abstract than specificity, calls for an attempt to understand the motivation of a search engine user by simply analyzing his or her search phrase.

Assume, for example, that you were a real estate agent in Atlanta. Two of the keyphrases you are evaluating are “Atlanta real estate listings” and “Atlanta real estate agents”.

Both phrases have very similar popularity numbers. They are also each fairly specific, and your services are very relevant to each. So which phrase is better? If you look into the likely motivation of the user, you will probably conclude that the second is superior.

While both phrases target people looking for real estate in Atlanta, you can infer from the second phrase that the searcher has moved beyond the point where they are browsing local homes or checking out prices in their neighborhood- they are looking for an agent, which implies that they are ready to act. Often, subtle distinctions between terms can make a large difference on the quality of the traffic they attract.

3. Evaluating Keyphrase Performance:

Until recently, judging the performance of individual keyphrases was a dicey proposition. Although it is possible to tell from your log traffic analysis how many visitors are getting to your site from each keyphrase (valuable information, but unfortunately not enough to do much with), it was very hard to decipher which phrases were bringing you the most quality traffic.

Recently, however, some sophisticated but affordable tools have been developed that allow you to judge the performance of each individual keyphrase based upon visitor behavior.

This new software makes it possible to periodically analyze which keyphrases are bringing your site the most valuable visitors- those who buy your products, fill out your contact form, download your demo, etc.

This type of data, rather than the sheer number of visitors from each search phrase alone, is invaluable when you are refining your search engine marketing campaigns, since you can discard and replace non-performing keyphrases and put increased effort toward the phrases that are delivering visitors that become customers. This kind of ongoing analysis is the final piece of the keyphrase puzzle, and allows you to continually target the most important phrases for your industry, even if they change over time.

Conclusion:

Keyphrase compilation, evaluation, and performance are all vitally important to any search engine marketing campaign. While high rankings in search engines are an admirable goal, high rankings for poor keyphrases will consistently deliver poor results.

Integration of this keyphrase process into your overall search engine marketing strategy can dramatically improve your website performance (and thus your bottom line).

Categories: Keywords Tags:

Type In “Let It Snow” on Google (Break Out Your Mittens!)

December 19th, 2011 No comments

I just typed in “Let It Snow” on Google – as recommended by a story in the Los Angeles Times.  Instantly, my screen started filling with snowflakes and in just a matter of moments, it fogged over. Fortunately, I could wipe the fog from my screen with my mouse.  I wonder – Is that causing condensation inside my monitor?

Anyway, once your screen becomes unreadable – there is a defrost button in the upper right hand corner that clears your screen.  They do this by turning up your internal monitor temperate remotely. NOT!

Tilt and Askew – Google didn’t stop there. Type either tilt or askew in Google and see what happens. Try scrolling thru the results.

There was also a time when if you typed the word “Gravity” into the search engine you’d watch all the copy on the page plunk to the bottom. It doesn’t do that anymore, but you can see what you missed here.

Categories: Google Tags:

Understanding Tradition to Stay Connected With Your Visitors

December 14th, 2011 No comments

When you speak about the tradition of Internet technologies - you need only go back a couple of decades, but there is value to understanding the culture of your niche as a tool to connect with visitors on your website.

Staying connected entails identifying  - technologies, traditions or events that exist in your specific niche – that you and your audience find culturally significant. In other words, what has made your niche important to you and your visitors?

Websites with longtail (tradition relevant) keyword-rich titles – help draw a very targeted audience. When we speak of Internet technologies, we’re not necessarily spanning generations of cultures with regard to time, rather information.

Do you connect the vendor-client dots – via timetables, explaining how you, your clients or your industry have grown through the years? Taking this one step further, explain “why you now” concluding with a benefits statement and compelling call-to-action.

Categories: Increasing Traffic, Keywords, SEO Tags:

Will WordAds From WordPress Succeed?

December 5th, 2011 No comments

Performance Marketing Insider ran an article earlier this month - about the launch of WordAds by WordPress, wondering whether it could compete with Google’s AdSense.

While I don’t think that’s going to happen overnight - the article did make a couple of great points about the explosive growth of WordPress.

WordPress estimates almost 50,000 new WordPress sites start online every 24 hours. Alexa.com estimates that almost 15 percent of the top 1 million websites are WordPress configurations. The platform has morphed into the most popular full-fledged content management system on the web.

That’s over 18 million NEW WordPress sites each year! Even more significant is the Alexa estimate, based on traffic. Increasing numbers of businesses are upgrading their hosting platforms to WordPress because it has morphed from its early days as a blogging platform to a full fledged dynamic CMS.

Will WordAds succeed? Only time will tell, but my money is on YES.

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