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Free Executives Guide to SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)


The objective of search engine optimization (SEO) is to increase a Web site's traffic counts, and ultimately conversions, by ranking very high in the results of searches for the keywords in the search query. It is the mission of SEO to make the site's content worthy of higher search engine ranking by being more relevant and competent than the competition's. This SEO optimization process is often viewed as a struggle to rank well for just a few keywords, instead of a struggle to satisfy the needs of those entering the query. If you search on your best keywords you will see the leading sites in the rankings and to obtain traffic for your content you will need to rank higher than those top sites. Our free site and full services optimize and improve your search engine rankings (traffic and profits) via our books, classroom SEO training, search engine optimization tools, site assessments, services including placement advice, tips, information and hints to improve your search engine marketing relative to the existing leaders. After all, better keyword ranking is the first step to increased Web traffic.

It is not enough to simply add Meta tags and do search engine submission of your site to a million search engine indexes and directories. The first placement tip in obtaining significant Web traffic counts is to seek first-page search engine results. An early step is to build a great content-rich site. One of the last steps is the proper submission of your great site to the search engines or directories. In the middle is a step that is VITAL if you want to obtain front-page results. Most site owners bypass this step because they forget about it or think it is too complex, but without competent search engine optimization Web site services you are destined to become search engine fodder. The following FREE tools and advice describe how to choose your keywords with search engine optimization and ranking in mind.

There are no search engine optimization secrets — just ranking and placement methodologies to follow in order to beat your competition in obtaining a high ranking for desired search keywords. Classroom SEO training, unique content writing and quality-only linking services are some solid tips. This site targets improving search engine rankings by using a "beat the leader" education approach to keyword selection and page wording. Once you know what keywords and search engine marketing services (not spam) worked for the "leaders," you can do even better by becoming "least imperfect"! Proper organic search engine optimization requires that you outsmart your competition, so knowing the best keywords and criteria used by your competition is the most important first step. It will become obvious that good ranking excludes keyword spamming the search engine. With careful selection and placement of your keywords, you will fare well using a little effort and Web site services. The Bruce Clay, Inc. Web site offers SEO optimization tips and services for improving search engine results via a unique, specific, search engine keywords placement methodology.

SEO Framework Graphic

Step 0 - Search Engine Optimization Overview


What is Search Engine Optimization? Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science of increasing traffic to your Web site by improving the internal and external factors influencing ranking in search results. It is a major part of Internet marketing. It is mostly technical in nature. It includes Web programming expertise combined with business, persuasion, sales and a love for competitive puzzle solving. If you do all this right, you will have a Web site capable of maintaining desired revenue goals while achieving high rankings in the organic sections of search engine results pages. Creating a Web site does not just involve technical skills, or copywriting, or links, or Engagement Objects™, or search engine submission; it involves an intricate blend of more than 200 variables woven into the fabric of a Web site. It is difficult to accomplish this type of project without a formal, proven methodology and strong proprietary tools. We offer you a tutorial on all of that and more on these pages.

Before you start, you should understand that being among the top 10 rankings in every major search engine and directory can sometimes be achieved, although very few sites can get there, and the effort is often beyond reason. Note: URL ranking results change week-to-week due to competition, so maintaining a top organic SEO ranking requires constant keyword monitoring and information rework. Search engine optimization never rests, much like your competition.

"It is not the job of search engine optimization to make a pig fly. It is the job of the SEO to genetically re-engineer the Web site so that it becomes an eagle."

The key information on this page includes tips on how to prepare both you and your site for a search engine marketing campaign. How to choose the right keywords, how to analyze your competition, what site submission is and how it is best accomplished, when to monitor your search engine ranking, instructions for performing an analysis of your site results and traffic and conversion, complete with search engine optimization tools and aids. This site covers all basic and advanced strategies and the common mistakes to avoid.

Please start with a review of our SEO Code of Ethics and SEO Standards pages before you edit your site pages.

Search Engine Relationship Chart®

Search Engine Relationship Chart®


We think it is important that you learn how the search engines and directories relate to each other. View our Search Engine Relationship Chart®. This is a flash rendering of our famous FREE PDF that is suitable for color printing, and all the links are active! The Search Engine Relationship Chart® has evolved quite a bit over the years; check out the Search Engine History - Chart Histogram to see how much it has changed.

Bruce Clay®, Inc. was singled out as the Best Professional Services Interactive Application award winner for 2004 by the IAC Web Marketing Association for this Search Engine Relationship Chart.

SEO Hierarchy of Needs

SEO Hierarchy of Needs


There's a hierarchy to be considered when developing any SEO campaign. To help businesses and marketers apply this strategy of prioritization, the SEO Hierarchy of Needs shows the relative place of search engine optimization tasks.

View the SEO Hierarchy of Needs in interactive flash, or download the chart in PDF.

SEO Reports

Bruce Clay SEO Factors & Trends Midyear 2013 Report


Bruce Clay, Inc. publishes an annual SEO Factors & Trends Report, offering a complete summary of the major factors for the past year as well as expert insights on future search engine optimization trends for the coming year. Visit our Internet marketing whitepapers page or download the latest SEO Factors & Trends Midyear 2013 Report in PDF.

Step 1 - How To Select Keywords


The most important first search engine optimization tip is to select keywords wisely. There are a few items you will need to go through in order to properly select keywords. Please use these in sequence, and when you are done you will have completed an SEO checklist and have seen our plan of attack in action.

Initially, you must brainstorm for keywords. Most people can make a short (or long) list of keywords they would want to use to find their own site. Use these to "prime the keyword pump." These will be used in the next few steps.

To select keywords that you expect Web surfers to use to locate your site, submit your obvious keyword terms using our research tools below to locate the top-ranked competing sites. You should be able to validate that your competitors for these search engine optimization rankings appear. The next tip is to create a list of the top site URLs that return from each search. Our search engine optimization tools present a list of sites with the most top-25 rankings. The numbers represent their current (real-time) ranking position (1 is first, 3 is third, etc.). These sites are used to identify sites needing analysis in subsequent steps. Enter your major keywords (ours are "search engine optimization" and "search engine ranking"). You will find that in a Web-sized audience of billions of Web pages, your competition will generally rank well in several search engines. True high rankings are achieved by having a first-page ranking in most of these search engines for many keywords (not just one or two).

SEOToolSet® Top Domains
Domain PR AllInTitle Pages Indexed Inbound Links Google Yahoo Bing


Individual Pages Ranked
Page URL Google Yahoo Bing

You should keep track of any URLs that you happen to know are ranked best for your keywords or are your major competition. You may also visit the search engines directly to see specific results. For instance, type your keywords into the search field for each search engine and view their individual results pages.

Need More SEO Information? - Competitive Research

Search Engine Optimization Services Allow us to provide your search engine optimization services — obtain a free quote for Bruce Clay, Inc. to research, precision tune, submit, monitor and much more for a full year at competitive rates. Our SEO services are much less expensive than you would think, and the results are generally higher and longer lasting than most do-it-yourself search engine marketing projects. View our optimized ranking results, and compare them to other search engine optimization firms you are considering — no other SEO company is as well ranked for as many terms. Please contact us for a no-obligation, free SEO services quote.

Search Engine Optimization and other Web site placement hints, tips and advice are reported by our comprehensive (and herein free) search engine tools! These are the analysis tools our staff uses day after day for optimizing our clients' sites. Additionally, this free step-by-step SEO tutorial covers keyword research, link analysis, submission, a Web page analyzer, a ranking position monitor, and many, many more free SEO reports and education. Presented in an easy to understand and sequential step-by-step manner, the free tutorial coupled with these search engine analysis tools has helped thousands of people each week to transform their Web site rankings into top positions for their important keywords. Designed for do-it-yourself novice users (or anyone with a need to learn SEO optimization) with little or no HTML experience, this tutorial discuss how to optimize your Web pages without utilizing spamming techniques.

As a reminder, this page focuses on search engine optimization and ranking tips and advice using a collection of free SEO tools. It is part of a MUCH larger site covering broader search engine marketing topics. Everything from search engine marketing strategy to search engine placement tactics, awards, press releases, links, Engagement Objects™, social media, suggestions for optimal search engine spidering and search engine optimization. It is strongly recommended that you follow the steps on this page, but that you also review this entire site if you are serious about promoting your Web business.

Buy SEO For Dummies

Bruce Clay, Inc. and Wiley Publications, publishers of the For Dummies series have partnered up to produce the all-in-one desk reference guide for SEO. Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies by Bruce Clay and Susan Esparza, is available now. This latest version of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies is now available for order from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

Review of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies by Bruce Clay and Susan Esparza:Photo of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) For Dummies
"I read most of the SEO books that are published. Bruce and Susan's book is THE most comprehensive SEO book on the market today. Thanks so much for all the great information. I also went through Bruce's training course. It was tremendous....And yes, you can quote me!"

Margie Butler

Step 2 - How to Identify Competitor Keywords


It is critical that you identify the best search terms and keywords used on your competitors' sites (Step 1). To help in this keyword analysis effort we offer tips, advice and tools to research the competition and query history information available through several sources.

SEOToolSet® Tag Information
Tag Word Count Stop Words Used Words Length Tag Contents


Text Metrics and Readability
Metric Value Description


Word Phrase Usage
Keyword Title Meta Desc Meta Keywords Headings ALT Tags First Words Body Words All Words
Scan the reports and identify the keywords that appear prominent on the page. Write down the top keyword phrases that each site uses, then analyze those back in Step 1 above if they are new to your list.

It is worth mentioning that sometimes your competition does something deceptive and hides their keywords. Cloaking is a server technique designed to hide keywords and actually deceive search engines into granting rankings that the sites do not deserve. This server technology submits alternate pages when the search engine looks for the page. These stealth techniques were designed to offer content to the search engine that is exceptionally keyword-loaded in an attempt to bias the spider into giving the page a higher ranking position. Some people submit pages that present the spiders with content that differs from what browsers will see. We strongly discourage the use of this type of technique — that is spam.

SEO Tip: You should also search for your domain name in the major search engines. While this is not obvious, it is very informative. Search both Google and Yahoo! using the following search format: ".bruceclay.com" -site:bruceclay.com. Replace bruceclay.com in the search query with your domain name.

It is important that you do NOT take the HTML source (and thus content) from a competitor's page. Not only is it a copyright violation, but it will result in duplicate content and will cause SEO optimization difficulties. All that you really need are sample keywords used for search engine ranking. Using brainstorming techniques you should re-combine the words to make a complete list. Be sure that you do not target trademarked words since that could lead to legal action against you. Copyrights on a site protect contiguous character strings and include displayed and hidden text (including keyword strings), so you cannot take a large portion of a site's content and use it to compete against the site. Even if there is not a copyright, the content is considered intellectual property, and there may be a severe negative effect from taking it.

The use of trademarked or registered names is illegal without appropriate notations and statements in the page. If you intend to use a word or phrase that legally belongs to a competitor, you must follow accepted fair use publication and legal credit guidelines. This applies to all of your internet marketing projects, so please beware.

It is far more important to rank well with many search criteria than to be number one with only one criterion!

As an additional note, use different keyword patterns and titles for ALL of the major pages in your site, and submit each individual URL to get all of the different keywords and titles added to the search engine. The goal of search engine optimization is to be found for many keyword searches, so have each page cater to different keywords!

SEO Tip: The Meta Keywords tag may work for some search engines, while Google, Bing and Yahoo (and many others) emphasize content and titles. As a result, it is important to have the most common words also appear at the top and throughout your site if it can be done without hurting the appeal of the site. If the search is for "search engine optimization tips," put that string in the title, description, keywords, headings, throughout the content and in inbound links.

Search Engine Optimization/MPI

It may be helpful to view the Title, Meta Description, Meta Keywords, Headings for many pages and compare them in one pass rather than loading each individual page separately. The Multi-page Info Tool (MPI) will give you this information and whether or not the page has a rel="canonical" tag on it and lets you compare these at once. To use the tool, simply enter up to 6 URLs and click Get Data.


Need More Keyword Help? - Search Terms and Keywords  What Makes a Good Keyword?  How to Choose Keywords  How To Use Keywords

Search Engine Optimization/Domain Report Tool

In regards to competitors, it is also helpful to find out how many pages your competitors have indexed in the major search engines. This will help you figure out how much content with competitive keywords you will need on your site. The Search Engine Optimization/Domain Report tool below will check Google, Yahoo! Search and Bing to see how many pages for each site are indexed in each engine.

(e.g. www.domain.com)
(optional)
(optional)
(optional)
(optional)
(optional)

SEOToolSet® Domain Indexing Report
Domain PR Total Google Yahoo Bing Pages Indexed Chart

SEOToolSet® - Search Engine Optimization Tools

Search Engine Optimization ToolsThe SEOToolSet® is a Bruce Clay, Inc.-authored collection of indispensable SEO tools designed for search engine optimization by SEOs. This product set includes keyword research tools, competitor research tools, Web page analyzers, ranking monitors, ranking report modules, link analysis tools and more. Exceptionally robust and feature rich, this is a system of interrelated SEO tools designed to be one of the best tool collections on the market. It combines a great many search engine marketing tools not commonly connected together in this intuitive manner, facilitating deeper understanding and control of the SEO process. If you intend to promote your own Web site, then you MUST try our search engine optimization tools.

"Search Engine Optimization without the best tools is like doing brain surgery with a hammer."

Review our tools, then try them: [ Free Visitor Versions | SEOToolSet Subscribers | Subscribe to our SEO tools now ]

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 Until You Have Finished Your Keyword Searches


Be sure to mix up the sequence of the keywords if (and only if) appropriate and they still make sense, for example: "word1 word2 word3" then "word3 word1 word2" then "word2 word3 word1," etc. Keep searching until you are satisfied that you have most of the keywords relevant to your site. Simply put, you can never have sufficient search engine ranking. If you think you do, simply add some more keywords appropriate to your site.

Advanced topic: How to Solve Web Server Technical Issues — To help with your SEO optimization projects, it is critical that technical barriers to ranking be removed. These technical SEO tips are available with detailed instructions. We encourage you to read and implement those that apply to your installation. Server and design problems need to be fixed in order to achieve top rankings.

Step 3 - How to Combine the Keywords


Up until now you have been brainstorming — trying to determine what keyword phrases people are using in the search engines that will help them find your site in the results pages. You should have a lengthy list of keywords and phrases at this point, and you should be ready to test them. Regardless of your list please consider that searchers do not necessarily think like you do, and so you get many "long tail keyword queries" that are in addition to those in your SEO project. Properly done, you will qualify for these words as well.

Sort the keywords and phrases in descending order of their perceived importance (i.e., how likely it is that they will be used by visitors as search words and hence, generate traffic). As a sidebar, traffic that seldom converts may not be of value, and you might not want to focus on those words unless branding is important. If uncertain, leave them in the order used by the highest ranking competitor pages. Be sure to identify two-word or three-word (and sometimes longer) phrases, if used. It is also important that you add words to help clarify the use of your keywords. For instance, "capital" can have very different meanings — such as intellectual capital, state capital, capital letters, venture capital, etc. So a keyword or two that helps the index builders learn the context of your keywords will help raise your search engine rankings. SEO Tip: Each keyword in your Meta tags must also appear within your content to avoid spamming penalties. Also, consider common misspellings [sic] as additions to your keyword lists. To get a clearer picture of keyword statistics and to aid you in your search engine marketing efforts, try our Search Engine Optimization/KSP tool!

Search Engine Optimization/KSP Tool

Please enter keywords -- comma or line separated (max 12):


The information derived from our Search Engine Optimization/KSP Tool are daily approximations. In other words, they are daily averages derived from monthly averages. You should use the numbers as a proportionate traffic number since nobody really knows what an average day is, if there even is one. Internet marketing programs should pay attention to the demographic and categories data.

SEOToolSet® Keyword Statistics
Keyword Google Yahoo Live Total CTR CPC Categories

Search Engine Optimization and Ranking Advice: Excessive use of keywords in your site content (known as keyword stuffing) is going to cause a search engine to ignore or decrease the value of that keyword within your page, and perhaps identify the page as spam. Also, using multiple keywords with the same root, like "word, words, wording, worded" (called stemming), will generally not cause a problem if the text reads naturally. Things are definitely getting tough though, and it is advised that you use extreme caution when creating your Meta tags. If you are indexed by any engine, and remain indexed for a week, then you have probably passed their test. Run our Page Analyzer tool (Step 2) on your own pages before submitting them to the search engines. The guidelines below are accurate and will help a lot.

For best results, the following Web publishing techniques should be avoided:

  • Overuse or stuffing of keywords
  • Use of keywords that do not relate to the content of the site
  • Use of fast meta refresh
  • Use of colored text on same-color background
  • Duplication of pages with different URLs
  • Use of different pages that bridge to the same URL

It is also important to discard potential keywords that are not likely to be used in a search, especially if they do not contribute to your content. Properly done, you might end up with as few as 10 or as many as 100 major keywords. If you add all of the words, it will dilute the importance of each keyword, so select well. In general, you will have a hard time keeping the keyword analysis list short if you include plurals and various combinations of words to maximize your frequency counts. This site has many keywords in various forms and combinations, but we felt each word was important when we designed our keywords. The last keyword should be your site identification taken from your URL (ours is bruceclay.com), for SEO ranking and placement reasons discussed later. Be sure that this string appears as content to avoid spamming (can be in a URL string or mailto at the bottom of your page).

As for spamming technologies, there is evidence that the major search engines look across pages within their index for long-string repeats, essentially a plagiarism test, so mix up your keywords in the ALT attributes of your image tags to be sure they are not identical in sequence to words used elsewhere (text or Meta tags). Duplicate content is a very bad thing, and it can cause site-wide penalties. SEO Tip: Be very careful not to replicate content on or from other pages or even sites, and if that replication happens (as with affiliate sites) you have a serious problem. Duplicate content is a real management problem when doing SEO optimization.

Also, repeating your keywords in the content, as long as it is within a reasonable sentence construct and has appropriate context, will not be considered spamming. A search engine usually cares about spamming outside of the normal sentence form when reviewing content, rather than sentence spamming issues. Using "hidden" text techniques will usually get you penalized as a spammer, so avoid doing that as part of your search engine optimization efforts.

Step 4 - How to Add Your Keywords to the Content


You are about to discover your real issue — you have insufficient or weak content. It takes a lot of words to convince colleagues and the search engines that you are a subject matter expert. Also, most sites do not use video and proper images (some of the Engagement Objects) to relay their messages to humans and search engines, but we are now discovering that search engines are not totally blind to video and images. It is very likely that you do not have a sufficient number of Engagement Objects on your pages. Or the site content may come from a database, and the database has little unique content. Or the site accepts feeds from other expert sites, but this makes all of its content someone else's, and it either gets no credit for it or is penalized for duplicate content. In any case, the design and content of your Web site may very well need to be restructured and expanded. [If this does not describe you, buy yourself a drink — you have earned it!] Avoid mistakes, use clean optimized video and graphics and do it right. Avoid pop-up windows, restrict the scope of forms except where really needed, make JavaScript and CSS files external to the source code, always have a natural amount of content, always use a site map, solve obvious problems first and by all means, keep it simple. Web page layout problems really hurt search engine marketing and SEO projects.

So where do you add keywords?? It is important that your page Title tag be as descriptive as possible of what the page is about, and that it contains your best keywords (generally fewer than 12). Listings that include the best search terms in the Title and Meta Description tags have a better search engine ranking and a higher click-through rate (often more than double the traffic) than those that do not! Use these keywords to make up your search engine optimization targets. Also, review your content to add these keywords, especially two- and three-word phrases, into the content without losing the message. This is important for a search engine that does not reference Meta tags. You want to use these phrases time and time again without spamming. Some search engines take site descriptions from within the page, not from the Meta Description fields. Such a search engine will exclude some appropriate keywords unless you use them throughout your content. And try to keep the Title and Description tags as short as possible to prevent you from diluting the keyword impact.

There has been a lot of discussion about the continued use of Meta tags. Meta tags (specifically the major Head section tags) in our opinion are important to search engine optimization. What is not known is what is meant when it is said that search engines "ignore" a Meta tag. Our research shows that they are not ignored, and that they actually do count. It is commonly known that the Title is vital and that the Description is often used as an abstract, but it is often thought that the Keywords tag is ignored. Knowing the history of spammer abuse for these tags, it would not be surprising to find them of lesser importance than before, and that words are ignored if and only if they do not appear in the content of the page — but they count if they are also found in the content. Is selectively ignoring words the same as "ignoring" them altogether? And if you were a search engine, wouldn't you tell spammers not to bother?

Even if tags are ignored today, it only takes a few minutes to do it right, you should never be penalized for having them (unless you're a spammer), and not all engines will ignore them. Even if they do ignore them, they may not forever. You can never go wrong by using META tags, and you will only hurt yourself if you don't use them.

You must also unconditionally, absolutely, positively have your best keywords (and certainly sufficient content containing them) throughout your body section. For research-oriented content we recommend that you have at least 500 words of clean, grammatically correct sentence-structure content on every page. For shopping-oriented sites the content is commonly on shorter pages, so we recommend 250 words in these cases. You must also have your keywords appear as the most prominent (without excess) phrases on your pages. In many cases there are ways to do this that work well for whatever your page format or content, all of which is customized to the look-and-feel of the site and the nature of the content.

And you also need to link your own pages together. Use the keywords appropriate for the content of the landing page in the anchor text of the sending page. This is a must — use text links within paragraphs when possible, especially when the pages are related. If the topics are not related, then use image links so the search engines do not see the text and get confused.

And never, ever create doorway pages, or information pages, or hallway pages, or similar pages as they are called today Spam by any other name is still spam. If you cannot make the real page into a subject matter expert, then hire someone who can. But do not try to make a pig fly!

Some search engines will allow you to submit (to replace or add a page to the index) a URL as often as you like and usually enable your changes to become live quickly (faster than on other search engines), so use the search engine with the fastest indexing process to "debug" your keywords and search engine optimization tactics. With the addition of XML Sitemaps, spidering is even easier, but you MUST still have crawable site maps. Unfortunately manual page submission spider frequency varies, so you might need to submit pages to all major engines, but certainly not to all 200+ search engines. It is important to understand that the time it takes for a search engine to actually respond to a submission and to place you into their index varies greatly from day to day. Search engine indexing was once a matter of hours, and now is often mixed from days to weeks. You would be wise to consider submission to other engines as well, to cover your bases. How search engines work is a wondrous thing, and every engine is different.

Once you have selected your best keywords, add the main words to your Title string, your Meta Description string, your Meta Keywords string, ALT attributes (image tag parameter), body Heading tags (such as <h1>) and especially embed them into your displayed content. Try to use as many keywords as you can in a natural and grammatically correct way in your opening sentences, since this sets the topic for the page and contributes to the theme of the site.

Keyword tuning for a search engine marketing campaign is an iterative loop; you keep doing it until you rank reasonably well on several search engines. At that point you at least have the right words and a reasonable Meta Keywords tag. But some search engines use different strings to determine keywords, and their algorithms downplay or ignore Meta tags. These search engines extract keywords from the content on your page, so you need to place your best search words throughout the displayed content for your page. An example (grossly oversimplified) would be:

<IMG SRC="my-top-of-page.gif" ALT="a-couple-of-major-keyword-phrases-here" HEIGHT="124" WIDTH="500">

<CENTER><P><IMG SRC="another-image.gif" ALT="another-keyword-phrase-appropriate-to-the-image" HEIGHT="16" WIDTH="320"></P></CENTER>

<H1>important-keyword-phrase</H1>

<a href="your-page-URL/pagename.htm">anchor-text-with-keywords</a>

your-content-with-appropriate-keyword-phrases-goes-here


Note: If you are not "programming" the design of your own Web site and are not familiar with how to add HTML code, please contact your Web designer and request that they add these commands.

Single Page Analyzer

We have a Page Analyzer that is part of our SEOToolSet search engine optimization tools that lists the top keywords plus all words used in your Meta tags. This report presents the density for each word in the various categories: Title, Meta Description, Meta Keywords, ALT attributes, Heading levels, and two categories for body copy. Following our specified SEO optimization methodology, you would review these reports and Web pages to see what you need to change or add to your pages. In the Page Analyzer, red and blue colors are "bad."

SEOToolSet® Tag Information
Tag Word Count Stop Words Used Words Length Tag Contents


Text Metrics and Readability
Metric Value Description


Word Phrase Usage
Keyword Title Meta Desc Meta Keywords Headings ALT Tags First Words Body Words All Words

View Page Source

This tool allows you to view the source code of any available file on the web.

URL:     


SEO Tip: Some engines process ALT attribute text for your images as keyword text as long as you do not spam these areas. Carefully reword your keyword list to read as sentences, and place them in the ALT attributes of your image tags as appropriate to the image and page. Do not stuff keywords into ALT attributes; they should be short and to the point.

Placing the keywords in the right spots with reasonable frequency is critical for search engine optimization, but there is much more ... you want your content to be the best it can be, and then just maybe you will be considered relevant. Subject matter experts always do better than rambling text with randomly inserted keywords. Yes, you need the keywords, but you also need to be worthy.

This would also be a good time to perform a last minute check on the "spider-ability" of your site, and to detect any redirects or other issues that may prevent your site from being well ranked. Try our Check Server Page Tool:

SEOToolSet® Server Header Check Report
Header Value
Other Info

Step 5 - How to Submit to Search Engines


Once the same words are in your Title, Meta Description and Meta Keywords tags, and also in other text (Headings and ALT attributes) and displayed content, and you are satisfied with your results, then, and only then, is it appropriate to submit your URLs to each major search engine. For search engine submission to just the top few search engines, you may use our URL ADD page with links to the add pages of the major search engines.

Allow two days to four weeks for each search engine submission to be indexed in each major search engine. If you do not show up (as is common), then resubmit. If you continue to miss the search engine ranking results you desire, then go back and review your keyword usage, either increasing or decreasing the keyword frequency until you have the desired results. If you desire search engine placement services to maintain your site and expand your search engine coverage, we provide a tutorial on our Internet Marketing Services page.

Need more information on the Submission process? Please visit our SEO site submission and submission discussion pages.

Need more information on the Yahoo! Directory and its effect on search engine optimization? - Yahoo! Directory

Download the SEMToolBar™


Download the SEMToolBar

We strongly recommend that you install our toolbar (click the image above). The SEMToolBar™ was designed by SEOs for SEOs. It offers the important data you need, without all of the data that does not matter. Many search engine optimization toolbars give too much data, and while that would be easy to present, we chose to focus on what matters. If you also are a subscriber to the SEOToolSet (i.e., you have a valid subscription and login), then the SEMToolBar converts to a launch mechanism for the selected tools, putting the full power of the search engine marketing tools at your browser fingertips. The tools support many languages (more than 20), and offer information not found elsewhere, including proxy searches, customized search interfaces, search result annotation, highlighting, demographic data, page statistics, etc. And best of all, it is FREE!

For more information on the features and benefits of the SEMToolBar™, please visit SEOToolSet.com.

Download the Hide Google Options browser plugin


Download the Hide Google Options!

The Hide Google Options browser plugin allows you to take control of your Google search results page by keeping the Google "Options" panel as an elective feature.

Google's new user interface (UI) released in May 2010 produces a three-panel search results page. This interface shows the Options pane as a permanent fixture on the left-hand side of the screen.

Historically, Google's options pane was enabled by using a + box labeled "Show options" at the top of the page, so the user could show or hide the left-hand options at will. Once downloaded, our Hide Google Options plug-in ensures the options pane remains a choice for users. Click the small icon in the corner of your browser window to alternately show or hide the options shown in the left-hand pane of Google search results.

(Sorry, for technical reasons no IE version can be offered.)

If you would like to restore your Google results page back to its original two-column display, you can! The Hide Google Options plug-in lets you remove the Google sidebar from view or let it show, as you choose. Download versions are available for the Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.

Hide Google Options For Mozilla Firefox: Download

Hide Google Options For Google Chrome: Download

 

Step 6 - Consider Community, Intent, and Engagement Objects™


There have recently been several important developments in the search engine optimization world that will significantly impact your SEO optimization efforts. The major issues are a result of changing technology in the area of behavior-based search, intent-based search and blended search (like Google Universal). These technologies collectively impact search engine marketing and SEO in significant ways.

Behavior-based Search — This is the tailoring of search results based upon the behavior of the searcher. If I search for "java," the search results are tailored based upon my search history for either programming, beverages or travel. And if I am into travel, the search results are biased by my interest in certain types of travel activities (such as scuba, fishing or sailing). This means that a given number of people searching for the same information will likely see different rankings or results pages. This mandates that the SEO keyword selection process consider the behavior and the community of the searcher in the overall keyword selection process. To accommodate behavior-based searching, SEOs should use keywords on the site that are common to their target audience.

Intent-based Search — This is the determination of the searcher's intent, categorized as commerce (shopping) or research. Certain SEO project phrases are obviously for research, and the sites do not need to be physically local to the searcher. In such cases, the most relevant sites can be located anywhere. But if the intent is shopping, or appears to be urgent, then local results are presented. Even without a Google sign-in, results are often targeted based upon the IP location of the searcher, and local results are given precedence. As such, sometimes a searcher from New York will see different results than a searcher in Los Angeles for the same query. In this case the SEO should use keywords on the site that are local to their target audience.

Blended Search — This is where Engagement Objects impact search. There are many items that can be added to a Web site. One job of the search engine optimization and Web design team is to mingle video, MP3 sound files, images, maps, blogs, news and books within the Web site. The search engines want to improve the engagement of the searcher with the resulting sites, and enhanced interaction requires the inclusion of what we have coined as Engagement Objects™. We believe that without these objects in exactly the right formats, your site will not rank as high as your competitors who engage their visitors. Those more engaging sites are expected to rank higher in the search results.

We have a search engine marketing tool we call Johnny Buttons™ that allows you to install the video buttons like the ones we have on this site. The code can be downloaded from the Engagement Objects™ section and installed onto your site without technical confusion. The download (coming soon) contains all you need to make it work for you.

Once you identify opportunities to add Engagement Objects to your site, be sure to use SEO optimization selected keywords just as you would in any other content. It will contribute to content structure and theme, and it will certainly aid engagement. Adding Engagement Objects is a part of the SEO process and should be done.

Step 7 - How to Check Your Search Engine Ranking


It may take a few weeks for accepted search engine submissions to actually become effective with the major search engines. In some cases, it may take several submissions before you get registered. Considering that the Web is growing at an exceptional rate, it is a wonder that any search engine can keep up at all. Keep trying to get indexed. Visit the search engine that you care about most and see if you are registered by searching for your URL. SEO Tip: If you have our SEMToolBar, it will report the date your site was last spidered (cached date) on your results page. Your ratings will improve with time under our SEO optimization methodology.

There is a very specialized high-tech market for search engine marketing tools that convert raw data into SEO intellectual capital that you can actually use. There is a clear difference between data and wisdom, and that SEO wisdom is learned. Education is key. It is hard to have a great product, and those that do must charge for their tools in order to pay for the effort. The power of search engine optimization tools justifies the fee, so we recommend that you visit our SEOToolSet®. Our SEO tools (there are many) are straightforward, and the reports are easy to understand. If you like the free search engine advice in the visitor versions (under "Free Tools"), there is a much more powerful set of SEO tools available on a subscription basis. These tools are very fast and powerful, and they are recommended. But then, we are biased.

Once you have your SEO ranking results, you can easily identify where you need to go back and resubmit your site and fine-tune your keywords. Hopefully you will be placed at or near the top of your search results page.

MANY people are concerned about their Google rankings, and cannot seem to see any significant change in rankings when they change things (optimize pages) in significant ways. We believe that the changes do matter and are causing ranking changes, but users simply cannot see them. In most cases, if you do a query for a keyword, Google will calculate the sequence of pages in the results list based upon the algorithm and then filter the results so that not more than two pages are shown from the same site. In other words, if a site ranks for all of your keywords in the top ten results, two will show and eight will be suppressed. So if you are shown in the Google results as number three, are you really number three or are you really number eleven? Google will also resequence results to present two pages that would appear on the same results page in sequence (an indented result) even if they are not naturally in sequence. Sites with a page in position one and another in position ten will find Google resequencing the results to be number one with an indented number two, where that number two result is actually in position ten. This means that the real number two page will be in position three.

In some cases the keywords are highly competitive, and the top positions are commonly held by different domains. In such cases the listed pages seldom see duplications. In other cases there are dominant sites. Do a query for the keyword "cisco" and see how many pages are from the same site!

 

I get ok search engine placement, but it could be a lot better. A lot better would mean more prospects and more sales. At this time, I'm at a crossroads of sorts. I've completely redesigned my Web site for the first time in over two years. The new site is ready to go live, but my greatest fear is that my search engine visibility and rankings will go down as a result of the changes to the site.

You don't have to sell me on the value of a consultant's time. I've done my share of consulting. My company is very small. In fact, right now I'm the only full-time employee. So although I could buy some site registration software, or manually follow the steps you outline on this site, I simply don't have the time and am not interested in experiencing the learning curve.

For your typical consulting fee, I could take out a half-page ad in a national trade magazine that would run one time and be quickly forgotten. Obviously, that would be a complete waste of money, unless I ran the ad every month or two, which I cannot afford.

I think that using the services you offer will provide the most bang for the buck and, I hope, the greatest probability of meeting my need for better search engine success. I am ready to spend money to get this accomplished immediately, so please contact me ASAP.


Step 8 - How To Do Link Building


Link tracking allows you to identify and choose possible sites that you will want as link partners once your site is content-rich and optimized. If these sites link to your competition, then you want them to also link to you. This is also done so that these potential link partners can be checked for Meta keywords that might be related to your site and that were missed by your competition. Who links to your competition may be a great indicator of the community that contributes to the ranking for your visitors as well. Add these URLs to the URL list from Step 1 that is used in Step 2. You might also try putting the http:// address in quotes and using Google.

SEO Tip: The number and authority of links to your site are factors in determining how well your site will rank with some search engines. Popularity is often measured by gauging PageRank associated with a particular keyword phrase, and impacts the ranking your site might have. You will want to begin to develop links as soon as possible, but we recommend that you add Engagement Objects and keywords before aggressively going after links from others.

Try our two links tools:
SEOToolSet® Link Analysis Report
Page URL Google Yahoo Bing
SEOToolSet® Pages Indexed and Inbound Links Report
Search Engine Pages Indexed Inbound Links

On the subject of link popularity — we consider links vital to long-term natural search engine optimization and ranking. The objective is this: if you get a site to link to you, then you gain PageRank popularity points. If that site has a lot of quality sites linking to it and it links to you, you get a lot more points, but if that site has few quality sites linking to it, you get only a few points. As such, for SEO ranking purposes a link from a major site in your industry with a high PageRank would be worth more than a link from Bobspage.com, provided that both had content similar to yours. In essence, if enough quality sites link to you, then your site becomes a quality site by association. So you want the best sites, not the most, to link to you. Likewise, if you link to other quality sites, then your site is assumed to be a quality site by association. However, the sites must be covering the same topics as your linking page in both directions. All other links are of minimal importance (or in the case of spam, they may be ignored or even penalized). And do not bother to buy hundreds of URLs and cross-link them or buy into an advertising network. The search engines can identify them and filter them out faster than you can perform submission on these pages. At best, they are short-lived and rarely have a long-term SEO benefit.

SEO Tip: you do not want to join a link farm or use spam in any way. You do not want to purchase "junk ads" that look like links but are not worth very much. What you want are links from quality sites where their content is supplemental and synergistic to your own. The links should be within the main body of their page, and contain YOUR SEO selected keywords in the anchor text (within the link where visitors click). We offer reports and search engine marketing methodologies on this as well, but that is not the topic of this page.

Need More SEO Optimization Information About Inbound Linking? - Link Popularity

Now the Other Stuff


This is a restated and clearer translation of a Google quote that we received a while back. We have made it "modern" in response to a forum thread request, so it is obviously no longer a quote but simply our interpretation of the quote. It says a lot about the Google desire to avoid deception and "hidden" code. To be well ranked in all major search engines you should avoid all hidden links, hidden text and cloaking, as these are usually forms of deception. Most search engines prefer that their spiders get the identical page that users get. In general, you can assume that most search engines are as conservative as possible. Avoid hidden links or text in divs/layers/iframes/CSS, and avoid links that are inconspicuous, as examples. Similarly, cloaking or sneaky redirects in any form, whether they be user agent/IP-based or redirects through JavaScript, meta refreshes, 302s or frames, frequently result in ranking penalties.


SEO Cloaking Checker

SEOToolSet® Page Cloaking Report
URL Google Yahoo Search Bing Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Google Chrome
= No cloaking found, = Cloaking found. You may need to check the site for the specific user-agent.

If you cannot tell if you have violated these rules, we recommend professional SEO help.

TIME FOR SEO TRAINING? — If you have followed the above steps correctly, and if you do not have good search engine rankings yet, then we recommend our classroom SEO training course or SEO services to go the final mile. We have given you what we could for the average SEO on the average project, and then some. But you may have something more difficult. Call us ... we can help: 866-517-1900. You may also want to check out the Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies. Bruce co-authored this latest SEO For Dummies guide and it is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

Need More Information? - Read about Link Popularity.

Server issues — You need a FAST, clean server. We recommend that you use a dedicated IP for your site only because that usually means that you will not be on a crowded or slow server, since that causes the spider to visit fewer pages (they do not want to crash your server). A slow server diminishes the number of indexed pages, thus cutting into your ability to have a broad theme. This in turn hurts your ranking.

small copyscape ribbon graphic  Finding Plagiarism — WOW! Great tool! Copyscape provides a free plagiarism detection service that lets people easily search for plagiarism online and identify instances of content theft. You can use Copyscape to find sites that have copied your content without permission, as well as those that are quoting your site. Simply type in the URL of your original content, and Copyscape does the rest.

Your Page

Blogging for SEO — The art of blogging has been around for decades, but many businesses are just starting to realize the true impact blogs can have on their SEO optimization campaigns. The result: business-related blogs are popping up everywhere, proving to be a very marketable and valuable SEO tool.

Advanced Search Operators — Search engines find what you tell them to search for. A typical search will often return too many results or even results that are not relevant to the subject at hand. Therefore, search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft Bing came up with tools to narrow the search to obtain the specific information being requested. They have also created several search commands that are very useful for SEO experts as well as searchers who want very specific information. These tools are called Advanced Search Operators and Combined Searches.

SEO Training — We offer a classroom SEO training course as well as our SEO tools so that you can better optimize your sites. If you are at all interested in learning SEO, and especially if you want a great SEO education, please visit our SEOToolSet site and review our SEO training classes. You will not be sorry!

Bookmark this page and come back often! When you are ready, contact us for a FREE quote on search engine marketing services.

Next to Last Step — Start Again — This Never Ends!


Go to Step 1 and start over — this never ends. We will be adding steps and additional search engine optimization tools to this page in the future. You will want to visit this site frequently to make sure that you remain ranked where you need to be.

Organic search engine optimization and better SEO rankings, although great, are not enough. There are many people who are too new to the Web and do not know how to find a search engine, let alone how to use one. To many, the Internet is e-mail and nothing more. You still need to consider the other forms of placement as discussed on our Internet Marketing Strategy and Philosophy page.


Want an assessment of your site or a price quote? Please consider having us help you with your Web site's search engine marketing projects. If you would like a site assessments of your site or a price quote for our SEO optimization services, please contact us. Yes, we offer a few free SEO tips, but there are many things needing repair and tuning on an average website. We can customize our project and thus rates to fit your needs, but you should visit our Rates Page for general guidelines. Rates are competitive.

This site contains free advice that you need to use for higher keyword ranking results, although there are many other reference sites available. Do yourself a BIG favor and visit Search Engine Watch site on this topic.

The advice within this site is free to all who want it. However, we regularly get requests from businesses to present a site specific Webmaster Site Placement Course. This allows webmasters to have focused classroom SEO training based upon their existing site design, where the course is customized around their specific needs. Such hands-on real-world training is invaluable to businesses that want to win. Another option for your team would be to order the latest Search Engine Optimization Reference For Dummies book, which Bruce co-authored. Visit the SEO Reference For Dummies page to learn more about the book and read reviews of it.

Proceed to our SEO Services Page


SEO Placement Services are the finishing touches to a well-worked site. Search engine optimization services are offered for small and large firms. We have services for DIY through large accounts. You must at least review the next page to see if it is right for you!


If you want more information, please visit our Advanced SEO pages.

Step 1 Select Keywords Step 2 Competitor Keywords Step 3 Combine Keywords Step 4 Add Keywords Step 5 Submit Pages to Search Engines Step 6 Community, Intent & Engagement Objects™ Step 7 Check Search Engine Ranking Step 8 Link Building Buy from Amazon.com Buy from Barnes&Noble.com