Archive for October, 2009

Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords

October 30th, 2009 by SEO Topics

Selecting keywords for your website is one of the most important steps in optimizing your website to rank highly in the search engines. Keywords vary in length and may be as short as a single word or as long as several related words strung together.

Keywords that are generally only one or two words long, such as “hotel” or “Phoenix hotel” are considered short tail keywords. They are the most basic words Web surfers use to generate a search query. These keywords tend to result in broad search results. A long tail keyword is generally three or more words such as “affordable Phoenix hotels.” Long tail keyword phrases tend to be more descriptive and result in narrower and more refined search results.

So which is better?

It depends. If you’re targeting keywords that are too short to properly describe your product or service, you may not be reaching the right audience. If you’re targeting the word “hotel” and your website only offers hotels in Phoenix, chances are most people won’t be looking for the specific service you’re offering (in this case, hotels in Phoenix). A short tail keyword also tends to be more competitive – and harder to rank for – than long tail keywords.

Long tail keyword research results in less competitive phrases and higher click-through rates because the keyword generally more accurately describes the product or service. People who use long tail queries also tend to be further along in the purchase process and are more likely to convert (or buy) on a given keyword phrase. That said, there are good reasons to target both short and long tail keywords on a given Web page.

Contact Web.com search agency for a complimentary analysis on your site’s keyword strategy.

Website Advice

October 30th, 2009 by SEO Topics

Do you need help with your website? Web.com Search Agency has been providing website assistance to online businesses for over a decade. We’re an industry leader in search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) and have helped thousands of websites meet and exceed their sales goals.

Whether you need website help finding keywords to target in the search engines, creating well-written content for your web pages, building powerful links to your site, creating effective pay-per-click ads or other anything else, Web.com Search Agency can deliver.

Our account managers can provide you with helpful tips for your website that will not only enhance your visibility in the search engines, but also improve the overall user experience on your site. From Web design help and tips to advice on hosting and technical issues, our team of experts can add tremendous value to your Web business.

We will assign an account manager to oversee your SEO campaign to ensure all aspects of your services are in sync. This advisor will be your main point of contact and will be able to answer any questions you have about your website, as well as make suggestions on how you can further optimize your site.

Give us a call today at 1-877-Rank-321 to learn how our professional Web experts can help you maximize your website’s potential and help you rank highly for important keyword phrases.

Link Text

October 29th, 2009 by Patrick Hare

The proper use of Link Text, also known as “Anchor Text” plays an important role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) whether it is being used on your own site or in the links your site is getting from other places on the Internet. The basic definition of link text is any word or phrase that is hyperlinked to another page on the Internet. As an example, the phrase “SEO company” turns into link text when it is associated with our site by way of a link.

Why is your link text important for search engines? Google, Yahoo, and Bing use these texts as a guide for the context of the target page. In the past, people abused this factor through a practice known as “Google Bombing” where the same link text was used repeatedly on different sites to associate it with a term that may not be on the site itself. By the same token, a search for the phrase “click here” usually returns the Adobe Acrobat Reader web page, because millions of sites that hosted PDF documents also included a link that said “click here” in association with the Adobe’s free reader. This works despite the fact that the phrase “click here” is nowhere to be found on the destination page. For anyone looking to be successful in SEO, Web.com search agency recommends having a your link destination page that is as relevant to the link text as possible.

Most of your link texts reside on your own site, and your choice of keywords in these texts can be critical for good SEO. Basically, you are using your link text to tell the search engines what your pages are all about. The home page is going to be seen as the roadmap for the rest of the site. Therefore, the links to interior pages should have names that clearly define the page topic, and when people/search engines get to those pages, the topics should match up with the content. A proper naming structure for the links on your own site can give you a strong head start with search engines when you are building a new website. If you’re overhauling an old site, you should consider the page structure and how items are defined, since “products” is not as good of a definition as the type of products that you have to offer.

How can you choose good keywords? If you’re going for quantity, the Google Keyword Tool is a good place to find out which phrases get the most searches. If you have been running Google Adwords, you can also check and see which phrases are getting the best conversion rate. If you see topics in the keyword list that aren’t represented on your site, you may want to consider adding extra pages, or editing those words into your site content. No matter what keywords you use, you definitely want to make sure that the text of your links matches up with the words on the page.

Another important consideration in naming links is the way that interior pages link to each other and the home page. A very common mistake is to link the word “home” to your homepage. A link to the main topic of your site (or the domain name, if you’ve got a good exact match) can make a big difference. Suddenly, your interior pages are telling the search engines/customers what the homepage is really about, rather than telling them that the page is about “home.” Alternatively, if you have a logo that is linked to the homepage on every interior page, make sure the alt text is descriptive of the homepage’s top content.

Variations in link texts are also important. We have seen several cases where identical link texts from multiple sources have led to lower search engine positions for that phrase. Identical inbound link texts are a classic sign of over-optimization, and search engines are more likely to give fairer treatment to sites that aren’t overtly gaming the system. Therefore, adding popular variations into link texts from external sources is recommended, so a link campaign for “dog food” might contain anchors for “small dog food,” “dog food with kibbles,” “Gravy Train brand dog food,” and even “food for dogs” as a way of breaking up the text. More advanced linking campaigns will also throw in several straight links to the domain name (dogfoodexample.com) and a hard URL link like http://www.dogfoodexample.com which will make your linking profile look more natural. You should also make sure that more relevant links go straight to interior pages, so all your links don’t just land the user on the homepage. As always, search engines strongly discourage the buying of link popularity, but since it is also possible to acquire links in a White Hat way, you should follow the same guidelines.

Link text is not the only part of the SEO equation, but we have seen multiple instances where changes to interior link text have greatly enhanced a site’s presence in the search engines. Likewise, the proper use of link texts has even helped established sites gain a better definition in the search engines, even if they already have naturally acquired several thousand other links over time. As a topic in search engine optimization, the proper use of link text can’t be underestimated. The smart use of anchor and link texts can create efficiencies that put small businesses on the same playing field as large enterprises. In the arena of first page search results, the dividend created by proper keyword and link text choices can pay off very well indeed.

Do You Really Need an XML Sitemap?

October 28th, 2009 by Patrick Hare

XML Sitemaps, (also known as Google Sitemaps) are accepted by all three major search engines as a source of information about your site. Google Webmaster Tools even has a spot where you can tell Google where to look for the sitemap, if you haven’t already told search engines about it by using your robots.txt file or just thrown it into the root directory. There are even websites that will spider your site for free and generate a sitemap for up to 50,000 URLs. (Just look in Google under XML Sitemap Generator.)

Even though it is usually pretty easy to create and install, do you really need an XML sitemap? If your site is small enough, the answer might be “No.” For instance, if you do a site: command on Google and see that all your pages are in the engine, then a sitemap isn’t going to find any more of them. While it is possible to set a “priority” for pages using the sitemap, you may be artificially downgrading the importance of ranking pages by selecting this feature. In the past, people abused this feature by selecting a priority of “1” for all pages, so search engines may very well be skeptical of user prioritization. Webmaster Tools will actually give you a warning if it thinks your priorities are skewed.

If you’ve got a website with thousands of URLs, or your inventory changes on a regular basis, then an XML Sitemap may be the way to go. In this case, you want to have it built into your shopping cart to automatically update when you make changes. We always caution customers that a sitemap isn’t going to improve rankings for pages that have already been cached, but it is an effective way of helping engines find new pages. Removing a deleted page from your sitemap also won’t get search engines to take them out of their indexes, so a 301 redirect is still the preferred way to deal with page changes.

If you’re launching a brand new site with a lot of pages, or making major architectural changes, then a Google Sitemap is a good idea. However, a redesign of an existing site should always include redirects for pages that are getting external links. If you have a site that is not getting interior pages crawled, XML Sitemaps might assist the search engine in finding those pages, by you should be cognizant of the fact that the site is somehow preventing a search engine from finding those pages all by itself. Generally speaking, if an engine can’t locate interior pages on its own, then you probably are missing a lot of PageRank and Link Popularity that should be flowing from the homepage to interior pages by way of well-constructed links and silos. Assuming that the search engine finds the new pages with the XML sitemap, it may not put much stock in them if they can’t be placed into their proper link context.

In most cases, people will just go ahead and install a sitemap as part of SEO best practices. It doesn’t take too much time, and as the old adage goes: “It can’t hurt.” For those special cases where installing the map takes more time, or involves the employment of a tech, there is a certain legitimacy to the question about the necessity of its installation. Since the XML sitemap is exclusively for search engines, it is only really necessary if they can’t find something or if wholesale changes are under way, but most people in the world of search engine optimization will just make sure it gets uploaded anyway. Therefore, XML Sitemaps usually get installed as part of the whole SEO package, but they shouldn’t take precedence over good internal linking, inbound link acquisition, a proper title structure, or content that makes your site a resource and not just a list of pages.

Keyword Estimation Tools – Don’t Let the Numbers Fool You

October 27th, 2009 by Patrick Hare

One of the most popular ways to find out about consumer demand online is to use a Keyword Estimation Tool. In the past, Overture had a tool that was the preferred way of getting information on what people were typing into the Yahoo network. This tool had some drawbacks, since it lumped together singular and plural words. Therefore, people who were using the tool to optimize a site about “teeth whitening” would often be led to believe that all the demand was for “tooth whitening.” Several paid tools used Overture’s data as a basis for keyword estimation, and you could often reverse engineer their algorithm (they would divide by .35 and round up, for instance) to see what they thought the total global search volume was for a term. Later on, Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool was available to the public, and it broke out singular and plural terms while simultaneously showing a much larger slice of the search engine pie. Therefore, if you haven’t done keyword research since 2005, you might want to upgrade your SEO since your assumptions are based on skewed data.

One of the chief drawbacks in keyword estimation is that the numbers aren’t always accurate. For one thing, Google’s tool defaults to Broad Match, which allows for synonyms and related terms to be added to the overall search volume. The actual number may be off by several hundred thousand searches per month. You can segment searches down to Phrase Match (which shows the keyword combination that may have words before and/or after it) and Exact Match (that search phrase and no other words) but there is still a flaw in the results. The problem? People may input multiple search queries before making a single click. A document from Bing indicates that people could be typing in (or refining) 4 queries for each clicked result. Naturally, the short-tail keywords in a list should be seeing the bulk of the searches, while long-tail terms may represent the refined result which is closing in on a click. Therefore the conversion value of a long-tail phrase is even higher than it was judged previously.

Search behavior also changes over time. If you look at most Google Trends Graphs, you may be led to believe that search patterns stay the same but search volume is decreasing across all sectors. To a certain extent, the economy has sapped interest in most things that cost money, but there is another reason for keyword search trends to be shrinking. This is because people are making more specific searches. Search engines are effectively training people to make better queries, so they might be starting a three or four word query today as opposed to a two word phrase in the past. From a webmaster standpoint, this means that you should be expanding your content to account for all phrase variations that are relevant to your service offering.

One last tip for keyword researchers is that singular keywords have been found to represent the end of a buying cycle, whereas plural terms are used by window shoppers or people looking to research products more fully. This isn’t always a bad thing, since you can tailor your site to offer a wider range of choices for plural keyword users, while getting specific for singular shoppers. You can also model your customer behavior to understand that the window shoppers may be in the sales pipeline, so an attractive offer or unique site aspect may result in better sales over the next few weeks. Offering a coupon code signup, layaway option, or online rain check might be one way to grab people who don’t plan on making a decision right away.

As with all methods of online information gathering, people looking to optimize their websites should understand that Keyword Estimation Tools are for statistical purposes only, and represent a sample of the buying public. Anyone who has mapped month-to-month keyword demand can see that consumer searches are based around trends, seasonality, news events, and necessity. Your website should be built for long-term keyword success, but every once in awhile you should check with your keyword tool to see if any new terms, model numbers, or abbreviations are being used. By understanding more about the people behind the list of keywords, you can have a more realistic expectation of your traffic and the income that it will create.

Organic SEO

October 27th, 2009 by SEO Topics
Organic search engine optimization is the process of increasing a website’s search engines rankings. Our organic SEO services seek to improve rankings through a variety of methods that may include keyword research and targeting, content creation and optimization, meta tag creation, link building, social media networking and more.

Natural or organic SEO is not paid advertising, such as the pay-per-click ads that appear under the Sponsored Links subtitle on Google. High rankings in the natural search results are the outcome of the search engines deciding which websites are the most authoritative and relevant for a given keyword phrase.

Our organic SEO company can help improve your website from a usability and SEO perspective so that you will have top search engine rankings. Studies show that most Web users don’t even look at search engine results beyond the first page and the top five results on the first page receive the most clicks.

If you are serious about growing your online sales, SEO is a must for your website. With so many competitors in the online marketplace, SEO can help your website stand out and rise above the competition.

The organic SEO service provided by Web.com Search Agency has helped thousands of websites across all industries increase their rankings – driving traffic to their sites and dramatically increasing their sales. Contact us at 1-877-Rank-321 to learn how we can optimize your website for the search engines and enhance your online visibility.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

October 27th, 2009 by SEO Topics

What is SEO? Search engine optimization is defined as the process of optimizing your website to rank highly in the search engines. The higher your website ranks, the more traffic and sales you’ll receive.

SEO marketing is one of the fastest growing advertising segments and is a highly-effective way to promote your website. Search generally accounts for a high percentage of website traffic, which is why it’s essential that Web users are able to find your website in the engines.

We can help you increase your rankings using a combination of methods. If we had to define search engine optimization (SEO), it would boil down to a few key elements that include keyword research, content and meta tag creation, link building and social media. The idea behind SEO is to help the engines clarify what each website and the pages contained within it are about; the clearer you make this to the engines, the higher your site will rank for relevant keywords.

The process of properly optimizing your website’s pages to rank highly within these engines can be quite technical and, if done incorrectly, can actually hurt your rankings. That’s why it’s best to enlist the help of an expert such as Web.com Search Agency to manage all aspects of your SEO campaign and guarantee your site’s success!

Contact us toll free at 1-877-Rank-321 to learn how we can help your website rank highly in the search engines!

Website Traffic

October 27th, 2009 by SEO Topics

Website traffic is defined as the number of unique visitors who enter your site. Generally, the more visitors your site gets, the higher your online sales will be. Hence, driving traffic to your website is critical to your business’ success.

Several free Web-based programs, such as Google Analytics, can help you determine how many visitors your site receives, and most importantly, where they come from. Traffic can come directly from someone entering your full Internet address into a Web browser, from referring sites that link to your site and from search engines. Typically, much of a website’s traffic comes from search engine queries.

Targeted website traffic from search engines can be further broken down by keywords. This is a critical element in any search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. By understanding what keywords people are using to find your site (or sites that are similar to yours), you can begin optimizing your website to rank for important keyword phrases.

Websites that rank highly in the search engines, especially in the first page results, tend to receive significantly more website traffic than sites that have lower rankings.
The more specific and relevant the keywords you target are to your business, the greater the chance that an increase in traffic to your website will lead to increased sales for your business.

Contact Web.com Search Agency at 1-877-Rank-321 today to learn how we can increase traffic to your website!

Website Advertising

October 27th, 2009 by SEO Topics

Internet website advertising is one of the fastest growing advertising segments. As more traditional forms of marketing are beginning to fall by the wayside, online marketing is on the rise.

Advertising your website online is a great way to reach out to the millions of people who use the Internet every day. Whether you are employing search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your website’s rankings in the search engines, buying sponsored ads as part of a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, using social media to connect with customers or otherwise market your business online, there’s no doubt that money spent on online website advertising is a worthwhile investment.

In fact, advertising a website through SEO can you give your business one of the highest ROI rates of any form of marketing. Using an SEO firm to improve your search engine rankings and enhance your online visibility is far less expensive than traditional forms of marketing, such as buying a TV or radio spot or placing an ad in a magazine or newspaper. By targeting the right keywords (i.e. reaching the appropriate online audience), the conversion rate for online advertising tends to be significantly higher than other forms of media.

Tracking your SEO campaign’s progress is also much easier than other forms of advertising. Statistics such as traffic sources, bounce rates, keyword rankings, number of visitors, average time spent on the site, keyword conversion rates and more can be tracked by each keyword and visitor. Hence, it’s easy to see when and how Web advertising is working and make adjustments as needed.

Contact us at 1-877-Rank-321 to learn how our website advertising agency can help grow your business.

Website Promotion

October 26th, 2009 by SEO Topics

Website promotion is one of the most effective ways to market your business online. Unlike other forms of adverting, website promotion marketing is extremely targeted and offers a high ROI. If you have an online company, you should absolutely promote your website online!

Online website promotion can take many different forms including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) management, link building, social networking and much more. A combination of website promotion services under the guidance of a professional online marketing agency can work wonders for a website’s search engine rankings.Web.com Search Agency can coordinate and manage the different aspects of your SEO campaign to make sure all components are in sync and your rankings are elevated.

Website promotions and Internet marketing go hand-in-hand and can greatly increase your online sales. Our services can you help maximize your online marketing dollars so that your search engine rankings will soar, while your online brand and overall visibility is enhanced. Be sure to ask us about our full range of services including content creation, pay-per-click, link building, social media, account management and much more.

Give us a call at 1-877-Rank-321 to learn how we can improve your online visibility and increase your website’s opportunity for success. We look forward to working with you and helping you grow your business.