TaylorLovett

Internal vs. Inbound Links

March 21, 2012 by Taylor Lovett

While recently doing some SEO consultations, I noticed how most people don’t understand the importance of internal linking. Let’s go back to SEO basics for a minute so I can explain.

The goal of all search engines is to serve you with the most relevant possible websites to your searches. All search engines have a different “algorithm” for deciding which pages are most relevant. Almost all of these algorithms (Google especially) place high importance on inbound links. This means the more sites linking to your site the better. The most valuable thing you can have is an inbound link from a site serving content relevant to yours. For example since my site has articles on SEO, a useful inbound link would be one from seoengine.com.

“Inbound links are like other sites voting for your content and telling search engines what your content is about.”

On the other hand, internal links are like letting search engines know about your content and voting for it. This is extremely important! Internal links signal search engines that your pages exist and are important.

Internal links are also important because your links carry authority. What do I mean when I say your links carry authority? Well, let’s say my homepage taylorlovett.com is a Google PageRank 6 (which it actually is). That means all links on my homepage carry the authority of PageRank 6. So links on my homepage carry more authority than links on some obscure page of my website that has PageRank 1. But by linking my homepage to that obscure page, I am, in a sense, telling search engines that obscure page should have more authority. Therefore my homepage should contain links to the rest of my website to spread around the “authority”.

Does that make sense? I hope it does. If not, feel free to email me with any questions.

Landing Pages: What Are They and When You Should Use Them?

August 16, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

There is a lot of talk today among bloggers and internet marketers about “landing pages” or “sales pages”. You might have heard people talking about how useful they are in generating new prospects for your business. I can tell you this is absolutely true but only if the landing pages are created and used correctly.

What is a landing page:
A landing page is simple a page that a visitor lands on after clicking a link. It could be your homepage. More often than not a landing page is the page that a user arrives at after clicking an advertisement.

When to use a landing page and why they are extremely important:
Suppose I have an advertisement link on webdevelopers.com. The link text reads “Free SEO Report”. Most amateurs would have this link point to their homepage. The smart move would be to create a special landing page on my site that is completely separated from the rest of the site. The landing page would be targeted specifically for the link “Free SEO Report”. That means the landing page would probably have a header that reads just that, Free SEO Report. Using a targeted landing page for your advertisements (especially for PPC ads) dramatically increases the amount of new prospects or conversions you will receive per ad click.

Google Alerts

June 8, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

I wanted to let you know about a new Google service I stumbled upon recently. It’s called Google Alerts.

As you know I run a small online web development business. I target search phrases like “Maryland web developer” and “Maryland wordpress”. I’ve spent time and money getting my website to the top of Google for those search phrases.

I also spend time searching those phrases on Google to see where my website(s) are located as well as to learn about my competition. When new websites pop up on “Maryland web developer” or “Maryland wordpress” searches, I want to be the first to know so I can examine those websites and evaluate the type of keyword strategies they are using (this is how the pros do it).

Anyway I was spending a lot of time unnecessarily searching those phrases for new competition until I learned about Google Alerts. Google Alerts is a new service that provides email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Simply, tell Google the topic you wish to monitor, enter your email address and the type of results you wish to receive, and click create alert.

It’s that simple. From now on Google will alert you when new websites appear on searches on the topics of your choosing!

Google Places is Critical to Search Engine Visibility

January 15, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

Hey Taylor L, I just wanted to let you know about something that someone of the SEO Pro’s have been chatting about lately.

Google Places is CRITICAL to search engine visibility. Google has begun to show an incredible number of Local-related results for nonspecific search phrases.

Google Places allows you to submit your business information (name, address, URL, basic service description). After submission, your website will show up under local Google Places results. Lets use the web development market as an example. Since TaylorLovett.com is listed in Google Places as a web development business in Maryland, it shows up higher under local searches for “web development” within Maryland. That means my website has an advantage with people searching for web development within Maryland as well as people searching the key phrase “web development Maryland”.

The secret that I am revealing is that even if your business does not have a specific location, you can still submit it to Google Places.The best way to move up in the Google rankings is to optimize your site for a specific location, and move outwards gradually. TaylorLovett.com first was optimized for a small town called “Rockville” (which is in Maryland), then moved to a bigger town called “Bethesda”, then took over Maryland. Now if you search “web developer Maryland”, you will seeTaylorLovett.com on the first page competing with multi-million dollar web development firms. Pretty neat, huh?

Also, I’m not sure if you heard about this or not, but Google just completely changed the way they display localized search results. What does this mean for you? While this may sound unimportant, it is actually a pretty big deal because it gives websites that use proper SEO techniques a huge leg up. Prior to this change, when you searched “web development Maryland”, local Maryland results were displayed (by Google Places) above the actual organic search results. Now those same Google places results are integrated in to the organic search results. The two algorithms have been merged. This change places even more importance on websites that are listed in Google Places. You have nothing to lose!

SEOMoz, a leading search engine optimization research site, put out an exclusive report which included some useful tips when creating your Google Places listing.

– In Places results, domain-wide link popularity factors seem more important than page-specific ones. We’ve heard that links aren’t as important in local/places and the data certainly suggest that’s accurate (see the full report to compare correlations), but they may not be completely useless, particularly on the domain level.

– Using the city and business type keyword in the page title and the listing name (when claiming/editing your business’s name in the results) may give a positive boost. Results using these keywords seem to frequently outrank their peers. Use the city/state you are targeting in your listing.

– More is almost always better when it comes to everything associated with your Places listing – more related maps, more reviews, more “about this place” results, etc. However, this metric doesn’t appear as powerful as we’d initially thought. It could be that the missing “consistency” metric is a big part of why the correlations here weren’t higher.

Duplicate Website Content – Why It’s Bad and How to Fix It

January 12, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

Hey {!name}, I thought I’d let in on a big problem that I look for on client websites when I’m doing SEO consulting.

From Google Webmaster Tools:
—–
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content
or are appreciably similar
——

Here’s all the ways duplicate content can occur on your website:

* URL parameters such as click tracking and some analytics code can cause duplicate content issues.

* Printer friendly versions of content can cause duplicate content issues when multiple versions of the pages get indexed.

* Session IDs are a common duplicate content creator. This occurs when each user that visits a website is assigned a different session ID that is stored in the URL.

The biggest problem with duplicate content is that search engines don’t know which version to index. If you are using a WordPress website, then duplicate content probably applies to your website in a more subtle way, a way which most SEO “gurus” try to charge you money to learn about. Multiple pages with the same page title or meta description are considered duplicate content which hurts your website in a variety of ways.

The page title is contained in the HTML header and can be read by users in the URL bar at the very top of browsers. The meta description is also contained within the HTML header but cannot be read by humans and is used exclusively by search engines like Google. I’m going to send you another email about the importance of meta descriptions and titles and how to make good use of them.

— Ways to Detect Duplicate Content on Any Website

* Here is a useful duplicate content detector tool: http://www.virante.com/seo-tools/duplicate-content.php

— Ways to Fix Duplicate Content on WordPress Websites

* First make sure all your pages have unique page titles and meta descriptions.

* If you are using permalinks, each page can be linked to in at least two different ways i.e. yoursite.com/?p=20 or yoursite.com/mypage/. Make sure you pick one way to link to each page throughout your website. If you are using permalinks, you should be using yoursite.com/mypage/

* Finally, if you still have duplicate content, you will need to mark pages with canonical link tags. A canonical link tag tells the search engine where the primary version of that content resides. Here is a great WordPress plugin that does this for you automatically: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/canonical/

— Ways to Fix Duplicate Content on WordPress Websites

* The best way to do this is to manually add the following meta tag to the section of every page that is a duplicate:

That’s it! Everything you need to correct duplicate content on your website is in this email. Enjoy.

Google XML Sitemaps – Free SEO Points

January 10, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

An XML Sitemap is a list of pages on your website (not readily visible to humans) that is formatted in such a way that helps Google index pages on your site that it might not find otherwise. Your Sitemap can even specify how long before the content changes on each page so Google knows when to come back and reindex. This has HUGE value for SEO.

Do any of the following apply to your website? (This list is pulled directly from the Google help page on Sitemaps)

  • Your site has dynamic content.
  • Your site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Googlebot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
  • Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn’t well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
  • Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.

If so, you definitely need an XML Sitemap. Have you every seen video content when searching on Google? You can create an XML video Sitemap for Google that will allow your video content to be disabled on the Google search page. In my personal experience with SEO, Google, and small business websites, XML Sitemaps have been an invaluable tool. Most people don’t know what they are and often pay me to do SEO work. One of my SEO “secrets” is to install the XML Google Sitemaps Plugin on my clients websites. My clients usually see results within a few days from using that plugin! Crazy, huh?

Download and install the Google XML Sitemaps Plugin for WordPress

SEO Techniques for Bing

July 16, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

In the field of SEO, Google’s search engine dominates the market. But what about other search engines? Yahoo and Bing, despite not being as popular as Google, can still send your website massive amounts of traffic. Many of the on page and off page search engine optimization techniques are the same for all search engines, but some search engines place more weight than others in certain areas. Bing, Microsofts replacement for MSN, heavily favors sites that have proper validating HTML code. Off-page, Bing favors sites that utilize social networking and social bookmarking sites. Bing also likes sites that link to lots of relevant external sites.

Heres in interesting article on SEO techniques for Bing:
On-page and Off-page Bing SEO Techniques

Google Pagerank Sculpting

June 23, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

I found an interesting article written by the head software engineer of Google’s Webspam team. The article talks about internal link loss as well as external link loss and the use of nofollow tags within one’s site to sculpt pagerank. The WordPress blog post debunks many of the SEO theories about “link juice”. Link juice has become a very popular trend among SEO and Internet Marketing consultants in the past two years. This article, written by Matt Cutts, is definitely worth a read:

Gadgets, Google, and SEO by Matt Cutts

How to Build a Successful Website

June 13, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

I just found a great article/guide for the individual who wants to build an income generating website. The guide goes step by step starting from choosing long tail keywords with relatively little competition to writing good content with your sites important keywords, and finally to search engine optimizing your HTML code. I found the part about how to do keyword research and analysis with Google’s keyword tool, Wordtracker, and the Pagerank toolbar especially useful; in fact I applied many of the techniques here on my own site. Definitely worth a read for any webmaster. Check it out:

How to Build a Successful Website

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