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.

SEO Friendly Images WordPress Plugin

February 16, 2012 by Taylor Lovett

Hey guys, I wanted to let you know about a plugin I just started using. It’s called SEO Friendly Images.

SEO Friendly Images accomplishes a few tasks that will save you time, improve your HTML code, and ultimately add SEO value to your website. The plugin automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images (unless they already have them). This provides substantial SEO value because it allows you to add more keywords throughout your website.

  • The alt attribute is important part of search engine optimization. It describes your images to search engines and when a user searches for a certain image this is a key determining factor for a match.
  • The title attribute plays a lesser role but is important for visitors as this text will automatically appear in the tooltip when a visitor hovers their mouse over the image.

By adding alt and title attributes to all images, the plugin in turn makes your images W3C compliment (this means your code is valid which is important to Google). This plugin is extremely easy to configure and I’ve added this plugin to all my websites. I recommend everyone does the same.

Download the Plugin

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!

Meta Descriptions and Titles – What They Are, Why They’re Important, and How to Optimize Them

January 21, 2011 by Taylor Lovett

Meta descriptions and titles are probably the most important thing for SEO within the HTML of your site. These two tags allow you to have some control over how search engines like Google display your website.

What Are Meta Tags?

“Meta tags” refer to specific HTML tags that appear in the area of the page. Here is an example:

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE> This is the Meta Title tag! </TITLE>
<META name=”description” content=”This is the meta description” />
</HEAD>

See how the title and description tags appear within the of the page? They will only work if placed in that area. From the standpoint of someone viewing your website, the meta description tag is completely invisible (unless they view source code), it is used exclusively by search engines. The title tag can actually be seen by your viewers in the browser bar at the very top of your screen. There is also the meta keywords tag, but this tag is ignored by most major search engines (Google included). Right now we are going to focus on the two most important meta tags for SEO, the meta description and title tags.

Google places great importance on meta description and title tags when your website is being indexed. The following is a screen shot from a Google search:

Taking advantage of these tags gives you a huge advantage over your competitors. Having worked with many small businesses as an SEO consultant, the vast majority of people do not make use of these tags. Clients pay me thousands of dollars to get their website on the first page of Google for specific keywords; sometimes all it takes is making good use of their meta tags! Which leads me to the next thing I want to tell you…

How to Optimize Meta Tags

You’re going to be surprised at how simple this really is. First I want to introduce the concept of relevancy. You want your website to be as relevant as possible to the keywords you are targeting for Google searches. Keywords in certain areas of your website are given more weight than others. The most prominent area on your website for keywords are your meta description and titles tags. So you want to make sure every single page on your site has these tags. Also every meta description and title tag should be unique otherwise Google might flag your website for duplicate content (this was discussed in an earlier email I sent you). That being said, here are the guidelines I follow when optimizing my clients’ meta tags:

  • Make sure every single page on the website has unique meta description and title tags.
  • Make sure every meta title tag is no longer than 60 characters in length and every meta description no longer than 160 characters in length.
  • Fill each meta description and title tag with as many relevant keywords as possible.
  • Make each meta description and title tag describe the page very closely. This means I don’t just stuff them full of keywords; I actually make sure they all make sense and are relevant to their page.

How to Optimize Meta Tags in WordPress Websites

If you are running WordPress, optimizing your meta tags is MUCH easier. There are tons of plugins that allow you to edit the meta description and title tag without having to know HTML. I use All-In-One SEO on all my clients’ websites.With All-In-One SEO, each post and page editor contains a box near the bottom that allows you to easily change the meta tags. This plugin even shows a live count of how many characters your meta description and title tags are currently at! WordPress is great for SEO and makes it very easy to insert keywords throughout your site. Just remember that each page, post, category, and archive actually have their own web pages so don’t forget to optimize all their meta tags.

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

At Dusk Photography SEO Project

August 2, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

I just completed a Search Engine Optimization project on At Dusk Photography, a wedding photographer in Sydney Australia. It is amazing to think my web development portfolio extends all the way to Australia.

Check out the full story, with site and keyword research screen shots in my Rockville web developer portfolio.

Custom Contact Forms 1.0 Released

July 18, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

My new WordPress plugin, Custom Contact Forms 1.0, has finally be released.

Custom Contact Forms is a WordPress plugin for handling and displaying custom web forms; insert the provided code in any page, post, category, or archive in which you want a web form to show. This plugin allows you to create fields with a variety of options and to attach them to specific forms you create.

Definitely allows for more customization than any other WordPress contact form plugin out there today. The greatest part of this plugin is the comprehensive admin page which allows you to manage fields, forms, and tons of customizable options in one place! Also comes with a web form widget to drag-and-drop in to your sidebar. It has been tested on WordPress version 2.7.1 and up. Give it a try on your blog today; it’s free!

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

SEO Doctor Firefox Addon

July 11, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

I stumbled on an interesting add-on for Mozilla Firefox called SEO Doctor. SEO Doctor adds a small flag icon to the far right side of the url bar which opens up a small box containing information and stats pertaining to search engine optimization. when clicked. SEO Doctor’s main features:

  • Assigns an SEO score to each page and looks for SEO errors like missing alt tags, missing meta tags, and more.
  • Counts the number of inbound and outbound links keeping track of link flow and revealing any potential areas that might leak “link juice”.
  • Detects pages that can’t be found or indexed by Google and other search engines
  • Shows estimated total number of daily visits, total number of daily visits from search engines, number of nofollow links, measures loading time, and more

For me the most useful features of SEO Doctor are the ones detecting missing page features that might affect my search engine ranking. For example if I forget to use an H1 tag on a page, SEO Doctor notifies me. If I don’t use at least one H2 tag on a page, SEO Doctor warns me that I should even though it isn’t required like the H1 tag. SEO Doctor saves me tons of time because it shows me these things while I’m viewing the page instead of me taking time to search through each one of my pages to make sure they all have H1 tags.

SEO doctor is great for experienced web developers and still easy to use for novice ones. It’s definitely worth a download and it is free after all; so give it a try.

Download SEO Doctor by Vladimir Prelovac

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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