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.

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.

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

Strange Google XML Sitemaps Error Fixed

June 24, 2010 by Taylor Lovett

Today, I installed the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. I configured the plugin accordingly then directed my browser to http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml to see my newly built sitemap. I was confronted with the very ugly error:

Error loading stylesheet: An unknown error has occurred (805303f4)

http://www.taylorlovett.com/wp-content/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/sitemap.xsl

After some searching on Google, I found others having the same issue but no definite solution. It seemed that directing my browser to http://www.taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml worked fine but http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml did not. I figured out the problem was that in my General Settings page my WordPress address (URL) was set to http://www.taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml and my Site address (URL) was set to http://taylorlovett.com/sitemap.xml. After changing them both to the exact same URL, the problem was solved!

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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