For the longest time in internet marketing, we were limited to a dozen or so non-coutry-specific domain names: .com .net .biz .edu .gov .tv .mobi .info and a few others. Recently the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved 131 new domain name extensions!
There are domains now for everyone – if you sell real estate there’s .HOUSE and .RENTALs, for health professionals there are .CLINIC and .CARE, for shutterbugs there are .PHOTOGRAPHY and .CAMERA.
With these new domain extensions you can create more paths to your web site, with a portfolio of keyword-rich domains, which is great for Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing.
As good as WordPress is “out of the box” it does lack the SEO component. This is where All-in-one-SEO-pack (and other similar plugins) come in. Basically, the plugin creates 3 new input fields for each page and each blog post: Title, Description and Keywords (and some check boxes, which can be ignored in most cases).
The title tag can generally be ignored, as it will default to the title of the blog post, however, in some situations you may want to fine tune the title tag, for example, if the blog post title is longer than 60 characters, as in this example from my blog:
Post title: Blog Search Engine Optimization: How to Do Keyword Research to Get the Most Google Juice
Title tag: Blog Search Engine Optimization: How to Do Keyword Research
Blog visitors will see the longer title (with the words “to Get the Most Google Juice”), however, the search engines will pick up the title tag, as to them the words “google juice” don’t mean much.
The description tag is very important. If you don’t create it yourself the search engines will show two lines of text they think are relevant. That’s why we have to enter a description (not longer than 150 characters).
The Description is like a little classified ad for your whole page/post, and because the description will be displayed to people when they search, it’s our opportunity to address them (our prospects) directly. That’s why it’s a good idea to somehow include a Call-to-action in the description.
The description should also include your focus keyword phrase.
The keywords tag can safely be ignored, because Google ignores it, but since other search engines still read that information, it doesn’t hurt to enter it. The key here is to enter only the keyword phrases that actually appear on the page, so no keyword stuffing — this bad SEO practice is one reason Google decided to ignore this tag.
Before you even start writing copy for your page or blog post, do some research using this free tool from Google (you will need to open a free AdWords account)
The SEO plugin works well with just the default settings, and each field has its own little pop-up help info.
What makes Google and other search engines, display some sites all the way at the top of the first page of search results listings, while other sites don’t even appear on page 57? The answer is: the best performing web sites have implemented Search Engine Optimization (or SEO).
Each search engine uses its own complex algorithm that takes into account dozens, or perhaps even hundreds of factors. Ever since we all started using search engines to find stuff online web site developers have been trying to figure out bits and pieces of the SEO puzzle. That on-going process is what search engine optimization is all about.
Every once in a while someone manages to reverse engineer Google to find a secret or two of what makes it work. When they find these golden nuggets, web designers and developers try to exploit the new SEO knowledge to ‘trick’ Google into giving their web sites top rankings.
If you could implement a few of these secrets on your web site that would translate into higher traffic to your site — free traffic at that — that can then be turned into new business — more clients or more customers.
When you do a web search on Google, and other search engines, they tend to display 10 organic listings by default, and most of us only bother to look down the first page. Most of us are satisfied by the results we get from page #1 of search results, but that also means that if your site is ranked at page 5 it will get significantly less traffic — if any at all.
In fact, the number of people who click through the listings diminishes rapidly as we move down the page. Google statistics show that 42% of searchers click the #1 listing on any given keyword search, 12% click on #2, only 8.5% on #3 and 6% on #4. This clearly illustrates the need to be on top of page one!
Search engine optimization consists of two sets of tactics: on-page optimization and off-page optimization.
What is on-page search engine optimization?
The purpose of on-page SEO is to make a web page as attractive to the search engines as possible. Nobody outside of Google knows for sure which factors are important at any one time, since these things are Google’s trade secrets, but some elements of a web page seem to count more than others:
For example, all the following elements should be present and should include the page’s focus keyword:
The title of the web page.
The URL of the page.
The page’s primary headline (as indicated in the HTML by the H1 tag).
The page’s META description.
The length of time your domain name has been registered for appears to matter, too.
In addition, the way the page content has been written seems to count more nowadays than it has in the past. For example, try to use words that are related to your page’s main focus keyword phrase. This is called latent semantic analysis.
For a keyword phrase that has little competition — few other web pages trying to get ranked for it — good on-page SEO can often be all you need to get a good results. However, in the real world most of the keywords we want to build pages around, and get traffic for, do have lots of competition.
That’s when off-page SEO becomes so very important.
What is off-page search engine optimization?
To understand how this works we have to go back to see what made it all happen for Sergey Brin and Larry Page who started Google in March 1996.
Their breakthrough was to realize that if web page ‘A’ on one site had a link on it to web page ‘B’ on another site, that link could be taken as a vote of confidence. So the more links that a page had pointing to it from other web sites, the more of an authority that page could be assumed to have.
These backlinks are still one of the main factors that drive off-page search engine optimization: generally speaking, the more backlinks you can get, the higher your pages will be ranked by Google and other search engines. For example, you can explore links to my own site by visiting this page.
Building backlinks to your pages is a relatively simple process, albeit somewhat time consuming. The trick is to find other so-called authority web sites that allow you to create links to you own site. One way to start building quality backlinks to your site is to do a Google search for one of your own keywords and see which sites are displayed in the so-called “organic” search results, and then visit those sites.
If the sites are blogs, you can regularly comment on their blog posts — make sure you say something constructive — while linking your business or name to your own web site.
When publishing articles on your business blog (or any web site) your task doesn’t end with writing your blog post, you should also concentrate on optimizing it for search engines.
Actually, to get the benefit of search engine traffic, even before starting a blog post, do some keyword research. First, compile a list of keywords (and, more importantly, keyword phrases) you think your business should rank for. Then, use the free Google Keyword tool and type in those phrases to find out how many actual searches are done per month. You would be surprised how different Google’s list may turn out from your own. Use the list Google suggest as your starting point.
You want to find keyword phrases with low competition and high search volume.
If your site or blog is promoting a business with a local focus, such as a beauty salon, or carpet cleaning, pay attention to the local search volume, rather than global.
Then, when you’ve decided on the overall keyword phrases for your site (or home page), use the same Google Keyword tool to generate ideas for sub page titles, post headlines and subheads.
Specifically, pay attention to and hand craft the following three meta tags:
Meta title: This may be different, or a variation of the post title, and ideally not longer than 60-70 characters. If your post title is longer than 70 characters, made sure you condense it to less than that for the title meta tag.
Meta description: If you’re using an SEO plugin for your WordPress-based blog, it will most likely be able to generate a description tag for you, but I advise against it. Instead, you should write your own description, ideally not more than 150 characters long, and making sure you use at least one keyword phrase as suggested by the Google Keyword tool. If you can also include a call to action, such as “Visit my site for more,” that would be great. Think of the description as the summary of your blog post, or page.
1-5 meta keyword phrases: As per this video, Google ignores meta keywords, but some search engines still read them, so it won’t hurt to add them. Add only those keywords that are actually used on the page. Resist the temptation of “keyword stuffing” as some search engines may punish your page for it.