May 05 2008

Optimising For The Long Tail

Tag: SEOadmin @ 4:01 pm

What is the Long Tail?

The “long tail” is a buzz word that has been thrown about for some time now in forums and other places across the web, but many people are still unsure on many aspects of the long tail inlcuding what it is and how it can help with your SEO campaign.

When performing search engine optimisation on a site one of the first things to do is to examine your niche, your competitors and the market place in general. Another thing you do is to ascertain the most lucrative search terms to target in order to drive the maximum amount of traffic to your site.

Normally you will come up with a selection of keywords that are the ones that you are going to go with and after a few months or whatever length of time, you check your stats and what do you find?

You find that around 20% of the visitors that came to your site via organic searches found your site using your top optimised for keywords. The other 80% will have found you using whats called the long tail or those phrases that were made up using words and phrases found in your websites copy(or text).

Below is a graphical chart depicting what the long tail would look like like if you were to create a graph using your google analytics or other website stats.

Long Tail Chart

The X-Axis shows us that each tower represents a specific keyword and that the Y-Axis represents the keyword popularity or put another way, the amount of times the keyword was searched during a certain period of time.

The graph shows us that most of our main keywords provided us with around 20% of our visitors whereby the “long tail”(the remaining keywords) represent around 80% of search terms that we were found with.

So logic tells us, that we should not only target the more popular search terms, but also go after the long tail terms which can provide us with significant traffic.

The advantages of targeting the long tail are:-

  1. They are not as popular as the higher traffic terms so are easier to rank for
  2. Easy to optimise as you will not have to build links for these terms
  3. Long tail terms are much more specific hence are easier to convert to sales

An example of the long tail might be:-

Real estate spain

Real estate lawyers spain

Real estate in valencia spain

Commercial real estate in spain

Real estate spain investment fund

Real estate agents in spain

Best real estate agents in spain

Buying real estate in spain

Real estate market situation in spain

Off plan real estate offers in Spain

As you can see by the above example. The top term “real estate spain” is more generic and not very specific and targeted. With terms like these a searcher could really be searching for any one of the terms below which are much more specific.

This means that the more long tail visitors we can get the more likely we are to convert those visitors into sales or customers.

How to target the long tail

Another bonus of optimising and targeting the long tail keywords is that they are not so popular which means there is less competition and there are fewer sites actively targeting these terms.

Optimising your sites pages for the long tail terms is pretty straight forward and generally means placing your long tail keywords within the pages copy/text so that the search engine crawlers can index them for searching.

Below is an example of a paragraph used on a real estate site before the long tail keywords have been inserted.

XYZ Real Estate Spain is your leading real estate company in spain. We have a number of really luxurious off plan and resale properties on offer in the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca. We are also able to provide you with finance for your purchase via our trusted and experienced mortgage advisor.

And now the paragraph after the long tails have been inserted.

XYZ Real Estate Spain is your leading real estate company in spain. We are one of the leading real estate agents in Spain and have a number of really luxurious off plan and resale properties on offer in the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca. If you are buying real estate property in Spain, we are also able to provide you with finance for your purchase via our trusted and experienced mortgage advisor.

The real estate market situation in Spain has been somewhat unstable recently, but market is now as bouyant as ever and we are now starting to see more demand for certains regions especially real estate in Valencia.

We are now able to offer some really amazing off plan real estate offers in Spain which include cash back and no money down deals.

As you can see, with a bit of wizardry we are able to insert our long tail terms into our copy so that we can target them.

So there you have it. If you do some solid keyword research I’m sure you can come up with a number of long tails that just may bring you more targeted traffic.

 

 

 


Apr 30 2008

Forget reciprocals and start networking

Tag: SEOadmin @ 4:17 pm

Now we all know(well most of us anyway) that link building is one of the most important aspects of good SEO. We also know that the links we do get need to be of a high quality, ie, have good Page Rank, be relevant, come from an authoritive site, have few outbound links and is not spammy etc etc.

I recieve many link exchange requests every day which are pretty pathetic really. You know the ones “Hi, I saw your site and wanted to know if you would link to me? blah blah”.

For me, reciprocals are now pretty pointless. Don’t get me wrong, one or two reciprical links from relevant authority sites is not a bad thing, but links from pages that have hundreds of other links(including those to Viagra and online gaming sites) are pretty much worthless in my eyes and no doubt in the eyes of the search engines.

SEO’s and webmasters need to adopt a different approach to link building if they want to rank well. The search engine algorithms are becoming more and more sophisticated and have the ability to sniff out crappy, worthless links.

So how does one go about obtaining good quality links then?

Well in my opinion SEO’s need to start networking more. What I mean by this is that link building is very similar to building links and business associates in the offline world. In order to for you to do well in regular business, you need to network and build relationships in order to help each other to achieve your goals.

The same applies to SEO and link building. If you have something of interest, for example good articles, how to’s, free software or advice for example, why not approach another webmaster and ask to have your content placed on their site with a link back to you or a link to your content from their site?

If what you are offering is of any real value, most webmasters are sure to give you a link back and no doubt the link will be of much more use in terms of link juice(coming from a quality relevant site) and in terms of click throughs.

Most savvy webmasters are only to happy to place good content or information on their sites and are not afraid of “losing page rank”. Its all about offering your visitors more and sometimes this means linking out to other relevant authority sites.

For me, its better to spend a number of hours writing good content and then contacting others sites and getting them to link to you, than it is to build 100 crappy recip links that have no value. The return on investment(your time) is far greater.

Another good thing about writing or offering something of value is that your site also becomes an authority site in your niche and becomes a bit more trusted when linked to from other quality sites.

So go on, start networking with other sites and see if you can offer each other some quality content as opposed to some worthless reciprocal links.


Apr 29 2008

Outbound links and their role in SEO

Tag: SEOadmin @ 2:47 pm

I’ve just had my usual daily browse of the seomoz blog and read a great post by Eric Enge.

Eric discusses the importance of outbound links and how they can be used in order to get more authoritive links.

This theory to me is just so true. Webmasters can sometimes seem totally paranoid when it comes to linking to other sites that may have something interesting to offer such as an article, a service, some free software or something else of great value.

Just try getting a link to your site now days and the first thing the webmasters want is another link back to them.

It seems that to a degree people have forgotten the art of linking and that its not only about links coming into you but also links going out.

I’m pretty sure that this can also help in other ways such as having something to offer your viewers showing them that you are a source of good information. It also helps the search engines to determine your sites profile, ie which niche your site is related too.

As Eric mentions in the post, its like becoming part of an exclusive group where you share information with other sites that are an authority within your niche.

So start linking out to other sites that have something interesting to offer and you just might see some reward in your rankings.


Apr 22 2008

Which are the best web directories to submit too?

Tag: SEOadmin @ 7:43 am

Well this is a question that I hear asked quite often. Which are the best web directories to add your site too?

Firstly I should explain the different kinds of web directories that are available.

1. Free directories which are pretty much automated
2. Paid directories with an editorial process and policy

The truth is that nearly all free directories are not worth the time it takes to submit your site. Rumour also has it that Google are in the process of devalueing these directories as they have been abused in the past.

The best directories are paid directories such as dir.yahoo.com, business.com, lii.org, clush.com, botw.org and joeant.com to name a handfull.

The things to look for in a good directory are:-

1. Is there a strong editorial policy and process
2. Do sites get rejected. IE no site is gauranteed to be accepted?
3. Are they strict with the use of official site name as the anchor text?
4. Is the directory free of crappy ads
5. Does the site have good Page Rank. 5 or above?

If you can answer yes to the above then the directory will be worth adding your site too as it probably passes a certain amount of link juice.

If you can, also try to get into dmoz.orr(googles own dir) as this is very beneficial as is yahoo’s directory. Although it costs $299, I have seen it have a huge affect on ranking for sites. Afterall, Yahoo is the number1 site on the web(according to alexa) so a link from Yahoo has got to be worth mucho link juice.

So there you have it. Do your homework and don’t waste your time with free for all directories.
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Apr 21 2008

Recent Sandbox Observations

Tag: SEOadmin @ 11:47 am

In my last post I spoke about the Google sandox and explained what it was, why we are put there and what we can do to get out of it.

I also mentioned that you can use the allinanchor or allintitle commands on Google in order to ascertain where your site may be placed once released from the sandbox.

Well here’s a funny thing. I have been working on a couple of sites recently providing SEO and the sites were indexed at different times approximately 3-4 months ago, both suddenly on the exact same day appeared to be freed from the sandbox with both sites jumping hundreds of places for some of their respective search terms.

I personally feel that this is real proof that a) Using the allintitle or allinanchor to ascertain post sandbox serps positioning, is a pretty good and reliable way of measuring your potential rankings and b) That it does look like Google appears to have a certain filter threshold period where multiple sites are let loose from the sandbox all at the same time.

I think that this is too much of a coincidence and in my mind is sufficient proof that the sandbox filter appears to be a probationary period that is set for new sites that are indexed within a certain period and then released on a set date in the future.

Another thing to note is that one site is in an extremely competitive niche(real estate spain) and the other a not such a competitive niche(golf holidays in spain).

So be patient, as like I said, if you perform regular SEO and keep acquiring good quality links, you will escape the sandbox and when you do, the links that you have been getting should shoot you up the serps.


Apr 16 2008

What is the Google Sandbox?

Tag: SEOadmin @ 8:13 am

I thought I would take a moment to write a quick post about the Google sandbox, what it is, how to get out of it and why you may end up there in the first place.

To those who do not know the Google sandbox is something that is constantly in discussion among search engine optimisers on the web and around the SEO forums.

The sandbox refers to a filter that Google applies to a site and its rankings. When you are in the sandbox you will normally notice a number of things one of which is that although you may have many backlinks and a well optimized site, you still rank very poorly for your chosen keywords. As long has you have not been practicing blackhat SEO this will more than likely mean that you have been sandboxed.

Continue reading “What is the Google Sandbox?”


Apr 02 2008

The Importance Of Writing Quality Content

Tag: SEOadmin @ 2:51 am

One thing is for sure. Its getting harder and harder to rank well for competitive keywords. With Google clamping down on paid links and also giving less value to certain social media sites, removing the PR of most of the nets directories and generally making it harder for an individual to manipulate the SERP’s, or “muddy the SERP’s” as Google like to put it, the emphasis is more than ever being placed on quality content for your site.

There are two kinds of link building strategies, you either go after links or you get links to come to you.

What is meant by this is that if you create fantastic link worthy content, people will link to it naturally. The other method is to seek out links yourself manually, whether it be directories, related sites, blogs, forums, blog comments, social media networking or social media bookmarking to name a few.

Both methods should be used, but the hardest of the two is creating links naturally by having people link to you site or specific pages on your site. The only way this can be done is by creating something of great interest, statistics, an article, top 10 list, free software or some other interesting informational link bait. Like they say, “if you create it, they will link to it”.

Another way of creating links is to write articles on your niche and get them out there onto the net. This can be via social media sites, bookmarking, article directories or blogs. The most important factor though is that the article is “link worthy”. So its worthwhile taking your time with the article. Even if the article takes a month to write, in the long run it will be worth it, as you may get many quality links from high PR sites or authority sites.

In my mind this will be the way to go in the very near future, if not now. So sharpen that pencil.. uh I mean keyboard and get writing some great content. After all, its what we all want when searching the web right?


Mar 31 2008

New SEO site review service

Tag: SEOadmin @ 1:56 am

Thought I would take a moment to mention a new SEO service that I am in the middle of rolling out.

The SEO site review service is for those who would like an initial consultation in order to gain a better insight into where there current SEO efforts(if any) are going wrong.

The site review takes around 3 days to complete and looks at your sites on and off-site optimization. You will also receive and in depth report detailing virtually every aspect of what you have done right and what are you are currently doing wrong.

I also include my “Link building 101″ document which is a detailed link building guide to help you with your link building efforts.

The service costs just 349 Euro’s


Mar 23 2008

You mean I’m not #1 already?

Tag: SEOadmin @ 9:57 am

Quite often I am asked by clients who want to rank well for their keywords but who are not that familiar with the whole search engine and SEO process, how long it will take them to “get to #1″. As a search engine optimizer, it can be frustrating to have clients who are very impatient and just want to get that coverted spot on Google.

I can understand that a client wants to have their site rank as quickly as possible in order to start bringing in new business and revenue and know that this is the ultimate objective with organic SEO but it is important that the client is made fully aware from the outset, that it takes time to rank high in the SERPS(search engine results page’s) especially when you have a lot of keyword competition.

If you are an SEO yourself, then it is your responsibility to make your client aware from the word go that Rome really wasn’t built in a day and that building good search engine positioning is an on-going process.

Continue reading “You mean I’m not #1 already?”


Jan 24 2008

5 smart ways to increase your rankings

Tag: SEOadmin @ 7:28 am

Well, thought I would write a post on some of the basic ways of improving your search engine rankings overnight(well, not quite). So here goes. Some important basic SEO advice to help drive you up the SERPS. This ones about on-site SEO. I will write another on off-site SEO soon.

  1. Write great titles
  2. An important attribute of any website in SEO terms in the title tag of each page. Make sure all of your pages have unique title tags and that they are descriptive in
    regards to the pages content. Try not to stuff too many keywords in there as don’t forget, these titles show up in the SERPS results and if written well can mean more
    clickthroughs. So if I was targeting “Dating UK” and maybe “Online Dating” keywords I could have good title that was both readable by humans and beneficial to the search engines. So the title might read “Online Dating UK - Internet Dating Just Got Easier”. Writing unique titles also helps to avoid keyword canabalization.

    Normally you should try to target one search term per page but if you must have more then try to overlap your keywords within the title for maximum effect.

  3. Canonicalization
  4. Ok, so www.domain.com or domain.com?? Its your choice and doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the search engine or the user, just make sure that you 301 redirect the one you don’t want to use. For example, if i want the search engines to index and rank www.domain.com I would set up a 301 redirect in my .htaccess file so that if anyone types domain.com it will be forwarded to www.domain.com and will show this in the browser address bar.

    Why?. Well if you don’t do this, search engines can see both as different sites. This in effect will split page rank and rankings. So be carefull.

  5. Keyword rich URL’s
  6. Another overlooked aspect of SEO is using keyword rich URL’s in your sites structure. For example, if you have shopping e-commerce site and you sell sports equipment and you are doing a page for baseball stuff, then why not structure your site something like www.domain.com/sports/baseball-equipment.html? This makes a big difference to both users navigation and to the search engines algo and rankings. Don’t beleive me? Then do a search and have a look at your search terms keywords highlighted in the search results in those URL’s.

  7. Internal Linking
  8. It’s not just about linking from external sites to your own. It’s also about linking internally to your pages from other pages using the correct anchor text. So if you have a page again on our ficticious shopping site and its got other pages on different sports equipment, link to the baseball equipment page from the martial arts equipment page using he anchor text “baseball equipment” or similar, and do this from many pages on your site. These links are all valued by the search engines. It also means that you pages are less likely to suffer from keyword canabalization in the eyes of the search engines as if they do come across one or more pages with the words baseball in them, they will be able to tell which page is the most authoritive for “baseball equipment” etc.

  9. Keyword Density
  10. Not so much an issue in meta data now but you should be featuring your keywords within your H1-H6 tags. These are not only good for people who scan read pages but is also good for page layout not to mention being valued quite hight by search engines. You should also use your keywords within ALT tags and title= within your a href tags when linking to other pages. You should also make sure that you feature your keywords within the pages copy multiple times. Every little helps.

    Well, thats it for now. Happy SEO’ing.


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