If you are into SEO (search engine optimization), you probably know who Matt Cutts is. Matt Cutts is a top software engineer at Google, and has a well followed blog. Recently he commented that google may start taking into account site load time in its rankings.
While likely not a factor in the rankings until 2010, and the impact maybe small, it’s something to start thinking about. After all if your site is slow, page rank might be the least of your problems. Owing to the notorious fickleness of users, if you don’t grab their attention in 2 or 3 seconds, they are on to the next thing.
Google webmaster tools has a new feature for you to quickly assess your site’s performance. Under the labs section you will find a “site performance” link that will tell you the average page load time and how you rank against all the other web sites on the internet. If you are slower than 85% of the other web sites on the web, you have some work to do.
Check out the google webmaster central blog post on the topic.
I am always amazed at the number of small businesses centers that do not know about Google Local Business Center. The word is getting out there but slowly.
If you search on a keyword phrase that includes a geographic term, especially a city name, you will likely get a list of several results (often 10) that click into a map results. These are local businesses that have a physical presence and relevance for the term you typed in.
The idea was to give local brick and mortar businesses visibility in the SERPS. Usually these businesses have no or an inadequate web presence and can certainly use the help.
Registering with Google Local Business Center is free. You can add pictures and video to your entry. Make sure you have your physical address on your web site and participate in the verification that google will do when you add a listing into the LBC. Check out the below video for more:
Everyone wants their site to be found by google, right? Who wouldn’t want more free traffic delivered to their site? The goal of getting onto page 1 of the SERPs (search engine result pages) is such a holy grail, that a whole service industry called search engine optimization has come into it’s own.
But traffic doesn’t always come from the search engines. And some online businesses are not at all interested in marketing to just anyone, but rather just to a targeted clientele that comes to them virally rather via search.
Meet invitation only sites such as Rue La La a luxury e-tailer that seeks to promote an air of exclusivity. To become a member, you have to be invited, and only then can you have access to its discounted designer goods.
Putting your site behind an authentication prompt, which Rue La La has done, is one way to hide your pages from the search engines. Another is through directives in a file, robots.txt, you place on your site. Sites such as Gilt Groupe, another invite only site have excluded many of their site’s directories from the spiders.
So if you are searching for a killer deal on that Gucci bag online, be aware there are certain sites that are completely hidden from you unless you are “in the know”.
Alexa and Google PR ranks are a quick measure how strong a site is in traffic and from the search engine perspective. They measure very different things but are both important.
An Alexa rank is a calculated measure of unique visitors and pageviews on a given web site. This may be counter intuitive but the lower your Alex rank the better. Now you will find all sorts of debate online on how accurate the rank is, but everyone agrees it is useful as a rough measure of a website’s traffic. And if you are in the top 100,000, congratulations! If you haven’t already you should compare your Alexa rank to your competitor’s website. Is yours higher? Then you have some work to do.
A google PR (page rank) is a little harder to explain as very few people know exactly it is calculated, but it is a measure of how popular and how much of an authority it is. Google PRs range from 1-10, with 10 being the most coveted.
There are also a number of plugins you can install directly into your Firefox browser (if you needed a reason to switch from using Internet Explorer, these tools might just convince you). If you like simple and unobtrusive check out searchstatus. For a more full featured tool you’ll want to download the SEO toolbar from seobook.com.
If want want some help to speed up your keyword research, guest author John Alexander is going to give you a few free tips.
While this article is primarily geared towards Wordtracker users, everyone will find these tips useful.
It’s true that you are going to discover important keyword phrases in the end result, but don’t start by going in exploring for specific keywords that are already pre-programmed into your mind because you *THINK* they are most important or you may just spend your time seeing only what everyone else sees. When you are exploring or when you’re in “exploration mode” you want to discover the big windows of opportunity that most people hardly EVER see. Stop guessing and look at more than the first bit of data that makes the most sense.
When exploring Wordtracker’s keyword and phrase research data, you need to stop putting your research up against the clock and stop feeling like you need to be extremely logical. Release yourself from stress and treat it more like a mission of exploration. If you remove the pressure it will often make room for you to think much more creatively.
Allowing ourselves to be creative when exploring human behavior can open up huge rifts that might otherwise and often go completely undiscovered. Hang on to your hat, because as you allow yourself the liberty to be creative and reduce all of the usual stresses of a client’s expectation of high performance, there is new liberty to observe things that you might have ordinarily missed.
If you don’t see what I mean, I’ll say it plain and simple. Many times people say they do keyword and phrase research but what they are actually doing is entering very specfic terms that make the most sense and in doing so, they can miss lots of other opportunities because they don’t understand how to expore all of the data.
Allow yourself to focus on “how people dialog with you.” Think back to any conversations you’ve had recently with a customer. Can you recall that conversation? What did they say to you and how did they say it? What did they ask you and how did they ask it. Let these ideas begin to come into your mind through a natural creative progression from one thought to the next.
Think about this next time you are doing keyword and phrase research …
We are often not logical when we are in a creative state. Exploring true keyword and phrase research data is one action in life where it actually pays off NOT to be so logical. It takes practice, but once you are on a roll you won’t need me or anyone else to tell you that you’re finding especially and useful results. Some of the most boring “everyday words” can open huge windows, if you explore them.
Why is that, you wonder? It’s simple, nobody ever thinks to explore common terms.
Is it always logical? No.
If our minds worked logically, we would exhaust every category and list hundreds of types of wheels before we moved on to clocks, and then list dozens of clocks. But instead, notice that our minds bound forward. In some small way this illustrates the leaps which have measured our progress. But recognizing that this is naturally the way the mind works, I encourage you to give yourself permission to explore Wordtracker in the same fashion.
Let your mind be free to observe landmarks along the way and then dig into those landmarks to reveal several levels of search behavior beyond what others are seeing.
You might ask yourself, but why are others not seeing what you will see? The answer is very simple. Their minds are pre-loaded, pre-programmed, and totally fixed on a “keyword hunt” for the keywords they are convinced are important. They do not understand the value of exploring what an audience of searchers truly want. I call this limitation the “keyword hunt” mindset.
Don’t go into doing Wordtracker keyword and phrase research with a pre-established list of keywords that are subconsciously stored in your mind, but instead, go into Wordtracker with a clean slate. Learn how to let the tool sort all of the best data and then reveal the best windows of opportunity based on searches within the last 90 days.
John Alexander conducts seo training at Search Engine Workshops offering live SEO Workshops with his partner SEO educator Robin Nobles, author of the very first comprehensive online search engine marketing courses. John is author of an e-book called Wordtracker Magic and has taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries world wide. John’s articles can be read in publications like Search Engine Guide, WEBpro News and many others.
Unless you can put a tick by most of the elements in our list then your web site is NOT very search engine friendly.
If a search engine is to regard your web site as truly search engine friendly it must be able to tick a lot more of the items in our list than was ever previously the case.
If you can not in all honesty tick enough elements on the list below, then you have some catching up to do, especially when this is not a complete list.
You might also like to try our optimization tutorial quiz to see how search engine friendly your website is compared to our full list of fifty factors.
There are ten questions in our online search engine optimization tutorial quiz that cover all the essential aspects for a search engine friendly website and cover the essential elements of optimization that you should have on your own web site.
An optimization tutorial following the quiz explains why all of the elements are important in making your site well optimized and search engine friendly.
To determine how well your site is optimized take our search engine optimization tutorial and see what you could do to improve it.
You will not be asked to sign-up for anything, or provide any personal details.
About the Author:
Andy Theekson has 8 years of experience in web site design and search engine optimization and offers free advice and a wide range of website optimization services.