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Search Engine Optimization, (SEO Advanced)


Structured Data

Structured Data is a type of HTML tags that are used to better define what and where the information about you or your business is on any given webpage.  Search engines get a much clearer picture of what your website is about using this type of direct access.  Structure Data allows search engines to provide better more specific search results. This S.E.O effort pays off by making it easier for users to find relevant information about you on the web.  Many of the top search engines Bing, Google, and Yahoo rely on this type of markup to offer better search results.  If you use Structured Data you will make it easier for people to find your business or organization when they search within your industry. You can find out all about Structured Data by going to Schema.org.  There you will find all the codes to use for your specific type of website.
 

Meta Tags

The name Meta Tag refers to a bit of code that goes into the <head> section of a webpage's code.  These tags tell search engines about the nature of your website.  Search engines place different importance on these tags.  However it would be insane not to use them to your advantage.  There are many tags.  The main two that help in describing your website's content are, the description and keyword tags.  Below is the format in which these tags appear. 

<meta name="description" content="Within this area goes a description of the webpage's content.">

<meta name="keywords" content="Within this area goes the keywords separated by commas like this... keyword1, keyword2, keyword3, and so on.>

It is also important to note that each page should have a slightly if not entirely different set of keywords in the meta tag section and it's own unique description.  Even if each page is on the same subject in general.  Do not repeat the same description over and over again or use the same meta tags keywords throughout your pages.  Succinctly state within your description what each particular page is on.  Make it no more than three short sentences.  Find the differences on each page from the other pages and highlight those difference by using them as keywords along with other main keywords you want to use in your meta tags and include some of those words in your meta tag description as well.  If you have a standing page on your website that shows information that changes, your keywords and description meta tags should change as well each time to reflect the changes made to the page.  

Content Keywords

This type of keyword is found within the text and image content of your website.  How do you come up with good keywords?  You think about the kind or type of web traffic you want to attract to your website.  You make a list of those different keywords and or search terms you think will attract the correct traffic to your website.  Enter those keywords you come up with into a search engine and see what results you get.  I recommend you work with Google.com, Yahoo.com, and Bing.com.  If the results you get are where you would want your website to be listed, that is probably a good keyword to try.  If the results are not what you expected, that is probably not a good keyword.  Different engines will give different results.  You have to decide on the best keywords you think over all will bring you the best traffic.  Notice I didn't say the most traffic.  More is not always better.  You make changes when something isn't working and you try something new.  You brain storm and you continue to do research on how your website can improve it's rating or ranking. 

This creative process is not something your are going to do just once.  Optimizing your web pages is an on going process that will never end.  Most of time you are either going to have add new content to your website or change the content of the website to stay on top of your competition or even just to keep up with them.  That means you are going to have to think and re-think of keywords all the time.  Getting a good search engine ranking is not something that is accomplished and then your finished.  Even if you have your website in great standings on all the major indexes, it won't be for long unless you keep working at it. 

Search Terms, Phrases and Expressions

Search terms are very much like keywords.  They work in in a very similar way.  These are words that have been grouped together like a sentence or a phrase.  Many people look up information on search engines using this method.  Instead of looking something solely under one word, say a category or subject matter, an entire sentence or search term is used. 

* Note * I want to address a very important and often missed fact about search terms.  The words used in "search terms" should contain others words as well that narrow down or help to define your search terms actual meaning.  Many words have different meanings but are spelled the same.  You can get a lot of unwanted traffic even miss your intended target completely by what other words you use or don't use along side of your keyword terms. 

For example the phrase, "job offer".  That could mean a whole lot of different types of job offers, different types of pay scales, etc...  Be much more specific with your terms.  Say somehow what it is that you do want and what it is that you don't want by choosing your words very carefully. 

Another important issue with search terms is the relation the words have to each other.  Search terms can be helpful or not.  In order to make terms effective, you need to combine the keywords in your term with words that define and relate to your website.  I will give you an example of what I mean. 

Combinations of keywords and Search Terms

Combinations are keywords and or search terms slightly altered.  In the cases of  keywords or the page's meta tag description, ... it could be the order that the words appear is different than the order the words appear in already on another page on your website.  It could be the use of one different word or a few different words within a similar search term you already use.  The idea behind this strategy is that different variations get different audiences.  These different audiences also express an interest that is inline with your website.  They just express that same interest differently.  By using different search terms you gain more audiences of the correct traffic you want. 

Page Titles

Every page should have a title.  Different search engines place different importance on titles.  The title of each page should be as short as possible but filled with keywords.  A lot of information on your website will be determined by the titles you create for your web pages.  Here again I want to remind you that, "Rome was not built in a day".  Titles that are not working for you should be changed.  Experiment until you get the results you are looking for and then keep it up.  Also often titles have to change when you add new content to your pages.  Sometimes the changes are so significant that it demands a title change to properly list the page. 

Links, Hyper Links, Hyper Text Links

Links are connections made from one point in a document to another point on either the same document or to an entirely different document.  The very nature of  a link is to weave together instant access to more information with the click of a mouse.  These connections can range from within the computer system you are working on to anywhere on the World Wide Web.  These connections are also known as "Hypertext" or "Hyperlinks".  Links are internal and external..  Internal links don't leave your website.  External links come and go from your website to other places on the internet. 

External links that point to your website in general add to your website rankings.  But there are exceptions to this.  The strategy behind using externals links to improve your ranking is greatly dependant on the relevance of the website that connects with yours and it's own popularity on the internet.  The better the website's rankings are on search engines, the more help it is to your website.  A very important fact often over looked is that in order for that strategy to work the websites that connect have to be relevant to each other.  There has to be a clear relationship between the websites.  If you link to a website that has really nothing to do with yours, it will actually hurt your search engine rankings.  This is because as a resource you are of no good to the search engines.  If your website has links that will mislead people or just waste their time.  On the flip side of this argument, if the website is relevant and well connected, then being linked with this website enhances your search engine rankings.   

Link Text

The actual text that you use to create a link with is very important.  This would be the text that people see when they read your page.  You should use "keywords" and or "key terms "to construct your links.  Each link can and should carry a title tag within it's code.  These titles fields are also used by search engines in placing your website.  Also some disabled software programs used these tags along with other information to make your website user friendly to people with disabilities.   

Link Titles

This tag or field is known as  the "TITLE" field.  This field is available with most links.  This field is used by search engines, disabled software programs, and the everyday user to understand the content of your website and to navigate through it as well.  Used correctly it can enhance a user's experience as well as score you some points with the search engines.  These fields come into the vision of the surfer when they "mouse over " the links. 

Image Alternative Text and Image Titles

This is the Alt fieldOn the left I have a sample image with the fields filled in.  Place your mouse over the image and see. These fields are known as the "ALT TEXT" field and the "TITLE" field.  Here we have two fields that are available with most images.  These fields are used by search engines, disabled software programs, and the everyday user to understand the content of your website and to navigate through it as well.  

From a web surfer's point of view, these fields light up or pop up when a user places their mouse over the image.  This creates a little activity and attracts the user to the information the tags carries. Coding these fields/tags correctly with informative "keywords" and or "key search terms" will help both your website with it's search engine rankings as well as the surfers of the website.  A good way to attract different audiences is to name the "title" tag what you want people to see when they mouse over your image.  Name the "alt text" tag something else. Use another keyword that is relevant to the image and also describes it.  Browsers will show the title text above the alt text of an image.  This doesn't mean that the search engines don't see the alt tag; They do!  And if a browser were to show the alt tag instead of the title tag, your description will still makes sense. 

This is the Alt field* Note * An important note for images used for a hyperlinks instead of text!  In this instants you have 3 keyword possibilities.  You place a title tag within the hyperlink code itself giving the link a description.  You place an alt and title tag within the code of the image as well using different keywords.  The browsers will show the title tag of the image.  Again make sure all the keywords you use are relevant the image link.  This way no matter what is displayed or picked up, the text always describes the link and image and your page makes sense. 

 

Long Tail Traffic

No matter what your website is about.  Today one needs to consider "Cross Referencing" of subject matters as well when creating your website's keywords and search terms.  What I call cross referencing is also known as "Long Tail Traffic".  The best way I would describe this type of traffic is that it consists of all the people who could find your website from related searches because of some "variant" content on your website.  This can be a section on an existing web pages or a new webpage dedicated to some slight departure from the main subject matter of the website. Even a paragraph where you mention something in connection with your subject matter. 

I think of it as cross referencing subjects and at the same time making your website more interesting and useful to more people.   In essence you make mention of certain other things that are related to your main theme either by logic or chance.  Things you find will be interesting and or could be seen as having something to do with your website.

What I am talking about is illustrated in the following example.  Say I have a website on the subject of the temperatures of Hawaiian ocean waters.   However just for a moment I mention a certain fish that lives in the oceans of Hawaii that is not native to Hawaiian oceans.  The website's main topic is only really the temperature of the oceans of Hawaii.   In briefly mentioning the non-native fish I am leaving the main subject matter of water temperatures just a bit and just for a moment.  The point I am making is still relevant to the website, because the fish lives in Hawaiian oceans now.   However, it is not the main focus of the website.  This type of added information can help connect people to your website who look up say, something to do with the non native fish.  The connection or cross reference as I like to call it that leads to your website could be from where the fish is actually native to.  Maybe a study was done on this fish, etc.   I think you get the idea.  The more little interesting or related tidbits you put on your website's main content, the more other people will find you by way of related searches.  Which is another very good way to think of long tail traffic. 

You might ask, "Why would I want traffic going to my website that wasn't looking for me in the first place?"  Many people I have spoken with feel these web surfers are not looking for whatever it is their website is selling, so why bother with them.  First let me say that a lot of the web traffic that most websites get is from "Non-Optimized Keywords", or "Long Tail Traffic".  I know that this type of "Search Engine Traffic is definitely worth engaging. 

Now, have you ever heard of impulse buying?  Why is it that when you get to the cash register at most stores, the counters are filled with little goodies ready for the picking?  Could it be impulse buying that the stores are going after?  This is the same concept.  Only there is no line to wait on.  The search engine results page or an ad on someone else's subject related website becomes where the impulse buying takes place online.  A customer sees you because of a related keyword they used that is on your website's content.  They click over and cause a conversion of some kind.  Online impulse buying at it best.

Have you ever found your way somewhere but you went a different way than you would normally go?   This is the new online version of those signs you see at the market steering walking traffic to a certain isle or section of the store.   These are the same strategies being applied. we are just using today's methods in doing so.

Am I Finished Optimizing My Website Now?

In short, NO!  You will never be finished with optimizing your website.  Even if you have reached where you want to be on the search engines today.  That is only today.  Tomorrow is another day and another search.  You have to stay on top of things or you will lose out.  As the internet changes so must you.  To keep your high ranking position you must keep earning it.