Directory Maximizer

The Fundamental Principles of SEO that Should be Understood

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Every SEO ‘expert’ seems to have his own opinion about how SEO works. As a new site owner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the information that can be found online, especially as a lot of the ‘tips’ and ‘theories’ that people share are in direct conflict with what someone else is swearing by on another page.

Search Engine Optimization

I can say with confidence that this article is ‘junk-free’. Think if it as a distillation of what simply works when it comes to SEO.

This is not a ‘Step-by-Step’ kind of article. It’s meant to be a guide to new site owners and a reminder to “old” ones about what SEO is really about.

Stick to It

stick to seo strategySEO is not a strategy that you can use to generate instant traffic to your web pages. No matter how many tweaks you make (on-page or off-page), you need to keep in mind that SEO takes time.

It’s not an investment that you can make to reap the benefits in a month. Sometimes the returns come after a year or two. That may be too much for some of you, and if it is, you may want to try something other than SEO.

However, keep in mind that organic search traffic is one of the highest quality traffic you can get, so if you are a serious business that’s here to stay, SEO is very likely something you would want to invest in. It definitely requires patience and consistency though.

Forget About the Search Engines Google

To stay in business, a search engine has to give their users the results they want to see. If it starts displaying low quality results, people will stop using it and move to another search engine. Consequently, people will stop using their paid ads as their audience will be smaller. It’s a lose-lose situation.

The search engines are here to give their users a quality experience.

Sure, there are some loopholes that can be exploited to get unworthy pages to rank, but they are getting patched after each and every update (some of the big updates are public, but most of them aren’t).

This is when issues arise: When site owners and SEO ‘specialists’ try to game the system; when they try to exploit the loopholes. It works for a while, and then “suddenly”, they lose their rankings. If you hang out on popular Internet marketing forums, you must have come across people complaining about this.

However, if you create a website for the people, each update will just push your webpages up the SERPs.

Here are a few things that you can do to provide a quality user experience to your visitors:

  • Provide quality content (useful or entertaining)
  • Have an easy-to-navigate layout
  • Make your pages ‘eye-friendly’ (pick a black font on a white background over a yellow font on an orange background any day!)

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Small SEO Tips That Can Make A Big Difference

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While we know that the algorithms of the big search engines take into account hundreds of factors when giving a web page a specific ranking, no one knows exactly what all of them are (and those who do, will never tell).

search engine optimization

However, with the help of experiments carried out by several SEO experts, a few of the most important factors have been exposed.

This post will be about the elements that we have control over (it would be useless to have a post about the factors that we can’t do anything about, right?)

Web content

You won’t rank without content. Period. A little over 3 years ago, it was possible to rank with a “single-page website”. Now it’s very hard to rank well with even a 5-page website.

If you are relying on organic search traffic, you will need more quality content.

Specify your preferred page

You can do that by using Google’s rel=”canonical” link element on pages that have the same content, but that you do not want indexed.

For example, you may have 3 different versions of a page: 1 “normal”, 1 for mobile devices, and 1 that is “printer friendly”. You would then have the canonical link element on the mobile and printer friendly versions to “tell” Google that you only want the desktop-version indexed.

Improve your internal linking structure

A lot of people underestimate the power of internal linking. I always use Wikipedia as an example of how powerful internal linking can be. There are a few reasons why its pages ranks #1 or #2 for a lot of terms, and internal linking is definitely one of the major reasons!

Post new content regularly

For one, it shows that you update your site (keeping it fresh). Secondly, it increases your chances of ranking for long-tail keywords (which is where 80% of the traffic comes from for small to medium sized websites). Thirdly, it increases the likelihood of being “Liked” or “Shared”.

Plus regular content updates encourages engagement on the website (comments). This can only be good for SEO!

Decrease page load time

It’s not a factor that’s going to bring you #1 rankings overnight, but Google said it themselves that the faster your pages load, the more likely they are to be ranked higher, as this is what users want.

Most people use broadband or cable, so we don’t need to go crazy trying to create 30 KB pages. But let’s not go overboard either with heavy flash animations all over the place.

Tip: Losslessly compress your images before uploading them to your server. It’s especially effective when you have multiple images loading on a single page.

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Streamline Your SEO With These 5 Strategies

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In 2000, ‘keyword stuffing’ was an SEO technique that worked. In 2010, using ‘spun articles’ could still con the search engines. In 2011, a spammy link was still considered to be a vote for a web page.

Every business owner, webmaster, search engine optimizer and marketer needs to be aware that SEO in 2013 is very different from the how it was in the previous years.

Editorial-CalendarMon-042312

If you want to siphon quality traffic from the search engines, you will have to learn how to work with them(instead of against them). This article shares SEO techniques that are really search engine friendly. Do not be afraid to incorporate them as part of your strategy, as no update will ever wipe them out.

Directory Submissions

directory submissionNote: We are not talking about article directories. We actually advise against using them.

Here, we are referring to web directories. These are online directories that categorize businesses and links based on their nature.

Make sure to only submit your website to quality directories; you don’t want the search engine crawlers to find your website on directories that link to spammy websites, or low quality directories that cannot be bothered to place different businesses under the correct directory.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can either spend a couple of hours per week to do it yourself, or use a directory submission service that will do it for you on a monthly basis (prices usually start under $14-$15).

Guest Posting guest-blogging

Guest posting is a practice that you need to start if you haven’t already. The highest quality links are those are located within relevant content, on related websites (which is why article directories don’t work that well; they are about everything!).

Basically you contact bloggers in your niche, telling them that you would like to write a high quality article for their blog readers, and that in return, there would be a few links pointing back to your pages and websites.

It usually helps including the following in your request:

  • How much you like their website and why
  • How you found them
  • Why they will want your article as a post on their blog (examples of your work, the response you generate in social media, etc.)
  • How many links you intend to have in your article
  • The word count you are suggesting, and if they deem another length would be better, how much?

Going Social

social mediaSocial signals are slowly (but steadily) playing an increasing role in search engine rankings. It seems that Google is able to measure the level of activity in terms of Likes, Shares, +1s, Repins, Retweets, etc.

It makes sense, as if something is generating a response in social media, it has to be something that people are connecting with.

It can get overwhelming, as different social networks function differently, and there can be a learning curve when it comes to knowing how the different audience on the different networks respond. The solution? Start with 1 social network. Get the feel of it. See what the other business pages are doing to generate buzz. Or hire an expert to do it for you.

Content Marketingcontent marketing

Quality content keeps rising with each and every update. Why? Because good content gets people to talk about you on their blogs (i.e. natural link building) and gets people to Like and Tweet about your stuff (i.e. social signals).

It’s basically SEO as it should be.

Invest in good content (time or money – or both). It’s not only about SEO. This will also get people to

  • Come to your website from other places
  • Stay on your website to browse other pages for more content
  • Sign up to your list for ‘Insider content’ and ‘Updates’
  • Buy your stuff (or the stuff you are recommending) because if your free content is awesome, what sorcery might you be sharing in your paid products?

Internal Linking

Internal Linking StructureA lot of people cannot be bothered to spend some time on their internal linking. It bugs me. We all know how Wikipedia ranks among the top 3 for a loooooot of terms. Every single informative article on Wikipedia is full of links pointing to other pages within the domain. Their strong internal linking structure and their good rankings, is certainly not a coincidence.

Creating a good internal linking structure shows that you know what your website is about; it shows that your website is themed.

Spend some time to interlink your new articles with relevant anchor texts that point to your existing articles. And if you really want to go all-out, do that for your already published articles as well. Take my word for it, big G WILL notice!

Email Marketing Statistics by Industry [Infographic]

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The fact is, even with the surge of social media,  email marketing continues to grow. Most marketers agree with the power of email marketing and it has proven to be a viable and cost-effective marketing strategy instead of traditional channels like direct mails, newspaper etc.

A key advantage with email marketing is that you can track the campaign performance and calculate the ROI using metrics like Open Rate, Click Through Rate, Conversions, Unsubscribes, Bounce Rate etc.  However, marketers often want to find out the industry standards or benchmarks they can compare to analyze how their campaigns are faring.

MailChimp, a popular email marketing software has published  a study on email marketing using their huge user database and their campaigns. According to them, the study has been conducted across companies of various sizes (from one person start ups to Fortune 500 companies). Further, they tracked 65,536 campaigns which were sent to at least thousand subscribers.  Thus, the study is pretty comprehensive.

It is found that photo and video businesses have the highest Click Through Rate, they also had a pretty high open rate of 48%.  Another interesting number to look at is the highest average Open Rate seen by the newsletters and emails sent by religious establishments; is the world is becoming more spiritual? 🙂

On the other hand, even though Daily Deals and coupon industry had a decent Open Rate of about 19%, the CTR was one of the lowest (1.9%) just 0.5% percent above the lowest CTR (gambling).  The high open rate could be due to the subject lines with attractive deals and the low CTR could be attributed to not finding a suitable deal for a product they are in need of.  Check out the email marketing statistics relevant to your industry and compare it with yours.

Email campaign benchmark study

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What are your observations and tips to improve email marketing performance.  Sound them off below 🙂