Three Golden Rules Of SEO

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I can’t even remember how I came across this blog post on DaveFleet.com but it’s a discussion on whether or not SEO could devalue news releases.

Dave does an excellent job conveying the aspect of SEO sheep within his post.

My problem with this, as with many SEO principles in general, is that people will take it to an extreme. They’ll follow the advice like sheep and will force inappropriate keywords (read: jargon) into their writing, and their products (and clients) will suffer.

Sure, these releases may rank highly for some words but so what? People arrive, see a poorly written release or page, fail to find what they want and leave. It’s a cheap tactic – one that’s no better than spamming people with emails.

When I read that paragraph, I wanted to shake Dave’s hand as that is how I feel about SEO in general. As I’ve always pointed out, SEO is not hard. Why people spend thousands of dollars on an SEO guru is beyond me. I have yet to spend a dime and Jeffro2pt0.com shows up on the first page of search results for things that I have written about. No optimization needed.

As for news releases? I don’t want to read a news release which contains a bunch of keyword stuffing crap. Instead, the release should be relevant, useful and to the point so as not to waste the readers time. Dave hits the nail on the head when he says, “Just Write Well“.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a news release, blog post, book, story, forum post, just write it well and everything else will fall into place. It’s worked for me and no, you won’t have to hire me as an SEO consultant for $500.00 an hour for me to repeat this common sense.

Three golden steps of SEO:

  1. Write Well – Writing well can make or break content. The best of both worlds is writing well while injecting a sprinkling of keywords into the content. There is nothing wrong with adding specialized keywords into your content just so long as they don’t take away from the article/release.
  2. Be As Relevant As Possible To The Niche You Are Writing About – It’s all about relevancy. From the blog title, meta site description tags and meta keywords, it’s about taking everything your site has to offer and making it relevant towards whatever niche you are writing about. For example, if you are writing a tech blog, don’t write about popculture events or if Brittany Spears is back in rehab. Also, don’t use hundreds of keywords in your meta tag area. This will penalize your site in the search results.
  3. Write Unique, Desirable Content – This one is pretty self explanatory. If the content you write is unique, chances are, people will link to it. This creates back links and will propel your content ahead of others. The desirable content is content that your audience wants. Find out what your audience needs and provide that to them. Desirable content will also aide in generating back links if your content covers a wide audience.

Do those three things on a consistent basis and I guarantee you’ll notice a spike in organic search engine traffic.

Make Post Titles Less Spammy Looking

Keyword Stuffing Is Bad

Stephan Spencer has written a brief article highlighted by an interview he conducted with the infamous Matt Cutts. The article discusses why it’s a bad idea to have a ton of keywords as part of your URL permalink. In WordPress, depending upon how your permalink options are setup, whatever words are placed into the post title, are the same words that will appear within the permalink, unless you manually configured the post slug.

When Stephan asked Matt what is excessive in the length of a keyword-rich URL?, Matt responded with:

If you can make your title four- or five-words long – and it is pretty natural. If you have got a three, four or five words in your URL, that can be perfectly normal. As it gets a little longer, then it starts to look a little worse. Now, our algorithms typically will just weight those words less and just not give you as much credit.

The thing to be aware of is, ask yourself: “How does this look to a regular user?” – because if, at any time, somebody comes to your page or, maybe, a competitor does a search and finds 15 words all strung together like variants of the same word, then that does look like spam, and they often will send a spam report. Then somebody will go and check that out.

So, I would not make it a big habit of having tons and tons of words stuffed in there, because there are plenty of places on a page, where you can have relevant words and have them be helpful to users – and not have it come across as keyword stuffing.

While Stephan goes on to offer some tips on keyword permalink management, I have a tip of my own. When you are writing a blog post or an article, come up with 3-7 keywords at a maximum that are relevant, and give the reader a good idea as to what the article will be about. Once again, we come up against the word of Relevancy, and you don’t need 500 keywords in your permalink URL to be relevant.

I’ve seemed to have had success with my permalink setup. In case you were curious, this is how I have mine configured:

Custom: /%postname%/

Google Takes Feeds Out Of Search Results

Not sure how long this has been going on, but a post on the Google Webmaster Blog talks about the removal of feeds showing up in search results with the exception of podcast XML feeds. I for one am really happy that Google took this measure because it was becoming increasingly annoying, to browse search results, only to click on one XML feed after another without ever actually coming across the content.

As a webmaster, you may have been concerned about your RSS/Atom feeds crowding out their associated HTML pages in Google’s search results. By serving feeds, we could cause a poor user experience:

  1. Feeds increase the likelihood that users see duplicate search results.
  2. Users clicking on a feed may miss valuable content available only in the HTML page.

To address these concerns, we prevent feeds from being returned in Google’s search results, with the exception of podcasts (feeds with multimedia enclosures).

You can check out the entire blog post here.

Microsoft Updates Live Search Engine

MSLiveSearch LogoMicrosoft has updated is LIVE search engine today. The updates were focused around the core search technology as well as the vertical search areas of entertainment, shopping, local and health. Collectively, these improvements mark a quality milestone based on the company’s focus on delivering a better search experience for consumers and advertisers.

Here are some of the updates which were covered.

  • Over fourfold increase in index size.
  • Substantial improvements in understanding queryintent.
  • Significant enhancements to core algorithms.
  • Increased focus on query refinement.
  • New Web data extraction model.
  • Expansion of Rich Answers.

Additional improvements to the service include a new, cleaner user interface that makes the results pages easier to read and use; a more robust Answers platform that provides instant access to information from trusted sources while increasing relevancy; and organization of results pages based on the high-interest search verticals of entertainment, shopping, local and health on one page.

WordPress 2.3 Released Codenamed Dexter

Wordpress.org LogoWordPress 2.3 has finally been released to the public. This is a major release and users of WordPress are encouraged to update as soon as possible. Before you do anything, make sure you create a full backup in case things go bad. I’ll be updating this blog throughout the night and hopefully, I’ll still be around when you wake up. If not, you know what happened to this site.

Time to review the change log to find out why we should upgrade.

  • Native Tagging Support: You can now user tags in addition to categories. 2.3 includes a set of tag importers for tag plugins that existed prior to 2.3 These importers include Ultimate Tag Warrior, Jerome’s Keywords, Simple Tags, and Bunny’s Technorati Tag plugins. Matt states that the new tagging system is pretty fast which should please a number of webhosting companies.
  • Update Notifications: WordPress 2.3 introduces a way for users to be notified when a new release of WordPress is available or when an update to a plugin has been released. This feature works by sending your sites URL, plugins, and version information to the wordpress API.ORG service which compares the information to their internal database.
  • Canonical URLs: Canonical URLs enforce no www-preferences, redirect posts with changed slugs, redirect URLS that get cut off in emails similar to the correct post. According to WordPress these new URLs should help users as well as providing more SEO options.
  • Pending Previews: Those who use multi-user blogs or WordPressMU will appreciate this feature. Authors can submit a post for review by an editor or administrator, where before, they would have to save a draft and hope someone noticed it.
  • Advanced WYSIWYG: WordPress has somehow manage to stuff more features into the Visual Text editor. This update now shows off more features that in TinyMCE that were previously hidden. Dave, looks like your secret is no longer a secret.

In addition to these new features, developers will have a host of new things to deal with such as Atom 1.0 support, jQuery, a new taxonomy system, new importers, hooks and filters and much more. The WordPress community has also helped contribute to over 351 trouble tickets that were closed in the Trac.

You can view the Codex for more information about the release and some screenshots. And of course the place to download is always the same. Before you upgrade you may want to check out our Preparing for 2.3 post.

Matt is hosting an upgrade party within the San Francisco area but I figured I would host one of my own on Skype. If you are awake and care to upgrade your WordPress installation along with me and a few other people, be sure to add me jeffr0e to your Skype contact list and let’s get this party started.

Add Google Ajax To Your WP 404 Page

AskApache.com LogoI think I have finally found an easy solution for my WordPress 404 page. The plugin is called AskApache Google 404.

This plugin after being installed, will display an Ajax powered Google search box. This search box will automatically perform a search for Jeffro2pt0 or the text contained within the link that generated the error. The Google search bar contains tabs for finding blog posts, videos, images, and results from across the web.

Now, instead of generating a simple error message with no way of finding what it is the browser was looking for, this plugin gives me a chance to offer the search bar to visitors who can at least ATTEMPT to find what it was they were looking for. I’ve also heard that by using this Google search bar, Google would be more appreciative to my site in terms of SEO, but I have no definitive proof.

If your a WordPress user and you don’t have a helpful 404 page, give the Apache Google 404 Plugin a try. It’s very easy to install and in the end, your visitors will be appreciative that you provided a way for them to try and find what it was they were looking for.

Click Here To Test The Plugin

And by the way, Hello to all of you who have STUMBLED across this page. By all means, take your shoes off and make yourself at home. 

45 RSS Feed Directories Worth Submitting To

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Jason Bartholme has published a list of 45 sites that he has hand picked that allow you to quickly submit your RSS feed to. This is great for blog owners who want to gain more feed subscribers or for those who want to gain even more back links. I spent over 2 hours last night manually submitting my feed to each service. It will be interesting to see what my Feedburner stats say in the coming days.

Check out Jasons List – 45 Working Sites to Quickly Submit Your RSS Feeds

ProBlogger Interviews SEObook Author

Problogger.com LogoDarren Rowse of Problogger.com has published the first of a two part interview he conducted with Aaron Wall, author of the eBook, SEObook. In this interview, Aaron answers questions pertaining to link building strategies. Below is a sample of the interview.

When it comes to building links to a blog – do you recommend bloggers buy links, ‘use’ social media sites, trade links, linkbait, something else…. or some combination of the above?

I say try everything and see what works best for you. You might come across a trick that I haven’t used much that works well for you given your personality and your market.

One other thing I would probably add is that for most people it is probably not going to be worth it to spend tons and tons of time building up a social media account on a large generalist website. If you only have a few hours a day to spend online then you should spend most of that reading and participating on sites specifically about your topic, or writing your site.

Be sure to check out part one of the interview as it contains quite a few helpful tips.

PageRank And NoFollow Myths Answered

SEO Theory has put together a very well written document that covers the SEO myths surrounding PageRank and the NoFollow attribute. The document is a long, but informational read. I’ll try to cover the highlights for you.

SEO Myth Number 1. You Can Control The Flow Of PageRank On Your Site

Fact: Your PageRank is influenced by four factors:

  1. What you do with your pages
  2. What other people do with their pages
  3. What Google does with its filters
  4. Time

Fact: PageRank begins with your pages.

Fact: PageRank is an estimate, not a specific value.

SEO Myth Number 2. Rel=’nofollow’ Can Be Used For Search Engine Optimization

We throw “SEO” around like a word these days, and in some ways it has become a word. But it also remains an acronym for “search engine optimization” and optimization refers to the process of modifying Web pages so that they achieve optimum visibility in search results.

Can you use “rel=’nofollow’” to optimize for search? No.

Can you use “rel=’nofollow’” to optimize for anything? Yes.

Be sure to read the entire article, The PageRank control myth and the nofollow-for-SEO myth