Archive for June, 2008

The Web Developer’s SEO Checklist

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I recently asked the crew here at flyte for any specific queries they had about SEO.  One of our Web Developers, Gloria Maher, asked if I could make some sort of checklist for the design/development team as far as search engine optimization.  Of course I can, Gloria – I’ve always loved making lists!

There are hundreds of points I won’t include here – like basic usability and design standards (use a reliable web host, use alt tags, use hyphens instead of underscores for files names, use text links not image links, etc.).  These are all pretty basic and can be found simply by googling “website best practices.”

Instead, I’ll list the top six that I’ve found most important thus far in my SEM education.  I have combined several sources in order to create the following list, from LockerGnome and Dan Thies’s SEO Training in Dallas.

  1. Question every link. It is thought that too many links can negatively impact a site’s ranking.  If there are over 150 links on a site, there is a possibility that this will exceed a spider’s crawling limits.  So cut back on those links!
  2. Use a sitemap. As with many ideas in SEO, sitemaps are controversial.  Sitemaps are used by spiders, and rarely by users.  Since they are linked from the homepage (typically the footer is a good spot to stick them), they give tertiary (or 3rd tier) pages the feel of a secondary page, and thereby much better rankings!
  3. Use robots.txt. Spiders look for a robots.txt file in root directories.  So put one in, and avoid 404 errors from building up on you!
  4. Dynamic linking. You can use “nofollow” tags in your code to keep spiders from rooting through certain pages (privacy pages, shopping cart pages, etc. are usually the type to use this for).  Be careful no to use too many of these tags, it could be a red flag for search engines.
  5. Creating equality for tertiary pages. Typically, secondary pages have equal PageRank, but it is more difficult for 3rd tier pages.  In order to do so,  be sure that pages are distributed as evenly as possible at the third level.  (Again, a sitemap will definitely help!)
  6. It’s the first link that counts. When multiple links on a page link to the same spot, it is only the FIRST link that search engines pay attention to.  That means that this is the one you want to use your best keywords on!  (I’ll make another post describing a few easy fixes for this problem.)

Of course, this list does not include every measure that a developer has to take in order to help in an SEO campaign, but it will definitely get you started.

Nicki Hicks
List Developer

The Other Voice of Maine SEO

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Does this Webcam Make Me Look Fat?My name is Rich Brooks. You may remember me from such get rich quick schemes as “Rank #1 At Google for Every Word Ever…Today!” and “Make Money While You Shower and Other Ways to Get Rich with a Webcam.”

I’m not just the president of flyte, I’m a member. Whatever the hell that means.

Obviously, I’m not the voice of reason.

While Nicki documents her ascent up the learning curve, I’ll be throwing in some of my own .02 on search engine marketing…some of it will be fresh, some repurposed from our flyte blog. My personal belief is that although search engine marketing is the sexiest part of Web marketing, it needs to be part of a bigger strategy we call “holistic Web marketing.” That includes:

  • Attraction: Getting qualified visitors to your site through search, blogs, podcasts, links, traditional media and more.
  • Retention: Keeping the communication going even after the visitor has left the site through email marketing and RSS.
  • Conversion: Getting the sale, or getting the visitor to take the next step towards the sale.
  • Measurement: Use Google Analytics or a similar tool to measure where people are coming from, how they’re finding you, what they’re doing on your site, and how you can improve what you’re doing.

Well, I gotta get back to work now. Those mines aren’t going to sweep themselves.

Rich Brooks
Coffee Brewer

Oh Keyword Discovery, you shouldn’t have!

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Why hello there.  Let me be the first to welcome you to the Maine SEO Blog!

Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Nicki Hicks and I just started my first real world job about a month ago as a Search Engine Marketer at flyte new media, a web marketing firm in Portland, Maine.

My boss, Rich Brooks, thought it best that I start blogging in order to join the Search Engine Marketing world.  I think he’s right.  So here we go…

Before flyte, I had little experience in the world of search marketing, other than what I learned at Saint Joseph’s College in the marketing program.  So as you can imagine, my first month has been spent my reading every article, blog post, book (electronic of course), and forum having to do with SEO/SEM.

Then I jumped right in and tried my luck at analyzing keywords – using Keyword Discovery.  While a simple and extremely helpful tool, I’ve found the server crashes more than I’d like it to – and of course at times when I’m nearing a deadline.  Far too close for comfort.

I found the server crashed over and over for about three straight days last week.  When I was finally able to log back in, I was pleasantly surprised for I found out what caused all of my error messages.  The lovely folks at Keyword Discovery added two additional features to help out SEOs: inflected form (define) and historical searches.

The new (premium) historical search is intended for those doing tail end and niche research or to build up a good stop word list for pay-per-click campaigns.  It also includes keywords from a greater period of time (hence the “history”), from August 2006 to the present.  By doing a regular search, Keyword Discovery includes only the past 12 months.

Inflected forms are the wonderful part of grammar which makes the English language so darn difficult to learn.  Originally, had I searched for the term “eat,” the program would spit out keywords that only had “eat” in them.  Now by simply checking a little box, I can receive all sorts of great keywords–with eat, eats, ate, and eaten.  This way, I don’t have to inflect the forms myself.  A small and simple change, I realize, but it makes it so I no longer need to inflect the forms myself!  Isn’t technology nifty?!

Nicki Hicks
Keyword Savant

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