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SEO Tai Chi: find the perfect balance

seo tips and tricksFinding the right balance between several factors is important for many things in life.

Search engine optimization is no different. If you want to get high rankings on Google, Bing or other major search engines, than you have to find the right balance between on-site factors and off-site factors.

Both influence the position of your website in the search results. Which factors are more important and what exactly should you do to improve the position of your site?

What is the definition of these factors?

1. On-site optimization refers to the factors that you can control on your web site:

  • The text on your web page.
  • The number of web pages on your website.
  • The number of keywords and related keywords on your web pages.
  • The links on your web pages to other pages of your site.
  • The links on your web pages to other websites.
  • The structure of your website.
  • The robots.txt of your site.
  • The HTML code of your web pages.

2. Off-site optimization refers to the ranking factors that are usually out of your control. The most important off-site factor are the links to your web site:

  • The number of backlinks that point to your website.
  • The quality of the backlinks that point to your website.
  • How often your website is bookmarked on social bookmark sites.
  • How often your website is mentioned on services such as Twitter.

Search engines determine the position of your website in the search results based on the on-site and the off-site factors of your website.

What is more important for your website?

Some webmasters invest most of their time in on-site optimization. Others swear that links from other websites are the only way to get high rankings on Google.

Depending on the keywords for which you optimize your website, you can achieve good results with both methods.

You will get the best possible results for your website, if you combine both factors:

You need both factors to get good results

If you optimize the on-site factors of your website than you make it as easy as possible for search engine spiders to parse your web pages.

The content of your web pages should contain the right elements and the right keywords in the right places so that search engines know what your website is about.

Links from other websites that contain your target keywords show search engines that other people also find your website relevant to a certain topic. If other people mention your website on social bookmark services then search engines know that real people like your website.

Analyze the on-site and the off-site factors of your web pages

If you want to get high rankings for a certain keyword, analyze the web page for which you want to get high rankings with the MHS Top 10 Optimizer.

The optimizer will tell you how to correct the on-site elements of your web page and how to change the links so that your website gets top 10 rankings on Google and other search engines for any chosen keyword.

Finding the perfect balance between on-site and off-site optimization is easy with the top 10 optimizer. If you follow the advice of the MHS Top 10 Optimizer, you’ll get the rankings that your website deserves.

Improve Your Site With WebSEO PRO

Writing Enticing Product Descriptions

Writing good product descriptionsIf you want a challenge, try writing e-commerce product descriptions. Within a typical 60 to 70 words, you must concisely convey the benefits and selling points of your product while including search engine keyphrases that engage your target audience… all while working within the constraints of your content management system (CMS).

How do the pros do it?

  • We understand that balance and organization are vital.
  • Using the following simple, seven-step process will help you quickly master the art of e-commerce copywriting.
  • Once you do, you will then be able to generate enticing copy that drives sales and boosts search engine positioning.

1. Get Familiar with the Target Audience

  • Amazingly, most people completely ignore their target customer when writing product descriptions. However, the site visitor is the key to shaping copy; the tone it takes and which angle is used to communicate the benefits.
  • For example, if your target audience consists of gourmet chocolate lovers, you will want to focus on the distinctiveness of your products’ flavors, the quality of the ingredients or perhaps the luxurious texture. But what if your target audience consists of ? in part or in whole ? those seeking gluten-free treats?
  • Added ingredients in gourmet chocolates may cause problems for those with celiac disease. These consumers are regularly forced to stick with ordinary, plain chocolate candies due to their condition. By doing a little research, you will find that gluten-free items are some of the most sought-after, up-and-coming grocery products. You will want to make certain this segment of your gourmet site visitors understands that you have products that meet their dietary needs.
  • Knowing your audience as a whole and understanding each segment within that audience is imperative to creating e-commerce copy that hits the mark every time.

2. List the Biggest Benefits

  • The steps in this process are progressive. So, while keeping your target audience and its needs in mind, make a list of the benefits that are most important to your customers. You may want to include various segments in your list.
  • Continuing with the example above, let’s create a mini-list for a boxed collection of international chocolates.
    • Gourmet Chocolate Lovers – Distinctive ingredients imported from across the globe.
    • Health-Conscious – Organic ingredients, premium dark chocolate, high-quality nuts.
    • Special Dietary Needs – Gluten-free. Other collections available might include sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan and kosher.
    • All Customers – 100-percent pure ingredients; no artificial colors, flavors or additives.
    • Gift-Givers – Attractive, boutique-style gift boxes wrapped in a silk bow. Gift card included at no additional cost. A style(s) appropriate for both personal and business gifting.

3. Predict the Future

  • Good copywriters look past the buying experience toward the future. After the customer purchases this product, how will his or her life be different or better? What will be the specific end result of a purchase?
  • In the case of gourmet chocolates, the end result for those purchasing for themselves might be breathing a sigh of satisfaction as these divine confections melt in their mouths. For gift-givers, the end result could be a positive impression on the recipients (whether business or personal) with a truly distinctive collection unlike any they have ever received.
  • Whatever the end result, it is important to give your site visitors a glimpse into the future so they can see how purchasing from your company will improve their lives.

4. Know the Limits of Your CMS

  • Content management systems (CMS) can be frustrating. Before you set out to write product copy 150 words long with a catchy headline, you will want to verify what can and cannot be accomplished in your system. Some have limited room in the copy field. Others force the headline by pulling information from the product specifications. For example, the headline on each product page might be automatically fed from the title of the product.
  • Knowing what obstacles and limitations must be overcome will make the process of writing copy much easier. A few common areas to check include:
  • ? Maximum word or character count in the product copy field
  • ? Additional fields below the fold (i.e. if you run out of space in the product copy field, you can add a link for ?more information’ that drops the reader to a space further down the page)
  • ? Forced information (headlines that are automatically inserted, product copy automatically fed to category pages, etc.)

5. Incorporate Search Engine Keyphrases

  • Depending on your site design and your CMS, product descriptions could conceivably be hundreds of words long. However, you are most likely looking at around 60 – 80 words. That doesn’t leave much room to incorporate keyphrases.
  • While longer Web pages benefit from the use of multiple search terms, I recommend sticking to one keyphrase for short product descriptions. Start with the framework of your page including the title tag, description meta tag, file name, page name in the navigational structure, breadcrumb trail, forced page headline and other elements. Then move on to the content. Use search phrases in:
    • Headlines ? If your headline is not forced by your CMS, make a point to include your keyphrase; provided it doesn’t detract from the message. It is usually very simple to incorporate a keyphrase into a headline, but ? if for some reason it just doesn’t flow ? leave it out.
    • Product Image Captions ? Too many e-commerce sites simply shove “Product #12345” below graphics. Instead, underneath the hero shot of your product enter a short, keyword-rich sentence that briefly describes the item. This assists your visitors with learning about your product and gives a little nudge to your rankings.
    • Product Copy ? Even within 60 – 80 words you should be able to comfortably include your best search term at least two or perhaps three times. Read the text out loud. If it sounds redundant, take out one instance of your keyphrase.

6. Write the Copy

  • It’s time to put all the pieces together. Start by reviewing the previous five steps. We have our target customer base, benefits, end results and keyphrase. Combine everything you have to create a compelling product description that will capture plenty of clicks.
  • While there are dozens of ways to write copy for any given product, here is one version of sample copy for our gourmet chocolate product. Our keyphrase is [gourmet chocolates].
  • Tour the World with International Gourmet Chocolates
    • Do a little culinary globetrotting with our collection of gourmet chocolates. Only 100% pure ingredients from across the globe are used. Organic Hawaiian coconut, Australian macadamia nuts and other exceptional treats blend with the richest dark cocoa from West Africa for distinctive gourmet chocolates that truly indulge the senses. This assortment of 16 truffles is gluten-free, elegantly packaged for personal or business gifting, and wrapped with a silk bow.

7. Tweak, Test & Track

  • Satisfied? You shouldn’t be. There is always room for improvement. Change a word or two in the headline or alter the focus to one particular segment of your audience. Gradually make small tweaks to your product descriptions and test them against the original version of the copy. Track your results in order to gain the best conversion ratio possible. This is an alltoo- often skipped step that ? when done correctly ? frequently results in tremendous gains.

Once you understand the components of good product copy, it’s easier than you think to put together descriptions that garner more sales. Keep this simple outline handy and you will quickly gain speed when writing high-converting e-commerce copy.

TOP 6 Methods To Dealing With BAD Reviews

No matter how good your company is, some people will always write something negative about your site, even if you tried your best to help them.

dealing with bad reviews

  • Some customers might write negative comments about your company in their blogs or some of your competitors might like to damage your reputation by creating fake comments about your site.

  • What can you do if web pages with negative comments appear on Google’s first result page for your company name?

1. Fix the problem

  • If people write negative reviews about your company, the first thing that you should do is to fix the problem that caused the negative review.

2. It doesn’t hurt to ask

  • Send the webmaster of the web page with the negative review a polite email and ask for removal of the negative comments. Many webmasters will cooperate if you explain the issue.

3. Give web pages with positive comments a boost

  • If the webmaster does not want to remove the negative review, find websites that contain positive comments about your site. Link to these pages from your own website to increase the link popularity of these pages. The more links the pages with the positive reviews have, the higher they will be ranking in the search results. If appropriate, bookmark web pages with positive remarks about your website on social bookmark sites such as Digg and Delicious.

4. Ask for testimonials from happy customers

  • If you receive positive feedback from customers, ask them to write a review on ConsumerReview.com, Epinions.com or similar sites.

5. Add your website to company wiki pages

  • Websites like AboutUs.org allow you to create an article about your company. If your company is important enough, you might even create an entry in Wikipedia. These Wiki pages will also appear in the search results when someone searches for your company name.

6. Make sure that your own website tops the search results

Removing negative comments from the search engine results can take some time. It’s best to avoid negative experiences at the outset by providing high quality products and good customer support.

SEO Link Building Do’s and Don’ts

Link BuildingOfficial search engine statement: link building do’s and don’ts

Bing recently published a document about link building. Although it focuses on how Bing deals with inbound links, it can also help you to get better links for Google, Yahoo and other search engines. The most important points of Bing’s document can be found in this article.

The importance of link building

The Bing engineers know that link building is important and they describe link building as follows:

“Link building is a very important form of self-promotion on the Web. You contact webmasters of other, related websites and let them know your site exists. If the value that you have worked so hard to instill in your site is evident to them, they will assist their own customers by linking back to your site. That, my friend, is the essence of link building.”

In other words, reciprocal linking is fine. They also remind webmasters that link building is an ongoing process:

“Think of link building as your chance to build your reputation on the Web. As your website is likely one of your business’ most valuable assets, consider link building to be a primary business-building exercise. Just don’t make the mistake of believing it will result in instant gratification. Successful link building efforts require a long-term commitment, not an overnight or turnkey solution.You need to continually invest in link building efforts with creativity and time. Good things come to those who wait (and work smartly!).”

Things that you can do to get good links to your website

Here are the things that Bing recommends:

  • You should develop your website as a brand and brand it consistently. People like to link to high quality websites.
  • You should find relevant bloggers, industry websites and product reviewers and make them aware of your website.
  • You can publish concise and informative press releases online.
  • You can publish expert articles in article directories.
  • You can participate in relevant conversations on blogs and forums and add a link to your website when applicable.
  • You can use social networks to connect to industry influencers. Your profiles should contain links to your website.
  • You can use email newsletters to notify people about new content on your website.
  • You can launch a blog or a forum on your website.
  • You can participate in relevant industry associations and their online forums.
  • You should strive to become a trusted expert voice for your industry while promoting your website.

Warning: the following things will get your website in trouble

Just like Google and other major search engines, Bing doesn’t like to be cheated. If they detect unnatural linking patterns, your website might be penalized. The following things can trigger search engine filters:

  • Your website get a lot of additional inbound links a very short time.
  • Many links that point to your website are from unrelated websites or blog comments.
  • Your web pages contain hidden links.
  • You get links from links farms or automated link exchange systems.
  • Paid links point to your website.
  • Known spammers link to your website.
  • Your website links to known spammers.

Here’s what Bing does when they find suspicious data that is related to your website:

“When probable manipulation is detected, a spam rank factor is applied to a site, depending upon the type and severity of the infraction. If the spam rating is high, a site can be penalized with a lowered rank. If the violations are egregious, a site can be temporarily or even permanently purged from the index.”

Getting inbound links requires some work. The Bing engineers are very clear about this fact: “Make no mistake: getting legitimate and highly valuable, inbound links is not a couch-potato task.”

The right SEO tactic for low and high competition

best seo tacticsDepending on the keywords for which you want to get high rankings, you have to employ different tactics. Keywords with less competition require different tactics than keywords with high competition.

The effect of different SEO tactics on the position of your website in the search results

  • If you target long keyword phrases with little competition, then the relative value of on-page web page optimization is very high.
  • For example, if you want to be listed for the search term “buy black adidas samba sneaker in knoxville” then it is enough to optimize one of your web pages for that search term because the competition for that search term is not high. You don’t need many inbound links to get high rankings for that keyphrase.
  • The more competitive the targeted keyword is, the higher is the effect of inbound links on the position of your website in the search results:

The importance of an SEO tactic is not the same as its relative effect on your search engine positions

  • By taking a look at the chart above you might get the impression that web page optimization is not important to get high rankings for very competitive keywords. That is not the case. Optimizing the contents of a web page is the essential basis for high search engine rankings.
  • By optimizing a web page for a keyphrase, you tell search engines that the web page is relevant to that keyphrase. If more than one web page has been optimized for that keyphrase (which is usually the case) then the web page with the best inbound links will get the highest position in the search results.
  • For example, the website www.cnn.com has 46,600 inbound links according to Google. Although CNN.com has so many inbound links, they do not rank for the keyword “buy black adidas samba sneaker in knoxville” because the website has not been optimized for that keyphrase.
  • If you want to get high rankings for a keyphrase, the first step is to optimize one of your web pages for that keyphrase. Then work on the links that point to the optimized web page to outrank other websites that have been optimized for the same keyword:

Which tactic should you use for your website?

1. The best web page optimization tactic:

  • When you optimize your website, optimize different pages of your website for different keyphrases. Start with longer keyword phrases that don’t have much competition and then proceed with more competitive keywords.
  • For example, start with the keywords “buy sneakers in knoxville”, “buy cowboy boots in knoxville”, “buy pumps in knoxville”, “shoe shop knoxville”, etc. When you have managed to get high rankings for many of these keyphrases, Google will know that your website is relevant to the topic “shoes”.
  • As soon as Google knows that your website is relevant to the topic, it will be much easier to get high rankings for more competitive keywords such as “buy shoes” or even “shoes”.
  • The more pages of your website you optimize for different but related keywords, the better.

2. The best link building tactic:

  • It’s not always necessary that you have more links than your competitors. You need better links.
  • Try to get links to your website that use the targeted keyphrase as the link text (also called anchor text) and that point to the web page on your website that has been optimized for that keyphrase.
  • Don’t focus on quantity, focus on quality. Getting hundreds of links from a link farm won’t help your website as much a few dozen links from relevant web pages with authority.

If your website has both optimized web pages and good inbound links then it will be easy to outrank web pages that only have one factor.

Now go optimize your individual pages!

Paid links: do they really affect your Google rankings?

Many websites on the Internet will link to your website if you pay them for the links. Is this a good method to increase the link popularity of your website or can you get in trouble if you use paid links?

Google Logo

What does Google think about paid links?

  • Google is very clear about paid links. They don’t like them. Google even has an official form that enables webmasters to report paid links to Google:

  • “Google and most other search engines use links to determine reputation. A site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to it.
  • Link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of measuring a site’s value, and has greatly improved the quality of web search. Both the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of links count towards this rating.
  • However, some SEOs and webmasters engage in the practice of buying and selling links that pass PageRank, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites.Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.”

A recent problem

  • A webmaster recently reported problems in Google’s webmaster discussion forum:
  • “Today I found that my entire site has dropped out of site in search results. I have a site that received over 2,000 search visits per day and today that has stopped.”
  • It turned out that the website has many affiliate links and other links to advertisers that looked like paid links to Google. Unfortunately, these links were not marked as paid links and Google penalized the website for having the paid links.

What does this mean for your website?

  • You should avoid paid links if you don’t want to get in trouble with Google. If you do buy or sell links, make sure that the links contain the rel=”nofollow” attribute. By using that attribute, you show that the paid link is for advertising purposes only and that you don’t want to manipulate your website rankings with the link.
  • While Google doesn’t like paid links at all, they also make clear that links are very important:
  • “Link-based analysis is an extremely useful way of measuring a site’s value, and has greatly improved the quality of web search. Both the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of links count towards this rating.”
  • For that reason, you should try to get as many good links to your website as possible. The quality is more important than the quantity.

Links that point to your website are a very important factor that influences the position of your website in Google’s search results. The links that point to your website should be from related websites and they should contain the keywords for which you want to get high rankings.

Do not manipulate the links to your website by buying links and do not join automated link systems to increase the number of links to your website. There are many ways to get good links (related websites, blogs, social bookmark sites, directories, etc.).

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