The Building of a Complete SEO Structure
There is a lot of opinion written on-line about Search Engine Optimization. In most cases, this opinion is self-promoting from companies offering SEO services. The purpose of this document is a guide for following best practises for the single purpose of maximizing the number of potential indexed pages a search engine will extract from a web site and to place in organic search results based on a desired category, term or phrase a user may type into a search window.
Inexperienced Web masters and site designers often head straight for content creation and social media in the first stages of a new site. Without a solid basis of technical SEO, all of this will be meaningless. We make sure the websites we create can be indexed by search engines by giving them good architecture that’s easy to navigate. SEO is the backbone of this. It is the structuring of a web site to enable search engines to find, catalogue, and inventory the content of a web site for the sole purpose of generating organic search results from this inventory.
Google and Bing Webmaster tools are the only true source of accurate information on how to structure a web site for organic search results. A number of other services exist that represent site submissions to search engines. They are of little value, as these are for the most part, services seeking a fee for this service.
A web site must be verified with Google and Bing to ensure your website content is being indexed. All of the other 27 search engines will use the Google and Bing’s verification as their means to index your website content. Yahoo no longer offers site verification and uses Google as their source of content to index.
With a 19 billion dollar industry created around organic search results and the use of SEO, those seeking to capitalize on this market have created SEO schemes. The most prevalent SEO scheme is back linking or link generation between two sites. How this works is your website and a site full of unrelated content to your website share links, as they are called, to this unrelated content. The result is back links to your web site. This is black hat methods of linking. Google has clearly stated on their Webmaster tools site the negative impact this practice will have on your SEO ranking.
Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links influence your ranking. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity.
Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme. This includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site, or outgoing links from your site. Manipulating these links may affect the quality of our search results, and as such is a violation of
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:
Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
Excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)
Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank
Building partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
Redirecting is the act of sending a visitor to a different URL than the one they initially requested. There are many good reasons to redirect one URL to another, for example when moving your site to a new address, or consolidating several pages into one.
Hidden text and links
Hiding text or links in your content to manipulate Google’s search rankings can be seen as deceptive and is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Text (such as excessive keywords) can be hidden in several ways, including:
Using white text on a white background
Locating text behind an image
Using CSS to position text off-screen
Setting the font size to 0
Hiding a link by only linking one small character—for example, a hyphen in the middle of a paragraph
When evaluating your site to see if it includes hidden text or links, look for anything that’s not easily viewable by visitors of your site. Are any text or links there solely for search engines rather than visitors?
Organic Search Results
Keep in mind that the Google search results page includes organic search results and often paid advertisement (denoted by the heading “Sponsored Links”) as well. Advertising with Google won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in our search results. Google never accepts money to include or rank sites in our search results, and it costs nothing to appear in our organic search results. Free resources such as Webmaster Tools, the official Webmaster Central blog, and our discussion forum can provide you with a great deal of information about how to optimize your site for organic search.
Before beginning your search for an SEO, it’s a great idea to become an educated consumer and get familiar with how search engines work. We recommend starting here:
The goals of website owners, and the use of SEO, are to be found on line in a category, term or phrase a person would type into a search window to find a product or service. This is organic search. We use only white hat SEO technique, which is the ethical practice used to optimize a website in order to achieve optimal online visibility. The technique refers to the use of tactics and SEO strategies that focus on a human audience (as opposed to just the search engines) and follows search engines rules and policies.
The benefits of organic search results are they are free. The more organized content that the search bots can find generates more or different search results for a term of phrase. More indexed pages creates more organic search result placement of a product or service under variables of the desired keywords desired. With proper SEO deployed within a website, the resulting placement of a site’s pages in search results can be controlled.
How a Search Engines Works
Search engines for the most part are complex databases. Search engines place values on the content within your site and make the choices where this content will appear in a search result category, term or phrase most relevant to your content and how a human will use a specific search terms or phrases. The goals of SEO is to make available a sites content, presented in a structured and targeted format, that the search engines can interpret and make a decision on where that content will appear in a search result.
‘Keywords’ are what most website owners think are an important means to have their website appear in search results. With that said, many website owners use incorrect means to determine keywords. Keywords relate to the number of global search results each month for a specific term or phrase. We use a tool from Google to determine the terms as they would relate to a product or service. From the use of this tool we can clearly identify the term or phrase that has the most traffic per month.
The Content Keywords page lists the most significant keywords and their variants Google found when crawling your site. When reviewed along with the Search Queries report and your site’s listing in actual search results for your targeted keywords, it provides insight into how Google is interpreting the content of your site.
The significance of each keyword reflects how often it’s found on your site’s pages. Click each keyword to see a sampling of pages on which it appears. Both keywords and their variants are listed in order of frequency of appearance.
If unexpected keywords, such as “Viagra”, appear on this page, this could be a sign that your site has been hacked.
If expected keywords are missing from this page, this could be for a couple of reasons:
Google may not have been able to crawl and index all the pages of your site. In this case, we recommend reviewing the Crawl Errors page for your site. In addition, submitting a Sitemap is an excellent way to make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site. Also, if you have recently updated your site, we may not have crawled the new pages yet.
The Keywords list will sometimes exclude words that Google has determined to be boilerplate text or common words. The actual excluded words vary from site to site
I often use this example to demonstrate the mistakes made regarding ‘keywords’. A few years ago, I was working on a project for a restaurant group in Canada. They had a great web site, good SEO, but no traffic. The target keywords throughout the entire site were ‘Toronto Restaurant’. One would assume that this is a term or phrase that would have thousands of search results per month. Using Google Webmaster tools, we determined that in a month’s time, globally, only 3,600 people typed in this term into a search result. However, ‘Toronto Restaurant and Bar’ received 168,000 global search results per month. The point of this example is that it is crucial to use the right keywords.
What is the Perfect SEO Structure for a Website?
First, one has to understand what the search crawlers or bots are looking for. This is clearly defined in Google and Bing’s webmaster tools sites. The problem is that most people do not take the time to read every page of this.
SEO is a structure to follow, a web site to search engines is similar to reading a book, a title is required and can be different then the URL, a book has an intro or description, what is your business, then chapters, which can be pages, blog posts, images and tags related to the keywords you have defined. All need descriptions that must associate with the content, image and or video.
How Your Website is like a Book
Chapters are menus, pages, categories and meta tags as these are the descriptors used to tell the search engines about your site and the sites content structure. An important point about how these descriptors are defined is that each menu, category, and tag must have a title related to your content and a description that associates with the content along with defined keywords related to the content. Again, defining the right keywords early on is important to reach the targeted search result placement.
These titles and descriptions also have to follow a structure, set for by all search engines. Search engines are databases. Databases have tables and fields to be filled from your sites SEO structure, which has to match each other. For example, a title for a category, page and or blog post can only have a specific number of characters, the description, like an excerpt, can only have 144 characters.
Meta tags are a great way for webmasters to provide search engines with information about their sites. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients, and each system processes only the meta tags they understand and ignores the rest.
Google has a billion search results per month for ‘Google Images’. Each image used in a web site must have a description, title, and alt image tags. The placement of the images within a site, page, or blog post and the naming, must also relate to the content the images are associated with. The goal, again, is to have your images appear in a search term in Google images that is associated with the content used to promote your product or service. The same is true for video.
External anchor text (the text pages use to link to your site) reflects how other people view your pages. While typically webmasters can’t control how other sites link to theirs, you can make sure that anchor text you use within your own site is useful, descriptive, and relevant. This improves the user experience and helps the user understand the link’s destination. For example, you might link to a page of vacation photos like this: Photos of our June 2008 trip to Ireland. Provide good context for your image
The page the image is on, and the content around the image (including any captions or image titles), provide search engines with important information about the subject matter of your image. For example, if you have a picture of a polar bear on a page about home-grown tomatoes, you’ll be sending a confused message to the search engines about the subject matter of polarbear.jpg.
Wherever possible, it’s a good idea to make sure that images are placed near the relevant text. In addition, we recommend providing good, descriptive titles and captions for your images.
We often find within a new client’s site’s structure, that the home page, pages, categories, and/or tags that are used (if in fact any are used) are loaded with unrelated keywords. In the first paragraph of each page, for example, the feature keyword must be present in a natural flow. Often pages are keyword loaded or use hidden references to high value keywords. Google penalizes a site for this, as again the keywords often have no relationship with the site or the sites content. This is another form of SEO Schemes.
“Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context
Examples of keyword stuffing include:
Lists of phone numbers without substantial added value
Blocks of text listing cities and states a webpage is trying to rank for
Repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural, for example:
We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at email@example.com.
With the sites structure or book organized and described correctly a site requires a sitmap.xml structure. Following the described perfect SEO structure, your site is now ready to be verified with Google and Bing webmaster tools. The process is simple, you have a Google web master tools account and you add your site. Google generates a piece of code to be placed in your site to prove you are the site owner. Once verified, the process is to add your sitemap.xml file into Google webmaster tools.
The purpose of this file is to tell the search engines about your site, its content, and how to follow your story. Without it, some of the indexing will occur scattered. We find in many cases that while a site may have a complete SEO structure, the site does not have a sitemap.xml file. Please do not confuse a site map that shows the navigation of your site with a sitemap.xml file.
You will find this file by typing, http://www.mysite.com/sitemap.xml. If you get a page not found, then Google cannot read your sites content structure in order to place your content in the proper search result. The same process is used with Bing.
Google and Bing webmaster tools offer users a number of tools and information about your sites content and how this content is indexed. Information can be very specific, for example, it can tell you what page each piece of content appears on and what page within a search result and term. This is your control panel that explains everything about your sites organic search placement.
Websites that seldom have updated information added are limited to the amount of indexed pages. You can find out how many pages and links are indexed by typing the following term into a Google search.
These search commands tell everything about your site in Google. The same terms work for Yahoo and Bing.
Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover. In its simplest terms, a XML Sitemap—usually called Sitemap, with a capital S—is a list of the pages on your website. Creating and submitting a Sitemap helps make sure that Google knows about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by Google’s normal crawling process.
In addition, you can also use Sitemaps to provide Google with metadata about specific types of content on your site, including video, images, mobile, and News. For example, a video Sitemap entry can specify the running time, category, and family-friendly status of a video; an image Sitemap entry can provide information about an image’s subject matter, type, and license. You can also use a Sitemap to provide additional information about your site, such as the date it was last updated, and how often you expect the page to change. We recommend that you use a separate Sitemap to submit News information.
Sitemaps are particularly helpful if:
Your site has dynamic content.
Your site has pages that aren’t easily discovered by Google-bot during the crawl process—for example, pages featuring rich AJAX or images.
Your site is new and has few links to it. (Googlebot crawls the web by following links from one page to another, so if your site isn’t well linked, it may be hard for us to discover it.)
Your site has a large archive of content pages that are not well linked to each other, or are not linked at all.
Google doesn’t guarantee that we’ll crawl or index all of your URLs. However, we use the data in your Sitemap to learn about your site’s structure, which will allow us to improve our crawler schedule and do a better job crawling your site in the future. In most cases, webmasters will benefit from Sitemap submission, and in no case will you be penalized for it.
Static Web Sites
Thus an important point to consider in your overall SEO strategy is, that if you site is static without changes or updates, the amount of pages indexed and linked is fixed. Blogging, reviews, and news updates are a means to overcome this fact, yet is not practical for many site owners for various business reasons. A major concerns are primarily the cost or time to write and create new information for a site, understanding the concept of blogging, or have no interest.
Blogging and News for Your Site
Writing for Blogs are not the same as writing a brand message in a press release or media article. A structure is required, in which the article follows specific guidelines, set forth for SEO best practices which I have explained in part above.
If you have a website but don’t have a blog, consider creating one: A blog is a great way to connect with people who share your interests, or to publicize your site or product. Blogs are easy to create and update and rich, useful, and original blog content will encourage readers to come back to your site. Here are some tips for making the most of your blog.
Create Great Content
Write well and often. A frequently updated site encourages people to return – as long as your content remains relevant and engaging. A useful post once a week is better than low-quality content published daily. A great idea is to search Google for subjects of interest in your field. If you can’t find a good answer, create a blog post about the subject – chances are that other people are searching for the same thing.
Follow the Webmaster Guidelines. Just like with any other site, make sure you follow our Webmaster Guidelines for creating rich, relevant, and useful content. Similarly, check out our recommendations for using images, Flash, and other rich media in your blog.
Categorize your posts. Labels and tags are a great way to organize your content, and encourage users to browse your blog.
Make sure users (and crawlers) can easily find your blog. We recommending prominently linking to your blog from your home page, and from other key pages on your site. Consider hosting your blog on your regular site (http://blog.example.com or http://www.example.com/blog).
If necessary, limit comment spam. Enabling comments on your blog can help create a sense of community and discussion. Unfortunately, some spammers use the comment functionality to flood sites with spam. If this happens to you, check out our guidelines for reducing comment spam.
Check our tips for affiliate sites. Google recommends that all webmasters create websites with original content that adds value for users. This is particularly important for sites that participate in affiliate programs. If you do participate in an affiliate program, there are a number of steps you can take to help your site stand out and differentiate it from the crowd. More information about affiliate programs.
Make sure Readers and Crawlers Can Find Your Content
Create descriptive titles for each of your posts. This makes for a better user experience. In addition, the post title is often used to create the unique URL for each post, and this can give search engines valuable information about the content of your page.
Connect with your online community. There’s almost certainly a rich network of bloggers already talking about the subject matter of your site. Visit these blogs, comment on posts, and participate in the discussion. Contribute to web forums devoted to your subject matter.
Publish a feed of your content. We strongly recommend publishing feeds of your content, allowing users to be notified whenever you update your blog. You can generally do this via a setting in your blogging software. Most services give you the option of publishing a full feed (users can read the full content of your article in their RSS reader) or a partial feed (users see a teaser paragraph in their reader but have to go to your site to read the full article). Rich, full-content feeds make users happy because they can view your content with minimal effort. They may result in a short-term decline in visits to your actual blog, but the long-term gains of increased readership and mindshare are typically worth it. Ultimately, keep in mind that a regular subscriber is more valuable than an occasional visitor.
Blogging can be in many forms, general articles about your product or service, news about your business, press releases, and user engagement. All are part of the process of having more indexed pages to appear in your defined search results. SEO Schemes play a role in this process as well.
A high value site will have offers from on-line services which request you write an article for them and place a hidden tag in a specific key word in this blog post. They often pay as much as $120 per article placed in your site.
As I mentioned earlier, this is black hat methods of SEO. And while the financial rewards may appear high for some, you have now placed a piece of content in your site that breaks all the white hat rules of SEO. These are the worst of the worst dirty tricks, and they can lower your Google ranking or just get you banned. Getting page views at any cost is not a good tactic. It never works in the long run, even if it may work for a short while.
Blogging requires structure and rules to control where that article will land in a search result. Again often Bloggers will use SEO Schemes in an attempt to cheat and have an article land in a specific search result. The most common practice is to have hidden links to high target keyword terms filled within the content of the article. Another practice is keyword loading of an article.
The structure of a blog post requires that the headline has only a specific amount of characters, the excerpt that appears below the headline or an article in a search result can only be so many characters. The target keyword must appear in the first paragraph in the article or blog post. You can also control the headline and excerpt that will appear in a search result if you have the right SEO tools. The perfect search result would appear as follows.
Social Media and the Relationship to SEO (ORGANIC BACK LINKS)
For most, the use of social media is a marketing idea to promote a product or service. Most users feel that Facebook and Twitter are the social media tools of choice. Our view of social media and SEO is different. Social media creates back links to your site giving pure organic links.
We know from our testing that an active website with new content being added each day should use a greater range of social media sites. Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Chime.in, Reddit, Google + and Digg along with Facebook and Twitter all create back links to the main site, as they are linking your content to them as a back link. That is why when posting content to these sites by hand, the term submit a link is used in the menu structure. These social media sites also create organic search results associated with your content.
To offer a simple explanation on how fast links can grow using this means…one blog posts goes across the number of social media site connections you have. Lets say you have 7 social media sites. That is the blog plus 7 back links generated. If you have 1,000 blog posts this will create 5,000 back links. This is true each time your content is liked, pinned, or reposted, it creates more links.
RSS Feeds and SEO
We often find that RSS feeds are overlooked in the overall theme of SEO. While site owners will focus on making sure their Facebook site is updated with their latest information, RSS feeds are often ignored. Using Google’s FeedBurner, FeedAge, Friend Feed, and Pingomatic, all your blog posts and updates to your site would be syndicated using these applications to offer another form of content distribution and exposure to other audiences. Aggregators take your excerpt from a post, and send that to like sites, which generate most indexed search result pages. For site owners that have monetized their websites, feeds can be monetized as well.
The Use of Video and SEO
YouTube is the largest video serving site in the world. Another 20 or so sites exist as their competition. We recommend if a client has video, that the videos be loaded in one of the top 5 video serving sites with proper keywords and a complete description. From YouTube your videos will be loaded into your site from the code generated by YouTube to link the video to your site with descriptions being placed to describe the content of the video. Search engines cannot determine what is in a video, only what is in the descriptions and keywords a user defined. Each time one of your videos is shared with another site another search results for you. Videos can also be monetized in the same means as RSS feeds. For those that have a Flash site, the site will never be indexed, because in flash there is not content for the search engines to index.
Submit a Video Sitemap or mRSS Feed to Google
Google can index most types of pages and files (detailed list). In general, however, search engines are text based. This means that in order to be crawled and indexed, your content needs to be in text format. (Google can now index text content contained in Flash files, but other search engines may not.)
This doesn’t mean that you can’t include rich media content such as Flash, Silverlight, or videos on your site; it just means that any content you embed in these files should also be available in text format or it won’t be accessible to search engines. The examples below focus on the most common types of non-text content, but the guidelines are similar for any other types: Provide text equivalents for all non-text files.
How Effective is This Structuring of Content?
A fully indexed site following this structure can place a news, review, and blog on the first page of a defined set of keywords in an organic search result within minutes.
WE APPLY THIS PRACTICE EACH DAY FOR ALL OUR CLIENTS.
Teaching the Process
The SEO process we have outlines has a single focus. It is to place your websites content into controlled organic search results and multiples of that. In order to teach such a process specific requirements need to be met by those considered the students. The applying of SEO to a web site requires limited skills. In fact we have found the best to teach are those with basic internet and computer skills rather than those considering themselves tech jocks.
As part of our client training we supply all clients with tools that pre determine how to define this entire structure. The tools are simple to use and if a student has word processing skill these tools will not appear complex to use and learn. This tools tells a user prior to deploying a post or page the errors Google would see in the process.
You’ve used this focus keyword 2 times before, it’s probably a good idea to read this post on cornerstone content and improve your keyword strategy.
The keyword doesn’t appear in the first paragraph of the copy; make sure the topic is clear immediately.
The keyword density is 0.42%, which is a bit low, the keyword was found 2 times.
The copy scores 34.5 in the Flesch Reading Ease test, which is considered difficult to read. Try to make shorter sentences, using less difficult words to improve readability.
The images on this page do not have alt tags containing your keyword / phrase.
The specified meta description is over 156 characters, reducing it will ensure the entire description is visible. The available space is shorter than the usual 155 characters because Google will also include the publication date in the snippet.
This page has 42 outbound link(s).
Keyword / key phrase appears in 1 (out of 1) subheadings in the copy. While not a major ranking factor, this is beneficial.
The keyword / phrase appears in the URL for this page.
The page title is more than 40 characters and less than the recommended 70 character limit.
The meta description contains the primary keyword / phrase.
There are 478 words contained in the body copy, this is greater than the 300 word recommended minimum.
The page title contains keyword / phrase, at the beginning which is considered to improve rankings.
The point of this document is to cover the requirements a company would have to train and for there clients deploy an effective SEO strategy. We have covered in a short form search engine technology by following the guidelines we have set forth in this document. SEO is often approached as a $10 solution to a $100,000 opportunity.
The blue text is from Google as the source.
Building of a Complete SEO Structure | SEO Schemes
Mentioning SEO Schemes is so crucial, that I am going to mention it again. You will find MANY companies offering this service. I cannot stress enough – DON”T hire them! SEO Schemes are used in an attempt to cheat and have an article land in a specific search result.
We as a company do not maintain a promotional site for our services. We actively Blog as a means to test our process. One Blog site has 100,000 organic back links, The site has 13,900 indexed pages.