Any SEO/SEM experts here?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Drjones, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. Drjones

    Drjones

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    Hey guys.

    Looking to optimize my company's site www.DotCalmHelp.com for SEO/SEM stuff.

    We are considering hiring an "expert" but in the meantime, my biz partner & I think we may as well learn as much about it as we can & try to tackle a bit of it.

    What tips/advice can you guys offer?

    Thank you!!!
     
  2. Toyman

    Toyman

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    I'm not anywhere near an expert on SEO, but the company I work for has a free mini report on their website optimization do-hickie. I didn't work on this part of it, and I've only looked at it a couple of times, but it gives some nice information.

    http://www.coffeecup.com/firefactor/
     

  3. JimmyN

    JimmyN

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    I've been working with SEO for about 10 years. After looking at your site I can give you a few tips.

    Your domain has only been registered for about 6 months so Google still has your site sandboxed. It will likely be a few more months until you can start getting some search rankings in the organic results. Google sandboxes all new domains for almost a year to force you into buying Google ads if you want a presence on the search results page. They like for you to develop a dependency on PPC and ad-words in your first year so you'll continue using them. It's all about their cash cow, which is selling advertising.

    Searching on the specific text in your page title "Computer support especially for baby boomers and seniors in the Sacramento region." yields no results even though Google has indexed your site, since it it cached. So I think you're still on hold so to speak.

    In the HEAD section:
    The 'keywords' meta tag is worthless. Search engines gave up on those years ago as it was just used to spam keywords, just as you have done with over 60 keywords dumped into your meta tag. You can put whatever you like into the 'keywords' meta tag and Google, Yahoo, etc, will just ignore it.
    The 'title' and 'description' tags are the two most important in the HEAD section. When Google lists your site in search results the line of text under the link is usually taken from the page 'description' tag. So that is an important one.

    Links:
    You should have a title for each link that is descriptive and contains keywords where possible. You do have titles on most of your links, but using a title like "What We Do" doesn't convey any relevance to the search bots. So instead of "What We Do" actually list some things that you do in the link title so the bots can relate that link to something of meaning.

    Text:
    You need more text. You homepage contains no text all, it's just an image with 6 links, which have titles like "Pricing Options", "Contact Us", etc. so other than the page title there is no information there for the bots to figure out what the site is about. And a page title with nothing else on the page that is relevant to it doesn't carry any weight. It looks really nice but there is almost no search engine fodder on your homepage.

    Headings:
    The H1, H2 heading tags are key elements to the bots, but your page headings have text such as "Affordable help is....", and "Popular Services", again doesn't provide any fodder for the search bots as to what specific information your site has to offer. Try to work keywords into the headings instead by using them to describe or elaborate on a phrase.

    Images:
    Use title and alt tags for all your images, using your keywords to describe what the image is about, even if it's just a page background. Again it helps in establishing relevance of your site to a search phrase potential visitors might use.

    So that's a few tips, though I haven't helped you with the best way to incorporate your keywords into the titles, descriptions, headings, and paragraphs but that is much more involved and is specific to each site and the products/services they want to promote. But now you know about some of the key elements that need to be addressed if you want to do well in the search engines.

    And I don't mean to be critical of you, or criticize your site which seems to be well done and quite pleasing to look at. I'm just telling you how it is and how the bots will see it.
     
  4. Drjones

    Drjones

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    Wow Jimmy, thanks a bunch!!! I really appreciate your detailed post & I'll get to work today implementing those changes!

    I've been doing reading & research on this topic but thought I'd pick the brains of the trust here at GT. :)

    What are your thoughts on paying for stuff like adwords, etc. through Google & other engines?
     
  5. JimmyN

    JimmyN

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    PPC is certainly a way to get on the first page if you're not making it in the organic listings. You'll bid on the amount you are willing to pay per click. If you're selling green ceramic birdhouses competition will be light, and it may only be a few cents per click. If you're selling Viagra or notebook computers you may have to bid several dollars per click, since you'll have many trying to outbid you.

    But it's not the bid amount alone, as Google also uses 'quality' as a factor in how high you list in their ppc ads. If your ad matches the actual search phrase the best, and your ad lands them on a page that indeed covers that topic, then you'll rank higher than someone paying a little more per click that doesn't rank as high in 'quality'.

    Another factor is click through rate. If your ads are getting more clicks than a competitor Google will rank you higher in the pay per click ad list. Or to put it in words Google doesn't want to use, the more money you are making Google with your ads the higher you will rank, even though you may not be the highest per click bidder for that phrase.

    So if you can write some catchy ad text that entices people to click on your ad, and the link takes them to a good page for that phrase, you won't necessarily have to outbid everyone else on the rate you're willing to pay for each click.
     
  6. Drjones

    Drjones

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    Thanks again!

    Should we even consider hiring someone like yourself to do SEO/SEM stuff for us, or can we learn enough to make a good impact within a reasonable amount of time?

    As a young small biz, we don't have money to burn, so that's always a consideration too.....;)
     
  7. SKeefe

    SKeefe

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    Do what Jimmy said and make sure your HTML and CSS is valid (validator.w3.org) and you will be on your way.
     
  8. Drjones

    Drjones

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    Ran that on www.DotCalmHelp.com and it gave me this error:

    "Errors found while checking this document as XHTML 1.0 Strict!"

    What do I do now? :crying:

    EDIT: Nevermind, think I found the place where it tells you what specifically is wrong. But how do I know exactly which page it is referring to? Column, line....I don't get it?

    Do I need to run that tool on every page in my site?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  9. Drjones

    Drjones

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    How accurate is this tool and how important is it to fix the "errors" that it finds?

    This tool has found errors on all sites I've run it on so far; a friends site, yahoo.com, geeksquad.com, intel.com, etc. :dunno:
     
  10. JimmyN

    JimmyN

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    Like I said before your domain is only 6 months old, so it'll probably be a few more months before you start showing up regularly in organic results. That gives you time to start working on it yourself. And I'll tell you right out front that computer related topics are tough to score well with, because there are so many sites competing. You'll have to work your way to the top.

    You can do most of it yourself, I certainly wouldn't hire anyone at this point. And remember there are many SEO 'experts' out there that don't have a clue what they're doing, or may use 'blackhat' techniques that will result in your site being banned. Beware of anyone that says they can get you a #1 listing on Google in a week, month, or whatever, or anyone who claims to have some special association with Google and can get you better rankings because they have some kind of inside track. There is no such thing. If they are also offering to submit your site to X number of search engines monthly, for a small fee, that's bogus too as there is no need to do that. Once the bots find your site, and in your case they have, constantly submitting it to the search engines is a waste of time since they already know about it.

    Remember that search engines are all about information, and text is king when it comes to providing information. Most SEO is common sense once you understand what the bots are looking for, and how to present it to them.

    Google has a page for Webmasters that will provide you with a lot of basic information, and more importantly the things NOT to do. Just reading what Google has to say will give you a lot of information.
    http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769

    Two things you need to start with. First develop a site map page. This page should have a link to every other page on your site, that will tie everything together, and no page is more than one link away.

    Second thing is to start acquiring inbound links from other sites. Those carry a lot of weight if others are using your site as a reference. Submitting information to local news websites about your services and new website can be beneficial. Porn and hate sites notwithstanding, any website that you can get to talk about you and provide a link is good good.

    I see you already have some links from twitter and facebook, in fact that's your only presence in google right now, the links they are providing.

    I'll help you out with it some to get you going, no charge. As long as I just give you some guidance and you actually do the work...
     
  11. Drjones

    Drjones

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    Hmmmm......and I guess next you'll be telling me that I CAN'T really, truly enlarge the size of my wang by taking those pills I'm always getting ads for?? :rofl:

    J/K - I know enough to stay away from (most of) the snake-oil salesmen. That old adage, "if it's too good to be true" definitely applies to the interwebz....


    As for the rest of your post, I would be beyond thrilled to take any advice you could offer, and I would absolutely do the legwork myself!!!

    Should I PM you to exchange email addresses? I believe you can email me directly through the board here....
     
  12. JimmyN

    JimmyN

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    Your page header declaration says you're using XHTML 1.0 Strict. Strict means exactly what it says all coding has to be perfect.

    You only have six errors that's not bad. And actually you don't have six errors, as one error creates others.

    First the 'end tag for head which is not finished'
    Your site is php generated. I see your 'title' tag is down in the body rather than in the HEAD where it should be. So the end tag for HEAD is incorrect, since there is no title tag in the HEAD section, and thus it's not finished even though it has a close tag.

    That same thing gives you the second error 'document type doe not allow element "title" here'. Having the title tag down in the body is causing this second error as well, since the title is not in the HEAD section where it's supposed to be. When it discovered it down in the body section it generated the second error.

    Third error - 'end tag for "div" omitted, but OMITTAG NO was specified'. There is no closing DIV tag for the first DIV id=container, your page container. Since you didn't close the division, and you didn't declare that you would be leaving that tag out it generates an error. Remember.. strict is the word.

    The next three xml parsing errors are likely caused by the missing /div tag as well, since it references the problem beginning on line 14, which is where that div was opened.

    You don't have to use XHTML Strict, you could use HTML 4.0 Transitional and it would be a little more forgiving about structure, though you will still need to make sure div and other tags are closed.

    Here's how it works. Browsers have two modes. Standards mode and 'quirks' mode. If you declare a standard in the document declaration type on the top of the page the browser will expect it to meet standards and be error free. If there is no document type declared the browser will operate in 'quirks' mode and do it's best to guess at what you really wanted when there is an error in the script. So if you declare standards mode and have errors different browsers may display the page differently based on their best guess as to what you really meant to do, since you claimed it was compliant but you have mistakes. If you want everything to appear the same in all browsers using a type standard, with no errors on the page, works best.
     
  13. SKeefe

    SKeefe

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    Yea you should try to have every page validate.

    You can try downloading a program called HTML-Kit. It basically is just a program you can use to help when writing HTML or CSS. All I really use it for is the fact that it color-codes, has line numbers, and also has the tool that you can use to check your code.

    For one, it is important to have valid code to ensure that your content is displayed properly in all browsers. I don't think Google in particular actually uses validation of a webpage as a part of their search algorithm, but they could in the future, and Google is not the only search engine.

    Basically, search engines "crawl" your website and they basically "read" your site the same way a browser would read it. However, a lot of times,a browser may overlook some errors in code and actually display your content properly, but that error in code may confuse a search engine.
     
  14. Drjones

    Drjones

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    Should I delete these meta keywords then?
     
  15. JimmyN

    JimmyN

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    You can delete them. Some SEO people say it's a good place to put commonly misspelled words, so you get results from them as well. But I've tried it over the years and never found any search results for misspelled words in the keyword meta tag. I do use misspelled words occasionally, like 'ballastic' rather than 'ballistic', and if you put them in a link or image title they will show up in search results. But I think the keyword meta tag is pretty dead due to abuse.

    Another commonly mis-used meta tag is the robots tag. You can't lead a bot around, you can't tell it what to look at or which links to visit. You can only tell it what not to do.

    So a meta tag that says name="robots" content="index, follow" doesn't go any good as it is going to index the page and follow all the links anyway. Name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow" will work. It won't index the page and won't follow any of the links, you've excluded it. One you see frequently is name="robots" content="revisit-after, 15 days". Apparently web authors see this on someone elses page, thinks it must be good to call the bots back, so they put it on their page as well. But if it does anything it will tell them to stay away for at least 15 days. If you don't put it in there they will likely visit your site every day.
    If you want to exclude bots from certain folders or files the best way is with a robots.txt file in the root of your public folder. I like to keep the bots out of any /temp folders, or /download folders. Anything that you really don't want indexed and showing up in search engine results. But you can't tell a bot which folders or pages TO index, they just don't trust you.....
     
  16. MavsX

    MavsX The Dude Abides

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    man jimmyN is giving out the lessons tonight!!,. Very interesting stuff boys!