4 Aspects to SEO Basics for Websites, Blogs and eCommerce

What do you do about SEO if the site you built doesn’t seem to have SEO features built in? First, you need to know there is more than one aspect to SEO. There are actually at least four:

  1. Meta fields
  2. On page SEO
  3. Incoming links
  4. Page load time and caching

SEO Basics

No matter what type of site you have, you can learn to improve your on page SEO and your incoming links. Whether you can configure the meta fields easily depends on what your site is built on.

Website Builder SEO

If you used a website builder, it may or may not have some accessible SEO meta fields. For example, IM Creator provides the ability to create meta title, description and keywords for the entire site – but not for individual pages.

Other website builders may not provide any meta fields at all. Ideally, it is best to be able to set different meta fields for each page on a site. If your site doesn’t support meta fields, focus on optimizing your on page SEO and building incoming links.

WordPress SEO

Sites built on WordPress have many more options. Originally, WordPress users installed SEO plugins. The most popular are:

  • All-in-One-SEO
  • Platinum SEO
  • SEO by Yoast

Today, advanced WordPress theme platforms including Thesis and Genesis have SEO fields built in. They are customizable for each page and post individually.

Some WP users install an advanced SEO plugin even if their theme has SEO fields in order to take advantage of additional features. For example, Yoast rates how well your page or post is optimized and also supports Twitter cards to pull your images into Twitter whenever one of your posts gets tweeted.

Ecommerce SEO

If you expect your ecommerce store to show up in searches, having and using the SEO fields is essential. Major ecommerce platforms typically provide meta fields for product and category pages, but many of their users haven’t bothered to fill them out.

The Google Panda update seriously penalized ecommerce sites that did not have enough text in their descriptions and on their category pages. If you haven’t filled in these fields and optimized  all of your pages for SEO you should.

You also need to find a way to increase incoming links to your pages. Many ecommerce sites fail to rank because they haven’t attracted sufficient incoming links. Some used article marketing heavily for this and were later penalized by the Penguin update and had to remove those links. 

Find  out more by reading Improve Google Indexing on Your Ecommerce Website.

Image Size, Page Load Time and Caching

Many site owners make the serious mistake of using high resolution images or just images that are so large they take a long time to load. Keep in mind that not all internet users have high speed access or new computers with tons of memory.

Online images don’t need to be any higher than 72 dpi. Except for complex infographics you should be able to keep them under 160 kb and under 60 kb would be even better.

WordPress users can Enable Gzip Encoding and Caching to speed up their sites. All site owners should work to reduce page load time as much as possible. Discussions in the forum suggest that under 10 seconds is essential and ideally average page load times of under 3 seconds would be better.

The Google Page Speed Score add-on for FireFox can assist you in analyzing how your pages are loading.

Google Webmaster Accounts

Creating a webmaster account on Google and Bing are recommended to make your site easier for them to index. Google Webmaster Tools has an SEO FAQ to answer many common questions.  

Image: SEO basics

Why Google Thinks You’re A Sly Dog And How To Make It Trust You

Trust is everything in a relationship and without it a connection is meaningless and a bond throwaway.

So, how do you build this trust? Openness…… respect…… offering a quality experience. The funny thing is that it’s not just your girlfriend that will appreciate it when she can trust you, Google will too.  

Trust is a significant and often overlooked factor in SEO

Remember the crazy girlfriend that cut up your suits one Tuesday evening before you came home from work because you smiled at the pretty barista. Those suits could be your site and that girlfriend could be Google. If Google doesn’t trust your site, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

Measuring trust can be done manually through examining a potential linking site’s backlink profile, or automatically via either Majestic Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) metrics, or Moz’s MozTrust and Moz Flow metrics. Both metrics use a list of seeded trust sources vs the number of citations a site has and base their rankings on the distance between the site being examined and these sources of trust.  

Though not exactly the same, both are similar in that they have to be compared and a disparity in the metrics suggests a problem. The larger the disparity, the higher the likelihood there’s a lack of trust.

As an example a site with a TF 30 and CF 30 has a 1:1 ratio, which is a good thing. However a site with a TF 5 and a CF45 has a ratio of 1:9 which would suggest it’s very spammy.

Why Trust

Have you ever seen a site with only a few links outranking a one with times the amount and far higher metrics? Well, the reason this happens is that Google trusts that site and it has a higher ‘TrustRank’.

Sites with high trust in Google’s eyes survive negative SEO attacks without even flinching, they rank well for information they provide and they survive Google update after Google update, often going from strength to strength.

So, how do you increase the level of trust that Google has in your site. Well, there are a number of ways and we’re going to take a look at the link based ones that matter.

Outward Linking

If you ever created an academic article you’ll remember using the references and citations and honouring sources.

Doing this backs up facts, helps people delve deeper into a subject and shows that any statement you make can be trusted. Any article or piece you create for your blog or site should do the same. It needs to cite sources and the more the merrier.

Linking out to authority, trusted sites not only creates a better on-site experience but also helps the level of trust Google has in your site. It’s easy to understand why. If you can back up your facts and statements with relevant information from authority sites then your content is likely to be a lot more accurate and of higher quality than one where there are no links and information could be just pulled out of the sky.

The information doesn’t even have to be editorial; you can add sources and references at the bottom of the content or page to back up your statements.

Backlink profile

Of course, it’s not just outbound links that create trust – not at all! Links from high quality, high authority sites to yours matter.

These high quality sites are a handful of high quality trusted sites. At the very top of this pyramid are .edu sites, .gov sites, big news sites such as BBC and large industry authority sites. In an ideal world you backlink profile would be made up from these sorts of links.

BBC >My Site> Great Ranking

However, this isn’t easily achieved. However, getting links from sites with links from these amazing sites is a more realistic prospect. Placing this simply in perspective

BBC> Site we Post on > My Site> Very Good Ranking

We’re one degree away from a high quality source and because of this still getting a lot of benefit from the authority site. Needless to say that the more degrees of separation there are between the authority link and your site, the less trust there is.

Backlink profile matters more than metrics (to a degree)

Which would you rather a link from?

  • Site 1 – PR2, DA30 with 1x BBC.com link and 1x .Gov Link
  • Site 2 – PR4, DA45 with nothing of note and lots of blog comments

Well, if you’re looking for trust, you’re going to choose the first link even if the Site 2 has a lot more going for it on first impressions. By doing this you create a more trusted, resilient site with a better backlink profile.

News

Google has its own very visible criteria for trust in Google News. It’s pretty sensible when you think about it.

If Google is willing to include a site in its trusted news sources, then it’s going to trust that site as one that delivers quality news. If all other things are equal a site that’s in Google News is going to be more trusted than a site that’s not in Google News.

Like all the good things in life, getting a link from a site that’s in Google News isn’t easy. However, as Eric Ward always a mention, if a link is hard to get then it’s probably worth getting.

Trust is and has always been a big ranking factor and one that will help your site in a number of ways now and into the SEO future well past 2015. Utilising the above tactics around link can help improve the level of TrustRank Google has around your site and it’s certainly worth considering.

How to Make Your Content Discoverable to Earn Editorial Links

I’ve already done a very useful round-up of how one can still build / attract solid backlinks to your site. Today I’ll follow up with a few more general, yet resourceful tips on how bloggers can still earn backlinks to their content.

Bloggers can still build links, and those who have always sought out solid links in the first place will find much of the practice hasn’t changed. You are still aiming to provide quality, valuable content that explores a topic you are an expert in. You are potentially going to link to other sources – either your own, or third party – in order to further enrich that content. You create something of value, and you deserve links coming in – this is a short story…

Let’s look at that in more details:

Create Good Content

In the end, your best bet is always going to be creating good, solid and engaging content that people want to share. I won’t pretend that there is some magic formula to follow that will get you those links, or that will boost you into viral status… there isn’t. But the better your content, the more likely it will be seen and enjoyed.

Bookmark this blogging guide to get a better idea of what types of content you can create and how to do that right:

Blog content

Get Your Content Out There…

There’s nothing wrong in being discoverable. There’s nothing wrong in being pro-active about being discovered. And I don’t mean asking someone for a link. I mean being pro-active about letting more people see your content (and possibly link to it at some point)

The most obvious is probably social media. You want influencers, or just others, to share out your work. Targeting your user base is one way, but jumping on someone else’s coat tails is a great boost for visibility, and increasing chances of even more social links.

Viral Content Buzz is a great way to put your content in front of eager social media sharers for wider reach. In most cases, this is the easiest (and free!) method to get your content discovered by bloggers as well!

A new term has been coined recently: “ego baiting”. This is the process of mentioning someone in your content, as well as quoting, praising or even scorning them. In theory, they should fall victim to their ego and choose to share out that content, or link to it as a reference for their own post. It sounds a lot shadier than it is; if you have a genuine statement to make about someone else or their work, there is no reason you should write about it.

3 Rules of Relationship-Powered Link Building #pubcon from Ann Smarty

Chances are, you have taken part in ego baiting without even realizing it. You know those top ten lists you make that link to people’s content or websites? Those mentions potentially catch their attention, leading to those “Hey, a shout-out to (Your Name) for including me in (Article)!” social media posts.

MyBlogU is a great way to attract people to your content who will then help you promote your content on social media and link back to the articles they got featured!

MyBlogU

If you make one of these posts, or anything else that heavily features another blogger, send them an email letting them know they are in it. Maybe they will share the link, maybe they won’t. But at least you will have taken a shot.

If you have any ideas for building links as a blogger, let us know in the comments. We would love to hear from you!