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    42 Replies Latest reply on Aug 3, 2008 11:27 AM by traff20

    Event: Search Engine Optimization

    CommunityTeam Adventurer
      Community Members,

      Please join us in welcoming Matt Krop to your Small Business Online Community. Matt is here to answer questions on Search Engine Optimization. Today, Matt will be using the screen name SEOGuy.

      About Matt
      Matt Kropp is the Managing Director of iCrossing's Chicago office. iCrossing is a global digital marketing company providing best-in-class digital marketing services including paid and natural search marketing, Web development, social media, research and analytics. In this role, Matt leverages his 12 years of interactive marketing experience to provide strategic direction and tactical execution of search marketing programs for Fortune 500 clients. His responsibilities include natural search optimization, paid search management, local search optimization & management, content development, tracking and analytics.

      To all Community Members
      If you have questions for Matt, post it here by simply hitting reply and then refresh your browsers often to view Matt responses. The event will be moderated to queue the questions for our guest. After a question is posted it may be delayed and/or moved into a queue. You do not need to repost. Your question has been received but is in a queue waiting for the guest response. Matt will try to answer as many of your questions as possible. Please note, Matt will first answer the pre-event questions that community members were kind enough to ask in advance.

      Remember the community guidelines; stay on topic and be professional.

      So, what's your question?
        • Re: Want your website to be searched? Learn how on June 2.
          Bluesuit Adventurer
          What are the top 3 search optimizations a novice could easily implement on their website themselves?
          • Re: Want your website to be searched? Learn how on June 2.
            CommunityTeam Adventurer
            We are collecting questions for our search event on June 2. iCrossing will be in SBOC on June 2, 2:00PM - 5:00PM ET. iCrossing will be addressing questions first collected from this thread, so if you want to increase your chances of getting your question answered - ask it now. Otherwise, join us live that day and submit your question.
            • Re: Want your website to be searched? Learn how on June 2.
              NatOnline Tracker
              I've got a question for Matt.

              Everybody said on internet that if you've got some valuable contents, people link to you.
              Well that's not excatly true.

              We build many articles on our site at: http://www.natural-elements-online.com/ar
              ticles-on-natural-hawaiian-skin-care.asp and we've got a lot of visitors reading these articles but not a lot are linking to us.

              Visitors love reading our articles but not linking to them, because they are maybe not webmasters. Search engines are ranking pretty well our articles, that's great ,some of our articles have great SERP, people are reading our articles and that's our goal. So our Page Rank is pretty poor, that doesn't mean our articles are. As you know in general webmasters want to link only if you've got a decent Page Rank.

              Same thing on page products, who will link to our page products? Some webmasters told me that Search engines love fresh contents, well a product is a product and we cannot change the contents on our products pages. I think it is extremely difficult for an e-commerce to have pages ranking high beside our index.

              My question is what would increase our visibility/Page Rank if not a lot people link to our articles, and they are not linking to our product pages?

              Thank you
              • Re: Want your website to be searched? Learn how on June 2.
                CommunityTeam Adventurer
                Remember to join us this coming Monday, June 2! We are still collecting pre-event questions for Matt from iCrossing. Simply hit reply to post your search related question.
                • Re: Want your website to be searched? Learn how on June 2.
                  HumanArrow Adventurer
                  Mr. Kropp,

                  Thanks for taking part in this forum. I am with Human Arrow, an outdoor human directional services company that helps companies increase customer traffic and build brand awareness. My services will be offered in Chicago and Milwaukee.

                  With my website coming soon, what is the best method for me to attract visitors to my site while targeting the local market and working with a budget of $1000?

                   

                  Thanks,
                  Steve
                  http://www.linkedin.com/in/humanarrow

                  humanarrow.com
                  Coming soon!
                  • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                    SBC Team Guide
                    Ok, let's get started. We'll continue to take questions so feel free to submit them to Matt.

                    Bluesuit asks:

                    What are the top 3 search optimizations a novice could easily implement on their website themselves?
                      • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                        SeoGuy Newbie

                        3 things every website should have for natural search visibility include:

                        ~Unique page titles - The <title> tag tells the search engine what the page is about. Using unique titles on each page, with relevant keywords will provide better results
                        ~Meta Descriptions - the <meta description> doesn't factor into rankings as much, but it is usually displayed within the search engine results. This is the first opportunity you have to interact with a customer. Use relevant keywords as they will appear in bold in the results. You can also include a marketing message or call to action to promote a click.
                        ~Site map - make sure your site has a site map. Bots use the site map to crawl all the pages in your stie, Using keyword rich anchor text will increase the relevance in the engines as well as make it easier for spiders to see all the content on your site.
                      • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                        SBC Team Guide
                        Great answer Matt!

                        Next we have a question from NatOnline:

                        I've got a question for Matt.

                        Everybody said on internet that if you've got some valuable contents, people link to you.
                        Well that's not excatly true.

                        We build many articles on our site at: http://www.natural-elements-online.com/ar

                        ticles-on-natural-hawaiian-skin-care.asp and we've got a lot of visitors reading these articles but not a lot are linking to us.

                        Visitors love reading our articles but not linking to them, because they are maybe not webmasters. Search engines are ranking pretty well our articles, that's great ,some of our articles have great SERP, people are reading our articles and that's our goal. So our Page Rank is pretty poor, that doesn't mean our articles are. As you know in general webmasters want to link only if you've got a decent Page Rank.

                        Same thing on page products, who will link to our page products? Some webmasters told me that Search engines love fresh contents, well a product is a product and we cannot change the contents on our products pages. I think it is extremely difficult for an e-commerce to have pages ranking high beside our index.

                        My question is what would increase our visibility/Page Rank if not a lot people link to our articles, and they are not linking to our product pages?

                        Thank you
                          • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                            SeoGuy Newbie
                            My question is what would increase our visibility/Page Rank if not a lot people link to our articles, and they are not linking to our product pages?

                            If your articles are being displayed in the SERP's (search engines results page) and customers are reading them while on site, I don't know why more people are not linking to them. You can make it easier for the casual user to share the article by incorporating social bookmarking tags on your site. Sites like Delicious (http://del.icio.us/) allow users to store and share bookmarks with everyone. Adding this functionality to your site makes it easy for users to tag the articles as useful.

                            Tools like "Add This" allow you to add a number of social bookmakring tags at once.
                          • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                            SBC Team Guide
                            Community members:

                            Just a reminder that the event is moderated and all questions will be queued to give our guest a chance to respond. They will be answered in the order they were received.

                            Thanks,
                            The SBOC Team
                            • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                              SBC Team Guide
                              Perfect!

                              Next we have H*umanArrow*:

                              Mr. Kropp,

                              Thanks for taking part in this forum. I am with Human Arrow, an outdoor human directional services company that helps companies increase customer traffic and build brand awareness. My services will be offered in Chicago and Milwaukee.

                              With my website coming soon, what is the best method for me to attract visitors to my site while targeting the local market and working with a budget of $1000?

                              Thanks,
                              Steve
                              http://www.linkedin.com/in/humanarrow

                              humanarrow.com
                              Coming soon!
                                • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                  SeoGuy Newbie

                                  To keep focused and get the most out of our time today, I'd like to limit the questions and conversations to Natural Search. Paid search will be discussed in a separate event on June 9th.

                                   


                                  Simply put, Natural Search listings (or results) are the results on Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that appear on the left hand side of the page, underneath the top 3 Sponsored (or paid search) results. These results are determined and displayed by the engine's algorithm. The algorithm evaluates a number of variables to determine relevance of a web page to the keyword searched.

                                  That being said, you raised a good point in speaking of your service area. Local search (searches done on local directories OR searches on national search engines with a local term included) is increasing by the day. By including your service area within the content of your site, within page titles, including local addresses and local terms in the meta data will help your visibility in SERP's. Ranking high for local terms connects you to users in your area.
                                • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                  SBC Team Guide
                                  We have hotschedules up next asking:

                                   

                                  Hi Matt! In your opinion, what are the advantages/disadvantages in hiring an outside firm for SEO? Would you recommend doing this in-house?

                                  Thanks!
                                  Ray
                                  • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                    SBC Team Guide
                                    Great response Matt! Keep up the great work!

                                    milehighguy wants to know:

                                     

                                    If you have an ad based wesite, what is the best way to build traffic quickly and what is a realistic profile for generating ad revenue, based on new site statistics. Thanks
                                      • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                        SeoGuy Newbie

                                        You ask a great question. Unfortunately, there isn't a baseline available for determining ad revenue expectations from new or existing sites. Google knows this based on their AdSense product, but they don't' share the results.

                                        This would be a good question to ask the community in the Forums section and see if anyone will share their experiences with you.

                                        SEO is not a quick hit effort. Instead, its an ongoing process of launch and learn. Changes made to the webiste will produce results over time. Monitoring results and comparing them to baseline results prior to modifications will tell the success story and dictate future efforts.
                                      • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                        SBC Team Guide
                                        Community,

                                        Remember to refresh your browsers to view the latest responses.

                                        Ok, Generation4 asks:

                                         

                                        I'm helping my friend who is an accountant put together a website and was advised that I need to make sure all the site link names and text on the site are based on common search terms to increase our search results. I think she knows what the common terms are in her industry, but how do we check that they are also highly searched? Can I check myself or do I need to buy this information? If so, where?
                                        • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                          SBC Team Guide
                                          Matt,

                                          That was a great first half! Let's take a 5 minute break to get a good stretch in.

                                           

                                          Community,

                                          We still want to hear from you, so get those questions in!

                                          Thank you,
                                          The SBOC team
                                          • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                            SBC Team Guide
                                            Welcome back everyone,

                                            Matt's eager to get back into it so let's go!

                                            akgold asks:

                                            Hi SBOC,

                                            Here's another question that I have for your expert:

                                            What is a good number of words to have for the meta description and the *meta keywords*?

                                            Thanks!

                                            AKGold
                                            • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                              SBC Team Guide
                                              littlebytes wants to know:

                                               

                                              I would like to know what new ways there are to market an online business without spending a lot of money?

                                              How do you get customers to buy from you when you have to compete with big name companies?

                                              Are google ads one of the best ways to market your business online?

                                              Thanks!
                                                • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                  SeoGuy Newbie
                                                  The best way to market a business with minimal spend is SEO. Aside from optimizing the site and brand, there are little hard costs. With that said, there is a large committment to optimizing a site (research, code implementation, acquiring relevant links, etc.) which requires time.

                                                  SEO also levels the playing field when competing with big brands as search engines will rank the site that is the most relevant to users' search query (i.e. the one with the most relevant content, more relevant links and the best user-experience). If your site is well optimized, you can appear higher in the search results than a big brand.

                                                  Paid search (Google Ads) are also a great way to market your business. You may also consider shopping feeds, email marketing, social networking, etc. The best one depends on your business, product-offering, competition, customer expectations, etc.
                                                • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                  SBC Team Guide
                                                  Matt, great answer!

                                                  hankgrossman would like to know:

                                                  Why do you think paid search is better than natural search?
                                                  • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                    SBC Team Guide
                                                    SJCarpentry is asking:

                                                    Here' s my question

                                                    http://watsonandcochran.com/

                                                    we spent a decent amount on our website, but pretty much only get current customers to visit.

                                                    How do we get more traffic?
                                                      • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                        SeoGuy Newbie
                                                        I took a quick look at your site. The first thing that jumps out is that the entire site is constructed in Flash. This is a comon SEO obstacle and presents a big challenge to search engines as they can't really understand the content contained in the Flash file.

                                                        For example, the text on the welcome page is invisible to search engines. Because they can't understand the content on the site, they won't return the site in any related searches. So in the eyes of the engines, your site barely exists.

                                                        We recommend that any Flsah site have an alternative HTML version. This not only helps with SEO, it also fulfills ADA (American's With Disabilities Act) requirements.
                                                      • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                        SBC Team Guide
                                                        simon07 asked:

                                                         

                                                        How do images get searched?
                                                          • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                            SeoGuy Newbie

                                                            Images are evaluated as part of the on page code. To get visibility for images:

                                                            ~Use targeted keywords when you name the image in your database. Instead of a generic naming convention like img001.gif, img002.gif, etc. use keywords that describe the image speedboat.gif, cargopants.gif, whiteorchid.jpeg, etc.

                                                            ~Use targeted keywords within the Image ALT Text tag. This provides additional opportunities to tell the engines what the image is about.
                                                          • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                            SBC Team Guide
                                                            Matt, can't thank you enough for your great answers.

                                                            MetroGal wants to know:

                                                            As a consumer that is trying to search the web, how can I be smarter about identifying the most relevant websites for me?
                                                              • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                                SeoGuy Newbie
                                                                That is a great question.

                                                                At its most basic, natural search results should be the most relevant to your query. The algorithm tries to match the best webpage to the keyword entered. If they fail to deliver on this, people will stop using the engines and they would soon be out of business.

                                                                Paid search listing can be purchased by the keyword, so the relevance is not as tight.

                                                                Before clicking on a site, read the description that appears below the listing. This will tell you what the page is about. Also look for the bold keywords in the results and descriptions. If your keyword appears many times, its a safe bet that the page is a good match.
                                                              • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                                SBC Team Guide
                                                                clnshirtz is asking:

                                                                I would like the expert to look at the 'site' we have http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=1003232

                                                                1 and tell me a few things:

                                                                1. Is there anything we should do on the current site to improve traffic?
                                                                2. If we had our own site, would they expect our traffic to go up much (we get 500 visits a month)
                                                                3. Does putting coupons and specials on your site increase the hits you get?
                                                                  • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                                    SeoGuy Newbie

                                                                    Clnshirtz, if this business listing is your only web presence, I'm not sure what Yahoo would allow you to do to drive more traffic.

                                                                    You mention you get 500 visits a month from the page, but how much business do you get? Are you tracking sales back to the page? If those 500 visits are converting to customers, I wouldn't change anything. If 500 people are looking at your page and going somewhere else, I'd recommend building your own site and taking charge of this channel. The end result you want is shirts on the hanger, not visits to a web page.
                                                                  • Re: Live Now: Search Engine Optimization
                                                                    SBC Team Guide
                                                                    Matt, on behalf of the SBOC Team and the members of the Small Business Online Community, we wanted to say we appreciated your time today and your professional responses to user questions.

                                                                    Community members, while our session with Matt has now concluded, please feel free to discuss today's session and the questions answered. Again, if you'd like more information about Matt and iCrossing, visit: http://www.icrossing.com

                                                                    Thanks again,
                                                                    The SBOC Team
                                                                    • Re: Event June 2nd: Search Engine Optimization
                                                                      blesstech Newbie
                                                                      Can you please visit www.alquranacademy.com and suggest how we can improve our keywords and meta tags?

                                                                      If meta tags or key words are long, it means key words towards the end will be ignored by Search Engines?

                                                                      Is it recomended to have unique keyword/meta tags for each page on website (we have only unique titels)?

                                                                      Is revising keywords and meta tags content too often helps or hampers SEO?

                                                                      How is site map helpful for SEO?

                                                                      How having multiple domain names (pointing to same site) can help in getting more visits and more hits in SEO?

                                                                      Please respond.
                                                                        • Re: Event June 2nd: Search Engine Optimization
                                                                          SeoGuy Newbie

                                                                          That is quite a list of questions. I will do my best to answer them all:

                                                                          Search engines will only index a certain amount of content from the page titles and meta tags. Try to keep them between 150-250 characters. The actual limits vary by engine. Keywords at the end of exceeding long titles and tags will be ignored. SEO best practices recommend targeting 2-3 keywords per page.

                                                                          Ideally, you want your <meta keyword> tag to include the same unique keywords as in the title. When on page elements like page title, meta tags, on page content and header tags all support the same keywords, the page is considered more relevant by the engines, The more relevant the page, the higher in the results the page will be displayed.

                                                                          Revising keywords and meta data will help SEO if you follow best practices.

                                                                          A site map helps SEO as spiders look for a sitemap to begin their crawl. It looks like Google is indexing all the pages of your site (6 pages), so a sitemap wouldn't provide much help. It is very helpful for larger sites.

                                                                           

                                                                          Having multiple domains pointing to the same site can actualy hinder SEO efforts and reduce the vistis from SEO. It depends on how you have the domains set up.
                                                                        • Re: Event June 2nd: Search Engine Optimization
                                                                          traff20 Newbie
                                                                          Hi,

                                                                          The SEO optimization is difficulty for everyone. But it's was need for every small business running correctly,
                                                                          I mean building traffic is another important component for every small business.

                                                                           


                                                                          Great solution will be helping other to grow.

                                                                          Thanks
                                                                          http://www.squidoo.com/busy_lens