Keyword Difficulty Tool Upgrade

I have tweaked (well, more than tweaked) the Keyword Difficulty Tool so it now shows the top ten sites from google with each keyword check. I really wanted to add MSN and Yahoo too, but I ran into some snags and got tired of trying. So maybe I’ll add MSN and Y! another time when I have a few hours to spare.

SEO Goes Mainstream

SEO is going to get a lot more attention after today because of this Newsweek Article, which is mainly about Rand Fishkin (Randfish). Rand’s new ‘Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization’ is not mentioned in the article, but surely this major coverage is a direct result of that effort by Rand.

It is interesting that SEO is referred to as an “obscure procedure” in the article. It just goes to show that the majority of people outside the SEO community still don’t have a clue about SEO, or how important it is. I think this article will be a boon to the SEO community. Congratulations again to Rand.

New Keyword Difficulty Check Tool

I have just finished working on a new Keyword tool (Keyword Difficulty Check Tool) that will check the difficulty of a particular keyword, and give the difficulty level on a scale of 0 to 32. 0 meaning just mentioning a 0 level keyword on a page would rank in the top 10, and a level 32 means that you most likely don’t have a chance to rank in the top 10. There is also a nifty graphic representation of the score.

Try it now.

On-Page Search Engine Optimization Techniques

Are you doing all you can when it comes to on-page search engine optimization? I recently found that the title attributes of my “Home” links contained the text “Home”. The Home link goes back to the main page of SEOLogs.com. Is “Home” the best way to describe my site? I don’t think so. I changed the title text to “Search Engine Optimization Tools and Industry News”. This better describes my site and is fully optimized for search engines. Read on for a full list of on-page optimization factors.

Page Title
The Page Title is the text between the <title></title> tags. If there is one necessary element, this is it. Not only for SEO reasons, but also because users rely on it to know what a page is about.

The title is also very important because most of the time, it is used in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). A well put together page title can have a much higher click-thru rate.

Here’s an example from Hotels.com.

“hotels.com – We know hotels inside and out.”

Their main keyword is [hotels]. Its a good title because they the main keyword, once as the first word, and once later in the sentence, and it is also very user friendly. It makes sense. If you try searching for [hotels] in Google, you will see that they have been very successfully. (I must add that that success has come from Off-Page Search Engine Optimization. We’ll talk about that soon).

Body Text
The body text is any text between the <body></body> tags. Body text, or page content is important for on-page optimization, because without it, there is very little for search engines to judge a site by. More body text is generally better, but you want to keep paragraphs short (short paragraphs help hold the attention of readers). Use your keyword as much as you can In A Reasonable Manner. Overuse of your keyword will result in an Over Optimization Penalty (OOP).

Important elements of the Body Text

  • First Sentence of the Body Text
  • Try to use your keyword somewhere in the first sentence of the body text. It sets the tone, and reinforces to the search engine the fact that the keyword is important.

  • H1 Tag and H2 Tag Text
  • The H1 text is the text between the <H1></H1> tags, and H2 tags are used in the same manner. These tags are called Header tags. Meaning that they should describe everything that is under them. Header tags are helpful for on-page optimization, and letting search engines know what a page is about, but if you don’t use them, its not the end of the world.

  • Anchor Text (internal)
  • Anchor text is anything between <A></A> tags. In other words these are links. Anchor text helps search engines know what the link leads to. So a link with the anchor text “Click Here” is not very descriptive, while one that makes use of your keyword like “keyword” or “click here for keyword” is much better.

    One element of the Anchor tag that is usually overlooked is the Anchor Tag Title. This is not visible unless the user hovers the mouse pointer over the link. Here is an example for the keyword [foo].

    <a href=”foo.html” title=”Click here to learn all about Foo!”>Foo

  • IMG ALT Attributes
  • The IMG ALT is important for on-page SEO and probably more important because it is required by law. For disabled users who cant see your images, the alt text should describe what the image is. This is a good thing because its another place to use your keyword.

    Example: <img src=”/images/foo.jpg” alt=”foo”>

  • URL/ File Name
  • It can be helpful for pages to be named using the keyword. For example if a page is about “Green widgets”, then you would name the page green-widgets.html. Always make sure to use a hyphen “-” and not an underscore”_” (don’t even think about using a space), since most search engines have a hard time with underscores.

Meta Tags
Meta Description and Meta Keywords
Meta tags go anywhere in the <head></head> tags. They are only for search engine use. There is a good reason that I have put Meta Tags at the end of this article. They are becoming less important to on-page search engine optimization. With that said, it can’t hurt to use them. I will briefly describe and give examples of both.

Meta Description:
Include a complete, descriptive sentence that describes the page. Make sure to use your keyword, but don’t go overboard.

Example:
<META NAME=”description” CONTENT=”Wiget supplies for users of green widgets.”>

Meta Keywords:
Include a list of keywords. The best way is to write your body text, and then select keywords from that text. Don’t use keywords that aren’t in the page.

<META NAME=”keywords” CONTENT=”Wiget supplies, green widgets, #3467A1 widgets, widget cakes, …..”>

Next time we will discuss Off-Page Optimization Techniques.

Till then.

B

Free Rank Check Tool

I decided to try somthing new today. I am allowing other webmasters to use my tools on their own sites. I started with one of the more popular tools (and one of the first on the site), the Search Engine Rank Check tool.

I have created a code snippet that allows you to display the Rank tool on your page. The results still come from SEOlogs.com, but they are in a small invisible iframe displayed on your site.

I’m not sure how this is going to go, but if nothing bad happens, Ill probably keep adding portable tools to the list.

Add the Search Engine Rank Check Tool to your website

Trouble at SEOChat Forums

There has just been a masive upset over at SEOchat.com forums. Many long time members and some moderators have either left, or threatened to leave the forums.

It was all started by this:

New changes including no follows to signatures

We have recently made some very SEO significant changes to our forums including modified URLS, reducing HTML sizes of all pages, and reducing external links by using no follows on many of our own internal links as well as signatures. We have made these changes to our other forums and have had great success traffic wise with these changes. We understand that by doing this, some people who count on using signatures as a way to increase their own page rank are upset by this. While this is a unfortunate byproduct of us removing no follows, we have done so as we wish to grow SEO chat so it may continue to be a force in the SEO community. We hope that you will forgive this inconvienience and continue to use SEO chat for the knowledge it imparts and the relationships that are forged here.

J

I really don’t think it was the fact that they added nofollow tags to signature links, as much as was the way they treated members. At least 3 members were banned for even expressing their opinions about the matter. Even in the suggestions and feedback forum, you won’t find one post about the incident, because they are all getting deleted as soon as they are posted.

Earlier this week, two senior members were chastised for expressing their opinions on the forums. That along with today’s actions by the administrators will probably prove to be “too much” for many of the long time members.

It is truly a sad day. It looks like the SEOChat forums may never be the same again.

Understanding Mod_Rewrite

In order to really understand mod rewrite, you need to be comfortable using regular expressions.

If you are completely in the dark about regular expressions, I suggest reading up on the subject before you attempt to learn how to use mod_rewrite, but I will give a short intro to Regular Expressions here.

A Regular Expressions is a sort of extremely flexible wildcard search that has it’s own set of symbols for matching pretty much any string.

A basic wildcard search would be something like this: *.html which would find any file that ends with .html.

Regular expressions do the same sort of thing, but as I said, are much more flexible. The same search with regex would look like this: .*.html$

In the regex above, the . (dot) matches any single character, the * (asterisk) matches 0 or more of the preceding character, since we are looking for a literal dot, the . before html must be escaped, and finally the $ (dollar sign) means the string should end there.

More Regex Rules
abc would match abc
a sequence of caracters enclosed by brackets matches only one character:
[abc] would match: ‘a’, ‘b’, or ‘c’

[a-z] matches any lowercase character from a – z

[0-9] matches any number
the ‘*’ asteris after any character will match 0 or more occurences of the preceding character, while the ‘+’ will match 1 or more.

so [a-z]* will match 0 or more lowercase letters in a row. like :’aajfalsdjflasdjfalsdjfalsdfj’

[a-zA-Z0-9_-]+ would match 1 or more of the characters shown within the brackets.

The dot (.) is kind of like a wildcard and matches a single character, except line break characters

Mod rewrites also rely on something called grouping in regular expressions.

() parenthesis are used to define a group. Anything you put in a group goes into a variable. So if you had somthing like:

Ill use your example to show you Grouping.

You want to change this dynamic url
/prod.asp?pid=6435&color=green&size=medium
to this
/products/6435/green/medium

This is what you would use:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule products/([0-9]+)/([a-z]+)/([a-z]+)$ /prod.asp?pid=$1&color=$2&size=$3

As you can see here there are 3 groups.
1. ([0-9]+) , ([a-z]+) , and ([a-z]+)
these 3 are put into the variables: $1, $2, and $3

So to summarize, what you are doing with a mod rewrite is asking your webserver to check each url when it comes in, to see if it matches the pattern products/([0-9]+)/([a-z]+)/([a-z]+)$, then its going to get sent to /prod.asp?pid=$1&color=$2&size=$3 with the variables from the groups.

I hope this helps.

Resources
A great site to learn Regular Expressions is Regular-Expressions.info

Here is a good tool that may help you figure it out(http://www.webmaster-toolkit.com/mod_rewrite-rewriterule-generator.shtml) , but you really should read the Regular expressions tutorial first.

Google Crack Down on Non-Natural Links

A theread was just posted by brandall, one of the moderators over at SEOChat, discussing a Q&A session with Matt Cutts at the 2005 PubCon Search and Marketing Conference.
Brandall gives a brief summary of what was said.

Basically, what I took from the sessions is that Google is actively removing or significantly decreasing the value of non-earned links, and that this trend will be continuing and expanding.

brandall

At the last Search Engine Strategies Conference, Cutts talked about “Natural” links being what people should be focusing on. He talked about how easy it is to spot un natural linking patters, and this just confirms it.

Read the full Thread.

icedoutwheels.com?

Okay. This is pretty funny. Look at the following domain names. What do you think?

http://www.frozenchicken.com/
http://www.spermglamour.net/
http://www.icedoutwheels.com/
http://www.beyatch.com/
http://www.genuwineleather.com/
http://www.hedgewoodfarm.com/
http://www.ho.org/
http://www.support-reverse-smileys.com/

Well it turns out that these are just a few of the results that you will see if you use the (whois.sc) Reverse IP tool to check what domain names are hosted on some of Google’s IPs.

I’m wondering if Google has any big plans for any of these names:

Note: The following is not true. Its just a joke.

frozenchicken.com
Cutting edge online chicken market with advertising stamped on a big white label affixed to each frozen chicken.

www.icedoutwheels.com
Google will give away 17 to 22 inch wheels with a special led light array that will actually display Google ads when the car reaches 25+ mph.

www.beyatch.com and www.ho.org
A new singles/ dating website for the hardest of the hard core.

I can only imagine that this is the work of some bored employees, but they all resolve to Google.com.

Here’s a link to the full list of domains (the rest are pretty normal)

Lessons in Usability

I am so thrilled with the latest book purchase I made, I just wanted to share. I bought the book called “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug. It’s all about usability, or making your website easy for people to use.

Im only about 1/4 way through the book, but im already itching to make some changes on seologs.com. I don’t have much free time, but I find myself picking up this book whenever possible. The book was designed to be an easy quick read, so It shouldn’t take long at all to finish.

I highly recommend it.