An SEO Guide (On Site & Off Site SEO)

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					Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization
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Search Engine Optimization

On Site SEO
Search Engine Optimization, referred to as SEO is critical in giving your website the ability to be seen by those searching for information in your market. Each time someone uses a search engine, they enter in specific keywords relating to what it is that they are looking for. An example would be someone seeking out information on dog training is likely to visit and enter in short or long tail keyword phrases like "dog training tips" or "how to do I train my dog?". When it comes to SEO, there are two elements that you need to focus on, one of which is called "on site SEO". This is when you directly invoke the power of SEO by tweaking your website pages, structuring your navigation or adding in Site Maps. Ensuring that your website is primed and ready for the search engines is one of the most important things you can do if you are interested in generating free traffic from the major search engines. This is traffic that you will never have to pay for and if you set up your on-site SEO correctly, you will not only be able to reach out to free traffic but targeted traffic, which as you know, is the very best kind. To be able to optimize your website for the search engines, you first need to understand how the search engine work. For starters, search engines use what is referred to as "crawlers" (or spiders) that when sent out to your website will crawl through your pages and information, viewing the source code of each page and relaying that information back to its master, the search engine itself (like or This information is used in providing details about your website whenever it is triggered by someone entering in information similar to what it is that you are offering. For example, if you visit and enter in your domain name, you are likely going to see a short snippet of information, a description about your website. This information was taken directly from your site itself, both from the page content, the titles of your pages and header tags. Search engine spiders crawl through your website by following the links from page to page. Think about your website as a map, where it is your job to guide someone from the entry to the final exit. You need to guide the search engine spiders in the very same way and you can do this by integrating both a solid navigation menu and by installing a website map. This site map will consist of a table of contents for your website, providing details on each section of your site as well as allowing both the public and search engine spiders, or crawlers, to explore every inch of your website quickly and easily.

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A site map is very easy to create, in fact, by using some of the free website map generators online, you can have a well structured site map on your own website in a matter of minutes. While you can create a more complex version of a site map, I suggest that if you are not familiar with hand coding these maps that you use one of the free services online. One of my favorite free site map services can be found at: With this service you simple provide the URL to your website (example: and enter the frequency change, which simply means how often your website is updated. If you aren't sure how often you will update your website, you can leave this blank. Click on the generator link to have XML sitemaps create a unique sitemap for your website. Once it has finished creating your site map, you can download the file which will consist of an XML file (in .gz format). Once you have downloaded this from the XML website, you will need to upload it, as is, to your own root server. If you are interested in seeing how a site map looks, or you feel comfortable editing your site map, you can open the sitemap.xml file in a text editor and modify the information. In order to notify the search engines that your website now has a sitemap available, you can visit for details. One thing to keep in mind however, is that you should make sure that your website is not under construction and that it's completely ready to launch before you create your sitemap. You want to make sure that you have a solid link structure set up, with no broken links or missing pages. It is also recommended that you use text based links rather than image ones whenever possible as search engine spiders are unable to recognize or read images on your website and they will be ignored altogether. If your website design features an image based navigation menu, you can still ensure that spiders are able to crawl their way through your website by simply adding a footer to your website that features text based links to all of the main sections of your site, such as "FAQ", "About", "Purchase" and so on. There are many other factors involved in on-site SEO including keyword management. You want each of your webpages, posts or articles to feature your primary keywords, these are phrases that use words that describe your website such as going back to our earlier example of "dog training tips", or "how to train my dog".

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If you were managing a website that offered a dog training report and you wanted to ensure that your pages were optimized for the search engines your content should include terms and key phrases that others are likely to enter into a search engine to find websites similar to yours. You need to be careful with this however, as the search engines can penalize websites who over-use keywords (referred to as keyword stuffing). You want to ensure that your pages flow smoothly and are easy to read by those visiting your website. In other words, don't write for the search engines, write for people. This means that you need to find a balance between ensuring that you sprinkle your keywords throughout your content pages without over-using them. Search engines like use what is referred to as "LSI", which stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, a system that relates specific keywords with website topics or groups. What this means is that if you have a website on dog training, the LSI system would assume that your website content would contain keywords relating to this topic, such as golf clubs, golf swing, golf cart and so on. If you fail to use relevant keywords within your content your LSI score will be lower, which means that are you less likely to rank well in the search engines. At the same time, LSI is smart enough to identify when webmasters are simply throwing or stuffing an overload of keywords into their content as well, so once again, balancing your content so that it includes your best keywords as well as being useful to visitors on your site is very important. Personally, I write my content or articles as if I were speaking to a friend. I focus on a conversational style, which usually is easier for people to read and understand. Then, I go back through my content and look for specific keywords that I have used, replacing the odd keyword with what I feel to be a better one, and so on. And finally, read your content out loud. Does it make sense? Does it flow smoothly? Is it easy to understand? Remember that as important as the search engines are, it's human visitors reading your information and you need them to want to explore your website further, return to your site in the future and consider you and the content you feature to be credible, informative and useful. When it comes to on-Site SEO, we are far from having covered it all, however. Apart from site maps, proper link structures, and relevant content, there are things you can do to improve your search engine ranking even more, and this is in the form of actually modifying the way that your website looks, most importantly, ensuring that every website has a relevant header and title tag. Titles are what shows up at the very top of your webpage, and a lot of people overlook the importance of these tag descriptions. In fact, most people create their landing page and then use
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the same title page on every other page that they create. When it comes to search engine optimization this isn't the best way to go, in fact, every single page you create should have a unique title page the describes the content of the page itself. For example, if I had a website consisting of three different pages, an About page, a FAQ page and an Order page, I should modify the titles of each page so that someone visiting my website could instantly identify what content is on that page just by reading the titles. Perhaps the reason why so many new marketers are not implementing these simple, yet powerful on-site SEO tactics is simply because they fail to understand exactly how to create them or set them up. Thankfully, adding a snippet of code to each page is all it takes, and here is exactly how you do it: First, open up the page of your website, such as index.html or index.php. Now, view the source code so that you are looking at HTML, css or other elements rather than the text itself. At the very top of your page, you will see tags such as <head> and <body>. Right after the <head> tag, you simply copy and paste this code: <title>Your Company Keyword Phrase </title> <META NAME="description" CONTENT="Describe your website within two to three lines, and be sure to use your primary keyword phrases."> <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="Keep this keyword tag simple, only use 10 to 20 keywords and keyword phrases separated by commas"> <META CONTENT="INDEX" NAME="robots"> The next thing to do is edit the title, description and keywords in this code so that it reflects your actual website. For example, in our dog training situation, the title above would be change from "Your Company Keyword" to "Dog Training Tips: How To Turn Your Dog Into An Obedient Pet" or something similar. Don't overlook this! A proper title tag is one of the most important elements of on-site SEO and is what your visitor will see when they first land on your website, so you want to make sure that it accurately describes the page they are about to see. Then, in the "Meta Name" description, we would enter in a two to three line description of what the website is about, and in the "Meta Name, keywords" area, we would enter in a series of keywords that identify our website, separating each with a comma, like: dog training, dog tips, dog tutor, train your dog" and so on. Tip: When choosing titles for your pages try to focus on your primary keyword phrase, meaning that if you were asked to describe your website in ten words or less, what words would you choose?

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Whatever they may be, you should enter this into the title of your main page, modifying it for every other page based on the content. You can separate your keywords by using the | symbol to make them easier to read or just use spacing. Keep your titles trimmed down, however as titles that are too long will be cut down by the search engines anyway, so make sure that you feature only the most important keywords and do your best to keep it below 60 characters. The Keyword Tag (otherwise known as "Meta Tag") is not used by all search engines but there certainly is no harm in adding it in as a handful of search engines still give it some weight. I simply enter in 30-50 main keywords and using HTML editors like Dreamweaver, you can instantly add meta tags to each page within seconds, so it's definitely something you will want to do regardless if the majority or minority of the search engines utilize this information to help your site rank. Your meta tag looks like this when completed: <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="keyword, keyword1, keyword2, keyword3, so on"> Description Tag This tag is made up of a 2-3 keyword phrases that describe the content of your website and is often used by search engines like when displaying details about your site within search engine results. Be sure to use a different description tag on every page of your website, featuring at least one keyword phrase that reads smoothly and clearly. Remember, this is what your potential visitors will see in the search engines so once again you want to ensure that you write for humans, not for search engine bots. <META NAME="description" CONTENT="My site features premium gifts and toys of children of all ages."> Apart from the tags that we have just covered, there are other very important on-site SEO factors that you need to take into consideration if you want your website to rank as high as possible within the engines. One of these on-site factors is getting into the habit of using "Alt Tags". Alt Tags are where you attach a textual description to an image on your webpage. The reason Alt Tags were originally created was to give those who were blind the ability to understand what the
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images were for. Throughout the years, search engines have used alt tags to identify what the content is about and so taking advantage of this is critical in order to rank as high as possible. For instance, if you were including a logo on your webpage, within the source of the document you will see something like this: <img src="image-name.jpg" width="220" height="322"> When attaching an "Alt Tag" to this image, it would now look like this: <img src="image-name.jpg" alt="Keyword Goes Here" width="220" height="322"> When using HTML editors like Dreamweaver, each time you insert an image into your HTML page, you will be asked to name the image. If you do not receive this prompt, simply insert the image and then look into your source code, locate the image and add the Alt Tag manually. You can also add the image and click on it and view the Properties toolbar where you will see the option to add in an Alt Tag description. Header Tags Header tags are simply portions of your website where the font is larger than usual. By increasing the font size of certain text, you are highlighting it to the search engines indicating that it's important. This means that you should always include at least one primary keyword within your header tag. Header tags are formatted like this: <h1> Your words <h1> In addition, you can use numbers, 1-6 (1 being the largest and 6 being the smallest) to stylize your header tags however you like. You can also blend CSS within your tags if you are familiar with how to do that. You should focus on having at least one header tag within each page on your website and focus on inserting your primary keywords into it, while still ensuring that it reads smoothly (remember, no over-stuffing!) The Strong & Bold Tag These tags emphasize certain words to search engine spiders, in the event you wish to highlight certain words when search engine spiders crawl your site. You can also use commands such as <i> for italic, <b> for bold, <u> for underline and <strong> for strong. Just be sure to close the command each time you use it. An example: <strong> This is my title </strong>

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Some editors will do this automatically for you while others require that you manually close them, otherwise your site may experience sparse or coding errors when someone views it.

Off Site SEO
The other element of SEO is referred to as "off site SEO', and this involves tackling a series of optimization factors that are not directly found on your own website. When it comes to off site SEO, a bit of work is required, and since these factors are out of your control, in comparison to the methods of on-site SEO that you can create and tweak yourself, it's important to stay on top of your progress and to consistently work at improving your rankings in the search engines through these methods. With off-site SEO, one of the leading factors of how well you will rank within the search engines is based on the weight of how relevant your website is. One of the ways that search engines determine this is by the incoming links to your website from external sites, known as back-links. With back links, the more closely knit to the topic of your site itself, the more important they are perceived by the search engines, meaning, don't just create a back link campaign that has every and any website linking to you, but instead, focus on finding authority sites or established websites that cater to the same target audience or customer base that you do. To begin, you can offer to trade links with other websites and blogs in your market, or purchase back links from authority websites. One thing to keep in mind however is that search engines check for sudden changes in your incoming links, meaning that if you were to purchase a massive number of incoming links to your site, or participate in what is known as "link farms", it could set off a red flag and possibly damage your ability to rank well. What you want to do is set up a backlink campaign that appears natural to search engines, so that you slowly and consistently build backlinks rather than all at once. Another thing that you want to pay attention to are the keywords and text that are used when other sites link to you. If you have the ability to request a webmaster to use specific titles in the text, you should do your best to focus on your primary keywords, such as "Dog Training Resource", or "Cake Decorating Tips", depending on the content of your site. These text links when using relevant keywords are referred to as "anchor text", and since you want to rank for a series of keyword phrases in the search engines, you should try to generate backlinks to your website using various keyword phrases and text links, rather than always using the same combination.

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For example, if a blog or website is linking to you, rather than feature a link like this: <a href="">Your Domain Name </a> You would want to use something like this: <a href=""> Relevant Keyword Here </a> You will also want to focus on creating as many incoming links as possible while limiting external links from your site to others as much as you can. The easiest way to garner incoming links without the requirement of a trade is to post on blogs, linking to your site within your comment box, or on forums and communities where you can promote your website and generate link-backs frequently. The only problem with generating links from forums is that often times forums will archive their content once they reach a certain number of posts. Once it's archived, they may not be seen in the search engines any longer, so it's always best to focus on blogs or avenues in which your link is more likely to remain for a long period of time. Blog Commenting is by the far, one of the best resources for generating incoming links to your site. When posting comments however, you MUST ensure that your comments are relevant to the topic being discussed (otherwise the blog owner will remove your comment and possibly ban you from further participating in discussions). You also want to rotate anchor text so that you are using different keywords that pertain to your sites content. Of course, not every comment you make on a blog is likely going to get approved, but if you put in an honest effort to only post when it's valuable, informative or useful, you will boost your chances of generating a ton of backlinks in no time at all. Best of all, once a comment is placed on a blog, it's likely to remain there for quite some time. The higher the page rank and authority of a blog, the more valuable the link-back is, so you also want to focus on relevant blogs that are targeted to your niche market and are popular, well indexed and active. To locate these types of blogs, simply visit and search for the keywords "blogspot". You also want to make sure that every comment you leave isn't linking back to your primary index page, but also to other sub-pages on your site. Spread your links around so that you have as many backlinks coming into various pages on your site using relevant keywords whenever possible. One thing to keep in mind when utilizing blogs to develop backlinks however is that not every blog comment you leave will actually follow back to your site. This is known as "nofollow" and blogs that
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implement no follow do not count as backlinks. To determine whether a specific blog will count as a link back, you can download the free Firefox plugin at:

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The SiteSell Value Exchange
You need links. Not just any links, but high-quality, relevant ones. Why? Because, increasingly, Search Engines are using links (and other "off-page criteria") to help decide how relevant your site is for your most important keywords. But not just any old link will do... the more relevant and higher in value, the better.
That's why we call this the SiteSell Value Exchange (SVE) -- your eye must always be on value, and on value-for-value exchanges only. The SVE is a unique service that encourages and facilitates the exchanging of valuable business-and-traffic-building connections between high quality, similarly themed sites. Note: Download PDF file at the bottom part of Tip #2. It’s a great read, and it’s free!

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