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Here are my Top 21 SEO Tips for 2007.

If you would like a free pdf of this whitepaper email me at .


1. Use Unique Long Tail Titles + Content on Every Page (drop the site title!)

In highly competitive markets, generic title tags just don’t get it done anymore. Title tags are the most important element that the Search Engines look at to identify and categorize your page, thereby determining your competition and your position in the search engines.

Get rid of these types of titles: “My Company – Buy Blue Widgets at My Company Cheap”
There are several problems with this;

- Using ‘My Company’ over and over again on every page may have been what someone told you was the best way, or best practices, but when it comes to search engines it looks like duplicate content. In these days when search engines are not really putting much weight on Meta tags and descriptions, the title is the first thing that they look at and is critically important to ranking.

- Second, the title is loaded with too many words. It washes down the primary keywords.

- Lastly, it targets too many keywords, unless you have built enough pages on the website to also create a single page for ‘cheap blue widgets’. (Which, on a side note, I highly recommend) But in your initial SEO rework of your site and its structure, start small and build your way forward. Later I’ll tell you about keyword research and its importance in this technique, and you will have a roadmap to follow using both. Too many keywords will dilute the benefits of the important ones.

The way this title should be structured is like this; Buy Blue Widgets

Add a ‘buffer-word’ before your keyword set.

Now let’s talk about the reasoning behind why this is the preferred method for search engines.

End-users are becoming more and more educated about how search engines work; the more descriptive words they use, the more likely they are to get the results that they are looking for. What this means is that last year the key phrase for My Company was Debt Help. This year their top key phrase is Get Debt Free. I don’t know why, maybe there is a major company out there doing massive debt consolidation ad campaigns that have “coined” this phrase to make it more memorable than debt help. Who knows? The point is that they are using a completely different search phrase, and the phrase is 3 words rather than 2 words in length. This makes the need to build individual pages for your primary keywords, then your niche keyword phrases, and then finally for your long-tail phrases. Generally speaking, the lower number of words the better, has been the overall suggested recommendation to target because human nature is the path of least resistance. To a point it still is, but the people using longer phrases (based on extensive analytics), know what they are looking for, because they convert at a significantly higher rate.

Once I have identified these phrases I start building additional pages, or even microsites (for purposes of A/B, funnel, and conversion testing) and I target the 3, 4, 5 or even 6 word long-tail phrases.

Use these longer keyword phrases within your content as well. If possible, replace enough of the current keywords on good ranking pages with the niche and longtail version of the keyword string. So if you are ranking well for ‘blue widgets’, add ‘cheap’ to each instance of ‘blue widgets’, both on-page and in the code. This method can be used on several plains. Use it to transfer page rank or boost a niche phrase, while the original rank for blue widgets remains. (You may see a temporary slip in your rankings, but this is only temporary)

If you are in a highly competitive market, this could be the answer that you are looking for to attract the middle 40-80% target audience, plus get great conversion rates.

2. Learn and Utilise Advanced Keyword Selection

This has been covered over and over again, but it is a very important element and the importance of ongoing research is very important to stay ahead of the competition. There are several tools out there, most of which are free, or offer free trials. I typically use several different tools.

Google Trends – According to Google “Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. As a Google Labs product, it is still in the early stages of development. Also, it is based upon just a portion of our searches, and several approximations are used when computing your results. Please keep this in mind when using it.”

This is great if you are in an industry that has seasonal traffic. This identifies the seasonality of keyword searches. Google also has a keyword tool that will take a large list of keywords and when filtered by Search Volume Trends gives you a list that contains 12 months data and when the highest month of occurrence was.

KeywordDiscovery collects search term data from just over 180 search engines world wide. Their database contains approximately 32 billion searches from the last 12 months. Their Premium Database contains over 600 million results.

What I like is that they cover a wider demographic than the other paid tools available. Although the new Wordtracker UK version is a great addition for our company, being that it is based in the UK, KeywordDiscovery seems to be a better choice for those in a European market. Major differences are the databases that they pull their results from. WordTracker uses 4 or 5 sources (e.g. MetaCrawler, DogPile and Overture), while KeywordDiscovery uses Google, Yahoo Groups, DMOZ, MSN, Teoma, Miva and over 50 other databases. They also pull from databases in Japan, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Australia, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Spain, Mexico, Israel, South Africa, India, and Norway. In the UK alone they use 11 different engines including

SpyFu is neat (and free) tool that can eliminate keywords that you may think are good to use, but may not convert well. It is a tool for Google Adwords and if you are trying to determine an estimated spend for individual keywords.

I use this keyword tool to see what companies are bidding on terms related to my terms. Chances are, if they are bidding on it, then its probably converting. This helps me eliminate broad terms as well (e.g. parts, cars). I guess you can use other tools to base KEI (keyword effectiveness index) on and do close to the same thing, but SpyFu makes it a little easier and faster.

It will also show you misspelled terms. Of course many of these tools have this function but again, this tool does it quicker. Here’s an example of what SpyFu came up with when I searched for ‘advanced auto parts’;

advaced auto parts
advancd auto parts
advancded auto parts
advence auto parts
advenced auto parts
after market auto parts
aftermarket auto parts
anvance auto parts

So it doesn’t just show ergonomic misspellings, it also shows ‘stoopid’ misspellings.

HitTail is a tool that I hold near and dear to my heart because I had some of input into its development, and they added a few features that I requested while using it for Pay Per Click keyword research. (Well, that and the fact the tool saved my client £90,000 a year).

The tool was originally designed to do what log files can basically do, but quicker and easier. HitTail gathers the keyword and keyword phrases that brought your visitors to the site and graphs them to identify niche phrases that have high KEI so that you can use them in articles or online content. They added an xml export feature that I love because I can use it while creating adwords campaigns and save myself a ton of time.

The reason I use it for keyword research is 3-fold;

1. It’s quicker and easier than log file data mining and does it in real-time
2. I can quickly identify the long 4-6 keyword phrases to use in my content
3. I get create adwords campaigns quickly

Search engine users are become more savvy and their knowledge increases every day. They know that the more words they use to target their query the better the results will be. I see 20-30% of my visitors using 4+ keyword strings. Two years ago it was around 2-3.
So to finish this section off I’ll say that this is probably one of the most important databases that you will build. Spend a few days and dollars/pounds on it.

3. Video and Podcast Marketing, Presentation and Optimisation

I am developing SEO podcasts, and I have clients that are developing different content for video such as gambling tips, tweaking motorbikes and walk-through tours. This is fixin’ to be huge folks…like cell/mobile phone huge.

Mobile video is the new television, and will continue to grow quickly. Yahoo and YouTube average visits were between 13 to 15 minutes per visitor. Imagine getting people to watch an ad on television that long. Or what you would have to pay for that audience.

If you mess around with YouTube or any video resource you will find ‘share with a friend’ and ’add to favorites’ on both sites. You will also find many social bookmarking tools. (Pay attention now, I’ll show you how to syndicate these podcasts and get a serious boost a little later!)The important point here is that you need to get into mobile web applications, whether it is podcasts, web browser compliance, or your own personal usage of mobile web. This is the way things will transition in just the next 12-24 months.

All it takes is a video camera or good webcam, some basic editing software, and you’re ready to go. Be sure to keep the video short, something that people want to learn about or that will keep them watching, and place your URL somewhere in the video. At the end of the video include a “call to action”. If you are creating streaming video for your website try this tool. It will automated the process and makes it quick and easy. You can even add a YouTube or MySpace type script to your site to drive viral marketing and promote backlinks.

Submit your instructional video (or whatever you choose to do) to free video publishing sites such as YouTube, Shorkle, Veoh, Furl, Bolt, MovieMasher, Zango, Badongo, MyUseNet and many others.

Continue to work on this and master your editing skills. Be sure to name the file with your keywords. You would be surprised how many of these video ads are showing up on the first page in normal Google searches. This will give you a great advantage over your competition if videos (or what I like to call free advertising) can be applied to your niche market.

Plus with Google’s new Universal Search, this optimisation technique could very well put you into the top 10.

For those of you on the Agency or Freelance side of things, here is a great template to work off of when trying to motivate your prospect to invest in Podcasting.

- Your Website Podcast Test Proposal

A Podcast is like a radio show or webcast with a difference; they can be syndicated and listened to whenever the listener wants. Podcast’s have become increasingly popular since their creation around 2004 with the BBC now running most of their radio and some TV programming as podcasts. Other traditional media such as newspapers and other TV channels such as The Sun, The Independent, ITV and Channel4 all have a collection of Podcasts.

My Company has in-depth knowledge of all forms of podcast creation, with vast experience in creating, running and promoting highly popular Podcasts. A Podcast brings several advantages to a website or brand

- New Way of reaching customers – A Podcast is another way of reaching out to Your Website customers, using sound and/or video to give communication a new dimension.

- Enjoy the Podcast at their own leisure – A Podcast produces a message that can be heard/seen at the customers’ leisure, meaning Your Website’s message can be heard/seen while walking, running or driving, in addition to when customers are at home or in a bingo club, also giving Your Website increased brand exposure

- Distribution – A Podcast can be distributed instantly (pinged) to hundreds of directories and submission services (depending on the software).

- Viral Effect – A Podcast can become a viral message passed between friends, co-workers and relatives, depending on the contents. An example includes the BlendTec Will It Blend videos (Will It Blend iPods - - 4,051,828 views)

Initial Podcast Implementation

The implementation of the Podcast within the Your Website website should be based on Wordpress due to its flexibility and integration with RSS aggregators and automatic feed creation. This will both reduce implementation time and give us advanced features such as download statistics and directory pings which would take time to produce in-house. A Wordpress installation can easily be integrated into the theme of the Your Website site.

Due to previous issues with Wordpress installation, if direct implementation is not possible, an alternative route is to use iframes, showing Wordpress from My Company servers, but having all Podcasts and content on your servers. This is a way of getting around issues with the multi-tier server environment and should not compromise SEO.

As far as timescales are concerned with implementation, installation and configuration of the podcasting system these are broken down into the following estimations (Please note this is highly dependent on technical restraints with the installation time varying greatly);

• 3 hours – Initial installation and configuration of Wordpress.
• 8 hours – Your Website theme implementation.
• 3 hours – feed configuration and submission.

Writing of Podcast Script

With Your Website supplying the content for the podcast, My Company will refine this and produce a script for a show lasting around half an hour. This will not be a script in the usual sense but rather an overview of the topics and the main points to discuss.

This section of the podcast creation should take around 3 hours for the initial episodes but once a routine has been established, productivity should increase. After creation, the script will then be sent to you for recording. If needed, My Company can also do the recording.

Podcast Submission & Syndication

After receiving the audio, My Company will then produce show notes which are optimised for SEO and link back to specific parts of the Your Website website. The show notes should also include a promotional code specific to the podcast which will allow for tracking.

The audio file and show notes will be uploaded to the wordpress installation and automatically syndicated on many websites. Manual submission and link building on a per episode basis should here also be included.

• 1 ½ hours – Show note production and SEO optimisation
• 1 hour – Audio upload and syndication
• 5 hours – Episode link building on social media, bingo forums and other bingo related sites.

Podcast Content Plan

The purpose of this content plan is to provide a framework from which to build the content on the new Your Website Podcast.

The tables below denote the required steps to complete the individual features of the Your Website Podcast.
Initial Content and Script


Your Website to provide initial content for Podcast, e.g.;

• Last Week’s Winners/Comments/Articles
• This Week’s Promotions
• Your Website News
• Your Website Chat Moderator Interview Answers
• Podcast Promotion Page Address
• Information About a Featured Club

My Company will optimise the content and add in other content such as:

• Featured articles and Top lists
• ______Jokes
• ______ News
• Best of ______ Buzz
• A Tutorial on one aspect of ______
• Pick of the weeks emails

The above content will be produced into a script by My Company and returned to Your Website

Responsibility of your website : Your Website to supply above content
Frequency: Each Podcast

Responsibility of My Comapany : My Company to add additional content and optimise into script
Frequency: Each Podcast

Responsibility of My Company : My Company to return script to Your Website
Frequency: Each Podcast

Due Date: TBC

Audio Production:

Overview: Your Website to produce audio from supplied script

Frequency: Each Podcast

Responsibility Your Website: Your Website to produce audio from script and send to My Company

Due Date: TBC

Podcast Syndication

Overview: My Company, after receiving the audio files from Your Website, will write detailed and optimised show notes based on the script and audio. My Company will then upload these onto the Podcast area of the Your Website and use social media, podcast aggregators and feed readers to distribute the podcasts and instantly let subscribers listen to the latest episode.

Responsibility My Company: My Company to write optimised show notes on each episode

Frequency: Each Podcast

Responsibility My Company: My Company to upload podcast and ping / submit to the above listed services.
Frequency: Each Podcast

Due Date: TBC

Menu Pricing
As this is an initial test, costs will be lower than usual in order to prove the worth of the concept.

Description :

Podcast Initial Implementation

• Initial installation and configuration of Wordpress.
• Your Website theme implementation.
• Feed configuration and submission.

Price: £840 Per Site


Podcast Script Writing

Write script for the half hour show, using content by Your Company and My Company.

£180 Per Podcast


Podcast Submission & Syndication

• Show note production and SEO optimisation
• Audio upload and syndication
• Episode link building on social media, forums and other related sites.

£450 Per Podcast


Total cost for setup & test £1,470

Next Steps:

We are confident the Podcast is a good next step for Your Website in order to stay ahead of the competition. My Company can start the implementation as soon as scope for the Podcast test has been agreed.

4. Create a Corporate-Level Link Building Campaign

If you haven’t done this yet, you are already behind. Link building is an acceptable practice if it is done the right way. Here I’ll tell you the right way.

You need to set some type of budget. Whether you’re an individual with one or two accounts, or an agency with dozens, you need to have some type of budget set aside for this. It can be money or it can be time.

Here is how I segment my campaigns;

• 15% – 25% to purchase 1-way back links to internal pages. Not text links. I create custom/bespoke articles that will compliment the owner’s site, and that have my keyword phrase within it as my anchor text. I also make sure that it is a relevant site to my article/anchor text.

• 25% - 30% reciprocal link exchange. Not text links. I create custom/bespoke articles that will compliment the owner’s site, and that have my keyword phrase within it as my anchor text. I also make sure that it is a relevant site to my article/anchor text.

• 25% for blogs and forums. It’s considered Guerilla Marketing. This takes a little longer because you need to establish yourself within communities and become somewhat of an authority that can post links to relevant and useful content on a site. This will attract actual traffic (and improved rankings), and also create natural back links from other end-users.

• 25% Use an automated tool (IBP 9.0 – Axandra) to find potential link partners. You can find a complete guide on how to use this along with Firefox and SEO Quake extension on the SES London Presentations Page. The username is london2007 and the password is febpres07.

Now whether you hire students to do these tasks or you do them yourself, they need to be part of your daily routine. I have tested dozens of techniques, each having its own merits dependent on actual demographics, but every campaign has a planned strategy.

Obviously there are other considerations such as building good content that people want to link to, creating top 10 lists, how-to guides and reviews, but not all markets have the ability to do these in a relevant way. My recommendation in this type of situation, and really any others, is to do a ‘who-is’ lookup and pick up the phone and start calling. These are the best kind of back links.

You can find many more ways to build links in Step #14

5. Optimise HTML Comment Tags/ Bad Url’s/External File Names/PDF Documents/Hyphen vs. Underscore

It seems like a small thing, and even overkill to some, but I have participated in some testing on these suggestions and in all instances positive results were seen.

Google mentions looking at html comment tags in their Adsense Help Centre. Does this mean that their algo also looks at html comments? Maybe, maybe not. But it can’t hurt. (Only add 1 keyword phrase though, and use it in a sentence and not the first word).

Bad URL’s are the page address that shows up in your browser bar at the top when you land on a page. The search engine robots don’t like certain characters like ampersand or question marks, so it’s better to utilise a ‘mod rewrite’ which converts long strings of characters generated by different programming techniques into plain URL addresses. So this; http://www.mycompany.php/=?*%”$£”/230/aff_id=233544 becomes

There are some debates about the weight that keywords in your URL’s do or do not carry in search rankings. I know they do for some (not google), so I’m continuing to use them. Depending on what type of server you use, this may be very easy or very time consuming, but it is extremely important.

Rewriting external file names is taking your external css or javascript files and using your keyword/keyword phrases within their actual file name. As I believe meta tags (keywords and descriptions) are still in use to a point, I believe things like the file names and html comment tags are as well.

Last, but not least, create PDF versions of your pages that are already ranking well, or have had content written for optimisation purposes. In other words, I have pages that have what I feel is the perfect SEO formula, with on and off-page optimisation. I take these pages and get the trial version of Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional. This will allow you to automatically create PDF versions of your pages, and add a few other optimisation elements (which you can find a little later in my SEO Checklist). Be sure to name the files with your keywords. Take these PDF files and put them in a subdirectory off of your root, and in the same directory. Add a your-keywords-here.xml sitemap, separate from your site xml map. Submit it separately to Google for a crawl. Be sure to add this file to your robots.txt file.

I also use Multimedia Pdf EBooks to create customer-facing PDF docs that are also seo friendly. If you have a store-front I highly recommend this.

Up until recently Google recommends using dashes instead of underscores in your URL’s, not just the main one that you buy, buy also the internal pages that you name. As I mentioned above, a mod rewrite will accomplish this for you.' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>Google’s Matt Cutt’s verifies this here in a 2005 post from his blog. Vanessa Fox, also of Google, revisits the issue here just last year, of course that is then and this is now. Here Matt states that Google now treats underscores as word separators.

A few more tips on URL’s;

I. The number of slashes in your URL (i.e. the number of directories deep your page is) isn't a factor in your Google rankings. Although it doesn't matter for Google, it is rumored to matter for Yahoo and MSN (Live Search).

II. The file extension in your URL won't affect your rankings. So it's inconsequential whether you use .php, .html, .htm, .asp, .aspx, .jsp etc. The one extension you should avoid for your Web documents? .exe.

III. Google treats URLs with a query string the same as static URLs. Caveat: as long as there are no more than two or three parameters in the URL, that is! Put another way, you won't take a hit in your Google rankings if you have a question mark in your URL; just don't have more than two or three equals signs in the URL.

6. Test and Retest Your Site Navigation and Usability with Real People

Navigation and usability is a fundamental element to search engine optimisation. It is also one of the first things I look at when a potential client comes to Stickyeyes for a consultation.

Unfortunately in most situations there is a Director, Manager or Webmaster that is married to the current design. If we see a need for complete redesign, hopefully we are lucky enough to be given the “nod”, but in most cases that does not happen, so we are forced to change bits and pieces.

Before I touch on some really good tips, let me just say this to the site owners, webmasters and upper-management people out there, if you are not ranking well, not getting a good click-through rate, experiencing high bounce rates or cart abandonment, or a you get a myriad of traffic without a minimum of 3% conversion, then you probably have usability issues. Let the marketing people do the marketing.

You have more than one choice;

1. You can let us redesign your website and almost guarantee every element I mention above will be resolved.

2. You can let us create microsites in subdomains with full access to tinker around, test and improve. This way your “top-secret” back-end won’t be exposed (or cause any infrastructure or complicated matrix/server issues), or even allow access to a staging server.

3. You can let us change elements within your current site and test them with the knowledge that we really know what we are doing.
At the end of the day what I am getting at here is that this is a serious fundamental element in a successful website. We typically sit down with 10 or 12 of our best people when looking at the websites functionality. This is about the best focus group you could ever wish to have looking at the website because we also know end-user behavior. Keep an open mind to these types of suggestions because they are usually one of the major problematic issues that most websites have.
So on to the more tips.

Be sure you have definitive CTA’s (Call to Actions) throughout your site, preferably in the navigation bars. These can be Call Us, Contact Us, Get a Quote, Add to Cart, Sign Up, Request Information or whatever. These CTA’s should be in an abridged form that has as few fields as possible. (‘path of least resistance’ – keep it very short.)

I recently looked at a website (a major name that you would recognize) that sells insurance online. Being an ex-insurance agent I know the information that they need to give a quote is certainly not 15 pages long. We actually timed it at close to 16 minutes to complete.

Checkout procedures, whether for an ecommerce site selling widgets, or an insurance company trying to give a quote, should only be information that is required to give a price, and kept to a bare minimum (Don’t ask how or where they found you, if they also want information on something else, or are interested in receiving additional offers…they aren’t and it will hurt your conversion if the user thinks that you may resell their information or bombard them with emails each day) Human nature is the “path of least resistance” and you can scare them off with a daunting list of required fields when all they were looking for was a quick price. People don’t want to have to give this personal information away in the first place and doing it online is an even scarier scenario, but now you want it all!?!?

Another thing, don’t worry about data-captures. You can’t use them anymore for follow-up email offers unless you run them through ‘Can-Spam compliance’. This means the extra step that will cost you 15% of your potential conversions and was designed by some ‘brilliant’ coder to build your email database is worthless without a ‘double-opt-in’ so keep it simple. Give them what they want.
If you absolutely need the information, then using javascript/ajax style forms are great. With these you only show a few fields at a time and if the appropriate radio button is selected, it opens additional fields to be filled in. The entire form is preloaded and will also integrate with a mobile version if you do it right. The idea is that if you get them mentally committed by filling out a few fields, they are more likely to fill out the remaining fields. These menus load quickly and are non-daunting.

Also, add an outgoing link to Wikipedia’s listing on CanSpam compliance. This may help gain you more of the trust element with Google since Google looks at your outgoing links and not just their relevance to the page it is linking out of, but also the trust factor of the website that it is linking to. To them it appears as if you are providing good content using this method. Read more about this in Tip #21.

Placements of “information request” forms are important as well. If you carry 100’s of products, don’t put a “request more information” button or form in your side navigation bar. Put one below each product and add script that will pre-fill the request form out so that all the end user need do is to add minimal personal information. (Tip: If you are in the UK, the post office can provide you with an API that will pull addresses based on post codes. When the end-user enters his/her post code, their address can be pre-populated which will increase your conversions while minimizing the number of fields needed to complete the lead/sale. If you are in a sector like auto insurance you can get access to the DVLA database that will pre-populate vehicle information. There are many of these types of databases out there. Some free, some will cost)

For those that are eTailers, or those who have actual physical products that they sell (not necessarily affiliate marketers) and are competitive with their competition and their pricing, put a Low Price Guarantee CTA (call to action) like the one that you see here. You’ll be surprised at the increase in sales opportunities that you will see. I’ve been doing this for 7 years and not only does it lend itself to keeping tabs on competitors that are violating a fixed-pricing structures, but it gives me an additional opportunity to cut the profit to earn a new customer for my client, and grow the lifetime value of that customer. “A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing”

Here is something to think about; what would you pay me to become a regular visitor or customer of your website? This offer includes a bookmark, a few recommendations to fellow users and I will eventually spend a few bucks because I’m ‘getting to know ya’.

My Answer: An amount equal to, or maybe a little more, than the amount that I estimated each visitors LTV (Lifetime Value) is. So whatever I calculate a converting customer’s total average purchases are worth to me. If my average customer makes 3 purchases for an average net profit of £/$25, their LTV is £/$75.

This is great information to have because if you get into paying for online customers, you will use this LTV to set CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) campaigns that sell you customers such as Google Adwords, Affiliate programs, or any of the various avenues for lead/sale aggregation.

As long as I can afford it, I’ll pay you my estimated LTV (Lifetime Value) because I know what a guy/gal like you are worth. You are better than ANY advertisement I could buy. How can I find 10 more of you? How about I pay you to tell your friends I like guys/gals like you? I’ll pay them just like you!
Figure out the value, or what you spend for each customer acquisition and figure out ways to spend it and get more of them buying from you before your competition does.

You will find that earning the trust of an online customer will be much more substantial than any other customer you ever have, or have ever had, or will ever get in the long-term future.

Especially in this new and upcoming age of social media and information exchange, these types of tactics are your number one priority, and this tip is, although not the best one here, another task you need to add to your daily arsenal.

7. Run Regular Monthly Basic SEO Checks

This is a list of basic SEO tasks that should be the first thing that you check on all of your pages. Many times I find myself looking for the more technical issues, only to find out from one of our freshman SEM’s that there was a 302 redirect rather than a 301, or worse, there was a doorway page or hidden text from a previous SEO company. So I’m including this list as a checklist for you to use.

1. Check for 302 redirects or any other redirects.
2. Check for Load Time, Browser Compatibility, Spell Check, and Link Check.
3. Check Server Headers
4. Code to Text Checker
5. Keyword Density
6. Spider Simulator
7. Plagiarism Checker
8. Atom & RSS Feed Validator
9. W3C Markup Validation Service
10. Domain Directory Checker (top 10 Directories)

8. Optimise Your 404 Page

The search engines look at traffic in their algorithms to “grade” a page. If you have a complicated URL, one that is commonly misspelled, or do something else that could endanger losing any existing links that are published out on the WWW, this is the landing page the visitor will get sent to. If it has your template and navigation from the rest of the site it will get indexed like a normal page. Change your title and meta to one of your keyword strings, add an image and relative content that reflects your keywords as well. I avoid placing the actual term “404” on the page.

Some of the ways 404 pages are reached are:

Bookmarked sites that have since been moved
The end-user made an error when typing in a url
A moved page is still indexed in the SERPS
There are broken links in your link structure

What are some tips when customizing your 404 error pages?

1. Put a link to your FAQ page
2. Put a link to your top level categories
3. Put a link to your sitemap
4. Create a template 404 page that blends with your site
5. Add a search box
6. Make your 404 pages look as close to your site theme as possible
7. Add true navigation to it.
8. Optimise this page with the same elements as your other pages (See Tip #21)

A simple statement like, “You have found this page in error, please select from the menu on the left side of this page” will do here, and you will retain more traffic.

9. Google Custom Desktop and Google Alerts for Content

If you are not using Google Customized Desktop, Google Reader, or some type of rss feed reader already, you should definitely start using one. The easiest way to accomplish this for a complete novice (but is actually the way I do it), is with your GMail account. This is something else you should already be using. For the data storage alone you should be using it. If you need an invitation to open one, send me a request and I’ll send an invite ( You will need a GMail account to use this tool.

With a GMail account you can go to the Google homepage and login using your email. In the top right corner is a link for “Add stuff”. It allows you to add specific URLs and it will pull the last 1-10 entries from that page and populate your Google Desktop. Here’s a snapshot of what mine looks like;

It isn’t the best snapshot but I wanted to show as much as possible. This is actually only about 1/3 of what I have on mine. These are different places that I used to go to individually to find information.

Google Alerts is a fantastic tool. You enter your search term and whenever Google finds your term while crawling the web it will send you and email with a link to it. I have alerts on everything from “google datacenters” to “DMOZ” and “Matt Cutts” to “Danny Sullivan”.

When I look for content, I use these as reference tools. They are not meant to be used to scrape content or plagiarize other websites.
There are many other uses for these if you put your head to it. :o)

10. Use Press Releases and Syndication

Press Releases are a fantastic way to get natural one-way links, and also attract fresh traffic. If they are done correctly they can be the main source for building traffic, gaining ranking positions and building trust with the search engines. But don’t just write them, send them to the right places.

In the United States I use PRWeb, and in the UK and Europe I use SourceWire to syndicate articles. Both originally started as PR companies before the web came around so they have excellent connections with real syndicated sources. The websites that they send the articles to, will re-syndicate them to even more websites. You will pay between £20-£40/$20-$60 depending on the amount that you send them.

The articles that you syndicate should be authoritative or about something that will attract people to it, like Top 12 SEO Tips for 2007, or Ten Reasons Why ______________. You should quote trusted authorities and always reference the source when possible. I use Wikipedia or news sources like Google News, BBC, or CNN. I believe this actually adds trust to an article and in 3-6 months when Google pushes out Page Rank, the probation period for giving you full value is reduced.

Valuable content will be a natural link bait and you will also get real traffic from it.

Pull a unique phrase from the article (mine is GaryTheScubaGuy) and add a Google Alert to it (#9 above). Choose to be alerted “as it happens”. When you get an alert (typically within 6-12 hours), go to the page and place a Social Bookmark on the page. (I will talk more about this technique in the next tip.)

11. THE SECRET WEAPON - Social Bookmarking

Wikipedia defines it this way:

In a social bookmarking system, users store lists of Internet resources that they find useful. These lists are either accessible to the public or a specific network, and other people with similar interests can view the links by category, tags, or even randomly. Most social bookmarking services allow users to search for bookmarks which are associated with given "tags", and rank the resources by the number of users which have bookmarked them. Many social bookmarking services also have implemented algorithms to draw inferences from the tag keywords that are assigned to resources by examining the clustering of particular keywords, and the relation of keywords to one another.

GaryTheScubaGuy defines it this way:

One of the best free ways to get increased ranking, back links and traffic, for very little time commitment other than setup.
This very moment most search engine algorithms are placing a ton of weight on end-user ‘bookmarking’, ‘tagging’ or one of various types of end-user generated highlighting.

Before doing any of this run a rank report to track your progress. I have tested this on terms showing on page one, on terms ranked 11th through 12th and others buried around pages 5-10. It works on them all in different time frames, and they last for different periods of time. This you will need to test yourself.

Be careful because you don’t want to be identified as a spammer. Be sure to use genuine content that provides a benefit to the user.
Here is how I recommend doing this.

1. Download this; Roboform. (It says it will limit you but I’ve had as many as 30+ passwords created and stored in the trial version) This will allow you to quickly fill out signup forms and store passwords for the 10 Bookmark sites that I am going to be sending you to.

2. Within Roboform go to the custom area and put a username and password in, as well as your other information that sites usually ask for to register. This way when you are using these different bookmarks it’s a 1-click login in and becomes a relatively quick and painless procedure.

3. Establish accounts with these Social Bookmark Sites;

a. Digg
b. Technorati
d. NowPublic
e. StumbleUpon
f. BlinkList
g. Spurl
h. Furl
i. Slashdot
j. Simpy
k. Google Toolbar (w/Google Bookmarking)

4. Internet Explorer, Firefox and most other browsers have an “add a tab” option, but I use Firefox because I can bookmark the login pages in one file, then “open all tabs” in one click. From here I click on each tab and in most cases, if you set it up right, Roboform will have already logged you in. Otherwise you’re on the login page and by clicking on the Roboform button everything is prefilled, all you need to do is click submit. (some of the bookmark sites will allow you to add their button into your browser bar, or you can get an extension from Firefox like the Digg Add-on to make things quicker)

5. Lastly, Install the Google Toolbar. It has a bookmark function as well, and you can import all your bookmarks from Firefox directly into it. Google looks at many different things when assigning rank and trust. For instance, when you search for something and go into a website, Google will remember how long you stayed, how deep you went, and if you came back out into the search to select another site, which means you didn’t find what you were looking for. This is all part of the Privacy Issues that have been in the news.

Here’s what Google actually says! "The Google Toolbar automatically sends only standard, limited information to Google, which may be retained in Google's server logs. It does not send any information about the web pages you visit (e.g., the URL), unless you use Toolbar's advanced features.”

They practically spell it out for you. Use their bookmark feature just like you were doing the social bookmarking I outlined above. This is just one more click.

Some of the elements that Google looks at when grading a website are;
How much time did the average visitor spend on the site?
What is the bounce rate on the landing page?
How many end-users bookmarked the page?
How many users returned to the search query and then on to a different site?

Each time you publish an article put a Google Alert on a unique phrase. Each time Google sends you an alert, bookmark it on every bookmark site. This will take some getting used to, but will eventually become second-nature. Remember what I said in the beginning; “One of the best free ways to get links and traffic, for very little time commitment other than setup”.

When you start seeing traffic coming in and your SERPs getting better you will use the heck out of this. I’m waiting for someone to come out with software that will automate this process completely, but by the time that hits nofollows may come into play. But for the time being it works and it works well.

(Update: Found one) Bookmark Demon and Blog Comment Demon|]. It automates the process.

Since I am sure someone is going to refute this claim based on the fact that if the site has a no-follow on it, the results will be nonexistent, I’ll just add that - yes it does still get indexed, and it does still help.

One more thing regarding posting to blogs and forums. When I create an account I sign up and use a very unique member name (eg. GaryTheScubaGuy). This is because many blogs and forums have a no-follow, which means the link in your signature or on your member name won’t show up. So I also sign, or add my member name to the bottom of my post, then add a Google Alert on my signature so that when Google finds the post, it will alert me, and I will then start bookmarking the forum page.

12. Create a Small Google Adwords Account - 5 Great Reasons Why

Creating a small Adwords account will give you valuable information quickly, whether you are getting traffic or not. Look around for a $50 promotional coupon. Start out with a £/$100 account. Use this tool Keyword Elite to build your keyword list. This is the best tool I have used in close to 7 years of managing over 10 million in adwords campaign across all sectors, competitive or not. I won’t get into the particulars; I’ll just say get it and learn it. Put all your max bids at the minimum. Be sure to set up Google Analytics (add a dummy file to your server) and the conversion tracking (one line of code) into your thank you page to monitor what keywords are converting.

This will give you valuable information that you can use to improve your site like what keywords are converting into sales rather than just traffic,

Five Great Reasons Why:

1. Test navigational elements for the best CTR
2. Track keywords to conversions to designate individual page creation
3. Identify primary and secondary keyword
4. Establish estimated conversion costs
5. Get a head start on traffic and sales

13. Create A Multi-Source Rss feeds to Internal Pages

When I say multiple its because the majority of people who add rss feeds, add one, and this will eventually look like duplicate content if the moons line up correctly, or if you simple get a feed that doesn’t refresh that often and Google crawls your site and someone else’s site and sees the same content. Although there is only a remote chance of this happening, I would still take the extra step to feed it via multiple feeder sites.

This content should be placed on-page (within your content) rather than in your navigation. Most search engines will parse (remember) your navigation anyhow so the benefit of having the content in your navigation is minimal. Put it within the content, preferably near the bottom of the page above the footer. This means that each time the spiders return they will crawl through to the end to get to the fresh content. (Be sure your page is under 30-40kb)

I use Power Rss for this. Or, if you have a Joomla site, this has a built-in feature that you can read about here: Joomla Simple RSS Feeder.


To go to part two of the above whitepaper please click on the following link:


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