The Rules of SEO Have Changed

It has been a while since I updated the blog. During that time the factors on which Google places a lot of importance when ranking a website have changed. It seems as if article marketing is now pretty worthless as a method of getting useful back-links to a website. Google is now interested to know how long the average visitor stays on a page of your website and whether or not they fill in a contact form or interact with you in some way. We are now told unique and interesting content is more important than ever.

The website that I originally built for the Learning WordPress project has changed accordingly. The original site was optimised for the phrase ‘personalised reg plates’ and had a similar domain. The site is now optimised for the phrase ‘private number plates’ and is still a source of knowledge and information aimed at the British motorist.

Having taken onboard the recent updates to the Google algorithm a lot of effort has gone into http://www.privatenumberplates4u.co.uk so that it provides a useful experience for the website visitor. The tactical switch seems to be paying off as the site now ranks on page 4 of Google for a very competitive search term for which there are over 17 million search results.

The factor that hasn’t changed is that WordPress is still a great platform upon which to build a website. If I was starting again today I would still use WordPress for my website. Even better, it would appear that Google loves WordPress as well.

Domain Choice is Important

They say hindsight is a wonderful thing. I agree.

The learning WordPress Blog centres around the information website I built on the subject of personalised registration plates. There are several terms used to describe the said product and I made the wrong choice when it came to my domain name.

It seems it is important to have the name of the product or service that your website is about, contained within the domain. In other words, if your website offers contact lenses for sale to the UK market, your domain should be something like contactlensesforsale with the .co.uk extension.

It is also important to know how your potential clients search for your product or service. I picked the term ‘personalised reg plates’ when in fact I should have known that ‘private number plates’ and personalised number plates’ are far more popular search terms. My choice of domain only receives a few hundred searches in Google every month. As a result I have bought a new domain and got rid of the old domain.

It is not always easy to incorporate your product into the domain, especially if your domain is associated to your company name.  There is an alternative way to get around this though by cleverly using the url part of the domain. As an example, if you sold football boots and your business name was ABC Sports, you may own the domain abcsports.co.uk. To incorporate your product you could call the page on your website that sells football boots; abcsports.co.uk/footballbootsforsale.

Having an appropriately named url will help you with your efforts to rank high in the search engines, which will in turn bring you more business. My mistake was not carrying out keyword research before I bought my domain.

Don’t Believe Everything You Are Told

If you run a business which has a website you will have received plenty of sales calls before today. I also receive these calls and will listen to what I am being told before deciding if it is a good thing for my business. I don’t mind if someone is offering me a product or service which offers good value. What I do object to is people attempting to mislead me in order to try and win my business.

I had one such call the other day from an online directory trying to sell me a paid inclusion. My argument was why would someone go to an online directory to locate a product or supplier when they can simply search in one of the popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing.

The lady I was speaking to pointed out that the online directory she was promoting had a top three position in all of the popular search engines for the search phrase ‘business finder’. Her argument was that people are more inclined to search for ‘business finder’ before going on to locate an actual company or business.

In real terms she was suggesting that if Mr. Jones wanted to buy a new car cd player, rather than typing ‘car cd player’ into Google he is more likely to type in ‘business finder’, click through to an online directory and then search for a car cd supplier in the Car Audio section of the directory.

Just to back up my initial thought that she was talking nonsense, I checked to see how many monthly searches are performed in the UK for the phrase ‘business finder’. The answer is a not very impressive 1,000 exact monthly searches. That term is supposed to cover lots of different people searching for lots of different products and services.

If we take just that one search phrase for ‘car cd player’ there are 1,300 exact searches performed every month in the UK. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t believe everything you are told. Especially when it is from somebody who is trying to sell you somehing on the back of wild and unbelievable claims.

Article Syndication Networks

To get your articles distributed far and wide across the internet you may wish to consider article syndication networks. These networks are a collection of blogs and websites which are open to receiving content. The sites that make up these networks are generally owned and operated by individuals who will publish the content supplied via the network if it meets their standards.

These article syndication networks can consist of over one thousand potential sites where your article could be published. There is usually a monthly recurring membership fee to pay which could be anywhere between $50 – $120 so you have to be serious about getting your content out there.

The biggest advantage to using these networks is the possibility of having your content (and links back to your site) live on hundreds of websites very quickly. Most networks allow you to actually include a backlink within the content of the article, as opposed to a resource box type link at the foot of the article.

Article syndication networks can put your seo campaign into overdrive but it does come at a price. One method is to get your content ready so it can be distributed over a three month period perhaps. This way you only have to subscribe for a short period of time and thus can reduce the costs associated with article syndication networks.

Submit Your Article to Article Directories

Once your article has been accepted by EzineArticles you may wish to have your content published on other similar article directories.

It is definitely worth rewriting or spinning your article content before you start submitting to other directories. If you simply distribute the same article, the search engines will view it as duplicate content. There is no real benefit in indexing the same article twice within the search engine results.

If you spin or rewrite the same article by mixing up a few words and sentences it may get indexed by the search engines as a different article. This way you get multiple links back to your blog or website via the resource box. There are software packages available which make the process of spinning much easier.

Here is a list of top tier article directories which you may wish to submit to after your content has been approved by EzineArticles.

IdeaMarketers.com
GoArticles.com
ArticleDashboard.com
Buzzle.com
SearchWarp.com

By getting your article published across several article directories you are maximising the number of potential links back to your website or blog. You may also pick up a few new readers and subscribers along the way.

Article Marketing

One of the most effective ways of publicising your blog or website is to use a concept called article marketing. The idea is that you share your knowledge in the form of a short article consisting of between 300 – 400 words. You then submit your article to article directories who may or may not choose to publish and promote your content on their website.

Ezinearticles.com is one of the most popular article directories. The benefit to the blog or website owner is that as well as being able to share your content with an audience that you may not have otherwise reached, you also get to put a back-link in a resource box at the bottom of your article. The back-link allows the reader of your published article to click over to your website if the subject is of interest. It also counts as a vote of confidence for your blog or website in the eyes of Google and the other search engines.

Here is an example of a published article on the subject of private number plates on the EzineArticles website. Whilst there isn’t a resource ‘box’ as such, there are a couple of lines of text at the bottom of the article which point the reader in the direction of a website. There is also a link to the author; Geoff Jones which allows the reader to view other articles published by the same writer.

Article marketing is seen as a good way of sharing good, quality content whilst at the same time increasing the opportunity of getting new visitors to your website. It is very easy to do and in most cases the content is already written and published on your own website or blog. Simply create an interesting article and submit it to several article directories and you may see the number of visitors to your website increase.

How to Explain Technology to Newbies

WordPressBlog Tutorial

Ever since my last post I have been trying to think of ways to create interesting content for my blog. It seems video is one of the best ways of entertaining and informing your blog visitors.

Sometimes a huge block of text can put you off even starting the first sentence. We are all familiar with watching broadcast content in the form of TV, films, news etc. Thinking back I learned most of my new WordPress skills by watching tutorial type videos on YouTube.

It was my intention to upload one of the videos from YouTube which I felt explained blogging perfectly to someone with no prior knowledge. Unfortunately I can’t work out how to upload a video to my blog!

I have however managed to get a link to the video at the top of this post. Without further delay please click on the link and watch a fantastic introduction to blogging courtesy of Dr. Ket-Sang Tai.

Creating a Useful, Information-Rich Website

One piece of advice offered by Google under the heading of Webmaster Guidelines is to create a useful, information-rich site. Thinking about it, this is one of the most crucial parts of building a website.

Whilst it could be argued that search engine optimisation (seo) is a form of manipulation, even Google accepts that seo has a part to play in how it views your website and ultimately how your website is ranked. Google’s definition of seo may be slightly different to a lot of other people’s ideas of what exactly seo is.

Whilst there may be some tips and tricks which help to push a website higher up the search engine rankings, by creating a useful, information-rich website you take away the necessity for a lot of those tips and tricks. Thinking about the websites that you spend more time viewing than any others, what is it about those websites that draws you in? I’m guessing it probably isn’t how high up the search engine rankings the website appears. The chances are that your favourite websites will rank well as a consequence of useful and interesting content.

Even if a website managed to trick you into visiting just because it ranked well, you probably would hit the back button pretty quick if the content didn’t meet your expectations. I am now rethinking the whole concept of seo and looking at it from a different perspective.

Rather than creating a mediocre website and putting a lot of time and effort into trying to get it to zoom up the search engine results pages, I should be aiming to create a website which is so fascinating and stimulating that people want to view it and subsequently keep coming back to view it time and time again. I bet companies such as Facebook, The BBC, YouTube and Wikipedia spend very little time on the aspect of seo which involves manipulating how they are ranked by search engines.

So here is my new challenge. Rather than trying to draw people in to both this website and my information website using seo tips and tricks, I am going to try to make both websites so interesting and compelling that people will want to visit just to for the content provided.

My guilty conscience is starting to repair itself already!

Getting Inbound Links

Okay back to the job at hand.

The task is to rank well for the search term ‘personalised reg plates’ so that people can at least find my website. An information based website is no use to anyone if it can’t be found.

As it stands today the website ranks in Bing on page one, ninth position. It is still nowhere to be seen in either Yahoo or Google. Having hopefully resolved the email problems I can start submitting my website to directories again. Unfortunately all of the previous hard work has come to nothing. Any activation or confirmation emails were getting bounced back to the sender and did not get through to me. I’m still annoyed about that.

One other approach to get the website to show up in the search engine results is to promote this Learning How To Use WordPress blog. As I mentioned previously, the fact that there are links from this blog to my information website means we can effectively do two jobs at once.

By promoting this Learning How To Use WordPress blog, we are also drawing the search engines attention to the links that point away from this blog. One of those links happens to be to our information site about Personalised Reg Plates.

In my opinion this strategy is better for two reasons. First we are promoting two websites at the same time and second the subject of learning how to use WordPress is more appealing to the general public than discovering the best ways to buy a personalised reg plate.

I have been trying out a new strategy today in a bid to get links pointing back to this blog. I have been reading other blogs on the subjects of WordPress, blog posting and getting inbound links. I have then contributed to those blogs by posting my own comments. In most cases you are given the opportunity to include your own website’s url in the comment post. If your comment post is accepted (it may have to be approved by the blog owner first) you gain a link back to your own blog. Simple!

The highest number of visitors a day to this blog so far (don’t laugh) is eight. To be honest the majority of those visits was probably down to me posting several times in a single day. Hopefully now we may get a few links and more visitors to this blog as a result of my post comments on other people’s blogs. Standby.

Roundcube is My First Choice

Contrary to what I wrote in the last post about email handling programmes, I actually find roundcube the easiest of the three options. It is very similar to Microsoft Outlook in my opinion and as I am familiar with Outlook using Roundcube seems easy.

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