SEO Made Simple – book summary and review

seo

A good friend of mine runs his own company. He always paid 3rd parties to handle his SEO but, as a developer, he felt he should put the effort into learning, at least the basics, so that he could understand if the money he’s spending on these services has a good ROI. So a few days ago he came to me all enthusiastic about this great SEO book. I love learning new stuff, and today, whatever your business is – you have a website, so SEO becomes more and more important. Now, I already read plenty of stuff about search engine optimization (there’s tons of free stuff on the web), but I never really read anything that was structured in a methodical way, well organized and that goes over all the different subjects – I couldn’t resist borrowing (and soon after’ ordering) it!

Relatively, it’s a short book (about 130 pages) but it summaries all the basic principles of SEO, it provides all the “DO’s” and “DON’Ts”. I was already a few pages into the book when a thought came into my mind: why not create a short summary of this book, and add my own “take” during the process. Now you might think, if I already got the summary – why should I buy the book ? well – you really don’t have too (I’m not getting paid any commission :D ), but, bare this in mind and it’s true for any good technical book – you can’t read it once (let along summary) and grasp it, you’ll find yourself going back to the book, again and again, looking up things you read but don’t remember exactly to the small details. And besides, I believe that if someone took the time and effort to write a book, and the outcome is good – he should be rewarded!

After this long intro, let’s get down to business, here it goes:

Meta Tags

TITLE

Keyword/phrases – up to 7 words, can be two phrases separated by “|”

DESCRIPTION

Use your keywords twice (not more!) – do not stuff keywords – it has to be a good description (seems natural) for click-through rate

KEYWORDS

Less important. Do not repeat the same keyword consecutively (i.e. marketing, marketing resources,…) avoid stuffing!

ROBOTS

<meta name=”robots” content=”all”> encourages crawlers to crawl ALL the pages in your website

URLs

FORMATTING

Content first, clean code (http://validator.w3.org), no JS no flash no styling – extract all non-SEO relevant data to external files), heading tags (1-3 is enough), title, alt tags, favicon, proper keywords placement, internal linking (using navigation menus and anchor text) and sitemap.xml. If your site loads fast (pagespeed/YSlow!) – You’ll get extra points with Google, same goes for schema.org

CONTENT FIRST

The location of the content should be “above” the links, if possible, always think about the order in which crawlers scan the page.
A good example to “content first” will be:

1 Header – logo etc.
2 3 Content
4 Menu/links

 

PROPER KEYWORD PLACEMENT

Place your keywords in:

  • meta-tags
  • title
  • headers
  • first 25 words of the page
  • last 25 words of the page
  • bold font (at least once)
  • italic or underline font (at least once)
  • in the footer/ copyright section
  • define the content of your site in general terms
  • identify keywords related to the topic
  • use google keyword tool
  • select 10-30 keywords based on:
    • at least 3000 monthly searches
    • less than 50,000 monthly searches
    • eliminate unnatural phrases
    • commercial intent – conversion of a keyword in the range of (0,1)
    • KEI (keyword effectiveness index) – calculated by the formula [number of monthly searches/number of competing sites] where number of competing sites is the number of results that returns from Google. Rule of thumb: this should be less than 3M.
    • Most important: research the competition!
      • Use wordtracker (free trial)
      • Use FF plugin: SEO quake
      • More relevant tools in the link in the header
      • Find top ranking sites for these keywords and check their SEO (on-page, alexa etc.) look for:
        • Website URL
        • Google PR (don’t compete with sites that have PR6 or more)
        • Number of backlinks – no rule of thumb here
        • Keyword in meta-tags, headers, title, first and last 25 words, bold, italic and underline
        • Use NO MORE than 2-3 keywords per page

Keywords development

 

Off-Page SEO

  • The most important: about 85% of the weight of PR (vs. 15% on-page)
  • Directory & search engines submissions
  • It’s not the number of the backlinks – it’s the quality (PR)
  • It’s not only the quality but also the relevancy of these sites (backlinks)
  • Link types: one-way (best), reciprocal (link exchange/swap/partners), three-way (also good)
  • Build “partner page” with reciprocal links – not more than 100 (link farm). Place a link to this page from your home-page
  • Use “title” in href as well as good anchor text (can be two phrases separate by “|”), rel=”dofollow” and target=”_blank”
  • Link building using articles (1-2 per week)
  • Publish the article on your website first
  • Submit to article directories using spinner (about 25 directories per week)
  • Keep publishing moderately – otherwise google might consider it as SPAM
  • Directory submission: DMOZ, submit only to directories that review manually, reciprocal-links are good as long as the link to your site has higher PR than yours. Use directory submission software – do not SPAM.
  • Register your blog with directories: DMOZGoogleTechnorati.
  • Design your blog for SEO using on-page optimization techniques
  • Add RSS feed (needs to be updated regularly)
  • Update sitemap.xml (needs to be updated regularly)
  • Write weekly posts and submit to ping-o-matic
  • Enter your keywords in the “Name” field
  • Use real email address
  • Use complete URL
  • DO NOT post links in the comment
  • Write a good comment: relevant and at least 3 sentences long.
  • Google: “high PR do follow blogs” to find blogs for comments
  • Follow blogs with high PR so you can comment there from time to time – never comment more than once on the same post
  • Update new content at sites like: deliciousreddit and Digg
  • Add social buttons to your blog, you can use services like AddThis
  • Usually cost money – but it can be done in affordable ways
  • Create content which will be interesting and NEW enough to get picked up by News-sites:
    • Create a poll. A recommended way to do this is in your blog! 100 voters will be enough for first-time, usually 250 voters is a good threshold
    • Use services like surveyMonkey (~$20)
    • Press release distribution services usually cost in the range of $1-250
    • You can use a press release each time you add a new feature to your site
    • PRWeb – good but a bit pricey, PR-Inside and Free press release are more affordable for beginners
    • Find press release which already rank high for your desired keywords
    • Find forums related to your niche with high PR and “live” activity
    • Important: does the forum allows “do follow” links in the signature?
    • Many signatures allow up to 3 links – using 2 is enough
    • Some forums require you posting 10 comments before allowing you to use a signature
    • Use your keywords in the signature wisely
    • If you want to start promoting new keywords and you change your signature – it might affect old comments!
    • Posts/Comments should be relevant, meaningful and valuable
    • The goal is ~10 forums which you’ll regularly post/comment
    • It requires a lot of work! Consider outsourcing it only after you’ve posted at least the first round!

Blogging

  • Register your blog with directories: DMOZGoogleTechnorati.
  • Design your blog for SEO using on-page optimization techniques
  • Add RSS feed (needs to be updated regularly)
  • Update sitemap.xml (needs to be updated regularly)
  • Write weekly posts and submit to ping-o-matic

Blog commenting

  • Enter your keywords in the “Name” field
  • Use real email address
  • Use complete URL
  • DO NOT post links in the comment
  • Write a good comment: relevant and at least 3 sentences long.
  • Google: “high PR do follow blogs” to find blogs for comments
  • Follow blogs with high PR so you can comment there from time to time – never comment more than once on the same post

Social bookmarks

  • Update new content at sites like: deliciousreddit and Digg
  • Add social buttons to your blog, you can use services like AddThis

Press Releases

  • Usually cost money – but it can be done in affordable ways
  • Create content which will be interesting and NEW enough to get picked up by News-sites:
    • Create a poll. A recommended way to do this is in your blog! 100 voters will be enough for first-time, usually 250 voters is a good threshold
    • Use services like surveyMonkey (~$20)
  • Press release distribution services usually cost in the range of $1-250
  • You can use a press release each time you add a new feature to your site
  • PRWeb – good but a bit pricey, PR-Inside and Free press release are more affordable for beginners
  • Find press release which already rank high for your desired keywords

Forum Marketing

  • Find forums related to your niche with high PR and “live” activity
  • Important: does the forum allows “do follow” links in the signature?
  • Many signatures allow up to 3 links – using 2 is enough
  • Some forums require you posting 10 comments before allowing you to use a signature
  • Use your keywords in the signature wisely
  • If you want to start promoting new keywords and you change your signature – it might affect old comments!
  • Posts/Comments should be relevant, meaningful and valuable
  • The goal is ~10 forums which you’ll regularly post/comment
  • It requires a lot of work! Consider outsourcing it only after you’ve posted at least the first round!

Authority links: profile sites

Site in which you create a profile and can use it to comment, mainly forums, wikies, communities and such. There are services like Angela’s links that provide you with monthly high-PR profile sites [alfasin: I’m not sure how good this website is!].

SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

This part deserves a dedicated book, SEO Made Simple doesn’t say much about it, but it does provide rules of thumb: in every major social network (Facebook, Tweeter, Pinterest, Instagram etc.) – create a profile and as part of your profile link back to your website.

Facebook – you can create and promote a fan-page

Tweeter – use tags and lists (hash tags #) to link back and promote your content

YouTube – create a monthly video to promote you site, you can create a dedicated channel, in the beginning of the video description link back to your website and use your keywords

Google places – open an account and keep updating on a monthly basis with pictures and new content

Important:

Beware of fully automated tools! Consider outsourcing specific tasks instead. Recommended sites for outsource: odeskelance and upwardsseo, there are other famous outsource sites like: gurugetafreelancer and 99designs.

 

 


What can I say, Michael Fleischner did a wonderful job!
Now back to programming (to be continued…)

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SEO Made Simple – book summary and review