Wow, it’s been far too long since I updated this blog with a fresh post. Sorry about that! Work has been extremely busy lately. Hopefully most of you have been following my latest updates on my Facebook and Twitter pages!
I figured today I’d write an accomplishment that I’m quite proud to have achieved. That accomplishment is getting my main portfolio site Sebastian Agosta in the top 10 search results for the term “Windsor web design” on both Google and Bing!
Considering the fact that the site is still less than a year old, I consider this type of ranking quite an accomplishment. As you’ll see in the images below, my website will show up in about the 5th or 6th spot for “Windsor web design” on Google and the 2nd or 3rd spot on Bing. Of course this varies depending on your location as well as which browser you’re using, but generally this is where I’ve placed! I’ve also placed for similar terms such as “Windsor web designer” and “Windsor online marketing”.
I achieved these results with a lot of hard work over the last 9 months which included; link trading, proper URL structure and plenty of useful and unique content that other blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts were happy to link to!
Here are a couple of the results I found when searching on Google and Bing earlier today.
Neither of these results are guaranteed to be there forever, however I feel that the work I put it will help them both stay up in the top 10 for months to come. Of course my work here isn’t done either. My plan is to be in the #1 spot in both search engines within the next year!
*If you test these results yourself, you may see slightly different results. I was using Google Chrome and searching Google.ca and Bing.com without being logged in to either.
When it comes to creating a blog online, there is no better content management system than WordPress. Not only is it easy to use, operate and install, but it offers some of the best plugins for web designers and online marketers. Whenever I setup a WordPress blog, there are a few plugins that I always install just after I install WordPress. Some of these plugins just make the site look more professional, some of them help with social media and SEO and some of them are just fun to have on the site!
1) All in One SEO Pack – This one is pretty self explanatory, but a definite must have for anyone hoping to rank better in the search engines. This plugin allows you to create post specific titles and descriptions as well as create search engine friendly URL’s.
2) Configurable Tag Cloud – CTC takes all the tags you’ve used in your posts and allows you to make fancy tag clouds out of them. An example of this can be seen to your left. I’ve used the tag cloud to customize which tags I want bigger and which I want smaller.
3) WP-PostViews – WP-PostViews counts how many clicks each of your posts and pages have. You can then use this information to create widgets which you can add to your sidebar. This is great if you want to create a “Most Popular Posts” widget that allows people to see the most popular posts and how many views they have.
4) WP-Socializer – If you look at the bottom of each of my posts, you’ll find a bunch of icons that can be used by you to help promote or “like” my info. That’s exactly what this plugin does. They have over 100 icons from various social media sites around the web that you can use.
5) WP-reCAPTCHA – Tired of blog comment spam? Add this plugin to your WordPress and it will easily help cut out 90% of blog comment spam. As you can see from my comment section below, you have to put in a “human verification” code. This prevents “bots” from spamming your blog without actually visiting it.
As a search engine optimization consultant, I always like to re-visit a project 6-8 months after it’s been completed to see how it’s doing in the search engine rankings. Tony Rauti Luxury Homes was a web design I completed back in January. They also wanted some search engine optimization done because the old version of their website wasn’t achieving the results they desired in the search engine rankings.
Initially they wanted to go after general terms such as; “home builders” and “luxury homes”, but since they target traffic in the Windsor and Essex County area, I explained that they would be better off being a bit more specific. We eventually decided that going for keywords such as; “custom home builders Windsor”, “luxury homes Windsor” and “home builders Windsor” would be much more beneficial.
I focused most of my time doing on-site SEO, making sure my web design was optimized for the search engines. I used my META tags properly and created content that focused on the particular keywords we discussed. I then did a little off-site SEO by changing the text on any link that was pointing to Tony Rauti Luxury Homes to ensure it had our main keywords in it.
After roughly 7 months, I’m happy to report that Tony Rauti Luxury Homes is doing very well in the search engines, in particular on Google.
Even though these particular keywords don’t have that much competition, I still consider this a great SEO success! The domain/site is less than a year old and it’s already gaining a lot of Google’s respect. Most importantly, in the last 6 months Tony Rauti Luxury Homes has received 159.9% more search engine traffic than it did in the previous 6 months!
*If you test these results yourself, you may see slightly different results. I was using Google Chrome and searching Google.ca without being logged in.
The other day I had a meeting with a potential client and we got into a discussion about search engine optimization. She had done a bit of reading about it and had a couple of questions about what she should and shouldn’t do to help SEO her websites. One of the first questions she asked me is whether or not she should throw a bunch of her keywords in the footer of her page and hide them by making them the same color as the background. This is a HUGE no-no when it comes to search engine optimization. It did give me a good idea for a post though! Here are 5 SEO mistakes beginners tend to make.
1) Overusing keyword(s) in content – Even people with a minimum amount of SEO experience tend to know that you want your keyword(s) in the content of your site. This makes them think the more they use it in the content of the site, the better it is. That’s not the case. You definitely want to use your keyword in content, but you definitely don’t want to overuse it. I usually say 3 or 4 times on a page is more than enough.
2) Doing too many link trades too quickly – Google changed the search engine when they decided that the more links your website has going to it, the more your page will climb up the rankings. This started the world of link trades. No, Google doesn’t want you doing link trades – Yes you should still do them. Just don’t go crazy. Mix up the keywords you get for your trades and DON’T get too many trades all at once. If Google sees your site go from 0 links to 100 in a week, they’ll penalize you.
3) Only using keywords in meta description – The meta description tag is just that – a description. You don’t want to use a bunch of your keywords in your meta description, separated by commas, pipes or just spaces. You want to write out a full description for you meta tag in paragraph form.
4) Hiding keywords in the footer – I touched on this in the opening. You don’t want to place a bunch of your keywords in the footer of your site and hide them by making them the same color as your background. This type of thing worked for maybe a month or two back in 2004, it definitely doesn’t work anymore.
5) Only targeting one keyword – I understand that most people only want to target one keyword like “wedding shows” by why limit yourself? When acquiring links from link trades or creating content for your website, you should target 2 or 3 keywords. Why not go with “wedding shows”, “wedding dresses” and “wedding planning”?
There are probably another 10 SEO mistakes beginners make, but these are a few glaring ones. Stay away from these 5 and you’re on the right track. The last thing you want is Google to penalize your site or even worse – ban it from their search results all together!
For those of you looking to increase your knowledge on search engine optimization, I want to recommend the book titled Outsmarting Google by Evan Bailyn. I’ve read several SEO books, tutorials and blogs in the past few years, however Outsmarting Google is the one I agree with most. Evan focuses most of the novel on how to get to the top of Google’s search engine rankings organically. He also has a chapter or two about social network marketing, Yahoo, Bing and also his thoughts on where search engine optimization will go in the future.
Mr. Bailyn preaches that there are five keys to getting to the top of Google’s search rankings; keyword rankings, inbound links, TrustRank, Meta page title and URL structure. He claims that everything else you’ve heard from SEO forums and SEO “experts” is mostly hearsay. He spends a lot of his time talking about inbound links and TrustRank and says anyone who believes these two aren’t the most important factors in search engine optimization, have no idea what they’re talking about.
I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who is considering learning about SEO. Evan clearly has years of experience in the field and it comes across that way very clearly in his book. He even shows examples of his work and offers a view “secret tips” that are only available in his book. To give you an idea of how interested in Outsmarting Google I was… I downloaded the book to my iPod on a Monday and was finished it by Friday.