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TIPS, HINTS & ADVICE ON
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION


Please note: because of my commitments to the websites associated with my books, I no longer have time to add new articles to this page. That should not stop you reading them. This is for two key reasons:

1 Because they are mainly about the basics of digital marketing, they still have relevance today, and

2 They represent the history of online marketing - if such a short period can be described as 'history'.

If you want to fully understand the subject well enough to earn a living in the discipline - or just pass an assignment - read them and learn.



I find that students new to SEO often struggle with what it is actually all about - so here is an analogy that I think helps: search engine optimization - it's about the relationship


KEYWORDS : I consider the issue of choosing keywords to be essential in SEO, and there are quite a few articles on it, so I've given the subject its own page, see - keyword selection.

The science of organic optimization is not finite - and arguments rage amongst even those who are experts in the field. This article - don't let navigation be your downfall - expresses something I have always thought was the case, that the more basic the script of a web page the easier it is for the search engines to read them. Of course, I'm not an expert.

This one is aimed at the SME - 20 dont's of SEO - though don't forget that not all SEO practice is agreed by all SEO practitioners. And from the same author - 21 Essential SEO Tips & Techniques - perhaps a bit basic, but hey, many [including me] argue that organic listing is all about getting the basics right. Here's another which deals with the basics, the title says it all - Search Engine Optimization Basics

Follow the responses to this and you will see it caused a bit of a storm. However, whether you agree or disagree with the tone of this article - it is an excellent example of how to analyse search marketing ROI - 'Doing Search' Only Counts If You're Seen

Back in the early days, Danny Sullivan was the first 'expert' on search that I came across. He is still my first port of call on the subject. Here are two lists from his Search Engine land site that point you at where help is available. The first, on search term research helps you select key words, whilst the second - on search behaviour - looks at the subject from the other side by looking at what terms searchers use.

Two things to note in this article - Link Analysis Beyond Search Rank. First, it shows just how complex serious SEM is if you are in a competitive market, and second - how search can be an element of the organization's marketing inteligence gathering efforts.

The Coke Vs. Pepsi Challenge: Who Redirects Better? I've listed this for a couple of reasons. First, it gives a background to what 'redirects' are, and how they impact on SEO. But as many folks would never come across this issue [it is usually related to changing the domain name of your web presence] I have included it as an example of what a 'good' SEO consultant should know. So if you are looking to out-source your SEO, try asking the candidates some of the stuff in this article as a test of their abilities. Note that there is third - personal - reason for including this. It is to remind me that although I know a bit about SEO - enough that folk ask my advice - I only really know the basics. The author of this article knows SEO to a much greater depth than I ever will.

With a title of 'How To Optimize B2B Pay Per Click In 4 Hours A Week' this article needs no intro from me - part one and part two.

This article - The SEO of Everyday Pages - is a bit heavy going, but stick with it - the advice is sound, and is another issue that could be filed under 'well duh', but few SE optimizers practice it.

The subject of this article is in its title - Search Engine Marketing: Outsource or In-House? - but it also shows how SEO should be practiced if it's to be done properly.

If you really know your blogging and your search optimization, this article - Twelve SEO Mistakes Most Bloggers Make - is good stuff.

The title of this one is self-explanatory - Top Ten Organic SEO Myths - and the points raised are interesting. But are they accurate? The answer is, who knows? For example, I have just read some research [sorry, it's not available to the public] that strongly suggests that 'myth' number 7 is absolutely true. Harrumph.

This blog entry - 20 Hard Core SEO Tips - throws down a challenge to some accepted methods - whilst it makes some good points, to carry them all out would take most of the working week, every week.

Both 50+ things every link builder needs to know and 51 essential link building tips do what they say in the title - including several you don't see in many similar lists. The title of this one also betrays its content - 21 Link Builders Share Advanced Link Building Queries. However, don't skip over it because it looks scary - this is another example of what the serious players in your industry are doing to make sure they are top of the SERPs for key words in your marketplace. If you are looking for something a little more basic, try A Link Building Blueprint: Utility Linking.

As the search engines [read: Google] work on delivering searchers personalized search results so the emphasis moves to local search. Certainly the author of Where To Get Citations For Local SEO thinks 'local' is the new black as far as SEO is concerned. The content is rather US-centric [the list of 'aggregators', for example, can be used only as a guide to the types of directories to look for outside of America] but still good.

It's a running commentary that [a] no one knows what works in SEO, and [b] no one can agree on an absolute solution - but here's a reasonable attempt at addressing both issues - search ranking factors. Note that this is simply one that I have come across, there are hundreds, if not thousands out there.

Getting in-bound links can raise your site's SE ranking. Here are a few articles on the subject. There's No Such Thing As A Worthless Link. This one adds a couple of new points on the subject - Linking Prowess For In-House Teams

Search engines no longer list simply web pages, this article addresses that issue - Optimizing for Universal and Blended Search.

There is nothing new in this article - 55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love - but it is an excellent list of the main issues. The trick, of course, is knowing how to implement them effectively.

Local search has become a big issue in SEO here are some sensible tips - 8 Ways to Improve Your Local Search Results, and a more comprehensive article - local search ranking factors.

This article - Forming Good Title Tags for Local Businesses - is another which states the obvious, but is no less worthy for doing so.

This one - 6 Common Website Mistakes That Are Costing You Money - is a little basic, but if you are new to SEO ....

Back to the very basics for this one - How To Walk A Mile In A Search Engine's Shoes - but useful for newcomers to SEO.

In the section on website development I emphasize the importance of the text's role in meeting the objectives of the site, but this article - Ten Copywriting Tips for B2B SEO - raises the issue of textual content's role in SEO.

Although the same tactics can be used by the 'big boys' this article - Local Search Marketing Tips for B2B Marketers - is mainly for the small business.

If we are talking about the basics of organic SEO, then I could delete all the other links and just leave this one, for it is Google's very own - Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide .

There has always been a problem with 'Flash' websites not being visible to the search engines, this article - How To Make Flash Content Search Friendly - outlines the technologies that are helping to address the issue. However, this article - Are The Search Engines Really Indexing Flash? - not only questions whether this is the case, but also echoes my sentiments on why website developers use Flash in the first place [ie don't].

Here's an excellent article - SEO and PPC Cannibalization - on the issue of whether you should practice SEO, SERP advertising or both - also read the follow-up comments, there's some good advice in them also.

I'm sure these all appear elsewhere on this page, but as the article makes clear, they are the most asked questions at any seminar/training/event that I've ever held - The Answer To All SEO Your Questions!.

Here's another article from the trenches [rather than academic theory] which addresses the objectives of B2B search engine optimization - It's Not ALL About Conversions - A Wider Perspective On B2B Search Campaigns

Another one from Mike Grehan, you can consider this one to be the definitive advice on The Anatomy of a Crawler Friendly Web Page.

Customers searching online for a product they know they will purchase locally offline is now common buyer behaviour, making 'local' SEO more and more important. This article - Using Analytics For Local Search Optimization - spells out the practice in simple terms.

The summer 0f '09 saw MSN launch its new [latest?] search engine: Bing. This article - Optimizing for Bing - covers the main issues. You will find, however, that it is a list of the old SEO favourites.

Every so often I think to myself that the basics of SEO are so straight forward, everyone must know them. Then I always get a reality check. Often it is when I am teaching and I realise that for 20 year old business and marketing students there is no reason why they should know such things - but sometimes it is examples of just plain bad practice. I guess the author of this article - Dear Senator ... here's A Free Crash Course On SEO - might well feel the same way as me, but she offers up some advice on how to correct the mistakes.

25 Super Common SEO Mistakes doesn't bring anything new to the table, but the points are well presented.

One thing that escapes many folk is that links to websites gain value [in the eyes of the search engines] only if the anchor text matches the search term used by searchers - Google (and Bing) Love Anchor Text Link Spam explains all.

It is more likely that you will have to practice SEO on an existing website rather than starting from scratch on a new site so The 20-Point SEO Account Takeover Checklist might be useful.

I have included Manual Link Building Is Hard, But There Are No Shortcuts To Value as much for the message in the title as the tips it includes. I must also comment on part of the article which talks about the value of links from .edu domains. In the UK this would be .ac.uk for colleges & universities and .sch.uk for schools - and they are very difficult to get links from. The advice offered in the article is reasonable, but I'm still not sure it would work in the UK. I should also add that I always tell my students that this site's SEO benefits from a link from my employer's website.

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