We Can Tell You’re A Noob By Your Keyword Stuffing

The thing is… you run across a lot of people to claim to be SEO experts out there, they know who they are, we can tell they’re noobs by their keyword stuffing.  I went back in time (just on Google unfortunately) and found articles as far back as 2012 about avoiding this.  We’ve know about it forever.

It’s The Internet… It’s Pure Anarchy, Right?

No, it’s really a finely structured system that is so well thought out it seems like anarchy, like the over arching complexity if natural phenomenon that seems chaotic but upon closer inspection is governed by strict rules.  The first thing it comes down to is everyone wanting a keyword rich url.  Somehow, in any way possible, everyone wants to rank #1 in search with their awesome URL that’s branded and engineered perfectly for their industry.

Fact of the matter is, the largest online companies usually aren’t the ones with keyword rich urls, go figure.  Think about that, they could have dumped tons of cash into whatever URL they wanted, but they didn’t.   The ones that do have keyword rich URLs, those are the ones that look like spam sites and are screaming for our attention, or to just be remembered somehow.   I’d almost bet if you rattled off your top 5 favorite sites, in almost any category, not a darn one of them has a bad-ass keyword rich url.  They worked for it and that’s what you need to do.

A keyword rich URL isn’t a magic bullet.  The internet just seems like pure anarchy because a month ago some music video about chickens or something from China got shared a million times and the week before that… there were Too Many Cooks!  It does seem like Internet anarchy but it’s not.  These crazy videos and websites find wild popularity not because of their URL’s but because of the content they publish, that’s not anarchy.  Don’t just “stuff” your URL with keyword phrases  just because those words pertain to your industry either.

Or maybe you bought a keyword rich domain name… might as well put the cherry on top and stuff that site with keywords too… right?  Wrong.  It’s long been known that you don’t do this.  Just last week I worked on a site where the urls were great & pertained to the page content, but then…. on every url they threw some keywords in at the end.  For no reason their web admin just tacked them on.

Here’s an good example:

http://www.thisdoctor.com/appointments

Here’s the nightmare I ended up facing on every page:

http://www.thisdoctor.com/appointments-pain-doctor-back-pain-san-antonio-free-consultation

I was mortified partly because someone still thinks thats a good strategy but mostly because I was now involved in a project that (unknowingly) had been internally sabotaged.  Don’t do that,  it’s crazy.  You’d be using your time and mental capacity much better writing one solid article than tapping out random industry related keywords in your URL.

Are You Worried Your Stuffing?

Stuffing is tedious by nature, you often end up picking through text and seeing where you can throw in another reference to your keyword phase.  If you’re doing that, you’re stuffing and you’re going to get caught.

Keyword Stuffing is that old school black hat technique to try and rank better by loading your urls and or domain name with keywords.  Yes, the words might pertain to your industry but pages on your website should be about something, specifically.  All your pages shouldn’t be about your industry generally.  Use specific pages to optimize for the product categories that are specific to your industry.

We all know large sites start somewhere and maybe there are a few pages on your site that cover several topics but eventually, for your site to grow, you’re going to need to invest some time into really developing the products on your site to stand alone and be presented on a single page.  All businesses have reasons or competitive advantages for customers to choose them over a rival business.  Each product you have can stand alone and has it’s peculiarities and advantages.  Showcase your strengths. 

The Stuffing Isn’t The Best Part Anyway

Short and relevant is the key.  You want someone to remember your URL not overwhelm them with jargon and complexity.  Stuffing your page doesn’t make your message or value clear and takes up valuable time that could be spent on long-term Search Engine Optimization strategies that don’t end up shooting you in the foot.

Write real content that you’re passionate about publishing. Check out this video about SEO from google webmasters, it sums up things nicely.

Simply Good SEO For Long Term Website Growth

Why Simple SEO Tips?

If you’re a small business owner, you’re running your own website and publishing yourself or at the very least directly supervising the publication of content I’ve got a few simple SEO tips for you.  They may sound rudimentary at first but there’s some gold in them there hills, I can assure you.  Some of the smallish things I’m about to detail aren’t just good SEO they’re time savers too.

You Need To Read Further For Two Fundamental Reasons:

  1. There Are Not Shortcuts, Magic Bullets, or Secret Codes To Rank #1
  2. Content Is King Today

You’ve got to publish and publish relevant to your industry, bottom line.  But here’s how to make your time or money worth it or atleast get more bang for you buck and keep it simple.

Delegate to A Professional Where Possible

I’ve found that most small to medium-sized businesses like to handle their own content writing.  This isn’t always the best ideas in my opinion but not all businesses see the value in having a solid commercial writer tap great content out quickly and efficiently for them.  Go figure.  There’s even really low-cost solutions for that too, I’ve even found some really great content writers on Fiverr that are well worth the meager cost they charge.  They’ll usually give you an article at about 400 words for 5 bucks.  I’ve rarely had to ask for revisions.  Usually I just need to tell them, “Looks Great” (especially for 5 bucks) and give them a good rating.  You can even get better deals if you don’t just buy one article.  I usually buy one first, test them out, and then if they perform… bang… they got some work all the sudden.

DIY Writers (Like Me!)

Well, there’s never anything like reading an article from a seasoned professional and sometimes the content you’d like to cover in your articles requires some deeper knowledge of your industry than you can ask for from a general content writer.  We all run into that.  But for general articles, consider a writer.  If you’re doing it yourself and talking to a specific group just follow these basic rules when writing an article.

  • Keep it At least 400 Words
  • Give your document Some Structure
  • Use Regular Ol’ Elementary School Grammar

OK… Let me elaborate just a little so I drive home my real point.

Many seo plugins will actually do a word count for you, besides scanning for keywords and give you a little flag if you’re article is too short.  The SEO plugin I use, SEO by Yoast, which I consider to be one of the more elegant and functional, gives you this little flag.  Here’s a quick screenshot of what this handy extension is scanning for while I’m actually typing this post!

A look at the Yoast SEO Analysis
Consider Upgrading To The Paid Version, It always Worth The Modest Prices For Professional extensions Like SEO by Yoast.

You’ve got to use an SEO extension.  As you can see from the chart above there are far to many factors for one person to weigh, but here’s the kicker.  After you use the extension for a while, you’ll start picking these things out on your own & becoming aware of these issues as you’re typing, it really trains you to think like an SEO expert.

 Good and Simple Grammaring

Ok… I know you don’t grammar an article, it’s not a verb.  But I needed a way to offend & at the same time invoke your attention to detail.  I see way to many business owners and business staff members way over-use the formatting toolbar within their content management systems.

Wordpress Formatting Toolbar

The formatting Tool Bar is doing a lot of things behind the scenes you may not know about if you’re not a coder or have little interest in code.  Secretly, It’s trying to provide your article with a structure the search engines will understand, not just make it prettier.

I highly discourage doing these things:

  • Overuse of  heading tags (H1, H2, etc.).  These are for section headings, like in a text-book or any large article.  ONly use them like that and not to just “make it bigger”.
  • Overusing Quotes – Quotes have specific grammatical usage, don’t just put quotes around something because you’re saying it in your mind.  Use quotes like they tought you in grade school.  Plain and simple.
  • Don’t Make A List but Not Use the Order or Un-ordered Lists Feature

Don’t Shoot Yourself In The Foot

You spend all this time making this beautiful article…. you went through the article bolding everything and italicizing entire paragraphs and then changing the color of all the text to be something different, right… You’re shooting yourself in the foot.

If you’re doing that you’re crazy.  The text on your website should display exactly the way you’d like without all that using basic structural elements.  When you overuse the formatting toolbar you’re destroying a clean document structure and making it increasingly difficult for search engines to determine if your website is a spam site or just created by a novice, either way… you’re making it tough on yourself and destroying some the integrity and hard work you put into writing for your business.

I think some website owners are doing the to try to give their article a personal touch or some style.  The style should be in your website and conveyed in your message, not contrived by elaborate typographical treatments that usually fall short of what you’d intended.  Keep it simple and focus on writing not formatting.

Top 5 WP Plugins Webmasters Should Be Using

This was originally intended to be a top ten list, however, Looking at my own sites I realized that I didn’t even run 10 plugins or extensions on a website.   I didn’t realize that until I went to write the article.  I was shocked at first because I used to install tons of extensions with gadgets clients would never use, I probably never did either.  Now, I look at client needs and server capabilities so I only install the necessary functionality.  I like to keep it simple so that problems & conflicts are few, rare and much easier to handle if they even arise.  This is my simple list of quality extensions I consider to be core components to most site builds.

A Little Cash Goes A Long Way In The Software World

I like to use licensed software.  The advantage you gain from using licenced commercial extensions on your business site are many.  I only use what I consider to be the best extensions for my clients & using the best extensions from some of the largest companies helps give me and my clients security and confidence.  The bottom line is, I feel like I have a whole team of programmers dedicated to making sure individual aspects of my website are being coded and cared for with greater precision than I could achieve alone.

These companies are dedicated to specific extensions, focused.   These businesses who create extension, software publishers, blow my mind with the sweet integrations and functionality they dream up.  The flexibility they give you in how new features are implemented is surreal and you can be sure it’s well coded.  For the most part I’ve found that professional software companies who build the best extensions for the largest content management systems dream up things far craftier than I’d have imagined or actually sat down to elegantly code myself.  They look great on both the back-end as well as the front-end.

In many cases, if you’re running a small business, the single site license for common and powerful extensions are reasonably priced but in most cases, free version of software are simple and elegant short term solutions to the functionality you need to get business done.  Personally, I love all the bells and whistles of the paid version for most extensions.  I have this thing about being sure my clients have a Ferrari.

Not a Guide To Grill Your Webmaster

There’s a saying we have in the web development industry.  These are basically simple suggestions on how to make your website better.

“Code is Poetry”

If you have a webmaster and you’re happy with his results you probably have a webmaster that is already implementing most or all of these pieces of functionality in one way or another.  I just want to list some of the most elegant solutions I’ve found to perform otherwise complex integrations that are common to most websites.  All content managment systems have different ways of handling the things I list.  All content managment systems have their own sets of leading extension publishers, both paid and free.

Here we go…

Back That $%&T UP… with Back WP Up!

Back WP Up WordPress Back-up Plugin

I’ve use more than one WordPress Backup Plugin and I feel like BackWPUP has been the most reliable free back-up solution.  My favorite integration is through Dropbox.  Using the dropbox upload integration feature of this plugin allows me to upload a backup of my clients websites to a shared folder within dropbox giving clients the added security of seeing those backups in the folder and having access to them.   It’s a trust issue.

Track That $%&T UP… with Google Analytics for WordPress!

Simple Google Analytics Tracking Integration for WordPress

Forgive me, I can’t help myself.  I once heard a google analytics advocate declare that neglecting to use goals in Google Analytics Tracking is a crime against humanity.   Google Analytics For WordPress is another extension by Yoast that I trust.  The thing I like most about this is that it allows me to use custom variables to filter out myself, as an account administrator and any other logged-in users so I can be certain the data I’m looking at is representative of actual site traffic as opposed to traffic by the people working on and obsessing over the website.  This gives me a much more accurate representation of where I stand with a site.

Organically Toast The Competition with Yoast

Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

You can find out all about Yoast at the Yoast Website.  They publish two extensions on this list, both geared towards analytics and tracking.  They’re a company I trust, their plugins have never caused me headaches and perform common but vitally important features like Counting Your Page Title Character length so you can be sure your snippets are appearing the way you think they are in the organic search engine results.

Wooing Your Customers or Clients

Free E-Commerce Integrations for Your Website

C’mon!  We all have something to sell.  Whether it’s your time, a handcrafted product or anything really.  let me back up, if you don’t already know, WooCommerce is a free e-commerce extension for the WordPress Content Management System.  WooCommerce can quickly and easily allow you to start selling items online for free and offers relatively easy payment gateway setup through paypal making getting up and running a snap.  I can tell you first hand, if you build a beautiful online marketplace for your products, you will get sales online.

WooCommerce also offers a host of other extension that make the power of the free version even more robust. To name a few, there is the new Bookings extension, as well as publishers that provide their own extensions like Event Ticket Sales using WooCommerce.

Blast-Off with Tons of Sweet Integrations

Jetpack WordPress Extentions

I think most novice webmasters have at least two extensions that could be replaced by Jetpack.  You can’t ignore Jetpack anymore.  I didn’t install it myself for awhile but now I can’t even begin to unravel the laundry list of extensions it offers.  It’s grown to say the least.  I can tell you that it’s has captivated me with all the extra sidebar widgets, out of the box Facebook Like Widget, Twitter Widget and more.  It just saves time.  Open your mind to Jetpack.  Don’t browse this list and think “I’ve already got that“.  Because you might be able to get rid of 5 plugins you don’t need and just use this 1 plugin (that’s maintained by the same people who maintain the actual content management system).

You’ll need to visit Jetpack to find out everything but here is the shortlist of functionality I use most.

  • Publicize will Automatically Publish To
    • Facebook
    • Linkedin
    • Tumblr
    • Path
    • Twitter
    • Google+
  • Tiled Photo Galleries That Are Beautiful and Awesome
  • Related Posts at the Bottom of Each Post
  • Google Webmaster Tools Site Verification
  • Extra Sidebar Widgets
  • Sidebar Widget Visibility
  • Sharing Buttons On Posts & Pages

In Conclusion

This list of basic extensions to the already free wordpress content management system may not seem, at first glance, like they’ll change your life.  But imagine creating an ecommerce website, socially integrated, search engine optimized backed-up and secure.    That is what this simple package will do.  It does take time, effort and dedication but this shortlist of extensions will make you cash in the long run and give you more personal freedom.

What You Really Need To Know About Search Engines

Working on the web with small businesses you that business owners have a lot of misconceptions about how search engines work.  I’ve been lucky to have great clients who trust me enough to run things by me when presented with a new piece of software or offer.  I’ve even been called myself and told that by the company that “they actually provide all data for google search results” and they can just put me on top.    I’m pretty sure some cold calling outbound telemarketing group is not providing google with any relevant search data, they obviously didn’t have me targeted too well.

 

You Can’t Cheat Them

Does Black Hat SEO Hurt My Website?Google has teams of people to sniff out the pirates who are doing tricky SEO or “Black Hat SEO”.  Google even recruits the best pirates on the web and brings them onto the team or uses them in a consulting capacity to help maintain the quality of their product, internet search. Everyone knows Google and other search engines use “robots” to “crawl” sites, archive and index the information they contain, judge visitor usage statistics and many, many, many other things.   That’s only the part we have access to inside our Google Analytics administrative interface.  We can’t even begin to imagine how complex their level of data analysis is and algorithms are .  You just can’t cheat them.  They have teams of people dedicated to finding cheaters and screwing them over.  Any short term gains someone makes from shady Black Hat SEO are just short term gains.  You have to perform one simple thought experiment.

What if a lucrative site, ripe with spammy purchased backlinks and  Black Hat SEO gets flagged.  What if the site get’s called out by Googles complex algorithms.

Revenue losses could be catastrophic no matter what kind of business you run.  The internet IS where people find you.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t provide you with bread and butter.  If it’s just a blog or some other site that you don’t depend on for revenues then you’re lucky but that’s likely not the case.

 

Try To Cheat Them & It Will Cost You Long Term

Once a site gets relatively large you start to build up your investment.  Usually that means integration with 3rd Party services like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or paid video sharing services like Vimeo or even Wistia for companies that are really serious about controlling their content or even just monthly credit card processing fees.  These 3rd party integrations end up costing a little cash.  Most good or commercial 3rd party services aren’t free forever though they may start out that way.  Even google is launching Premium Analytics.  I find as the website grows it will inevitably gains overheads.  That should happen to help support it’s further growth.  But if revenues dry up, those overheads can become a huge financial burden.

 

Search Engines Are In The Business Of Proving The Best Answers

If every time someone typed something into a search engine like Google or Bing and it showed something were looking, kind of, but something that was predictably sponsored.  People wouldn’t use that much.  Google is famously good at providing people with just about exactly what they were looking for.  People type in some unbelievably vague things too, it’s actually pretty amazing.

 

The Only Solution

Publish meaningful content.  You can hire someone to do this for you.  You can say you’re going to do that yourself but most business owners will not do this themselves.  The only real solution to gaining stable long term links, gaining site traffic and new visitors is to publish real, consumable content.  While proper SEO will give you a leg-up against stiff competition, it won’t take a website with little or no quality content and make it more liked by site visitors.

Another article that says something similar: SEO Shortcuts to a Top Ranking.

 

Two Sound Long Term SEO Investments

Some of my favorite solutions to better content marketing:

The Company Blog / The Company News Feed

It may sound like a lot of work but it isn’t.  If you’re using a content management system, and you should be, you can easily create quick posts, schedule them throughout the week and have those automatically posted to your social media channels.  That’s the truth.  I like recommend that business owners delegate a person other than themselves to work with their website and webmaster to help lighten the load because effective online marketing is a full time job, break that burden up.  Business owners are enthusiastic at first but quickly go about managing their business, like they need to do.

You can generate long term growth and revenue and establish yourself as a leader in your industry with effective and relevant online publishing. 

Sharing Brand Related News On Your Social Pages

When clients absolutely can not think of a damn thing to type I like to recommend they allow their Brand Page to “Like” and “Follow” other brand related news pages.  This way clients can at least easily re-share things that are related to their brand and products.  Just be careful you’re not re-tweeting your direct competition’s awesome original content.