popular myth about duplicate content debunked by Google

as stated in my previous SEO piece, there are quite a few myths flying around the Web and namely about what Google does and doesn’t with your data. Webpronews has this story about “duplicated content” and God knows there are many people tallking nonsense about that subject. A must-read:

[…] Greg begins by clearing up a popular myth about duplicate content, and that is that Google penalizes sites for having duplicate content. This is not the case. That’s not to say that duplicate content can’t have a negative impact on your rankings, but Google itself is not penalizing you for it. […]

  • read on at Webpronews

A Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) survival guide for marketing managers (part 2) – unabridged

note: this is part 2 of 2 in a series of articles on the subject of SEO and marketing, originally published at Bnet.co.uk. This piece is the unabridged version of the article.

10 steps for improving your SEO dramatically and simply

including a slideshare pictorial guide for SEO marketers (see bottom of article)

Important notice: it is reminded that this is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to SEO. All steps have been voluntarily simplified in order to help marketing managers, not to turn them into bespectacled anoraks. My method described here is simple, it is certainly not scientific, it is bound to make any SEO guru scream in dismay I’m sure, but I’ve tried it and it worked time and time again, so I believe there must be something good in it.

Step 1: define your SEO niche

Trying to be all things to all people is a bad thing in Marketing in general, but in web page optimisation it is a lethal mistake. First and foremost, one has to target a so-called SEO niche in order to be well positioned in search engines. Reaching number one rank is a nice to have but can rarely be achieved from day one. On the contrary, it is easier and more effective to aim at niches, one at a time for each page you want to index, and eventually, your ranking will improve.

1.       Target 3 keywords (or combination of). I don’t mean that one cannot index a page for more than 3 keywords, I have seen counterexamples. What I mean is

a.       It’s difficult to target more than 3 keywords from a resource viewpoint,

b.      If you want to be consistent, these keywords will have to be repeated all over your text, so imagine if you have 10 of them!

c.       Your website has probably more than one page so do use other pages to target other keywords, based on relevance (the more the keywords are repeated in the page the more relevant because it means that this page really is about that),

d.      Don’t try and spam search engines, their designers are really shrewd, so spamming a page with repeated keywords may sound very clever but I assure you it’s not plus your readers might not appreciate your style.

2.       Analyse popularity AND competition and focus on that KEI

a.       keyword popularity will tell you how much a keyword combination is sought after,

b.      competition will tell you how often your competitors have tried to use this combination of keywords for their own SEO,

c.       the right combination between a & b is called the Key Efficiency Indicator index (aka KEI), a very effective way of balancing the two factors,

d.      bringing realism using personal judgement is also advised. Some of the numbers given by some keyword generation tools (see last section about useful tools) will not make much sense unless you interpret them properly and eliminate irrelevant keywords. For instance, networks appears as if it were a relevant keyword for telcos but in fact it’s not because it’s too vague as it mostly refers to social networks. A simple search engine query will prove the point very quickly and therefore, the ambiguity can be removed by qualifying the keyword better (network security is more relevant for instance, etc.)

e.      each page can/must be indexed with a different strategy in mind. This is how you can ensure that different targets are reached from the same website.

note: “The Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) was developed by search engine guru Sumantra Roy. it compares the daily searches with the number of competing Web pages to pinpoint exactly which keywords are good enough so you can use them while optimizing your site.” (source: sitepoint)

Step 2: fine tune your page title

As said in our previous post about Internet content, good content shows in the title. Good SEO too, and this is rather obvious so I won’t expatiate.

Step 3: implement keywords in the URL

Adding your keywords to your URL is also very effective as it will improve the search engine friendliness of your website. It also means generic keywords. Business people are always obsessed with their brand – and this is natural to an extent – but Internet visitors aren’t forcibly. What you have to do is get them to associate your brand with the good content that you are providing. It’s just the same objective but it works the other way round.

Continue reading “A Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) survival guide for marketing managers (part 2) – unabridged”

A Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) survival guide for marketing managers (part 1) – unabridged

note: this is the unabridged version of a post originally published at Bnet.co.uk

SEO is a serious marketing tool

Of all the topics surrounding the web, there is one which tops the list from a marketing point of view and it’s Search Engine Optimisation (aka SEO). It is indeed one of the most important levers for bringing traffic to a site. I can barely think of a Marketing manager I have bumped into in the past 18 months who isn’t obsessed with the fact that his products will or will not show in search engines. This is obviously a valid request and a lot of expectations are set on the improvement/optimisation of web pages to be more search-engine friendly, and a lot of pressure is put on web site owners like yours truly. There is nothing wrong with that though, I believe it all boils down to getting the right explanation across to our managers and explaining what SEO really is and isn’t about. In essence, it’s not about cheating; on the contrary, thinking that optimising your site for ‘free products’ when you sell expensive products is not only daft, it’s pointless. So I won’t take any of your time debating on whether SEO is cheating because it’s not. Or at least it’s not a side of the business that I’m interested in.

My conclusion is that education is at the heart of that matter and I have developed a little web owner survival kit in which I have included some of the fundamentals of SEO, to help Marketing managers and site owners with their daily task of improving their web content and better serve their visitors. This post and slideshare presentation will complement nicely our previous manual on the subject of Internet content.

Your SEO is more than just about  web pages: it’s a matter of strategy

My aim here is not to depict the complete picture of website optimisation. This would be an impossible task. Search engines vary their rules on a daily basis, and narrowing down our attention to Google only wouldn’t be sufficient to simplify our work. What I have attempted to do in this article is to focus on the fundamentals of search engine optimisation. I have used this canvas in the field and I have found it pretty effective in order to evangelise about SEO and get marketing managers to take ownership of this task, as a means, not only to improve their web pages, but mostly to improve how their products/services are presented: well, in essence I could sum it up by adding that improving your SEO will also help hone your marketing strategy, therefore killing two birds with one stone.

When Marketing managers come to see me about their web page SEO they often have grievances about the Internet, or the website or even the webmasters, but none of these are really to blame.

_ “I can’t see my products when I type ‘0800 numbers’” I was told by quite a few marketing managers (just change the keyword/product name, you’ll always get the same problem)

_ Ok, I replied, “but why isn’t your page named ‘0800 numbers’ then?”

_ “It’s normal he answered, we don’t call it that way internally!”

As a natural result, the name of a product which is only internal will never show outside the web because a website isn’t done for internal people, it’s meant for external visitors, who need to be addressed with their vocabulary, not yours. Actually, this means that the marketing manager in question is going to have to step into his visitors’ shoes and stop interpreting the world through his own cultural references. In essence, this is what marketing is all about, and it has nothing to do with the web.

part 2 of this SEO survival guide for Marketing managers will be about our 10 steps for improving your SEO dramatically and simply.