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SEO Guide

Search Engine Optimization Guide

Crawling and indexing

Noindex

To prevent all robots from indexing a page on your site, place the following meta tag into thesection of your page:

To allow other robots to index the page on your site, preventing only Google’s robots from indexing the page:

Nofollow

“Nofollow” provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines “Don’t follow links on this page” or “Don’t follow this specific link.”

Handling combined Indexing and Nofollow

Here is an example of a robots meta tag that instructs web crawlers to not index the page and to not crawl any of the links on the page:

Rel=Canonical

A canonical link element is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “canonical”, or “preferred”, version of a web page.

Examples of the canonical link element

Rel=Nofollow

The “Rel” attribute specifies the relationship between the current document and the linked document.

“Nofollow” is used by Google, to specify that the Google search spider should not follow that link, pass the PageRank and reputation.

Rel=nofollow tag commonly use for untrusted content like untrusted user comment, guestbook entries, low quality comment. It also use for paid links like a website is linked explicitly increase the search engine rankings.

Preferred domain www / non-www

Also this is referred to as the canonical domain.

The preferred domain is the one that you would like used to index your site’s pages. The preferred domain is the version that you want used for your site in the search results.
It may take some time before you see this change fully reflected in Google index. All pages that currently display the non-preferred version of the URL in the index will remain in the index that way until we refresh our indexing of those pages.

Notify the preferred domain for search engine indexing

For Google

On the Webmaster Tools Home page, click the site you want.

Site Settings > In the Preferred domain section, select the option you want.

You will require to verify ownership of both the www and non-www versions of your domain.

For other search engines

Once you’ve set your preferred domain, you may want to use a 301 redirect to redirect traffic from your non-preferred domain, so that other search engines and visitors know which version you prefer.

Robots.txt

A Robots.txt file restricts access to your site by search engine robots that crawl the web. These bots are automated, and before they access pages of a site, they check to see if a robots.txt file exists that prevents them from accessing certain pages.

Robots.txt file uses two rules:

User-agent: the robot the following rule applies to

Disallow: the URL you want to block

Examples of rules

User-agent: *

To block the entire site, use a forward slash.
Disallow: /

To block a directory and everything in it, follow the directory name with a forward slash.
Disallow: /junk-directory/

To block a page, list the page.
Disallow: /private_file.html

To remove a specific image from Google Images, add the following:
User-agent: Googlebot-Image Disallow: /images/dogs.jpg

To remove all images on your site from Google Images:
User-agent: Googlebot-Image Disallow: /

To block files of a specific file type (for example, .gif), use the following:
User-agent: Googlebot Disallow: /*.gif$

To block specify matching the end of a URL, use $. For example, to block any URLs that end with .xls:
User-agent: Googlebot Disallow: /*.xls$

Redirection

301 Redirect (Permanent Redirect)

Status 301 means that the page is moved permanently to a new location. The client/browser should not attempt to request the original location but use the new location from now on.

When a search engine spider founds 301 status code in response header of a webpage, it understand that this webpage is no longer exist, it searches for location header in response pick the new URL and replace the indexed URL with the new one and also transfer PageRank.

This will retain your old webpage rankings, external backlinks values and redirect organic visits to the new page.

302 (Temporary Redirect)

Status 302 means that the page is temporarily located somewhere else, and the client/browser should continue requesting the original URL.

When search engine spider founds status 302 for a webpage, it will only redirect temporarily to the new location and crawl both of the page, old webpage URL still exists in search engine database and it always attempt to request the old location and crawl it, the client/browser will still attempt to request the original location.

404 Redirect (Page Not Found)

A 404 page is what a user sees when they try to reach a non-existent page on your site (because they’ve clicked on a broken link, the page has been deleted, or they’ve mistyped a URL).

When to apply the 404 redirection

If a page receives important links, gets a substantive volume of visitor traffic, or has an obvious URL that visitors or links are intended to reach, you should employ 301 redirects to the most relevant page possible. Outside of these instances, it may be necessary to purposefully have a URL return a 404–this will keep them from getting indexed and repeatedly crawled by search engines.

What Google recommends

Create a good custom 404 page that will help people find the information they’re looking for, as well as providing other helpful content and encouraging them to explore your site further.

Guide visitors clearly that the page they’re looking for can’t be found. Write a message that is friendly and inviting.

Make sure your 404 page has the same look and feel (including navigation) as the rest of your site.
Consider adding links to your most popular articles or posts, as well as a link to your site’s home page.
Use the Search Box.

Keywords Research

Selecting the right keywords

It is important to understand what aspects of keywords make them important to your business. The different variables or characteristics of a keyword help determine whether the keywords are worth consideration in your SEO strategy.

Generating the Initial Keyword Opportunity List

The first phase of creating the initial keyword opportunity list involves brainstorming as many keyword ideas as possible.

  • Listing root brands and product/service names (e.g. lawyer)
  • Brainstorming variations of product and brand-related keywords
  • Talking to clients to determine what terms they use in search
  • Studying competitors’ sites
  • Adding geographic variations (e.g. Miami lawyers, Dade county lawyers)
  • Adding descriptive variations (e.g. personal injury lawyers, slip and fall lawyers)
  • Taking all the variations and entering them into the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, which will suggest numerous other variations.

Stages of users’ search queries

Stage 0: Not Aware of a Need

This is the most difficult stage to convert into a sale for two reasons: First, they are not looking for anything. Second, they do not see a need for your solution so you cannot offer them a value proposition. This market is completely unaware they have a need for your solution. Selling to this market is very expensive and generally requires a more educational approach.

Keywords

For this segment of the market, it’s best to find out where this persona already hangs out online and convince them that their current condition is undesirable.

Optimize

It is very difficult to get in front of this segment of the market since they do no recognize a problem with their current situation. As mentioned earlier, education is generally the best tactic for this segment. Often, offline marketing is the most effective medium for this group.

Stage 1: Aware of a need (but unaware that solutions exist)

This segment is more accessible, because they already recognize a problem. In this stage of the awareness ladder, the prospect is searching for information about the problem rather than for solutions. Thus, they will use keywords related to the problem only and not indicate the awareness of a solution.

Keywords

hair thinning, hair loss women, regain hair

Optimize

Content on this page should discuss the issue or problem. It should recognize that their existing condition is undesirable and provide a call-to-action to another page discussing solutions that exist.

Stage 2: Aware of some solutions (but not your specific one)

In this stage, the prospect will begin to use keywords that show an awareness of some solutions. They may using competitors’ brand names in their keywords or searching for generic keywords in a plural format.

Keyword phrases

cure for baldness, hair restoration options, best remedy for hair loss, which thinning treatments really work?

Optimize

The most compelling content at this stage is comparisons and discussions around alternatives. Many brands may be hesitant to mention any alternatives, however, remember that you control this content. Thus, you can influence visitors in your favor and invite them to take action with a call-to-action that takes them to the next stage.

Stage 3: Aware of your specific solution (but not the benefits)

In this stage, prospects will begin to use your branded terms. This could include both the product brand and/or your specific company in combination with the product.

Keyword phrases

Does joe’s miracle hair grow work?, should I buy joe’s miracle hair grow?

Optimize

The content at this stage should clearly communicate the benefits of your product or service. This is where your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) should be presented.

Stage 4: Aware of the benefits (but not convinced)

At this stage, visitors are aware of the benefits, but not convinced to purchase. This can occur for many reasons. For example, they may understand the benefits, but not whether it’s the best choice for them specifically.

Keyword phrases

Is joe’s miracle hair grow for me?, joe’s miracle hair grow reviews

Optimize

Personalization can help in this scenario. Also, self diagnostic tools are often effective.

Messaging on this page should illustrate how this product will improve their lives rather than simply illustrate the benefits of the product itself.

Stage 5: Convinced & ready to buy

At this stage, prospects are convinced and ready to buy. Prospects at this stage are, on average, your highest value visitors. In other words, your conversion rate will be highest for visits at this stage.

Keyword phrases

buy joe’s miracle hair grow, hair grow best prices

Optimize

This page should be your primary product or landing page whose main goal is to facilitate the conversion.

Keywords usage

Keyword Density

Keyword density refers to the ratio (percentage) of keywords contained within the total number of indexable words within a web page.

The preferred keyword density ratio varies from search engine to search engine. In general, I recommend using a keyword density ratio in the range of 3-5%.

Keyword Frequency

Keyword frequency refers to the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase appears within a web page.

The more times a keyword or keyword phrase appears within a web page, the more relevance a search engine is likely to give the page for a search with those keywords.

You should ensure that the most important keyword or keyword phrase is the most frequently use keywords in a web page. But be careful not to abuse the search engines by repeating the same keyword or keyword phrases over and over again.

Keyword Prominence

Keyword prominence refers to how prominent keywords are within a web page.

The general recommendation is to place important keywords at, or near, the start of a web page, sentence, H1, H2, H3, Title or meta description tag.

Keyword Proximity

Keyword proximity refers to the closeness between two or more keywords. In general, the closer the keywords are, the better.

For example:

  • How Keyword Density Affects Search Engine Rankings
  • How Keyword Density Affects Rankings In Search Engine

Using the example above, if someone searched for “search engine rankings,” a web page containing the first sentence is more likely to rank higher than the second. The reason is because the keywords are placed closer together.

Meta tags optimization

Title tag

  • A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is.
  • Page title contents are displayed in search results.
  • Words in the title are bolded if they appear in the user’s search query. It helps users if the page is likely to be relevant to their search.

Best practices to create the effective Title tag

  • Accurately describe the page’s content. Effectively communicates the topic of the page’s content.
  • Create unique title tags for each page. Each of page should ideally have a unique title tag, which helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site.
  • Titles can be both short and informative. If the title is too long, Google will show only a portion of it in the search result.
  • Limit the Title tag length upto 60 characters. Keep important message, keywords in first 50 characters.

Meta description tag

A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. Whereas a page’s title may be a few words or a phrase, a page’s description meta tag might be a sentence or two or a short paragraph.

Google use it as snippets for your pages. In absence of inappropriate meta description, Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text of matching up with a user’s query.

  • Best practices to create the effective meta description tagAccurately summarize the page’s content. Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result.
  • Use unique descriptions for each page. Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users.
  • Limit the meta description length upto 160 characters. Keep important message and keywords in first 130 characters.
  • If your site has thousands of pages, hand-crafting description meta tags isn’t feasible. In this case, you could automatically generate description meta tags based on each page’s content.

Architecture

URL and directory naming

  • Simple-to-understand URLs will convey content information easily.
  • Creating descriptive directories, categories and filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized, but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines.

Best practices to create URLs and architecture

  • Choose a URL that will be easy for users and search engines to understand.
  • Use words in URLs. URLs with words that are relevant to your site’s content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site. Visitors remember them better and might be more willing to link to them.
  • Create a simple directory structure. Use a directory structure that organizes your content well and makes it easy for visitors to know where they’re at on your site. Try using your directory structure to indicate the type of content found at that URL.
  • Provide one version of a URL to reach a document.

Site navigation

Navigation is very important for search engines. The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important.

Best practices to create effective site navigation

  • Plan out your navigation based on your homepage. How users can reach to most important pages as well specific pages.
  • Use ‘breadcrumb lists’. It allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous.
  • Prepare two sitemaps one for users (HTML sitemap) and other for search engines (XML sitemap).
  • Create a naturally flowing hierarchy. Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure.
  • Use mostly text for navigation. Controlling most of the navigation from page to page on your site through text links makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your site.
  • Have a useful 404 page.

We look forward to helping you get more targeted traffic and customers.