Welcome to part ten in this search engine positioning series. Over the past nine weeks we have covered the nine fundamental steps to a proper search engine positioning campaign. From choosing keywords and writing content to optimizing your pages and building quality links we have covered the required steps to attaining solid rankings that will last. In part ten we will cover the extras.
The extras consist of tips, tools and resources that you will want to use to keep you on the cutting edge of who’s who and what’s what in the search engine positioning arena.
Over this series we have covered the ten key aspects to a solid search engine positioning campaign.
The Ten Steps We Will Go Through Are:
- Keyword Selection
- Site Structure
- Internal Linking
- Human Testing
- Link Building
- The Extras
Step Ten – The Extras
The first nine steps in this series cover the true nuts-and-bolts of a solid SEO campaign. These are the crucial steps you need to take to attain top rankings that will stick. That said ” there are “the extras”, the icing on the SEO-cake so-to-speak. Those little things that will bump you up from number 4 to number 2, or help you hold your positioning through an algorithm change.
Some of these things have been touched on in previous articles while others are completely new. Either way, these are the things that will give you that little one-up over other ethical SEO’s who know their stuff.
One of the most important advantages you can gain over your competition comes from the tools you use and more importantly, how you use them. Some people blindly follow the advice given to them from so-called “SEO-software”. This is never the right decision. Taking the information these good tools can provide, and knowing how to turn that information into advantage is the key.
Here are the tools that many successful SEOs use to build solid rankings for their clients and why:
Total Optimizer Pro
I’ve noted this one in the article on link building and it’s definitely worth mentioning again. Never before have I found a tool that can tear apart your competition so thoroughly, for such an affordable price and in such an easy-to-understand manner.
This tool with take a look at the top 10 for a search phrase, and give you:
- their position
- their PageRank
- their Alexa rank
- the total number of backlinks to their site as seen by Google
- the number of their site pages indexed by Google
- their keyword density for the targeted phrase
- their title
- their H1 tag
This is the overview it gives you. You can then select one of the sites and view more detail including:
- the backlink URL
- the backlink domain
- the IP address of the backlink
- the PageRank of the backlink from that page
- the specific anchor text use for that backlink (or a note whether it was an image)
- the title of the page linking back
- the Alexa rating of the page linking back
- the top three keyword focus’ of the page linking back
- the number of links pointing to that page
- the number of outbound links from that page
Right below that there is access to a breakdown of the sites backlink’s that gives a summary of:
- the specific anchor text, the number of times that anchor text was used, and the percentage this represents of the total backlinks counted
- where these links come from. This will give you great information as to how many of these links are coming from the same domain, which is generally accepted in the SEO community as holding less weight than the same number of links from different domains
- a PageRank breakdown of all the links
At $247 from TopNet Solutions it’s a bit pricey but worth every penny if you only use it on one campaign.
A necessity for any search engine positioning campaign that requires link building. This tool, also developed by TopNet Solutions, doesn’t do all the fancy things that Total Optimizer Pro does however it does do one thing VERY well – it’s seeks out quality relevant link partners with high PageRanks.
If you’re not in a competitive industry and you just want to save time on link building (and I do mean a LOT of time) this tool will do it for you. You simply set it to find links based on specified search phrase(s) and with a minimum PageRank. You can search for up to 1000 links at a time. Simply start the tool and continue on with other work or go to bed while it’s working for you. Come back and you’ve got some great leads and the best part is, it’s weeded out all the duds so your efforts are focused only on the links that will most benefit your site.
This tool has taken campaigns that would have required many hundreds of links to a point where the same effect can often be realized with 50 and in a fraction of the time spent.
While this isn’t exactly an SEO tool per-se it makes researching and optimizing much faster and more convenient. FireFox is a browser (read: Internet Explorer replacement) that has MANY features that make it more convenient.
I like the tabbed browsing (moving between multiple pages through the use of tabs on one browser screen), the username and password ability is far better and more advanced than Internet Explorer’s and it’s far more secure than the more popular Microsoft product. It blocks popups, and spyware just isn’t written for it.
I will admit that for the first few hours I was trying it out I found it a bit more difficult to use but once you realize how much more powerful it can be and that the difficulty arises from the instinct to make the task more difficult by doing it the way you would have with IE, you’ll never want to switch back. The next time you’ve got 5 IE windows open to various search engines, another for WordTracker and a couple more to various other pages think of FireFox and you’re world will be made easier. It’s a free download.
You can read more on the advantages of the FireFox browser in a search engine positioning article written by ISEDB Editor Jim Hedger at http://www.isedb.com/news/article/1062.
A tool developed for FireFox users giving them access to the Google Toolbar and Alexa Rankings. It can be downloaded and installed at no cost.
A big thanks to developer Craig Raw for a great tool, free of charge, for those of us who want to use something that isn’t powered by Microsoft and that has all the advantages of the FireFox browser.
You’re doing your link-building, you’re writing articles, or you just want to see what others’ are saying about you. Do you really want to run searches for yourself and for your articles every few days?
Set up a Google WebAlert for a phrase from an article you’ve written, for your company name, for your competitors and/or for a phrase from the description you’re using in your link exchanges and let the most powerful servers in the world do the work for you.
On Tools …
There are definitely some very useful tools out there as noted above. What must be understood is that these tools alone won’t get you the top rankings any more than a map will guarantee you a good vacation if you don’t know how to read it and you don’t know where you want to go.
The single most important thing anyone hoping to attain (and maintain) top positioning on the search engines can do is to keep himself or herself educated. While we noted a few great resources in the last article on monitoring here are some of the key resources I uses to keep up-to-date on what’s going on the in SEO world.
This is definitely the most obvious. Run periodic if not daily searches on your keyword phrases and a few others. Don’t just look for your rankings but look at who’s in the top positions and look at their sites and who’s linking to them. Watch for changes and look for what’s different in the sites that are now on top.
Don’t kill yourself trying to figure out every single engine. Google, Yahoo! and MSN are the three biggest and just following these three is more than enough work. Generally I’ve found that meeting the requirements of these three will generally result in solid rankings on most of the other “secondary” engines.
I can’t speak highly enough about forums. When you’re looking for up-to-date information this is where to go. The challenge on forums however is in deciding who knows what they’re talking about and who doesn’t. Further, you’ll need to be able to figure out which members follow your code of ethics when it comes to SEO. Business owners seeking long-term rankings with minimal maintenance should not be taking advice from Black-hat SEOs.
I mentioned a few forums on the last article. A few additional forums worth watching are:
Search Engine Watch Forums – There’s not much to say about this one except that it’s a must-see. Tons of great information, many members so a wide variety of opinions to draw from.
IHelpYou Forums – Managed by SEO Doug Heil this is an interesting one. While I can’t say I agree with everything Doug has to say I will give him credit for ethics. If you want to make sure your tactics are squeaky-clean then here’s where to get advice. My recommendation: take the info with a grain of salt. Doug tends to occasionally make blanket rulings on tactics that have their place but if you go in knowing this he can be a great source of some solid information.
High Rankings Forums – Managed by SEO Jill Whalen, this one has some great discussions. Sticking with my belief in giving credit where it’s due I have to advise to pay attention to what Jill says. She knows her stuff and while she definitely falls into the category of white-hat SEOs, she’s willing to discuss a variety of tactics, their merits, and judge them based on their use and worth. Open and honest discussion – that’s what forums are about. Mentioned last week but worth mentioning twice.
The other forums mentioned last week and which are worthy of note are:
So here we are, the end of it all. 17,000 words read (thank you) and, if you’ve been following the program, many MANY hours spent optimizing your website.
Will it be worth it? If you have followed these steps, keep yourself updated on changes, and keep working on building your links, creating quality content, and insuring that you’re always putting in 10% more than your competitors then it certainly should be.
I would like to take a moment to thank those of you who have worked through these past ten articles and to wish you the very best of luck in your online promotions. As always, you are welcome to contact me with any questions you might have. Our goal in this series has been to provide you with the information and the resources to do it. I hope we have done just that.