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Posts tagged with: SEO Tips

Google Featured in Hollywood & You Can Make Money With It!

Well its probably not new when an Actor in a Hollywood movie is probably is some sort of ‘identity crisis’, wants to find out more information about some weird ‘virus’ or looking up information about a serial killer — and they all turn to Google.com and always seems to find the answer in matter of minutes. The brand “Google” was mentioned a number of times in Hollywood movies and we have seen movie stars using it too but this is probably the first time I’m seeing a Hollywood movie promoting Google’s Search Engine in their commercial trailer – 2012.

2012 is a movie directed by Roland Emmerich. The movie has some famous casts like John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Oliver Platt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Woody Harrelson. Basically the storyline is – The world is devastated by some sort of cataclysm in the year 2012, and there are some survivors who has to struggle for their lives…

Right after the short teaser trailer ends, this is what they show:

Movie 2012 - Search Google 2012

Notice the last two lines – “Find out the Truth….Google Search: 2012”! So Basically instead of giving any Web URL, they are actually encouraging users to search for 2012 in Google. Pretty Innovative isn’t it? So naturally I went to Google and searched for 2012 and surprisingly I couldn’t find their official site of the movie 2012 in the Top 50 (I didn’t bother looking after that). So unless they can put themselves in the position 1 (using ppc) or 2 (Organic) as shown in the screen shot below, their website won’t get the publicity that they probably hoped for!

2012-Screenshot

Bonus Tip: How to take advantage of this to get Massive traffic

I don’t want to be an evil person nor I have any problem with Sony pictures but I must say that its really very stupid of them to publicize something before even thinking about its implementation! I know that the movie is due next year and some might say that they have still plenty of time to do SEO, Linkbuilding, PPC and other things to get on the #1 position. But a number of their trailers are up and running in youtube for over 8 months with a combined view of 500,000+! So if even 20% of those viewers actually goes and search for 2012 in google thats like 100,000 people!

According to Google Keywords Tool, the word “2012” (with exact match) receives about 201,000 searches and for Octobar it received 301,000 searches.

Google Trends also shows a promising amount of searches –

Google Trends - Movie 2012

Ok Fine! There are Lots of Searches…So What?

Well, do you want to get all these traffic to come to your website? Of course you do! Well guess what, at the time i’m writing this the PPC bid price for the keyword 2012 (in exact match) is only $0.09-0.13 cents for Position 1! That is insanely low because not many people are targeting any ads to that particular keyword! And due to the fact that it has been mentioned in the movie trailer (and is likely to be mentioned ever more in future)….a lot of people are actually searching for the phrase “2012”. In fact that is not all, there are some other hype going with the year 2012 which is making many people to search for it naturally as well.

So if you invest some money in PPC and only target that particular keyword alone (with exact match) and also write a very good ad copy..I can guarantee that you will get a lot of traffic and a good CTR (since people are really curious to find out about 2012..so if you mention certain keywords in your ad that the visitor can relate to in the movie (Hint: A phrase from the trailer..), they are likely to click on your ad.

Now what can you do with this traffic?

I guess thats something that you need to figure out. There is a lot of ways you can monetize that kind of traffic – for instance, signup with an account with Cafepress and design some cool 2012 t-shirts and sell them via that landing page. Make unofficial wallpapers, skins, themes of the movie 2012 (watermark your domain name) and give them away for free via your landing page. Or do whatever you want as long as it is legit!

What If I don’t want to do anything with 2012, but I just want the traffic?

That is certainly an option, but you really need to figure out whether the traffic that will come via this medium is going to convert for your site. I know I haven’t covered PPC in my blog yet (which i intend to), but in brief conversion means – if you are spending $0.09 cent to get a visitor and out of every 100 visitor you get (costing you $9), 10 people converts (signs up for an offer, buys a product, or does something that has a monetary value) and makes you $20 then its giving you a ROI of $11 (per 100 visitors). So its like for every $9 you spend in PPC you are getting about $20 in return. So I advise you to test your campaign and see whether this is worth the time, effort & money.

Once the word gets out, a lot of people might start doing what I just suggested and thats when the bid price will start to rise and eventually it won’t be so cheap anymore…So I guess this post was just for fun after all, if you have never don’t PPC in your life this is your chance to test it out (Right now!). Your advantage is, you will have the privilege to test it out with a lot of traffic and have to pay less for clicks.

Any other cool (‘evil’) ideas running in your mind? Share them in comments.


Bloggers Best Practices Guide by Google

After launching the Official Google SEO Guide, many webmasters has really appreciated Google’s effort in trying to help out web community. The blogosphere demanded that Google should often come up with more such guides so that at least the ‘best practices’ of the subject matter is clear to the public.

And now It looks like Google has came up with another Guide for Bloggers, unfortunately its not a PDF this time but instead its a new document inside the Google Webmaster Help archive. So in this small guide, the Google Webmaster Central team has offered some basic but useful tips on how bloggers can improve their blogs. They have divided the document in 3 parts – Creating great content, Making the content Crawler & user friendly & lastly use of Google Webmaster tools for your blog.

I have created a small summary of what the guide talks about. So here goes:

Creating Great Content

  • Write Good content & Write as Frequently as possible — As you may already know, Content is King but do you know that writing more ‘frequently’ can encourage your readers to come back to your site more often? But obviously you need to take into account that the subject of your writing should be the same as what your readers expect from your blog. A very good quality post once a week is better than many low-quality content published daily.Tip: — Perform a search in Google for a subject of interest on your niche. If you can’t find a good answer, simply create a blog post about that particular subject – chances are that other people are also searching for the same thing.
  • Always follow the Webmasters Guideline and try do things naturally. Try not to get involved in shady practices like this.
  • Organize your content to make your Blog more User-friendly! Use categories, tags & labels appropriately so that your content are easy to find.
  • Host your blog in your own domain and link it from your Home page so that the users & search crawlers can easily find your content
  • Always create original content & content that are primarily for users and not the search engines. If you are promoting a affiliate product, DON’T use the content that they provide which has probably been used in tons of other places and are just duplicates. Always write unique & original content that you feel will be useful for the reader (e.g. Product reviews, How-tos etc.)
  • Stop Comment Spam – Comments are Good but SPAMs are not. Read more about how to stop comment spam.

Making your Blog Crawler & User Friendly

  • Always use Descriptive Titles for each your posts – Think of words that people may use to search for that particular post and include them in your title. Write Unique Titles so that it doesn’t get mixed up with another post of yours in your blog.
  • Engage in your community, participate in discussion and interact with the readers who leaves a comment in your blog
  • Publish a FULL feed of your content rather than a partial Feed. Full feeds can make users happy because they can view your content with a lot less effort. Even though it might result in a short-term decline in visits to your actual blog, but it has long-term benefits for you

Webmaster Tools For Your Blog

Thats all! Pretty basic isn’t it? If you were expecting more “advanced” stuffs I invite you to read some of the following:

Bloggers Guide to SEO by Aaron Wall & Giovanna Wall – SEOBook.com

WordPress SEO – Definitive Guide To High Rankings For Your Blog by Joost de Valk – Yoost.com

Search Engine Optimization for Blogs by Darren Rowse – Problogger.net

Whitehat SEO tips for bloggers by Matt Cutts – Mattcutts.com/blog/

21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic by Rank Fishkin – SEOmoz.org

Tips for Optimizing Blogs and Feeds by Ross Dunn – SearchEngineGuide.com

Do-It-Yourself Search Engine Optimization Guide by Lorelle – Lorelle.Wordpress.com

SEO For WordPress – The Complete Guide by Jim Westergren – JimWestergren.com

Did I miss any great resources? Please Include it in comments or notify me via twitter (@saadkamal).

Update: I forgot to add my very own post that I wrote particularly for Bloggers titled: How to Rank Your Blog High in Search Engines. Check it out and I’m sure you will be able to take some useful pieces from it.


Link Building : A Complete Walkthrough

Link Building Tutorial

External Links (Links coming from other sites) was (*and still probably is) one of the major contributor of any Search Engine Optimization effort. Obviously links alone can’t help you to rank well in the Search Engines, but they do play a “major” role to push your ranking up to the top.

What is Link Building?

Link Building is basically the process of getting quality Web sites to link to your Web site, in order to improve search engine rankings.

Why is Link Building Important?

Link building is absolutely essential for your SEO campaigns because currently majority of the search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo etc.) uses link popularity as a metric to judge the quality of your website. An incoming link from a 3rd Party site works like a “vote” or “recommendation” towards your site. So say if 500 people are linking to you from their websites, you can look at it as — 500 people has recommended your site.

Are All Links Treated Equally?

This is a very common question among the Webmasters. Well, The answer is “No”. Each website has their own “reputation profile” that enables them recommend other websites. Now when a high profile website links to you, their link value is much higher compared to a low profile website who is probably new in the market and doesn’t have any reputation to spare for you. A perfect example of this would be, Suppose if CNN links to your website, that particular link would be more trusted and will be more valued by the search engines due to the fact that CNN is a authoritative website and their news/stories are trusted by everyone. So if CNN links to you it gives an indication to the Search Engine that your website is also of high quality and value.

Which Sites are Worth Getting a Link From?

CNN is not the only authoritative site on the Internet, the above was just an example. There are thousands of other quality sites that have high authority. Now you may ask – “How do I determine the quality of the site”. Well below are some of the easy metrics that you can use to determine a site’s quality:

  • Age of the Website: The older it is, the better. Old sites are likely to be more Trusted by the Engines.
  • Page Rank: Even though I pay very little attention to this myself, But it is some what a good metric to determine the quality of the site. The only Page Rank that is visible to public is the Google Toolbar PR. Its a number between 0 to 10 where 10 denotes the highest quality and 0 denotes the lowest. The Toolbar Page Rank is updated every 3-4 months and its just a partial representation of the Actual Page Rank (an proprietary algorithm of Google to determine a site’s quality & rank them accordingly).
  • No. of Pages Indexed : This is another metric that I like to use to determine whether the site has a good search engine presence. If a site has thousands of pages indexed in Google, its an indication that the site has been in business for a long time and it some what trusted by Google. To find out how many pages are indexed, simply go to Google Search and type the following command – site:www.domain.com. This should show you all the pages of domain.com indexed in Google.
  • No. of Incoming Links : Since “authority” & “trust” flows from one domain to another via links, its important to see who is linking to the domain that you are testing for authority. There are many tools out there that can help you to check the link profile of any domain. e.g. Yahoo Site Explorer, Backlink Watch etc. The easiest way would be to type link:http://www.domainname.com in Google or Yahoo and it will show you a list of websites that are linking to that domain. Do note that Google often shows a lot less links compared to Yahoo. So if the site has a lot of good quality incoming links, then its likely that a link from that site will give your website a lot value.
  • Traffic: Traffic is often a good determinant of a quality website. To check how much traffic a site gets, you can use tools such as: Google Trends for Websites, Compete, Quancast, Alexa and so on. Remember, these tools are not 100% accurate and may not display the traffic information of all domains. (Websites below a certain traffic threshold is not being monitored by these services.)
  • Others: There are many automated applications out there that can help you to determine a site’s quality/authority on the web. E.g- SEOmoz Trifecta Tool.

How Do I Get These Links?

There are basically two types of link building, the first type is Organic (a.k.a Natural Linkbuilding) & the other type is “Artificial Linkbuilding”.

Continue Reading


Keyword Research – A Complete Walkthrough

Firstly, If you are new to the world of SEO & Search Marketing, I’d strongly advice you to read my Newbie Guide to SEO. It has all the basic elements that you may need to get your blog/website to rank in the search engines.

In that article I briefly touched on “finding a niche” and “…using keywords in Title” and someone emailed me last week to ask – “How to Find the Right Keyword(s) for a Blog?“. Well I basically gave her a brief answer already, but as promised I’m covering the whole “Keyword Research” topic in more detail here in the blog. If the post gets too lengthy please bear with me – I promise that by the end of the article you will become a Master of the Basics of Keyword Research & Optimization.

Before I continue, I advice you all to Subscribe to this blog (Free) by using the Email Subscription or RSS Subscription (..Located on the top right hand corner of this page…). The reason I want you to subscribe is, I’ll be covering some great topics here and I don’t really want you to miss anything!

What is Keyword Research?

In regards to Organic/Natural/Paid Search, Keyword research basically means researching for words that are supposedly going to be used by your customers/readers/visitors to find your website/blog/business/product.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

Well, If you can know what your customer is looking for, its easy for you to sell them the right product. If a person is looking for a Dish washer but ends up in an online tire store, he is less likely to make a purchase.

So if you are selling tires online you need to know what ‘keywords’ or ‘search terms’ searchers use to search for your product online. For example are they searching for ‘tires’ or ‘wheels’?

– Car Tires <> Automobile Tiers ?
– Snow Tire <> Winter Tire ?
– Bridgestone Tire <> Firestone Tire ?

How would you know? How can you differentiate between all these keywords? How can you tell which one is more “important” or better (in terms of search volume).

Well all these questions can be answered when you will do a proper Keyword Research. Now since my target audience is Bloggers & Small Business owners, I’d like to give an example of how Keyword Research can actually help a blog to become successful. Lets say you have a technology blog and you write about all sorts of technology news, tutorials, how-tos, tips & hacks. You only get about 100 visitors a day and most of them are from your own community of friends. You don’t get any significant amount of traffic from search engines because most of the things that you write about are either “too general or common” (there are thousands, if not millions of pages on the same topic), or you just don’t know what people are interested in the technology arena. You only write about things that ‘you feel’ is important, but not necessarily the whole blogosphere thinks the same.

So after you did some basic keyword research, you noticed that people in your area of expertise/interest are searching for the following – (The amount of searches shown are from Google Alone! The figure will be even bigger if you consider the other engines on the market)

facebook group – 18,000+ searches/mo
Vista Theme for Xp – 33,100+ searches/mo
best free antivirus – 22,200+ searches/mo
backup iphone – 22,000+ searches/mo

And all these search phrases has “minimal” amount of competition in Paid + Organic search. (I’ll write about how to determine competition later in the article).

Now with the above data you created few ‘top-notch’ blog posts (I just made up some example titles)-

Target Keyword: “Facebook Group”

– How to Join a Facebook Group?
– How to Create a Facebook Group?
– How to Make a Facebook Group Popular?

Target Keyword: “Vista Theme for Xp”

– Top 20 Windows Vista Theme For Xp
– Beautiful Windows Vista Theme for Windows XP
– Collection of Windows Vista Theme for XP

Target Keyword: “Best Free Antivirus”

– Best Free Antivirus for Windows Vista
– Best Free Antivirus for Windows Xp
– The world’s Best Free Antivirus Review

Target Keyword: “backup iphone”

– How to Backup My Iphone?
– How to Backup your Iphone using Itunes?
– How to Backup Iphone Data?
– Iphone Backup Tutorial
– Free Iphone Backup Software

After writing the posts, you promoted them among your community and also via the social media and soon after they got indexed by google and some other major search engines, you got some decent ranking for some of those terms. As a result you to get an additional 10-20 thousand visitors / per month from the search engines. So from only an average of 100 visitors per day, you straight away jumped to 600 visitors per day! Now just think what you can accomplish, if you are always doing keyword research when thinking about writing your next blog post.

How to do Keyword Research?

Now that I have convinced you (I hope~) that keyword research is very important, let me go straight to the steps that you need to perform in order to do some basic keyword research.

Continue Reading


How to Rank Your Blog High in Search Engines

Every blogger dreams of getting a lot of targeted traffic from search engines. Because first of all – organic search traffic is absolutely FREE and secondly it gives the blogger a wider reach of audience. For instance, I’m from Malaysia but I believe a lot of you who are reading this are from different parts of the world. So a blogger doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to his own locality but with the help of Search engines his blog can reach out to the whole world.

Search Engine Optimization For Blogs

So Today I have decided to share some of the simple tips that anyone can implement in order to “Optimize” their blog and get good ranking in the search engines. Please note that this tutorial is not only limited to ‘blogs’ but any website that exists on the web. However the article has been written for bloggers in mind so some of the things may be a bit different for other types of sites.

Step 1: Know Your Self – Select a Niche – Set a Goal

The first step is to know yourself and your blog, so that you know exactly what you are writing about. Many bloggers just blog about their daily ramblings (like a personal diary). So if you are a blogger who only keeps your journal for your daily ramblings you are probably witting about – what you had for lunch, how much did your kitty ~poo~ today (jking) etc….

Is there anything wrong with that? Well absolutely not! Its your blog and you can write about anything you want. However the problem raises (especially among the asian bloggers) when it comes to “earning money from blog” or “getting international traffic”.

Unless you have a selected a “niche” (or many niches) that you are comfortable talking about, its very hard to attract traffic just by writing about ‘random’ stuffs.

For example – if you are a female blogger and you are particularly interested in fashion, your posts can be targeted for the fashion world. Your daily ramblings that you put up in your blog will then be more “fashion” related. E.g. new cloths you bought, picture of the latest shoe you saw in the mall etc. Similarly, if you are a car freak, your blog posts can be slightly partial about cars, racing, modifications, sound system and so on. A blogger can choose as many niches he/she wants like- politics, food, cooking, fashion, pets, lifestyle, dining, travel, technology etc.

So you should ask yourself, what are the topics that you are more comfortable to talk about? Whats Interests you? Once you have gotten that answer, slowly sail your blog to that direction.

No, You don’t need a new blog or a domain to do that. You can start writing ‘on your niche’ in your existing blog. And I’m not staying that because you choose fashion, you can’t write about “politics”. Remember, Its your blog so you are the Boss. You can write about absolutely anything you want. However if your writing has a particular focus, it would be easier for your readers to categorize your blog as a part of your respective niche. Even fashion and politics can be blended together if you are creative! (Think about it…)

So once you have selected your comfort zone, set a target for yourself. For example, how are you going to measure your success? It can be in terms of No. of visitors, No of RSS subscribers, Earnings from Blog etc.

Step 2: Optimize the Title of Your Blog Home Page

This is probably the most important “on-page optimization” factor that is the most easy to do. The title of your blog is what everyone sees on the top of their browser when they visit your blog. For search engines its the most important determining factor of what your blog is all about. So for instance, If your name is “John Doe” and you want everyone to find your blog when they search for your name in Google, you MUST put your name “John Doe” in your blog’s Title Tag. So You can perhaps format your title tag like – “John Doe’s Blog” or “John Doe – Recipe Blog” etc.

Bad Title Examples:

“My Daily Ramblings”
“My Blog”
“My Blah Blah”

Why are the above bad Titles? Because no one is actually going to search for “My Blog” in google. You should put something in your title that you think people will search for. Try to get some of the important keywords in your title, such as – your name, your blog’s name, keywords from your niche etc. So If my niche is digital cameras & photography, My title can be:

“John Doe: Digital Camera Review Blog”
“John Doe Digital Camera Blog”
“Digital Photography blog by John Doe”

……and other combinations that makes sense.

Step 3: Meta Tags Optimization

Even though not all meta tags are not as important as before, Meta Description tags are still very useful and a determining factor for increasing your chance of ranking in the search engines. So sometimes Title tags can’t do it alone, if you also optimize your Meta Descriptions tag, you have a higher chance of succeeeding.

A blog’s Meta description should contain a brief description of your blog focusing on the areas and niches that you often write about. This small piece of text can be considered as a selling snippet, if a reader finds it appealing he is likely to click and go inside your blog to find out more information. But if your Meta Description is too generic and isn’t written too well then there is a good chance that your blog will simply be ignored even though its probably ranking well in the search engine. Check out an example of a good meta description:

Example of a Good Meta Description

Now Why do I call the above a Good Example? Because:

  • The meta description is descriptive enough for a reader to know what to expect from the blog.
  • It contains important keywords – For instance, the name of the photographer is specified (e.g. Laura Novak), The type of photography is also described (e.g. Wedding & Portrait) and her locality is also specified (e.g. Wilmington, Delaware).
  • The meta description automatically appeals to someone who is looking for a wedding photographer in Wilmington. So If the searcher sees this result in the search engine.

Of course this description can be improved and further tweaked, but I guess you already got the general idea of having a good meta description.

Important things to include in your Meta Description:

  • Include your Selling Point– Tell your readers what they want to hear through your site’s Meta Description, and you will definitely get some advantage over others in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). For instance – if you blog about digital camera and photography then including a phrase like “Digital Camera Review & Advanced Photography tips” may result in more clicks and visitors because your description will exactly match the flavor of search performed by the user.
  • Keywords – Including some of your keywords (E.g. Wedding Photography, Photography Tips, Camera Review) will give you some advantage in Google’s relevancy algorithm.

Step 4: Structuring Your Content

Another important thing is to structure your content so that its becomes more readable. Important text should go in top and less important text should go in the bottom. Usage of Bold, Italic, Heading (h1 tags) is a must. If you properly structure your content, it will be more readable for your readers and it will also help the search engines to determine what is more important. For example, when you write a new post, always choose the Post title carefully. Whatever you choose as the title becomes the Header of the particular page and it appears in “big letters”.

So if your post heading reads “I am Bored…” and inside the post only the first two line is about ‘why you are bored’ and after that the whole post is about How to cook cheese macaroni…Its just not going to work! Ask yourself, How do you usually read a newspaper? Do you start reading from the left and read every single word? No – we usually “skim” a newspaper and we look at the heading and if the heading interests us, we read the news beneath the heading.

Blog kind of works in the same way, if you have a poor heading you can’t expect people to read the whole entry. Similarly a Search engine will not consider your Post very related to “cheese macaroni” unless your heading has the words inside. So a Post title “How to Cook Cheese Macaroni” is better compared to “I am Bored….”.

Things to Remember:

  • Always use short Post Titles. Think of something that people may use to search for that particular post and use it as your title.
  • Always Use Header Tags (h1, h2, h3) effectively. If you have a big article, break it down into different sections and give each section a sub-heading.
  • Use Bold, Italic where necessary. Its often good to highlight important words so that they are easily noticeable to your readers as well as to the search engines

Step 5: Image Optimization

No matter what type of blog you are running, You must use a lot of images! Human eyes love images and its often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Its actually true! If your blog has a lot of images, it would be a lot easier for you to engage your users. Moreover You can get additional traffic from Image search engines like (Google Images). When You are putting an image in your blog, you must optimize it for the search engines so that the search engine knows what the image says… (Search engines are dumb and so they can’t see inside images…yet).

Some Important Image Optimization Elements:

  • Alt text : ALT text or Alternate Text is the text to describe your image when your mouse moves over an image on your web page. The text should be meaningful but short. You can use your relevant keywords as ALT text. If your browser can’t display the image for some reason, the alt text is used in place of that particular image.
  • File name : always use meaningful file name for your images, use names like “apple-iphone-cover.jpg” instead of meaningless “DSC24045.jpg”. Keep image file name same or similar to the ALT text.
    Image Title : always use the title tag in images which will show the title as tool tip when a user moves his mouse over the image. Example of an image with title tag: [img src=”http://imagelocation.jpg” alt=”Image description” title=”Title of the Image”]
  • Image Linking : Whenever you want to link to your image, use the image keywords in your link text. Example: use “view an Apple iPhone”, instead of “Click here to view” as the anchor text.

Step 6: Keep your blog Up-to-Date

Search engines loves fresh, new content, so always feed them! Not only your blog will grow automatically if you always add something to it; search engines tend to come and spider your website more often if they always find something new. So you will have a higher chance of ranking high in the search engine if you keep on adding fresh, quality and unique content.

If you follow the 6 steps that I mentioned above, you blog will already be considered as one of the Search Engine Aware blogs. You will definitely see some improvements in your ranking as well as traffic.

Those of you who are using Blogger, Xanga, WordPress, Typepad and other blogging platforms and doesn’t know how to change “title” or meta description, I’ll definitely try to put up separate instruction guide for all of you. But there are hundreds of good resources already available on the internet, and you can simply do a Google search to find them =)

This guide is no way complete and its very basic as I have particularly wrote it for Newbie bloggers (especially those who have absolutely no idea about SEO). So if you run into any problem you are free to put your questions in the comments or you can always email me at – me[at]saadkamal.com.