How To Be An SEO Guru

Do you see yourself as a budding SEO Guru and want to spot the next big thing? Have you heard lots of conflicting SEO advice but are not sure which to follow? Have you ever wondered where SEO companies go for inspiration and great advice? Web Marketing and SEO are inextricably linked so that is why this post is titled How To Be An SEO Guru

If you want to be your own SEO guru, or take your first steps on the road to expert status, there are a few simple pieces of advice we wish that we had been given when starting out:

  • Read everything you can about SEO
  • Follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines
  • Study the best SEO examples you can find

Read Everything About SEO
It has been said that if you read ten books on a subject by different authors, you will own that subject. This is also true about SEO, except that you must keep reading in order to stay current. SEO books date very quickly, and techniques that were leading edge two years ago may not work now. Each SEO expert has their own slant on the subject, and can offer something to the jigsaw, but remember, no-one knows it all!

Read every article you can about SEO, watch every video by the SEO experts, and if you can, get to talk to them. Make sure you include Webmaster Guidelines on your monthly reading list, too.

Webmaster Guidelines
It should not need saying, but follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines. If you want to get your website to the top of the rankings for your chosen keywords then it is important to follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines. It is true that there are techniques that might give your site an unauthorized boost, so called “black hat” techniques, but they will not help you if it gets you blocked from the search engine results. The only reliable way to ensure that you stick to the rules is to read the guidelines from the people who wrote that particular book, Google.

When you have read this article follow the link below to Google Webmaster Guidelines and bookmark it, or bookmark this page.

Study the SEO Best
If you want to be the best at anything then you have to study the techniques of the people who are currently rated as the best. Train where the best SEO Gurus train. Attend the conferences and seminars where the SEO experts hang out and listen to them talk. If you can, sign up for at least one SEO training from a renown expert per year, and if possible more. When you are trained by an SEO expert you will get the chance to ask the important questions directly, and of course you get to hang out with them too.

What To Do Next
In the run up to the new year, and the New Year resolutions, how about making a pledge to help you on the way to being your own SEO guru?
Decide that you are going to market your website and boost its position for your chosen keywords
Commit yourself to sign up for tuition from an SEO expert in January
Act now, and look out for SEO tips in the New Year!

PS, where do we go when we are seeking inspiration? Try

Have a happy and prosperous new year!

SEO Resources:

Using Meta Tags For Search Engine Optimization

One of the most common spam contacts we see in the inbox these days are dubious offers to get our various websites and blogs to number one on Google for our chosen keywords. It sounds like that would be something that might be worth paying money for, so why do the SEO offers leave us cold?

What is Search Engine Optimization?
As most web users will already know, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in Internet search engines so that it appears higher in the search results. So surely an offer to promote your website or blog and optimize it so that it appears top in a Google search must be worth investing in? Well actually No! At least not from the spammers anyway.

Instead, let us look at a couple of often under used features of HTML, Meta Tags, which you can use to help the search spiders index your blog correctly, and optimize your site for your chosen keywords, without resorting to dodgy underhanded tactics or wasting money and time on get rich quick schemes promoted by spam email.

Using Meta Tags For Search Engine Optimization
If you are using your website or blog as a business vehicle then there are probably some key words which you hope that people will enter into the search engines when looking for your product or service. Similarly, when people find your site on Google, then make sure that the description of the site that appears is exactly what you want people to see.

Include Meta Tags
Include meta tags for the name of your site and a description of the page as part of the page code. If you are not editing the site code yourself, tell your web developer to include Meta Tag Description and Keywords on at least the homepage. Alternatively, if you are using a WordPress theme like Atahualpa, you can enter the Homepage Meta Description, and Homepage Meta Keywords in the Configure SEO in the Atahualpa Theme Options under Appearance.

Meta Tag Description
Including a description for your site provides some control over the way it appears in the Google search results. This should be 1 to 3 sentences, with about 20-30 words in total. For example, to ensure that Google list the keywords we are looking to link to this blog we have the following Meta Tag Description which appears in the page head, but is not displayed to the users:

content="TechCoSupport help Small and Medium Businesses (SME) grow through Web Marketing, Social Networking, SEO and AdWords Management in Bristol, UK "

The Google bots scan this when they index the site, and this results in the following entry in the Google search listing:
TechCoSupport Web Marketing image

This is the description that we want people to see when they look at our site in the listings, and it means that people who want to find out about Web Marketing, Social Networking, SEO and AdWords Management in Bristol can find us!

Meta Tag Keywords
Keyword optimization is simple to achieve, but can lead to improvements in your site ranking, particularly if you are writing about the keyword on your page. Including Keywords meta tags in you page gives the search bots a heads up in linking the page content to things that people are likely to search for. This should 10 to 30 words or phrases, separated by comma, and should relate to the content of your web page.

Say you are are looking for people to find your site when they enter the keyword Web Marketing. The search spiders should find Web Marketing in the invisible meta tags which show up in the page code, in your page content and possibly in the site URL too. This consistency and congruency between the Keywords Meta Tag and content is good for you page ranking.

However, be careful not to to just include keywords for the sake of having them, as they should relate to the page headings and description, and title. Avoid using tricks just intended to improve search engine rankings, as the techies behind search engines are on to all the tricks. A useful heuristic is to ask yourself if you are adding the tweak to benefit your users, or to fool the search spiders? The answer should always be that it makes it better for readers of your blog.

So to sum up Using Meta Tags For Search Engine Optimization:

  • Make sure you or your developer includes Meta Tags for both the site Description and Keywords in the Homepage at least.
  • Homepage Meta Description Limit to no more than 3 sentences, about 20 to 30 words total.
  • Homepage Meta Keywords Type 10 to 30 words or phrases, separated by comma.

To find out more on this subject from a reliable source, and so give you the confidence to delete the spam emails without another thought, click here to see Google Webmaster Quality Guidelines

Finally, here is a challenge to the spammers’ business model; if you are so good at SEO and Keyword Optimization, why do you need to resort to spam to attract new customers? If you really could do the job claimed, you would be beating off potential customers with a stick!

How To Improve Search Engine Rankings

The most common question we get asked when people find out about our SEO Marketing Services is usually “How Do I Improve My Search Engine Rankings?” Like we can tell you three things to do to your website to get it to the top of Google search rankings!

Well okay!

Three Things To Improve Your Search Engine Rankings
If you want to know the secrets of the SEO Marketing Gurus, you can spend a lot of money employing companies advertising SEO Marketing Services and Web Page Keyword Optimization services.

Alternatively, you can read the Google Webmaster Guidelines, and particularly the Quality guidelines. These guidelines are freely available, and if implemented on your site will help Google find, index, and rank your site. They include priceless gems like:

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Make your pages readable and have useful content so that people want to read what you post. If they are attractive to humans, and make them want to come back, then the bots will give you a good rating. Search spiders are people too!
  • Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number. This might not seem so obvious at first, but endless lists of links are difficult to read, and so should be avoided except in directories and of course your site index. Instead, make your blog a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Think about the words users would type to find your pages. Google provide plenty of tools to help you with this, so use the Google keyword tools to find out what people are searching for and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.

So to find out even more ways To Improve Search Engine Rankings, use the Google tools provided, and follow the guidelines:
Google Webmaster Guidelines

IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice and SEO

There has been a few comments back on our post, from back in March, containing the quote from Ed Bott, who stated that “Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice“. One person, who we will not name, offered the comment that IE6 is the basis for a whole developer community, so recommending it’s discontinuance was irresponsible and unprofessional. Besides, the commentator sneeringly pointed out that “hundreds of people had used that expression in web commentary.

Ignoring the obvious response to the “whole developer community” thing, of course we immediately did a quick Google search on the expression, and sure enough there are good number of matches (408 exact matches at time of writing). Does this mean that a large number of people had come to the same conclusion and used the same expression spontaneously, or was there some blatant manipulation of the search ranking by unscrupulous Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts.

This also poses an interesting observation about the way the search engines, like Google, rank pages. If you search for the phrase Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice, the original page from Ed Bott appears fourth, and then does not appear again until page two; that is eighteenth in the results set.

At time of testing, the top three results, beating the original post, are as follows:

  1. LessThanDot (a phpBB powered Bulletin board)
  2. Integrity Technology Group (a Joomla powered site)
  3. A Twitter link (with the exact quote verbatim)

This is interesting, and shows just how important your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be. The Bulletin board beat the Joomla entry by having repetition of the phrase “Any IT professional who is still allowing IE6 to be used in a corporate setting is guilty of malpractice” twice in the body, plus a partial reference in the title.

The Tweet came an honorable third by repeating the exact quote, and due to the limited number of characters available had the highest match to “noise” ratio.

Could it be that “IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice” proposition, repeated often enough, could get you a top position regardless of the content of the surrounding article?

By the way to avoid this post jumping immediately to the top of Google simply by repeating the full phrase ad nauseum, we have deliberately shortened it to IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice. However human readers will be able to substitute the full expression unconsciously, and so allow us to sleep at night! The expression we have distilled down to is concise, accurate and meets the requirement for this exercise.

If you want to see for yourself, try the links below to search for the full expression:

As an intellectual exercise, we have dutifully entitled this posting IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice, and at the time of posting Google returns no results for the exact phrase “IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice”. Over the next few weeks we will keep searching for the expression and see how many web sites pick it up. Any that do repeat it in their content will become the subject of extra scrutiny to see if they are brilliant SEO expert who we need to model, or cheap rip-off sites to be added to our SEO blacklist.

IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice
If you are interested in playing the game, and contributing in some small way to the sum of human knowledge, click here to search Google for the exact expression IE6 in a Corporate Setting is Malpractice. Let us know what you think.

Questions to ask about SEO

Our article yesterday on Improving Your Search Engine Results has prompted a flurry of inquiries about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The questions are something like this:

  • Do you do Search Engine Optimization?
  • Can you get me to the top of Google?
  • How much does it cost to get to the top of Google?
  • Will you do all the work for me?

The answers are pretty clear. Yes, we do offer a service to help you optimize your site for search engines. But that does not mean that we will pad a site with hidden links and create deceptive or misleading content on your behalf. Tricks such as doorway pages or throwaway domains are promoted by the SEO cowboys, but can actually damage your site’s ranking on Google.

Can we get a site to the top of Google? Yes we can and have done so on a number of occasions. However, a site’s placing in the listings is only part of the marketing strategy for a business, and it is far better to have visitors to your site who are interested in your products and services, and who may actually buy from you. For an example of a site we support which is at the top search Google for “End Leprosy. This site has a simple message, and if anybody searches for that key phrase, they will find that site.

How much does it take to get to the top of Google? The answer is likely to be more than you want to spend, if you are looking to compete for popular phrases. The question should be how much effort do I need to spend on marketing, to keep my business competitive. Not all effort needs to be directed at getting a higher placing in Google. Sometimes a good news story in the press will get you more business than thousands of pounds worth of SEO expertise.

Will we do all the work for you? No we will not. We can help with advice and technical assistance, about things like sitemaps, which the search spiders look for. We can advise you about accessibility issues like including titles in your links, and tags on your images. But you know your business best.

We will ask you searching questions about your content and marketing to ensure your site has the best information, both for people and the search engines. Remember the quality of our experiences are determined by the questions we ask ourselves, or in the case of SEO, that we ask you.

Finally before you engage your search engine optimizer there are a few important questions you should ask, rather than the common ones above. Some useful questions to ask an SEO include:

  • Can you show me examples of your previous work and share some success stories?
  • Do you follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines?
  • Do you offer any online marketing services or advice to complement your organic search business?
  • What kind of results do you expect to see, and in what timeframe? How do you measure your success?
  • What’s your experience in my industry?
  • What’s your experience in my country/city?
  • What’s your experience developing international sites?
  • What are your most important SEO techniques?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How can I expect to communicate with you? Will you share with me all the changes you make to my site, and provide detailed information about your recommendations and the reasoning behind them?

We expect our customers to ask these questions, and can provide answers to all of them. You should also know that these questions are available for free, on the Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pages, which you should check out before engaging our services, or those of any SEO experts.

Finally, before you contact us to ask us to provide our search engine optomization service, please read the Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide!

Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pages
Search Engine Optimization from Wikipedia

Additional Material:
Washington Attorney General sues Internet Advancement again

Improving Your Search Engine Results

Have you ever wondered how to get your business up to the top of Google or Yahoo! search results? Companies and individuals the world over have pondered this almost since Larry Page and Sergey Brin came up with the idea of PageRank (after Larry Page) and founded Google. Some specialist companies charge hundreds of pounds a month just to help you keep your business at the top of the Google results.

PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of measuring its relative importance within the set. The algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references.

So how do you improve your position in the search results? Our advice is that if you want to reach the top of the Google search engine then you should build a Blog on your website, and start Blogging.

How do Blogs increase your placement in the Google search engine results? First, Blogs increase the amount of content on your website. Google spiders love to see content, and the more content you have the better. If you have enough content on your site, then Google will deem you an authority site on the topic. If you provide a service rather just having a page full of advertisements, then you get a better page ranking.

If you accept that Blogs are the way to go, the next question would be what Blog program to use? The top Internet Marketers in the world recommend WordPress, which is available at For some options on starting a Blog see our WordPress Tags

Another advantage of WordPress is that it is a top pick for many search engines. WordPress creates site maps and automatically pings the search engines each time you update your Blog. The best news is that WordPress is FREE.

By making Blogging part of your daily schedule you can increase content on your site and help to improve your page ranking in the search engines. If you can increase your placement simply by writing a Blog, then why haven’t you started Blogging yet? We will be running a regular series of articles on Blogging, WordPress and Search Engine Results on this site to help you get started on the Internet. Why not come back every day and check us out?

For resources to help you get started with your first Blog, see the following links: