SEO and META Description: The Unsung Hero

by demtron on Thursday, November 19, 2009 08:26 PM

Is the META Description tag really worth any time and energy?  Compared to other aspects of on-site SEO, this one doesn’t provide the kind of ranking and authority that impact rankings significantly.  In spite of this, there’s an important reason for using it that’s often overlooked.

META Description provides and easy and succinct way to summarize the contents of a page, but it can be substantially longer than the title tag.  The real benefit of this tag is in writing a sales hook that will encourage a visitor to click in spite of its position on a page.  Here are two examples found in Google when searching for the term "birthday gifts":

 

Unique Gift Ideas, Gifts, Unusual Gifts, Birthday Gift Ideas, Unique Gifts, Gifts For Men, Gift Ideas, Corporate Gifts, Birthday Gifts, Gift Ideas.

 

Say Happy Birthday with a birthday gift from RedEnvelope - no better place to order and send birthday gifts.

 

The first results comes from a keyword stuffed section of the page content and reads more like a ransom note than a description of the site.  The second one, even though ranked lower, has a nice message, a call to action, relevance and it’s easy to read.  It conveys the image of a place that someone might like to shop.  Sure, it’s not keyword stuffed and may not rank as well, but relevance was the key here.  I passed over the first result because it just didn’t have a good feel to it.  There’s not doubting that both sites intended for the visitor to see exactly what was shown, but the one with the clear message and call to action wins the day.

META Description optimization is one of the easier on-page optimizations that can be made.  Despite is relatively lower importance in ranking, the sales punch it can provide makes it worthwhile to include it in your SEO plans.

Need help with your META Description tags.  Contact the <a href="/Milwaukee-Wisconsin-SEO-Expert.aspx">Milwaukee SEO Experts</a> at Demtron today!


Milwaukee SEO: Choosing Keywords for Traffic

by demtron on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 09:41 AM

When forming SEO strategies for a Web site, appropriate keyword choice is critical for bringing in targeted traffic.  Choose the right words, and all the rest of your efforts will be rewarded.

 

SEO Keyword Choice: An Example


A prospective client approached me for advice on this Web site on which he sold a dip for potato chips.  He told me that his site ranked well but his traffic and sales were poor.  He indicated that he was optimizing his site for the phrase “chip dip”.  It was clear that he did a number of the right things on the site with title tags, linking and good natural text.  I suspected that the problem was with the phrase he chose for his SEO efforts.

On Google, a search for this phrase yielded 297K results and for the two words alone yielded 518K.  Not bad.  One keyword traffic tool indicated that the phrase had 40.5K searches in Google in the previous month.  Still not bad.  What was missing?

Then, it hit me.  Taking a look at the PPC ads for that phrase, there just weren’t that many.   And, there were only three of them.  One might expect this from a really narrow niche or localized search term.  Each one led to a search results page at Target, Amazon, and eBay - not exactly high quality ads.  I began to explore alternatives.



Better Keywords for SEO


Using a few different keyword research tools led to few promising alternatives.  The word Appetizer had some strong traffic as well as PPC interest, but that was it.  The competition for Appetizer was extremely strong, and I felt that his site would get lost in the shuffle even further on his small budget.

I explored several variations such as party appetizers, easy appetizers, and best appetizers.  All of these terms offered more traffic and more PPC interest than chip dip.
I suggested that he create multiple pages that were targeted for different related phrases.  Because his whole site was concentrated on one phrase for SEO and it was a poor selection, his site was casting a small net out to a small audience that would likely never find the site.  By targeting multiple related phrases across the site and tying them together with good internal linking, he would definitely raise his chances of attracting targeted traffic.

Did he follow this advice?  It has been about a month since we last spoke, and I don’t see any change to his site yet.  Hopefully, he didn’t abandon his SEO efforts.

 


Killing Your Search Engine Ranking in 7 Easy Steps

by demtron on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 07:40 PM
Have you ever wanted to completely destroy your search engine ranking or do it for someone else?  Maybe you never want your site to get found again?  Believe it or not, I've helped clients in the last six months with each of these problems that were torching their search engine profile and strangling their organic traffic.
 
1) Domain masking: I took over one site where the entire site was using domain masking.  In seven years, the client had absolutely no idea that the previous designer was doing this to save himself a buck on a hosting plan for the site.  Only the home page was found in search engines.  It turns out the designer did exactly the same thing with all the rest of his clients' sites that have been live for years.  They, too, only have the home page to show for it in search engine results.
 
2) Use only a JavaScript menu for linking pages: Sure, JavaScript menus are cool.  They can drop down, slide across, have pictures and generally spice up a site.  But they can't be crawled by search engines.  What's more, the links in them don't contribute anchor text, either.  One recent client had over a hundred pages in a JavaScript menu and practically no linking using anchor tags.  Most of the 200 pages of the site had not been crawled at all
 
3) Use a JavaScript page strip: ASP.Net is famous of offering page navigation strips using is doPostBack JavaScript methods.  Another client I acquired had over 6 thousand pages on a site, but only 32 pages actually crawled.  The remaining pages were all accessible through paginated tables.  Another great waste of code that a search engine ignores.
 
4) All pictures and Flash with little text: Some designers with a flair for graphic design take sites a little overboard.  If you're a famous pop star and have zillions of fans finding your site every day by just typing yourname.com, then who cares?  In the real world, most sites are not wildly popular and are only found through search engine results.  SEs love text, especially keyword-rich, backlinked text.  Pictures and Flash sure are pretty, but they basic tell nothing to a crawler.
 
5) Renaming pages without redirects:  One site I redesigned earlier this year had tons of links from other sites pointing to a page that was non-existent.  What a complete waste of free traffic and promotion!  Both search engines AND human visitors wouldn't find the site.  Oh, what a little bit of 301-redirect action did to help out that one.
 
6) Leaving title tags blank:  One of the aforementioned sites had about 60 of it's 200 pages with blank titles.  How is anyone going to find those pages, and why would anyone click on them?  Here, let's write a book, then tear the front cover off and leave one of those "this page intentionally left blank" pages as the new front cover.  Real slick.
 
And last, but not least...
 
7) user agent: *  disallow: / in the ROBOTS.TXT file: This one didn't actually happen, although it was close.  The site had the disallow all set for a user agent of Google.  So, they kissed 81% of their traffic away just by a simple screw-up by the former designer.
 
And there you have it.  If you implement these seven key steps, your success with annihilating your search engine exposure and traffic is pretty much guaranteed.  Good luck and happy destroying!

Milwaukee SEO: Keywords for Real Estate Web Sites

by demtron on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 04:38 PM

Real estate agents can achieve significant exposure on the Web through their Web sites and blogs.  According the National Association of Realtors 2006 survey of Internet use (http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2006/01/hmbuyersellersurvey06), 24% of all buyers first learn about a home they purchased through the Internet, and a whopping 77% of all buyers used the Internet to search for homes.  An increasing number of home buyers (and sellers) are savvy with technology and conduct their initial investigation of homes real estate web sites. 

Unfortunately, there is a surprising number of real estate Web sites that don’t rank well in search engine results, even for properties in their own communities.  The agents who own these sites likely don’t know much traffic and Web visibility their missing. 

Real Estate Location Keywords for SEO

So, how do we go about determining which keywords will work well for an agent’s site?  First and foremost, it’s critical to know the specific cities to target, the size and relative importance of each, and what variations exist for each name.  For example, let’s choose Waukesha County, Wisconsin for as a sample.  Here’s the list of most populous cities in descending order according to the 2000 U.S Census:

Waukesha

Brookfield

New Berlin

Muskego

Oconomowoc

Pewaukee

Delafield

These should be the core of the keywords used for a Waukesha county real estate site as most buyers and sellers will target specific communities when conducting searches.  Variations should be included such as Saint and St., Mount and Mt.,  directionals such as North and N., and Fls. and Falls.  Don’t forget to include Waukesha County itself!

Subject Keywords for Search Engine Optimization

The next sets of words and phrases to consider are subject words.  These represent the subject matter of the site (and their derivations) for which visitors would look.  Typical phrases that should be a the top of the list are:

Real Estate

Realtor

Realty

Homes

Homes

Home Selling

Foreclosures (if these are important)

Properties

Properties

Real Estate

Condominiums

Again, this is a standard list that immediately comes to mind.  Consider using a keyword suggestion tool or using the services of a Milwaukee Real Estate SEO Expert to help you determine which ones are most valuable or others that belong on the list.

Secondary Real Estate Keywords for Long-Tail Searches

The last set of words to consider is secondary words that will likely be part of long-tail searches.  Those are searches that go beyond the typical two to three core words that were already chosen and they’ll generally be a part of the majority of search traffic that will come to a real estate site.  A few examples are:

Values

Agents

Listings

New Homes

For Sale

Financing

Relocation

 

Selecting keywords is one of the steps required in creating a strong organic search engine profile for real estate Web sites.  For more information on optimizing real estate web sites for search engines, contact Demtron, your Milwaukee and Waukesha SEO Experts.


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