Categories
Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials

How to write page title for SEO?

I have several writers who write content for my websites. One of the things they constantly have is that they come up with page titles that are not good enough. Sometimes it’s trivial but sometimes it does pose a siginficant problem with regards to SEO.

For example, in this article: http://www.bintley.com/blog/the-comprehensive-guide-to-choosing-the-right-short-range-airsoft-gun/

The title is so long with primary keywords pushed far to the end that they may probably never show up in Google search results.

I then asked him to use very specific keywords at the beginning of the title and mentioned that people would never search for phrases such as “the importance of” or “the comprehensive guide to”, etc.

Here’s my follow-up letter to his doubts regarding why and how:

For example, change

“The Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Short Range Airsoft Gun”

to

“Find the Right Short Range Airsoft Gun”

or

“Short Range Airsoft Guns – Which one is right for me?”

I just confirmed with Google adwords keyword tool that the monthly search volume for a broad phrase of “comprehensive guide to” is so low that they are pretty much worthless and more so when combined with other keywords at the end yet you are using it as the first few words in the title of this article.

Check out this ranking factors correlation: http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors#metrics-6

The first few words in the page title plays the largest role / has the most impact for ranking a specific phrase in SE. Therefore, writing a very very specific keywords-first title is crucial in writing for the SE and web visitors. A title that doesn’t correctly stand for the content of the article or one that is vague or pretentious is a disaster. For instance, this article is by no means a Comprehensive Guide, so just stick to smaller words such as “How to”, “My Advice on” etc. and better not too long as they are taking precious space in the title, especially the leading part.

Categories
Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials Make Money Online WordPress How To

How to Create WordPress Widget Areas (Before and After Single Post)

Most WordPress themes such as those released by WooThemes come with ready to use widget areas only in sidebar and footer. They are missing out the most important areas of a blog for readership attention and actionable conversions. They are the areas immediately before single post content and immediately after it.

For example, a paragraph naturally flowing at the end of the post as if it’s part of the content would definitely grab the attention of your readers:

immediately after single post content

So How do We Create These 2 New Widget Areas?

Open functions.php and put in the follow snippet:

// This registers the widget area immediately before single post content
register_sidebar(array(
    'id' => 'before-single-post',
    'name' => 'Before Single Post',
    'description' => 'Widget area immediately before single post content',
    'before_widget' => '<div id="%1$s">',
    'after_widget' => '</div>',
    'before_title' => '<h2>',
    'after_title' => '</h2>'
));

// This registers the widget area immediately after single post content
register_sidebar(array(
    'id' => 'after-single-post',
    'name' => 'After Single Post',
    'description' => 'Widget area immediately after single post content',
    'before_widget' => '<div id="%1$s">',
    'after_widget' => '</div>',
    'before_title' => '<h2>',
    'after_title' => '</h2>'
));

And then open single.php or content-single.php or whatever it is that is the single post template file of your theme. Find the_content() and put before and after it the dynamic_sidebar() function so the widget content is displayed. You will very probably have something like this in the end:

<div id="before-single-post">
	<?php dynamic_sidebar('before-single-post'); ?>
</div>

<?php the_content(); ?>

<div id="after-single-post">
	<?php dynamic_sidebar('after-single-post'); ?>
</div>

Done.

Only 2 files (functions.php to register the widget area and one other file where you intend the widget content to be displayed) that need to be edited and updated to add new widget areas.

Adding Stuff to the Widget Areas

Now if you go to Appearance –> Widgets in the WordPress backend console, you would see 2 extra widgetized areas:

widget areas created

Try adding a widget there (probably the text widget) and see how it looks so you can style it for better attention attraction.

Categories
.htaccess Tutorials & Tips Apache Web Server Tutorials & Tips Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials Web Applications & Online Software

<IfModule></IfModule> in .htaccess

I was debugging about some mod_rewrite errors caused by the .htaccess file on one of my sites and couldn’t solve the problem myself so I opted for a help thread on the SitePoint.com forum. Turned out it’s not the problem of my mod_rewrite rules in .htaccess but some incorrect file permissions that were causing the trouble.

Dklynn was very nice to help me in this regard and offered a gold advice that I thought I should share with you.

You Should NOT Use <IfModule></IfModule>. Why?

He pointed out that I should get rid of the <IfModule> conditional from the .htaccess file. It’s useless and a complete waste of server resources by all means. No excuses.

Considering the fact that all HTTP requests (including those to trivial assets such as .css, .js, .gif, .jpg, etc., thus each web page download would trigger about 10 or even more HTTP requests) to the Apache web server are handled by the rules in your .htaccess file, I think I should get rid of all such <IfModule> conditionals from all .htaccess files on all my sites, or the server would be doing useless check of “If Module xxx Is Enabled” every time a HTTP request is received…..

With a site receiving 1000 page visits per day, your server would have to do 10,000 such useless checks at the cost server resources and performance.

Many famous 3rd party scripts such as WordPress has <IfModule></IfModule> in the .htaccess file by default. This is to prevent potential errors should the module was not installed on the client’s production site / server. You should try and remove it. If the mod_rewrite and SEO friendly URLs are working, you can remove it without any problems.

This is pure gold advice offered by Dklynn. Check out his site about Apache mod_rewrite.

Categories
Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials My Personal Reviews

SEOmoz Pro Review – Bad Bad Bad

So I’ve tried the Pro version of SEOmoz, an online SEO software application, for a few days and I think I’ve got to write a review. This would turn out to be very ugly.

Many years ago the features that this system brings to the table could have been useful for the SEO novice, but today almost everything that it does, other systems do better. In addition, most of the tools you need to duplicate this product are either free, or very inexpensive.

One of its primary features is that it crawls your website weekly, and lets you know if you have any broken links or other issues with your site. If you have a Google account, you can simply register your URL with them, and use their free webmaster tools to do the same thing, and it does not cost you $99 a month like this product does. Here’s the link for Google Webmasters Tools http://www.google.com/webmasters/.

The next claim to fame that this item promotes is on-page optimization. This is a very simple concept to understand and implement. There are many articles on the internet that you can read for free that will tell you exactly how to do this. And it’s quite easy.

Essentially, it just comes down to using your primary keywords in the title and a description of that post. There are a few other things you will need to do besides what was mentioned above, but not too many. Lots of WordPress plugins have been created to help you in this regard. Simply search for ‘wordpress SEO plugins’. Some of them are totally free while some of them may charge a humble one-time fee which is exponentially lower than $99 / month. And they do the job very well.

Thirdly, it keeps an eye on your competition for you. Great, like you could not just use Google, Yahoo, or Bing to accomplish the same thing. It will also tell you all of your competitor’s backlinks for only $99 a month. If you would like to find out that very same information, there are tons of free ways to do that. Just google.

The final item they would like to impress you with is that the software will continue to improve and evolve over time. Well, for $99 a month it better, because it is pretty close to being useless right now.

The only thing I appreciate is their blog. It’s the best SEO information outlet I’ve seen. No one ever comes close. You would learn a hell lot more about SEO from there in an hour than from any other sources combined in a whole year.

For this review of SEOmoz Pro, the paid SEO productivity application, we give it a big fat zero stars, with 5 stars being the best. What else can we say about this thing, it is pretty much as bad as it gets. There is nothing that it does now, that cannot be accomplished for free with another application, or by researching a few articles on the internet. But if you don’t mind spending a *premium* price for a premium *looking* application, by all means, go ahead and sign up with it.

Categories
Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials vBulletin Tips

How to Change the Homepage Title of vBulletin Forum?

By default, only the forum name / title is displayed in the <title></title> tag of the homepage of your vBulletin forum, which is far from ideal in terms of SEO. One should give a much more descriptive title to the home page of the forum other than the mere name of it.

To do this:

  1. Log in to the /admincp of your vBulletin forum
  2. From the left administrative menu, Styles & Templates –> Style Manager –> Select Edit Templates in the right drop down of the current style set.
  3. In the left selection of templates, double click Forum Home Templates –> double click FORUMHOME.
  4. Now opens the homepage template of your forum, search for ‘<title>’ and you would find the HTML tag to edit.
  5. Add something descriptive and keywords-rich in the <title></title> tag and click Save.
  6. Done!

vBulletin is such a sophisticated application with a very large user base. Took me some time to find this solution. Hope it helps! Check out how I changed the homepage title of the forum for Go.

Categories
Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials

A few SEO tips

findHaven’t come up with any solidly helpful posts recently so I thought I’d throw in this one. These are some of the things I learned the hard way in the past few years for ranking my websites in Google. Hopefully you would find something new in here.

I rely on SEO to get traffic – in most cases, it yields the best traffic across all possible sources. With good SEO (both on-site content optimization and off-site reputation / link building), it’s hard to not make money. Especially if you are an expert in Internet marketing (niche research, reputation building & management, consumer psychology, landing page tuning, blah blah blah…), it’s even harder to not be rich. Making good money is easy, you just need time.

Don’t use a host that’s POPULAR and CHEAP.

Really popular hosts like hostgator and dreamhost have millions of domains hosted with them. Because they are cheap, spammers like them and Google knows it. I frequently launch new sites and from my experience with dreamhost, after submitting the new site at here, without building any backlinks, it typically takes 1 week or more to get it indexed.

However with hawkhost and wiredtree, it’s totally different situation. Without any initial backlinks, new sites can be indexed in Google 1 day after submission, even when it’s just a blank site with an empty Apache index page. Sometimes I didn’t even have to manually submit the site and it magically and automatically got in Google’s index.

Sites hosted with hawkhost tend to be more stable in Google’s index. However, it’s hard to keep a new site (with merely any content) in Google’s index if it is hosted with dreamhost (and similarly very popular hosts with cheap shared plans). Google would soon get rid of your new site if you don’t keep working on it.

Have a 4 year old website.

Adsense is one of my favorite money makers and my most steady stream of Adsense income comes from a site I built in 2006. I created some nice content (very nice and very original) back then and I just left it there.

I made only $10 a month from the site in the first year and after some very frustrating ups and downs, it’s gradually climbing up. Now, 4 years later, it’s averaging $600 a month. To be honest, I never actually spent much time on it at all. No link building nor frequent content updating no nothing and it’s now making me 600 bucks a month. Not much, but still.

Not only is it receiving large amount of steady traffic, new content are generally very well positioned in front spots in search engine results. The older the site, the more authoritative it can get from search engine’s point of view.

Time is the ultimate distinguisher between builders and spammers. Spammers come and go, hit and run. They are always impatient, looking to make the quick buck with a spammy site. Once they find it’s not profitable, they’ll stop renewing the domain after the 1st year. Google knows this too well.

So most of your sites would not actually start performing in terms of search engine traffic until at least 1 year after domain registration. Yet most people are too obsessed with quick results and never wait that long. They kill their sites just before they can make them decent money.

Be natural.

Google is becoming smarter and smarter. I would never go against them by challenging their intelligence and capabilities to identify spam (or partial spam).

Sites I intentionally optimize in title, description and content keywords as well as off-site link anchor texts never seem to get anywhere substantial. It’s boring and it’s chores. It’s not worth it. I can spend the same time and dollar bill in creating content that’s useful and exciting. Best of all, it’s much more fun that will keep you going!

Duplicate content is a myth.

While being original is absolutely a must in ultra saturated / competitive niches, duplicate content isn’t that big a deal in most niches.

Forget SEO. Start making friends and never stop creating stuff.

I’ve been doing SEO for 4 years and I can finally say, this is the ultimate SEO tip.

Categories
Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials

Auto-generated content by user searches

A not-so-commonly employed content strategy is to automatically generate custom content by user searches. For example, if you’ve got a popular blog, there will be a lot of users searching for things they want to find on your blog. It’s an obvious sign that they want you to write about them. While you are recommended to keep an eye on what they are searching so as to provide content accordingly, you can also make the blog automatically generate search results pages by the searching terms.

I tried to find some WordPress plugins that do this for us but was unable to find any. Basically, the plugin would record all unique user search phrases and present them on a page as a list for the search engines to index the results pages with the custom page titles.

You should use the search term prominently in the page title and in the h1 tag. After the search engine has indexed the search results pages, you will have a lot of custom content pages AND best of all, they are exactly what users and potential visitors want to read. I have seen pretty exciting increase in searching traffic for my quotes site after I have implemented the strategy. The quotes search automatically generates a lot of custom pages by the searching phrase. What the user is searching is usually stuff that’s hard to come by in other sites or search engines so Google is pretty hungry in indexing these pages.

Categories
Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials Google Hacks, Cheats & Tips

Use robots.txt Disallow directive to forbid spiders and search engine robots

Just like .htaccess, robots.txt resides at the document root of your domain. It’s a text configuration file containing directives or rules any well behaved web spiders or search engine robots should respect. While you can use .htaccess to forcibly prohibit any visits (including those of human visitors) to a certain part of your site, robots.txt just deals with automated web page spiders such as googlebot.

To forbid any robot spiders to access and index /includes/ and /search/ directories of your site, simply write a robots.txt file and put in the following rules:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /includes/
Disallow: /search/

The asterisk * stands for any robot. By these rules, all robot spiders should not access nor index /includes/ and /search/. This is a good way to protect sensitive data and stop search engines from indexing certain part of your site.

Similarly, you can write rules targeted at a specific search engine:

  1. GoogleBot – Google
  2. Slurp – Yahoo
  3. MSNBot – Bing

(Note that these search engine providers may very probably have more than one bots, the listed bots are just the most common ones at present.)

For example, to prohibit Google from accessing and indexing /ihategoogle and any web documents under it, use rule:

User-agent: GoogleBot
Disallow: /ihategoogle/

There is no Allow directive

Therefore, to allow a spider to access your site, say nothing or:

User-agent: GoogleBot
Disallow: 

To allow a single bot such as GoogleBot to have the only privilege to access your entire site:

User-agent: GoogleBot
Disallow: 

User-agent: *
Disallow: /
Categories
Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials Web Applications & Online Software

Modify Index Homepage Title of MyBB Forum

Upon a fresh installation of MyBB forum software, the default homepage title is the name of the forum. Sometimes you want to add more keywords in it or change it in some way for the sake of SEO but don’t want to tamper with the forum site title itself because that’d make it look long and nasty.

How do we do that?

Simple, just follow me: Log into the Admin CP -> Templates & Styles -> Templates -> Default Templates -> Index Page Templates -> index. Now you should see the HTML template of MyBB index page.

Locate this line:

<title>{$mybb->settings['bbname']}</title>

And possibly, change it to:

<title>{$mybb->settings['bbname']} - site keywords, your keywords and more keywords</title>

Just change it according to your SEO keywords research.

Categories
Business and Marketing Content / SEO Tips & Tutorials Hosting Tips & Deals

Web Hosting IP and SEO: Are You A Slum Dog or Are You A Millionaire?

I don’t know for sure how Google takes the web hosting IP into account of determining your website’s ranking position, but I’m sure they do take that in consideration, albeit not so significantly as a maker or a breaker.

Most of my sites are currently on DreamHost and every time I register a new domain, make a grand new website with original home page content and submit it to Google, I have to wait like 2 weeks to a month or so to get indexed, even after I have linked the new site from one of my most powerful pages.

For one reason or another, I decided to give it a try with another hosting company, Rackspace Cloud. I have been with them for nearly a month now and everything’s been smooth and pleasant, no downtime that I can experience of.

The most exciting part is, however, that after submitting all 3 freshly registered domains (which I’m sorry that I can’t disclose) with 3 blank home pages that are not even HTML, containing just a string text of the domain, to Google, they all got indexed in less than 3 days.

The home pages don’t even have a title and I never bothered to link to them either. Strange, but sort of understandable.

DreamHost is currently hosting like 700,000 domains. Imagine a huge city that everyone has some websites hosted by them. Google knows that your websites are with them by the IP which may very well has been used by some spammer or spamming sites before or even worse, you are currently sharing the IP with another spammer or slug dog rubbish-quality-seeking-money-quick kind of site. Even the IP itself has a clean history and is only used by fairly good sites, Google knows you are with DH by the IP range chart and because of the simple fact that a lot of sites on DH are not so good, it looks down upon you, with good reason. You can’t blame it.

However this is not to say all websites with DH are bad or worthless ones, a lot of them are very outstanding actually. Therefore, Google has thought about it and decides once a site crosses a threshold that’s determined by the content originality, update frequency and number of quality backlinks, it will let go of the fact that you are hosting in a bad neighborhood. But before your site hits that mark, it will be treated like it’s a slug dog because it is born in a spammy IP range.

You can still make wonderful things happen, but slightly more difficult.

This is not just about DreamHost. All heavily marketed cheap / affordable web hosting companies have the same problems and may pose similar SEO disadvantages to your sites, though maybe in a gentle manner. Because they are cheap, they have long since become a paradise for underprivileged short-sighted webmasters to build under-quality sucking websites.

On the contrary, if you host your sites at a premium hosting provider with your own fresh IP addresses, Google will be more likely to show love to them from the very beginning.

Anyway, this is just my theory that’s never been practically testified. But I have always held faith in the Law of Attraction: Everything that happens to you is attracted by yourself.