Saturday, 12 March 2016 17:24

My SEO Notes

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The following is my research I have done on the various aspects of SEO. The notes are not fully soreted and probably could do with a going over but it is a good start to see what things affect SEO.


General SEO



On-Page Optimization

  • Use the keyword in the title tag at least once, and possibly twice (or as a variation) if it makes sense and sounds good (this is subjective, but necessary). Try to keep the keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible. More detail on title tags follows later in this section.
  • Once in the H1 header tag of the page.
  • At least 3X in the body copy on the page (sometimes a few more times if there's a lot of text content). You may find additional value in adding the keyword more than 3X, but in our experience, adding more instances of a term or phrase tends to have little to no impact on rankings.
  • At least once in bold. You can use either the <strong> or <b> tag, as search engines consider them equivalent.
  • At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page. This not only helps with web search, but also image search, which can, occasionally bring valuable traffic.
  • Once in the URL. Additional rules for URLs and keywords are discussed later on in this section.
  • At least once (sometimes 2X when it makes sense) in the meta description tag. Note that the meta description tag does NOT get used by the engines for rankings, but rather helps to attract text used by the search engines).
  • Generally not in link anchor text on the page itself that points to other pages on your site or different domains (this is a bit blog post for details).
  • check for errors on website with google webmaster tools
  • off page development
  • submit to directories + local directories
  • 1 way links have higher value
  • distrubute article with your website name in it
  • when creating an article
    • make sure your keywords are in the tile
    • make sure you web address is in the footer
    • make keywords in article link to your site

Title Tag / Meta Title / Page Title

  • The Title Tag is located at the top of your html page
  • When you open your page in a browser these are the words at the very top of the screen in the blue bar (Title Bar)
  • it tells the search engines what your page is about.
  • it is what is shown in the title bar of the browser
  • should include all main keywords
  • 63 characters or less if you want your title to appear in full on google
  • This is thought to be one of the most important aspects of SEO
  • The title element of a page is meant to be an accurate, concise description of a page's content. It creates value in three specific areas (covered to the left) and is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization.
  • As title tags are such an important part of search engine optimization, following best practices for title tag creation makes for terrific low-hanging SEO fruit. The recommendations below cover the critical parts of optimizing title tags for search engine and usability goals:
  • Be mindful of length - 70 characters is the maximum amount that will display in the search results (the engines will show an ellipsis - "..." to indicate a title tag has been cut off), and sticking to this limit is generally wise.
  • However, if you're targeting multiple keywords (or an especially long keyword phrase) and having them in the title tag is essential to ranking, it may be advisable to go longer.
  • Place important keywords close to the front - The closer to the start of the title tag your keywords are, the more helpful they'll be for ranking and the more likely a user will be to click them in the search results (at least, according to SEOmoz's testing and experience).
  • Leverage branding - At SEOmoz, we love to start every title tag with a brand name mention, as these help to increase brand awareness, and create a higher click-through rate for people who like and are familiar with a brand. Many SEO firms recommend using the brand name at the end of a title tag instead, and there are times when this can be a better approach – think about what matters to your site (or your client's site) and how strong the brand is.
  • Consider readability and emotional impact - Creating a compelling title tag will pull in more visits from the search results and can help to invest visitors in your site. Thus, it's important to not only think about optimization and keyword usage, but the entire user experience. The title tag is a new visitor's first interaction with your brand and should convey the most positive impression possible.
  • good idea to have the main keyword at the beginning of the title (or the one for that page), and description
  • title is 70 max
  • title of the page = the same as the 'headline' (actual page title ie heading at top of content)
  • title is also used in the url. using a keyword rich url is another way to signal the contents of the page to search engines.
  • each title tag should be different, never duplicate
    • enclose main heading in <h1> tags
    • "According to SEOmoz's testing and experience, the closer to the start of the title tag a keyword is, the more helpful it will be for ranking and the more likely a user will be to click them in search results. SEOmoz"

Meta Keywords

  • These are not used anymore because people used them to keyword stuff and search engines have go better at reading webpages.
  • Some people believe that most search engines ignore these, I am not convinced. I think they are suplemenatary now rather than a main source. Google and the larger search engines probably dont use these much but the smaller search engines most likely still use these. So it does not harm to set these upas if they were still being used.
  • is also used by search engines to understand the content and meaning of the page
  • in the example the list is automatically generated from tags and categories
  • The meta keywords tag had value at one time, but is no longer valuable or important to search engine optimization. For more on the history and a full account of why meta keywords has fallen in disuse, read Meta Keywords Tag 101 from SearchEngineLand.
  • Meta Keywords – 20 max

Meta Description

  • This is very important and can help your SERPS enormously if considered and written properly.
  • contains the description of your site and will show up in all the search engines so write precisely and objectively.
  • it should be around 140 characters or 20 words
  • Meta Description - 156 max before google snips
  • include your keywords but dont spam/keyword stuff)
  • dont repeat your keywords more than twice, making variations is more than helpful
  • good webmasters make it stand out from the croud and entice the surfer to click their link.
  • it is also the first description of your site/page the visitor usually sees because this is what they see in the search engine
  • A brief description of the page that is used by search engines to provide more information and is sometimes displayed in the search engine results
  • not visible and only exist in the source code
  • in the example the meta description is created automatically form the first 25 words; so edit the first line of your release so the first few words are as relevant as possible when using automatic.
  • The meta description tag exists as a short description of a page's content. Search engines do not use the keywords or phrases in this tag for rankings, but meta descriptions are the primary source for the snippet of text displayed beneath a listing in the results.
  • The meta description tag serves the function of advertising copy, drawing readers to your site from the results and thus, is an extremely important part of search marketing. Crafting a readable, compelling description using important keywords (notice how google "bolds" the searched keywords in the description) can draw a much higher click-through rate of searchers to your page.
  • Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally will cut snippets longer than 160 characters (as in the Balboa Park example to the right), so it's generally wiae to stay in these limits.
  • Google will only look at first 67-68 characters of the page title and approximately first 255
  • characters in meta description. Anything beyond that will still be displayed in user’s browser but will be truncated in search engine results and discarded from search engine indexes.
    • Using the joomla global meta description field has some pitfalls. If you don't enter any specific meta descriptions for your articles and other items, you will end up with a lot of duplicate descriptions. This is not good for SEO, and Google specifically alert you to this in Google Webmaster Tools (more on that in a later post).


  • put description on images
  • image file name should be relavant to the keyword, ie it should have the keyword in it
  • Use the alt attribute to provide descriptive text. In addition, we recommend using a human-readable caption and descriptive text around the image.


  • Content is very important, google especially, but other search engines like to see varying content, like blogs for instance, google loves these because the content is always changing so these sites will tend to get crawled and indexed more often and probably get a higher SERPS.
  • If you can not do a blog or varying content a well thought out homepage is the key to getting google to put you up the SERPS.
  • spelling errors and possibly bad grammar. google might not like this but mainly you will get a higher bounce ratt
  • bold and italic keywords – putting key phrases or words in bold or itlaics can help with ranking
  • Search engines look at several elements of a page to determine which words are the most important. Those elements include bold and italic words.
  • Bolding, after all, may make clear the most important words or phrases in an article, while italicizing is also used to mark titles
  • Microdata
  • Rich snippet markup
  • Social buttons
  • External links to site
  • Blog articles on large well known PR1 sites
  • Product schema
  • Breadcrumbs (possibly)
  • after updates use ping (pingback)
  • ping a search engine when u have new content
  • if your site is getting scrapped include a link back to your site with full url, this makes google think you are the orginator of this content. scrapers do not tend to edit content


  • domain name max 56 characters
  • cannoicalise links www and non www 301
  • domain name with keyword in it
  • Try to get a domain name with your primary keyword included. When you include your keyword in your URL it tells the search engine spiders immediately what your site is about.
  • domain name should be properely owned and for longer than a year. It is shown that if your renewal is a coupe of years rather than one it is less likely to be seen as a spam site
  • older sites are golden
  • Age of domain
  • When a domain has its owner changed google now removes any earned points from it
  • Amount of years in the future the website is registered for
  • Possible non-obviscated domain ownership details



Different elements that can be used on page, that are not sections or areas.

Anchor Tag or URL

  • Anchor text is also important to know - these are the underlined, clickable text or words in a link.
    <a href=""> anchor text </a>
  • the anchor tag is used to form links within websites or from site to site.
  • this tag should have your title or the main keywords from your page title to be most effective
  • 'Anchor text'
  • these are the underlined clickable text or words in a link
  • if you want to check google for all keywords in the anchor tags type
    allinanchor: yourkeywords
  • Visible part of the link is called the anchor text

Anchor Examples (SearchQuest)


    <div>&copy; Copyright 2010 Xpress CDs | All Rights Reserved<br />SearchQuest: <a href="" target="_blank">Internet Marketing</a>, <a href="" target="_self">SEO</a></div>

    <p><b>Website designed by</b> <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Paradigm Web Solutions Ltd</b></a><br /> SearchQuest: <a href="" target="_blank">SEO</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Internet Marketing</a></p>
  • <p><b>Website designed by</b> <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Lancastrian IT</b></a><br /> Lancastrian IT: <a href="" target="_blank">SEO</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Internet Marketing</a></p>


SEF / Pretty URLs / URLs

URLs should not have '?' in them as search enigines do not like dynamic content, this is not as critical as it use to be but still will hurt SERPS.

  • and are classed as different pages, i should do a 301 to fix this according to
    • "The first think i do when i build a site, is setup my redirects, to ensure a canonical domain, none slash( or slash one of the other), and make sure all urls are lowercase. These things are a nightmare to fix later."
  • keyword should be in the url
    • with or without .html/.htm at the end seems to have no bearing on serps but general consensous it is the way forwards because the content supplied is define by mime header information. It also future proofs urls if you change server technology. So remove if possible
    • use hyphens to separate words
    • Canonicalization is the practice of organizing your content in such a way that every unique piece has one and only one URL.
    • <link rel="canonical" href=""/>
      • This would tell Yahoo!, Bing & Google that the page in question should be treated as though it were a copy of the URL and that all of the link & content metrics the engines apply should technically flow back to that URL.


URL construction guidelines

  • Employ Empathy - Place yourself in the mind of a user and look at your URL. If you can easily and accurately predict the content you'd expect to find on the page, your URLs are appropriately descriptive. You don't need to spell out every last detail in the URL, but a rough idea is a good starting point.
  • Shorter is better - While a descriptive URL is important, minimizing length and trailing slashes will make your URLs easier to copy and paste (into emails, blog posts, text messages, etc) and will be fully visible in the search results.
  • Keyword use is important(by overuse is dangerous) - If your page is targeting a specific term or phrase, make sure to usable URLs and can trip spam filters (from email clients, search engines, and even people!).


If you have a new site which has never been online, then creating a sitemap and then submitting it to google is a quick way of telling google that you exist.

If you have a site on but it is now indexed well, or not at all, then a sitempa could also help that by giving google a reference to use.


With this you can add a reference to your sitemap, this makes it easier for google to search your site and content if it doesnt know about your sitemap it will when it reads robots.txt. search engines look for robots.txt everytime they visit your site, it tells them what it can read and what it cants.

robots.txt can be used to remove content from search engines by using the dissallow statement, the removal is not imediate but will happen ( 2 - 3 weeks).

If you have a massive number of invalid urls in a search engines index this will hurt SERPs.i.e you have removed a massive gallery component on joomla you will get a SERPS hit because google keeps finding invalid URLs and will give you a minus point for each one. Eventually if left unchecked you site could become delisted if you have lets say 14,000 bad links. use a robots.txt disallow staement and within a week or so you should become listed again.

NoFollow / Follow

the rel="nofollow" attribute of the A tag for hyperlinking has been a powerful tool in preserving Page Rank and Search Engine Optimization strategy.

basically when you link to an external site you give up some of your pagerank / linkjuice to them reducing them. so to prevent this the use of a NoFollow tag says to google do not give them any of my pagerank/link juice.

put on one of your links to tell search engines spiders and dont index as part of their spidering.

.htaccess (possibly blackhat)

- robots.txt - by disallow etc..

- Robots Meta Tag

<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow">

<meta name="robots" content="index,nofollow">

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">

joomla component (does one of the above)

A Joomla 1.5 Plugin to insert the rel="nofollow" attribute within outgoing links.

The "nofollow" is an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target's ranking in the search engine's index.

  • robots.txt – useful for adding sitemaps and directing search engines (or not)

To ETag or not to ETag

  • ETags exist for a reason. It's part of the standard HTTP protocol ( ) and is designed to help optimize cache utilization.
  • ETags are very useful for checking if the browser cache is valid. By default, Apache creates the ETag out of the file size, the inode and the modified date of the file. It's the inode that can cause trouble, but that doesn't kick in until your website is spread out over multiple servers. (The inode is specific to the file system that the file is stored on, so the same file with have a different ETag on each server, leading to cache confusion)

    So if you're using multiple servers, either disable ETags or do not use the inode to create them. Until then, go ahead and use them, they do help.


FileETag INode MTime Size

You can configure your Apache server (in your httpd.conf file) to strip the server component out of each ETag, like so:

<Directory /usr/local/httpd/htdocs>

   FileETag MTime Size


  • If you're not taking advantage of the flexible validation model that ETags provide, it's better to just remove the ETag altogether. The Last-Modified header validates based on the component's timestamp. And removing the ETag reduces the size of the HTTP headers in both the response and subsequent requests. This Microsoft Support article describes how to remove ETags. In Apache, this is done by simply adding the following line to your Apache configuration file:

    FileETag none
  • However, most of the websites that we tested don't bother configuring their ETags, so a simpler solution is to turn off ETags entirely and rely on Expires or Cache-Control headers to enable efficient caching of resources. To turn off ETags, add the following lines to one of your configuration files in Apache (this requires mod_headers, which is included in the default Apache build):

    Header unset Etag
    FileETag none


  • links to other sites in an article give authority to that page by including it in a neighbourhood
    • bol and italics
    • h2 - h3 tags
  • internal links to one page
  • Backlink from site have same topic with your site.
  • You know that incoming links to your site are important for search engine optimization. But did you know that the internal links INSIDE your site are also important? Linking a sales page, for example, to every mention on your site of that page’s most important keyword will help to associate that keyword with the page, improving your SEO.

Making Links - Important Info:

  • anchor text (the clickable bit) is the most important and should have the keywords in it – true
  • the url the link is going to, should also have the keywords in it to give the link more authority to those keywords (see search quest example below)
  • links have more weight if the keywords used and the primary keywords, are on the target page
  • bold/italics/underline for links, i am not sure wheather this makes any difference
  • alt="" tag, - this is only for images and should be used when putting images on a page, this is not needed in a link
  • title="" - optional - (might be valuable now) some say it is only read like normal text on a website and can be used for users while not taking up real estate on the page, can be used as advisor not as a pickup for search engines.
  • Top SEOs believe that external links are the most important source of ranking power. - it is a factor now
  • Top SEOs don't believe that the title attribute is used for rankings purposes. - - check this
  • add the slash on the end according to matt cutts - on an apache server it will redirect to
  • bold/italics/underline - in-page content, definately helps give points to keywords and should be used without overdoing it.



  • turn on compression (mod_deflate), sppeds up website + google likes this
  • make sure no 403, 404 errors (can have big impact)
  • always redirect with 301
  • website load speed
  • minimise java and css
  • webpage files sizes down (ie jpg and splutic)
  • gzip output
  • cache output including joomla cache header thing
  • utilise error pages ie 404.html
  • Not on a shared IP
  • Speed of site
  • if an established site check that it is not on a spam list
  • 403 and 404 errors etc.. can cause a drop in page rank.
    • ie google crawler finds lots of missing stuff, missing sitemaps,
    • my htaccess file can cause 403 and 404 etc. this can hurt google if it is crawler traffic gettings stopped.
    • fixxing my bookmark 403 errors caused my pagerank 2 weeks later to go from 1 --> 2
  • make sure there is a proper 404 error page and that is referenced if needed in the htaccess file.
    Default - /home/mywebsite/public_html/404.shtml



These are research techniques I have come across

finding backlinks

  • one of keys to higher rankins is to building quality links from relavent, related quality sites, preferably in the same neighbourhood
  • the search engines especially google count each link as a vote for your site or content.
  • many experts suggest that you include your main keywords in the anchor text of these inbound links in order to rank high
  • if you want to find the number of backlinks your site has type this into google
  • google doesnt give you the exact number of back links so you could try yahoo and type in:

checking indexed pages

  • it is very important for you to know what content the search engines have indexed from your site
  • you can also checked to how your links are displayed and see if any titles or descriptions are missing from your pages
  • you can see how many of your pages are indexed in google by:
  • also try "" or "" to see the exact numbers of listings for each

checking the google cache

  • to see when it was last retrieved


General Notes                  

  • Keyword notes
    • Keyword Use in title tag
    • Keyword use in body text
    • Relationship of body text content to keywords (topic analysis)
    • Keyword use in H1 Tag
    • Keyword use in domain name
    • Keyword use in page URL
    • Keyword use in H2, H3, H(x) Tags
    • Keyword use in ALT Tags and Image Titles
    • Keyword use in Bold/Strong tags
    • Keyword use in meta tag description.
  • keyword should be:
    • once in bold
    • once in title
    • once in meta description
    • once in meta keywords
    • once in h1
    • 1% - 3% density in body
    • product title should be h1 tag
    • meta descrition and keywords description  9.03
    • meta description – relevant keywords
  • keyword/description/title should nverer be duplicate
    • Remember, SEO experts agree that it’s not enough to have the keywords on the title metatag; the keyword or phrase should also appear four or five times in the content itself.

finding associated keywords

keywords are the heart of the internet, you must dominate the search engines for your chosen keywords if you are to suceed online.

  • make sure you have your main keywords in your meta description tag on your page.
  • experts suggest that you place your main keywords in the first and last 25 words on that page
  • variations are vital (synonyms), you must find and use variations of your keywords to rank better for your targeted niche
  • to find out what other variations google has associated with your main keywords use the tilde command. this will provide variations on the term internet marketing and be highlighted in bold print
    ~internet marketing

finding titled keywords

  • if you want to find competing sites that have your keywords in the title use the following
    allintitle:internet marketing

keyword Analysis

The best keyword tool out there at the moment is Google's own

You can either enter a URL and get Google to make keyword suggestions from what it see's, or you can enter a seed keyword and Google will produce all the derivatives. However, on the results page Google set it by default to "broad" on the drop down menu midway down the screen - make sure you change this to "exact" and you'll get much lower but more precise figures as to search demand per keyword. Google also conveniently gives you average search amount figures plus the data from the previous month which helps if your markets are seasonal.

Keyword Research

  • find all competitors/websites websites
  • find out how important these websites are
  • find link popularity
  • find out how many pages each website has indexed
  • check competitors because they have already done the work
    • search for the rewuired keyword and then look at the best ranking sites
    • check their title + description

keyword research tools

  • google
  • yahoo search engine marketing (overture)
  • microsoft ad center
  • seobook has keyword search tool (free)
  • seochat has a free ctool to show how many competitors on a keyword
  • the best free keyword spying tools is
    • type in a competitors website
    • click search analytics tab
    • on the right you will see top search quireies from search traffic


SEO Tools (check and add to my tools)

  • SEOMOZ has some excellent tools
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • The best keyword tool out there at the moment is Google's own -

    You can either enter a URL and get Google to make keyword suggestions from what it see's, or you can enter a seed keyword and Google will produce all the derivatives. However, on the results page Google set it by default to "broad" on the drop down menu midway down the screen - make sure you change this to "exact" and you'll get much lower but more precise figures as to search demand per keyword. Google also conveniently gives you average search amount figures plus the data from the previous month which helps if your markets are seasonal.

site submitter

  • Increase the number of your backlinks and submit your domain to the major Search Engines.
  • Submit your website to the major search engines and directories in one click! Site Submitter Tool by Web SEO Analytics allows you to submit your website URL to Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, Moreover, Alexa and more than 30 search engines and directories. The Website Submission has become simpler than ever!


website not getting indexed worked example of what I did to try an resolve

  • eg
  • dns record check
  • sitemap helps a lot - 6 hours
  • keywords
  • to many pictures on front page (slow loading)
  • meta description to long
  • keyword dilution (10 at most)
  • backlinks
  • need blog artilces point to site
  • massive keyword dump at bottom
  • mass site submission webseo
  • sitemap submission google,yahoo,msn/bing,ask
  • check noindex, nofollow in meta and robots
  • resubmission request for google
  • check spam ip block list

Google - Notes

  • google tends to recognise words seperated by a - as seperate (or perioeds) but those separated with a _ (underscore) are classed as the same word
  • use different meta description on everypage
  • 3 -4 keywords in url is good
  • pretty urls are good because of keywords in them
  • make sure index page is always not
  • real testomonials
  • google sandbox can last up to 6 months for certain types of domain names and site types
  • caching on my site takes about 21 days to change (14 days to 28 days)


SEO Combined Techniques

Many seo experts develop in a 3 prong approach

Place title (ie 'Internet Marketing', see vid 1:25) in the:

  • title tag
  • on the webpage itself
  • and in the url for that page (the clickable reference bit i think)

sometimes they will just pick the main keywords and put them in the anchor instead.


How to search engine optimize your Joomla website in !0 easy steps.

1. Keyword Use in Title Tag

2. Anchor Text of Inbound Link

3. Global Link Popularity of Site (PageRank)

4. Age of Site

5. Link Popularity within the Site

6. Topical Relevance of Inbound Links and Popularity of Linking Site

7. Keyword Use in Body Text

8. File Size

9. Clean URL (Joomla SEF)

10. Utilize Your Error Pages.


Video Walkthroughs

seo notes for busting seo myths video - specifically links – anchor text


<a href = “”>This is anchor Text</a>

'this is anchor text' is the most important fact in racking on search engines

  • visible location of an element on a page (24:11)
  • google can see menu and content divisions

link 1 in content divisions is highest value

link 2 in left side is medium value

link 3 in footer less value

  • when trading links keep them natural, google can tell unatural link strategies
  • (27:05) suffix, dont add suffix. This is because when technology changes you do not have to redue all your links ie html → php. Extensions are not needed because of mime headers take care of idetification
  • send free samples to the biggest bloggers for a free review about the product
  • meta descriptions only used for snippets ?
  • Extract meta keywords from a page source from a competitors website. Seeing thy have done all the work it is rude not to borrow it
  • dont enter keywords because of the above, the competition could just see what keywords you have optimized for
  • you should always try to have good outgoing links (ie to good websites) because google then likes you site because it is not on its own and show good interactions in the neightbour hood. Also google see it a good service to link to other good sites.
  • Do not link to bad sites but if you must use the rel=no follow on these links
  • add quality links on a regular basis
  • stop entering meta keywords start using them as research
  • spammy comments = bad
  • only link out to good sites
  • can be a godd thing linking to a good site

-          rel=”nofollow” is like a 'link condom'

  • reciprocal linking not very good anymore (black hat) ie you link to me and I will link to you
  • 3-way reciprocal linking = not very good anymore (blackhat), but can be good in small amounts in a natural pattern.
  • Google can spot unatural linking patterns

How to write killer sEO

  • the purpose of the first sentence is to get the cusomer to read the next sentece and so on
  • readers skim read, so to help reader understand conetn of the copy you have to have good formatiing. n numbered list, goosd titles
  • keyword usage
  • keyword placement
  • Typically people buy on emtions ...not logic. Do a short product desc. with benenfits rather than just features.
Read 1878 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 March 2016 19:00