You may have noticed on Google lately that some of the listings are starting to show slightly different details on the results.  They’re putting breadcrumbs in, to help people see exactly what categories those results fit into.  How can you tell?  Instead of showing the blatant web site address, they’re putting greater than signs (“>”) between categories in that space.  That way, you know what site the page belongs to, but you don’t know the specific address, you know the categories the subpage that has shown belongs to.

This is one way Google has adjusted their algorithm to help users navigate the search engine results pages, but how else can you use breadcrumbs, in your own site?  One of my favorite internet marketers Ann Smarty has a detailed explanation on Search Engine Journal.  The key is to make sure you use them to help the user, not to help the search engines (a good rule to follow in general).

Keyword density is the number of times your keyword or keyword phrase appears inside content on a web page, compared to the total amount of content.  This is considered by SEOs to be part of the on-page SEO for targeting a specific keyword for a site.

So how important is it, really?  As the search engines progress and develop further, their algorithms change to fit one desired outcome: judging web sites and pages in the same way humans do.  In this way, the highest quality web pages should show up at the top of the search engine results.

Considering this, making sure you have a keyword density of 3-5% is not something that most humans take into account when they visit a page.  I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t do a search for a keyword, land on the page, and then count the number of times that keyword appears, do the math, and then dismiss the page if that percentage is outside the magic range.  I read the page, see if the content is good and high quality, and make my judgements based on that.  And if it’s really good, I might even link to it from one of my own pages.

Too many SEOs worry about fitting keywords X number of times into content, to a degree that often makes the content feel more unnatural.  This only hurts their connection with the human visitors to their site.

As it is now, the search engines will look for keywords in content, but having a specific density percentage is not in the top of their search-quality priority list.  If the page is specifically on a certain topic, the keywords will naturally appear within the content.  Forcing it will generally not help for the search engines, and certainly will not help with your human visitors.

My recommendation is to simply write the content to stay on topic and don’t worry about embedding keywords.  If you keep your keywords in the proper core SEO locations, the search engines will know very well what your page is about without having to do any sort of deep content keyword analyzation.

It seems like the focus for a lot of internet marketers is finding that top trafficked keyword.  However, this can be a mistake by not focusing on the true marketing involved.  In some cases, the top traffic keyword is not one that will bring conversions.

Putting focus purely on the traffic numbers for keyword research is the reason many internet marketers are not able to pull the profit numbers many others do.  Making sure you focus on the consumer and their intent more than the pure traffic size is key.

This can be done more quickly using PPC, but at a price.  And in SEO, solid keyword research must be done to target proper keywords – a mistake here will cost a lot of time and money.

Evan LaPointe goes into a bit more detail about all of these factors at Search Engine Land.  At any rate, it’s good to remember that the focus should be on the human experience, not just the analytics numbers.

Most people nowadays use Google as their primary search engine.  Well, something not everyone realizes is that when you’re logged into your Google account, Google keeps track of all searches you do with their search engine.

What this is intended to do is to enhance your experience with Google (although many people have conspiracy theories as to what their purpose really is).  The results are varied, but Google will keep track of every site you visit and display that on their search results, in addition to adjusting the order of the search results for you based on which sites you showed a preference for.

So that means if you visit one site several times while logged in and found them through Google, the next time you do the same search that site will be quite a bit higher on the results pages.

For any SEOs, this means it will not show accurate search results for keywords you do searches on.  Which is not something SEOs want to happen, if they’re looking for accurate results.

To get around this, you want to use Google when you are not logged in to your Google account.  Only then will it show unadjusted search results, which may still vary based on which server serves up your own results.  But it will not be affected by Google’s personalization of your own search results.

Whether or not they still track you based on IP address is something I’ll leave up to the conspiracy theorists, but for those of you who want a more objective search result, I recommend staying logged out of Google unless you need one of their services at that time.  Or else use a different computer/browser to do your Google searches that you want raw unaltered search results with.

Nowadays the web is getting more and more attention.  People are realizing that businesses are made by being found online.  The methods of doing that are through creating good web pages, having an online presence through blogs, social media, online advertising.  And tied into almost all of this is search engine optimization.

If a business uses any of the other means (social media, blogging, site design), then it all comes down to wanting to be found online, to gain a presence.  And this ties into SEO.  Whether or not you realize it, if you have a Facebook account, you’re helping one site or another with search engine optimization.  Every link you post makes a difference.  On Twitter, any link posted can have an impact on visitors and the search engine listings.

Anything online will make a difference in SEO.  The key to doing good search engine optimization on purpose (as opposed to on accident, as a surprising number of sites have done) is to continue learning what changes impact the search engines.  As it is now, social media is starting to have an effect.  But that doesn’t mean you just need to put one post and you’ll shoot up three pages.  The trick is learning how it all ties together.

A good SEO stays educated on many aspects of the internet.  Just because you learn the basics doesn’t mean you’ll still be an expert SEO four years later (or even one year later).  The internet is a changing beast, and knowing these changes can make a big difference in your placement online.

And if you choose to hire someone else to do the search engine optimization for you, make sure that you’re happy with how educated they are on these changes.  Learning the basics of SEO is easy – but mastering it is more than just a few steps above that.

Google has a ton of different tools available inside of the Google interface.  You can check to see all the pages on a single site, you can look through specific title tags, and with the “link:” command you can see links to a particular page or site.

However, this command is by no means the main tool you should use to get backlinks.  There are several holes in this command, and Google themselves advise to take it with a grain of salt.  SEOmoz has a great post about several misconceptions on this command.

So how do you get a decent report on backlinks?  There’s no perfect tool, but the two I’d recommend using are the Google Webmaster Tools and the Yahoo Site Explorer.  Both give a much better amount of information than the “link:” command and can give you a better concept on just what kind of backlinks a site has.  Which, as we all know, is indicative of the quality of SEO for a particular page.

More people are learning about the changes that came with the latest Google AdWords update.  One example that I think is a major one is the update combining Google AdWords with Google Local (also posted on DailySEOTip), but there are a few other changes that are visible.

One of the other changes that I haven’t touched on yet is the adding of the Google Merchant account details to AdWords ads.  This can actually add product listings into your Google AdWords ad.  Videos are also being seen inside ads, as well.

Images of all of these can be found in a post on Search Engine Land.  For a lot of people, the way to take advantage of these are very easy, and are very worthwhile.

Do you get phone calls for your business from people who say that’ll put you on page one for your keywords with their SEO services?  It can be difficult to determine which SEO companies can actually do the work they claim (and some of them make full-time SEOs like me just look bad).

Find out what their skills are before agreeing to anything.  If you can determine that a company really knows what they’re doing, it can be worth the price.  Good SEO is not cheap, but the revenue you get from solid listings on your primary keywords will more than make up for it.

I’ll say now from my own experience – anyone that guarantees position 1 (or even page one) listings in a set time period (or at all, really) is in all likelihood full of it.  SEO is part of an industry that is constantly changing.  To do it right, you have to keep track of how the search engines operate and adjust where necessary.  Bad SEO may work temporarily, but in all likelihood will eventually make your listings drop lower than ever (or even get you blacklisted).

Shannon Rogers with Web Advantage put together a good list of questions to ask SEOs who cold-call you.  If you can find SEOs who can answer these well, they may very well be worth the marketing investment.

When it comes to web design, one of the biggest issues is figuring out how to maintain a web site after it’s been completed.  The resolution to this issue is usually what’s called a CMS (content management system).  The trick is finding one that will work and is easy to update with.

When we’ve done Tulsa website design in the past, we’ve tried different approaches to the CMS.  But it’s come down to using one that’s very solid and many people are already familiar with.  And that is WordPress.

WordPress comes with standard templates (known as themes in WordPress) and such, although for web design you’ll want to create your own.  Creating a customized template is much like creating a custom website design, just within the WordPress framework.

The results can be quite good.  We have a Tulsa roofing client that we built their site with WordPress.  They were thrilled that when we were finished they were able to make changes on their own (without needing to call us for help) with this CMS.  It made things easier for both us and them.  It was a little extra work at the beginning for us, but in the end it saved a lot of extra work for us and money for them.

The benefits are several:

  • Lots of plugins to choose from that make putting cool add-ons easier
  • Very easy to edit content, good for both the designer and client
  • Easy visibility from the search engines (Google loves WordPress)
  • Adding or removing pages is quick
  • Editing is done all online, no need to mess with FTP shenanigans and such

There are a couple of bad things, though:

  • There’s no real “dev” area you can easily put together that I’ve found, aside from not linking to all your pages until you’re live
  • WordPress does need to be updated regularly to keep on top of security issues and such
  • Sometimes WordPress can have technical problems that aren’t always easy to solve

If these bad things are worth the risk to you, then using WordPress for website design might be worth trying out, especially if you’re trying to find a good CMS to use.

Pay for link building?  What?  Yes, the different ways people do their link building vary from totally free to exorbitantly expensive, but one method a lot of people have not really considered is actually sending traffic that will build links to pages that deserve them.

There are different ways to use PPC to target your landing pages, but if you have good enough content you can use the traffic you attract to help create more links.  The cost will vary based on the keyword you choose, but in some cases this can be very beneficial for your SEO.

Julie Joyce at Search Engine Land has 8 tips to help you fine-tune this approach.