Asif Anwar is a Search, Social, & Internet Marketing Consultant/Specialist working in Bangladesh (In Indian Subcontinent aka South Asia). Professionally consulting and helping small businesses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) since 2003 and actively learning about Search Marketing trends from 2001. Passionate about SEM (Search Engine Marketing), SMM (Social Media Marketing), and PPC (Pay Per Click).
Recently, I’ve blogged about 5 Great Reasons Why Archive.org’s Wayback Machine is a Great SEO Tool in Blueliner Marketing blog.
Here are the higlights of the article:
Sites evolve a lot after it has been created. Even if the contents and themes are same for the site, they throw away the old bottle and take on a new bottle. But, with the old bottle, sometime the webmasters don’t know that they are throwing away precious old wine of the link juice. Even, many SEO experts and webmasters forget what they are throwing away and go for short-term solutions.
Not all sites goes for CMS at first. The common evolution pattern is from Plain HTML site to Animated Flash site and then to Content Management System (CMS) site. For some sites, the evolution pattern can be quite complex. Each time while changing, most site owners and webmasters rarely bother about redirecting old links to the right and very relevant link or page. While doing that, they are harming the visitors, hence their business potential, and also the search engines.
301 Permanent Redirects transfers almost all the SEO value of a site including: PageRank, Authority, Anchor Text and Relevance, etc. Since, Google rolled out the advice to use 301 redirects, there was a debate whether 301 permanent redirectlso transfer the relevance score in SEO. Matt Cutts in the following video has confirmed that Anchor Text does flow-through when you use 301 Permanent Redirects. Which does indicate that content or keyword relevance also passes through.
So, if a site has high PR inbound link to a page that is not on site or lands on 404 page, then the link juice and authority will be spilled and spoiled. Because, the Anchor Text and Relevance of the inbound Link page aka keyword stream flowing the link juice may not land on page that has that relevant keyword. And since the Google Bomb Update, incoming anchor texts coming to a page that does not have the keyword, has very little or no probability to rank well in Google.
301 permanent redirect does transfer SEO values to the landing page from the moved page. However, over time, Google also confirmed that 301 Permanent Redirect does not flow 100% link juice to your site. in March 2010, Matt Cutts of Google confirmed that Google does not transfer 100% of the SEO value. More story here: Google Confirms: 301 Redirects Result in PageRank Loss!
However, in my experience, we have not seen much harm in the redirect of links within same site to redirect old and broken links. So within a site, the relevance will flow perfectly. Moreover, it’s not just about SEO. Sometimes, many people bookmark you page and would want to come back to your site. So, in terms of usability, you loose potential future visitor who already has attained information about you.
The question whether 301 Permanent Redirects transfer age of the domain or page is a debated issue. But, there is absolutely no harm in 301 redirecting your old links to the relevant new links (with the same keyword). If your old link on the site is broken, then you are bleeding the precious link juice out of your site :-o
It is evident that to permanent redirect of old links using 301 Permanent Redirects to the relevant page in your existing site and new domain is one of the best practices in SEO. Because, many inbound links may be out there that are linking to your specific page using specific anchor text that is passing relevance to your site, not just Page Rank. So to feed both the visitors and search engines with exactly relevant information (not a 404 page), 301 permanent redirect is the best thing you can do.
Now that you know redirecting the old links and broken links to relevant page is very important in terms of SEO. What should you do now?
First you have to find the old links withing your site to transfer the relevance graph to the new site structure. If you were the site owner, you may know that after a hard guessing. But, if it is the site of your client, then any guess work will not work. The best way to find the old links on your site is Archive.org.
From Archive.org, you have to collect links from all available chronological versions of the site. You can use HTTack Website Copier to locally cache and create a list of URLs on the old version of the site. You also need to store the Anchor Texts used for the link, so that you can find relevant current page to redirect to.
If you don’t care about what others have bookmarked, and only want to concentrate on SEO value. Then you need to collect all the inbound link statistics along with the anchor texts. But, sometimes anchor texts does not say relevant content on the page that links to you. In that case, you need to collect specific keyword for the respective inbound link, so that you can find the relevant page or URL on the current site.
Once you collect all the old links, you have to verify if the link is broken. Xenu’s Link Sleuth can help you in automatically identify broken links from a link list in txt file. However, while working 404 pages, you will get wrong results. Because, when you have active 404 page, Xenu will show 200 OK Status. So, it would be wise to turn off the 404 pages for the time being. However, there are many software that can help you identify broken links.
Once you have the list of old and broken links, Google the keyword in the braces: [“Anchor Text of the Broken Link” site:mysite.com]. The first result you see other than the homepage in Google search, is the most relevant current page in the eye of Google. Create the link graph using excel sheet or any file format you prefer. Once you get the relevant current page, then you are ready to redirect.
For 301 permanent redirects, you need to manipulate the .htaccess file in your root folder of your site. Tony Spencer over SEOBook.com provides a good article on how you can do it, once you have the list of old links and the corresponding new links.
So the next time you plan to upgrade your site, it is wise to have a back up of your current link structure along with the old ones. So, when your site takes on new links, you can easily create 301 permanent redirect for the current links to the relevant future site.
Some SEOs believe that old links are stronger in getting ranks than newer links, if the content freshness is periodically maintained. So, you can switch the previous method and use the old link as the current link and permanently (301) redirect the current link to the old link.
Click-through Rate or CTR is a popular term for PPC. But, here we are talking about SEO CTR, not the CTR related to PPC. And yes, SEO CTR now counts and has been confirmed by many experts that it does influence Google Rankings. In SES 2011 @ London many experts has confirmed that it does influence your ranking.
CTR = Number of Clicks / Number of Impression
This usually tells you what percentage of impression that makes an actual click. For PPC, CTR is a great measure for you to understand how well the ad is. For SEO, this also can tell how well the content is in the perspective of the keyword searched in Google.
For SEO, evaluating CTR was tough. However, Google Webmaster now provides this insight, which can also help you understand how you can improve your SEO. This is an earlier step, before the clicks get stored in your web analytics application.
Take a look at the new feature by Google Webmaster from where you can find the SEO CTR for your site for individual keywords.
The SEO impression is how many times your site get ranked in Google SERP. Even if no one clicks your site, you will get a impression count, when someone searches for any keyword that you rank for. And based on the clicks and this impression, you can get SEO CTR.
e.g. Your site ranks 5th for the keyword SEO PPC SMM. Searchers made about 200 searches in a day for that keyword. So, you will get 200 impressions as the 5th site every time. But, only 20 people among the searchers actually clicked your site. So, your SEO CTR would be 20 clicks out of 200 searches or impression, i.e. 10% is your SEO CTR. Good news is that Google Webmaster does show you the SEO CTR to you:
Searcher or User Vote
Pagerank and inbound links are external vote for your site. But, Google also needs to evaluate the user or searcher vote for a content. So, if you have quality external votes and also get many searcher votes, Google may like you a lot for the keyword.
If Google sees that a site is less clicked from 1st page of search result (SERP), while another good page in 2nd SERP is getting good amount of clicks. Then Google has every reason to believe that the page in 2nd SERP is more meaningful for this search query.
Evaluating Search Intent
Google has been heavily emphacizing on Personalized Search for few years. One of the thing they lacked, was to analyze the search intent of the searchers. The CTR can also be used to analyze the search intent of the user. But, my assumption for using CTR for search intent is not something that is prevailing now, may be in future. CTR has been applied by Google to not only rank the pages, but also to understand the search intent of the searchers.
I guess no one realized it since, Google may not be emphacizing heavily on this signal. Moreover, the searchers’ behavior stayed the same for clicking more on top 1-5 and less on top 5-10 search results. So, the external links’ vote is still prominently responsible for getting your site ranked. And very less people go to the 2nd or 3rd page of SERP. But, low quality and irrelevant Page Title can wipe out your site from 1st page of SERP and place you in the back seat.
Place the most important message including the keyword on your Page Title in the first 65 characters, anything beyond that will be replaced by 3 dots (…) and the searchers will not be able to see them.
Keyword Prominence (i.e. how close the keyword is on the Page Title) is an important factor for SEO. So, try to complete the whole message in first few words; don’t just push the main keywords back to the end. e.g. title like “A Comprehensive List of Tips and Tricks for SEO” can be “SEO Tips and Tricks - A Comprehensive List”. This way, by reading first few words, people will know what the link is about.
Using ASCII Art
To increase the CTR, you can use ASCII Art (e.g. ::-::-:: Link Title ::-::-::) on Page Title to attract more attraction. However, this is not encouraged, since absurd use can lead to spammy looking titles. If you ask my opinion, ASCII Art does attract my attention, but I’d also evaluate the relevance of a search result aka page. So, be careful in using it.
Category and Brand Keywords
You might have other noises in the Page Title, like category keywords or brand/site name. Try to push them at the end of the Page Title or beyond 65 characters. Don’t bother about the brand keywords, if you have the keyword on your domain name. Moreover, for having multiple pages of the same category, the category page might also get some boost.
Keyword Usage Limit
Previously, I used to suggest people not to target more than 5 keywords for a page. But, to gain high CTR, I’d advise you not to target more than 1 keyword for a specific page. Why? If you want to keep Category Keyword and Brand or Site Name Keyword in the Page Title, then 1 keyword is your maximum limit.
You have to frame the Page Title within first 65 characters and choose the best title that can create a spark of attention in the searchers. Apply the Human-friendly Optimization of Page Titles. e.g. many SEO software will tell you not to use any stop words. But, can you really make a good Page Title without using stopwords?
Short Page Titles
Long Page Title does not influence CTR, since Google does not show the keywords that are used further at the end. But, also make sure that you don’t have a short Page Titles.
Link Baiting Strategies for Increasing CTR
All the Page Title developing strategies of Viral Marketing and Link Baiting also apply for choosing the best Page Title, so feel free to Google around for “titling strategy for link bait and viral marketing” for more tips to increase CTR.
Keyword in URL
The Page Title is the most prominent thing that attracts most searchers. But, keyword in URL also is bold in green. So, that also can attract the attention of the searcher and create more relevance value in the relevance analysis in the searcher’s mind.
Keyword in Meta Description and Body Contents
Keyword in Meta Description and Body Contents is also very important in creating more relevance value in the relevance analysis in the searcher’s mind. It creates the text chunk, which is called snippet below the page title in SERP. This part becomes useful to searcher, when they think all the page titles in the SERP are relevant. So, in those cases, this can give you some competitive advantage.
Place the keywords in the body content with more relevant information. That way, when the adjacent relevant information will create more relevance value in the relevance analysis in the searcher’s mind.
Update: This is an old post. Facebook no longer provide Dofollow link :-( Currently, they use “Nofollow me” Rel Attribute for all the links. However, the current public profile of a person gives dofollow link to pages they like. So, the more fans you have, the more the page rank of your page.
Facebook has always remained the toughest walled garden for many years. But, one by one some of the things are opening up to public. And while that happens, many features are being indexed by Google.
Recently, on my public profile, I spotted something new and interesting:
The link on my public profile has this code with XFN Relationship Tag, “Me”:
<a class=”url” href=”http://marketinggossip.blogspot.com” rel=”me”>marketinggossip.blogspot.com</a>
Interestingly, no Nofollow tag in the URL. It is quite odd for sites like Facebook to provide dofollow links. Such dofollow link from such authoritative site can be very useful for you. Because, Facebook alone has the highest amount of indexed pages in Google. Here is the rank of Alexa’s top 10 sites, in terms of total number of indexed pages in Google:
Facebook.com - 1,170,000,000 indexed pages
Youtube.com - 293,000,000 pages
Baidu.com - 210,000,000 pages
Yahoo.com - 184,000,000 pages
wikipedia.org - 136,000,000 pages
Twitter.com - 118,000,000 pages
Google.com - 42,200,000 pages
Live.com + MSN.com + Bing.com - 29,700,000 pages
QQ.com - 13,700,000 pages
However, Google in some period of time, may weigh down the score of links from Facebook.
Now, how was this achieved? I have recently did Facebook Optimization on my blog. But, that was not the reason, when I saw several other profiles are also showing same dofollow behavior that did not yet do any Facebook Optimization.
I, along with several other profiles have mentioned several sites in the “Website” portion of my profile and seems like Facebook is currently giving the credit to the first listed site on your profile with dofollow link.
Link Age and Domain Age are totally different things.
Domain Age denotes the age from the time when the site was registered (Source: WHOIS information).
Link Age denotes the age from the time the specific page/link was created (Source: Document Inception Date).
So, over time, you can have many new links in an old site.
Image Courtesy: SXC.hu - Free Stock Images Site
Domain age has significant influence in Google Rankings and it is proven. Old sites has been awarded with better ranking since 2005, as Google found that spammers evacuate site quite frequently.
But, many Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs) debate over the positive influence of “Link Age” in SEO. Many debate that Google likes fresh contents in old sites. So, for Link Age, this is somewhat inverse relation to positive SEO factors involving age. i.e. the newer the link age, the better the ranking.
Darren McLaughlin, in the Sootle Directory blog, mentioned the Google Patent using Document Inception Date for the freshness of links.
However, there are a great number of SEOs that believe that old links are better than new links. In their view, link age is also important as domain age. Again, it is also evident that Google punishes the pages that have not been updated for long time. However, in the view of these SEOs, the freshness of content in old link has more marketability than new links.
If you provide any product and/or service, then you need to present yourself on the webpage. To get your business online, you have to copywrite your contents and make a good presentation. Now, what will you write?
Here are 5 P’s that you need to consider while preparing your contents or presentation, which as well can be used for a good web brochure or even hardcopy of corporate identity (brochure).
You need to have a great introduction before you start the conversation. Use hook words to attract the reader to go through rest of the contents in your webpage. This can be either through words/contents, images, or any other web resources.
Always remember that there are quick visitors that will stay for few seconds and never will go through all of your contents. I guess this type of visitors is the major part of your traffic. So, you always need something that speaks more than thousand words. It can be any Presentation in flash or any other animated format that speaks louder, especially communicates quicker than words/contents.
When you are offering service or product, always mention what are your principles. i.e. what quality guidelines you follow. If a visitor is reading more of your contents, then s/he would also like to know how good you are at this service and/or products you are offering. And a mention of your principles is a very good start.
The customer may also want to know how you manufacture or do the work. This portion can also include the tools you use. If you fear that the customer may have lack of confidence on you, then you should mention them. Mentioning your processes can also attract other large companies through your website, since they want to see if you can do it right.
The visitor also would be interested in what experience you have gained earlier. And what type of similar task you do. This doesn’t have to be past work, it can be a demo also.
These 5 P’s will help you to develop ideas for copywriting for your website.