AWESOME blog on SEO - Making sure ALL of the Property Network Agents (Stamford CT Real Estate) Read this. Lisa, Great JOB!! keep them coming!!! :)
When starting out in the blogging world I didn't have a clue about SEO. I soon began to realize, in order to take my blogging to the next level, I needed to start understanding a little more about the science of search engine optimization.
So, I did what anyone would do when they wanted to learn something, I started studying the experts around the web. And when I say experts, I mean some of the very best of the who's who in SEO.
I will give you the names so when you're ready to really get into SEO, you can be sure to learn it the right way. (Bruce Clay - Aaron Wall - Webmasterworld - Search Engine Land - Seo Design Solutions - Matt Cutts - Sugar Rae & Outspoken Media)
There are a lot more out there, but these blogs/people I have found to be the best of the best. And, as I have been going along the past 2 years, I have learned and grown quite a bit, which brings me to my first mistake.
SEO Mistake #1: Content is the king to ranking for any search phrase.
When I first started, I didn't understand the importance of content creation. I thought it was a good idea to blog, but I didn't understand the importance of creating enough content related to a subject to be worthy of a top ranking in Google.
I soon learned, Google rank's web pages based on authority (content) and trust (links). In order to be an authority on a subject (top 3 ranking), you must have enough content to constitute authority status.
To truly understand the importance of creating enough content to become an authoritative figure in Google's eyes, you can do a simple test. For example, I want to rank for the term Logan real estate.
In order to rank for this keyword, I must have enough content to support a top ranking. To determine how much content I would need to rank for that keyword, I can ask Google. In this example, I went to Google and typed in "Logan real estate." Once I had the results, I went to the first result in the organic rankings and did a site:command search + the key phrase in quotes like this:
Google Search: site:http://www.lisaudy.com/ "Logan real estate"
This tells me how many pages the top result has related to that keyphrase and how many I need to have on my own site to gain an "authority status".
When doing this with my website, I get 166 results and I am ranked #5 for that keyword. The #1 spot only has 52 pages related to this keyword, yet they still out rank me. Why? They out rank me mainly because of links. Which brings me to:
SEO Mistake #2: Understanding the importance of link building.
I had no idea how important links are to an SEO campaign when I first started blogging. But, I soon realized links are so important, in fact, that if content is the king, link building is the queen.
However, you can't just link a million times from your Activerain blog to your website and expect to rank for highly competitive key phrases.
In order for me to take over the top spot for my key phrase "Logan real estate" I am going to need to get better links. I know I have enough content, the only problem is getting the right links.
If you find yourself in the same struggle where you feel you have enough content to rank for a keyword, but can't quite get to where you want to be, the problem is most likely your links.
Links, and how search engines react to those links, is a very complicated and tricky science. And, depending on what search engine you're trying to rank for they react differently to links. For example a no-follow link doesn't pass link juice like a do-follow link does in Google. Bing, on the other hand, doesn't recognize the no-follow tag.
Confused? So was I, but I wrote a post on what the difference between no-follow and do-follow is here, and I think it's extremely important for you to understand the difference, so please read it! But, watch out, you can't just spam a whole bunch of links to a page and expect it to rank where you want it to. Which brings me to my next mistake:
SEO Mistake #3: All links are not created equal.
Not only does it matter what type of link you're using, Google has implied that they nullify links from the same domain name after a certain amount.
For example: If you have 3000 links coming from Activerain, you can bet Google has nullified most of those links, and they don't count much towards your rankings.
You can link until you're blue in the face from one domain (Activerain.com), but eventually, search engines will stop counting those links and you're fighting a losing battle.
Search engines also look at where the link is on a page to determine it's importance. For example, a link in the first paragraph of your blog might be more important than a link at the bottom of the page.
Or, a link in your sidebar or a "blogroll link" may not be as important as a link within the content itself. Confusing? You bet it is. However, at a recent conference, Matt Cutts from Google gave a hint as to what you should be doing when linking. This is quoted directly from the horse's mouth:
"Users are more likely to click on the first link in an article as opposed to a link at the bottom of the article so you should put your most important links at the top of the article." - Matt Cutts
This is a hint to SEO's that Google determines the importance of links based on where they're located on a page. They may also give more importance to links not only by the location, but how many people click on that link.
Again, very complicated, but keep in mind; a link at the top of your article is probably more important than a link in your signature at the bottom of your post. So, I would recommend you put your most important link within the first couple paragraphs to pass more weight. And did I mention anchor text? No? Well, you need to be aware of your anchor text.
SEO Mistake #4: The importance of Anchor Text.
Anchor text are the words used to link to a web page and using the correct anchor text is extremely important for search engine rankings.
If you link to your website with the phrase "click here" as compared to a more descriptive phrase such as "Logan Realtor," you're shooting yourself in the foot form the very beginning.
When linking to a page from your blog, or anywhere else, use the correct anchor text. If you want a page on your site to rank for Logan Realtor and related phrases, you need to use anchor text related to that theme and mix it up a little or it doesn't look natural.
For example, what phrases do you think about when you think of a Realtor? I think of Realtor, real estate agent, agent, selling agent, buyer's agent, seller's Realtor, buyer's Realtor, etc. And, since ranking for the term Realtor would be all but impossible, you need to add location to that phrase. Such as Logan Realtor, Logan real estate agent, Logan buyer's agent, and so on.
Focus on keeping your anchor text pointing to the right pages. You can rank your website with laser precision by following this simple tactic. If you want a page to rank for Logan Realtor, use your anchor text correctly and keep adding links gradually over time. Eventually you will start to notice a bump in rankings if you keep at it.
Also, one mistake I found when linking was, I tried to get to complicated with the anchor text. I was using long phrases and I found I was diluting my anchor text. Search engines are machines and really just want to know what your page is about, so make sure you're sending the right signals. If you want a page to rank for a certain keyword, keep that keyword in all your links pointing to that page. Simple!
If you have any questions about anything here, please don't hesitate to email me or leave me a comment. I will do my best to answer to the best of my ability. Thanks for reading and good luck with your search engine optimization efforts! :)