Who would have thought America’s favorite sitcom, Seinfeld, was created on the basic premises of search engine marketing (SEM)? Okay so maybe it wasn’t; but let’s have some fun and see how the two stack up. By referencing Seinfeld, we can easily recall several facets of search engine marketing that help increase your site’s overall presence on the web. Let’s meet the cast shall we:
“Hi, my name is George; I’m unemployed, and I live with my parents.”
Arguably the funniest character on the show is George Costanza. He spends more time figuring out a way to avoid work than actually doing it! In almost every episode, two things are always discussed. One, George is cheap, and two, he’s bald. How can these two qualities help your efforts in ranking higher in the search engines? First, your site cannot be bald; rather, it should be filled with keyword-rich copy. Many professionals recommend writing strong relative content instead of maintaining a specific keyword density in an attempt to please Google. Be sure to always keep your site’s visitors in mind first while creating new copy.
Next up, Google recommends building high quality links to your site instead of going the “cheap” route and participating in link buying. One of Google’s recommendations is to “get involved in the community around your topic.” For example, if you own a bakery website, contribute to different blogs about baking desserts, delicious pie recipes, and so on. In doing so, you will positively increase your reputation and eventually drive people to your site. Keep in mind that results may take time, but it will be well worth it!
“Boy, these pretzels are makin’ me thirsty!”
Seinfeld wouldn’t have been the show it was without Jerry’s unemployed, eccentric, always entertaining neighbor. Whether it be accidently burning down the cabin, committing mail fraud, or urinating in the parking garage, trouble always seems to find “Cosmo” Kramer. By excusing his many, many faults, viewers have fallen in love with the man who entered almost every episode by sliding through Jerry’s door.
Having a great entrance is pivotal not only in the show, but also for your website! If you truly want to get the most out of your pay-per-click advertising campaign, a custom landing page is crucial. Not only will this help improve your quality score, but you could potentially increase your return on investment by grabbing the attention of your visitors during the most critical time, namely the few seconds it takes them to decide whether your webpage is the solution to their search query. Make sure the page has a clean design with a compelling, and very obvious, call to action above the fold visitors are sure not to miss.
What would you say is the most memorable Elaine Benes moment in the 9 seasons Seinfeld aired? Chances are that her dancing skills at the office Christmas party come to mind. The way she danced caught the eye of everyone in the office. So what is one way you can catch search engine and user attention for keywords in which you are trying to rank higher? Proper keyword use in the title tag! Let’s say your bakery is called “Betsy’s Baked Goods”. You have a page dedicated to discussing apple pie recipes (you are trying to rank for this term) and your current title is “Baked Goods and Pies”. One helpful tip is to move the keyword to the start of the title, as this will help click through rate and rankings. The new title tag could be something like “Apple Pie Recipes | Old Fashioned Pies – Betsy’s Baked Goods”
Once upon a time there lived a postal worker named Newman. Unlike the slogan, he didn’t deliver mail through “rain, sleet or even snow.” Jerry was unable to avoid Newman as he seemed to sneak up on him at the most inopportune times. Luckily, you do have control from search engines coming into different parts of your site in which they are unwelcome. On a site-wide level, simply “Disallow:” folders (directories) or pages in the robots.txt file. If configured properly, the robots.txt will restrict search engine robots from crawling the page. Keep in mind however, it does not keep the actual URL from being indexed if there are external links pointing towards it. My preferred method is to include specific instructions in the head section of the HTML document called the “Meta Robots Tag.” Some of the available commands include “NOINDEX” which prevents a particular page from being included in the index, and “NOFOLLOW” which will prevent a robot from trailing the links on a page.
“I don’t wanna be a cowboy!”
There are two absolute certainties in my day-to-day life. The first is that I will go to Starbucks and order a Venti Iced Coffee. The second is that when I turn on the television to watch Seinfeld, Jerry will have a new girlfriend. All of his girlfriends seem to be temporary, which leads me to my final point. If you are switching domain names or attempting to redirect a URL, be extremely cautious when employing a 302 redirect, indicating to search engines that the page is merely a temporary move. This redirect also passes 0% of the ranking power of a page. In most cases, you should use a 301 (permanent) redirect, as in this case, an estimated 95% of your link juice will be passed to the new page.
There you have it, one of the first ever comparisons of the Seinfeld characters to different aspects of SEM. This concludes the “The Blog About Nothing.”
Images by Sony Pictures
Search Engine Land notes that nearly 12% of queries have been impacted by the latest algorithm change. If your search engine traffic has dropped significantly from the latest update then it’s time to take action!
Below are ten tips to increase your site’s rankings if they’ve been hit by the Farmer / Panda update.
1. Build a Theme – That’s right, having 5 thin pages on a topic and calling yourself an industry leader simply won’t work. To be considered an industry leader, you need to talk about the main topics in your industry and get down to the nitty gritty! Start generating content (no stealing or borrowing content) that covers the depth and breadth of your industry.
2. Organize – Take your files and put them in folders organized by topic. If your desk is a mess, it’s likely the files on your site are just thrown in the root folder too. Begin to group them just as you would a filing cabinet.
3. Silo Structures – Whether it’s a true silo or a virtual silo, link your content by its relation. If you are unable to move files on your server and URL rewriting is beyond your capabilities, then use a virtual silo to internally link to related pages.
4. Make A Plan – Plan out topics you can write content about and stick to it. If you don’t have the time, then hire a few copywriters and schedule in new copy to be added to your site regularly. Once the copy is in place, be sure to link to it from other related pages to help build a relationship between the related pages.
5. Watch – View your site’s analytics regularly and determine if you see a pattern. Was a specific section of your site hit and now underperforming or was it your site as a whole? Did your site’s overall traffic decline once Panda was released or is it just for broad search terms? Ask yourself these questions to help you determine the best course of action when it comes to creating the new content.
6. Housekeeping – While you’re at it, make sure you have no reason to have any penalties on your site. Wouldn’t it be horrible if you simply had something on your site that you needed to take care of and submit a simple re-inclusion request? Look at your site and see if you’re using your headings accurately, if you have too many links on any given pages, log into Google Webmaster Console and take a look at the error messages and HTML suggestions. When you’re done, simply detail what you did and request a re-inclusion just to be pro-active.
7. Be Pro-Active – Take advantage of all the universal results Google is offering and try to get your site to show up in as many of those results as possible. Be sure you have your Google Places listing and build it out to include images, categories, videos, specials coupons, etc. If you have products on your site, create a Google shopping feed and submit it to ensure your products are showing up in Google Shopping. Images throughout your site need to utilize names that resemble what they are, provide accurate image ALT attributes, create an image sitemap and submit this sitemap to help increase your exposure in Google images. Open up a channel on YouTube and upload or create videos about your products or services. Create great keyword-rich titles and Meta descriptions, apply the proper tags and get them uploaded to be included in Google video. Start a blog and blog about on-topic industry related information and submit your RSS feed to various RSS directories and get your site showing up for results in Google Blogs.
8. Research – Review Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and ensure you are adhering to them for content, quality and design. It may not seem like a lot, but taking care of these things to ensure you have nothing being held against you can help significantly in the long run.
9. Sitemaps – Create sitemaps for each themed folder within your site and place that sitemap within the actual folder. For larger sites, create multiple sitemaps to help ensure deeper content gets indexed and properly ranked. Google determines if it will be indexing your site for depth or breadth, and with the Panda update, you need both to succeed.
10. Stay Indexed – Find out what pages within your site are indexed and which are not. Keep an eye out for any pages that are not indexed and resubmit them. Pages that aren’t indexed or are omitted from Google’s results can’t rank, pages that can’t rank can’t help to build you as an industry leader. If you have omitted pages from Google’s results find out why (duplicate titles, duplicate Meta descriptions, very little content, etc.) and make the necessary adjustments. Update your Google sitemap regularly and make sure those pages are indexed.
Making these adjustments as well as continually adding content to your site will help to ensure your site will not only bounce back from the Farmer/Panda update, but that you will be less affected from future index or algorithm updates; helping to build your site as an industry leader.