Does SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Confuse You? #FridayFinds

by Sherryl Perry on February 21, 2015

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Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just write content for our blogs and websites and not worry about SEO? Is SEO even important in 2015? What if you don’t do anything special about optimizing your content for the search engines? What if you just write?

Sure, your content may or may not show up in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) but if you totally ignore meta-tags, descriptions and alternate text tags, would it matter?

If you don’t pay attention to backlinks (both to and from your site) are you putting yourself at risk of a Google penalty or a manual webspam action or being totally de-indexed by Google? Let’s take a step back today and look at the overall picture of SEO through a #FridayFinds round-up of some great articles that I found for you.

Basic SEO Skills:

For starters, do you know the answers to these four questions?

  1. What is SEO?
  2. What’s the difference between organic search results and PPC (pay-per-click) advertising?
  3. How can you use “internal linking” to increase the visibility of your site?
  4. What are meta-descriptions and snippets?

If you can already answer those questions, good for you! Let’s move on to some of the more complicated topics. If you have questions (or want to validate what you think you already know), check out: What SEO beginners need to know: a basic skills guide by Christopher Ratcliff on Econsultancy.com.

Semantic Search:

Do you know what “semantic search” is or ever heard of “structured data markup” and “rich snippets”? Last September, I invited Jeannette Paladino, from WriteSpeakSell.com, to share her research with us. Now, Jeannette is not someone who normally blogs about SEO. She’s actually a social media writer who works with businesses on building their brand awareness.

When Jeannette offered to write Are You Confused by Google Semantics? SEO Tips You Need (for my blog), I immediately said yes – please. Instead of trying to impress us with a lot of SEO techniques, Jeannette shares tactics such as being aware of phrasing rather than keywords when you write. Her focus is on having a conversation with our readers and not writing for the search engines (while still incorporating current SEO techniques).

Post Titles in the SERPs:

Did you know that the best length for your blog post title is now only 55 characters max? (It used to be recommended to use up to 70.) Did you know that this recommendation started after Google redesigned their SERP (Search Engine Result Page) format? Are you interested in a title tag preview tool where you can paste a blog post title and sample keywords in to preview your results?

If you’re curious how a simple Google format redesign affects how your title appears in the SERPs, or want to try experimenting with your title tag using that preview tool, check out New Title Tag Guidelines & Preview Tool by Dr. Peter J. Meyers on Moz.com.

Note: Dr. Pete’s recommendation to limit your title to 55 characters is based on research that shows that there’s a 95% chance of a 55-character title not being truncated in the search results.

Headlines & SEO:

Do headlines matter to SEO? In his article The Real Reason Headlines Are Important for Improved Rankings (on SEMRush.com), David Shiffman explains that to rank well in the search engines, bloggers need to master the art of writing better headlines. Why? Well to quote David:

“Great headlines attract clicks, shares, comments and links. All of which can help increase the amount of traffic flowing back into your website.

So what makes a great headline? How can you write a keyword–rich headline that will entice a reader to click on it (and read it) while still ranking well enough to appear in the first page of the search results? (As David said, it’s an art.)

Headlines that Get Clicked On:

Have you ever heard of the EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) analyzer tool? Well, if you’re interested in writing better blog post titles and headlines, you won’t want to miss reading Emotional Headlines Get Shared More On Social Media [Conclusive Proof] by Garrett Moon on CoSchedule.com. (This is one of the older posts that I promised you.)

Emotional marketing value is not a new concept and it actually dates back to the 1960s and 1970s. In Garret’s article, he talks about the enormous database of headlines (over one million) that CoSchedule had access to. They analyzed a bunch of those headlines and came to the conclusion that “Posts With A Higher Emotional Value Get More Shares”.

Emotional Value of  Blog Posts CoSchedule.com/blog

Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer:

How can you calculate the emotional marketing value of your headlines? It’s actually easy to do. The Advanced Marketing Institute offers a free tool that they’ve developed called the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer.

Emotional Marketing Value

I started using this tool back in July of last year and I believe it has helped me write better headlines. It makes me think and test my headlines. Since I started using it, readers have been mentioning that my title has made them click on my posts. Looking back at the titles that I’ve written over the years, I believe that there is a big difference.

In the Emotional Headlines Get Shared More On Social Media [Conclusive Proof] study by CoSchedule, their data showed that the average EMV of the headlines they analyzed was between 30% and 40%. When I first wrote about this topic last year, I ran the title of that post through the EMV headline analyzer tool and found that it ranked at 50%. Then, I tested his headline without the words “[Conclusive Proof]” and it dropped to 37.5% (huge difference).

One thing that you need to do when you use the EMV headline analyzer tool, is to select a category. (I always select theBusiness & Professional Services” category.) When I was testing the title for this post I tried a few and then came down to choosing between (#1)“Does SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Confuse You?” or (#2) “Does SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Confuse You? #FridayFinds”. My first title (#1) ranked 57.14%. My second title (#2) ranked 50.00%.

The Emotional Value headline analyzer tool

The explanation of my 57.14% score was

The EMV headline analyzer tool from the AMI

In addition to ranking a higher score, my first title (#1) only contains 50 characters. Whereas, my second title (#2) contains 63 characters. (Earlier in this article, I mentioned that Dr. Peter J. Meyers’ recommendation is to limit our titles to 55 characters.)

So, why did I decide to use the second title (with my #FridayFinds hashtag)? Brand awareness. I’ve been branding that hashtag and other bloggers are recognizing it. Some of them are talking about this series and others are asking to be featured.

As with everything, tools are helpful but bottom-line, they’re only tools and your blogging strategy needs to prevail. Besides, the worst that could happen is that my #FridayFinds hashtag will be truncated in the results. So, there’s no real concern there.

Google Panda & Quality Content:

Google maintains that its mission is to provide meaningful results in the SERPs (search engine results pages). Essentially, when someone clicks on a URL and they find what they’re looking for, it’s a win-win-win situation where Google, the web user and the site owner are all winners

So, it’s in Google’s best interest if they deliver search results that meet the needs of the person who is searching. Google’s Panda algorithm was intended to target quality content. Panda was first rolled out in February of 2011 but it was probably Panda 4.1 (rolled out in September of 2014) that had the biggest impact on bloggers.

Writing Quality Content:

In his article The 12 Essential Elements Of High-Quality Content, (on Forbes.com), Jayson Demers provides tips on improving the quality of your website content. You really should check out this one for yourself but I will share with you the twelve key points on Jayson’s checklist:

  1. Content Length
  2. Embedded Video, Infographics & Other Media
  3. Grammar & Spelling
  4. Page and Text Formatting
  5. Your Readability Score
  6. Authoritative Content
  7. The Credibility & Reputation (of Guest Authors)
  8. Social Signals
  9. Internal & External Links
  10. Domain Quality
  11. Comment Quality
  12. Value (solves a problem, entertains, etc.)

Manual Webspam Actions & Backlinks:

In 2013, many bloggers were hit by Google with manual webspam actions. A lot of those bloggers discovered that they were being penalized because they had links on their sites to spammy sites. (Two common causes of this are broken links that deliver 404 errors and the other is domain names that changed hands and now point either to spammy or parked domains that are riddled with AdSense ads.)

One concern that has been raised is that do-follow enabled CommentLuv sites (like this one) are particularly attractive to spammers. Yes. They are. That’s why many of us have tightened up our settings. For example, on this site, the do-follow tag is only enabled after someone has left ten approved comments. That discourages most spammers.

Keep in mind though, that the no-follow attribute is merely a suggestion and Google’s bots may follow a link anyways. So, whether you’re running the CommentLuv plugin or simply leaving your links on CommentLuv enabled sites, be cognizant that you are associating your site with the other site.

The truth is that there are good ways to build links and bad ways. We have to diligently monitor the links that are left on our sites and those that we leave on others. Even if you don’t use the CommentLuv plugin and you don’t allow links to be left in comments, you’re not entirely safe. Links left in the website field of comments can be followed by Google and can get you into trouble.

Spam Comments:

Have you ever received a plea from a webmaster who is trying to recover from a Google penalty and they send you the link to the offending comment (on your site)? Chances are that comment was left by someone who was getting paid to leave links to their site.

We need to be diligent in not accepting spam. Not only could that link potentially hurt the webmaster who contacted you but it can hurt you as well.

One of the things I look for in determining if a comment is spam is relevancy. Is it obvious that the commenter read my article or is it a generic comment that could be dropped anywhere? For example, this is a generic spam comment:

“Great article and good points you have mentioned here. I love the efforts you have put in this, appreciate it for all the great articles. I’ll be saving this page for future use and to help others too. Thanks for sharing this great post.”

While that comment is (relatively) well written, it has absolutely nothing to do with my blog post. It could be left just about anywhere (and probably is).

While a newer blogger may be tempted to accept it, comments like those set off alarms for those of us who are more seasoned. They’re exactly the sort of “spammy” comments that Google’s algorithms and webspam team target as “unnatural” links.

I know this is an older Matt Cutts video, (from August 2013) and I included it in an earlier post where I discussed “unnatural links“. Still, if you’re looking for additional insight, this is worth watching.

SEO & Link Building:

Can link building harm your SEO efforts? According to Joshua Steimle in his post Why Google Says Building Links Can Harm Your SEO Efforts (on Forbes.com) it can.

You may have already heard that John Mueller (Google’s webmaster trend analyst) recently made a statement in a Webmaster Central office-hours hangout.

In the hangout, John Mueller was asked “is link building in any way good?” His response was “In general, I’d try to avoid that.” His full response was:

“In general, I’d try to avoid that.

So that you are really sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. Make it easy, maybe, put a little widget on your page, if you like this, this is how you can link to it. Make sure that the URLs on your web site are easy to copy and paste. All of those things make it a little bit easier.

We do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well. So only focusing on links is probably going to cause more problems for your web site that actually helps.”

Here’s the full video. You can view John’s response at 55:40.

As for Joshua’s post, I’m not going to go into great detail. Instead, I’ll list his bullet points and you can read his article yourself. Basically, he answers three questions:

  • What Makes Link Building Bad?
  • What Makes a High Quality Link?
  • What’s the Right Way to Build High Quality Links?

The crux of what Joshua is saying is what we’re hearing over and over again. Write quality content. In one sentence, his advice is:

“The right way to build high quality links is to not build them at all, but instead, earn them naturally.”

Over To You:

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that you have a solid understanding of SEO that not only can keep you out of trouble with Google but will also drive organic search traffic to your site?Are you concerned about commenting and links?

Which of the articles today did you find most helpful? Please let us know your thoughts, ideas and concerns in the comments. I’d also like to hear what parts of SEO you would like to know more about.

Thanks for visiting. If you would like to connect with this week’s featured authors on Google+, you can find them here: Christopher Ratcliff, Jeannette Paladino, Dr. Peter J. Meyers, David Shiffman,  Garrett Moon, Jayson Demers, Joshua Steimle, and me (Sherryl Perry).

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{ 88 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Macuha March 2, 2016 at 6:36 pm

I am a newbie to SEO and these information are very helpful. These views are valuable. Thank you for sharing the knowledge.
Jason Macuha recently posted..AAP On-the-Spot Painting Competition 2016My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 3, 2016 at 11:20 am

I’m so glad to hear that you’re finding my articles helpful Jason. SEO can seem like an overwhelming topic but it doesn’t have to be.

Are you using a WordPress plugin for SEO? Some WordPress themes have SEO built in but if it doesn’t there are several plugins available. As you may already know, Yoast is the most popular among bloggers.

Thanks for taking the time to join the conversation here. Please let me know if there’s any way I can help you.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Resources Bloggers Can Use #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Akshat November 25, 2015 at 9:10 pm

SEO is still a question marks as i have seen many spam sites ranking better as compared to a site with high quality content. What do you say about this?

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 28, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Hi Akshat,

My take on this is that Google has been making strides toward rewarding quality content and weeding out spammy sites.

The two algorithm changes that come to mind are Google Panda and Google Penguin. Panda (which was introduced in February 2011) was meant to stop poor quality content from appearing in the top search results. Penguin targets “over optimization”. Over-optimization is deemed as keyword stuffing and bad link building techniques.

According to Barry Schwartz (on SearchEngineland.com) it appeared that Google was slowly rolling out Panda 4.2. This was in late October. Hopefully, we’ll continue seeing more relevant results as time goes on.

As always, thanks for dropping by and weighing in on this.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Case Study: Consolidating Multiple Websites Into OneMy Profile

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Akshat September 4, 2015 at 9:36 am

I agree that SEO can be very confusing sometimes as there is no proper procedure or protocols. Many spam sites gets higher in search results and the ones who are writing quality content are placed too far in the search results.

Reply

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Hi Akshat,
It is disheartening to see spammy sites rank high in the SERPs. We can only hope that things will continue to get better as Google continues to (attempt to) reward quality content and block spam.

The best that we (as bloggers) can do is to continue writing for our readers and hope that by optimizing our sites, our content will be found.

Social media is definitely one way that we can get our content seen. Building solid relationships with influential bloggers can really help (once they start sharing our content).

One of the reasons that I blog quite a bit about SEO is that it is possible to get free organic traffic through search. The second reason is that it’s just important (if not more) to know enough about SEO that your don’t end up getting penalized or completely de-indexed by Google.

Thanks so much for dropping by and weighing in on this. I hope you’re having a great weekend.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Want to Consolidate Multiple Websites?My Profile

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Martin Ricky
Twitter:
April 28, 2015 at 8:38 pm

Sheryl,

Excellent words on SEO. I have to be honest, at first it seemed like a gigantic task to tackle. But after reading many posts like yours I have been able to utilize SEO to my advantage!

If you are willing to put the time into creating good content, then why not go the extra mile and make it as keyword friendly as possible. Your hard work will always pay off in the end.

I was very lazy about SEO at first, but once I started to actually take the time and learn about it I’d say it’s a “must do” in blogging. Thank you once again for all of the good advice.

-Martin
Martin Ricky recently posted..5 Not So Typical Ways to Promote Your New BlogMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Hi Martin,

I’m glad you found my post valuable. SEO can be pretty overwhelming at first. The fact that Google updates their algorithms so often doesn’t help.

Over the years, I have seen so many innocent bloggers get whacked by Google penalties and manual web spam actions. I myself lost a significant amount of organic search traffic almost two years ago. (I had not been cleaning up my CommentLuv links.)

I think that is my biggest motivation for writing so frequently about SEO. If I hadn’t gone through that experience, (and lost all that traffic), I would most likely have ended up being one of those sites that were completely de-indexed by Google. Thankfully, I wasn’t officially penalized by Google.

It’s not just knowing what we should be doing to optimize our sites. Sometimes,the most important thing is to know what not to do, so, we don’t get in trouble with the big “G”.

Thanks so much for sharing your insight with us. Comments are one of the most valuable assets a blogger can have. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to leave one. I hope you’re having a wonderful week! (Thanks again for joining the conversation on Adrienne’s guest post too.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Comment for Backlinks on DoFollow Enabled CommentLuv Blogs?My Profile

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Avnish Gautam April 12, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Your seo guide is really helpful for solving any typical questions in our minds and the videos of experts are telling important factor about search algorithms. Thanks for it.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

Hi Avnish,
I’m glad you enjoyed my collection of resources on SEO. Thanks for taking the time to let us know that you found it helpful.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are You Confused about Google’s New Ranking Signal?My Profile

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John
Twitter:
April 4, 2015 at 3:06 am

Most people shouldn’t be confused by SEO. The main points that most people need to be aware of are not that confusing (good content, good title, avoiding bad links…). It is true those who try to use SEO to find some broken part of the Google algorithm to exploit do have a very confusing SEO world to live in. But that is a very specialized area.

I think people often get confused when thinking they need to concern themselves with the tricks to exploit Google (that are constantly changing) and sensible SEO practices – that really barely change over the years.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 6, 2015 at 12:24 pm

Hi John,

Your suggested main points (for most people to be aware of) is right on. I talk to many people who simply feel overwhelmed by the thought of SEO. Often, they end up doing nothing about it.

Once they understand how important it is to incorporate keywords in titles, heading tags, meta-descriptions and images (file names, alt-tags, descriptions), they usually will embrace SEO.

As for backlinks, I’m always having that conversation on LinkedIn. Some newer bloggers don’t realize that spammy comments and unnatural links can get them into trouble with Google. It is important to comment on blogs but there can be risks associated with that.

Thanks for taking the time to add your insight to the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Ready To Take Your Blog to the Next Level? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Atish Ranjan March 23, 2015 at 1:48 am

Hi Sherryl,

SEO is much more than link building. There are hundreds of factors which search engines consider to rank a website. Many people start doing SEO of their website without knowing the facts as what are the things which can get them into trouble.

So having proper and in-depth knowledge is required if you are doing SEO in the age of Google’s animals.

Great post Sherryl.

Keep it up.
Atish Ranjan recently posted..What You Need to Know About Internet ResearchMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 23, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Hi Atish,

I’m so glad to hear you say that! Not knowing what can get someone into trouble with Google is my biggest concern.

I run a LinkedIn group where we help each other grow our businesses through blogging. We keep the main area open for discussions about topics such as WordPress, social media and SEO. In addition, we run a weekly discussion where members can share a link to their blog. Comment reciprocation is encouraged.

Now, I rarely participate in that discussion for multiple reasons. One of which is that it’s an eclectic group with many of the members in niches totally unrelated to blogging or business.

My worry is that some members do not appreciate the risk of accepting spammy and “unnatural” links. We’re having another discussion about that right now.

I always love references to Google’s “animals”! Thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in on this. I’m glad that you liked my post.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are You Ready for the Google Mobile Friendly Algorithm?My Profile

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Pritam Nagrale
Twitter:
March 14, 2015 at 2:47 am

HI sherryl ,

Another great article from you..!!
I really like this article , i would say this one of the must read article among any other SEO related articles.

We all know SEO, we all know its positive and negatives but we lack with where to and how to use it.
Google has many its own SEO tools , we all know about it but google can make our site penalised because our wrong way of using SEO on website.

Experts in SEO also get confused sometimes how to SEO actually get execute, because of spamming and google can change SEO rules at any time.

I must say thank you for researching on this topic. you have done really great job here , i love the way you have written this article.
Each and every point is easy to understand

Thanks for sharing this .
I will keep visiting for next SEO article from you .

Reply

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 14, 2015 at 11:03 pm

Hi Pritam,

Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad that you find my articles about SEO helpful. I find SEO fascinating but it can be an intimidating subject.

In addition to knowing how we can optimize our sites, it’s critical to know what can get us into trouble with Google as well. (For example, links that are broken, unnatural or lead to spammy sites.)

I really appreciate your feedback and I’m glad that you’ll be back to visit again. I hope you’re having a great weekend!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Safe Are Your Backlinks? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Jyoti Chuhan March 12, 2015 at 5:24 am

Hi Sherryl Perry,

You have crafted a awesome post with lots of valued information at a single place. There are lots of newbie bloggers who don’t know SEO basics and start to say they are not earning money. I think first they need to learn SEO so that they can drive massive traffic to their blogs. Traffic brings everything like leads, Adsense earnings. You have shared great post for them.

Keep up your great work!

Regards,
Jyoti
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 12, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Hi Jyoti,

Thanks for letting me know that you liked my post. SEO can be overwhelming – especially for newbie bloggers. There are so many simple steps that they can incorporate that will get them free traffic. Also, not knowing about some Google algorithms can get them into trouble.

You gave two great examples of why organic search traffic is important – leads and Adsense earnings. Thanks so much for adding your insight and welcome to my blog!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Safe Are Your Backlinks? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Nisha Pandey
Twitter:
March 9, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Hi Sherryl,

I must say, this post is packed with information and is extremely helpful to all the bloggers out there. I have seen many blogs with great contents who fail because of poor SEO. Now poor SEO directly results in poor traffic to the blog.

This is especially a problem with newbies, who does not have much understanding on the blogging world. Thus this post will help them greatly to optimize their website according to SEO rule.

Extremely detailed and easy to understand. Thaks for sharing. Have a nice day!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 10, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Hi Nisha,

I know! I always feel badly when I hear bloggers who get so frustrated with SEO that they ignore it. I’m having a conversation right now (in a Linked group) with a member who doesn’t address broken links.

I have no idea how old his blog is or whether he has many links but he’s publicly advocating ignoring them. That’s unwise and not behavior that any of us should be promoting.

Thanks so much for the positive feedback and for joining the conversation. I’m glad yu enjoyed my post.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Will Building Your Blog Community Make You a Superstar? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Anees Muhammed
Twitter:
March 8, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Hi..,
This was a pretty long post but was interesting to read on. I think seo is quite confusing once you are a beginner but will be interesting when working more and more with it. But even after a year of blogging, Panda and Penguine still confuse me.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Hi Anees,

SEO can be overwhelming. It’s constantly changing and even the “gurus” sometimes have a different take on the potential impact of a change.

I tend to zero in on articles that have analyzed data and then reported on it. Occasionally though, I’ve come upon reports where they haven’t always shared their methods.

Thanks for letting me know that you found my post interesting.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What SEO Tools Do You Use? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Henrik Wanner-Olsen March 7, 2015 at 6:21 am

The rules for SEO optimization are apparently changing all the time.
Google in my opinion, is maybe to powerfull a player and depending
on traffic from them is like building a house on quick sand.

Henrik

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 7, 2015 at 10:35 am

Hi Henrik,

Depending on traffic from Google is like “building a house on quick sand”. – Great analogy. The thing is though, that (like it or not) if we do hope to be found online, most of us are pretty much are dependent on them.

Actually, I think the risk we run of being de-indexed by Google is more compelling than trying to drive organic traffic from them.
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Henrik Wanner-Olsen March 7, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Of course it is important to be Indexed with the search engines.
But it is more safe also to rely on other traffic sources like eg. Social Sites.
Sudden changes in the search engines listing algorithm might kill your business.

Henrik

Reply

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 8, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Hi Henrik,

I agree with you that depending on search traffic is not a good strategy.

The reason I tend to harp on being de-indexed is because I know so many bloggers who were totally blindsided last year (around March I believe). The truth is that I’m very active on social networks and over the last two years have totally shifted my traffic sources. Thankfully,my SEO traffic dropped from #1 to 3 but while that happened, it didn’t decrease. My referral and direct traffic increased.

Thanks for keeping the discussion going. I hope you have been enjoying your weekend.

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Md. Hamim Mondal
Twitter:
March 1, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Wow.. Great post. SEO related many new things I learn from this post. In this post you explain all key points about search engine optimization.
BTW emotional marketing value headline analyzer tool is new for me. Before this I never heard about this tool. Going to check this tool as soon as possible.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 1, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Hi Hamim,

Thanks for letting me know that you learned from reading my article. I really find the headline analyzer tool helpful and I hope you do too!

Thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Can you Improve Your Website Blog? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Mina Joshi
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 6:16 pm

This is one of the most comprehensive SEO articles I have read. Some of it I was aware of but quite a lot of it was new to me. I will be reading it again to make sure I understand it a lot better.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 1, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Hi Mina,

Thanks for dropping by. I’m glad that you found my article comprehensive. I try to to make SEO easy to understand for bloggers.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like further clarification on anything. I always listen to my readers and often find great ideas for future articles right here in the comments.:)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Blogging Tips Are You Missing?My Profile

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Pamela Chollet
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 2:35 pm

This is great information thank you so much. I’ve commented on your blog before that the SEO stuff drives me CRAZY and often impedes my writing. The headline tool is wonderful, thank you so much for your advice, it’s so useful.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 1, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Hi Pamela,

I took a quick peek at your site and it looks like you’re doing a lot of things right (like using heading tags and keyword phrases).

Are you using a theme that’s optimized for SEO or using the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast? If you are and you’re entering the meta-tag info (like descriptions and alternate text tags for your images), you should be in good shape.

Never let SEO impede your writing. What I do, is write for my readers and then figure out the SEO stuff after.

I maintain a simple Word document where I track my SEO data for each post.The reason I use a word processor rather than a spreadsheet is that it gives you access to a spell checker and the word-count function. (So, you can check things like the number of characters in your titles and descriptions.)

I include columns for my descriptions and the meta-tag info for my images and videos. I don’t even open that document until I’m done writing my post. Then, I work on the descriptions and other meta data.

The thing is that document is a great checklist for making sure that I don’t publish until I have the SEO stuff in place. I don’t obsess over it and it honestly doesn’t take that long. It has helped me develop good SEO habits.

Thanks so much for joining the conversation. I’ll be by your blog soon!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Can you Improve Your Website Blog? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Craig
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Great post Sherryl!

While SEO doesn’t scare me, I’m not as focused on it as I once was. There was a time when SEO was my primary focus. While I did well in the SERP’s, it seems that engagement was very low.

Swing to the opposite end of the spectrum. Lately I haven’t been worried about SEO at all. While engagement is up, new visitors are down.

So the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. You need to have some focus on SEO, but you don’t want to be so caught up in it that you are writing only for the search engines.

Lots of great information here. Thanks!

Craig
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 1, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Hi Craig,

I agree with you about being somewhere in the middle between social and SEO. We can’t afford to neglect either. Definitely, we should not be writing for the search engines but at the same time, we need to stay out of trouble with Google. (So, we need to be aware of changes that could have a negative impact on us.)

With Google’s focus on semantics and algorithms (that return results that meet the needs of the person searching), writing with a focus on keywords no longer works. As Jeannette pointed out in her article about semantics, having a conversational style with keyword rich phrases is more effective now.

Besides, if we somehow found a way to get our posts to rank high and our readers bailed out of our site because they didn’t find what they were looking for (including the experience), Google would soon stop serving up our posts in the results anyways.

Are you active on Google+? The reason I’m asking is that is quickly becoming the best of both worlds (combining social and search). I admit that I am not as active on Google+ as I should be but I recognize that it is becoming extremely important. (Maybe I should do my next Friday Finds series on that!)

Thanks for letting me know that you found my post helpful and welcome to my blog!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Can you Improve Your Website Blog? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Craig
Twitter:
March 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm

I wouldn’t say I’m active on Google+, but I do use it. I do know what you mean about it being the best of both worlds. Need to find the time to engage over there more.

BTW – I think that’s a great idea to include that in your next series. I’d be all over that 🙂

Craig
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 1, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Craig,
We already follow each other on Twitter and I just circled you on Google+. I also noted that the social and SEO implications of Google+ would be a good topic for my next #FridayFinds. Thanks! 🙂

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Kire Sdyor
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 9:13 am

Sherryl, I am going to have to sit quietly for a few hours in order to truly understand all this. I have gone through the SEO rules and have the plug-ins running on my blog, but I KNOW that I do not understand this stuff and that bothers me.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 1, 2015 at 12:16 am

Hi Kire and welcome to my blog. Please feel free to ask questions here (and in our LinkedIn group). I’ll do my best to answer them. If you need clarification on something, there’s a very good chance that there are other readers here who have the same question.

The thing that I’ve found over the years is that what you don’t know about SEO can hurt you more than the things that you do know can help you. (Does that even make sense? 🙂 )

Anyways . . . thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation. I’m a strong believer that we can all learn from each other.
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SEO SERPS
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 1:08 am

Great article with an easy to understand overview of SEO basics. What’s particularly interesting as you mentioned in your article are the efforts some Webmasters are now going to in attempts to recover from search engine penalties, but the lesson here is for sites to follow best practice SEO techniques that search engines recommend from the start. After all, the time it takes trying to recover from penalties could be much better spent on creating actual content. We’re big advocates for the creation of Google Panda Friendly content and websites, and actively promote the same, and with that in mind we will be sharing this great article on Twitter. We’re always on the lookout for great writers who advocate the use of White Hat SEO practices and techniques. Sherryl you are more than welcome to join us a contributor.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 11:56 pm

Thanks for the positive feedback. I’m glad that you found my article easy to understand.

I’m connected with several bloggers who were totally blindsided when they woke up one morning to find that they had been de-indexed by Google. These were not new bloggers who were intentionally trying to spam the system.

I believe a lot of them got caught up in the “unnatural” links scenario. The fact is that many of them had no idea that some of the comments they had been accepting over the years would come back to hurt them.

If I had not lost nearly 45% of my organic search traffic (nearly two years ago) I may never have started paying attention to Google’s direction. I could have very well been one of those bloggers that found themselves de-indexed.

You are so right. It’s much easier to practice white hat SEO practices from the beginning than to try to recover after being penalized. Thanks for the offer to join you as a contributor. I’m following you on Twitter and I may take you up on that offer. Thanks so much for joining the conversation.
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Erica February 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm

This is a really valuable article. I think it is difficult to not be overwhelmed with SEO. I started my blog after I opened my new business and was told a blog was necessary. At the time, SEO wasn’t a concern. I was just doing it to look professional. Of course, time passed and I realized the value of bringing strangers to my site. While I have a grasp of most of the basics, I still have no clue how to add a meta-description on my WordPress site. Needless to say, articles like yours really do help shed some light on a complicated topic.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Hi Erica,

That’s wonderful that you recognized the advantage of blogging when you started your business. A lot of people who start new businesses are reluctant to make the time commitment to blog.

The “value of bringing strangers to my site” – that’s an interesting observation. I don’t know if I ever thought of organic search traffic that way before. I’ve just always thought of it as “free” traffic.

Are you using the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast? That’s the number one plugin recommended by bloggers for search engine optimization. It’s usually named as one of the most essential plugins to install on any blog – unless of course you’re using a WordPress theme that has SEO built in.

I’m really happy to hear that I was able to shed some light on this topic. I know there was a lot here because I try to explain SEO to people who are both new to the topic and experienced. Please feel free to ask me questions if you have any. Lots of times, I find inspiration for new articles in the comments here.

Thanks for joining us and being part of the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Things You May Not Know About Google and SEO – #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Erica March 2, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Yes, I was starting to realize I was missing a plug-in. Time to call my web designer again (or work on how to do the little stuff myself). Anyway, just shared this on Facebook as this was some good stuff. Thanks!

Reply

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 3, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Hi Erica,

If you’re interested in learning how to install a plugin yourself and you need help, feel free to email me (or use my contact form). I’d be happy to help you do that (no charge of course).

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Marquita Herald
Twitter:
February 27, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Wow a ton of great information here Sherryl! I have used the Headline Analyzer for quite awhile now and it’s a great tool. I believe one of the biggest challenges most bloggers face is learning to balance one-size-fits-all “best practices” advice with their particular niche and audience preferences and that’s tough, particularly for the newbie who’s just trying to fit all the pieces together when they get started.

Take for example the point about how long your posts “should” be – for every article that says make them longer, there are 3 that say keep them short. It’s enough to make a person crazy until they find the nerve to do what’s right for their readers. Thanks for the tips and inspiration!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 11:18 pm

Hi Marquita,

Thanks for letting us know that you’ve been using the Headline Analyzer for a while now and that you find it useful. I truly believe it has helped me write better headlines.

I agree with you about the one-size-fits-all “best practices” not fitting for all niches. We do have to know our audience and what they want/need. The same goes for those posts that tell you when the best time is to share on social networking sites. Maybe it will work for you but maybe it won’t.

I’m still struggling with the right length of my articles myself. It’s a bit of a trade-off. Readers seem receptive to these longer posts but I end up blogging much less frequently.

It’s time for me to take another close look at my Google Analytics to see whether or not 2,000+ word posts are working for me. The last time I checked, (a couple of months ago), my traffic was up. I also know that the Google Panda 4.1 had a positive impact on my blog. Bottom-line, we need to determine what works best for us.

Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your insight with us. It’s always good to have a conversation here.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Did You Know Google Panda 4.1 Rewards Quality Content? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Beth Niebuhr February 27, 2015 at 7:47 am

I really appreciate this article. So many good seo suggestions. If only the rules didn’t keep changing, it would be less daunting!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 28, 2015 at 11:04 pm

Hi Beth,

I agree. It would be less daunting if the rules didn’t keep changing. It’s very difficult to even try to stay current on what the latest algorithm changes are.

Thanks for letting me know that you found my article helpful. I follow several blogging “gurus” because I honestly find the topic fascinating. I appreciate knowing when readers find my SEO recaps helpful.
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Atif Rahman February 27, 2015 at 1:09 am

Well if you seriously ask me then i must say that if i had read the most helpful article today, then this is it!

Got to learn so many things about SEO in one place and in one article. From basic to Pro tips and the best part of it was knowing a quality content actually means.

Thanks a lot for this post Sherryl!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Hi Atif,

Thank you for letting me know that you found my post valuable. I sometimes question whether to continue this series because of the time that it takes to both research and write my Friday Finds posts. I’m encouraged when I hear from bloggers like you. I really appreciate the feedback.

I hope you had a great week and you’ll have an even better weekend.
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Ken Dowell
Twitter:
February 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm

I am always skeptical of Google, or anyone else’s, ability to use algorithms to identify quality. What they do is calculate attributes that they associate with quality. So they may have an ideal length for quality content but that means you can write an absolutely brilliant paragraph and the Googlebot will never know it. I sometimes feel you can read Matt Cutts blog and then try some searches and there seems to be no relationship between the two. But aside from my pet peeve about Google identifying quality, lots of good info here. thanks.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 26, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Ken,

I was trying to think of a way to defend algorithms and how they do serve a purpose. After all, there has to be some way for the search engines to calculate what should and should not appear in the organic search results.

But, bottom-line, I agree with you. We can write high quality and brilliant content and never have a Googlebot reward us. In fact, any one of us could suddenly get slapped with a manual webspam action because we neglected to clean out old comment links. Sometimes, bad things happen to good bloggers.

Glad you found lots of good info here. Thank you for sharing your perspective with us. Skeptics are welcome here. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Did You Know Google Panda 4.1 Rewards Quality Content? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Lenie
Twitter:
February 26, 2015 at 8:47 am

Hi Sherryl – There is so much information here and so much to learn that I have bookmarked this and I will go through one point at a time. It wasn’t that long ago that I even learned what SEO meant and how to use it although I’m sure that can be improved upon. Thanks so much for sharing this.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 26, 2015 at 10:15 am

Hi Lenie,

Welcome to my blog. Thanks for letting me know that you appreciate the information here. SEO is my favorite topic to blog about. So, you’re in the right place to learn more.

Feel free to ask questions. SEO is constantly changing and some of the changes could hurt us if we’re not careful.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Did You Know Google Panda 4.1 Rewards Quality Content? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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A.K Andrew
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 6:36 pm

Brilliant post! I’ve been using AMI for headlines after your recommendation & I def. think it works. So I can’t wait to try your other suggestions. This one is s real keeper. Thanks so much Sheryl:-)
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 6:53 pm

Hi A.K.,

Thanks so much for the kind words. I’m glad that you find the AMI tool helpful. I enjoy using it. It’s a habit that has really helped me to not just quickly write a headline but test it first.

It’s always a pleasure to see you here. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find one. Besides, sometimes questions give me ideas for my next blog post. Have a great week!
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Jacqueline Gum
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 5:02 pm

YES…SEO is confusing, because they keep changing the rules. Oh my gosh…this article made me dizzy there is so much information here. But I have book marked this…it’s a great referral as well as a tutorial! I feel completely stupid…I’ve never heard of the EMV analyzer! Thanks for this! Lots to study
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm

LOL – Jacqueline. I’ve never been told that my post made someone dizzy before. There is a lot here. I don’t blog often, but when I do . . .

Don’t ever feel stupid. I find new information every day! Learning is exciting and keeps us young right?

I follow some very smart people on Twitter. I even keep a list of “SEO gurus” who I follow just to (try to) keep up with all the changes in SEO. It’s so important.

Last year, I saw several well-known bloggers get completely de-indexed by Google. (That was after my site got whacked 2 years before for spammy links left in comments.) What we don’t know can hurt us!

Thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation. I recognize you as a member of our Bloggers Helping Bloggers group. (Thank you for being a valuable member.)

As I mentioned in my reply to Donna Janke, we’re always looking for good conversations in that group. Feel free to start a new discussion with any questions that you may have. I find that usually if one person has a question, others do too. So, it’s a great way to learn from each other.

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Christine Larsen
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 4:50 pm

SO much information and tips to absorb, thank you Sherryl.
On limited time this day, but have bookmarked this to return, investigate and absorb more than a cursory run-though could achieve. All looks so ‘do-able’ and easy to understand compared to too many SEO articles.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Hi Christine,

It’s so nice to see you here. I recognized you immediately from our LinkedIn group. There is a lot of info packed in here. I don’t blog as often as I used to but when I do, I usually share a lot of resources.

SEO is a pet topic of mine. I’ve always been interested in it but when I lost 45% of my website traffic (about 2 years ago), I really became (almost) obsessed with learning as much as I could about it.

The thing is that a lot of SEO “gurus” get really deep into their topics. That’s great for me because I’m a sponge for it 🙂 but it can make it overwhelming for some people. That’s why I like to boil SEO down into manageable tidbits and share them.

When I hear kind words like it “looks so ‘do-able'”, I smile because I want to help other bloggers stay out of trouble (with Google) and get some well-deserved free traffic too! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment today. I’ll be by your blog to visit soon. I’m running a little behind commenting this week but (as you see) I spend a lot of my time conversing here!
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Patricia Weber
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Oh oh – I opened the big window to type (very cool by the way Sherryl) but after I did and tried to submit, it disappeared. I’m sure if this is a duplicate comment you can delete one.

Does SEO confuse me? Darn right it does. But I know firsthand how doing things wrong can hurt you from a go-to-Google-jail experience early last year.

When I write I add usually only keep low hanging fruit ideas of SEO on my mind. But for up to date information and new ideas I read posts like yours. It’s from there I hope for another Golden Nugget for two.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Hi Patricia,

I saw that big window to type in but I’m honestly not sure how it got here. I’m wondering if it may have started with the last WordPress update (to 4.1.1). I hope there’s not a conflict between it and my theme. Your comment was not a duplicate. So, hopefully, it’s just another Internet hiccup. 🙂

I felt so bad for you having to go through that with Google. You were not alone. I know several bloggers who got de-indexed. Actually, coming back as quickly as you did is impressive. I know you haven’t completely recovered your page rank yet but you will.

I hadn’t been by your blog recently. So, I just took a quick peek to see if I had any easy SEO suggestions for you. I don’t! You’re using heading tags and images and you provide quality content.

I think the biggest challenge for those of us who manage CommentLuv enabled blogs is to moderate the comments. I know I’ve said this before but we really have to check them on a regular basis. Unfortunately, running our site through a broken link checker (or using a plugin) isn’t enough.

Two years ago, I lost about 45% of my organic search traffic. At the time, that was by far my greatest source of traffic. So, it was a blow for me. I had been blogging for years and many of the links that I had in my comments no longer pointed to the original sites.

Some domains had changed hands and others were parked with domain registrars. Those ads were riddled with Google AdSense ads and were obviously deemed spammy. Actually, it’s time that I manually go back through all my comments again.

Thanks for dropping by and even more for agreeing to be one of the managers of the new (and improved) Bloggers Helping Bloggers group (on LinkedIn). We have a lot to do but we’re having fun and we’re on the right track. I’m looking forward to the day that we have our new rules established and are ready to publicly invite our friends and readers. (Anyone reading this with a Page Rank 1 or higher blog is welcome to join us.)
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Donna Janke
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 1:05 pm

There is a lot of great information in this post. There is so much about SEO I don’t know, but have a much better understanding than I once did. The do-follow links are what I am currently trying to get a handle on. I appreciate articles like this that convey information in a way I can understand.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 25, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Hi Donna,

SEO can be a bit overwhelming and it’s constantly changing. If you ever have any questions feel free to ask me.

Also, we’re always looking for good discussions in our Bloggers Helping Bloggers group on LinkedIn. So, feel free to start a new discussion with any questions that you may have. I find that usually if one person has a question, others do too. So, it’s a great way to learn from each other.

One thing to keep in mind about the “no-follow” tag is that Google looks at them as merely a suggestion. Google bots may follow a link with the do-follow attribute tag.

Have you ever received a request from a webmaster asking that you remove a link on your blog that points to their site? Sometimes, I have found that the only link I have comes from the URL to their website. (The one that they left with their comment.) By default, that link is tagged as no-follow. So obviously, Google bots sometimes ignore that tag.

I’m glad you found me through the Bloggers Helping Bloggers group on LinkedIn. It’s nice to meet you here. Thanks for joining the conversation.
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Catarina
Twitter:
February 24, 2015 at 9:11 am

Really a lot of important information, Sherryl. Like th fact that youi included Jeannette’s post.

Tested a couple of headlines I have written in the Emotional Headline Analyzer and scored high.

Still find it difficult to know what makes Google reward a website. It seems to change all the time. Hence do the basics without writing for search engines. My blog is very much like a newspaper. I decide to post about a topic based on if I’m of the opinion that it would be of interest to professionals all over the world.

Really pay attention to broken links and generic comments because I have no interest in being punished by Google for such a ludicrous reason.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 24, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Hi Catarina,

I’m glad you found my post informative. Jeannette did an excellent job on her post about semantics. She is a great example of someone who shows that you don’t have to be an expert in SEO to incorporate solid practices that will help you to get found in the search engines.

Since I like to include some internal links in my Friday Finds. What better way than to drive traffic internally than to highlight a guest blogger?

Because you’re a journalist, I’m not surprised to find that you scored high in the EMV analyzer tool. Congratulations!

I really believe that Google is attempting to reward quality content now.Also, while it’s not recommended to attempt to build links, your content consistently points to authority sites. That has to be helping you. (If authority sites are pointing back to you, even better!)

It’s time for me to make another round through my comments. That takes me days to accomplish because I don’t just rely on a broken link finder. I manually go through my links to verify the quality of the site. (Plus, I can only spend a few hours a day before I get cross-eyed. 🙂 )

Thanks so much for weighing in on this. I’ll be by your site soon!

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Sherman Smith
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Hey Sherryl,

What a great extensive, detailed post. As I was reading along it almost felt like you were talking about my experiences lol.

When it come to SEO and link building, I can say that I did get into some trouble with it. Especially through commentluv. This is why I downloaded the anti backlinker and made a policy for commenter to protect my blog.

I also had those horrible 404 errors. At first I was trying to get rid of them manually up until I installed the broken link checker plugin. This helps to point out broken links on my site and gives me the choice to keep them or unlink them from my blog.

Yes when it comes to SEO there’s a quite a few things you must learn and once you do it’ll be worth it! Thanks for sharing! I hope you have,a great rest of the week!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 9:11 pm

Hi Sherman,

It’s good to hear that my article resonated with you. The fact that you’ve shared similar experiences with me shows that you’re one of the more “seasoned” bloggers that I referred to above. 🙂

Those broken links got me into trouble but what I found that was more upsetting was how many comments I unearthed that pointed to live “spammy” sites.

It’s amazing how many domains have passed hands over the years. Some of the worse ones were those that were parked with domain registrars. It’s sort of ironic that parked domains riddled with AdSense ads can put us at risk of incurring a Google penalty (or webspam action).

I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I’ll be by your blog soon to read your eight copy-writing formulas. Thanks for dropping by and you have a great rest of the week too!
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Brian and Felicia White
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Great info here Sherryl. As avid bloggers we are always looking to improve our writing and SEO skills. We will definitely have to check out the EMV headline analyzer.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Hi Brian and Felicia,

Welcome to my blog. I’m glad that you found my post informative. I think you’ll find the headline analyzer interesting. It certainly has helped me to be more creative writing my post titles.

Thanks for joining the conversation. I took a quick peek at your blog and I’ll be back to comment. I particularly liked your post about what kind of gems we are. Years ago, when I was in BNI (Business Networking International), I participated in an all-day workshop on that topic. So, I’ll be over to throw in my two cents. 🙂
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Fabio Alves February 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Hello Sherryl , is increasingly difficult to keep the first page of Google , because on the one hand there are people developing techniques in SEO, and on the other hand Google tends to hinder a forced optimization. So the challenge is to balance a good optimization with a value of content to readers. I did not know about reducing the number of characters in the titles . Thank you for sharing such valuable information for us.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 8:31 pm

Hi Fabio,

I agree. Writing for the search engines (“forced optimization” as you called it) is no longer being tolerated by Google. They have been tweaking their alogorithms to use semantic search and reward quality content for a while now.

Now, John Mueller is recommending that we don’t try to build links but let them develop naturally. I think the outlook is good for those of us who want to write for our readers and not search engines.

Thanks for letting me know that you found my post valuable. I’m so glad you found my blog. I found your blog interesting too. It translates well.
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Adrienne
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm

Hey Sherryl,

Oh my goodness, you’ve really shared a heck of a lot of stuff here my friend. I’m overwhelmed really reading through it all but I was also nodding my head at just how much I do already know.

So I’m one of those that are guilty of just paying attention to the headlines, the meta descriptions, the tags, alternate text tags and not much else. As you know I do that have love/hate relationship with Google but I really do my best to not get on their bad side. Besides being a low PR ranking now for going on three years I haven’t done too bad.

I used to use the headline analyzer tool years ago when doing my articles and tried it again for a few months last year but never saw that it really made much of a difference. Even when I got it up over 50% the clicks were the same. Not sure how well it works but I have been trying to keep my headline below 55 characters. For the most part at least.

I’m the same as you about allowing dofollow links in my comments and I’m pretty leery of who posts what and what site they link to. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t want there to be bad blood between Google and I although I’m not going out of my way to please them.

What a great round up Sherryl. Way to go my friend and this must have taken you quite some time to put together. I’ll be sharing this one as well.

Have a great week.

~Adrienne
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Hi Adrienne,

There is a lot of stuff here. This may be my longest Friday Finds yet.

SEO is my favorite topic and although I haven’t been blogging much lately, I still have been following a lot of blogs (and absorbing a lot of information). I felt that it was time to share some of that knowledge again. Plus, I’ve been seeing quite a few bloggers making some decisions that could get them into trouble with Google and I would hate to see anyone I know run into trouble with the big “G” because they don’t know something.

That’s great that you were nodding your head so much! I know that you’re one of the more “seasoned” bloggers that I was referring to. 🙂 You’ve adopted a lot of good SEO habits over the years and your content usually ranks high in the SERPs. So, kudos to you. (Granted, your social influence weighs into that.)

I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with Google. To me, they’re sort of a necessary evil. (Oops! Did I really just say that?)

I noticed an increase in my traffic when I started using the analyzer. Maybe you always wrote better headlines than I did. I was never really happy with many of my headlines. As I just mentioned in my reply to Donna, I used to neglect them and sometimes write them after I wrote my post. By then, I’d often be anxious to hit that publish button and move on.

I just received an email today from a Brazilian blogger who told me that I had blocked him from commenting. He told me that SEO was meaningful to him and he asked me to white list him so that he could participate in the conversation. Honestly, I was flattered that he asked. (I did add him to my whitelist.)

I have been aggressively marking generic comments as spam. However, I do try to make sure that I don’t block a comment when the issue may be the fact that English is their second language. (I would never be able to comment in any language other than English.) Like you, I don’t want there to be any bad blood between Google and me but I don’t want to lose readers either.

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my roundup. This one took an unusually long time to research and write. Once again, I question if I should continue with this series or try to write less. Once I get going though, there’s no stopping me! 🙂

You have a great week too! BTW – I enjoyed your Magical Monday.

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donna merrill
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Wow Sherryl,

When it comes to SEO I’m all thumbs. This is a keeper for me. I just tried the emotional headline analyzer and got lost a bit. It is fantastic! I do believe emotion sells and grabs attention.

I need all the help I can get when it comes to SEO and here you have given so much,I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I need to learn so much more about SEO. Getting a green light on my blog is not enough.

I do have to get more serious about where the traffic is coming from and pay more attention to it. So I’ve bookmarked this to start applying an learning.

Once again…Many thanks!

-Donna
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 23, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Hi Donna,

SEO can be intimidating. It sort of clicks with me because I enjoy anything analytical. Plus, I’m by nature a “rules” girl. So, if someone convinces me that there’s a recommended formula for getting organic traffic, I’ll form a habit to comply. 🙂

I’m glad you find the EMV headline analyzer “fantastic”. I got hooked on it right away. It’s quick and free. So, what’s not to like?

That tool helped me get into the habit of writing my headlines in the early stages of my post. When I started blogging, I would write my post and then write/tweak my headline. By then, I’d sometimes be tired and my headlines would reflect that. Our blog titles are the first impression that we make and I wasted a lot of opportunities/potential clicks.

I really appreciate your feedback and letting me know that you find posts about SEO valuable. Now, I’m interested in what you have to say about bloggers giving away their best information. I know I’ve been guilty of that. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What SEO Tools Do You Use? #FridayFindsMy Profile

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Mi Muba
Twitter:
February 22, 2015 at 7:40 am

Hi Sherryl

Wow, this post has almost covered all the key requirements of search engine optimization and also discussed a little techie things like semantic search. It offers the latest info on SEO. Great job done.

Most importantly you maintained the balanced approach of SEO and equally focused that the main target should be people and equally search engines as well.

Many people take SEO for granted as if the older rules are still working but this post is any eye opener for them as it covered many updates on the topic.

Thanks a lot for sharing this very informative post.

Have a nice week ahead.
Mi Muba recently posted..How to never fail in blogging with these 11 tips for success?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 22, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Hi Mi,

It’s been almost two years since I got whacked with a Google algorithm change. I had logged into my analytics to find that I had lost about 45% of my organic traffic.

Since organic search was by far my top source of traffic at the time, that hurt. My problem turned out to be due to links left in comments and a spammy site that had links pointing to my site. (I discovered that using Google Webmaster tools.)

Ever since that experience, I’ve tried to blog about SEO at least once a month. There are lots of simple SEO habits that people can incorporate into their blog posts and there are some things that we need to be aware of and avoid. (This whole “unnatural” links thing is going to get more bloggers into trouble for sure.)

I’m looking forward to reading your 11 tips for blogging success! I’ll be by soon. As always, thanks so much for coming by and weighing in on this. I’m glad you found my post informative.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Google Manual Web Spam Action or Algorithm Change?My Profile

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Ryan Biddulph
Twitter:
February 22, 2015 at 12:37 am

Hi Sherryl,

The emotional value note is dead on. Write for search engines second, people first, because people drive search engine results. I do a nice little headline check before going live – awesome tool up top too – to boost those clicks and to position myself on Google.

Keep up the great content sharing here!

Ryan
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm

Hi Ryan,

You’re the perfect example of someone who connects with their readers on an emotional level. Your blog post about your “Most Horrifying Globetrotting Experience” was hysterical. (“Carl the cockroach? Seriously?)

Thanks for letting me know that you liked my post. I’ll be by to visit your blog soon to read about your most recent adventure. 🙂

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Leora Wenger
Twitter:
February 21, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Sherryl, lots of great content in this post! I especially liked: Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. I will have to start trying it out. Sometimes my headlines are especially boring. Spicing it up and accounting for an SEO key phrase – ah, that’s the mark of a great writer.

I have a fairly new client that needs to learn that there is no magic to SEO – you can’t just sprinkle upon your site, and it magically gets better rankings. I told him he needs to write (or hire someone to do so). I don’t think that was what he wanted to hear.
Leora Wenger recently posted..Local SEO: Finding a Business in a Local AreaMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 22, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Hi Leora,

I’m glad you liked this post! Using the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer has become a habit for me. It’s so easy to use and it’s kind of fun to see how much of a difference tweaking your title can make. Honestly, I was surprised that this post title ranked so high. Sometimes, the titles that I expect to rank high bomb and then a simple title scores high.

“Sprinkle upon your site . . .” that made me grin. Sounds like your client is looking for an easy solution. If only there were one.

Thanks for dropping by. I’ll be over to read you post on local SEO soon. I’m sure it will be another good one

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Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
February 21, 2015 at 8:07 pm

Sherryl, I am always impressed by the extent of your research on any given topic. I learn from you on every visit to your blog, and I thank you for that. As you know, I am sometimes dumbfounded by the complexities of SEO, but you are teaching me!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 22, 2015 at 9:23 pm

Hi Doreen,

Thanks for your kind words. I think you do a fine job with SEO. As an author, your writing engages us and your passion for traveling and chocolate comes through.

Now that Google is finally attempting to reward quality content, bloggers like you and many others should be fine. We may even gain more organic traffic!

I honestly believe our biggest challenge is to make sure that we don’t have links to or from our sites that are broken, pointing to spammy sites or have too many links that are deemed “unnatural”.

It’s always nice to see you here. I appreciate it when you join the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Blogging Tips Are You Missing?My Profile

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Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
February 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Sherryl — first, thanks for your shout-out for my post about semantics. Then I’d like to thank you for this comprehensive post about SEO and the links to more information. I’ve used the Emotional Headline Analyzer but infrequently. You’ve nudged me to use for every headline, as your research shows it does matter. But I still think SEO is a bit of a mystery.

At the beginning of 2014 my organic traffic dropped precipitously and I don’t know why. Then over the next several months it went back to “normal.” The same thing happened at the beginning of 2015 and now it’s coming back (faster than last year). I think — but don’t know for sure — it’s because I wrote two very short holiday posts for Christmas and Thanksgiving. So maybe Google downgraded me, but who knows?

I am getting much more particular about including back links in my content and from reader comments. I also think you can make yourself crazy worrying about SEO all the time. I say just do your best, follow the rules, write content for your readers and then let the chips fall where they may!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 22, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Hi Jeannette,

You’re welcome. Your post on semantics is great and it’s right on trend for what’s going on now. I’m sure people will find it helpful. Writing in a conversational style is what we all should be doing. The search engines are being programmed to understand phrases these days and quality content is being rewarded.

I find that headline analyzer tool extremely helpful. I used to struggle writing headlines but that tool gives you immediate feedback. Like everything else, using it will become a habit.

It’s very difficult figuring out what impacts our Google rankings. I don’t know about you but I tend to have so much going on that I can’t usually attribute an increase or decrease in any one tactic that I’m implementing.

For example, I’m writing longer posts in this series but at the same time I’m posting much less frequently. Do they balance each other out? I don’t know.

To be honest with you, I haven’t take a peek at my analytics in at least two months. For someone who blogs a lot about SEO, that may surprise some readers but I don’t drive myself crazy with it.

What I try to do is provide quality content and stay out of trouble with Google. If I can increase my chances of being found in the SERPs by things like keeping my titles under 55 characters, that’s an easy thing to do.

As always, thanks so much for dropping by and adding to the conversation. During our Google hangout on Friday, I meant to mention that I was giving you a shout-out but I thought I’d keep it a surprise. 🙂

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Susan Cooper
Twitter:
February 21, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Ok, I’ll admit it, I do find SEO optimation a bit confusing and daunting at times. I have a much better handle on than I once did, but I still have a ton to learn. These Friday Finds of yours will take a bit of time to go through but I know they will help in my education. That said, I’ve book market this to review over the next week or so.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 22, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Hi Susan,

SEO can be a bit daunting. It doesn’t stand still. It seems every week that something has changed. I think the best we can do is develop basic SEO techniques like naming our images with keyword rich titles and not keyword stuffing like people did in the old ways.

We can’t depend upon organic search traffic because it could be taken away in a blink of the eye. I think that what most of us should be doing these days is watch those comments and beware of unnatural links. You write for your readers and I know (from talking to you) that people and businesses are finding you. So you’re doing a lot right.

As always, thanks for letting me know that you find my Friday Finds helpful.

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