Category Archives: SEO Theory and Analysis blog

Time to stop playing with this tag

There really is no need to use the much-abused “keywords meta tag” any more, as the SEO Theory and Analysis blog explains in Ding Dong! The Keywords Meta Tag is Finally Dead!. The main search engines long ago became able to work out for themselves what the key terms on a web page were, and didn’t need to be told by a tag written by the website owner. So if anyone tells you that your website needs better keywords meta tags, you can politely tell them no thanks.

And if you have no idea what a keywords meta tag is, perhaps you need to put aside a tiny amount of your 2011 marketing budget and join all of us on the Insider Programme. Just because this tag is dead, doesn’t mean the others aren’t as important as ever.

Microsites – a smart way to sidestep global HQ

A lot of businesses consider launching “microsites” away from their main website because they want to build something around a particular product, or campaign …or because they want to build an independent resource away from commercial considerations. These can really work well. Another reason to build a microsite, which I often see (but is rarely discussed) is because a company has no control over its website (“it’s all run by the Germans, I’m afraid”) …but realises it can get away with doing its own thing on a separate domain just for individual projects. And that’s usually a marvellous way of getting around blinkered “global-head-office-knows-best” situations.

So how do you build a microsite, and why? The SEO Theory and Analysis blog discusses this in How to build a microsite and it’s worth a read if you think you might benefit from this approach. Indeed, if you’re someone in the unenviable situation of having all your online possibilities stifled by an overseas head office insisting on doing it all, you should definitely think about creating your own product and campaign specific websites (and of course, join our Insider Programme to coach you through the whole thing as you build them!).

Run far, far away. Very fast.

A week ago I wrote an article which suggested that many “search engine optimisation” (SEO) consultants out there were little more than charlatans, and I’d like to thank the many of you who emailed me with sympathetic messages based on your own experiences. There are some great ones out there, although they rightly expect decent fees, and I do understand that it’s often a sign of the immaturity of the customers that forces even good SEO consultants to resort to claiming they’ll “get you to number one on Google”, because that’s what the customers want.
For what it’s worth, the “SEO industry” is wrestling with its conscience: I’m sure many of us will, at one point in our careers, have been the “good guys” in a market where the snake oil salesmen have moved in, and it’s an infuriating situation. There was a time in the nineties, when I was a trade magazine editor, which saw the market swamped by the “colour separations” cowboys, many of whom were peddling entries in magazines which weren’t even going to be published. I thought the only way to let everyone know that my own magazine, Industrial Technology, wasn’t in that market, was to shout from the rooftops that “colour separations” was a meaningless term being used to avoid the term “paid-for editorial”, and fortunately our advertisers got the message. I believe the magazine remains an example of honest practice to this day.
If you want to see a highly-regarded SEO consultant discuss the problems in his own industry, read Guaranteed Search Engine Ranking – Guaranteed Search Engine Optimization by Michael Martinez on the SEO Theory and Analysis blog. Often a contrarian in his industry, this time the author thoroughly agrees with the conventional SEO wisdom that if anyone offers you “guaranteed search engine ranking” or “guaranteed search engine optimization”, run far, far away. Very fast.
For my part, I think the best approach is to learn what this is all about yourself and to manage your website’s SEO optimisation yourself. Getting the basics right really isn’t that difficult, as the best SEO consultants would agree.

The other way around

Another one of those articles which might seem like it’s for the anoraks, but skim through because it highlights an important point. When you write a web page, I hope you’re always thinking about trying to “optimise” your site in the search engines for a relevant search term or two, by means of the words you write in the body copy, the title of the page, etc. But what if you have a search term which could be written back to front (e.g “widgets for working” or “working widgets”) and your research shows both are used frequently?

In Palindromic SEO makes SEO palindromic on theSEO Theory and Analysis blog, Michael Martinez shows you how to get both forms working for you. Core stuff if you’re a specialist copywriter, and although it might seem pretty esoteric if you’re a hard-pressed marketing director, make sure whoever writes your pages knows about this sort of thing.

Nobody said link building is easy

Link building is the single most important activity you should be undertaking to promote your web site. Sure, you can sort out the “on page” search engine optimisation, and you should be ensuring your site has a good structure, and you should be looking at external advertising. But link building should be your first priority.

The trouble is, link building is difficult. What’s more, there’s no obvious technique to learn. The most thought-provoking posts on the subject are like this one from the SEO Theory and Analysis blog: Why your link-building techniques suck seems to suggest that every method of link-building can be rubbish, but it still may be your best approach. Which all goes to show how complicated link building can be. The best approach is to do what you think will work best for you.

Anyway, have a read.