Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nine SEO Tips for 2009

Don't Take Down That Holiday Sale Page
Every year your site probably has a special holiday sale page, gift idea pages, a white sale page, or a year-end clearance page and the like. Don't make the mistake of reinventing these types of promotional pages year after year. Go static with the URLs and keep the pages alive all through the year. That way, when you need it, refresh the content, kick the page out of its suspended site map retirement, and promote the heck out of it from your home page and site navigation.

Go ahead and take down your Christmas tree and holiday trimmings, but don't take down your holiday promotional pages. Start reverse-archiving your holiday sales and promotions in 2009 to annualized, canonicalized URLs and watch the rankings improve for sales related pages year after year.

Make the Most of Your Metrics
Resolve to study and understand your search engine referrals in the new year. When you bind branded and unbranded keywords and phrases to search engine referrals, you can begin to open up new opportunities for higher rankings all through the year. Compare and contrast your site's paid performance with non-paid referrals. You can fine tune your PPC (define) budget with natural search performance to attain highly economical results. And you can also begin to exploit "long tail" opportunities, too.

Wag Your Tail
The theory behind the long tail of search remains unchanged, except it tends to be much longer than first estimated. Branded search referrals generally comprise the head and torso of search engine referrals. And just about everything else usually makes up the tail. Head terms can comprise as little as 5 percent of your total search-referred traffic. Most folks miss out on opportunities to wag their tail on the Web, which can comprise as much as 95 percent of their search engine referrals.

When you understand the relationship between your site's head and tail, you don't need to flip a coin to improve your site's performance. Themes become obvious and opportunities appear to be limitless when you focus on growing your long tail of search results.

Make It a Picture Perfect Year
Image search engines are driving more traffic than ever before. Don't miss out on this growing portion of search engine referrals for your site. Make it a goal in the new year to optimize all of the alternative attributes used in the photos and images that make up your Web site. Adding a little context to imagery can really help drive new-to-file customers and conversations your way.

Play a Game of Tag
Supplemental site navigation doesn't need to be complex. Sometimes, it can be as simple as adding a tagging structure to your site. You'd be amazed at how well tags can help identify key areas of your Web site that are missing out in the SERPs (define), especially if you focus on those parts of your site that are generally found on page two of results. So go ahead and use that flashy introduction to core categories within your Web site. Just supplement the situation with a handful of visible text links in the form of tags to make the most of a navigationally challenged situation.

Feed the Need
XML site maps remain one of the best ways to get every part of your Web site crawled by the search engines. Why wait for the engines to discover your new content? Set your site maps up for auto-discovery and update them frequently with all of the engines. Authenticate your feeds with Google, Yahoo, and MSN for greater insight into crawl rates and indexation levels to unleash all the great content your site contains.

Break out the Blender
While a frosty margarita might make for a great toast to the New Year, focusing on improving your blended search results may actually provides greater satisfaction. Why not make the most of your photos, press releases, videos, blogging, and such? It's one of the easiest ways to get more than two results on page one of the SERPs. There's no need to settle for a spattering of listings in the search engines when you can take your content universal and blend more results into page one.

Think Globally, Link Locally
Some of the best backlinks are sitting in your Web site's backyard. Growing inbound links for all your storefronts or offices is easy if you focus on finding high-quality backlinks on a local basis. Make certain you are getting linkable credit for your charitable contributions and local press coverage. There are a multitude of local and regional backlinks just waiting to be connected to your site if you focus on building a little local buzz.

Get Socially Aware
There have never been so many opportunities to tap into new traffic drivers for your Web site. All you have to do is reach out and embrace a few social media venues. Sure, YouTube's great for videos and Flickr makes a great home for photo ops. Yet Twitter can't be ignored as a way to reach out and micro-blog with loyal customers who are talking about your goods and services right now. Just don't fall into the trappings of blatant self-promotion. Resolve to be more socially aware in the new year by embracing social media venues as part of your overall online marketing plan.


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