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SearchEngineLand.com

One of my favorite sites for the latest news in SEO is www.searchengineland.com . The site is run by Danny Sullivan, formerly of SearchEngineStrategies.com (where incidentally I will be writing a column soon, stay tuned for details). But one of the things (or should I say some of the things) I have noticed about Search Engine Land lately is they don’t exactly correspond to what I would define as best practices with their own SEO. So I thought I would take a few moments to give some unsolicited advice to my friends at SearchEngineLand.com as if they were a client.

Here are my top 5:

1) This isn’t what I would recommend for my homepage keywords:

“< name=" keywords " content="qiskodslajdmnkd, ddakaieciuaj jkdalladpaoaw, wdaopeqndlkakljad">” – spaces inserted so that it would show up in Blogger

Unless this is some kind of SEO test (which I don’t recommend for high profile pages), I think you would get a lot more traction out of Yahoo by making this data meaningful.

2) I see that SearchEngineLand.com is not listed in the top 20 results for “search engine optimization”. This seems like a no brainer to include in the Page Title. Not only does it increase your chances of getting listed for the specific phrase “search engine optimization”, but it dramatically increases your chances of getting listed for the thousands of permutations that are associated with that phrase. I have a hard time believing that “search engine optimization” isn’t a primary keyword for this site.

On a related note, for http://searchengineland.com/google.php, the Page Title, “Google Land” leaves a lot of valuable real estate on the tab. This is also ineffective from a usability standpoint. Anyone seeing this title in the SERPs, may or may not understand the value of the content that lives there as it relates to their interest in search engine optimization. If the Page Title were “Google Land: News and Articles About The Google Search Engine Including SEO and SEM”, it would fare much better. Now I understand that they may be keeping the title general because of the amount of information on the page. But I have never felt this to be a wise strategy. It’s always best to highlight the most important keywords in the title. In this example, their Google SEO page which is linked to from the Googleland page is a PR5. The Googleland is a PR6. It has a better chance, all things being equal, of ranking for more competitive keywords like
“google news” and “google articles”.

3) The homepage logo only says Search Engine Land in its alt tag. Adding some keywords in this alt tag would significantly increase your propensity to rank for those keywords since Google sees this link pointing at your homepage from every page on the Web site. Maybe something like: “Search Engine Land – News and Articles about Search Engines”. That is probably a little short for what I would normally recommend, but it seems more in line with the general style and theme of the site. Implementing this alt tag will significantly improve your opportunity to rank for “search engine news, search engine articles, news about search engines, articles about search engines”.

I would keep this same idea in mind for the image links on the global navigation as well. The link connectivity of the Internet Architecture is not currently keyword focused and therefore leaves a lot of opportunity on the table.

4) On article pages like this http://searchengineland.com/070821-221946.php I would recommend grabbing the first couple sentences of the page and use it for your Meta description. Unique meta descriptions are important for sites with thousands of pages based on templates. Before Google did away with the supplemental result tag, one of the observations we made was that by adding unique descriptions to some pages in the supplemental results, those pages broke out of the supplemental results and started to perform better in organic search. As a general rule until we can prove otherwise, we always recommend that every page has a unique description.

5) Keyword focused alt tags on the images that link to conferences from this page http://searchengineland.com/events.php would help those Web sites that Search Engine Land is associated with.

6 – Bonus…lol) I always recommend an html sitemap (sitemaps if more than 100 links and certainly in this case there is) that is linked from the homepage. I notice a lot of stuff on the site hasn’t got any PR yet which could be expedited by a good sitemap structure. Not a huge deal but also helps with usability for those who prefer to navigate using the sitemap.

Another note, I bet you would save yourself from passing a lot of Page Rank out to useless links if you put rel=nofollow on all the social media buttons whose URLs don’t get indexed anyway.

I just wanted to take a few minutes to give people an idea of the kinds of things we look at in our SEO Labs that we’ll be doing at OMS in February and how those principles might apply to a popular Web site. In this case, it also illustrates that even for Web sites that understand the principles of SEO, it’s hard to stay on top of it. I hope it gives everyone some ideas on how to improve their own sites. See ya next time.