Sunday, 27 February 2011

Search Engine Optimisation Overkill

By Peter Bowen, Director, First One On

Struggling to get to the top of search engines' results knows no limits that some SEO - search engine optimisation firms will go to and yet only too often we hear about websites that have been temporarily or permanently removed from Google’s index because of erroneous SEO practices or the use of ‘black hat’ or dishonest SEO optimisation techniques. Search engines will not tolerate tricks and cheats that some so called SEO practitioners include in their arsenal. And even if search engines do not discover these underhanded attempts right away, your competitors might report you.

Keyword Density or Keyword Stuffing?

Sometimes SEO practitioners go too far in their desire to push their clients' websites to top positions and resort to irrational practices, like keyword stuffing – placing too many keywords into the content text on a webpage. Keyword stuffing is considered as a questionable practice because you are diluting the value and quality of the keyword. Bearing in mind that the recommended keyword density is from 2 to 5% of the content on the page, that is repeating the keyword twice in the first 100 words, anything more than this, say 10% density will begin to look very much like keyword stuffing and it is very likely that it will get noticed by search engines and could face penalties.

"Generally, keyword density in the meta title of the page, the main H1 headings, and the first few paragraphs really has more value", says Peter Bowen, SEO Expert at First One On. Needless to say, that you should be especially careful not to stuff these areas. Generally words that are in bold and/or italic are considered important by search engines but if any occurrence of the target keywords is in bold and italic, this also looks unnatural and in the best case it will not push your page up the rankings.

Doorway Pages and Hidden Text

Another common keyword trick is the use of doorway pages. Before Google introduced the PageRank algorithm, doorways were a common practice and there were times when they were not considered an illegal optimisation. A doorway page is a page that is made especially for the search engines and that has no meaning for humans but is used to get high positions in search engines and to trick users to come to the website.

Very similar to doorway pages was a scam called hidden text. This is text, which is invisible to humans (e.g. the text colour is the same as the page background) but is included in the HTML source of the page, trying to fool search engines that the particular page is keyword-rich. Needless to say, both doorway pages and hidden text can hardly be qualified as optimisation techniques.

Search Engine Optimisation expert Peter Bowen at First One On is considered by many to be a master craftsman when it comes to SEO techniques, and his expertise is sought after far and wide throughout Europe and North America.

Monday, 21 February 2011

SEO Secrets to Make Your Website More Visible

By Peter Bowen, Director, First One On

No more smoke and mirrors please - if they say its guaranteed to get you to the top of Google it probably isn’t because there are no guarantees, and there's no such thing as 'free' - if it is free it has no value.

If you are serious about SEO - search engine optimisation and want to dominate your competitors by being at the top for highly competitive search terms when there are millions of other webpages all wanting top spot?, then read on.

Improving a website’s position in a search result is a gradual process that takes time – lots of time and patience, and it is possible for a small business to greatly improve its chances of landing on the first page of relevant search results using legitimate, "white-hat" SEO practices and honest search engine optimisation.

At First One On we highly recommend kick-starting a firm’s SEO by running a small pay-per-click (PPC) keyword ad campaign with Google AdWords linked to a highly relevant content rich landing page on the clients website – coupled with an explicit call to action, such as an invitation to call for a free phone consultation. PPC ads can begin delivering targeted traffic to your website within minutes or hours, versus the months that organic SEO efforts can take.

Here are six top SEO tips for boosting your website's search engine status

1. Determine Goals, Priorities, and Measurements
Before starting an SEO campaign, develop measurable goals and priorities, and plan to revise them periodically. Some questions to ask: What are your current business needs? Which of your products or services are most important to promote now? What do you want visitors to your website to do, buy, or learn?

Next, decide how to measure success. If you haven't already done so, add Google Analytics to each page of your website. Google Analytics reveals which keywords visitors used to find your site, and much, much more. There are other web traffic analysis tools out there, but Google Analytics includes all of the features that most small businesses need.

2. Research Keywords
Often, a business doesn't describe its products using the same keywords that its clients use. That's why it's important to talk to employees, partners, current and potential clients, and your sales staff to determine which words are most frequently used when people seek out your firm and its products or services. Use those phrases to develop an initial list of SEO keyword candidates.

Several keyword-research tools are available to help you choose the best terms for SEO. Google AdWords Keyword Tool helps you gauge how frequently keywords are searched in a local area, and how competitive a keyword is. The tool is designed to help marketers choose keywords for Google PPC ads, but it's useful for organic keyword research, too. You'll also get lots of keyword variations that you might not have thought of.

When choosing keywords, some site managers take into account the Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI), a mathematical equation that comes up with a score based on the number of times a keyword has been searched and the number of Web pages containing the keyword. The higher the KEI score, the better your chances are for "winning" that keyword.

3. Use Keywords Carefully

Using keywords effectively can make your site more discoverable. But overusing or abusing them can cause search engines to ignore you so be careful not to overstuff content with keywords – make sure the text content is meaningful and relevant to the search keyword term.

Optimise one page for each keyword (and its synonyms) that you were able to identify in the keyword research. When the entire context of a page is about a particular subject, search engines are more likely to see that page as relevant to the keyword being optimised.

Use keywords in the page's HTML title tag. Search engines place great importance on title tags when determining a page's relevancy to a query. Don't exceed 65 characters, including spaces and punctuation.

Add keywords to the page's HTML h1 and h2 headings, and use the keywords several times in the body copy--the earlier, the better.

Create a keyword-rich link (anchor text) elsewhere on your site to each page you're optimising.

Add keywords to your site's URLs whenever possible, as opposed to using generic URLs such as

Add keywords to each page's HTML meta description. Search engines often (but not always) display that description underneath each link shown in search results. But don't bother with HTML keyword meta tags: Google ignores keyword meta tags in page search ranking.

Don't try and be ‘smart’ . "Black-hat" tricks--such as presenting one page to search engines that's nothing but keywords, and another page to users--can get you kicked out of Google's index.

4. Create One Way Links
Editorial endorsements of your product or service from someone else, such as a high-profile blogger, can be pure SEO gold--especially when that endorsement includes a keyword-rich link to a relevant page on your site.
Bloggers and other people with content rich websites frequently post links to other great content. Make sure your pages have provocative, newsworthy, or extremely useful content--otherwise known as "linkbait." Spread the word about a new blog post, page, or article via social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Write an informative unbiased press release about your new product or service. Include a keyword-rich link to a relevant page on your site, and post the release on public relations sites such as,, and (Some PR services are free, while others charge.) With luck, your press release will get picked up by the media, and people will write online articles about you with links to your site.

Contact influential reporters, bloggers, and others in the media directly. You'll increase your chances of coverage and perhaps get links that your competitors lack. When other sites agree to link to yours, suggest the keyword that you'd like them to use in the link text.

Don’t participate in reciprocal linking – if a website asks you to exchange links, don’t be tempted, most have no value to you.

5. Make Sure Your Site Is Search Engine Friendly
Search engine "bots" primarily index text and follow links. Though they are getting more sophisticated, bots can't easily index nontext content, such as Flash animations.

JavaScript content, such as site menus rendered in Ajax, can stop a search engine bot in its tracks. The bottom line: If your Website contains lots of Flash, Ajax, and other nontext material, you're making it difficult for the search engines to index your pages. And if search engines can't index that content, searchers won't be able to find it when they perform queries. If you're planning a new site, make sure its design is friendly to search engines from the beginning.

6. Duplicate Content
We cannot emphasize this point enough now that Google is changing its position on sites that have duplicated content.

Make sure that your site doesn't have duplicate content or subscribe to content that is the same on other sites like news feeds or article libraries - these have no SEO value whatsoever. Duplicate content can hurt your search engine ranking and Google will ignore pages with the same title and content.

Be careful about accepting or paying for ‘syndicated’ content – content that you subscribe to and is listed on your site. Google is getting serious about ignoring sites that have the same content, news stories, and libraries of articles that are the same on other sites.

So having a website that is loaded with news stories and articles that are not unique serve no purpose in helping your website achieve high rankings, Google will see that your website is bloated with duplicate content and ignore it.


SEO isn't something you do once. You may rank well for a keyword search on Monday, and twenty-third for that same keyword search two weeks later. So it's important to set aside time, ideally every week, to review your Google Analytics, fine-tune your keywords, and look for link opportunities.

Yes, SEO requires time – lots of time and patience. The potential rewards can be considerable and its safe to say that your competitors are doing it.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Social Media Power Tools

More than 75% of consumers today use some form of social media in their everyday lives - if you or your business are not one of those then you might be missing out on powerful ways to communicate and be seen and heard. Peter Bowen, SEO strategist at First One On says "it's quite easy to get involved with social media applications and here are four ways to get involved and start using social media power tools".

Start a Blog

Blogs are easy to create and easy to maintain - with tools like Wordpress or Google's Blogspot they offer free weblog publishing tools for sharing text, photos and video. These easy to use tools will enable you to quickly start creating high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience.

Start a Facebook page

Facebook is one of the most popular sites in the world (along with Google). To get started, simply create a Facebook page where you can post updates, link to your blog articles, and receive feedback from your friends, clients and customers. As you post relevant content and interact with them on your Facebook page, you begin to develop powerful relationships for building business.

Post videos on YouTube

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, a video must be worth 1,000 pictures and 1,000,000 words! Plus videos get priority in search engine results and allow you to show a little personality. Start with a company overview or a product demonstration and build your video library from there.